English Date first posted: November Date most recently updated: November Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included.
Assuming she lived past the next few minutes. In the adjoining twin bed, with its white eyelet canopy, Julia snored lightly and evenly.
But Kell understood the pretense. Instead, she took a deep breath and plunged. Suitably cowed, Kell scooted back against the headboard and prepared to watch the show. The tableau told the story: Her tall, willowy form did not sport the pajamas or nightgown appropriate for an early Saturday morning.
Instead, she wore a snug crimson top that hugged suspiciously ripe curves before disappearing into a jet-black skirt that could have doubled as a handkerchief. At seventeen, the girl at the window resembled anything but.
A dawn that had arrived with one of her young charges on the other side of its protection. She was getting too old for this. Julia, no longer feigning sleep, scrambled out of bed and dutifully tucked her feet into waiting slippers.
A lavender nightgown settled around her diminutive form, and she shot Fin a look of pained sympathy. Fin caught the look, and her stubborn scowl softened.
Defiantly, she sent back a saucy wink. Amused and concerned, Julia smiled encouragingly and scurried to the door. More slowly, Kell flipped away the covers. Public defender, then Supreme Court justice. Fortunately for her, she already had her first client. Fin was making a habit of requiring alibis and defenses.
Sometimes, though, Kell worried that Fin would go too far out on the edge to return. Unwilling to abandon her best friend, Kell swung out of bed and crossed to Mrs. But her voice gentled. Kell hesitated, then turned and walked out with her.
Go and wait in the sitting room. Fin felt a trill of fear, but she quashed the beginning of panic. F—a high school diploma. Graduation and no big trouble until then. After all, what Mrs. F was furious and, Fin understood, disappointed.
Now she needed to show contrition and shame, with a dash of innocence. She was nearly a grown woman, a fact Mrs. F would have to accept.
An amateur in her predicament would have been tempted to speak first. To babble out a good lie about running out of gas or falling asleep. So the silence lengthened between them—the young girl who knew that womanhood waited just around the corner and the older woman terrified of what her ward would do in the meantime.
At last, Eliza sighed and rubbed tiredly at hazel eyes that had seen too much. Driven to placate, she stepped forward tentatively. Of all her children, Fin bore the deepest scars and the wildest dreams. Kell had the better grades, the native intellect.
But Fin was the cleverest. Sharp-witted, sly-tongued Fin, who could charm a snake-oil salesman out of his coins.
Extending her hand, Eliza caught the firm chin, with its slight dimple. A striking face that would be stunning in a few more years.Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines, catalogs, newspapers, books, and more online.
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