As she walked through the market, Karissa tilted her face upwards to let the sun warm her skin. She closed her eyes and reflected on the events of the past weeks. The town was abuzz with talk about the upcoming nuptials of the Countess and Lord Bryantt.
She sighed, her broken heart aching. She heard his words echo inside her head, “Yes, Your Grace. I would be honored to have her hand in marriage.” The words tore at her heart and made her blood to boil at the same time.
She heard someone approach and looked up to see Father Barnard. She smiled, quickly straightening her dress as she did all those years ago when her mother dragged her to church.
She noticed some of the color had returned to his cheeks. They exchanged some small talk and she tried to hide her pain, but he was far too observant and picked up on the trouble behind her emerald eyes. He invited her to continue their conversation over some of Sr. Agatha’s wonderful apple pie. Karissa tried to be flippant, until the good Father revealed that he knew some of her secrets. She softly lowered her eyes, realizing that she must be very careful with this man.
He encouraged her to learn from the nuns and take up a new profession, perhaps in nursing. Becoming suddenly aware of how handsome the man was and being a tad apprehensive around him, she reverted back to what she knew best by taking a few daring chances to flirt, to which she earned some response. “Old habits die hard,” he whispered.
As he left, she gathered the dishes and took them to the abbey kitchen to clean. She smiled to herself. This had been the first time in days that she was not livid about the upcoming nuptials. She placed the last dish on the shelf and headed out the door.
Walking back to the brothel, she thought she saw a man in the distance heading towards the brothel. She felt butterflies fluttering in her stomach at the thought of seeing him again. Suddenly the image was gone. Did she see someone? Or was it all just a silly girl’s hopefulness? Oh how her heart wished it had been her love coming to tell her he wasn’t marrying the Countess. She lowered her head and quickened her pace as she wiped a tear from her cheek.