“Here are the reports you requested.”
Sammy took the stack of papers from Barbara. “Thank you.” He lined his pens along the top of his computer’s keyboard. “Ms. Addleston, I still do intend to come to your wedding on Sunday. I was wondering if it would be okay if I brought someone with me?”
She smiled. “Is it your mysterious girlfriend?”
He couldn’t help but smile back.
The pens turned into a whole line of black and red crystals.
“Yes. Do you mind?”
“Not at all. It will be a pleasure to finally meet her. I will admit I’ve been curious about this woman who’s gone and claimed your affections.”
Claimed my affections. “Indeed, she has. She makes me very happy.”
Barbara took his hands and held them. “I’m very happy for you.”
His inspirational picture fell off the wall.
“Thank you, Ms. Addleston.”
She released his hands. “I’d better get back to my desk. I don’t want Sarah to panic about me being gone too long.”
She left the room.
Sammy could still feel the pressure of her hands on his skin. He checked for handprints, but his skin was clear.
She touched me and I didn’t set anything on fire.
He smiled and the crystals on his keyboard sparkled bright.
I’m getting better.
Slowly but surely better.
He picked up his phone and called Deliosa’s number.
It’s now or later. And later will not work.
“Hello, this is Lee.”
His heart warmed from the sound of her voice. “Lee. It’s…It’s me. Sammy.”
“Hi! Did you miss me already?”
“Always. Lee, how would you like to come with me to a wedding on Sunday?”
There was a long pause on her side. “A wedding. Um. Shouldn’t you propose first?”
He laughed. “No, I didn’t mean it like that. Ms. Addleston is getting married this Sunday and. And I would like it if you came with me. If you. If.”
“I would love that. I’d like to meet this mysterious other woman of yours.”
“That’s funny. She said the same thing about you.”
“Then, that settles it. I’ll just have to come.”
“I’m sorry it’s such short notice. I don’t even know why I didn’t ask you sooner. I’m sorry if—-”
“Don’t worry about it, Samer. I’ll be there.”
“It will be a pleasure.”
The crystals on his keyboard turned into rose petals.
“Yes.” he said. “It will.”
Barbara returned to her desk and found Sarah huddled up under it. “You okay?”
The young girl nodded.
Sarah came out and pointed at herself and at Barbara. She nodded emphatically.
“So? You’re going to stay with me?”
Another emphatic nod. She pointed at the door and drew a big X. Her hair turned into flames as she staked her arm with her fist and then pointed at the door again.
Barbara sat in her chair. “Are you saying that…he hurt you?”
“I don’t understand. How could they hurt you? You’re just a little girl.”
Sarah shrugged in a broad gesture.
“I’ll protect you. I’ll keep you safe.”
Sarah frowned at that. She pointed at Barbara and held her hands in front of her face as if she were reading a book. She pointed at herself and then at the front door.
It took Barbara a few minutes to piece it all together. “Yes, I’ll protect you from him.”
Sarah hugged her as tight as she could. Her flames flickered and faded back into her normal hair.
Barbara hugged her in return. “I will not let anyone from that Institute hurt you.”