How It Would End

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Sara first heard the whispers as she was making her way out of Henry's room. 

She stopped short, twisting quickly to look behind her, and then down the upstairs corridor. Was it a servant, spying on her and telling another? Was it Liam? 

She looked, but was unable to find the speaker. She patted the tiny glass vial in her apron pocket, reassuring herself by simply touching the small lump it formed through the cloth. She smiled to herself, her heart full. Everything had been going so well as of late. Henry had been quieter, not so rambunctious since he had taken ill, and Liam had been so happy to see her doting on their son, and bringing him back to health. 

Liam  had not been so affectionate since the very early days of their marriage. They were like newlyweds, giggling and sneaking off together, ducking out of view of the servants and finding stolen moments to be alone. Sara had forgotten she could be this happy. 

*  *  *

She was in her parlor, sitting at her desk and working on a watercolour of the vibrant, winter scene outside her windows, when she heard the voice of a man, seemingly right behind where she sat. 

Sara. Where is your husband?

She jumped, startled. She turned towards the door, expecting that someone had come in, searching for Liam. But none of her servants would have dared address her by her Christian name, and there were no callers expected this afternoon. She frowned slightly, looking around her a moment longer, before giving her attention back to her paints. 

He's with that woman.

Now Sara threw down her hand, the palm slapping the surface of the writing desk, the sound breaking the cheery stillness of the room. She stood, angrily, and made to have a better look. There was no one hidden behind the sofa or behind her velvet curtains, and when she peered out into the hallway, she saw no trace of rushing limbs or ducking bodies darting from her view. She stood very still, listening. 

Nothing came. 

She went back to the desk, sitting down and picking up her brush. As she dipped the end of her paintbrush into her small water jug, she felt her unease disappear into the clouded, murky water. 

Your painting is beautiful Sara. 

"Thank you", Sara responded brightly. 

*  *  *

Henry had been out of his room today and had rolled a ball towards his father. Liam had not been paying attention and had stumbled over the toy, nearly losing his balance. He had barked at Henry and then at Sara, his foul mood remaining and ruining their dinner later that night. After finishing his meal, Liam had grabbed his coat and headed out of doors. Sara watched through a window as he mounted his horse, taking off in the direction of town. 

"Come Henry", she called to her son. "It's time for bed. I think you'd best have some medicine before you go to sleep."

*  *  *

You are lovely today Sara.

Sara smiled to herself, turning in view of her mirror and fingering the heart shaped pendant that rested between her collarbones. The dress was new, and flattered her figure. Liam would be surprised to see her looking so chic. November was such a drab month, Sara decided, that it would cheer him to see her looking so well. It would remind him of how proud he should be to have such a beautiful wife. 

He is lucky. You've taken such good care of them. 

"I've taken such good care of them", Sara said to her reflection. 

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