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Image by Milad Fakurian

Fishing with William

A Deleted Scene From The Heart of Everton Inn

In this version, Adaira finds Dr. Sherwin and John after William passes out.

Adaira Stubbins marched her way up the hill toward Loch Isla with a rod in hand and an excited eight-year-old at her side. She held her head high and kept her gaze fixed on the path ahead, despite the tangle of emotions within her heart.
     “I’m really glad Da’ and I came here,” William said after a few minutes of silence. “Everyone has been so kind to us. Especially you, Mistress Adaira!”
     “Aye! You’ve been a great friend, and yer even going to teach me to fish. You know what, mistress?”
     Adaira gulped, trying to ignore the nausea building within her. “What?”
     “Yer going to be a really good mum someday.”
     Tears gathered in the corners of the woman’s eyes, and she stifled a sob. But she didn’t conceal it well enough since she soon felt William’s hand on her arm. “Mistress Adaira, are you crying?”
     Adaira kept her face turned away from the boy as she said softly, “Nay, I—”
     “—Do you na believe me or something? Because I really meant it! Whoever ends up having you as a mum is lucky!”
     As soon as Adaira heard those words, she couldn’t take it anymore and raced off the path before retching in the grass.
     William was at her side instantly. “Mistress Adaira! Do you need me to get Dr. Sherwin?”
     She wiped her mouth and stood back up, her head a little dizzy but her stomach feeling much better. “Nay, I’ll be all right. Let’s keep going. We’re almost there.”
     She started moving again, William quickly coming up next to her. She was so lost in her thoughts she didn’t realize it, though, and she bumped right into him.
     “I’m sorry, I must have gotten distracted.”
     “Don’ feel bad fer getting distracted, mistress. That happens to me sometimes too. Especially when I’m trying to think o’ the answer to something, but I can’ figure it out,” the lad said.
     Adaira turned to him with slight amusement. “And what kinds o’ things are you trying to figure out?”

     William glanced up at the sky, considering her question as he walked along. “Well, usually ’tis about what really happened to my mum and why Da’ doesn’ want to know.”

     Adaira’s pace slowed. She’d been expecting trivial topics, but her flippant request had inadvertently brought up painful memories. Well done, Adaira. I’m sure John would love to hear yer making William think about his mum’s death. Well done.

     She didn’t say anything, letting the matter drop as they arrived at Loch Isla, Everton’s largest source of freshwater. The shallow loch sat in a dip between Mary’s Hill and Cramer’s Field, its waters much more

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