Soldier Mine (Chapter Three: Petr, page 1 of 10)

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Todd's sister returns to clear my table. I lean back and watch her. She's unnaturally pretty with elfin features, hazel eyes and the same dirty blonde hair color that Todd has. Her long, straight hair is in a loose ponytail. She smells like French fries from working here, and her frame is toned and shapely.

After the mess with Brianna, I kinda feel like I need to talk to someone, even if I don't directly discuss what happened. I'm extroverted by nature, and it's still a difficult adjustment not being able to call my brother Mikael whenever I want to chat. If I tell my sister, Katya, that I saw Brianna …

I'll never hear the end of it. I'll save that discussion for later.

Claudia isn't the warm type. She operates with absent-minded detachment, not quite cold, but not overly friendly either. I can't quite figure out if she does it on purpose or is naturally standoffish.

"Todd's a good kid," I say.

She glances at me, her expression softening. "Yeah. He is. Sorry if he's bugging you."

"Not at all. Kids ask what adults are afraid to about my leg," I smile. "It doesn't bother me. I think it's cool to have a war wound."

"You think your bionic leg is cool?" Her nose wrinkles, as if she isn't certain what to think of that.

I laugh. I have to admit - I enjoy messing with people about my leg. It makes everyone uncomfortable, with the exception of my father, who shares my childlike fascination with the prosthetic limb.

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