The Proposal (part 47)

“Why?” she said, her voice shaking with disbelief. “Because of his ‘associates’? Why not take them in? Why do this to Nev?”

Her dad stared at her, wordless, shaking his head.

Zoe whimpered and went to him, resting her head on his lap. He stroked her back, and ruffled the fur between her ears, then stood. “Get ready for dinner, Ayn,” he said, his voice weary but firm.“We’re having company—”

“Who?”

“The Counsel.”

Ayn suppressed a groan. “Okay.”

“Oh, you might want to dress up a little,” he said.

“For the Counsel?” They’d had dinner with them a few times, and she’d never had to do anything other than show up, be quiet and polite.

He attempted a smile and said, “For our special guest.” He didn’t give Ayn a chance to respond before leaving and closing the door behind him.

Zoe came to Ayn and cocked her head to one side.

Ayn reached out and put her arms around the beastie’s neck to draw her close. “I don’t know what’s going on,” she said into Zoe’s fur. “But I’m scared for Dad. And I’m scared for Nev.” And, though she didn’t want to speak the words aloud, she was scared for herself. Living with Lettie on top of everything else seemed like nothing less than a nightmare.

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