By James I. Ide


Marian walked into her own study and seeing the crop of blond curls bobbing behind her desk, asked, "Georgie? What in the world are you doing?" Going around the desk she was surprised to see Georgie kneeling before the open drawer holding Eve's old side arm.

"Mama," Georgie said looking up at her, "may I have this?"

After a moment she asked, "Why do you want it?"

It was Georgie's turn to hesitate then, but she answered steadily and clearly, "I spoke to Pearson and he has arranged for someone to teach me. I thought I would like to use Papa's gun."

Marian pulled the desk chair closer to Georgie and sat down. "I think that's a very good idea," she said. "Does Rafe know?"

"Not yet. Oh, mama, sometimes now I get so scared."

"I know," she said reaching out to draw Georgie close. "I remember I felt the same way after you were born."

"You did?" Georgie asked resting her head on Marian's knee.

"Yes." Marian stroked Georgie's curls. "I wanted to keep you safe, both your father and I wanted you to grow up safe and unafraid."

"And I did. But..."

"I know... I know. Georgie... don't make the same mistake we made, will you?"

"I'll try not to. We'll keep Libby safe, but we'll teach her about the... not so nice people, teach her to protect herself."

Marian was silent for a while. "Just promise me one thing? Promise you won't ever stop trusting people."

"I promise."

Georgie shivered and Marian asked, "Are you very afraid now, dear?"

"Yes. But whenever I am I think of Cally, of how she was afraid, too... and then I'm not alone. Oh, mama, I miss her. And Avon. I hope they're safe."

"So do I... so do I..."

* * * * *

When Georgie went for her first lesson Pearson introduced her to her newly recertified small arms instructor, Rafe Barram.


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