The Drache Girl – Chapter 9 Excerpt

Yuah Dechantagne reached the intersection of Bainbridge Clark Street and Seventh and One Half Avenue and looked up at the S.S. Arrow resting at the dock across the street. She stopped, unsure whether she should charge across the street and up the gangplank or wait where she was. Wiping the cold from her cheeks, she found them wet with tears.

“Good, you’re here,” said a voice beside her, and she turned to find Senta sitting on a crate only a few feet to her left.

“Senta, what a lovely dress.”

“Thanks. You too. He hasn’t come off the ship yet.”

“Come off…oh. Do you think I should…?”

“He’s coming down in a minute.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”

Yuah stood for several minutes looking at the ship. Was Senta right about his coming ashore soon? She wondered what would happen when he did. Then she saw him—tall, dressed in a black suit with a heavy frock coat and a black coachman hat. He carried a large suitcase in either hand as he descended the gangplank, at a slight angle to fit the luggage between the railings.

Before she even knew it, Yuah was moving toward him. He looked up and saw her for the first time, just as she launched herself the last few feet toward him. She held on around his shoulders, her feet completely off the ground, and buried her face in his neck. Tears began streaming again from her eyes. She felt his body shift as he dropped his luggage and put his arms around her tentatively.

“I didn’t know anyone would be here,” he said.

She tried to say something. She wasn’t sure what it was. It might have been “why didn’t you write to let me know you were coming”, or it might have been “I would always be here to meet you”, but all that came out of her mouth was a sob. He pulled her away by the shoulders and looked at her.

“It’s all right,” said Terrence. “I’m here. Everything’s fine.”

“I didn’t think you were coming back,” said Yuah.

“Where else would I go,” he said, which was not quite the reply she either expected or wanted, just then. “Where’s the baby?”

“He’s at home. I was going with Iolanthe to her office, and I heard… Your eyes are different.”

“Yes.”

“They’re still blue, but they’re different. They’re darker.”

“Yes. Sometimes it’s like looking at a stranger in the mirror. Is that Senta?”

“Oh, yes.”

Terrence took his wife’s hand and together they stepped across the street to where the girl sat, leaving his two suitcases where he had dropped them. Senta stood up to meet them, smoothing out her heavy blue velvet dress, covered in decorative tassels, braids, and gold buttons.

“Hello,” she said.

Terrence pulled the girl to him, hugging her with none of the hesitation that he had shown with his own wife. Yuah looked at his face and saw that his eyes were closed. He rested his chin on the top of the blue velvet hat, knocking it slightly askew. After a moment, he released Senta and stepped back to look at her.

“You look all grown up,” he said.

She beamed.

“Where’s your boyfriend?”

Senta pointed down the street to a group of lizardmen pulling luggage from a great pile and putting the individual pieces onto small carts. A pre-teen boy with brown hair was supervising them. He glanced in their direction and nodded his head, though he didn’t wave at them.

“He looks a little shifty,” said Terrence. “I’m not sure he’s good enough for you.”

“Oh, I know he’s not,” replied Senta. “But what are you going to do? Anyway, I’m off. I’ve got to see what’s up at home.”

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