"I have a room. Just a few minutes away. We could
share it, save money..."
Kitty grabbed his words like a rope and pulled herself
back into focus. "No thanks, Peter," she said."Maybe. I
want to stay here a while. I want to see her."
"Call me," he said, already turning to leave. "I'll call
the nurse's station from the hotel, once I know the room
number. You can get it from them."He paused in the
doorway, considering her. "You okay, Kitty?"
"It was a long drive," she said. "I'll be fine."
A peaceful mist was settling over her, pulling her
toward sleep. As Peter Beaumont passed through the
swinging lounge doors and disappeared down the hallway,
she stubbed out her cigarette and sank deep into her chair,
accepting the calming silver rain around her, surrendering
to it. In moments, she was asleep.
"My name is Claire," the little girl said.
"Is that funny?"
Kitty began to dance the doll again; this time it was a
frenzied, angry jig. "Yes," she said, giggling. "My
Gramma's name is Claire. I think that's funny. It's not a
little girl's name at all."
"And I suppose your Gramma was never a little girl?"
"Of course she was," Kitty said sharply. "Don't be
stupid. But that was a thousand years ago, back when
names didn't count for anything."
"I see," Claire said. She sat on the ground across from
the other girl. "Do you have a name?" she asked.
"My name's Kitty," Kitty answered without looking up
from the doll.
Claire laughed. She rolled on the ground and kicked
her feet in the air.