“Your aunts want to see you in the dining room,” was all Miss Edna said when she met Bella at the door. Miss Edna’s voice was strangely urgent, though there was no panic in it, and her face was carefully devoid of expressing any opinions. Bella gave one last glance at it as Miss Edna pushed her into the dining room, but she could not figure it out at all.
“She belongs with me,” Gerard responded. His eyebrows puckered together as though he could not quite understand why his sisters were being difficult. “Her mother gave me guardianship.”
Something rustled beneath her window. Bella held her breath and listened. There it was again! Something was moving in the trellis that led up to her window. A cat, perhaps?No, it wasn’t a cat. A hand reached through the open window. Bella clutched her bedpost in fear and tried to scream but no sound came out. A man’s body appeared, silhouetted against the night sky, and crawled across the windowsill.
Thump! He landed on the floor. He held very still for a moment. There was no other sound in the house. Bella’s heart was pounding. She opened her mouth to scream.
“Bella,” the intruder whispered. “Bella?”
“Isn’t the night air bad for you?” she asked Gerard, staring with all her might into the dark and not seeing anything.
“Not at all,” Gerard answered, and Bella could detect a hint of annoyance in his voice. She silently wondered if the aunts had told him about the night air when he lived at home.