• Prologue

    Rose Marie looked up at her mother, her gem-like eyes pleading and her hands grasping her mother’s skirt tightly. “Please mommy!”, she begged as tears began to stream down her angelic face.

    “Rosie, you’ll love preschool, I promise. You’ll learn all kinds of things, like colors and shapes, and you’ll make friends that you can play with all day. They can even come over to our house if you like.”, her mother said, prying her daughter’s fingers from her.

    “But Mommy, I don’t like any of these kids.”, she said her eyes moving around, until they rested on a boy across the room, arguing with his mother.

    Rose’s mother followed her daughter’s eyes to the small boy and smiled, grabbing her tiny hand and leading her over to him and his mother. She stopped in front of the two and outstretched her hand to the frustrated woman, “Hi, my name’s Anne.”, she said with a smile.

    The woman shook her hand firmly, “I’m Linda.”, she said exasperated.

    “I noticed you were having the same problem with your boy that I’m having with my girl,”, she looked down at Rose, who was now half hidden behind her, then she looked at the small boy in front of her, curiously eyeing her daughter.

    Linda moved her eyes between Rose and her son, then smiled. She crouched down to meet Rose’s eyes, “What’s your name sweetie?”

    Rose moved her face from behind her mother’s skirt, “Rose.. Rose Marie, ma’am.”, she said in a low voice.

    “What a pretty name for a sweet girl.”, she said smiling, then motioned her son forward. “Rose Marie, this is my son, Damien.”, she said patting Damien’s shoulders, “Say hi honey.”

    Damien’s eyes caught Rose’s and a deep red blush settled on his pale cheeks. “Hi Rose Marie.”, he said twiddling his thumbs nervously, “My name is Damien.”

    Rose stepped slowly around her mother and stretched her hand to him, “Hi Damien, want to be friends?”

    “Um, ok.”, he said grabbing her hand.

    She quickly led him to the colorful blocks in the center of the room and began to stack them, laughing when Damien pushed them over, then she stacked them again.

    Anne and Linda shared looks of relief and walked to the parking lot together.