And after they’d had the long talk – or she’d talked at them, really, she supposed – and good old Detective Sergeant Hobson had trundled off with the son and daughter to a long court case and a hanging or two and everyone else had gone to God or the Devil, Marian collapsed on the couch and raised a pale, long-fingered hand to her brow. “Gods, I’m spent,” she said. “How long has it been since I’ve slept? Do you remember? I’m sure I can’t remember, but it feels like days, anyway.”
Shalini brought her a drink, rye over ice, and sat down on the ottoman. “Drink this, darling, you’ll feel better.”
“Thanks, love.” Marian rubbed the sweating glass against her face and closed her eyes. After a minute her breath slowed and her hands stopped shaking.
Shalini put her feet in her lap and started rubbing them. “It’s time for a vacation,” she said. “You’ve worked yourself into a lather and you won’t be fit for anything for months at least and you know it. Where shall we go? Philadelphia’s nice enough this time of year, and we could stop in and visit your mother while we’re there.”
“Lord,” said Marian, “spare me from a helpful wife.” Shalini grinned and pinched the soles of her feet.