Katherine Winters gazed at the family across the room. Around her, she could barely make out the sounds of dinners served: clinking glasses, a dropped utensil here and there, murmurs of menu selections recited to various servers, whispered conversations. Her dining companion’s voice was hushed, low and husky, barely audible through the rush of blood in her ears.
The father was telling a joke as the family looked at him, each one’s face showing an expectant grin. When he hit the punch line, a cacophony of laughter spilled from all of them. The boy nodded rapidly, a grin plastered on his face, eyes wide with wonder. The father’s eyes twinkled with love when he looked at his daughter, making Katherine’s heart squeeze with thoughts of her own father. She looked at the mother and nearly swooned at the resemblance to her mother. Perhaps that was why they captivated her so much. The little girl tipped her head, a giggle escaping her lips. “Ugh,” Katherine moaned as her eyes filled with tears at the close resemblance to the five-year-old Katherine of her past. Drawn to the little boy, her eyes slowly and painfully made their way back to him. Had fate stolen from her the pleasure of a little brother?
Katherine jumped at the loud bang that came from beside her. Her heart began to palpitate as her body went cold with perspiration. A vision flashed before her eyes, a young woman lying on the sidewalk, her beautiful, long blonde hair splayed across a pool of blood. A little girl, hair as golden as her mother’s, standing next to her, eyes wide with fright, the remnant of a scream lodged in her throat. She looked around, fear-filled eyes looking for the source of the noise, but it was only a careless server dropping a tray of dishes.
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