She pressed a fist to her lips as she curled up on his couch. The door swung open.
Ōkami said nothing. The only reason I fight is out of loyalty to my clan. The Black Clan, and all those we serve. If Ranmaru wishes to be shōgun, then I will do whatever is in my power to help him. But I have no designs beyond that.It was possible Mariko had finally stumbled on the truth. Did the Black Clan have designs on restoring Takeda Ranmaru—a rōnin—to the seat of power in Yedo?
And—if so—how did a band of brigands intend to bring that about?I told you Sanada Takeo would be useful to us one day, Ōkami, Ranmaru said, his smile tight. Almost menacing.At that, Ōkami stormed past Mariko, back into the night.
Kenshin dismounted from his horse outside the servants’ gate.His dreams plagued him. Ever since the day Mariko had disappeared, they’d kept him from having a restful night’s sleep. They’d only worsened after he’d lost time beside the watering hole.
Nightmares of an elderly man crying for help. Nightmares of a boy and girl, thrashing through a sea of tall grass, blood spurting from their bodies in crimson founts.
Kenshin banished the thoughts with a shake of his head. He passed through the rear gate of his family’s home, his head bowed.Stella covered his hand with hers and squeezed. He turned his hand over, interlaced their fingers, and squeezed back.
Michael is very talented. When he graduated, he had five job offers. He worked for a big designer in New York before we needed him at home because his dad left. Mẹ gazed off into space, the set of her mouth bitter, before she blinked and focused on Michael. But I’m glad I called you home. You were ruining yourself. Too many women, Michael. You don’t need a hundred women. Just one good one.His mom patted Stella’s leg, and Stella felt a terrible, deep wanting well up inside. Right now, she was considered a good woman. What would his mom think if she knew about the labels Stella had been purposefully withholding? Would she suddenly become unsuitable for her son? What kind of mother wanted an autistic daughter-in-law and possibly autistic grandbabies?
And since when had she started thinking about marriage and babies? She and Michael weren’t in a real relationship. Would he date her if he didn’t need the money? If he were free to be with whomever he wished, would he pick her?Okay, his mom said briskly. That’s all of the pictures. Michael, come help Mẹ with my iPad while I find the aó dài.