Early Fall, Year 6 of the Addergoole School
“Shhhh – the twins are finally sleeping!” Mabina slipped out of Kailani and Conrad’s room and closed the door very, very carefully. Vlad whispered a Working at the door as it shut.
“That ought to keep our noises out and let us know if they’re making noise.” He touched the door, lightly, with his fingers, as if apologizing to his children.
“Cool.” ‘Lisha hopped down from her stool and grabbed a tray of appetizers. “Time for the party? I invited a few new people…”
Kailani twisted her lips. “People?”
“Friends?” The girl paused, hands on hips, to look at Kai. “You know, people that we actually like.”
“I didn’t know we could invite friends.”
“I didn’t know you had friends.”
“‘Lisha, there’s no call for that. Kai, if you want to call Shahin-and-Emrys or Jamiain and Arna, you can go right ahead. This is a party, dear, and of course we can have friends.”
Kai glanced at Conrad; he shrugged back at her and touched the chain still around his neck. “It’s your call. You’re still in charge.”
“Only because you wouldn’t let me let you go.”
“Well, you had to know you were stuck with me when you agreed to Keep me.” He hugged her close. “Call Jaya. Arna could use the getting out.”
A noise from the designated nursery room stopped them all in their tracks. Mabina, Kailani, and ‘Lisha shared a glance that even Kai didn’t need help interpreting.
Conrad, however, answered the question they were all not asking. “It’s Min. She’s playing with the trucks.”
They all relaxed. Trucks! A thought bounced through Kai’s mind. “Could I buy her some toy horses? I liked them a lot when I was a girl.”
For a moment, she thought ‘Lisha was going to yell at her. Vlad’s Kept might have mellowed, but she still got snippy for no discernible reason.
Then she smiled, the biggest smile Kai had ever seen on her face. “That would be cool. Thank you.”
Mabina clapped her hands together. “And that’s party time.”
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