Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nick glances up to the second story windows in time to see Raina wiping her cheeks. He goes inside, thinking to comfort her before he rests for the day. Not that she'll admit she's upset...

Walking in the back door he meets Raina coming down the stairs. He opens his arms and she walks into his embrace.

She nods when he asks if she's all right. “The house is already so much quieter... Maybe she will be back quicker than we think.”

Nick nods, not sure if that will happen or not.

Raina steps away, “Go on to bed. I have things to do to keep myself busy. Alise needed some help with the kids today. Her and Jack want to see Laila so I said I would meet her and the kids at Rowans. Then I can go see if Erik needs any help. If I'm not home when you get up, just call me.”

“And Gareth? What is he going to do today?” Nick asks.

“I asked him to come with me but he wants to be alone. Says he has things to do in the garden.”

Nick reaches out and runs a hand over Rainas cheek. “All right. I'll see you later then, gorgeous.”

Raina arrives at Rowans to find her and Ramji talking on the front porch. Panther followed her when she decided to walk, running ahead and then back again as if playing some strange version of feline tag. Rowan tells her to sit and eat, Star is inside helping Laila shower and dress.

“I should have known Star would be here first thing...” Raina settles in a chair and Panther sits next to her, keeping an eye on the door.

Rowan passes Raina a plate and asks, “Star said Alise and Jack want to speak to Laila. I dont suppose you know why?”

The toast Raina was going to take a bite of stops midway to her mouth. “Umm... well... yeah, I kind of do know...”

“Well then, why dont you tell me what it is. I can pretty well guess since Jack is coming along, but I dont want Laila upset, at least for a couple of days. She is so much better already. I have a feeling she is going to need to be strong for whatever lies ahead...” Rowan takes a drink of her juice and waits for Raina to answer.

How the Hel am I going to get out of this? I'm not.... One doesnt lie to a priestess.... Alise didnt tell me to keep it to myself, just not to tell Laila, she wanted to be sure of what she thought she was seeing.....

Raina sighs, “All right, but you didnt hear it from me. Alise thinks that Lailas parents have passed. She sees spirits around Laila and has asked Jack to see what he thinks...”

Raina pauses at Ramji's sharp intake of breath. “I know. It's awful. And if he didnt deserve to be fried in the sunlight before, he certainly does now.”

“He is in violation of their contract. He has to tell her such things.” Ramji stands and starts to pace the length of the porch and back again. “She will be crushed, her family is very important to her...” His eyes go dark with anger at Rath, then sadness for what he wont be able to save Laila from experiencing.

“Maybe its someone else Alise is seeing. Either way, I am not sure now is the time to tell her.” Rowan leans back in her chair, biting her tongue, not wanting Laila or Star to hear how angry she was.

Suddenly Star appears in the doorway and runs to Raina, hugging her from behind and kissing her cheek. “Raina! I didnt know I would see you today... and Panther too...”

Smiling Raina turns and pats Stars tummy. “Hows my nephew? And where is Mera?”

“He is fine...” Star begins and turns as Laila comes out with Mera cradled in her arms. Ramji is struck with how beautiful she looks, and so happy...  Damn Rath to hell if this is true... and hopefully at the end of my sword....

“Your hand... here, let me take her.” Rowan reaches out and Laila kisses the soft forehead before giving the baby to Rowan.

Star takes Laila by her good hand and pulls her off the porch. Then she whistles for Panther who comes running. “She likes to play tag.”

“Really?” says Laila.

“Yes. She says Raina will never play it with her...”

On the porch Raina shakes her head. “That is too weird, the way she does that.” Suddenly she goes silent watching the two girls laugh and Panther running between them.

Rowan reaches out and asks softly, “Is something wrong?”

“No. I was just thinking of my sister. She looked just like Alise but in so many ways Star is like her too. That same attitude that there is good in everyone and always happy, always dancing. I am filled with dread for her when I think about the future...” and she looks at Ramji, “And the prophecy.”

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