Danielle’s head turned back and forth as she looked first at her parents and then at each of her friends, human, canine and gargoyle. She felt the pressure building inside, her clawing anxiety coming into full bloom. Her skin prickled up from her feet all the way under her disheveled hair. Anja sensed something was very wrong with her mistress, walked over with her head lowered and began nuzzling up against Danielle, first pressing into her thigh and then the hand hanging just above it.
Struggling to find words to express her gnawing fear, Danielle felt her face warming quickly. Embarrassingly. Will they think I’m silly? Will they even believe me? Her eyes darted back and forth, even as her breath got shallower. How can I tell them? For a moment, her eyes settled on Freida’s, whose face showed anxiety—for Danielle, her dear friend. Howcan I tell them?
“What is it, Danielle? What is it we must know?”
Danielle followed the voice and turned to stare at Anders. How can I tell…him? Her forehead crinkled as her eyebrows lifted in misgiving.
“Honey,” her mother murmured. “It’s all right. It’s all right. You can tell us.”
Danielle heard, almost from outside of herself, the sounds of shifting weight, the sounds of bodies moving uncomfortably. The sounds of growing unease. The pressure inside was making it hard for her to breathe. As quickly as she’d felt her face grow flush, she felt it now growing cold.
“I, uh,” Danielle began. Her hands trembled. Anja nuzzled the one closest to her, trying to comfort her mistress. “It’s… it’s…” she tried again.
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