With a final glance at the townhouse that seemed as if it were forcefully being put to sleep, she drew in a deep breath, which I pretended not to notice, and we headed up the street in tandem.
At our destination, we were asked if we’d like to sit along the walk or inside the café. Katrina spoke up. “Inside please. As far away from the street as possible.”
We settled ourselves at a table for two in the darkest corner. I ordered a kettle of tea and breakfast.
Katrina hadn’t made eye contact with me since we’d left the walk in front of the townhouse.
“You seem quite out of sorts, Miss Harwood. Often, I’ve found it most relieving to talk about my problems.”
She turned an empty gaze to me. “It must seem odd to find a woman of my age alone on the street.”
“Fear not, my dear. You are not the first.”
“I appreciate your kindness, but must own that I’m rather curious that you know my name. Are you willing to provide an explanation, Ms. deGrey?”
“You have every right to be mistrustful.”
At that moment, the tea arrived. We remained silent while the server poured out. Once she left, Katrina set her wrists upon the table and leaned in, awaiting my account.
I reached out and added a few drops of milk to her Lady Gray. “I guess one could say that I’m a friend.”
Katrina raised an inquisitive brow. “That’s all?”
I took a sip of my tea, then blotted my lips with the embroidered linen provided. “What I’m come to tell you is that, what ever happens, where ever your path leads, be brave.”
She indulged then swallowed. “How very cryptic of you. But how could you possibly know my plight?”
A plate of scrambled eggs and sausages were set before us. When we were alone again, I asked, “Tell me, Miss Harwood, what’s in your trunk?”
“Everything I own that wasn’t sold at auction. . . ” she trailed off.
I couldn’t help but detect the hollowness in her words and sensed that before me sat a soul, frozen with fear. I reached out and placed my hand over hers. “You mustn’t fret. Just know that there will be people along the way willing to help you.”
The tears she’d nearly shed not a half hour ago resurfaced. “How is that even possible— unless you are one of those people?” A look of hope changed her features.
“Unfortunately, not I. I’m from out of town and unfortunately, must leave for home straight away lest I miss my transport.”
“How far our of town?”
Her demeanor faded once again and without another word, she tucked in.
We ate in silence.
When our plates ere clean and removed, I set several pound notes upon the table. “Would you be a dear and take care of the bill?”
She observed the money. “I think you’ve over-paid.”
I stood. “Keep the rest.”
Katrina also stood. “How can I thank you?”
I gazed into her eyes as if I could imprint my words on her subconscious for all time. “You must hold fast to your endurance for you have an epic journey ahead of you. Be safe, be strong, lean upon your intelligence and be open to the miracles that are already on their way to you. Good day, my dear.” I nodded my farewell, exited the café, then headed toward the harbor
Like a soothsayer I had seen into Katrina’s future. Yes, there would be set backs, but after a time, a hero would come onto her life. A man that would change everything for her.
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