The crimson stone – Preview #1

My fingers are already finding their place on the keyboard, resolute, when the sound of barefoot steps catches my attention. Hannah is approaching me, lids still heavy with sleep. “You’re up early.” My daughter has never been a morning person – and neither have I, to be honest – so it’s quite a historical event that we’re both awake before dawn.

“You too,” she observes with a raised brow, moving closer to glance at the screen and at the notes scattered on the desk.

“Working on next week’s issue.”

“Exes fighting over dog’s custody. Wow,” she mutters with her typical vein of sarcasm.

What was she hoping to read? Ever since we moved to Gardner, there hasn’t been anything exciting to consult. “Spare me your irony, please, this stuff pays your study,” I reproach her, while she’s already leaving my side. The idyll didn’t last long.

She sinks heavily onto the sofa and looks outside. “I don’t understand why dad can’t contribute.”

“Because I decided so.” My voice doesn’t grow of a decibel, but my tone is firm.

Dominique and I divorced four years ago, officially for incompatibility, after his gambling habits left us stone broke. It was my choice to never tell Hannah her father was a compulsive gambler – in the end he’s always been a decent father, why ruin that? – but as she grows and gets demanding, it becomes harder to explain why she can’t rely on her father’s financial support.

“Whatever floats your boat,” she grumbles.

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