Karissa’s heart was heavy as she stood at the docks looking out over the water. The night before Bryantt had told her was going away on a business trip. He had spent some time with her, holding her into the wee hours of the morning. Then he slipped out of bed, covered her up gently, and returned to the Countess at the castle.
Karissa had a restless night. Nightmares caused her to toss and turn. She awoke with a start and got out of bed her hands shaking. She moved to the window and stopped, frozen in her tracks. On a branch sat an owl, staring at her through the window. Who was it that had told her that owls were bad luck when they looked in your window? Was it one of the sisters at the abbey? She looked away, shivered, and looked back at the window again. The owl was gone.
She put another log on the fire. She shivered, unable to shake the feeling of dread she had had for weeks. She made some tea and curled up on the couch, watching the fire, knowing he would be leaving soon.
He had been mysterious about this trip, saying only that he was taking Baylee with him. She was hurt at first, but she had learned to trust Bryantt and knew better than to press him with questions. She dressed slowly, twisting the ring on her finger, and went downstairs to the tavern. She grabbed her cloak and told Sally that she would return soon.
She walked down the path to the docks, her mind far away. She stood there looking out over the water.
She heard voices approach and turned to see Bryantt and the Countess. She caught a look in viv’s eye, seeming to mirror her dread, sadness, and feelings of forboding. She watched Bryantt kiss Vivienne. She knew Bryantt loved them both and that she would never be the only one in his life.
Karissa moved to Baylee and hugged her tightly. She would miss her. Karissa had for a while been her boss in the brothel, but more than that, she was her friend through all things and at all times. She told Baylee she would miss her terribly and to be careful and to be safe. Baylee kept things lively around Roxeter. The place would not be the same without her.
She felt Bryantt’s hand on her arm, and she turned to kiss him with tears in her eyes. She tried to force a smile. She grabbed him and hugged him, unable to form words, holding on to him as long as she could. He gently moved her back and lifted a hand to brush the hair from her eyes. She looked up at him and whispered, “Stay.”
He said nothing, but turned and took Baylee’s hand and led her to the ship. Viv moved to her side and took her hand. She looked at Viv and knew that no matter what their feelings had been toward one another, they both loved him. She squeezed her hand lightly and let the tears she had worked so desperately hard to hold back flow. She closed her emerald eyes and said a silent prayer, that God might keep them both safe and bring them home.