Amelia walked close by de Graaf along the darkened dockside, darker still for the charred remains of warehouses and shops, and work sheds.
“It’ll take some time to rebuild. What a tragedy. So many lives lost.” Amelia looked around, as she held de Graaf’s arm.
“I haven’t heard the official count. Here’s the dinner Marit put together, there’s some extra tea that the other Sisters may like. She insisted I send it along. I hope we have the pleasure of your company on the Leeuwin once more before we depart. Some of my crew might find comfort in the Eventide message of work and duty. ” De Graaf looked up and down the street, turning his head, searching for a carriage.
Amelia laughed softly. “You make fun of my profession.”
“No, not at all. Nothing but respect for the Eventides. If you happen to see Lucia, give her my best, and I’ll say a few prayers for the lost myself.”
Amelia shivered in the marine breezes. “Storm blowing in. It’s chilly.” She adjusted her head scarves.
De Graaf looked over and slipped off his coat, and draped it around Amelia. “Pearl earrings?”
Amelia nodded. “Yes. Mother Claude allows me the small indulgence. They were my mother’s.”
“Ah. I was starting to question Eventide vows of austerity.” De Graaf replied. “I’ll need the coat back when the carriage arrives. Where are all of them this evening?”
“My father gave my mother the earrings as a gift after my birth. He was a sailor, oceangoing cargo man, and my mother was a cook. This was all that was left of their estate when they passed.”
“And the Delsarte’s took you in.” De Graaf finished.
“Yes. But I rebelled. I took up with the Sources, I sold myself on the docks. I fell in love with one of the immortals, and when he discovered I was with child, his child, he went mad with rage, he was certain it was not his, and drained me, and threw me off the ship. I woke, in the Eventides Clinic, I had lost the child, and I spent months recovering. I was mortified, the Delsartes gave me everything, and I did this. In my long recovery, I found a sense of comfort with the Sisters, and there I’ll remain. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go on.” Amelia looked down at her shoes, avoiding de Graaf’s face.
“I’m sorry. It’s alright. Your confidence is safe with me.” De Graaf replied.
“Be kind to Lucia. For me. I worry for her, as she becomes besotted with you and your charm. I had no other lovers, and she should know love better than I did.” Amelia swallowed hard. ‘I’m fine, this was a while ago. I just worry for Luce. She’s my world.”
Off in the distance, a carriage rattled up the street. De Graaf leaned over to Amelia.
“I swear on my immortal soul, Lucia can be my queen if she wishes it. And if I ever come across the one who harmed you, shall I drive a stake in his heart as he did yours?”
Amelia gasped, pressing her hand to her chest in horror. “Gods and saints.” She spoke loudly, before pulling de Graaf close and whispering in his ear, a name. That done, Amelia sat back and rifled through the small box of teas.
“Oh, Mother Claude loves this one. And Brother Stephan, this one. If you can bring more of these, I’d make sure you were compensated. “
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll keep the compound kitchen stocked, if you give me a list every time I’m in port. My thanks, for tending to Matthias. I truly didn’t harm him, I’ll be devastated if something happens to him.” De Graaf replied.
Amelia smiled. “Maybe you immortals aren’t all bad.”