She watched her body make the change with each thought or frame of mind. Only a second knock brought her fully back to the present.
“Marissa?” Sean called worriedly.
She marched over and opened the door. He looked penitent and she was chastised.
“I thought you were dead,” he accused. “Don’t do that to me.”
She pulled him into the room anxious to show him her new ‘ability’ but something in his expression stopped her.
“What is it?” she asked.
“We just received word. Minister Cherington is dead,” Sean said slowly.
Marissa could feel the blood leaving her face. “What?” she gasped. He had been her message two nights ago. She was probably one of the last people to see him alive. Her hand went to her throat. What if the first dose had killed him?
“How?” she demanded.
“Murdered, a knife in his chest. The servants found him this morning in his study. They think it happened sometime after midnight.” Sean looked at her his expression pleading. “Please tell me you’re not involved in this Marissa.”
She sat down dazed and relieved. “I don’t know.”
“Who did you deliver to last night?” Sean demanded.
She looked at him surprised. He had never asked for particulars before. He said it was easier not knowing where she went and whom she did business with.
“An old woman who lives down near the docks. It is the same and only message I deliver on Thursdays.”
“And the night before?”
She dropped her gaze. “A doctor down in Cheapside and…” she couldn’t finish.
“Minister Cherington?” Sean finished.
Marissa nodded. “But the messages had nothing to do with anything that could get him killed. He was paying for some sort of potion or medicine.”
“Are you certain?”
She looked at him uncertainly. She didn’t know for sure. She was horrified that her work might have cost a man his life, but then she realized her work didn’t do that. His purchase may have though.
“Sean I just deliver messages,” she argued.
“You deliver secret messages that no one wants anyone else to know about,” he countered.
“I’ve never delivered an order to have someone killed. I don’t work like that. Besides, no one know who I am,” she replied petulantly.
“What happened, Marissa?” Sean demanded coming to her side and placing his hands earnestly on her arms. “Why were you in such pain? I have to know. Are you sure they didn’t see you?”
“Yes, I’m sure. They want me to come back next week to deliver another message to Minister Cherington, but I suppose that is pointless now. I won’t go,” she replied.
He looked at her expecting more. She hung her head.
“I drank some wine the Doctor offered,” she said finally. It was actually John who offered it. She never would have taken anything from the doctor.
“Are you mad?” Sean exclaimed. “They could have put something in it!”
They did, she thought. “The decanter was in the room the whole time,” she argued. “I watch carefully. I wouldn’t have made that mistake.” But was the cup? She thought to herself.
Sean turned on her grasping her arms tightly and staring at her intently. “Marissa Edgington, if you die on me because of your own stupidity…” He left the sentence hanging and turned away from her.
Marissa stared at his back in surprise. He had never expressed emotion like this other than chiding her for her nighttime activities. At that moment she decide it would be too much to show him her new ‘ability.’
“I’m not going to die, Sean,” she said quietly. She was pretty certain about that. “I delivered that message two days ago. I’m certain his death has nothing to do with me.” But she wasn’t really certain.“But you can’t be sure,” Sean argued. He turned to face her again. “This work is too dangerous, but I know it is pointless to try and convince you to stop although I wish you would.”
“I can’t stop, Sean, not now,” she answered quietly. Her earlier temper was gone. She cared too much for Sean to fight with him about this now. “I promise I will be much more careful in the future.”
His shoulders slumped. “I suppose that is the best I can ask for,” he answered grudgingly. “I…I need a drink,” he said leaving the room.
Marissa watched him leave feeling guilty for not telling him why she had to keep doing her job. Now she could do it better than ever and no one would ever see her face.