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Broken Whispers: Chapter 12

Mikhail

She has been stealing my clothes. By my current calculation, she has taken at least four T-shirts, my favorite hoodie, and one dress shirt, so far. And it looks like she has decided she needs another hoodie for her collection.

“Will this one do?” I ask.

“Yes. Perfect.” Bianca takes the black sweatshirt I’m holding, puts it on, and starts rolling up the sleeves.

I know she got the rest of her stuff. Denis went to her father’s place two days ago and brought back the boxes her sister packed.

“Any chance I’ll get that one back?” I say and caress her face with the back of my hand.

She looks up at me, smirks, and shakes her head. My little thief. I smile, take her chin to tilt her head, and kiss her.

“Sisi, Sisi, they are kissing again!” Lena shouts from somewhere behind me. “Roby asked to kiss me today and I said okay. He kissed me on the cheek. I’ll tell him to kiss me on my mouth tomorrow.”

My head snaps up. I turn on my heel, stride toward the kitchen where Lena is watching Sisi prepare lunch, and crouch in front of my daughter.

“No kissing boys, Lena. You are too young for that.”

“I am not. I am going to marry Roby,” she says, all serious, and Sisi bursts out laughing.

Jesus. I didn’t expect to have this conversation for another decade. “Why do you want to marry Roby? Is he a nice person?”

“No, he always fights with other boys.”

“Then why do you want to marry him, zayka?”

“He has two dogs and a parakeet, Daddy!”

“Would you like to have a pet, Lenochka? A goldfish maybe?” Please, just don’t say a parakeet.

“I want a parakeet, Daddy! Please, please can I have a parakeet? Sisi, Bianca, Daddy said I can have a parakeet! Can we go buy a parakeet now? Daddy, when are we going to buy my parakeet?”

Wonderful. I sigh. “Okay. We’ll go buy a parakeet next week, Lena.”

“Yes!” she squeals in delight and starts running around the dining room table.

There is a light touch on my right forearm. I turn my head and find Bianca standing there, watching me with an amused expression on her face.

“Do you think she’ll stop talking about marrying Roby when she gets the parakeet?” I ask.

“No,” Bianca mouths and smiles.

“Yeah, I don’t think so, either.”

“You are a remarkable father,” she signs. “She is lucky to have you.”

I place my palm on her cheek. She has no idea how much her words mean to me.

“Mikhail,” Sisi says from the kitchen, “there is a parents’ meeting scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the day care. Do you want me to go?”

“Daddy will go to the meeting!” Lena shouts from under the table. “Daddy, Daddy, will you go?”

“Daddy will go to the meeting, zayka.”

“Can Bianca come? Bianca, Bianca, will you come with Daddy?”

I look down at Bianca to find her watching me. “You don’t have to go.”

“I would love to come,” she signs, cocks her head to the side, then continues. “You don’t like going to the day care?”

I touch her chin. I didn’t think I was that easy to read. “No.”

“Why?”

“Because some of Lena’s friends are scared of me.”

She rolls her eyes. “Children can be stupid sometimes.”

My little lamb. Most days, she seems much more mature than her twenty-one years, but the truth is, she is too innocent. If she wasn’t, she would probably see what those kids unconsciously feel—that they should turn around and run as fast as they can the moment they see me coming.


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