Emma felt the anger uncurl in her stomach again, but this time it was directed at Mark.
“Jules?” Tavvy asked, sounding nervous, and Julian passed a hand over his face. It was a nervous habit, as if he were wiping an easel free of paint; when he dropped his hand, the fear and emotion had gone from his eyes.
“I’m here,” he said, and went over to pick up Tavvy. Tavvy put his head down on Jules’ shoulder, looking sleepy, and getting paint all over Jules’ t-shirt. But Jules didn’t seem to care. He put his chin down in his younger brother’s curls and smiled at Emma.
“Forget it,” he said. “I’m going to take this one off to bed. You should probably get some sleep, too.”
But Emma’s veins were buzzing with a sharp elixir of anger and protectiveness. She could almost taste it in her mouth, like a bitter copper penny. No one hurt Julian. No one. Not even his much-missed, much-loved brother.
“I will,” she said. “I’ve got something to do, first.”
Julian’s verdigris eyes narrowed. “Emma, don’t try to —”
But she was already gone.