In the car it was silent as we drove away from Locke Alley. Robyn pressed her face to the window and watched the landscape as it rushed by. The three dogs were crowded on the seat beside her. I held Macy in my arms, her steady breathing calming and soothing. With quiet words I directed Dominique out of the slums.
I wanted him to see the rest of the world so I pointed the way out that would take us by the mines. There slaves worked day and night to dig out gold, copper, silver and coal. New deposits where found all the time and slave class grew with each opening mine.
Chinese, Japanese, blacks, anyone from Asia and all those who threatened the government where forced to work in the mines or on the large farms. They did the work that even the poor refused to do.
With so many people dying in the slums it only made sense that the poor class would be jumping at the opportunity to make some money. But the mines and the farms were jobs that we despised. The only jobs the poor would take in those places was the position of overseer. We had our pride to consider. And that was something else Dante and Savannah would never understand. How could we allow our children to starve when we could make money in the mines?
But what they didn’t understand was that before the fourth war we had worked the mines. But so many of us had died down there or of lung consumption that we refused to go back. So instead the slaves died while we struggled to feed ourselves. But with so many Asian countries filled with people there was a never ending supply of workers.
I didn’t agree with it, but what could I do? One day it would all change again. Someone new would rise to power and change. But for now we stayed in our classes, doing the jobs we deemed right for our situation.
We had left the mines and moved into the working class area. Here people held a regular job. Nurses, clerks, maids, general labourers and others lived in the little white houses. Their children attended school and in grade eight began to decide what they wanted to do for a job. Here they had a choice.
This was the east working class area. Elise had come from the west working class and i wondered how different the place was compared to here. Where there slums where she came from? Where the Elite’s neighbourhood’s in the centre of four districts? I had heard tell of the North and South districts. Was it possible that it was built up the same way on all points of the compass? The slave mines and fields, the slums of the poor, the working class and then the middle class.
I asked Dominique and he squirmed a little before answering.
“Yes, it’s like this on all sides of the Elite’s housing area. But we have a very large area. Dante’s house is on the out skirts of the east side. If you look at a map the Elite’s area stretches all the way up to North Bay and down to Lake Ontario. But on all sides it is surrounded by hundreds of people that are poorer than us.”
“If there was a revolt, you’d be died,” I murmured.
Dominique nodded. “We would. That’s why Dante went to that meeting this week. They are trying to make a defense line in case an attack should occur.”
“What does he hope to accomplish there?” We were getting closer to the middle class now and I could see business men in suits mingling with doctors and lawyers.
Dominique stopped at a crosswalk and waited for the people to cross. “i don’t know. Maybe he’s going to convince them that we need to help the people that would attack us. Not fight back.”
“Good luck with that.” I stroked Macy’s head and smiled. She had fallen asleep on my lap. “There is too much hate between all the classes. It’s going to take a miracle to bring us all together.”
“You could be that miracle,” Dominique said, staring straight ahead. “Dante was right, you know.”
I frowned. “About what?”
“If the two of you are together it could prove that we are all the same.” Dominique pulled out of the classy neighbourhood and into the abandoned area close to the Brooke’s house.
“You mean if I married him?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Dominique had seemed like the one sane person in the house and now he wanted me to marry Dante? It was beyond belief.
Dominique shrugged. “Well, maybe. Do you love him?”
“What? I barely know him.”
“He loves you.” Dominique’s voice was low and I strained to catch his words. ‘He doesn’t know it, but he does. He thinks he’s just protecting you like he does Savannah. But really what he does for you is above and beyond a brotherly duty.”
I turned away from him and stared out the window. Did I love him? I didn’t know. What did love feel like? Sure I had kissed him, but that wasn’t about love, that was about... well, I didn’t know what that was about. But surely it wasn’t love. Or was it? I was confused. The last few days had messed with my brain. Of course I didn’t love him. How could I? He had taken me away from my family and they were dead. I only had Robyn and Macy left.
At the thought of Robyn I remembered she was in the back seat and could hear every word we had said. I turned and saw that she had fallen asleep, her head resting on Buddy’s back. Buddy looked up at me and wagged his tail slowly. I reached back and stroked his nose. Then i laughed. Dante was going to get a surprise when he came home. Two more girls and two more dogs. Oh, to see the look on his face.
But there was a surprise for us when we pulled into the drive. Dante’s black limo was parked by the front steps and Dante was climbing out.
“What’s he doing back?” I hissed. “I thought he was supposed to be gone all week.”
“So did I,” Dominique muttered. “This is not good.”
I sighed and shook my head. “Well, let’s park and get this party started.”
Dominique pulled his car up behind Dante’s and I climbed out, holding Macy. Dante stood at the top of the front steps and I started towards him.
“Crystal, what are you doing? Who is that?”
I climbed the steps and then stopped beside him. “What are you doing home?” I shifted Macy’s weight in my arms. “What happened to the meeting?”
“It got cancelled,” Dante answered. “Who’s she?”
I bit my lip. “Macy. And that’s Robyn.” I nodded towards the sleeping, limp form in Dominique’s arms.
“Your sisters?” Dante asked.
I nodded. It was best for now that he thought that. I would tell him the truth one day.
“What happened to them? Why are they here? Can’t your family take care of them?”
I sighed. “Dante, can I please lay Macy down before I answer all your questions? She’s heavy.”
“Of course. Shall I get Elise to ready a room for them?” Dante opened the door and lead us inside.
“No, I’ll just bring them to my room for now. Dante, don’t be mad at me. Don’t get angry at Dom. I had to go back. I’m sorry.”
Dante swallowed and looked away from me. “It’s okay. I just wish you hadn’t had to go behind my back.”
I nodded. “I know. Let me them settled and then we’ll talk.” I rested one hand on his arm for a moment. He covered it with his hand and gave it a squeeze.
Upstairs I laid Macy on my bed. Dominique laid Robyn beside her and I pulled a blanket up to cover them. Elise hovered behind us, cooing and making sweet little comments.
“Elise, can you stay with them until I come back?” I asked the maid. “Come get me when they wake up.”
“Of, course, Crystal. The poor, sweet things.”
I left the room and went downstairs with Dominique.
“Crystal, I’ll tell him it was my idea. I don’t want him angry at you.”
I nodded. “Alright. But Nicky, don’t mention what you know about Macy. I can’t let him know yet.”
He bit his lip, thinking. I knew what I asked. He would have to keep a secret from his best friend. It was hard thing to do for anyone but more so for Dominique. Dante was a brother to him. There were no secrets between them.
Finally he nodded. “Alright. But not forever.”
“No, not forever. I’ll tell when the time is right. But our relationship is so strange. I don’t think this will make it stronger.”
Dominique laughed. And I smiled. At least we agreed on something.
The butler directed us to Dante’s office. He was sitting by the fire place staring into the flames.
“Dante,” I said sinking to the floor beside him.
He turned to me and I saw the hurt in his face. I was taken aback. Had it been that important to him that he take me home?
“Dante, are you okay?” I asked, laying a hand on his leg. “What’s wrong?”
“They’ve cancelled my membership in the Elite Circle of Governors.”
“What?” Dominique sat down hard in the chair across from him. “They can do that?”
Dante shrugged. “Apparently. You’re out too. In fact everyone involved in the Vision of the Future is out. I don’t know who told them about us, but I’m guessing it was Virgilian. She’s jealous.”
“Jealous of who?” Who could she be jealous of? She had it all, didn’t she?
“Of you, of Savannah?”
“Me?” I stared at Dante in shock. “Why?”
“Because she wants to marry me. And now your here.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Touchy woman.”
“We were betrothed once.” Dante turned back to the fire.
I looked at Dominique who nodded. “Virgilian was caught with another man. She ended up having his child. They got married and then last year she filed for divorce. Now she thinks that she should have Dante back.”
“But what does Savannah have that she wants? Don’t tell me, she thinks if she doesn’t get Dante, you’re the next best thing?”
Dante and Dominique laughed. “You’ve nailed her,” Dante said.
“Then why is she part of the Vision for the Future?” How a woman like Virgilian was allowed into such a circle was beyond me.
“She has money and she seemed so eager to help us out. Then we found out she was only trying to look good in Dante’s eyes. She’s been kicked out. We changed so much stuff after she left. But she knew who was in and I guess that was all it took to get the Elite’s to forgive her.”
“Well, what’s going to happened to you two?” I asked looking between them.
“Nothing. We just have no say in what happens in the laws anymore. They will just cover it up and no one will know that difference. For all the general public know, we resigned because of work or something like that. They’ll come up with something good.”
Dante continued brooding into the fire and I sat silently by his feet. Was this what I had to look forward to over the next years? Dante and Dominique loosing positions because they wanted to help me and the ones I loved?
Finally Dante shook off his melancholy and turned to me. “So, tell me. How is your family?”
I began to tell him about their deaths but the pain sudden hit me.
He handed me a handkerchief when I began to cry. Dominique took over the story and at the end Dante was speechless. He turned to me, remorse and pain mingled in his smoky blue eyes.
“Crystal, I’m sorry.”
I shook my head and left the room. It wasn’t his fault but right now I couldn’t talk about it. I flew up the stairs and burst into my room startling Elise. I sent her away and sank onto the bed beside my family. Robyn had her arm wrapped protectively around Macy and they snuggled together. Buddy, Anne and Truscott lay on the floor, ever watchful. I laid down beside my girls and laid an arm across them. They would never be alone again. I would always take care of them even if Dante and Savannah didn’t want to. These two precious girls where a part of my life and anyone who wanted me to be a part of their life would have to take Robyn and Macy in the deal.
I closed my eyes and allowed the sweet relief of sleep roll over me.