Ch.1 Part 2
From the back of the hall a young woman walked gracefully up the aisle, the murmur of hushed voices following in her wake. When at last she turned to her audience, no eyes would meet her gaze. Unfazed, she searched each face, her expression softening. Moravec stepped toward her.
His voice, so sure only moments before, was reduced to a tentative whisper. Brushing Philippe aside, the old man stumbled down the stairs. She whipped around at his violent approach.
“Arabella, I am sorry, I couldn’t stop him, I couldn’t change his mind, I tried, but…”She held a hand up to silence him,
“Oh Edmond, no one expected you to.” She took his hands into hers and looked up at him tenderly. “You are still so much like the boy Willem brought home. But Edmond, I am so proud of you, of the man you have become. I love you so much, and so did Willem – on that first day and every day that followed, don’t you know that?”
The sudden release of tension caused Edmond to fall to his knees. Wrenching sobs shook him violently evoking a collective cry from the gathered mourners. The old man’s years fell away as Arabella cradled him against her. Locked together in their loss, mother and son wept.