At last I had peace.
The heat generated by his body as he slept next to me was oppressive. The bed creaked as I shifted, kicking off the coverlet. Beads of sweat had formed between my breasts underneath my shift. I sat up and lifted the crisp, white cotton fabric up over my head, tossing it to the floor nearby.
I did not want to sleep. Instead, I lay back down, eyes wide open, still feeling restless. I wanted him to make love to me again.
He stirred slightly. I slid my hand up his back and softly touched the hair at the nape of his neck in the darkness then pressed my naked body into his.
He was mine again.
I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of him, laying my cheek against the warm skin of his upper back. I could feel him breathe.
He stirred again. I kissed his shoulder.
When he rolled over toward me, at first I thought the shadows from the fireplace were playing tricks on me. I searched his features.
That was not Nathaniel’s face, was it?
I scrambled back away from him then off the bed, scooping up my shift. I held the fabric up against my naked body as he sat up. I suddenly felt terribly cold. I shivered.
What should I do? Run? Where was Anne?
Confusion played on his face. “Evelyn? Come back to bed.” He beckoned to me as he spoke the command. “Now!”
I knew that voice, didn’t I?
I could see his face better now. I could not breathe.
It was the Reverend Drummond.
The world closed in around me and I felt myself gasping for air, falling toward some unseen terror.
Then I was awake all over again, my heart in my throat. I felt as if I had been holding my breath for hours.
The bed next to me was empty. Relief washed over and through my body as I tried to slow the movement of my chest, the tremor of my hands.
The nightmare again. How much longer would this dream repeat itself?
One year. Just one more year.
If I could trust her.
I could endure this for one more year. Surely. One could endure almost anything if there was an end in sight. The Crimea had taught me that.