Sarah walked over to where Elizabeth was standing. She grinned at the expression on Elizabeth’s face.
“It’s your turn,” she said with a nudge. “Find out if you’re ever going to marry and see if you can get her to say to whom. She’s as good as told me I would marry Billy Adams.”
Elizabeth gave her a skeptical look, raising an eyebrow.
“Poor Billy,” she said dryly, and Sarah laughed.
“Go on, Elizabeth. I, at least, want to know what she says.” Sarah urged. “Perhaps Mr. Carver should be encouraged after all.”
“If she suggests I marry that preening rooster, I’ll know she couldn’t possibly have second sight,” Elizabeth said, struggling not to roll her eyes once again.
Elizabeth reluctantly pushed aside the curtain at Sarah's urging that served as a door to the small dark booth and plopped down in a rickety chair. She faced a wrinkled old lady dressed in black with a brightly colored scarf covering her hair. As Elizabeth put her money on the table, the old gypsy’s glittering black and oddly familiar eyes captured her gaze.
“You are very unhappy, aren’t you, child?” she said, ignoring the money.
Her voice crackled with a strange accent sending shivers up Elizabeth’s spine. Coming into the tent had been a bad idea.
Elizabeth glanced at the door.
She was happy with her life and the freedom she had thanks to her doting aunt and uncle. Elizabeth never wanted to marry as marriage would certainly curtail that freedom.
“You’re lying!” Her harsh voice startled Elizabeth. “You don’t yet realize this.”
“Are you saying that if I marry Jonas Carver, I’ll be happy?” Elizabeth knew how these fortune tellers worked and would give her an ‘out.’ The faster she could get out of this tent, the better.
“Bah!” the woman spat into the rug covered floor, making Elizabeth jump. “That man is nothing to you.”
Her heart had started racing, and she sat up straighter. Nothing about this visit was going the way she’d envisioned, and Elizabeth began to wonder in fear. The old woman peered deep into her eyes, and Elizabeth couldn’t look away.
“Stay away from Mr. Carver. He will bring naught but pain,” she advised. “I speak of another. Your soul is sad that he hasn’t come and feels betrayed and alone. Even now, you seek him.” The gypsy sat back with a sigh but didn’t release Elizabeth’s gaze.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, I haven’t lost anyone, certainly not a man.” Elizabeth shook her head with the beginnings of annoyance.
The wrinkled eyes sparkled with patient amusement.
“My dear child, you fail to understand. I am talking about your soulmate, the one you’re meant to love, and who completes you in every lifetime. No other man can satisfy you and no other woman him. You will find each other. It’s part of your destiny.”
The old gypsy parted her lips in a toothless grimace, which pretended to be a smile, but her eyes showed kindness and tenderness. It was the only reason Elizabeth didn’t immediately run away.
“You haven’t met him yet in this life,” the gypsy continued to explain gently, “and he’s past due. He’s never been this late before, he should have come by now. You know this” the lady paused to tap her chest,” in here, you know.”
Elizabeth shook her head in protest once again, about to get up and leave, but stopped short as the gypsy grabbed her hand in a surprising iron grip. So she sat where she was, looking down at her lap, her stomach churning nervously, and wondered what the old woman meant. Did she mean the dreams? Those were something she’d never spoken of, not even to her Aunt or Uncle. She was curious enough that she didn’t immediately demand the woman release her and storm out.
Glancing up, she saw the fortune-teller had her eyes closed and a look of intense concentration on her face. Elizabeth felt her eyes slipping closed too and abruptly realized she was no longer in her own body. She also was no longer in the fortune teller’s small tent at the circus.
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