― Cecelia Ahern
I finally arranged to have Clare meet Nat over dinner at a buffet style restaurant. I knew they would hit it off because Nat has a bottomless appetite for food and Clare has an insatiable need to get answers to questions about the past.
But surprisingly, Nat actually stopped eating when he found out Clare was somehow channeling Lillian Yardley too as was I and he was fascinated to find she was Lillian's exact double.
I didn't think I'd ever see Nat Cohen's passion for food supplanted by a deeper compulsion―his hunger for the past, particularly a mystery.
"Have you been to Whitehern too?" he asked Clare.
She looked puzzled. "The name seems vaguely familiar, but no―honestly Nat, this trip to the restaurant is the first time I've been anywhere since recovering from my coma―well, that is, unless you count my visit to Marcus' house."
I groaned inwardly knowing how Nat would interpret that, and as expected, his eyes were dancing when he stole a glance at me, but I reacted stoically and he allowed the matter to drop,
"What's Whitehern, Marcus," she asked, "and why haven't you told me about it?"
Nat jumped in before I could answer.
"He probably didn't want to frighten you, Clare―that's where a ghost tried to push him down the stairs."
Clare gave me a quizzical look which telegraphed, why didn't you tell me about this?.
"Actually, I was going to tell you about Whitehern, Clare―I just hadn't time to tell you―so much has happened lately."
"Well, no time like the present," she smiled sweetly.
I gave her a pained look, "Well, actually this little anecdote can wait--don't worry, I'll tell you all about it and even take you there, if you want, but speaking of danger, something else has come up."
Nat had returned to eating but when he heard my response put down his fork and joined Clare in staring at me expectantly.
I wanted to prepare them a little to soften the blow but now that Nat had drawn back the curtain I was left on stage to deliver my soliloquy.
"I almost had a boating accident just after I arrived in West Harbour. I took out my sailboat from the marina where Ray Hull had been storing it. I was told it was ship-shape and ready to sail, but I anchored a little ways out off shore in a safe haven, and took a nap. But while I was sleeping, the anchor rope snapped and I drifted into a busy channel and almost collided with a motor launch."
"Oh my God," Clare exclaimed, "that reminds me of this dream I had where I was Lillian and you and I were in a motor boat and narrowly avoided a collision."
The colour drained from my face. "I had that same dream, Clare. That's more than a coincidence."
"Well, at least we emerged unhurt," she consoled me.
"Ordinarily I'd agree, but the other night when jogging near the marina at dusk, one of Ray Hull's workers who replaced the anchor line on my boat, told me the line had been cut and warned me to be on the lookout."
"Did he say Ray Hull did this?" Nat interjected.
"Not in so many words,' I replied, "but he did say I was in danger."
Clare placed a comforting hand over mine. "I'm so sorry, Marcus--that must have been terrifying."
I nodded. "It was, but wasn't the first time I felt terror since I came back here. I told my lawyer, Luther Crowe, and he said he'd have a talk with Ray Hull and Arthur Reid, my former lawyer, and try to back them off―but he thinks as I do, that you and Nat could also be in danger. That's another reason I wanted you both here tonight, to warn you. If you also want to back off from me for a while until things die down a bit, I'll totally understand. It might even best."
"No way I'm copping out―that's not how I roll," Nat growled with a determined look on his face.
"Me neither, Marcus," Clare added, " I could never desert you--as Nat says, we're fated," she smiled.
For the second time that day, there were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
I lowered my head trying to gain control of my emotions, but Nat saved the day as usual, by clapping me affectionately on the shoulder and chirping, "Can we eat now?"
We all burst into laughter.
It was then I realized that soulmates weren't just confined to romantic partners--they could be friends too like Nat who was a twin flame also writ with me in the book of Fate.