2:00 pm – continued
Nick settled himself beside his daughter, his wife on Iris’s other side, and put an arm around his little girl’s shoulders. His daughter shifted slightly and snuggled against her father’s side.
“Daddy, can I see Abigail, too?”
Nick leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but she’s busy, too. That’s why she came by this morning.”
His daughter pouted, but snuggled closer to him. “I’m going to miss her, Daddy,” she said into his shirt.
“I know. We’re going to miss her and all of our friends, too.”
“Daddy, I don’t want to die,” Iris said in a whisper.
Rose and Nick traded glances over their daughter’s head. Nick slowly shook his head when he realized his wife wanted to reassure their daughter she wasn’t going to die. Rose bit her lip and turned away, trying hard to keep herself from saying anything.
“I know, sweetie,” Nick said softly, “but things like this have to happen. One day we’re all going to die anyways.”
Abruptly, Rose patted Iris’s knee, gaining her daughter’s attention, and smiled brightly. “I’m going to go use the bathroom and then we can head over to Alice’s house. Do you need to go, too, Iris?”
Iris nodded and hopped off of the couch. She skipped off in front of her mother, headed for the nearest bathroom. Rose turned back to look at her husband, who shook his head once again.
“Soon enough, Rose,” he said. “She’ll know soon enough. She’s just a child now. She’ll be okay.”
“You think it’s not going to break her heart that her best friend is going to die, but she’s not?”
“There will be other children her age on the ships. I’m sure she’ll make new friends.”
Rose looked at her husband in disbelief. She shook her head. “Really, Nick, how much more callous can you be?”
Before he could respond, Rose had stormed off. Five minutes later, his wife and daughter were calling out to him, saying they would see him soon. It would be the last time Iris and Rose would be in their home. Rose, for her part, had already said her good byes to the house. Iris would never have that luxury, but it was really all for the best that she not know anything, that she believe she was going to die, too. After all, they couldn’t have her slip and say anything or, worse, be devastated that they couldn’t save Alice.
Once the front door closed, Nick switched to a news channel and dug out his clipboard from the cushions Rose had shoved it between. He just had to check his lists one more time before the car came around to collect him and the luggage.