In Her Room

Warning – this contains spoilers for The Heir!

This is an excerpt from Keridan’s point of view. It tells his side of the story when he goes into her room when she breaks down in his arms.


I sat watching TV for hours, continually checking my comm unit to see what Sarah was doing. She hadn’t gone to bed yet. I wished she would come out of her room so I could talk to her, or at least check that she was okay.

I began to twitch at the slightest sound, thinking the noises were coming from upstairs. I checked my comm about every ten seconds. I thought Sarah was approaching her door at one stage and I darted up towards it, but instead she seemed to be walking around her room. What was she doing?

I crept up the stairs, hoping that Bess wouldn’t come out to check on Sarah. She got the feed from the sensors on her comm too, but I didn’t want her involved. I knew it wouldn’t help.

Tiptoeing along the hallway, I stood quietly outside Sarah’s door. Not that I needed silence to hear what was happening inside.

She was sobbing.

I raised my hand, about to knock on her door, when I stopped myself.

Would my interfering help her? While I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening on the other side of the door, I was sure it was a breakthrough. I didn’t want to make it worse.

But what if I could make it better? I knew I had to help her. She shouldn’t be enduring this alone. I would knock on her door, hopefully coax her downstairs, and we would talk.

Without thinking too much about it, I switched off the connection from the sensors in Sarah’s room to all comm units. I looped the last few minutes of details, so that everyone else would still receive some information, but wouldn’t detect what was really happening. I couldn’t stand the thought of them seeing her like this.

I knocked softly, hoping I was doing the right thing.

She opened the door a moment later, her eyes wild, her face tear stained. I hesitated, unsure of what to say. I knew I couldn’t go into her room. Would she agree to come out of it? Did she want to? Did she want to see anyone? Did she want to see me?

“Please don’t leave me.” She lifted her arms to me.

Without a second’s hesitation, I stepped into her room and closed the door behind me. I gathered her distraught body in my arms and sat on the floor with her in my lap. She hugged herself to me, sobbing into my shoulder, her arms locked around my neck.

“I want my father back,” she wailed. “I want him back!”

“I know.”

“I don’t have anyone else.” Her shoulders shook as she tried to get the words out. “My mother, she left us. She didn’t love us. She didn’t love me. She never came back, and now he’s gone too.”

She went on for more than an hour, telling me the guilt she felt, not only over her father’s death, but her mother’s departure. I’d had no idea that weight was on her shoulders and it broke my heart to hear her say she was unloved. I wanted to tell her how loved she was, she just didn’t know it.

All I could do was hold her and listen. I rarely dared to say anything. She trembled as she told me how terrified she was of leaving us. It took every ounce of self control for me to stop myself telling her that I was never leaving, that I would always be at her side, protecting her.

Eventually, I could feel her body getting heavier in my arms, her head nodding against my shoulder. She fought it for a while.

“You know what’s the worst part?” she mumbled, her eyelids closing.

I wasn’t sure she was even talking to me at that stage, so near sleep as she was, but I answered anyway. “What?”

“I’ll never know who did it. When was the last time we heard from the police? They’ll never find anything.”

I felt a fierce joy at the knowledge that this was one thing she didn’t need to worry about. If it took everything we had, I would make sure the squad that murdered her father would never leave this planet alive. “Don’t worry, Sarah. We won’t let them get away with it.”

I wasn’t sure she heard me. Her breathing became deeper and she fell asleep against me. I watched her face as she drifted off, sighing with relief as her features relaxed and most of the pain disappeared.

I don’t know how long I sat in there holding her in my arms, but eventually I realized I couldn’t risk staying much longer. Any moment Bess might decide to come and make sure everything was okay, especially if she noticed I’d looped the sensor information to her comm unit. Allenan would be back soon too, and Hajitis and Jillandrina would probably come after they had finished disposing of the bodies.

It was hard to leave. I ran my hand along her hair. It was so soft. Her skin was soft too. I rested my cheek against hers, feeling the warmth of her skin against mine. But enough of that. I needed to leave.

I wasn’t sure how to manage it at first, as she was sitting on my lap, but I wasn’t sure she even noticed as I slid my legs out from under her, her head still resting on my shoulder. Then, taking her in my arms, I lifted her gently off the floor and carried her over to her bed.

I pulled the covers back with one hand, cradling her in the other, and laid her head carefully on the pillow. I pulled the covers back around her and tucked her in. Then I straightened up, telling myself it was time to go.

But how could I leave? She had felt protected in my presence, I was sure of it. Could I leave her here alone? What if she woke up and she was frightened? I could stay. I could lie beside her and make sure she was safe.

I thought I heard a car in the garage. Allenan was home.

I tiptoed to the door and went out. Then I canceled the block I had put on the other comm units. I could see no sign that Bessania had been out of the observation unit. She’d probably been too busy to notice anything.

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