Wow. What a busy week, and no end in sight yet. I'm solid busy through the New Year. But I'll get to see a lot of family in the next few days.
This snippet takes up at the point where the last one left off and finishes up the first chapter.
First draft. Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks!
“It’s all right,” Sabri said, solemn. “Sometimes I feel like howling myself.”
The boy looked puzzled, and opened his mouth as if to ask a question, but a woman near Mother’s age stepped forward to greet them.
“Lady Reeves, Miss Hedegrine, Miss Sabriella. So nice of you to visit. You are most welcome.”
“Mrs. Miller,” Mother said. “When we heard of your son’s illness, of course we came at once. We have a few things that I hope you’ll find helpful.”
As the carriage driver removed packages and containers from the boot, a little of the tension in the woman’s face relaxed. Lines around Mrs. Miller’s mouth and eyes spoke of a harder life, perhaps, than that of Lady Reeves.
The older children fell to with a will, helping the driver carry packages and containers inside. Mrs. Miller escorted Mother into the house, followed by Hedi. Sabri trailed behind. She saw the boy with the flyaway hair glance back at her once, but he had a basket with several loaves of bread in his hands and didn’t pause. Sabri could feel the nose of the dog, Stiles, pushed up against the back of her knee.
The dog stopped at the door, looking on with mild eyes as an elderly woman, Mrs. Miller’s mother, respectfully greeted Mother. Sabri glanced around the room, taking in the furniture, slightly shabby and well-used, the enormous fireplace on one side, and the faded tapestry that hung on the wall opposite the front door. An inside door to another room caught her eye. Sabri could see the foot of a bed, and movement under the bedclothes. She moved in that direction.
A boy, obviously the sibling of the boy with the flyaway hair, lay in the bed. Or rather, sat up in the bed, straining to see what went on in the living room. When Sabri moved into his line of sight, he motioned to her.
Sabri looked over her shoulder, but Mother, Hedi, Mrs. Miller and the elderly woman still talked. She moved to stand just inside the bedroom.
“You’re Sabriella Reeves, aren’t you?” he said.
“Yes,” Sabri said. “And you are Winn Miller?”
“Yep. I’d shake your hand if you were closer.”
Sabri grinned and stepped forward to take his extended hand.
His eyes widened and his eyebrows raised. “Oh. You’re a Vagabond.”
“I beg your pardon?” Sabri said.
“But you wouldn’t know that, would you? You haven’t been here long, I’ll wager.”
Complete silence in the other room alerted Sabri. She turned.
“My sister is not a Vagabond,” Hedi said in a high, peculiar voice.
But Sabri looked at Mother’s expression, and knew that Winn spoke the truth.