The sickness only grows worse for Kiko. She can’t even make it to the bathroom when she wretches in the bushes.
It is no better for Newlin. Kiko will not speak to him let alone allow him to touch her. It’s like he’s been banished already.
But he would not allow those dismal thoughts to worry him further. He is going to take Kiko away with him in a few weeks once her sickness subsides.
But things are so bad between them, he wonders if she’ll go away with him when the time comes. Tingles prick the edges of his eyes and he blinks back tears. He will not be sad about this, he angrily tells himself. Kiko will come. He’ll reason with her.
But the morose thoughts needle him so much that he floats through the compound in a zombie like state, not noticing anything or anyone.
“Hello, Newlin. I’m about to put the toddlers down. Would you like to come?” Elue asks. “I know you love tucking them in bed.”
Newlin scowls to himself in answer. Elue thinks he must have been scolded by Kanui again and shrugs.
Newlin is so wrapped up in his thoughts that he doesn’t realize he’s about to sit next to Lilit whom he hates the most in the tribe. He cannot stand her insipid remarks and her blathering on and on about Kanui’s merits.
“Well, well, if it isn’t the laziest slave on the planet,” Lilit says with a glare. “What are you here for, Newlin? You want me to watch the little ones again? I think it’s their bedtime.”
But even Lilit’s nasty remarks don’t register. He simply shakes his head and stares off in the distance—behavior Lilit has never seen before from Newlin. She wonders what’s wrong.
In the middle of the night, Kalani wakes to the muffled sound of crying.
She opens her eyes to see Makana, shaking, tears shimmering on her face.
“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” Kalani asks, rising up.
“I…um…I’m worried about something and I can’t sleep.”
Scooping her up, Kalani asks, “What are you worried about, sweetie? Maybe Daddy and I could help.”
Runoi wakes up startled. He rubs Makana’s back. “Rose petal, do tell us. Parents can always help you.”
Shaking her head, Makana cries, “I’m scared to tell.”
Kalani shoots a worried look at Runoi. Her mind whirs at what could possibly be bothering her daughter so much.
Smiling, Runoi pulls Makana toward him and says, “Of course we can help. Did you know parents are the best solution people on the earth? Our dear Maker created us for this heavenly duty especially. You can count on that, my sweet rosy baby. Now, why don’t you run along to your room and you can have a chat with Mommy, all right? She’s the Creator of this tribe, after all, and she solves all kinds of problems daily. Trust me on this.” He winks.
Makana lifts the side of her mouth and nods.
“That’s a good girl.” Runoi pats her shoulder.
Kalani marvels at the wisdom of her mate. Makana is getting to the age of womanhood. She may be having her monthly cycle and wouldn’t want to share in front of him. She remembers her first time and how scary it was. She kisses Runoi then follows her daughter to her room.
Quietly, Kalani sits next to Makana on her bed. “Now we’re all alone. What is it you wish to tell me, sweetheart?”
Wincing, she pulls into herself and says, “I don’t know, Mommy. He might get mad at me.”
“Who might get mad at you?” Kalani asks, caressing her arm, mind scrolling as to whom might be hurting Makana. Her mind goes to unthinkable places.
But Makana only shakes her head.
“Makana, who is it?” she asks in a harsher but hushed tone. “Who’s making you so upset? You’ve gone this far. I know you want to tell me so please do, sweetheart, so I can help you.”
Grabbing her mother, she whispers, “Oh, Mommy, I’m so afraid Kiko and Newlin are going to run away. They said so. I heard them.”
“You must have heard wrong, sweetie. Why would they run away? That doesn’t make any sense. Neither of them are in trouble. In fact, they seem very happy.”
“They’re not because I heard. I know.”
“You know what?”
Makana sniffles, taking a few deep breaths. She whispers, “Kiko is going to have a baby.”
Kalani’s stomach lurches at this news.
It took an hour to calm Makana down. In fact, her cries woke up her baby sister, Hoku, so Kalani and Runoi slept with their toddler for the rest of the night.
“She is a handful, isn’t she?” Runoi asks as the tot wanders down the hallway toward the kitchen.
“That’s the least of our worries. Oh, Runoi. Do you think I’m making the right decision?”
“Darling, if you don’t follow the rules then your power will slip and your tribe will not respect you. Kiko and Newlin knew what they were doing when they chose the wrong path. This I know all too well as I was quite the ladies’ man back when I was a teen and more than one Amazon tried to woo me. But I knew what honor meant. And so, I would not allow any temptations. Newlin has always been a careless brat, sorry to say that of your brother. He’ll survive, though. That’s one thing about him. He’s resilient. Like a cockroach, that one.”
Kalani would have laughed if this wasn’t so serious.
A Creator has the most important job of all the tribe and it is at these kinds of moments Kalani wishes the duty would have fallen onto someone else. How can she give this sentence to her own brother? And the look on Ina’s face when she will have to tell her of the news…Kalani feels the sorrow deep in her marrow. If this were to happen to her own daughters? Kalani doesn’t want to imagine that awful prospect.
Forcing a stoic face, Kalani finds Kanui.
“Good morning, Creator,” Kanui says, smiling. “It’s a lovely day outside, isn’t it?”
Kalani doesn’t have time for pleasantries. She orders, “Find Kiko and Newlin and have them meet me at the fire pit in ten minutes. Not a minute more. And bring Horus with you. I want both of you to stand guard.”
Bowing, Kanui says, “At once, Creator.”