Chapter 8: Elisa

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My panic response kicked in immediately upon waking up. I couldn't feel Emilia's small body beside me and when I turned, the empty space seemed to stop my entire word. I leaped out of bed into the hallway, calling out to Emilia with a panicked tone. My eyes darted about as I scanned every room until finally, I heard a gasp coming from Felicia's room. I nearly stumbled in, watching Felicia pick Emilia up and gently tell her that was a bad thing to do. I hurried over taking over looking towards the closet where one of Felicia's dresses had been torn right off the hanger. I poured out my apology, holding Emilia close. My heart had jumped into my throat. What if Felicia punished her?

"Whatever you do, I'll take it, but please don't touch her." I pleaded.

Felicia furrowed her brows shaking her head.

"She's a baby, of course she's going to get into stuff. No, give her here." I stepped back only to have Felicia tug me back into place by the arm.

"It's an order."

With bitter reluctance I passed my sister along. Felicia sat down on her bed placing Emilia comfortably in her lap then stroked the back of her head.

"Sweetie, you can't go into people's closets without permission, you could get hurt. I would have been devastated if something had fallen on you. Promise you won't go in there again?" She spoke with the kindest tone I'd heard anyone use on a child.

"Okay." Emilia's voice seemed small and mousey.

"Now I'll tell you what, I'll show you how to mend a dress, would you like that?" 

Emilia grinned, nodding.

"Okay, stay right here."

She placed her on the bed and crossed over to her closet where she grabbed a wicker basket with her sewing supplies.

"She'll be perfectly fine here." Felicia assured.

"I'm really sorry about this Miss Felicia." I said.

"Don't worry about it. When I was her age I climbed onto a chair and broke one of my mom's prized perfume bottles. I smelled like perfume for weeks even when I got scrubbed down in the tub. Emilia's curious, and that should definitely be encouraged, but we'll put it towards something productive. Now, I'm sure Matilde is looking for you to help with breakfast, I'll keep Emilia here with me, okay? And by the way, the indoor bathroom you're allowed to use is at the end of the hall. Keep yourself clean, it's the only thing we order."

I let out a breath and excused myself back to my closet. I ran both hands through my hair pressing my head against the wall. I had to keep Emilia out of trouble. After taking a calming breath, I changed into my uniform, washed up and descended down into the kitchen. Guadalupe was stirring oatmeal and washing fruit.

"Morning." She said.

"Morning." I replied.

"Mr. Elias is coming for lunch, so I'll have you prepare that since I took care of breakfast. In the meantime, the bed sheets have to be stripped and washed."

I nodded, taking the staircase all the way back upstairs. I began with Felicia's room making sure Emilia was being taken care of.

Felicia helped Emilia thread the needle then pulled it through the material of her dress. Emilia stuck out the tip of her tongue being completely engrossed in her activity. Thank God. I left the room and dropped Felicia's used sheets into a laundry basket. Next, I went all the way down the hall on Felicia's side, to the master bedroom. I knocked, hearing Mr. Andrew's sleepy voice granting me entrance. He was sitting on the edge of the bed rubbing his eyes.

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