Azkadellia took a deep breath before knocking on the door. She pushed it open with her sister's invitation. DG was stretched out on the sofa in her bedroom with an arm flung over her eyes. "Oh yes, you're hard at work on paperwork."
"Don't be cross with me, Az. It's the only excuse I could use to have some time for myself." She sat up and patted the couch next to her. "Girl talk time?"
"It took paperwork to drive Mr. Cain from your side? I'm not complaining, but I'm glad to catch you alone."
DG's eyebrows rose. "And how much time have you spent out of Dr. McCabe's company lately?"
"That's not fair." Her cheeks burned under DG's mocking gaze. "Do you have something against him?"
"No, I don't have anything against him. He's a doctor, he's brave, and he has stood up for you. He's a good man, and probably a lot of girls' dream ship finally docked. But he has to go home."
She looked down at the floor. "I know that, and he has asked me to go with him."
"The Other Side? Are you sure?" The mocking was gone, replaced by concern.
"Oh I don't doubt that there will be plenty of things I'll get confused about. But what do I have here, DG?" Her younger sister grabbed her hand and squeezed it in support. "The people blamed me for the illness, the Council thinks I'm the worst possible influence on you, no suitor will ever want my hand, and Father will never forgive me."
"Ahamo still mad at me too."
"Miles thinks I could become a nurse-practitioner, and if I can't manage that, I can bring back alchemy to the O.Z. It's a fresh start." Azkadellia gazed into DG's big blue eyes. "I need a fresh start."
DG wrapped her arms around Azkadellia and squeezed tightly. "You still have to come back for regular visits. And you can't skip out on all the big state events we have coming up. And I have to talk to him about how he's supposed to treat my big sister."
Tears sprung into her brown eyes, but they were happy tears. "Can you talk to him without Mr. Cain or Dr. Connor? They make him nervous."