Eva seemed happy. She gently took Abigail from Susi’s arms, and put her in her crib for a nap. “Come with me, and I’ll show you your room. Do you have any personal items with you?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t. I know that seems strange. I guess I really do need a job so I can buy some clothes.”
Her having no items didn’t seem to worry Eva. Susi was shown to her room, and then Eva went to her closet and selected some dresses. “Here, I think we’re about the same size. I’m sorry, but you really can’t be seen around town in those clothes you’re wearing.” Smiling, she continued, “I like your nerve though, a woman wearing pants is pretty brave. Put this on, I think it’ll look pretty on you.”
While she was dressing, Susi asked Eva why she would hire someone for such a short time. “I mean, it might only be a few days before Bobby comes for me.”
“Let’s just say that I’ve put off hiring the full-time nanny. I’ll think of you as a friend staying here until then. My husband is away for a few days, so you and I can keep each other company. I’m already grateful to you, Susi. With the fever going around and all, it’s pretty scary trusting someone to come into your home. They say that the sickness drives a person crazy, they hear voices, and then do things they wouldn’t normally do. Hey, that does look good on you. Here, look in the mirror. Now you can go to the tea with me.” She looked down and put her hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry, that sounded so rude. It’s just that I want my friends to like you, and they will judge you harshly if you aren’t dressed appropriately. Give me a few minutes to get myself ready.” Eva left the room, which gave Susi some time to think about a strategy.
Susi’s entire point of being in Lucas was to save Abigail from that woman. But hadn’t she done that already? Her thoughts began to get lost, as if she were trying to remember a dream. The harder she tried, the faster the pictures in her head were disappearing. She was in deep thought when she heard him beckoning her from somewhere far away. She put her hands to the sides of her head, trying to remember the voice. And then, overcome by fear, she frantically searched her body for bites. Had she already been struck by the fever? She felt her forehead, and was relieved to have a cool touch. She heard his voice again, but this time he called her by name. She ran to the mirror, and told herself there was no voice. She had to be calm. She had to hide how the voice made her feel if she was going to be welcome to stay in their home, to protect the baby.
“Susi, can you get Abigail and put her together for her outing? Choose whatever you think is pretty.” The voice was a healthy one, it was from her new friend, and it was just across the hall. She was straining to remember what she was doing in someone else’s house. She took some deep breaths, and that helped her regain her strength. Then she slowly walked to the nursery and performed the job she had been hired to do.
The two women walked down the street, looking stunning for their tea, and sporting a beautiful carriage with the lovely Miss Abigail smiling inside. “I love this town, Eva. The streets are so clean, the houses so neat and tidy.”
“Hmm, are you talking about Lucas?” Eva laughed. “Don’t mind my sarcasm, it’s just that I’ve lived here all my life, so I think it would be correct for me to say that I find it quite boring.” She touched Susi’s arm. “But I think maybe I’m about to change my mind. Do you think you and I will be best friends?” She had a charming way about her, she was so warm and loving.
“You know? I feel the same way. Sometimes there’s a type of chemistry between people that allows them to be close from the beginning. I’m almost thinking that I’d like my husband to stay away longer.” They laughed together, and Abigail cooed to join in on their fun. Susi was so content that she almost overlooked the woman staring at her from across the street. But there it was, that intent eye contact she’d had with the woman before. But when? And who was she? “Eva, who is that woman staring at me over there?” She pointed secretly and Eva slowly peered in that direction.
“Her? I thought you knew. I don’t think she’s very happy with you here. She’s Abigail’s nanny, but I told her to take a few days off because you were coming to see me. I think that’s why she’s glaring at you, but don’t let her scare you. I think she’s harmless, but definitely, an odd woman.”
Bothered that she should remember something about the nanny, the thought was fading from Susi’s memory, and because of that, she decided it couldn’t be important. Anyway, it was beginning to give her a headache to think so hard. But there was Bobby, she did remember him. She didn’t know why he’d left her, or if he would come back. He knew they were having a baby, so why wasn’t he with her? “Eva, how well do you know my husband?”
“Bobby? You always did have a flare for being the funny one, didn’t you?” She stopped and stared at her good friend for a moment. “I swear, Susi. Since we were little, you always had us laughing. My mom wanted to adopt you so we’d have more laughter in the house.” She snickered, “But of course, she didn’t know about you and Bobby at that time. If she had, there’s no way she’d even like you anymore. Her son was the most important thing in her life. I wish she would have loved me as much as Bobby.” She sighed, and pulled herself together. “But, things always work out for you, don’t they?”
“Eva, get rid of your nanny, would you? I don’t like the way she looks at us, she seems a little scary. Find a nice lady for my little princess.” She stooped to kiss the baby, and looked up at her sister in law, “Please? And as for the tea, could we just walk some more, but just the three of us? I don’t feel like being around people today.”
“I’m proud of you for just being out walking, Susi. I’m proud of both of us, actually. Losing Bobby was a terrible loss, but at least we have each other.” She looked at Susi’s tummy, and touched it tenderly. “And you not only have me and Abigail, but this little one.” She put her arms around Susi, and they hugged as if they were close friends.
“I have to get home, but I can’t remember where that is. Please take me home.” Susi couldn’t contain the tears anymore, as she broke down right there in the little town of Lucas, right in the middle of the square. She’d lost her Bobby, how would she be able to continue on? She heard that voice again, and threw the palms of her hands over her ears. “Make the voice stop, please help me. Go away, leave me alone. Eva, stop the man from taking me away from you!”
“Please, someone help us. My sister is sick, please someone help.” Eva’s cry was desperate, and soon there were lots of people surrounding them. A car stopped, and they carefully put Susi inside so she could be taken to a room in her sister’s house.
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