“Shahrazad, come in,” said Izdihar. Shahrazad stepped into her room. “Where’s Tommy?”
“I had to let him go off by himself.”
“He ran off yesterday, and I thought that was it, he was gone, but he came back, just walked back in... It’s strange. He’s not like any child I’ve ever met before... I just know that he can look after himself, somehow. He already seems to know his way around the city... I don’t particularly like it, but I couldn’t keep him cooped up inside all day, I just couldn’t...”
“I know what you mean...” said Izdihar. The day before when she had met Tommy, she had had the unsettling feeling of looking into the eyes of someone a lot older.
Shahrazad looked at Izdihar closely. She had expected her to be relieved, now that her father was back, but she looked just as worried as ever.
“Are you alright?” she asked. “Did you tell your father what you thought about Sayyid wanting to propose?”
“He wasn’t surprised at all. He knew it was going to happen. And there’s nothing he can do.”
There was silence for a few seconds.
“Nothing?” said Shahrazad. “He doesn’t want you to marry him?”
“He needs time... and he can’t refuse him, or he’ll try to take over by force...”
“What are you going to do?” said Shahrazad softly.
“I don’t see that I have much choice...”