Carissa’s gasp snagged in her throat. He was leaving with Mera? Where? For how long? Even as the questions bubbled to her lips, she found that her tongue had forgotten how to form them.
Mera’s eyebrows bounced up in surprise, then down in disapproval. “I–you–we—what?!”
“I promised your father I would keep both you and your secret safe—”
“I do not require your protection.”
“—and I think it’d be best if I take you elsewhere. Especially as your pregnancy comes along—”
“I think not! I will not go anywhere with you, you oafish son of a—”
“Mera.” Elder Lorem walked toward them, then looped his arm around hers. He cast a small smile at Elon. “Forgive me. I will speak to her.”
Once they’d left, Elon turned toward Carissa. “I take it you have something you’d like to say to me?”
“I was just wondering why you didn’t tell me about this earlier.” He wanted to leave her? Right after what had happened? He’d only just come back. Surely this didn’t have anything to do with Algernon or that he felt she was unfaithful. Did it?
“There wasn’t an appropriate time.” He closed the distance between them, tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “But I have no doubt that you’ll do an excellent job as leader in my stead.”
Elon had his reasons—she knew he did—but she couldn’t help but protest. “Surely you could remain a little while longer? Mera is still a long ways away from showing signs of her pregnancy. She at least has another month or a month and a half before her stomach shows any signs of swelling.”
“It has to be now, Carissa.” He smiled ruefully. “But I’ll be back within three days’ time.”