He attempted to put a comfortng hand to my face, running his thumb along my cheek. At another time, perhaps, I would have turned the brightest red and could not continue to hold his gaze. But I was too confused, my mind, and my heart simultaneously in a strange flair of thoughts and emotions, too concerned for any such reaction.
"Elizabeth Hanway," Jon put particular emphasis on the final word. Something of relief filled me, though half of me was wary and wondering.
"A...relative of yours?" I murmured.
He retracted his hand and adjusted his plate before him, shifting his position. "Yes," Jon continued look back into my eyes. "My sister."
I looked down to my hands. It all made sense. The words in the letter were such that I used to address my own siblings, and the initials did match up properly. I swallowed past a lump in my throat; heat rose to my face and the guilt inside me increased. That I had looked at his own letters and then reacted so harshly to them made me feel ridiculous. Mother had always told me I was too curious, with a tendency toward the dramatic, for my own good. I almost smiled as I thought of Father's response that all women were such a way.
Why had not Jon told us of his family before? The certain guilt left me as thoughts continued to run into my mind. Looking back, when Mother made queries to relatives of his, he had always in an almost masterly way avoided them, or answered in such a general fashion. Either way we thought nothing of it--or at least I didn't. It made me realize how little I appeared to know of Jon....and how much I loved him despite of it.
I returned my eyes to Jon, who almost seemed to be waiting anxiously. I was full aware he wasn't lying--it only made me more guilty that I had doubted him. Trying to make light of the whole matter, I gave a half smile, "A sister? Do you have any other siblings?"
"No," he looked to relax a little. "She is younger then I am. We have always been close."
"Oh," I said simply. Unsure of what else to continue with, I went on, "Is she...married yet?"
"No," Jon grinned. "I think the suitor would have a hard time getting past me."
I laughed mildy and returned my eyes to my breakfast. It was conversation that almost two strangers would have. A silence dropped between us for a moment, and I continued to thoughtfully pick at the left overs of my food. Nellie then came to over, "Hi," she sat down, glancing between the both of us. "When do you think we're leaving, Jon? I don't like being around this village very much after...what happened yesterday."
He cleared his throat. "I am not sure; Timothy Saunders is meeting us and will divide up our group. He will take several with him, and I will take along several with me." I flicked my eyes briefly to him, keeping the wish to myself that I would go with him and Nellie as well.
"Hmmm," Nellie replied, and then turned to me. "How is your shoulder, Katrina?"
"Oh," I shifted, reaching back to try to touch the wound. The skin pulled, but there was no such pain as earlier and from what I could feel it was rough and scabby. I looked to Nellie and shrugged, "It's alright, I suppose. Better."
"Everyone! My brother says in town that they have discovered the body of the sheriff in his ransacked office! They are searching the village as we speak!" came an alerting cry from another woman, the one whose brother's barn we bunked inside. We all briefly looked to one another, an uncertain pause hanging in the air.
"What do we do?" I asked.