The Road to Port Haven (Chapter 3­, page 1 of 10)

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Despite her best attempts to put a good face on it, Kara was unable to conceal the confusing melancholy that descended upon her spirit after her first encounter with the beautiful Camilla. It made no sense. She liked Camilla; they seemed destined to become friends after a fashion; Camilla apparently liked her; she felt no personal enmity towards the woman. Why, then, should she feel so threatened by Camilla's very existence?

Far worse was the painful awkwardness that came over her whenever she saw Roman and Camilla together. Worse still were the times she was forced to endure their combined presence.

During these encounters, Roman's mood seemed unreadable. He seldom looked at her, and when he did she felt her heart turn over with that same painful awkwardness- only tenfold! It made no sense. Roman was nothing to her- not really. He was just the Señora Castellan's son- nothing more- his presence here no more remarkable than that of the Casa itself.

Wishing to purge herself of these feelings, she threw herself into the work that needed to be done on the grounds, until Guiseppe casually remarked one day, as they finished replacing one of the great cogs in the mill, 'You're becoming as handy as my right arm, you know that? The Señora was considering hiring a young boy to be my helper, but I'm glad I got you instead. At least until you catch some young man's eye and he steals you away.'

'That will never happen, Guiseppe,' Kara replied, a little too brusquely, trying to keep a note of sadness out of her voice. 'I just can't be the sort of girl that men want me to be, when they show any interest at all. They always want . . . well . . . girls like Camilla.'

'Camilla!' Guiseppe snorted. 'She is a kept woman in search of yet another keeper, that one!'

Kara shrugged as they walked slowly back down the hill towards the Casa, she a barefoot, listless young girl in a peasant dress, he a stocky, ambling, middle-aged man in straw fedora, green work pants, plaid work shirt and suspenders. 'I like her, though. She's perfectly suited to her rôle in life. She doesn't pretend to be what she's not.'

Guiseppe gave her a look, jutting out his white moustache. 'Oh? And just what is the clever Camilla?'

Kara stopped as she fumbled for words, causing Guiseppe to halt at her side and turn to her. 'I don't know. She's just . . . sort of . . . Camilla, that's all. She just is what she is.'

They began walking once more, Guiseppe's expression all-too-knowing. 'Name one other person on this island you can't find words to describe!'

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