A GENTLE GRACE
“Burn it,” Josephine said with conviction.
“Lock it away in a box,” Margaret suggested.
“Give it to me,” Catherine said kindly.
Wordlessly Grace looked up from the letter she clutched in her hands to the three women who hovered over her wearing varying expressions of concern. She managed a small smile, but it fell far short of her dark blue eyes and felt unnaturally heavy on her lips.
“I do not know what to do,” she confessed in a whisper, lifting the letter from her lap to press it tightly against her chest. The parchment crinkled, but she paid it no mind. The letter could be torn in a thousand, nay, a hundred thousand pieces and she would still be able to recite every last word.
Without warning Josephine reached forward and plucked the letter from her grasp. Crossing the parlor in three quick strides the fair haired, violet eyed beauty held it dangerously close to the flames that licked out from the hearth. “Burn it,” she repeated, her mouth settling into a mulish frown. “It has been nigh on two months without a single word. He is not coming back, Grace, and you would do well to erase him from your thoughts completely. Starting,” – her hand inched closer to the fire – “with this damned letter!”
“Josephine,” Grace gasped, scrambling to her feet. The toe of her boot caught on the edge of the Persian rug that was stretched across the oak floorboards and she went flying forward, arms wind milling helplessly in the air. With a cluck of their tongues Margaret and Catherine caught her simultaneously, each grasping an arm and hauling her upright in a move well conditioned by practice.
“There, there,” Catherine soothed, patting Grace’s shoulder. “Josephine is not going to burn your letter, dear. Isn’t that right, Josephine?” Easily the sternest of the four women, Catherine’s startling sapphire eyes brooked no nonsense as she glared daggers at her friend.
With a reluctant sigh Josephine pulled the letter back from the fire and returned it to Grace. “Here,” she said grudgingly. “Although you really should stop reading it. Bury it in the ground and be done with it. Be done with him. He truly is gone, sweetling. And no matter how many times you read that blasted letter he is not coming back.”