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I was not in a hurry to leave my room when morning came. Vivica had risen early. Her voice carried across the hallway as she lectured Meg. I felt for Meg but wasn’t about to rescue her. Soon, deep voices joined in, heavy with sleep. With all the noise, I opted for an extra long shower. I was going to need all I could muster before leaving the room.
Thomas met me at the bottom of the stairs. I shook my head before he could ask. I didn’t want to start the day talking about any of it.
“Do you dream,” I asked.
He laughed, the sound echoing through the empty dining room. “Of course I dream. Don’t you?”
I nodded. “I want you to tell me about your dreams.”
I listened as he told me of his favorite recurring dream where he would jump from his bedroom window and fly over the ocean. “Sometimes, the ocean is filled with pirate ships and mermaids like in Peter Pan. The mermaids are beautiful but they always dive under the waves when I fly near to them. Then they pop up and laugh at me.” His eyes were a bright green as he talked. One by one, we were joined by the others. Greg and David were more than willing to share their dreams as well, the room filled with laughter.
The jovial nature did not serve to mask the deep red around Meg’s eyes or the scowl that had lodged itself on Vivica’s face. Edward sat down without a word. Dark lines accented his face. His youthful appearance gone.
Miranda and Jane entered, pushing the serving cart. Miranda’s hair was wild and frizzy. Her eyes twitched as she moved. I watched as she set bowls of oatmeal down in front of Meg and David. She returned to the cart and came my way with a bowl. Like the tea cup before, the bowl shattered as she came close. I jumped from my chair to help her with the mess. She screamed. Her fist clenched around a large shard. Blood pooled at the edges. I was mesmerized as she raised the shard above our heads. I knew it was coming and I would not stop it. Her hand came down. The end of the shard lodged in the thick of her thigh. My heart skipped a beat. Adrenaline poured into my veins. I grabbed my napkin and wrapped it around the wound, careful not to upset the piece of the bowl. Miranda howled and scratched at me. Hands came down to restrain her. I barely noticed as they hauled her away.
I remained on the floor, my breakfast streaked across the floor in front of me.

“Why don’t we get out of here,” David’s accent enticed. I let him lead me out the backdoors. “That was eventful.” I nodded, still lost in my thoughts.
We walked in silence through the garden space. I couldn’t take it, I needed him to chatter away so I didn’t feel so exposed. “What about the team,” I asked as we moved from the shade of the house into the bright sunshine. The heat penetrated my body making me fully aware of the growing need in my soul.
“I don’t think they understand the concept of team.” He took a deep breath. “The plan should be better constructed than it is. I thought my inexperience as a lawyer made me feel young but that team makes me feel ancient. I can’t believe I was once so unaware.” He paused, leaned towards me. His hand reached for mine. I took it.
I missed physical connection. We walked without speaking for a few steps. I listened to the bird song high in the trees and the subtle hum of insects. David’s heartbeat was steady in our connection.
We passed the tool shed. A quick jerk caught me off guard. David caught me in his arms. Our sides pressed against the warm wood of the shed. His free arm found my cheek. I closed my eyes. I relaxed into his kiss, his lips soft and passionate.

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