I smiled relieved as Kiimi laughed and joked with Axel as they waited impatiently for the rest of us to be ready. It would be the first time I would be participating in the festivities, despite the tempting from Atani and Axel every other year. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t force the lump in my throat away. I knew father would be enjoying the festivities with Marian and would undoubtedly be looking out for us. He knew I wouldn’t deny her the opportunity to relax and have fun. How would I keep her safe from them?
“We’ll stop by the shop and pick up those papers. Don’t you worry about a thing” Darrow whispered softly, smiling innocently as I shot the old telepath a faltering smile.
He was right though. I had the legal documents naming me as her rightful guardian. A few years after Marian had Kiimi, she suffered a severe breakdown and had to move to the quiet countryside with father. He signed paperwork leaving Kiimi with me after Marian had tried to smother her. When they came back, I saw she was doing well and hoped that they would care for Kiimi like she should have been cared for. Every child should be able to know their parents. But they never approached the courts. I got the final contract and letter awarding me full parental guardianship indefinitely a few days ago. Slowly I broke into a big wide grin as Darrow chortled amused I hadn’t thought of it. She belonged with me. A weight seemed to lift off my shoulders as it hit me, glancing over to see her laughing warmly with Axel.
“We better be going or we’ll miss all the sweet pastries” Atani exclaimed wistfully, winking mischievously as Axel and Kiimi exclaimed in horror.
I couldn’t help but laugh as they both began begging to go to the sweet pastry vendor first, fearful they would miss out on the sweet treat. My heart jumped in fright as we stepped outside, the loud cheering and excited squeals startling me as people enjoyed themselves racing from one stall to another. Kiimi grasped my hand just as frightened as Axel excitedly hurried ahead.
“Don’t worry, you won’t get lost” I smiled reassuringly, trying desperately to sound confident as it hit me just how insecure she really was.
“Come on Kiimi! I’ll win you a bear!” Axel called excitedly from a nearby stall.
I smiled warmly and nodded as she glanced fearfully up at me, before hesitantly hurrying over to where he waited patiently.
“Don’t you worry lass. We’ll keep ya both safe” Darrow stated proudly, grasping my hand comfortingly.
“It’s a brand new chapter” I smiled softly, squeezing his hand gently as we started towards the shop.