Liliha carried her mother's leather bag to join larger, wheeled luggage beside the outer annex door. No sign of William yet. Mother approached in flat healed boots.
Liliha smiled. "The time is here at last."
"I don't know how long it'll be before I see you again." Mother swung her gaze around the living room as if to reassure herself nothing personal remained. "Keep in touch, won't you? I worry about you all alone."
"Alissa's here with me. Besides, I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself."
"I'm sorry she's not coming with me. Maybe she'll change her mind."
"You've made a generous offer. Any girl would jump at the chance of living in such luxury with no responsibility." Liliha blinked, filled with sudden uncertainty about the future.
Mother's gaze penetrated right into her soul. "Forgive my foibles, won't you, darling?"
"Do you mean flirting with William?"
"He was my first boyfriend. As time goes by, the past occupies my mind more."
"The recent past is enough for me, what with Oliver's death."
Mother reached out and hugged her. "I hope you meet someone else—like I did. Reginald's a good man and I was lucky to find him after your father's death." She led the way outside. "I never wanted to leave England, you know. My parents were determined to make a new start in Australia and I had no say."
"That's why Alissa should make her own choice."
"I agree." Mother swung her gaze to the adjacent back doorway. "Here they are now."
Yvonne approached with open arms. "I'm so glad we met, Jean."
"You're so kind. Thank you for sharing your home as well as your husband." Mother brushed off an imaginary fleck of dust from her long quilted coat, the pale gray setting off her silver hair. A matching leather bag, detailed with woven leather strips, swung on her arm.
Yvonne chuckled. "Easy to do when it's only temporary." She hugged Mother. "I wish you a safe journey. We must keep in touch."
Liliha called, "Alissa. We're leaving. Are you planning to come to the station with us?"
"Coming," a high voice called.
"Let's get this lot in the boot." William wheeled a case away.
* * *
At Penzance station in the chilly afternoon air, Alissa followed William, Mum and Grandma along the platform. Another departure. She'd traveled by train so many times in visits with Mum. Now she lived here for good.
Alissa absorbed the eerie de-ja-vous feel in the air, which set her thinking about what she'd witnessed yesterday. Strange, the way Delphi had collapsed after she'd grabbed the bracelet. Almost as if she had a vision similar to those Mum experienced.
Once they all climbed in, Grandma snuggled into a carriage seat inside the heated train. Strangers shouted last messages to their friends.
Mum kissed Grandma and stepped back, tears glimmering.
Grandma reached into her bag and held out some notes to her. "This should cover anything extra." A satisfied grin transformed her serious face. "I had these travelers' checks left over. I don't want to bother with changing them when I arrive in Australia."
"Thank you." Mum's gentle smile showed love.
A grating voice announced the departure. Alissa pecked Grandma on the cheek. She always smelled so good. Once Grandma left, everything would flow smoothly. A job would help life turn out the way she'd planned. And, Mum would become her normal self again.
She and Mum stepped off the train into the stiff wind blowing from the harbor. They found William waving to Grandma on the other side of the window. The train hissed and jerked away.
William headed for the exit gate. "Phew. She led me a merry dance. The last few days have been more peaceful since she found a friend to occupy her."
Mum tucked her hand under his arm on the stroll to his wicked-red estate car in the huge car-park beside the harbor. She said, "Yvonne was very understanding about Mother."
"She's my rock." His eyes twinkled when he faced them. "Will you stay in the annex while the work is finished on your kitchen?"
"If it's okay with you."
"That's settled then." William unlocked the car and they climbed into the warm interior.
* * *
Harry strode out of Heathrow airport toward his car. He faced a long trip home to St. Ives. Never mind. Time to think.
Once he'd located his vehicle, he swung his body into the freezing interior, started the old motor and turned up the heating before edging out of the ramp and onto the busy motorway.
The radio played an old song from Echo and the Bunnymen, Killing Moon. 'Up in your arms you'll take me.' He gave himself to the fateful mood of the song. Regrets seared him. 'Through the thick and Thin . . . You give yourself to me.' If only he'd been a better man and Liliha had fallen in love with him.
He gripped the steering wheel hard and headed for Cornwall.
From now on, he'd make sure he appealed to her.