Women in White

The Marradith Ryder Series Part 51

I woke up the morning after, not quite sure if I had dreamed everything.

I smiled. Justin was still sleeping, with his head on my pillow. I waited for a while. Everything was silent around us.

I lifted my left hand, feeling the weight of the wedding ring on my finger. The stone winked at me in the thin morning light.

I felt him stir, and I went very still, my heart beating a little faster. He could make me nervous without trying.

“Good morning, Marradith.” he paused. “Mrs. Granthem?”

“I am keeping my maiden name, just so you know,” I teased. “But yes, I am Mrs. Granthem.”

He furrowed his brow at me, as if this were a little too confusing to think about before coffee. He wrapped his arms around me and pressed his face against my neck. “Come here,” he grumbled sleepily. “You okay? Do you feel alright?”

“Yes.” I was blushing, but he couldn‘t see. “I don’t want to go anywhere.
I want to stay here.”

He propped himself up on his elbow and looked at me. “I figure, we have three days before we go back to…everything. But once things calm down, we will have a real honeymoon, baby. I’ll take you to Kitanya…” he smiled. “That’s right, you haven’t even seen our house yet.”

“Okay.”

“You’re not mad?”

“No.”

“But….?”

“Why are we talking so much, if we’ve only got three days?” I whispered.

********************

That same morning, Rafael was already gone when Fiona woke up.

It wasn’t odd, but she wished he hadn’t got up so early. As she thought, he was downstairs grilling Will Keyes about some new security protocols.

She wished that he could step back for a while, and not be such a hard driver. Even though she knew his position required it, Fiona sometimes wondered about the toll it took on their marriage.

And she needed to talk to him.

Downstairs, she sat at the kitchen counter and drank her coffee alone. When he Rafael came in he barely gave her a nod, filling his cup without meeting her eyes.

“Rafi,” she said softly. “I want to talk to you about Daniel.”

“Daniel?”

“Danny Ryder,” she snapped. “Marradith’s little brother.”

“What about him?”

“Have you assigned anyone as his Protector?”

“No. His Father is of course demanding that we send him to the local public school.”

“He does need to be around other children his age. But I’d like to be assigned as his Protector, if you’d agree to it.”

He took a long swallow of coffee before answering. “Sure. Why?”

“He’s very sensitive and a little shy. But he’s special too. I don’t want him to get lost in the shuffle with his older siblings.”

“Okay,” he said. “I trust your instincts, though I am surprised. You know that would mean that we will definitely be staying here. For quite a while.”

She looked out the window for a moment, and then back at her husband. It was hard to explain how she felt about the little boy. He stirred something in her, a sort of maternal
longing that she had not felt before. Someone was going to have to teach him. So why not her?

“Speaking of siblings. I got a text message from Granthem this morning,“ Rafael grunted. “You’ll never guess what he did.”

**************************

Jenny Winslow wore a white dress.

She put on Louboutin heels and the Dior sunglasses Eric bought her. She didn’t want to look at her own eyes in the mirror, because she could not stand the expression in them.

She wasn’t sure why she picked that dress, but Syd seemed to approve. He told her that she was beautiful.

He told her that they’d have to hurry if they were going to make their plane.

Jenny could only remember one other time that she felt this way. After a car accident a few years ago, her doctor had prescribed a narcotic for her pain. She felt nothing. Her whole body was numb. Her head was like cotton. She felt like an observer watching her own body from a dark corner of the room.

And worse yet, she did not care about that body over there that had Jenny’s face, because it didn’t seem to really belong to her.

She flushed those pills down the toilet. Pain was much better than what the prescription did to her.

Jenny felt that way now. Only Syd was her drug. She felt him in her head, feeling around, an alien thing she could not get rid of.

She was determined. Sooner or later, he would be sure enough of her obedience to let go of the stronghold he had on her mind.

When that moment came, she could plan her escape.

Copyright, 2009 Lori Titus

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