Mrs. Bragonier sat down on the bench and inclined her head indicating Julian should join her. “The professor believes you are clairvoyant.” Julian smiled.
“And I take it, you do not put much stock in such things. That does not surprise me too much. Still, on this occasion my husband’s remarks do surprise me,” his companion said.
“That is not the sort of thing he would confide to just anyone. In most regards, Reginald is cautious with people, although he does not appear so. You may number yourself among the very special,” the woman paused, smiled more broadly and continued, “In many more ways than you know.” She passed Julian a thoughtful look and they sat for a moment in silence.
"To be sure,” Bridget Bragonier said at last. “It is a lovely park you have here Mr. Blessing, but what do you suppose brought you here today and not another day?”
“It is an island in a sea of madness, I suppose. Today is just slightly madder than most. It helps to get out of my office and breathe what passes for fresh air in Manhattan. Nothing more than that, Mrs. Bragonier,” Julian said and turned with a smile to face his companion.
“Is that what you think?” Her smile was eloquent. “If you will indulge an eccentric old woman – albeit, I should point out, a charming one – let me tell you what I know.” Julian nodded and waited to see what kind of scam this woman was running.
Bridget Bragonier said, “You see, Mr. Blessing, you are unique. You are a man struggling with a number of mysteries. What I know, and you do not, is that you are here so that I may help you release the truth you have locked away, to say the words you have kept hidden and in so doing, to help you find your footing in the life that awaits you.”
The remark caught Julian off guard and he dropped his smile. He was a man with prepared responses for everything. He had no snappy comeback now.
“Something you cannot explain has happened in your life,” the woman continued. “That is, without including mental illness as part of your reasoning.” Her mood and manner were light, as though she was discussing a lunch menu instead of dissecting a man’s soul.
The woman with the silver hair and the deep eyes drew closer to Julian. His thoughts were suspended when Mrs. Bragonier lightly touched his sleeve. He looked at her and any denial he was about to make died in his throat.
It was impossible, he knew, but somehow her eyes had changed. There was a luminescent quality coming not from the mischievous, playful eyes of the professor’s wife, but from eyes ancient in depth and rich in meaning.
She reached out and placed her left hand slowly, gently over his heart. He felt unable to stop her. Although every instinct screamed at him to run, he was unable to draw back from her.
At the touch, Julian felt another low voltage jolt, stronger this time, that left him breathing rapidly and riveted to his spot on the bench. She was inside his defenses and there was nothing he could do about it. She knew his secret, a secret there was no way she or anyone could know. The woman’s hand never left his shirt front, the smile never left her lips and her eyes held his relentlessly.