Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stoney holds her to him, touching lightly along the curve of her cheek. "Chaton, shhhhh... No one will make any rash decisions." He looks at  Ramji, meeting his eyes over their women's heads.

Tara peeks from the doorway. She slips past her parents, her sister's hand in hers. Stoney watches them as he quietly talks to Alise. The girls move to Laila, looking up at her quietly. Gracie slips her thumb from her mouth just long enough to tug at Laila's skirt.

When their nanny looks down, Tara gives her a solemn look. She chooses her words carefully.

"Lai-la. You no go."

Laila stoops to look her in the eyes. "If I don't, someone else will get hurt." Her fingers stroke the little girl's midnight hair. "Tomas got hurt because of me."

The eyes stay solemn, lost in the thoughts flashing through their lavender gleam. Finally she refocuses on Laila.

"Tomi say, Laila stay. He hurt cause no lissen Lala. He do like papan, sleep make better. Gacie need Lala. Maman take care Tomi, Lala take care Gacie."  She draws herself up straighter. "Tara help Maman and Lai-la."

She stomps her foot. "Lai-la stay."

Stoney's mind touches Alise's. So much her mother's child.

Ramji hides a smile as he watches. "*Malo janje, you have just been forbidden to leave. I agree with Tara, my sweet. You are needed here to help with the children. How the ghoul got in here will be discovered, and taken care of." He helps her to stand as the little girls go to their still weeping mother.

"Besides...  if you go... you will be responsible for a much larger injury." He tilts her face up, an expression on his own that she has not seen in a long time. Mouth grim, eyes unreadable, he tells her softly.

"Laila, if you go, you will break me. My heart, my soul, will go with you, although my body will stay here where I am needed."

*Little lamb

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