It was still dark and Eden was still sleeping when Sophia rose and dressed. She took the valise standing beside her trunk and slipped out of the room and down the stairs to the lower deck, where she walked to the railing, cool wind in her loosely braided hair.
For just a moment, she watched the eastern sky lightening where it met the water, then she reached into the valise.
She held a sheaf of papers as far out from the railing as she could and dropped them, watching them flutter and float down, one catching a draft and blowing back past her again before twisting and flying finally out into the dark water with the rest. As Sophia’s eyes grew sharper in the half-light, she could make out the litter of white in the boat’s wake.
There was nothing left in the valise now, but a notebook bound in leather. She reached for it, but before she could toss it after the paper, a voice made her freeze.
“What on earth are you doing?”
Eden slipped to Sophia’s side and looked over the railing. The paper was out of sight now. But Sophia held the notebook in her hand.
“That’s Bertrand’s book.” She recognized it, of course, Sophia thought, and shuddered to imagine the circumstances in which Eden had become familiar with it.
“You’re throwing it overboard?” Eden looked bemused.
“Does he know you have it?”
“I don’t know.” Sophia looked down at the book for a moment, glanced at Eden and hurled it as hard as she could into the ocean.
Eden was silent.
“That was all of his notes, the draft of the article, everything I could find in his files about you—all of it, I think.” Sophia stopped and looked down as if to make sure the notes had not resurfaced, but the boat had surely left them far behind by now. “He could still reconstruct it from memory I suppose.” She frowned.
“Sophie—” Eden touched Sophia’s sleeve.
“I’m so sorry.” Sophia was in tears. “How can you ever forgive me for it?”
“There’s nothing to forgive, darling,” Eden said. “I went to him, remember? It had nothing to do with you.”
But it did. It had everything to do with Sophia and she knew it.