Chapter 3

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Answers – it was all Kasia had in mind when she ignored the fifth text message from Robyn. It wasn't as if she had forgotten the rehearsal dinner altogether, but who planned something as important as that for the day after a bachelorette party anyway? After her second confusing encounter with Madame Flora, Kasia had rushed home immediately and looked up the address the woman had given her. It was surprisingly close to the location of the restaurant she was supposed to be at in less than an hour. So, she had dressed up, made herself look presentable, but then simply took a little detour on the way. No one would die from her being a tiny bit late after all.

Kasia entered a neighbourhood she had never been to before. Not because it was sketchy or shabby in the slightest, it was quite the opposite. Upscale apartment buildings, which she wouldn't be able to afford even after years of hard work, were lining clean and orderly streets. As the sun went down and dipped the streets in darker shade of blue, she was glad she at least wouldn't have to worry about getting mugged.

As she rounded the corner, she found herself in front of a town house that seemed oddly out of place between all the apartment complexes and at the same time like it perfectly belonged there. In the narrow space between the buildings, all sorts of greenery were growing, making it seems like the house was in a world all of itself. After double checking the address, Kasia pressed the silver button on the gate, assuming it had to be the doorbell.

Finally, a crackling greeted her in return.

"Hi, I am here to ..."

"Damn intercom ... be right ... you ... wait there."

The cut-off voice had definitely been male, but she was still surprised to see a young man around her age rushing towards the gate. As soon as he laid eyes upon her, he stopped dead in his tracks. Did she know him? His hair seemed too light for his tan skin, but something about the way his dark eyes took her in felt familiar. Quickly, as if nothing had happened at all, he shook himself and straightened up again.

"What can I do for you?"

"I am here to see," Kasia checked the sheet of paper again. "Georgina Dawes?"

"On what behalf?" The young man asked, clearly making an effort to sound professional. Kasia wasn't sure she had time for another odd episode like the day before, but she felt as if she was probably heading that way.

"Madame Flora said that Miss Dawes might be able to help me ... find some answers, but it's fine. I can just come back some other day ..."

"Madame Flora, you say?"

"Yes."

"Follow me and ... don't call Georgie 'Miss', she hates that."

"Uhm, okay, sure!" Kasia hurried to follow the man inside. Upon closer inspection, she was sure he couldn't be much older than her. She suspected that he might even be one or two years younger. He took long strides in silence, leading her through one endless corridor after the next. Kasia didn't understand how a house could encompass so many doors and subsequent rooms behind them when it looked so small from the outside. Usually she would have felt the urge to fill the quiet with talking, but aside from the feeling that she wouldn't get much of a response out of the man, she also enjoyed being able to take in everything she saw. The house was modern and ancient. It felt familiar and alien at the same time, just like her guide.

"What is your name? I don't think I caught it before."

"I didn't provide one." She was waiting for him to go on, but he didn't. Instead he abruptly stopped in front of a mahogany door with fancy carvings that Kasia couldn't quite decipher. "This is the reading room. You can wait inside. Georgie will be with you shortly."

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