The Proposal (part 23)

Her dad was preoccupied during the ride home. For awhile the whir of the solar craft was the only noise. Ayn watched the compound buildings change to the open country where there small town was. She shifted in her seat, unable to get the images of Lettie’s tight-lipped mouth and Father Gheraeld’s gold flecked eyes out of her mind. None of it matters, she thought. It doesn’t mean anything.

She wished her dad would talk. She wished he would notice that she was unhappy. Her mom would have. Finally, she said, “They changed your speech, didn’t they?”

“They wanted a different focus,” he said, his eyes still on his phone screen.

“Why does Lettie hate me?”

He looked at her, eyebrows furrowed. “What?”


“She doesn’t hate you,” he said. “Honey, she’s been working endless hours, they all have, to get things in place for me to step in. There’s … more going on than people are aware of.”

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