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“Are you trying to make me dally here?” he asked.
She sighed. “No, but I have to cast a spell on my skirts. I think I can do it while we ride.”
Men on the street were staring at them until Russel glared in their direction. “Let's get out of her,” he grumbled, mounting Thunder much more smoothly than Pandora.
“Louisa,” she murmured, ashamed that she'd forgotten the woman so quickly. It was a problem with a dizzy-making husband.
“There.” He pointed and started Thunder walking in that direction. Daisy needed no instruction, following instinctively. Pandora smiled in joy and relief. She could check on mother and son. It seemed Russel had chosen a horse that was docile for a new rider like herself. That might make her an inferior familiar, though.
Louisa waved from the fence, Gareth tucked in her arm. “Safe trip!” she called. Her husband was quick to push back into the house and Pandora was reminded that Louisa was subject to his whims. She didn't have the rebellious streak or the power to back it up like Pandora did. As she felt pity for Louisa, she was forced to acknowledge that her resistance, her rebellion, had waned, despite still having the power to contradict Russel. She didn't have the drive for it any longer. She had become exactly what her mother and Tabitha had tried to prevent.
She should be livid with Russel, hate him and everything he stood for, but she couldn't. It wasn't love, not yet, but she needed him, needed to be with him. They were no longer separable. Did he know that? Other husbands would leave their wives to work, to travel. Unless she was mistaken, Russel would be compelled to take her with him, keep her close. They were each slave to the other, and that appeased the independent spirit that had dimmed recently.
Pandora blew a kiss to Louisa and Gareth, though neither could see it. She watched the house until the path turned away.
The skirts. It was a spell she was accomplished at and using it to split her skirts rather than shorten them was a minor adaptation. Before noon, fabric fell down either side of Daisy and Pandora gobbled up her bread.