– I must have been drowsing for a moment.
– You should go back inside, you’ll catch a cold.
– I’m not that frail.
– Come with me, Sen. Keep me company. I want to stay outside a while longer.
– Tell me again, how long have you been working for the family?
– 37 years, sir.
– How time flies.
– Do you have any regrets?
– I don’t, sir. I never look back.
– True. That’s what I like about you.
– I think I’ve never thanked you for… you know, buying me?
– What an ugly word. I only used money as a bail.
– It is a fine night.
– It really is…
– Before I disappear from this earth, there is one thing I have to know. And I need to hear it from you. I’m sure you can guess what it is.
“Did you kill my mentor, Cedric Corcoran?”
“You’re so beautiful, grandma. You don’t look like a grandma at all.”
– Oh Sammy… That’s because I’m younger than most grandma’s.
– Even when you’re older, I’m sure you’ll still be beautiful.
– You’re so sweet. Why aren’t you in your bed? Your grandpa will get angry if he sees you’re not asleep yet.
– Well… dad has gone somewhere, off to work I think, and mum says she doesn’t want to be woken up in the middle of the night when he’s back, so she’s sleeping in the guest room.
– And so…?
– I don’t know. I don’t like it.
– Oh sweetie, are you afraid for your parents?
– They don’t get along these days…
– Get under the sheets, honey.
– What if I read you a little story? Would you like that?
– I’d love it, grandma.
– What book are you reading now?
– I’m at chapter 17 of Book 3 of ‘War and Peace’.
– Erm… okay.
– You… you sure you want me to read that?
– Don’t worry, chapters are quite short.
Sam wasn’t fooled by her grandmother’s kind attempt to distract her thoughts.
But she enjoyed listening to her voice.
And slowly surrendered to sleep.
“I’m so sorry for you, little soul… Be strong.”
“Ange? You’re still up? You should be resting.”
– Shhh… Don’t talk so loud. I had a surprise guest.
– A guest?
“Hmph, I see. She’ll have to move, it’s not good to spoil her.”
But Sam didn’t go to her own bed.
“Smells like dad…”
At the break of dawn…
– Dad… you’re back…
– Yes, I’m back. What are you doing here? There will be an uproar if they don’t find you in your bed in a few hours. Come on, I’ll carry you.
“But… it was too sad to think you’d be back and mom wouldn’t be there…”
– I’m tired…
– Shh, just go back to sleep then.
“You think too much. I wish you had not taken that bad habit from me.”