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Hours later found the center of the old barn turned into a makeshift dance floor where a few lingering guests swayed to the music. Jo looked tiny wrapped securely in James’ arms and together, beneath the dim golden lantern light, they appeared as though they had stepped from the pages of Amie’s imagination.
Comfortable once more behind the dessert table, Amie had struggled through rounds of hellos with Faye’s guests. She smiled through tired eyes as Faye, beneath the brightest lantern at the center of the floor, leaned her chin upon Ben’s shoulder. The air could have crackled with the chemistry those two sparked.
Brad Paisley crooned over the stereo. She thought she might throw up. Country music had never been her forte, or relationships for that matter. For once she felt forgiving of the Southern twang but not the sting of seeming to be the only single gal in the crowd. She didn’t ponder the mystery behind her lack of true love. Nor did she ask herself how she’d managed to avoid men in general the last three years, because it was then Amie caught sight of a familiar face among a dwindling sea of strangers. And this time she had the patience to actually look at him.
He must have spent the evening hidden in the shadows, for had he been a part of the party he would have certainly been noticed. His hair was cut short though unkempt, surrounding a square and unreadable, unremarkable face, though he stood easily a head above most of the gathering. It was his eyes, she decided, black as his hair and now trained upon her, which refused to be ignored. So different were they now than on the street before, with fresh intensity and sorrow. There was something almost familiar about this strange man’s face, veiled to her memories.
The Brit on the street…
How could she not have seen it sooner? Such a blend of indignation and surprise stole her ability to move. A good angry part of her would have liked nothing better than to stalk up to the man and give him a piece of her mind. Yet the longer she stared the more she found herself thinking of things she would rather not…of her dead parents, of mysterious letters and interweaving Celtic knots. She felt the pain of past wounds she had struggled so long to quench and patch over with stories and success.
Black orbs trained upon her, his expression never wavered but drew her in, moth to flame.
She jumped when a pair of excited hands grasped her shoulders mid-step.
“Amie! Did you see that? Please tell me you saw that!”
In one instant she felt the world shift, then time rush to catch up. The song had ended and people were making their way to their amassed vehicles. Faye’s golden face was smiling before her and the bold familiar eyes had disappeared.