"Shhh! He's sleeping."
The quiet insistance of the precocious 4 year old stilled Sabrina's movements as she entered the living room. "Nicole," she admonished. "You know puppy cannot sleep in this room. He has a basket." Nicole squished herself closer to her new best friend. "His name isn't puppy Mama," she replied impatiently. "It's Sunny."
Sabrina's relaxed expression tightened at the mention of all too familiar name. "Why did you call him that?" she queried gently.
"Because he's pretty," Nicole said proudly, "and he protects me from bad things that might scare me." Sabrina nodded wisely. "Excellent choice," she said quietly, wishing desperately to quash the trembling of her hands. How strange that her child had named her chosen protector after the Father she had never seen. Sonny would have enjoyed the moment with his daughter.
If he knew she existed.