Under Orders(15)

By: Doris O Connor

Grand-pops’s fingers, bent by arthritis, stroked her hair, and Anna shut her eyes.

“I would have shot him in an instant. I still would if he ever hurts you, Anna.”

She looked up just in time to see the look of understanding pass between the two men.

“I would lay down my life for your granddaughter, Sir. I would never hurt her, and I will kill anyone who tries to, human or otherwise. She is under my protection and the council’s.”

Jonathan’s solemn words settled in the quiet room, and Anna smiled at him. She didn’t want him killing anyone, but his protectiveness made her feel cherished. Now, if only Grand-pops would see it her way. The silence grew uncomfortable, the ticking of the old grandfather clock far too loud.

When Pops finally spoke his voice was rough with unshed tears.

“That’s all I needed to know.”

A ton weight lifted off Anna’s shoulders, and she jumped up and hugged him. He held her close for a minute and then laughed and shooed Anna away. “Now, go make us that cuppa, whilst I quiz this young whippersnapper of yours. I left the teapot in the study. Take your time. Some things are not for women’s ears.”

Anna snorted her disgust and glared at Jonathan’s smirk. She paused on the doorstep to see the two men with their heads together. Jonathan laughed at something that Grand-pops had said. No doubt he just told him one of his famous dirty jokes. Anna pulled the study door shut behind her. She would take an extraordinarily long time finding the teapot, left in its usual place by the fire.

Sitting down in her chair in the study, she picked up the photo of her and her mum, taken a few weeks before she died.

For the first time since her mum’s death she knew with absolute certainty that everything was going to be all right. She had never been so glad to be under orders.

The End

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