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Iris opened the room's door slowly and approached her daughter's bed. She sat on the edge and looked at her face so beautiful and round, sleeping so peacefully and her heart filled up with pure happiness. Alice was an amazing child and Iris felt very attached to her. Since the first day that she spent in Alice's company, Iris felt a particular bond with the little girl, like they were really mother and daughter. It might sound odd, but Iris had fallen in love with both Nicholas and Alice. From the beginning, Alice felt like part of her being, a part of her soul, as if somehow, in another life, this child belonged to her. Alice had suffered so much up to this point, she had lost too much for a child so little, and Iris made a promise to herself to keep her safe forever. She had been married to Nicholas for almost a year and from the first moment, she felt this strong desire to protect Alice, to offer her all the motherly love she was capable of.
Her and Nicholas's honeymoon had to be postponed because of some important things to deal with that came up at work. Even so, Nicholas forbade her to spent too much time in the office. So, having all this free time on her hands, Iris tried to spend most of it with Alice and her in-laws in their villa outside the city. Her little girl knew very well these places and Iris didn't want to rip her completely from this magical world of hers. Anna and James have raised Alice for the first five years of her life and Iris didn't want to change at all the relationship between the little girl and her grandparents. She was the last one who arrived in the family, so she was the one who had to prove herself to everyone. It was so natural and so easy to take care of Alice that Nicholas's parents, seeing her along with the little girl, understood that she would be a fantastic mother for the little one, the best person to take care of the growth and education of their only granddaughter.
The relationship with her in-laws became every day tighter and more affectionate. Iris would never forget their "help" on her wedding day, she would never forget their support when she needed one. From the first moment, they've received her in their family with open arms, they've given her the affection that only a parent could offer and that Iris missed so much, they've made her feel an important part of their universe. Nicholas hadn't only given her his love, he had given her a whole family to belong to, and it was truly a fantastic feeling. And although they couldn't see each other that often, Iris and Alice called them every day. Stroking gently Alice's hair, Iris thought that maybe it would be a wonderful idea to visit them, a mini-vacation for that weekend to be done together with Alice. It would've been great if she would convince her husband to leave the office and to come along with them. He knew that Anna would really appreciate this gift.
Iris gave a light kiss on the little girl's forehead and called her softly by name. She opened her beautiful eyes and gave her mommy a smile so sweet that melt Iris's heart.
"Good morning, kitten, it's time to wake up," she said, getting up to pull the curtains and open the window. "You need to get ready for school because I'm absolutely positive that today would be a day full of adventures. And I know also that all your friends are waiting to play together with you."
"Good morning, mommy," Alice replied, standing up in bed and hugging her tightly. "Do you want to know something? Today I don't really want to go to school, I rather would like to come with you and daddy in the office and gave you a hand there. And if by any chance, you don't want to go to work today, we can stay in and play all day long," she added, sinking her face in the little space between Iris's neck and face.
Her daughter's proposal was utterly tempting, but at the office, those days were really crucial. Nicholas was trying to close some very important deals that would bring considerable capital to the company. Her husband was very involved in every aspect and every bit of information was held under lock and key. If a single number got into the wrong hands, this could put the whole operation at risk. Iris needed to be there for her husband, she had to help him as much as possible, she just couldn't leave him alone.
"Sweetie," Iris said softly, caressing her little head and squeezing her little girl tight against her chest, "we can't stay at home. Do you remember what I told you the day before your first day of school? That going to school would be your job for a long time. You see, my love, mommy and daddy work together in the office, Mrs. Smith works here, keeping the house clean and cooking all those fantastic dishes for us. Andrew takes us back and forth in the car. And then there is you, baby, and what you have to do is..."
"I know... 'go to school and study'," Alice finished the sentence with a sad little voice. "But, mommy, this job of mine isn't always pleasant. Sometimes I would like to stay home, sometimes I'd like to help you and daddy in the office. You know, I saw that daddy works a lot these days... He isn't much at home with us."