"I cannot believe it," Serena gasped in amazement. Cassandra had just finished recounting her adventure with Kyra earlier that morning. "After all these years Kyra is finally remembering her past? She actually remembered her mother?"
Tears glistened in her eyes as she thought about the pain Kyra must be feeling right now. They had only just lost Isabel a few weeks ago, and now on top of that tragedy, Kyra was beginning to remember the love of a woman'her true mother'who was also lost to her for all intents and purposes. Kyra must be so confused about it right now.
"I wish she hadn't run off that way," Cassandra sighed. "I just cannot communicate with her as you do. It is impossible for me to know what she might have remembered. Only the note she handed me' That one word she scribbled out so quickly'"
"Mama," Serena whispered. She blinked against misty eyes. "I can't begin to imagine what she must be feeling right now. Perhaps I ought to go and speak with her."
"I've already tried," Cassandra said. "When Caleb left the ballroom I came right up here to her room. She isn't in there."
"Hmmm'" Serena paused. Giving the matter some thought, she finally decided, "I will give her some space if that's what she needs. Sometimes she prefers solitude when she's upset. When she's ready to talk about it she'll seek me out."
Cassandra wasn't so sure about that. "Are you certain that's best," she frowned. Worried for Kyra's state of mind, she insisted, "When she ran out of the room, she looked so distraught. If you had seen her face, Serena'"
Closing the door of her bedroom, Serena stepped into the hallway. She had just finished dressing when Cassandra stopped by with the news about Kyra. A dismayed expression covered her face as she nodded sympathetically.When would things ever start to brighten for Kyra, she wondered dismally.
"There is little I can do for her right now," she explained gently. As they slowly walked down the hall, she replied, "Sometimes Kyra hides behind her silence as a wall of protection."
Pausing as she listened, Cassandra tilted her head in question. Remembering Caleb's suspicion, she asked, "Does Kyra remain silent for such a reason? Does she feel safer remaining silent?"
Eyes widening, Serena stopped walking as well, turning to face Cassandra. She shook her head and explained, "Kyra is unable to speak because of an attack she experienced when she was very young. She was brutalized and it left her unable to speak. I did not mean to say that she feigns her muteness. I only meant that when she is upset, her silence seems to deepen."
Cassandra nodded then. She had misunderstood Serena's meaning. Realizing that, she wondered, "Does Caleb know about the attack?" Surely he would drop his silly suspicions if he knew about that'
"Caleb," she returned quietly. Where was this leading, she wondered. "I'm certain my father must have told him about it. There has never been any secret about how Kyra came to live with us. Why," she asked curiously.
"Well," Cassandra hesitated. For a moment she wondered how delicately she should repeat what she knew. Surely Caleb would be upset if he found out she was gossiping about him. "If I tell you, would you keep what you know between us?"
Smiling at the needless reassurance Cassandra sought, she nodded quickly. "I will keep everything you tell me in confidence between us. You can trust me in this Cassandra."
"Very well," she agreed. "I just hope you won't take offense to it."
Serena stepped closer. Her curiosity was piqued. She eagerly held her silence as she listened to Cassandra explain some of what Caleb had been thinking. In the end, Serena's brows rose high with an almost mystified expression crossing her features.
"That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. It is nearly laughable," she burst out with an incredulous grin. "Kyra is about as harmful as a butterfly. He could not possibly be concerned about her."
Knowing Serena was indeed taking offense, Cassandra began to bite at her lower lip. With furrowed brows she said, "Please don't let this upset you. I have tried reasoning with him. He can just be rather stubborn when it comes to these things."
Serena suddenly laughed aloud. She knew all too well how stubborn Caleb could be. She was also aware that he often jumped to quick conclusions about others. Still, she couldn't help feeling amused by this. Caleb felt threatened by Kyra? He felt suspicious about a woman who's most serious crime in life was failing to curtsy to an elder? For a moment she wondered how Caleb could ever have managed to lead an army of soldiers if his biggest concern was exposing a woman so obviously innocent as Kyra. Honestly, the man had much too much free time on his hands these days.
"Perhaps," Serena replied with a suppressed grin, "I ought to speak with Jacob rather than Caleb."
Cassandra stared back at her for a moment wondering why Serena would suggest such a thing. "Do you suppose," she asked, "that Jacob could get through to Caleb about this?"
Scoffing at that, she laughed, "I wouldn't ask Jacob to speak with Caleb." Turning around, she began to walk down the hall once more.
"I think," she called back, "Jacob should recall the soldiers from their reprieve. Maybe a return to work would help Caleb find larger battles to wage."
Just as Serena began to laugh at her own wit, she rounded the corner. A sudden gasp of shock escaped her as she nearly collided headlong into the man in question.
"Caleb," she muttered weakly.
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