It only took three readings of Noir Cat in The Fedora to put Ginny to sleep.
“I see that,” I pointed at Nikki, clearly fighting a grin. “You like it. Come on, admit it.”
For answer, she tossed her head, using her hair to shade half her face. “Careful, Sam, a femme fatale will say anything to lure you in.” She picked up a cookie and bit the head off, hat and all.
“See! I told you decapitating gingerbread men was going to happen no matter what.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
Ginny’s Mom had just finished with the baby, and looked my way. She blew out her bangs with a resigned sigh and made to take Ginny, but I waved her back.
“She’s okay,” I whispered. “I’m okay. Let her sleep. Take a break.”
Relief flooded her face even as she sagged back into the seat. “Thank you,” she whispered, closing her eyes.
“You’re really good with kids,” Ellie whispered. “How many do you have?”
“None,” I whispered back. “I’ve got a niece. Kept her in stitches whenever I read to her.”
“Leo and I haven’t talked about kids in a while. Just got so busy with life, I guess.”
“I wouldn’t go there, not yet.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re wondering if having kids will save the marriage. Kids bring their own problems, and while it may cover some of the marriage difficulties, it’s temporary, and it can cause a breaking point. Paul and Connie, my brother and his wife, had to do counseling when the kid came along, and they went into everything with a strong marriage.”
“I thought you told her you weren’t a marriage counselor,” Nikki said.
“You know, I might have been done with the story if it hadn’t been for all the interruptions and having to repeat things.”
She said nothing, dunking a leg into her hot chocolate.