Chapter Twenty-one


The man by the fire watched as a despondent Beatrice paced the sitting room. Twice she had appeared as though she intended to stomp out of the house, but the internal battle to go or remain always brought her back into the room where she would loudly air her frustrations.

“I have to get out of here,” she said. “Surely I can’t be expected to do nothing?”

“If you leave and Lucas finds this place, he will die,” the man said. “You will have to live with the fact that your actions were to blame.”

Beatrice stopped pacing. She eyed the man with contempt. “He’s as good as dead now, though, right? I’ll never be with him. He’ll be gone forever.”

The man offered her a forlorn smile. “The smallest of things can bring the greatest joys,” he said. “Objects of desire are made so by what we ascribe to them.”

He looked down at his coat, and plucked a button from it as though it were a berry from a burgeoning fruit bush.

He put it in his palm and held it out to her, and in the
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