Tears welled in her eyes. She tried to hold them back as she rose to her feet. She approached her long-time friend and cohort. “You’re right, Nina,” she said, reaching for her.
Nina pulled away.
Mara followed. She took Nina’s hands in her own. “You’re right. I don’t know what you’re feeling. But I do know this: we can’t afford to lose Jules. We need his expertise. And I know that you don’t want harm to come to the twins any more than I do. You love them like your own. I know you do. And you know that we can’t afford to leave you here with Caden and Calandra without protection. Most of all, though, I don’t want to see your family divided.”
“So what’s good for you others, is good for me. Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
Mara looked down. “No, Nina, it’s not.” She looked back up. “I can’t even begin to understand the pain you’re going through.” She bit her lip. “Listen, I know it’s no consolation, but you thought you’d lost her. Now you know—”
“Don’t you dare!” Nina seethed. “Don’t you dare try to tell me that ‘all is well’ since she still lives. She is in Chiran. She is a slave. Can’t you understand what I’m saying? If she manages to break free, she’ll come here looking for us—looking for me! I have to be here.” She glanced her husband’s way and scowled. “And Jules belongs here. With me. With his children.”
Wincing, he approached.
Mara turned to him. “Please, may I have just one more minute with her . . . alone?”
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