* * *
The chariot stopped inside the gates of the palace and Fr. Kane slowly alighted. He walked through the courtyard and in the palace. Soldiers greeted him as he moved inside. Isabella was in the hall when she saw him. She walked over and gently kneeling, she took his hand and kissed in reverence. ‘Greetings Padre.’
‘Bless you Senora.’
Isabella stood up straight. ‘Are you here to see his highness? He has gone to meet the Bishop.’
‘No Senora. I am here to meet Senora Rosalin. Will you please direct me to her room.’
‘Sure Padre, I’ll personally lead you.’
Isabella turned around and walked down the hall to the staircase. She started climbing it. Fr. Kane followed her two steps behind. Down the corridor, around a bend, they came to Antonio’s room. Discreetly Isabella knocked on the open door and stood aside. Fr. Kane waited a few moments and then knocked again.
‘Come in.’ Rosalin’s soft mellow voice called out. Fr. Kane entered the room. Isabella turned around and walked away.
As Fr. Kane stepped in, he saw Rosalin cleaning the harp delicately. She turned around sensing him. Her face lit up for a fleeting second.
He extended his hand. ‘Congratulations Senora. Antonio just told me the good news that you are expecting a child.’
‘Thank you Padre.’
‘You don’t look happy about the baby.’
‘I am happy Padre.’ She paused. ‘You see this harp Padre. When I was a small child, I use to play it for hours and my mother would sit and enjoy the music. It was so nice a feeling…’
‘Senora, I know you suffered a terrible loss. You are going through such a bad phase. But please you need to come out of this reclusive life and start afresh.’
Rosalin looked at him. ‘Why should I listen to you?’
‘Senora, because God wants you to be happy for your sake and for the baby’s sake.’
Rosalin turned around and walked to the balcony. Softly she called over her shoulder. ‘Please let me be alone. I don’t need your advice. And why should you care about me? Just leave me alone.’
‘I care about you because I love you… like I love everyone else.’ He slowly added.
Hearing his words, Rosalin stopped in her track. She stood still for a few seconds and then slowly turned around. The room was empty. Fr. Kane had left the room. She ran outside and walked to the railings and peered down. She saw Fr. Kane walk out of the palace.