Stick Together

"What would you have me do?" Marguerite turned toward the well-meaning young woman, with her nice clothes, soft hands, and gentle voice. "Shall I quit my job? Then where would the money to support us come from, and who would patrol the streets at night?" She ran a calloused hand through her close cropped brown hair. "Her father died four years ago, and this job does not come with a pension."

"I..." The young woman's eyes went wide, and she smoothed her already smooth skirt over her thighs where she sat on Marguerite’s couch. "I was not suggesting..."

"Good thing, that. Imagine how well that would go over with your supervisors, telling one of the last three remaining Hunters to quit their job, with the Vampire Moon within the next few weeks." Marguerite's features relaxed. "I am very aware what it does to my daughters when they see me come home covered with blood and bruises. Trust me. I grew up the same way and I am not one of those idiots who will tell you I turned out fine. I did not." She snorted.

"Miss, ma'am..." The young woman took another deep breath. "I think you misunderstand why I'm here."

"Then explain it to me." Marguerite folded her arms over her chest.

"My son is, he's showing inclinations of becoming... He Sees, and he wants to..." The young woman blinked back tears.

"Oh, shit. I'm sorry. I assumed you were here about Angela, being her teacher." Marguerite sat on the sofa next to her. "Husband?"

"When Henry started Seeing things..."

Marguerite could hear the capital S at the front of that word. Not everyone could See, and even if you couldn't, plenty of things could could still see you.

"He left. Couldn't bear the thought of his boy maybe dying young and violently." Marguerite filled in the blank as the young woman, Angela's teacher, nodded, throat tightening past speech. She handed over box of tissues.

"Or being... He said a lot of things." The young woman blew her nose.

"Right. Ok. Let's start over, then. I apologize for jumping to conclusions. I've had a lot of these discussions over the years, the one I thought we were having anyway. Now, what did you want to talk to me about? And can I get your given name?"

"Nina." The young woman, Nina, took a deep breath. "I thought since... I can't afford our home anymore with Michael gone. And Henry needs, he needs someone who can train him and teach him how to protect himself. And, and I know you and Angela and Celeste, well, I know things are tight and you don't always have the time to... I think if we move in together, we can help all our children." Nina sat straighter. "Henry needs you, and I think Angela and Celeste need someone else in the house that, who can..." She faltered again.

"No, no, I get what you're laying down." Marguerite scrunched up her face while she thought about it. "You aren't wrong. Angela and Celeste do need someone who can be there when they wake up with nightmares since my Aunt left, and your boy does need training or he'll get eaten alive before he even hits puberty. How do you propose to do this?"

"That depends on, I don't know." Nina shrugged. "I'm not thrilled about staying in the house where Michael called our son an abomination in front of him. And, well, this place is much larger than I thought it would be. Could use some work." She looks around, and then back at Marguerite. "I'm not judging, but you don't have time. And believe it or not, I do know my way around home repair and remodeling. I spent several summers volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Michael left us the house. I can sell it, easy. We can move here? If you're amenable?"

Marguerite looked at her for a long few seconds, considering.

"Rent your place for the first year, with an option to sell after the second. Let's make sure our kids aren't going to kill each other before you lock yourself in." Marguerite took a deep breath. "Let's, let's take this weekend to break it to the kids and look at the upstairs and see where we're going to put ya'll. Then we can worry about a timeline."

"Thank you!" Nina threw her arms around Marguerite's shoulders, hugging her. "It'll be great! I like housework, I can help Angela and Celeste with their homework. And Henry is the sweetest little boy!"

"Thank you." Marguerite slowly hugged her back. "I think you're right. I think we do need each other."

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