'Oh, Very well!' Wonderwig growls. He looks at me but his words are not easy to understand because they're forced through lips that don't want to say anything. 'I give Shafilea permission to… speak with you and seek your company… if this is what she wishes.'
'Oh,' I look at Shafilea who gives me a formal, polite nod. Then she looks at Mrs W, who is obviously the real boss of this household and grins. The barest of smiles flickers on her grandmother's face.
A giant flea must have bitten Wonderwig because he jumps out of his Chair and aims his finger between my eyes. 'But you will respect her. No funny business.'
Shafilea jumps up. I do too as if it's a party pop-up game. I'm all over the place with embarrassment. I feel my face go red…he'll think it's a sign of guilt. I don't know where to look. My eyes are caught and held by Mrs W. That calm, deadly face gives me the real warning. Treat her well, or die. I successfully control my urge to pee.


Dan is sitting in the living room of the hotel staff quarters. Opposite him sits Shafilea's grandfather (Wonderwig) and her grandmother (Mrs W). Shafilea sits next to Dan. Dan feels like he's on trial.
© Julienne 2016