Eva mindlessly traced a bony finger across her bulging stomach. The novel engulfed her fantasies, carrying her away from Cattal. Literature made her loneliest hour the most pleasant of the day.
The rays of the dying sun peaked through the window.
They always came at night, searching for some comfort as the moon consumed their hopes. Their fears always seemed silly; nighttime brought profound thoughts and recollection. If they could not see it, it was their loss.
She sighed as someone knocked softly on the library door. They were always on schedule. She waited for a moment before she answered, enjoying the last seconds of silence. Finally, she called for the visitor to enter.
Elizabeth, Richard's plump servant with a jolly smile, peered inside. "Christine Liddle is requesting to speak with you."
"Tell her to wait a moment," Eva instructed as she struggled to push herself off the armchair. Elizabeth immediately appeared at her side, but Eva brushed off her assistance as slipped the novel back onto the shelf.
Christine came at least once a month, begging for her future to be told. Normally, once she began to speak, she would not cease. Eva found their sessions had become more about Christine's current problems than her future. It didn't matter, anyway. Her visions about Christine's future were normally too hazy to interpret correctly, but Christine always insisted on reappearing.
For every clouded vision, there was always a coherent one. In fact, the first comprehensible vision Eva had was when she first met Richard. Church bells rang in her ears, echoing for days after their meeting. Soon, they recited their vows. He promised to provide her a beautiful estate, and she promised to let him use her premonitions for a profit. They paid money, she told them their future.
Their meeting was pure luck--if that was the proper word to describe it. She worked as a schoolteacher's assistant and instructed Richard's daughter, Lila, from his first marriage. His wife had recently passed and, when Lila told her father about Eva's visions, he insisted on meeting her.
After a few years, Richard began leaving on strange trips, never mentioning his destination or intentions. It slightly bothered Eva; she suspected an affair. But, she wasn't fond enough of him to start an argument over it. Even as she bulged with their child, she barely took notice of his absence.
Christine suddenly stepped into the room and beamed at Eva. "Oh, darling, you look marvelous. You're simply glowing!" she cried. Eva averted her eyes and mumbled a, "thank you".
As soon as they sat down, Christine began her monologue, whining about how her father wanted her to marry a ghastly man with a pointy nose. "It's just dreadful. Isn't it just dreadful?"
Eva stopped listening, chewing her lips softly. Her bulging eyes gazed intently at the floor as she admired the intricate patterns the fabric created. Unless she asked a question, Christine never expected Eva to reply. Eva's mental absence during the sessions became habitual.
"Can you see any future for Elijah Ashmore and I?" Christine asked, shuddering.
"No." After she married Richard, Eva attempted to master her visions, but they were sporadic and uncontrollable. Sometimes, if she touched another's hand, she would see cloudy flashes of their future.
Christine immediately stuck out her hand. With a shaking finger, she touched Christine's open palm. Nothing.
"I'm very sorry, Christine," she stuttered. Christine sighed and stood up. Eva mimicked her.
"It's quite alright. Hopefully I won't be married next month and you will be able to tell me then," she giggled, her soft cheeks lighting up. She placed a gentle hand on Eva's stomach. Eva immediately retracted at the contact. "I will see you soon, darling. Take care."
With that, Christine danced from the room. Eva sighed and collapsed back into the chair, sinking into its comforting arms. The silence sounded so pleasant. Her visions were the only reason she had visitors. There was no one for her to talk to or to call a friend, but it never bothered her. What good was a friend? Others would only betray her in the end.
Her eyebrow sporadically twitched as her head began to pound. A sudden inkling that no one else would come tonight sprang in her chest. She immediately sought for her book.