Indeed you are, Dad. Snark. Always a good sign.
Of course, the major said gruffly. Forgive me, Mrs. Rokesby.Think nothing of it, Cecilia said. Much as she’d like to box the major’s ears, she knew she could not afford to alienate him. She was not certain of his precise job, but he seemed to be in charge of keeping track of the soldiers currently billeted nearby.
Will you and Captain Rokesby be here at half five? he asked.She looked him squarely in the eye. If you are coming with news of my brother, then yes, we will most definitely be here.Very well. Good evening, ma’am. He executed a sharp bow of his chin, and then said to her escort, Lieutenant.
Major Wilkins returned to his table, leaving Cecilia with the lieutenant, who let out a little oh before saying, I almost forgot. Your key.Thank you, Cecilia said, taking it from him. She turned it over in her hand.
Room twelve, the lieutenant said.
Yes, Cecilia said, glancing down at the large 12 etched into the metal. I will see myself up.Don’t move, I say to him, reaching him before his mother does. I bend down and start picking up the pieces.
His mother plucks him up and sets him a few feet away so that he’s out of reach of the glass. I told you not to touch anything, Nate!I glance over at the little boy and he’s staring at the broken glass like he just lost his best friend. His mother presses her hand to her forehead like she’s exhausted and frustrated, and then bends down and starts helping me pick up the pieces.
He didn’t do it, I say to her. I’m the one who broke it.The woman looks back at her little boy and her little boy looks at me like he doesn’t know if this is a test. I wink at him before she turns back around and I say, I didn’t see him standing there. I bumped into him and dropped it.