Making her way through the vestibule, Lucy found amongst the children now there, Aden, Velia and Jerrett’s eldest, tussling with Bane on the floor. The wolf bared his teeth and growled.
Nearby, Jerrett stood watching the two of them. Along with his second son, Drew, he cheered them on. Then, suddenly, “Ah, ah, ah, no riding him, Aden!” he cautioned.
“No. Horses are for riding. Not dogs.”
“Or wolves, as the case may be,” Lucy muttered.
Jerrett glanced her way, laughed, and then turned back to his boys. “You two get along now. Go out and play.”
“But, Dad—” Aden whined.
“Go on!” he said. “Take Drew with you. I’ll come find you boys when we’re through. We’ll do some training with Bane then.”
“Come on, Drew!” Aden cried, clearly excited by the prospect. “Let’s go!”
With Jerrett now at her side, Lucy headed down the hall to the office that Rowena, and later, Lilith, had used. Upon entering, they marched down the new brown rug that Lucy had set out to replace the red one that Lilith had put there years back, to a table and a dozen chairs the Oathtakers had set up earlier, at her request.
She was pleased to find all of the others whom she’d asked to meet with her, with the exception of Mara, already waiting there. The group consisted only of those Oathtakers and Select who knew of the twins’ powers, along with the twins themselves, and the flits, Effie and Fleet. Collectively Lucy referred to them as “the inner circle.”
As she and Jerrett took their seats, Bernard entered in his slow old way, and bowed.
Approaching, he gestured at the coffee, tea, and scones on the table, their sweet smell filling the air. “Is there anything more you’ll require at this time?” he asked.
“No, thank you,” Lucy said, her eyes on the paperwork before her. Then looking up, she added, “You know, Bernard, we can have others take over your former duties here. I—”
“Excuse me?” he asked, a hand to his ear.
She stood. “I said,” she raised her voice to accommodate his lack of hearing, “others can take over your duties. You’ve earned your respite. I can find a replacement for you.”
“Thank you, ma’am, but it’s my pleasure to assist.” With that, and a smile, he shuffled his way out.
“Very well then, I’m just about ready here.” Taking her seat once again, she addressed Dixon. “Adele is bringing some peppermint tea to Mara.”
She glanced back at the others. On sight of Jerrett, she paused and frowned. “You know, about Bane . . .”
“What about him?”
She frowned. “Are you sure he’s safe with the children? It makes me nervous watching them tussle about with him. Someone could get hurt.”
“They’re fine, Lucy. He won’t harm them.”
Sighing, she shook her head. “Very well. I can’t stop you from allowing Aden, Drew, and Jedrek, to wrestle with him, but I won’t have him running free with the rest of the children. It’s not enough to merely hold you responsible should any of them get hurt—it’s a matter of protecting them against the possibility. Now, to business.”
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