From Chapter 2:
Tatiana changed into her gown again and lay on the bed. Lorelei covered her with a blanket and retrieved the men, and then the four of them settled into a comfortable silence as Tatiana drifted off to sleep on her bunk and Lorelei unknowingly joined her in Tyee’s arms.
02:00 Thursday, May 26, 1921
“Tatiana, Tatiana. Your sister needs you,” Sergei said quietly, and Tatiana’s eyes flew open. When she bolted upright, her head slammed into Sergei’s and she yelped.
“Are you alright? Let me see your head,” Sergei said quickly and brushed her hand to the side. She groaned and tried to rub it, but he demanded, “Keep your hand out of the way so that I can see.”
She sat still, trying not to cringe and flinch from his touch and Sergei’s fingers ran carefully over the bump forming. He sighed and said, “I want you to look into my eyes and keep your gaze there while I bring the light closer, alright? I’m not going to hurt you. Find your safe place and breathe.”
She nodded and Sergei tilted her face up as he brought the lamp over. There was the sound of a throat clearing at the door. A dark brunette man with deep brown, nearly black eyes there snapped, “Isn’t this just cozy?”
Sergei flinched and explained carefully without looking toward the man at the door, “She hit her head on mine when she sat up unexpectedly. I was just checking that she’s alright. She has a bump forming and I wanted to make sure her eyes react to the light properly.”
Tatiana blushed as she realized that her blanket had dropped and she rushed to cover herself as she asked, “Sergei, please, who is that man and why does he look like he wants to hurt me?”
Sergei shook his head as the man at the door made a sound akin to a growl, “He doesn’t want to hurt you, Ana. He’s angry with me. That is Andrei, and I suppose it looked like we were about to kiss.”
“K-k-kiss? No! Y-you wouldn’t, would you? Please…y-you wouldn’t make me kiss you?” Tatiana half begged, and Sergei shook his head.
He gave her knee a pat, earning him another flinch from her and a threatening sound from his brother, and told her, “I promised you that I would never hurt you, and I am loyal to my brother. I was just looking at your eyes as I said. I’ll leave the two of you to speak, but only for a moment. The steamer will be ready to move again soon, and you need to get dressed.”
“B-b-but! P-please, please don’t leave me alone with an angry man,” Tatiana begged, tears slipping slowly down her face.
Sergei stood and looked down at her, “I wouldn’t leave you with him if he was going to hurt you. He’ll stop being angry once I leave. It will be alright.”
Andrei stepped in and to the side, allowing Sergei to leave. The newcomer turned and shut the door behind his brother and was over to Tatiana’s side before she could process what was happening. He tilted her face up and looked at the knot on her forehead. He made another harsh sound and spat, “You’re hurt.”
Ana just swallowed and closed her eyes against her fear, counting slowly as another tear escaped down her cheek. Andrei released her and asked, “Do I frighten you?”
She kept her eyes firmly shut and nodded her head so slightly that it was barely visible. He dropped his hand and sighed, “You should never fear me. Are you hurt elsewhere? Did your father touch you after you called?”