My Healer (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 3)(4)

By: Alanea Alder

Feeling numb, she turned and walked up the stairs. She went to Penny's room first. Marco was making her dollies walk then jump into the suitcase. Penny watched intently, a serious look on her face. The little girl didn't have much. She had refused all of her toys from her parent's home except a small, handmade cloth doll. Rheia believed that Penny's mother had made it for her. Penny rejected everything else, including her old clothes.

Even later Penny hadn't expressed much interest when they'd gone shopping, so the amount to pack for her daughter was painfully small. Not wanting to disturb the two, she turned and made her way to the master bedroom. It took her two years after her parent's fatal car accident to move into the master bedroom. Marco had left the large and medium size suitcases open for her on her bed. Looking around the room with a critical eye, she decided to pack her clothes and toiletries in the large suitcase and pack her sentimental items in the medium suitcase.

She emptied her small closet and nightstand into the large suitcase and frowned. She had a lot of space left over. Ironically, she hated clothes shopping as much as Penny. She mostly lived in her scrubs, rotating between the same seven pair. The rest of her wardrobe was comprised of some tee-shirts, a couple pair of jeans, sweaters, a couple nightgowns and undergarments. Her clothes selection was as pitiful as her daughter's. She transferred the clothes and toiletries to the medium suitcase and zipped it shut. In the larger suitcase she packed the small set of fairy tale books her father had read to her as a child, all of her mother's jewelry, her own favorite books, a small shoebox of keepsakes, three photo albums, and the accordion file which held all of her legal papers. Looking down at the nearly full suitcase she realized there was only one more thing she had to have with her. She turned and raced downstairs to the kitchen. Lovingly she wrapped her mother's china tea service, which included a teapot, a creamer, a sugar bowl, and four cups with saucers in her kitchen towels and headed back upstairs with them in a laundry basket.

When she first came to this home, she hadn't been that much older than Penny was now. She could clearly remember her mother sitting her down at the table and making her a pot of sweet chamomile tea. All the ugliness of her past slipped away as she sat holding that delicate teacup. She carefully packed the small tea service in the suitcase using her kitchen and bathroom towels to keep it safe. She zipped up the suitcase and stood back.

"You ready, hun?" Marco asked. Penny peeked out from around his side, holding his hand.

Rheia nodded. "Yes. Surprisingly I was able to get most of my personal things into two suitcases. Everything else is just household items, but the things that matters will be going with us." She walked over and scooped Penny up, the small girl laid her head on her shoulder.

"We're going to a very nice place, Penny. It's called Lycaonia. It's a city where all the people are like Uncle Radek and Uncle Marco," she said, walking down the stairs. Behind her Marco easily managed the three suitcases.

Penny looked up and pointed to her chest with her thumb. Rheia nodded. "Yes, darling, people just like you, a whole city of shifters. Won't that be nice?"

Penny scrunched up her face for a second, thinking about it, then nodded.

"Okay, here are the directions. Things are pretty normal until you turn off the highway. No matter how lost you think you are, stay on the dirt road. You'll have someone waiting for you," Radek explained, handing her a piece of paper before plucking Penny from her arms. He kissed the toddler's face all over the place. Penny squirmed, trying to avoid his whiskers. Radek pulled back and smiled at her. Penny without changing expression tweaked his nose. He gave a long booming laugh.

"You're not coming with us?" Rheia asked, feeling uneasy. She tucked the directions in her pants pocket.

"Car's loaded, Boss." Marco said, returning from the garage. He handed the keys to Rheia.

Radek shook his head. "You'll be safe in Lycaonia. I'm going to stay with the guys and try to find this threat and eliminate it. There have been too many..." he hesitated. "Incidents lately. I want to find where these guys are and take care of it."

In Rheia's mind she translated; There have been too many murders lately, and they wanted to find the ones responsible and kill them all.

Rheia took a deep breath. "What if..." she didn't want to sound childish. She was a grown woman, a doctor even. She shouldn't be relying on these men to tell her that everything would be okay.

"What, honey?" Athan asked. The men gathered around to say their goodbyes.

"What if I don't like him? What if he isn't like you, any of you? What if he doesn't want me?" she said, voicing her greatest fear.