It had been years since Jack had made his way down the sunken roads of Iridia, and longer still since he’d visited his wife’s workplace. He knew that she was a cook, or a maid, or some kind of servant. He’d never asked for a piece of her earnings, and since Payge had come to live in Marlowe had no need to send her any of his. The feeling of nostalgia was great as he’d entered the foyer, with memories of sneaking in through the back vivid in his mind.
“Can I help you?”
Jack turned to see the speaker entering, a red-haired woman with a bright and inviting smile. Her belly was rounded and she wore the glow of a woman in the early stages of pregnancy. He didn’t have to guess who she was, her fine clothes gave away her status.
“Yes,” Jack said quickly. “I’m looking for an employee of yours.”
He hoped that the firmness of his words would mask the fear and anxiety he was feeling, he had no idea how Betha would react to his sudden arrival, especially since she had not sent word of her illness.
The woman’s smile widened, “Which one?”
“Betha,” he replied. “Betha Wayn?”
His heart dropped when she frowned and dropped her gaze from him, stopping in her tracks.
“Oh,” she mumbled. “Betha… Is working elsewhere now.”
There was something sinister in the way the woman’s gaze had shifted, and her speech was hesitant.
Jack sighed, hoping not to sound impolite. “I’ve a feeling there’s something you’re not telling me.”
“My husband and I have been trying to conceive,” the woman told him slowly. “Betha – I don’t know – maybe she wasn’t satisfied with the money here. She’d taken another job and… We had to let her go.”
For the first time since he’d arrived in Iridia, Jack felt a little like his old self. He clenched his fists, and narrowed his eyes. “What other job?”