Frederic leaned against the wall, tugging a handkerchief out of his suit pocket and dabbing it against his forehead. The dragon baby was heavy and thankfully, asleep. She had fidgeted and cried the entire time he searched for a room where she could sleep. A place that wasn’t going to burn if she belched more flames. The library had been his first thought, but she nearly set the whole room ablaze with a burp. He tried the study, the sitting room, dining room, wardrobe, and gardens, but every place he went to had something that burned. He didn’t want to carry around this fire breathing potato anymore. What he needed was a large room that was dirt and cement, like the cellar.
The cellar. That was it. There was a few shelves that could burn, but it wouldn’t be hard to move them. Frederic reached for his flask, but his fingers closed on the handkerchief again. With a sigh, he remembered that his whiskey had all burned in the parlor. It was the dragon baby’s fault. She’d set the rug on fire in the first place.
He set off towards the cellar, carefully avoiding the parlor where the good doctor and Tubs were concerned with Lea. He’d never liked doctors personally; they always told him to drink less whiskey or he’d die drunk in a gutter. As if he would be so careless.
Frederic had his hand on the cellar door when he heard a voice behind him. Doctor Hackett was stepping out of the parlor, laughing at some joke Tubs had told him. Frederic tried to open the cellar door, but his hand slipped.
Doctor Hackett paused when he saw Frederic, then he smiled. “Good day, Mr. Logenburt. Seems you’ve had a small issue in your parlor.”
Frederic forced a laugh. “We all get clumsy from time to time. Luckily, Tubs is of a quicker mind than I.”
“Well, that is well. I should also tell you that Miss DuBois is doing very well. Rest, food, and brandy are what’ll really help her.”
“You’ve told Tubs everything, I assume?”
Doctor Hackett nodded, straightening the lapel on his jacket. “He knows what to do. Is Miss DuBois a cousin or relative? Maybe someone from Tub’s family?”
“A friend,” Frederic said before he had time to think, “she is friend for special circumstances.” Hackett’s eyes grew wide as Frederic’s stomach dropped. What was he saying? Lea was half his age. “Well, what I mean is, Lea has been in some…affairs, I helped her get through….get through them.”
A smile danced on Hackett’s lips and a sparkle gleamed in his eyes. “My goodness, Logenburt, you are definitely full of surprises. I wouldn’t have expected such an endeavour from a man like you.” His eyes flicked to the child Frederic was holding. “You have a child with her?”
“Yes. No. The child is hers, but I have her child.”
Hackett crossed the space between them in a flash; Frederic pulled back. “Dear man, I just want to look at the child,” he said with exasperation.
“Ah, I would let you, but she’s sleeping. First time all morning. I’d like her to stay that way.”
Hackett ignored him, peering closely at the child. “She seems well enough. What’s her name?”
Frederic stammered. If she got a name, then he could grow emotionally attached to her. He never wanted to raise dragons, but she wasn’t a real dragon, just a half one. And he always pondered what it would be like to have a child, though he never actually intended to ever have one. He wouldn’t turn a whole human child away, so he wouldn’t turn a half human child away. He’d just hold onto her until Lea woke up, give her the dragon-child, and shove them out the door.
He realized Doctor Hackett was staring at him expectedly. He shook his head. The lack of whiskey was really bothering him. “Alecia. Her name is Alecia.”
Hackett smiled. “That’s a pretty name.” He stood and straightened his jacket. “Have a good day, Frederic.”
In Frederic’s arms, Alecia stirred. She yawned and gnashed her teeth, then fixed her gaze on the doctor. It was a cold stare and Frederic’s blood turned to ice. He gave the doctor a pleading look, trying to tell him to leave, but for some reason, Hackett took it as an invitation to have one last look at the child.
Hackett smiled and leaned in. “Hey there, little girl,” he said in a sing-song voice, “aren’t you a cute little thing?”
Alecia growled, her hands transforming into claws, and leapt onto Hackett’s face.
Thanks to Thomas for contributing for the second time! Part 12 coming soon!