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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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The door flew open, and I spun to face Pauline.

“What happened to your neck?” she demanded immediately.

“A little tumble down the stairs with some firewood in my arms. Pure clumsiness.”

She slammed the door behind her. “That’s Enzo’s job! Why were you doing it?”

I looked at her, perplexed. It was the most engaged she had been in two weeks. “The laggard wasn’t around today. Every time he comes into a bit of coin, he disappears.”

She started to go on about my bandage, but I stopped her and drew her to the bed to show her the basket. We sat and I noticed her scarf was gone. Her hair was full and honey gold around her shoulders.

“Your mourning scarf,” I said.

“It’s time to move on,” she explained. “I’ve done all I can for my Mikael. Now I have other things that require my attention. And the first thing appears to be you.”

I reached out and hugged her, pulling her tightly to me. My chest shook. I tried not to make a display, but I held her long and hard until she finally eased away, cautiously looking me over.

“Is everything all right?”

Weeks of worry poured out of me, my voice shaking. “Oh, Pauline, I missed you so much. You’re all I have. You’re my family now. And you were so pale and grieved. I feared I might never get you back. And then there were the tears and the silence. The silence—” I stopped, pressing my fingers to lips, trying to force the quiver away. “The silence was the worst of it all. I was afraid that when you told me to go away that you blamed me for Mikael.”

She pulled me toward her, holding me, and we both cried. “I’d never blame you for that,” she said. She leaned back so she could look into my eyes. “But grief has a way of its own, Lia. A way I can’t control. I know it’s not over yet, but today at the Sacrista…” She paused, blinking back tears. “Today, I felt something. A flutter inside. Here.” She took my hand and pressed it low against her stomach. “I knew it was time for me to prepare for the living.”

Her eyes glistened. Through all the pain, I saw the hope of joy in her eyes. My throat swelled. This was a journey neither of us could have imagined.

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