Through the Lavender Fields preview
(Not the official book cover)
As the sun rose over the Nigerian horizon and began peeking through the sides of the window where the brown curtains were parted slightly in the window of the room at the inn, Dr. Bradley sat up and wiped his face with his hands as he yawned and looked at the time on his gold pocket watch, which sat on a small wood table next to the bed. He sighed at the time and the sound of the knock at the door.
“Just a minute,” he said and stood to slip on his tan pants before opening the door. “Good morning, Grace,” he said at the sight of his assistant.
“Good morning, Dr. Bradley,” Grace said, blushing as she eyed Dr. Bradley’s shirtless form as he splashed water on his face and cleaned his teeth. “Did you sleep well?”
Grace approached and handed him the shirt draped over the bed as she said, “Would you like to have breakfast?”
“Oh. Alright. Well I came to tell you there is another man who is ill,” Grace said.
“What do we know about him?” he asked, looking back at her over his shoulder with a mouth full of water.
“He isn’t from here, sir.”
Dr. Bradley tossed the shirt over his head and slipped his boots onto his feet, sitting on the bed to tie them as she continued.
“Go on,” he said.
“He has an American accent, I believe.”
“Interesting. What are his symptoms?”
“Same as all the rest.”
“I’ll be to the tents soon,” he replied.
“He isn’t in the tents, sir,” Grace said.
“What do you mean? Why not?” he asked as he combed his sandy blond hair and tied his cravat.
“Well, this man is very wealthy. He requested to be treated in his own rooms and he would pay extra.”
“I see. What is his name?” Dr. Bradley asked as he slipped on his vest.
“Porter… as in…” he said as they both walked out of the room and down the hall together.
“Yes, sir. As in Porter shipping. That Porter.”
Dr. Bradley stopped walking, rubbing his hand on his forehead as he thought about the greatest shipping tycoon of their time under his care for a very deadly illness.
“Do we know why he is here in Lagos?”
“On business, I believe, sir.”
Dr. Bradley sighed and said, “Has his family been notified?”
“The only information we have found out from the people he travels with is that he has a young daughter…”
Turning quickly to face Grace where she walked behind him on the stairs, he said, “How young?”
“I believe she is only 20 or so.”
Dr. Bradley said nothing as Grace knocked on his room door and said, “Mr. Porter? The doctor is here to see you.” She peeked her head around to see him and then they went inside.
“Mr. Porter, this is Dr. Bradley, the head physician treating the people here. He is going to see you for a few minutes.”
Dr. Bradley went over next to the bed of the gray-haired man and said, “Tell me a little about how you’re feeling, Mr. Porter.”
“I began having stomach pains, fatigue, and this rash…” he lifted his shirt and exposed his chest to reveal blisters all over his body.
After taking his temperature, pulse and checking the blisters, Dr. Bradley washed his hands, and sighed as he said, “I’ll return to you in a moment, Mr. Porter. I need to speak to my nurse.”
Tapping Grace on the shoulder, he waved for her to speak with him in the hall and closed the door behind them.
“Did you not see the blisters all over his body?” Dr. Bradley said, his tone scolding.
“I did, but I wasn’t sure what it meant. You’re the doctor, not me.”
“There’s nothing I can do for him.”
“What?” Grace said, her eyes wide.
“He has smallpox. It’s very likely he will die. The family needs to be informed.”
Grace’s eyes glanced at the door and then back to the doctor as she said, “Time frame?”
“Two weeks at best,” Dr Bradley said before going back into Mr. Porter’s room.
BOSTON- two months later
“Here’s a dress for you, Miss Caroline,” the lady’s maid said as she laid Caroline’s clean black dress on the chaise at the foot of the bed. “Your brother sent word only a little while ago that a carriage would arrive for you within the hour. Shall I help you dress?”
Miss Caroline Porter stood at the window of her bedroom, watching the rain as it rolled down the glass on the chilly March afternoon, as she looked out over the city of Boston and caught the glimpse of the harbor from her window, which was a view she would miss most of all. She thought about how the events of the previous few days would affect her life forever.
Wiping away her tears, Caroline walked the large room a few times, touching each piece of furniture as she went past to remember everything how they were. Her eyes burned to memory the pale yellow walls, the dark oak floors, and the crisp white linens that covered the hand-carved four poster bed her great grandfather made. The wash bowl in the corner on the oak table–a wedding gift to her mother–was left to her when her mother died, and as she thought of all the loss in her life, she felt sadness for leaving Boston and wanted to savor every last moment of her time here. But all too soon the memories became too much and again the tears began to flow, and she began to realize that leaving this home and the memories might be exactly what she needed to begin anew. As she walked to the chaise and took the black dress in her hands, she sniffled and breathed deeply, knowing this would no longer be her life.
“No. I can manage. Thank you.”
“I will return to you shortly, Miss,” the servant said with a curtsey. “I am truly sorry about Mr. Porter,” the maid said and left the room.
Caroline spent the next hour or so replaying the past year in her mind and how she wanted nothing more than to reverse time and bring back her dear father to make everything right again.
“Oh, Papa,” she said as she looked out her bedroom window once again, “If you just wouldn’t have gone on that trip, then you would never have fallen ill and you would still be here with me. If you only knew…”
She stood up straight, as if to shrug off the sadness, checked herself in the looking glass and wiped her green eyes as she re-pinned her ginger hair, then rang for the servant.
“You rang, Miss Porter?” the servant asked and entered.
“Yes. Could you please send a footman for my bags?”
“Of course. Someone will be up to assist you momentarily.”
The footman knocked just as Caroline was adjusting the cameo locket that once belonged to her mother and contained a portrait of her father.
“Miss Porter, your bags?”
“Yes. Take those right there by the chaise and that larger one by the changing room.”
“Yes. Of course. Right away, Miss Porter.”
The footman took two bags in his hands and left the room, and Caroline turned once again to the looking glass, adding a hat atop her ginger curls.
“Just a moment,” Caroline said when there was another knock at her door.
“Caroline, it’s John,” her brother said, peering his head around the door.
Caroline composed herself, walking to the door. “John, I’d thought you’d left for the boat.”
He entered her room and motioned the servant to leave, and Caroline slid her black gloves onto her hands.
“No,” he replied. “Margaret insisted I stay here.”
Caroline took her knitted black shawl from the side of the bed, wrapping it around herself as she sat on the corner of the chaise and looked at her half-brother.
“I am to be traveling alone then? All the way to England?”
“I’m afraid so. Do not be concerned about the journey. Six days on a ship is nothing. Besides, it is Father’s ship and you will be treated with the utmost care.”
Caroline turned from her brother and critiqued her appearance in the looking glass, adjusting her hat. “You mean was… it is your ship now. They are your ships now, John.”
“It’ll make no difference. You will be treated with the best care.”
“I have never traveled such a long way before. I’ve never left America before now.”
“The journey will be fine, and you need to start thinking about your future now, sister. You will be moving in some of the highest circles of people while in Bath and London, and Margaret and I expect to see you married in the very near future.”
Caroline walked to the door, opening it for him to leave. “Goodbye, John. I expect to see my money when I turn 21.”
“I am serious about this, sister.”
“Serious about what?”
“Finding you a husband.”
“I’m sure you are, but I’m just as serious about not having one.” Caroline waved her hand at the open door and said, “Goodbye, John.”
As John walked out and Caroline closed the door, she turned to look once more at her childhood home, the home where she’d grown from a girl to a woman. She sighed and followed her brother outside and into the carriage. As it drove down the lane, she kept her eyes on the Boston Harbor, a sight she would miss most of all.
“Goodbye, America,” she said.
“Come, sister, follow me this way,” John said when they arrived at the port.
Taking her time as she stepped out of the carriage, Caroline’s eyes were caught by all the people bustling about and by the size of one of her father’s largest ships, and her heart felt sad that the name written on the side of the large boat would now be but a legacy to the great man who began the business. The Porters it read. Her gaze stayed captivated on the great size of the ship as John gave orders to the servants to begin unloading the bags, and her eyes wandered up from the water to the lower deck, from one end to the other of the large white ship as she counted the windows below the deck and wondered what her voyage across the Atlantic would be like.
“Caroline, come,” John said again.
“Step up! Right this way!” the boat hand yelled as people waited in line with their tickets and luggage in hand.
John walked past everyone in line and approached the man collecting tickets.
“Take her bags and put them in suite number two on deck level one if you would.”
“Get in line like everyone else if you would, please sir.”
Feeling frustrated, John glanced at the footman at the carriage next to Caroline’s many bags, and in a much more unkind voice he said, “This is Miss Caroline Porter, daughter of the late Ronald Porter. Now, take those bags down there and take them to deck level one and put them in suite two.”
“Yes, sir. Of course, sir. Right away, Miss.” He opened the gate for her to pass through onto the ramp.
As she walked up the ramp and above the water below, she glanced back over her shoulder to see Boston once more—not waving at John—to remember her life there before sailing to a new adventure in England.
Caroline entered her room on the deck reserved for the very wealthy and priority travelers, and she glanced around the cabin, taking in all there was to see of her father’s finest ship.
“Is there anything else I can do for you, Miss Porter?”
Caroline looked at the deckhand, unsure of what else she should ask for and not knowing what she could possibly need. “No, thank you… I’m sorry. I didn’t catch your name.”
“Thank you, Gabriel.” she said as she handed him a silver dollar.
“The dining room is on the lower deck. Deck three.”
“And what deck is this?” she asked.
“And what time should I arrive for dinner?”
Gabriel smiled. “You may arrive anytime you like, Miss.”
Seeing the puzzled look on Caroline’s face, Gabriel clarified, “We serve dinner beginning from 5 pm until 10, and you are welcome to come anytime between those hours.”
“I see. Thank you for your help.”
“My pleasure,” he said with a bow as he closed her door and left.
Caroline walked once around the cabin–her eyes taking notice of the lounge, two chairs, and a writing desk–thinking how spacious it was with a private toilet and bath and a separate bedroom with a chaise lounge at the foot of the bed. Caroline walked into the bedroom and thought of her life in Boston as she brushed her fingers against the white linens on the bed, which reminded her of her own room in Boston. “This is much roomier than I’d anticipated,” she said, eyeing the contrast of the light blue walls and the mahogany wood panels. There were hand-carved wood trimmings throughout with mahogany wood floors that gleamed under the soft light of the oil lamps. Once she’d taken in all there was to see of her room, she walked back into the sitting room and looked out the window to see the view of the deck before rolling down the shade for privacy.
Knowing she had a little time until dinner, Caroline decided to take a view of the sea air. She walked out of her cabin and onto the deck. She held her hat in one hand as she breathed in the sea air and allowed the wind to blow in her face as she walked up to the bow of the boat. Though some of her felt the sense of freedom it was to be venturing across the Atlantic to a new place, most of her felt the loss of the only home she’d ever known.
“All these years, Papa never let me go anywhere. Now he’s gone and all I want to do is stay in Boston,” Caroline said and leaned her arms against the railing, looking out over the water as the sun’s rays glistened on the water and she listened to the boat blow its horn and heard seagulls squawk above her. Caroline breathed in the smell of the salt as she felt the air in her face, trying her best to lock her memories in her mind because she feared the farther she sailed away from Boston, the dimmer her memories would become to her, and she never wanted to lose those precious memories. To get a better view of the water splashing beneath the ship, Caroline stepped onto the bar of the railing and leaned over, taking in the smell of the sea and the feel of the wind in her face, but when she stepped back down, her footing wasn’t just right and the heel of her shoe snapped.
“Oh! For cripes sake!” she hollered and removed both shoes from her feet, setting them next to where she stood now in her stockings. “Perfect way to start a journey, Caroline.”
“Do you need assistance, Miss?”
Caroline glanced several feet away to her left at a man who was leaning against the railing, smoking.
After noticing his handsome face but also seeing that he was dressed like he belonged in steerage, she replied, “No, but I appreciate your kindness, sir.”
“Boston?” The man said. “Is that where you’re from?”
Caroline didn’t reply.
“I couldn’t help but overhear you talking to…” He glanced around.
“I was talking to myself,” Caroline replied.
“I see,” he said. “Odd thing to be talking to oneself.”
“Yes, well, I didn’t think I’d have anyone listening in on my conversation.”
“I can’t help if I thought your conversation was interesting enough to be listening in on.”
“Can you not?”
“Well, I suppose I could, but what fun would that be for me?”
Caroline rolled her eyes, but the side of her mouth curved up as she watched him puff his smoke out of the corner of her eyes.
“Is it such a hard thing to believe that you were saying something interesting?” he asked.
“I suppose not.”
“Fancy that,” he said with a small smile. “So, you’re from Boston?”
“And why are you heading to England, a young woman such as yourself?” he said, flicking ashes from his cigarette into the water.
“Um… family matters.”
Caroline turned to her mystery man and decided to ask him for a name. “Since you were curious enough to interrupt my conversation…”
“What conversation? You were talking to yourself,” he said with a blow from his cigarette.
“A conversation alone is a conversation, nonetheless.”
“But it’s a conversation with a crazy person,” he said with a side glance at her.
A small smile appeared on her face, and she said, “Do you always talk to women with whom you’ve had no introduction?”
“No, not usually, but I feel particularly drawn to the unusual side of life.”
Caroline laughed. “Is that an insult? Are you calling me unusual?”
He didn’t reply.
“What is that you are smoking?” she asked as he took another puff.
He held out his hand, his smoke between his thumb and index finger, as he said, “It’s a Turkish cigarette. They are becoming vastly popular around the world and I travel frequently. I bring these home with me whenever I travel.”
Caroline took the cigarette from his hand, holding it in her own for a moment. “Interesting.”
“I take it you don’t travel often.”
“Why would you make such an assumption?”
“I didn’t assume. I heard you say it.”
“Oh. Yes, I suppose you did.”
He chuckled. “And because you are fascinated by a cigarette.”
The side of his mouth turned up. “You certainly are an unusual kind of woman.”
“You’ve now insulted me twice, so I feel I’m owed a name.”
“I didn’t know being unusual was an insult,” he said, looking out over the water as he inhaled from his smoke.
She said nothing but crossed her arms.
“Dr. Benjamin Bradley,” he said.
“Doctor? Had we met under different circumstances, I might have asked your opinion about the situation in India that I’ve been reading in the newspapers.”
“And I would have changed the subject and talked about beer.”
“Beer? Why on earth would anyone talk about beer?”
“I prefer not to talk about medicine or disease of any kind when I am not working. I went to America with my sister and brother to have a break from medicine.”
“Well, then this would have inevitably been a disaster no matter the circumstances because I do not care for beer,” she replied with a smile.
“An American who doesn’t drink beer? You truly are unusual.”
“You assume because I’m an American I drink or even care for beer? How preposterous.”
He said nothing.
She smiled and said, “My mother was born in England.”
“Your mother? Where?”
“She was born in Bath. She met my father when he was in Liverpool on business. From what I heard, it was love at first sight.”
“There is no such thing.”
“And you have experience with this?”
He smiled and said, “I think it is time for supper.”
“I think you are correct.”
After dressing in her black, off the shoulder evening gown, Caroline walked down the deck, attracting the eyes of many men as she went past.
“Good evening, Ma’am,” each one of them said, tipping their hats.
And when she got to the stairs, much to her surprise, she saw Dr. Bradley standing there in a black dinner coat with a dark-haired woman, who was dressed in a deep green dress in a style similar to her own. As Dr. Bradley’s eyes caught a glimpse of Caroline, he excused himself from his previous conversation and joined Caroline where she held the handrail and stepped down the stairs.
“Good evening,” he said.
Caroline looked him up and down, her eyes enjoying the view of his wavy, sandy-blonde hair that was parted on the side, and his bright, blue eyes that lit up as he watched her walk.
“Huge contrast from the man I saw an hour ago,” she said, waving her hand up and down to his black dinner coat and gray pants.
“I’m a man of many occasions.”
“You know each other?” the other woman said.
“Not exactly,” he replied.
“We met on the deck a little while ago,” Caroline said. Extending her hand to the woman, Caroline said, “Caroline Porter.”
“Porter… as in Porter shipping? As in Porter shipping the ship we are currently aboard?”
Caroline smiled. “That’s the one.”
The woman looked at Dr. Bradley and said, “Benjamin, you’ve just casually met the Porters and you think nothing of it! So typically you!”
“No, not typically me. I didn’t even know it was her because she didn’t introduce herself.”
The young woman rolled her eyes and said to Caroline, shaking her hand, “Hannah Kenton, pleased to make your acquaintance. Our other brother is aboard somewhere, but I doubt we should see him at supper. Would you care to join us or do you have other engagements?”
“I should be delighted. Thank you,” Caroline replied.
The three walked into dinner and sat at a table together.
“What is taking you to England?” Miss Kenton asked as the waiter poured wine.
Caroline’s face was saddened.
“I’m sorry for my rudeness,” Miss Kenton said when she saw Caroline’s reaction.
“No, please,” Caroline replied, wiping a tear from her eye.
“A terrible thing has happened to you then?” Miss Kenton asked, now noticing Caroline’s black dress.
Caroline nodded. “I lost my father very recently.”
“Yes, I do remember hearing of Mr. Porter’s passing. Let us speak no more on it,” Miss Kenton said.
“Thank you, Miss Kenton. I feel as though we could be great friends.”
“I feel the same,” Miss Kenton said.
Knowing Caroline was the daughter of the great Ronald Porter, the crew made great attempts to keep her comfortable, and while she was sitting at dinner, the ship’s captain introduced himself to her.
“Miss Porter,” he said, approaching their table. “May I introduce myself?”
Caroline extended her hand as he bent over and kissed it. “I am Captain Sherwood. Welcome aboard. If there is anything the crew can do for you, please, let us know.”
Caroline nodded and said thank you, then returned to her food and wine.
“Astonishing,” Miss Kenton said.
“What?” Caroline asked.
“How calm you are,” Miss Kenton said.
“People treat you like you are Queen Victoria and yet you act as though it is nothing,” Miss Kenton said.
“Oh…” Caroline said, as her cheeks grew warm from the embarrassment of Hannah’s statement. “Do you think I'm snobby?”
“No! I didn't mean to insinuate that at all! I am sorry if I have been rude.”
“Hannah, I am certain Miss Porter doesn’t spend much time with people like us,” Dr. Bradley said, taking a sip of wine.
“Excuse me?” Caroline said.
“Benjamin, don’t be your usual self,” Miss Kenton said.
“His usual self? Whatever do you mean?”
“She means that she doesn’t want me to offend anyone.”
Caroline smiled widely and she replied, “Oh, believe me, I am not offended.” Looking at Miss Kenton, she said, “Tell me about your travels to America.”
“My brother travels all over the world and rarely takes me anywhere with him, so I finally made him take me to the one place I’d been wanting to go.”
“And where is that?”
“New York City, of course!”
Caroline smiled, taking a sip of wine.
“And did New York afford you the excitement you had been hoping for?”
“Oh, yes! It has the most wonderful things to see and the most beautiful shops I’ve ever visited. “Have you been to New York, Miss Porter?”
Nodding, Caroline said, “My older brother John and his wife live there. Well, they did.”
“And do you care for it?”
“I do.” Caroline’s attention turned to Dr. Bradley who sat quietly sipping his wine.
“You don’t say much, sir.”
Hannah said, “Benjamin never says much. That’s just his style.”
“Are you traveling alone, Miss Porter?” Dr. Bradley said.
Her eyes glanced at him, and she said, “Yes, sir. My circumstances require me to do so. And why is it that you travel all over the world?”
“I am a medical research doctor.”
“Oh,” her mouth showed the smallest hint of a smile.
“Are you laughing at me?” he asked with a smile.
“Not at all. I find it to be very honorable, Dr. Bradley.”
Later that evening, a knock came to Dr. Bradley’s cabin. Being 11:30pm and having already laid down in bed, he yawned, stretched, and said, “Just a minute!” as he slipped on his black pants before walking to the door.
“Yes?” he said and opened the door.
“Very sorry to disturb you, sir, but I have a note here for you from a Miss Porter,” the crewmember said.
With a quizzical brow, Dr. Bradley took the note from the silver tray and opened it.
With both embarrassment and desperation I write in hopes that you may be the source to cure my ailment. Even though you said you are traveling to take a break from medicine, I currently find myself in need of treatment and am hoping to receive your aid for my seasickness. If you are willing, please come to my cabin on deck level, suite 2.
Miss Caroline Porter
“Will that be all?” the crew member said as Dr. Bradley read the note.
Dr. Bradley smirked as he folded the note and replied, “Could you point me in the direction of suite 2?”
“Certainly, sir. If you go up a level to the deck, suite 2 would be near the center of the ship on the starboard side.”
“Thank you. You have been very helpful.” he said, slipping him a coin.
Dr. Bradley rustled through his bags, taking out a bottle before slipping into his boots and coat. He knocked on the adjoining door to Hannah’s room.
“Yes?” she said, peeking her head around.
“I’ll be back.”
“Where are you going?”
“Someone needs my assistance.”
Feeling very curious, Hannah replied, “Who could possibly need your assistance here, Benjamin? We don’t know a single soul aboard this ship!”
He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair as he said, “The woman you met earlier, Miss Porter, is feeling ill.”
Hannah smiled and said, “And you are going to her aid?”
“It isn’t like that,” he said.
“Then what is it?”
“Hannah, I feel obligated to help her. That is all.”
“A beautiful and very wealthy woman aboard this ship just happens to need your assistance and you are no longer on holiday? Doesn’t sound like you at all.”
“You know I am very uninterested in the idea of matrimony. Those thoughts haven’t even entered my head.”
“Maybe they should. She’s very pretty, she’s sophisticated, and she’s everything a man could want in a wife, Ben. You could certainly do worse.”
“Do you remember me telling you of the man who became very ill with small pox just before I returned to England and we decided to leave for America?”
“Yes. Of course I do. You were very upset about it for some reason.”
“For some reason? Hannah, it was him.”
Hannah’s face was all surprise as she said, “You have to tell her, Ben.”
“I cannot. Mr. Porter was under my care and he died! Look around you! Not only was he the greatest shipping tycoon of our time, but he left behind a family… a daughter. I did nothing.”
“You need to tell her.”
He didn’t respond directly, instead he said, “I’ll return soon.”
“Benjamin,” Hannah said.
He turned around as he walked away but said nothing.
Dr. Bradley walked out of his room and to the main stairwell to take him up to the deck. He searched for the door to Caroline’s room and knocked.
“Come in!” she hollered.
Hesitantly, he opened the door and peeked his head around the door before entering. “Miss Porter? It is Dr. Bradley.”
“I’m in here!” she hollered from the bathroom.
He sat the two bottles he was holding on the table in the room and pushed open the door to the bathroom to see her sitting on the floor, very pale, and looking much more distressed and out of sorts than she was when he’d met her a few hours previous.
Caroline looked up and said, “I’m glad you are here. I’ve been sick since I left supper. Do you have a remedy?”
He waved his hand for her to stand and extended his arm to assist her. “Come out to the sitting room.”
Caroline went to the sitting room and sat on the lounge as she watched Dr. Bradley go to the cabinet and take a glass, pour wine in, and then add some liquid from another bottle.
“Drink this,” he said.
Caroline held out her hand to take the glass. “What is it? How do I know you’re not a murderer trying to poison me?”
“You read too many novels. Drink it.”
She drank it in two sips and said, “That was horrible. How long does it take?”
“A few minutes,” he replied, sitting down next to her, taking the glass from her hand.
“I appreciate your assistance,” she said. “I know you are on a holiday with your sister.”
“A doctor is never on holiday, Miss Porter.”
With her hand to her belly, she said, “Do you like your work?”
Caroline glanced up at him when he said that, and she replied, “I think it’s a very rare gift for people to like their work. You are fortunate.”
“Did you always have dreams of being a doctor or was it out of necessity?”
He grimaced when she said that but said nothing and she said, “I am sorry if I have said something I shouldn’t have said.”
“I chose to become a doctor, Miss Porter.”
“I think you are very fortunate then.”
“And does your family support you?”
“It’s only Hannah, our brother Edward, and myself. Our parents passed a long time ago.”
Feeling the great loss so bitterly at the mention of losing a parent, she said, “I am so very sorry. The pain of losing one’s parents is something a person never forgets or moves on from, I believe.”
“Yes. I can agree with that statement. I am sorry about your father, Miss Porter.”
“He was a good man,” she said, looking around the room, remembering all that he’d built up and done with his life.
“I’m certain he was.”
“I am feeling much better now. Your tonic really helped. Thank you ever so much, Dr. Bradley. How much do I owe for the remedy?”
The corner of his mouth turned up ever-so slightly as he said, “Knowing you are no longer sitting on the floor of your water closet is good enough payment for me, Miss Porter.”
Caroline smiled and looked up at his handsome face, focusing on those blue eyes as she said, “Good Night, Dr. Bradley.”
Dr. Bradley tilted his head and contemplated telling her of his time in Africa, but as he was unsure of how she would react and didn’t want to bring more grief into her life already, he merely said, “Good night, Miss Porter.”
©Meg S. 2023
All Rights Reserved.
This article may not be reused or reprinted without the author's written permission.