Characters: Ana Jarvis, Tony Stark, Edwin Jarvis, Maria Stark
Warnings/Triggers: some references to anti-semitism
Word Count 5,138
Summary: Ana takes in a wandering Stark, and teaches him how to make challah.
Author's notes: I recently posted 'Character Flaws' AO3, and someone there commented asking for more little!Tony and Ana and Jarvis, and I thought 'I can do that'. So, this is a fluffy Stark Family Adventures fic.
I have never made challah, and I did much research into it, and my understanding is that everyone does it their own way, so I've cobbled together various recipes, techniques and traditions that I found. I hope I have all the meaning and mitzvahs involved correct, my sincere apologies if I've messed anything up.
Tony is approximately three, probably closer to four in this. I've used a mix of British and American English for Ana, assuming she'd have learned from speakers of both.
I really need an Ana Jarvis icon...
As far as being Jewish went, Ana considered herself to be more culturally Jewish than religiously Jewish. She had carried certain traditions with her from Hungary when she’d fled; things that had to be kept in her heart because so much of it was destroyed by the Nazis. Ana had been Jewish enough for them, whatever her level of orthodoxy.
Now in America, she followed such traditions as brought her comfort and enjoyment and celebrated the holidays with Edwin. He was a gentile, but he respectfully participated in whatever mitzvahs she observed. She carried on, because so many people had been lost, and it was important to remember them.
Today was Friday and therefore Shabbat, so she was preparing to make her challah loaves for the meal that evening. She had her apron on, and the radio on, and all her ingredients ready to go.
And then the doorbell rang.
She took off her apron and went to see who it was.
It was no one. She opened the door, and there was no one there. It was impossible to do that for her home, which lay in the Stark compound. Any guests would have to be let through the gate. It was a lot of effort just to play a prank.
Ana looked down. No, there was someone there, he was just very short.
“Tony Stark, what are you doing here?!"
“I come to see you!” he said, smiling up at her.
That was a long way for his little self to walk. And alone, too, it seemed.
“Well, it is always very nice to see you, Tony,” Ana said. “But I wasn’t expecting you.” She crouched to his level. “Is everything all right? Where’s Nanny?”
“She’s having a nap,” Tony said.
“Are you too supposed to be having a nap?” Ana asked.
“Yes,” Tony said, without remorse. “I have pants on. I put them back on. And my shoes.” He stuck out his foot to show her. “I made bows, but they undoned.”
Ana pursed her lips to stifle her laughter and gave him a solemn nod. “I’m glad you dressed properly, Tony, but it’s not good to go without permission. Nanny will miss you and be worried.”
Tony shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t want a nap. I want to play with you, Nana. Let’s play.”
Bless his precious, disobedient, incorrigible heart. Ana put her hands on his cheeks and kissed his forehead.
“You came all the way here by yourself just to do that?” she said. “How kind. But you can’t stay. You must go back home.”
“No!” Tony said, with a stomp of his foot. “I don’t want to. I want to play with you. Please? I don’t want to sleep. Please? I’ll be fun. Pleeeeeassseee?”
“Stark Residence, Edwin Jarvis speaking.”
“Hello, Edwin Jarvis, it is Ana Jarvis speaking. I have a guest here at the Jarvis Residence.”
Ana glanced at Tony, who was standing on his tip-toes inspecting the challah ingredients Ana had set out. “He is very small, has brown hair and brown eyes, and a lovely, sweet face.”
“Please tell me you haven’t bought a puppy,” Edwin said. “I said we could look into an older dog, but not another puppy this time.”
Ana laughed, imagining the look on his face if he came home to find a little puppy chewing on his slippers. Again.
“Have you bought a puppy?” Edwin said, urgently. “Ana!”
“No, no,” she said, quickly. “No puppies. It’s a human with those features. A little Stark human.”
“A Stark hu--Master Tony is upstairs with Nanny,” Edwin said.
“Do you know that?” Ana asked. “Or do you just think that? Because I think he’s here trying to avoid having a nap.”
“That’s impossible,” Edwin insisted. “He would have to sneak past Nanny, myself, and the gardener, and what three-year-old boy could possibly--” His voice stopped. “I’ll come and get him.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m going to keep him,” Ana said.
“Ana.” Edwin’s voice was low in warning. “You can’t reward bad behaviour. I’m coming to get him.”
“Then you will waste your trip because he’s staying with me,” Ana said. “He asked very politely. We’re going to have fun I’ve been informed, and I’m looking forward to it. He came all the way to get me, Edwin. It was very industrious.”
“That sort of industry has to be discouraged,” Edwin said. He let out a sigh. “This is the third time he’s pulled something like this during nap time. I had hoped he wouldn’t outgrow them quite so soon. It’s such a lovely break during the day.”
“Don’t worry, Mr Jarvis, I will give you the break,” Ana said. “You go on and buttle. I will take care of him.”
“Yes, very well,” Edwin said. “Nanny could use the nap, I’m sure. But no more picking up strays, please, human or otherwise.”
“Just this one,” Ana said. “I promise.”
Tony’s eyes lit up when Ana told him he was allowed to stay, and he gave her a beaming smile. That smile was going to break hearts someday, Ana thought. Just like his father’s had broken so many. Although, as much as Tony started to resemble Mr Stark, Ana thought it was Mrs Stark whom he smiled like. Warmer than Mr Stark.
“You making a cake?” he asked.
“No, I am making challah bread,” Ana said. “Would you like to help?”
Tony’s smile tilted on one side. “No, I want cake."
“Well, I’m afraid I only need a person to help me make bread,” Ana said, with a regretful shrug. “Should I call Mr Jarvis back and tell him you don’t want to stay?”
Tony’s hands pawed at her skirt, tugging to stop her from going to the phone. “No! I can help, Nana. I’ll help.”
“Oh, good,” Ana said. “It will be nice to have an assistant. Let’s get you an apron, hmm? We don’t want your pants to get dirty after you put them on just to come here.”
All the aprons she had were too big, of course, but she found a waist apron that she modified by tying it around his neck and then putting some ribbon around his middle to turn it into one with a bib.
“It’s girls’ clothes,” Tony objected.
“It is not. Mr Jarvis wears this when he cooks,” Ana told him. “He’s not a girl.”
Tony looked down at himself. “It’s got flowers.”
“Yes, and he looks very handsome in them,” Ana said. She tapped his nose with her finger. “And so do you. Come on, up we go.” She scooped him up under his arms and put him on a chair so he could reach the counter. “We must start soon, or we won’t be ready for dinner. Do you know how to measure things?”
“Uh-huh,” Tony said. “Daddy lets me hold the tape. Not saws. Mommy says no.”
Ana was glad someone was looking out for that. Mr Stark’s safety record was not sterling, to be sure, and she did not trust his judgement when it came to little children in his workshop. Or really, when it came to himself in his workshop.
“We are going to use ounces today,” she said. “And scales and cups and spoons to measure. You can help with that. Your mommy won’t be upset about that. First, we must activate the yeast.”
She put a little water in a bowl, and then some sugar, letting Tony swirl it with a spoon until the sugar dissolved. Then she put the yeast in and stirred it.
“Poof!” she said. “Activated!”
Tony leaned on his hands to look into the bowl. “It’s not doing something."
“No, we have to wait for it to wake up,” Ana said. “It will eat the sugar and get lots of energy. Just like you if you eat lots of sweets.”
She put a plate on top of the bowl and put it aside. Tony placed his chin on the counter, so he could see through the clear glass of the bowl, and stared at it.
“It will take some time,” she said. “I’ll show you it later on, and you can see what it looks like. We have to put the dry ingredients together now. We need flour first, and we will weigh it. I can pour, and you tell me when the scale says twenty-two, okay? Do you know what the number twenty-two looks like?”
“Yes, it’s two twos,” Tony said, drawing in the air with his finger. “I know that. That’s easy. I know numbers.”
“That will be very helpful, then,” Ana said. She started to scoop the flour into the scale. Tony leaned over on his elbows to watch closely, his backside wiggling in the air. She poured a little more in. And then a little more. And then a little more. “Are we there yet, Tony?”
“No,” Tony said.
“It looks very close to me,” Ana said.
“No,” Tony said. “You said twenty-two.”
“Yes, but it doesn’t have to be perfect,” Ana said. “I think this is close enough.”
Tony looked up, pouting. “No. You have to be good measuring or it breaks,” he told her, scolding. “It’s bad eng-ine...en-gin-eer-ring.”
“Baking is not such an exact science,” Ana said. “You can’t break baking. Sometimes things taste better when we aren’t so exact.” She dropped a tiny bit more flour in, and Tony approved the amount. “There we go.”
She added the flour to the mixing bowl, and they carried on measuring until the counter had flour on it, and the floor had flour on it, and both she and Tony had flour on them. Which was especially impressive, considering they were no longer working with flour.
As they went, she explained to him what they were doing, and why they were doing it, passing on the tradition as she had been taught it.
“Salt represents criticism,” she said, taking a pinch of it. “Or, at least that’s what my mother said. She said that’s why we don’t put very much in, but now that I think about it, she might have just been making it up. Oh, well,” she dropped the pinch into the bowl and stirred it up. “Criticism added. Now, we make a well in the middle, and we will put the honey in so that the criticism is...hmm...what is the word? Neutralized? I don’t have to use that word much in English. The criticism is neutralized by the sweetness.”
Tony squeezed the plastic bear into the ⅓ cup she held for him. “How come you know?” he asked.
“My mother taught me,” Ana said. “And her mother taught her. And her mother probably taught her. I’m sure your mother must teach you things, too? Doesn’t she?” Tony nodded. “What has she taught you?”
Tony stuck a finger in the cup and swiped out a large daub of honey, sticking it in his mouth before Ana could put it in the bowl. He considered her question. “She teached me to dance,” he said. “And she teached me words to read. She knows all the words.”
“She is a very smart lady,” Ana said. “That’s why you’re so smart, hmm? You have very smart parents.”
“Uh-huh,” Tony said.
Ana scraped the honey out into the well, adding the oil, which she explained was a symbol of anointing, and then she and Tony had a very good time trying to crack eggs and separate the yolks. Ana was content to do this herself, but Tony’s little boy desire to break things was overwhelming, and he grabbed one from the carton and smashed it onto the counter. Ana knew she should scold him but could only laugh at the enthusiasm of the gesture and the pride he had when he was done.
“Oooph, that poor egg,” she said. “You have scrambled it right there! We don’t want scrambled eggs. We have to separate them out, hmm? Let’s clean that up and try again. I will show you the right way. “
Tony watched her carefully and tried with another egg. And then a third, and fourth, and finally, Ana had done all the eggs by herself as she’d demonstrated. And there was a mess of eggshells and flour on the counter.
“I’ll tell you what,” Ana said. “You stir it all up while I clean, okay?”
More flour everywhere. Ana hoped they would have enough left for the bread. She wiped down the counter and then got the yeast from where it had been sitting.
“Look, it’s ready to go,” she said. “It’s foamy. We will put it in, and it will make the challah fluffy and yummy.”
“Why?” Tony demanded.
Ana added it to the well, thinking it over. “I don’t know,” she said. “It’s some sort of science, I suppose. Perhaps your Daddy knows. He’s much better at chemistry than I am.”
Tony peered into the bowl. “It’s a reaction,” he decided. “That’s chemistry, Nana. Reactions.”
“I prefer art,” Ana said. “Now, are you ready to get your hands very dirty?”
Tony’s eyes lit up. “Yes!”
Once the dough was kneaded and then kneaded again because Tony was having too much fun to stop, Ana put it aside to let it rise. Tony was disappointed to have to wait, and Ana decided not to tell him just how long he would have to wait. Challah took patience. Tony Stark was not one for patience.
“What should we do while we wait?” she asked. “Do you want to play a game? Or draw a picture?”
Tony decided drawing a picture was to his liking, but when Ana took him to where her easel was, he changed his mind and started to build a fort out of blankets and chairs instead. Which seemed like fun, so Ana provided some clothes pegs to pin the blankets together, and soon they had a nice tent to draw inside. Ana brought her sketchbook, and Tony worked on some scraps of paper. This was how Edwin found them when he came home for tea. He lifted the flap and peered in at them.
“Hi, Jarvy!” Tony greeted him. “Nana and me made a fort.”
“Yes, I can see that,” Edwin said, raising an eyebrow at Ana.
“It is a good fort, Mr Jarvis,” Ana said. “Would you like to come in?” She patted the space next to her.
“Thank you, Mrs Jarvis, but I’m afraid I’m a little tall,” Edwin replied. “And old.”
“Not in your heart, Mr Jarvis,” Ana said, reaching out to pat his chest. “Just your head. Here, you come in, and I will get us some tea, and we can have a party.”
Edwin took her hand to help her out. “I’d rather have tea at the table.”
Ana gave him a kiss. “You are no fun, Edwin Jarvis,” she told him.
“Good,” he said. “Imagine the calamity if we were both as fun as you.”
Tony took his tea (really milk and cookies) in the tent, but Ana joined Edwin at the table so she could listen to him tell her of his day so far. Mr and Mrs Stark were throwing a big party the following week, and Edwin was always in flight when such things were happening.
“--And in this season, I don’t know where I’m to get them, except perhaps Spain, and I couldn’t order them or they wouldn’t arrive in time unless I went myself, and I can hardly afford the time to do that, especially since he’d decide he didn’t want them as soon as I--ooph!”
Edwin winced as Tony hopped into his lap, and he put a protective hand over his teacup. Tony had already cracked one cup on a visit when he was still just learning to walk around, and Edwin had grown rather paranoid that he shouldn’t damage them any further.
“Master Tony, it is rude to interrupt when someone’s speaking,” he scolded.
“I’m sorry,” Tony said, and then, in the same breath, “look, I drawed a picture for you and Nana.”
Edwin took out his glasses to look properly, leaning over Tony’s shoulder as he spread it on the table. “I see. That’s me, I suppose, and Mrs Jarvis? And is that you?”
“Uh-huh,” Tony said.
“And what’s that?” Edwin asked, pointing to what looked to Ana, from her upside down view, as a green blob in the corner.
“A dinosaur,” Tony said.
“Ah, yes, of course,” Edwin said. “Why has he come to tea?”
“He didn’t,” Tony said. He made claws with his hands. “He come to eat us.”
Ana feigned terror, putting her hands over her mouth. “Oh my! What will we do, Mr Jarvis?”
“I suppose I’ll have to ask him politely to leave,” Edwin said. “And hope that he understands eating people is rude.”
Tony giggled, and Edwin smiled at the top of his head. He was so good with him. Better perhaps, than Mr Stark, who often looked at Tony like a machine he couldn’t find the instructions for. When Tony was older and more easily understandable, Mr Stark would do better with him, Ana thought. Or she hoped so, anyway.
“Here is my picture,” Ana said, showing off her sketchbook. She’d drawn Tony playing in the tent. She thought it turned out rather nicely.
“Wow,” Tony said. “Nana is a good drawer.”
“Mrs Jarvis is an artist,” Edwin said. “She’s very accomplished.”
Ana bowed her head to the praise with a little flourish of her hand.
Edwin looked down at his watch and took a final sip of his tea. “I should get back. I have an appointment with the florist.”
“I thought you have already met with him?” Ana said.
“I had, but Mr Stark has invited Mr Mason, who is allergic to roses, so now I have to rethink,” Edwin said. “He’d also like some irises and lilies for Mrs Stark tonight.”
“Oh dear,” Ana said. Irises and lilies were the ‘I’m sorry’ bouquet. When accompanied by a basket of ‘I’m sorry’ strawberries, it was a sign of very bad things.
Edwin made a face of mock fright in agreement, and Ana hid her smile behind her cup.
“Well, it was lovely to take tea with you both,” Edwin said. “I hope you enjoy yourself further, Master Tony. Even though it was very rude of you to go off without permission, hmmm?”
“I’m sorry,” Tony said, and, in the same breath, “can I have your cookie?”
Keeping Tony entertained for the bread’s rising was something of a challenge after a while, as he grew bored so quickly with activities. He was a bright boy, and it worked against him. He and Ana had a dance party to the radio to get his wiggles out, him showing off all the moves Mrs Stark had shown him, including an enthusiastic version of The Monkey. They had a little wander around the garden, Tony happily collecting bugs to show her. She did her best to be brave and admire them, even if she did not care for it.
“Goody teached me bugs,” he told her, referring to Mr Goodfellow, the gardener, she supposed.
“How nice of him,” Ana said, pulling away from the wriggling worm he presented to her. “How about we go back inside, hmm? And wash our hands?”
They had a modelling session, too, with some of Ana’s sculptor's plasticine. Tony made a dinosaur--quite a good one, really--and Ana made few little trees and plants for it to stomp around on. Then, finally, the bread was risen. Ana normally let her challah have a second rising before she braided it, but in this case, she hoped her mother would forgive her for doing only one.
“We must separate the challah, first,” Ana explained.
“Why?” Tony demanded.
“Well…” Ana said. “I think it is because back a very long time ago, everyone gave a piece of dough to the kohen.”
“Who’s he?” Tony asked.
“He was a very important man, and he was too busy to make his own dough, so everyone gave a piece of theirs so he could have some and not have to make it,” Ana said.
“Like Daddy?” Tony said.
Ana gave a great laugh. “Yes, just like your daddy,” she said. “Now we don’t give it to the kohen, though, we burn it. And we say a blessing first.” She did so, murmuring her words and pinching off a piece of dough.
“What are those words?” Tony said. “I don’t know them.”
“Those are Hungarian words,” Ana said. “We can say them in Hebrew, too, but mine is not so good, so I say it in Hungarian. That is the language I spoke when I was younger and living in Hungary.”
“Where’s that?” Tony said.
“It’s in Europe, over the ocean,” Ana said, gesturing vaguely eastward. “A long way away. I was born there, and I lived there until I was a young lady, which was a long time ago now! Then I came to live here.”
“Why?” Tony said.
“So many questions!” Ana said, giving his hair a ruffle. She wondered how to explain her flight from Hungary. He was too young for the whole truth, of course, but making up an untrue story was unfair, too. “I left because some people didn’t want me to stay there. They didn’t like me. And Mr Jarvis said I could come and live with him, so I said ‘yes, please’ and away we went here to live with your daddy.”
Tony’s brow darkened. “I want you. I like you. They’re stupid. I don’t like them.”
Ana leaned over and gave his cheek a kiss, which he wiped off in embarrassment. “Thank you, Tony,” she said. “I like you, too, and I am happy to have come here. Sometimes I miss where I’m from, but always I’m glad I got to come here. Let’s burn the challah, hmm? And then I’ll show you how to braid the loaves.”
She lit the hob and tossed the dough in to burn away, then divided the rest of the dough into three--two medium balls and one little one for him to have for himself. She showed him how to do a three-strand braid because she thought he would find it easier, and began the six-strand braid she used for her two loaves, telling him about the twelve tribes of Israel they represented.
Tony did not want to hear about the twelve tribes of Israel.
“I want that!” he said, stomping his little foot on the chair. “I want six. Show me! I don’t want three, I want six. I want better!”
“Tony Stark, behave yourself!” Ana scolded. “That is not how we ask for things!”
Tony’s face was bright red. “I want,” he insisted. “I want six.”
“You will have none if you keep being rude,” Ana said, putting her hands on her hips. “What do you say when you ask for something?”
Tony stuck his lower lip out. “Please,” he mumbled. “Please, I want six?”
“How about you help me with my six?” Ana suggested. “And if you are good at that, we can make yours six, too?”
“I’m good!” Tony declared. “I can do it.”
Ana showed him the ‘two over, one under, two over’ pattern and stood behind to hold the dough strands up for him to weave through. It took him a few goes, and the braid was lopsided, but he did get the hang of it. Ana had perhaps underestimated Stark hands; they were agile even when they were small.
“Now make mine six!” he ordered. “Please!”
Ana divided his little three strands into six littler strands, and he made a sloppy braid that he was nonetheless pleased with. He was less pleased in hearing he’d have to wait again--first for it to rise a little more and then while it baked.
“I want it now!” he wailed, and Ana decided perhaps he had not outgrown naps after all. He was getting tetchy.
She took him back to the fort and tried to get him to soothe down. “Let’s camp,” she suggested. “We can sing songs, yes? And sleep in our tent?”
Tony folded his arms. “No.”
He refused to sing, too, but once Ana started to sing some children’s songs in Hungarian, he was interested again and wanted to know what they meant. She taught him a few simple words in Hungarian--his body parts and how to count. He curled up in a ball on the pillows as he listened and repeated back to her. Ana sang another song, and he was asleep. She waited a few minutes to see if it would hold and then breathed a sigh of relief.
She was not without experience with small children. She had none of her own, but she had minded for friends and once had care of Mrs Carter’s little girl for many days when she and her husband had to go undercover suddenly. But even then she had not been so tired. Of course, she’d been younger at that time. Mr Stark had waited a long time to get married and have children. Ana was old now--more a great-aunt or grandmother’s age. Perhaps Tony’s use of ‘Nana’ for her was appropriate.
She let him rest, creeping out and getting the rest of dinner on the go. She was far behind, and if she didn’t begin now she and Edwin would have nothing but bread for their meal.
Tony slept all the way through the challah’s baking and a little after that, before he wandered into her kitchen once more, rubbing sleep from his eyes.
“Hello, my sweet!” she said. “Did you smell our bread? Doesn’t it smell lovely?”
Tony hurried over to the cooling rack to look at the loaves, straining on his tip-toes.
“No, no, don’t touch,” Ana said. “It’s hot, you will hurt yourself.”
“I want to see,” he said, and pulled a chair over for himself to stand on. He examined the loaves carefully. “I make good things.”
Ana giggled. “You do indeed,” she agreed. “What a good baker you are, hmmm? I’m very lucky to have you to help me.”
Tony beamed, so pleased with himself that Ana wanted to snuggle him up and kiss his little proud cheeks. Such an adorable boy. Such trouble, too, of course, but a lovely little man. She did not mind being ‘Nana’ at all to him.
“I want to eat it,” he said.
“We have to wait until it cools,” Ana said.
Tony threw his hands up in the air, dramatically. “No more waiting! I don’t feel like waiting!”
“Hush,” Ana said. “You can help with dinner, yes?”
He pouted. “Okay.”
She found little tasks for him to do to keep him busy, and, it seemed, as long as he was busy, he was happy. Around five-thirty, Ana heard a car drive up and peeked through the window to see.
“Ah, I think your mommy is home,” she said to Tony.
He ran over to the cooling rack and lifted his bread up. “I want to show her!” he said, and ran off toward the door.
Ana quickly took her apron off and made sure nothing was going to burn or boil over, then followed after him to ensure he got safely where he intended to go. They went over together, Tony running the whole way, while Ana could muster little energy even to keep up with him. She should have had a nap, too, perhaps.
Edwin stepped out of the car and went around to get Mrs Stark’s door for her.
“Mommy!” Tony called, when she appeared. “Look!”
“I never like it when anyone in this family says ‘look’,” Mrs Stark said to Edwin, who hid a smile. She scooped Tony up in her arms. “What have we here?”
Tony showed her his little loaf of bread. “I made it,” he said. “It’s holl-ah.”
“Wow, look at that,” Mrs Stark said. “That looks very yummy. Did you really make that?”
“Nana helped,” Tony said. “I did the six, like her.”
Mrs Stark smiled at Ana. “That was nice of her to teach you,” she said. “Did you say thank you?”
“Thank you, Nana!” Tony shouted, joyously.
“You are so welcome, bogárkám,” Ana told him.
“Nana’s hungry,” Tony told Mrs Stark. “I know hungry words, she told me.” He tapped his head. “Fej.” And his shoulder. “Váll.” And his nose. “Orr.”
“Oh good,” Mrs Stark said. “You definitely needed more words, Tony. You don’t have nearly enough.” She kissed his cheeks, and he squirmed. “Thank you, Ana. Jarvis told me what happened, and it was kind of you to look after him.”
“He was no trouble,” Ana said.
“Hmm,” Mrs Stark said, with playful scepticism. “All right, kiddo, let’s go inside, and we’ll give Cook your bread to have with dinner, huh? And we’ll talk about why running away from Nanny and visiting people without asking isn’t a good thing to do. You are in trouble, mister.”
She carried him into the house, Tony protesting his innocence (“I put my pants on!”).
Edwin shook his head and turned to Ana, brushing his fingers at her hair. Flour sprinkled to the ground. Ana hoped she hadn’t appeared too frightful in front of Mrs Stark.
“You look like Nanny looks at the end of the day,” he said to her.
“I am a little tired,” Ana admitted. “Dinner may be late.”
Edwin grinned at her. “It’s no trouble. I have to change the menu again,” he said. “And therefore ring up the caterers. I’ll be late anyway.”
“But the challah will be excellent,” Ana promised. “It was made with extra love and enthusiasm, so it will taste good.”
“You shouldn’t have indulged him,” Edwin told her, his expression stern and serious. “None of us should indulge him as we do.”
“It was just this one time,” Ana said. “I promise.”
Edwin’s face softened, and he gently kissed her forehead. “My dear, don’t make promises you can’t keep.”