October 25, 2013 by Lyn
October 24, 2004
“What am I supposed to… do with her?”
Olifur picked up the little girl, who cooed back at him with happy almost-words. She was big compared to Sunil, his son out of Eluned. But she was still so very small, and she was a stranger to him.
“Play with her. You’ve played with children before, haven’t you?” Professor Valerian looked amused at him. Olifur couldn’t fault her; he wasn’t normally this helpless.
“I’ve played with kids before. But not this…” He smiled down at her. “Heck. Hello, Lata.”
She was almost two, and had dark, curly hair like both of her parents, and a pointed chin that had to be his.
“‘Lo.” She also had a wide smile that didn’t remind him of either himself nor Valerian… Laurel? Could he call her that? “Pretty.”
“Yes, you are. And bright, too. I bet you’re the smartest girl in the preschool.”
“Smart.” She nodded. Over her head, Olifur could see Valerian’s approving smile.
“Would you like to play?” He dug into his pockets. “I brought a book, and some blocks. My mother gave them to me. They were mine when I was a kid.”
“Blocks.” She bounced a little. “Do’ouse?”
It took a little effort; Olifur almost had it when the professor intervened. “She wants to build a house for her dolls. I think that’s a lovely idea.”
“Cool. We can do that.” He sat down carefully, putting Lata on the floor next to him, and pulled the blocks out of his backpack. “All right. Let’s start with…. the threshold.”