Chapter Sixteen

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Chapter Sixteen 

Scorpio: Remember you are the phoenix-able to rise again from the ashes. This week will be about new beginnings, and is the start of your dreams coming true. You will meet a long lost friend or lover so this time make sure there are no more misunderstandings. Work may have to take a new direction in order for you to follow your dreams. You will receive good news in regards to family or children and you will generally be feeling on top of the world, so go for it Scorpio, embrace your life and let destiny lead you to your dreams!

.............Four months later......... 

Winter shivered and wrapped her over-size trench coat tighter around her swelling belly. The wintry sun was weak so it held no warmth , but the sky was the usual sharp, porcelain blue, however, knowing the fickleness of the Tasmanian weather, it was bound to rain or snow even though the sky was blue. Winter wandered amongst the stalls at Tasmania's famous Salamanca Market, breathing in the scent of Huon pine, which mingled with the scent of coffee and hot food, and the fishy tang from the Hobart waterfront nearby. She loved the chatter of the stall holders and the sounds of local buskers playing a variety of instruments which harmonised with the fruiter's voice calling out "Apples for sale, a dollar a bag." Winter loved the colour and the atmosphere of the market, she had been attending it ever since she was a child and even after all those years, it had hardly changed. Already she had bought a coffee to sip while she wandered along the cobbled paths. Luckily her aversion to coffee had not lasted, perhaps it was part of the morning sickness she was just recovering from. Winter had been to her obstetrician to have the pregnancy confirmed and she had also had an ultrasound to confirm when she would be due. The image of the tiny form moving on the screen had reduced Winter to tears, it was such an awesome experience to be creating a new life. She wished Dan could have been by her side to witness it and worried again if she had made the right decision in not trying harder to contact him with the news. But by now he would have moved on with his life, perhaps he and Veronique were back together, or perhaps he had moved on or purchased another resort on another island. No, it was definitely the right thing to do to let him be free. She didn't want to be married for the sake of a child, she wanted love to be the meaning of life. Winter finished her coffee then bought flowers and fresh, local produce which she did every week, rather than buying fruit and vegetables from a supermarket, she much preferred it fresh and local. Laden with her bags she stopped again at another stall selling hand-knitted baby clothes and she couldn't resist buying singlets and matinee jackets and tiny bootees. She had been keeping her news a secret to make sure the pregnancy would continue safely, after her previous miscarriage and she didn't want to have to explain why the father was not around. Juggling her bags, Winter was about to head out of the market, when she came across a tarot card reading stall. She loved astrology and all things to do with the occult and she always read her star sign in the local paper each day. Once, when she had been a carefree teenager she had gone to visit a psychic to have a reading about her future. Now, she felt a pull as she approached the stall. She knew she had more questions than answers about her future, so maybe a bit of clarity would help. Winter smiled shyly at the woman with red flyaway hair and a purple floaty dress, as she sat down on the beaded stool. The woman looked shrewdly at Winter then took her hand. "I don't think we will use the cards with you, I have so much information coming through I don't need to ask for help. Firstly, I have a message from your father, he wants you to keep up with your writing as it is in your soul to write." Winter took a sharp breath in shock. How did this stranger know the secrets in her soul? Winter surreptitiously wiped away a tear as she thought again of her father and how tragic it was that he was not alive to see his first and only grandchild. "You are fire and ice, in your soul is so much warmth, passion and fire but on the outside you are like ice, cool and calm and you don't easily let people into your soul. I know you are searching for something, and I see fulfilment and contentment in your future". The woman looked deep into Winter's eyes, making her shiver with the intense depth of her gaze. She felt uneasy about what else the woman would see in her soul. "Have you got any specific questions?" The woman asked. Winter thought for a moment, what did she want to know about her future that the woman couldn't already see in her soul? Now that she had access to her future she didn't really want to know. She nearly had what she wanted, the only thing or person missing was Dan. Before she could form her thoughts into a question, the psychic spoke again, "You will be getting a visit from someone dear to you but has been lost to you through misunderstanding, heed the message they bring and find forgiveness in your heart for them and all your dreams will then come true." The pychic let go of Winter's hand then and stood up, indicating the session was over. Winter dug into her bag to retrieve her purse and handed over the forty dollars with shaking hands. She kept thinking of the saying-be careful what you wish for, so she nervously picked up her bags and thanked the woman, before leaving. The market was still crowded, so Winter had to push through the throngs of people who were now queuing up at the various food vans. The physic's words kept rolling around in her head, like a log going downhill and gathering momentum as it went. Winter was trying to manoeuvre herself around the crowds, without getting bumped or her belly being knocked with prams or bags, and was concentrating on her own thoughts that she didn't see where she was going until she bumped full-force into a strong male body. The force of the impact made her drop her bags and she tried vainly to hold onto her flowers while protecting her belly and trying hard not to lose her balance and trip over, at the same time. But it was too late, her flowers dropped to the ground and her trench-coat spread open like the wings of a bird, revealing her bulge. "I'm sorry!" Winter muttered, red-cheeked not only from the cold air, but also she was embarrassed at the scene she had caused in the middle of the crowd. She bent over to retrieve her bags and the wilted looking flowers, but the stranger beat her too it. "No, I'm sorry, I should have been paying attention to where I was going. Here, allow me". He managed to gather together her belongings quickly with little fuss and handed them back to her. She finally looked up at him, a thankyou on her lips, but then she froze, she had recognised that voice, that build and now she knew why, standing in front of her was Dan! She was rooted to the spot, so the crowd had to form a pathway around her. Trying to regain her composure, she brushed a strand of hair away from her face and pulled the coat around her to cover her pregnancy, but it was too late, Dan's glance had already taken in the swelling bump. His expression hadn't changed though, so maybe he hadn't noticed anything, Winter thought to herself. "We need to talk, Winter, but I would rather not keep making a spectacle of ourselves, is there somewhere else we can go?" Winter glanced around her at the crowds and decided it was a good idea to get out of the way. She snatched her bags back from Dan and stalked away, to the grassed area on the edge of the market, where people were already sitting on the benches eating lunch, kids were running around shrieking and buskers were playing their instruments. No matter that the sea-breeze had whipped up and the wintery clouds were closing in full of rain. The fickleness of the Tasmanian weather and the coldness of the winter didn't stop the market. Winter shivered and stomped her feet, she hadn't intended staying so long at the market so now she was freezing, the only thing still keeping her warm was the rapid beating of her heart and the zinging of her nerve endings. "What are you doing here? I thought you would be on the next cruise or back with Veronique." Winter said, petulantly. "Anyway, I don't have time for this, I need to get back." Winter was trying hard to be cool and put on a fa\u00e7ade of nonchalance, in order to cover her true feelings of joy and love, but her voice quavered and she didn't think her angry look was working. "I came to find you Win, I wanted to apologise for....merde! I have so many apologies in my heart I don't know where to start," Dan ran his fingers through his hair in frustration, messing it up. Winter desperately wanted to smooth it back into place but she had to stand firm. "I want to apologise for listening to Alex and doubting you and for not telling you the truth straight up. I want to say sorry for not loving you enough a year ago and sorry for not fighting for you to keep you out of Alex's arms." Dan dropped his gaze from her and glanced away into the distance. His jaw was clenched and his shoulders drooped. Winter could see how contrite he was and how angry at himself for not staying by her side. Her heart clamoured in her chest, it was now or never, her fate lay in her hands and for the first time in her life, she knew she had the power to control her future. She could either stay angry at him and walk away into a cold, lonely future as a single mother or she could forgive their mistakes and follow her heart. The psychic had told her to find forgiveness and that would mean her dreams of a happily ever after with the man she had loved for half of her life could finally come true. This moment was so huge that she didn't notice the sights and sounds of the market, or the snow capped Mountain in the distance, encompassing the city in it's outstretched arms. But she did notice the sudden flutter, like bats flitting inside her stomach. It was so unexpected that she drew in her breath sharply, and placed her hand comfortingly on her belly. Dan immediately became concerned, "Are you ok?" he reached out his hand to touch her gently on her arm and Winter took his hand and placed it on her rounded belly, so he could experience the fluttering of their baby kicking. Winter drew in a deep breath for courage and gushed "I'm sorry too Dan, for so many things like not telling you about this." She held his hand against her stomach and through his hand she felt a kick. She glanced up at Dan's expression and saw his eyes widen in surprise then crinkled at the corners into a loving smile. Before he could speak, she rushed on again, "I'm sorry for not sticking around and hearing your side. I should have trusted you and loved you enough not to doubt you. Do you forgive me?- Even though I didn't tell you about our daughter growing inside me?" Winter's voice trembled and she could feel tears pricking her eyes. "Did I hear you correctly? Did you say we are going to have a baby girl?" Dan asked, as he stepped closer and engulfed her in a warm embrace, his woolly jumper tickled her cheek and the suede of his jacket felt smooth and comforting, soft and sensual like his lips. Winter felt like she had faced her demons and overcome them and she was now confronting her destiny instead of trying to run away from it. 

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