I heard Elodie in the lobby. She was talking to Mali, who was giving her a hard time for being late.

"I took your client, he's dressing now," I told my friend. It didn't hurt to let Mali know that everything was covered, no harm done. Elodie smiled at me and tilted her head to the side. She had this thing about her that she could get away with just about anything.

"I'm so sorry, Karina. Thank you." She kissed both of my cheeks. That was something I got used to the first week she moved in. I wasn't really fond of excess touching but with her, it was hard to recoil the way I normally would.

"I couldn't fall asleep last night. The avocado started kicking." Her smile grew wide, but I could tell by her eyes that she wasn't rested. I could relate.

Mali put her hand on Elodie's stomach and started talking to the baby. I half expected her to ask the bump what's wrong, why aren't you smiling? but Mali was soft and kind around children, even the ones who hadn't been born yet. It made me a little uncomfortable, the way she was touching Elodie like that, but the idea of the baby kicking was exciting, so I smiled. I really was happy for my friend. It worried me that she was so alone here with her family and most of her friends across the Atlantic Ocean. She was so young. So young. I wondered if she had the chance to tell Phillip that she thought she felt the baby move yesterday, or if he would even get to check his email today. The time zones made it so hard for them to talk as often as Elodie or anyone with a soldier in their life would want, but she was handling it with grace, as she did everything. It scared the hell out of me, though—the fact that she was going to have a baby in a few months.

Elodie's eyes snapped to the curtain behind me and she lit up like a Christmas tree, pushing past me to the client. She said a name that I couldn't hear completely but it didn't sound anything like Kale. She double kissed his cheeks and hugged him.

"You're here? When did you get here? I can't believe you're here!" she squealed and hugged him again.

Mali nodded to my next client who was walking through the front door. "Back to work for you," she said.


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