“Why did you come to America?”
She blinked at him. His hazel eyes didn’t burn with annoyance or anger. They were calm and . . . kind. “Sir?”
All the dreams and expectations ever hidden in her heart clashed to the surface of her memory. Sara choked down her hesitation, unable to break his gaze. “I came to America for a second chance at life, sir. A second chance at . . . myself.”
Mr. Lake nodded. “Ah. Now we come to it. Please, go on.”
“In England I was no better than a slave, sir, just an orphan. But you made me feel more in one letter. So here I am, two dresses to my name, and not money enough to support myself beyond tomorrow. I . . . .” She tore her gaze from his. “I been taking care of myself with the Lord’s blessing since no taller than a stump. Never held a position longer than three months, and no man will marry a servant girl scared of her own shadow. Sir, you and your wife offered me a place to call home and–” Tears robbed her voice.
“That is something you do not wish to lose.”
Sara inclined her head, shame keeping her eyes downcast. She didn’t want to sound desperate. She could work anywhere if given the chance.
Mr. Lake released a quiet breath, his slow nod drawing back her attention. “Consider today the first in your new home. You are free to wander within these meager walls. Free to come and go as you please. Lake Manor is your home. Understood?”
An intensity of relief and wonder constricted her throat, allowing her only an imperceptible nod.
Mr. Lake’s lips tilted upward. “Then I will leave you to your new surroundings.” He paused at the door. “Let me know if you need anything, Sara. Agreed?”
He didn’t wait for a response, though she would have been hard-pressed to offer one. The door closed and a single tear dripped onto the rug at her feet.
~Christopher Lake & Sara Little from ‘Searching for Sara’, currently part of the Candlelight Reads Earth Day Blog Hop, and on sale for 99cents at Smashwords (with coupon code: NL25B)