“I loved your mother,” He said, point blank, “More than anything in the world. I loved your mother so very, very much. I would have moved the world to see her smile. I wanted to give her everything she ever wanted, which—unfortunately from my perspective—was not me.
“No—who she wanted was your father—who I did not love—who…” he trailed off for a second with a vague gesture of his hand. She didn’t need him to tell her who her father was. She’d heard the horror stories, the ones she hadn’t lived through anyway. “It’s not that your mother didn’t know what your father was like. She had to have known, but for some reason she loved him in spite of all that. I guess you have to respect her for that. She did love him—but made no excuses for him. When the unthinkable happened, when things got bad—she sent you to me. I guess she remembered my friendship—my loyalty—and knew that I would do anything that she asked, anything in my power to keep you safe.
“So, you’re safe. You’ll always be safe with me, no matter what. Because your mother asked me to keep you safe. Every time I see you I am reminded of the promise I made her. I’m reminded that she loved you more than anything, and I loved her more than anything. So you have to live, and you have to stay safe. No matter what. I can’t promise you much, but I promise you that.” He nodded with a sense of finality, and headed out of the room, the lock clicking into place behind him.