Heist Society Page 32


As she stepped inside, she noticed that, for the first time she could remember, her uncle\'s brownstone didn\'t feel too warm. The kitchen, she thought, was just right.

Uncle Eddie stood by his stove, stirring a stew and waiting for his bread to rise. Her father sat with Simon, looking at the Henley plans, swearing, of course, that his interest was purely academic and that the museum would have completely overhauled their security by now, so there was no risk in sharing what they\'d learned.

Only Hale looked up as Kat came in. He motioned to one of the mismatched chairs beside him, and she took her place at the table without a second thought.

Outside, the snow was still falling. In the other room, Uncle Vinnie was singing an old Russian song, to which Kat had never learned the words.

’’What about you, Uncle Eddie?’’ Gabrielle asked from the end of the table. ’’Who do you think Romani really is?’’

Kat remembered Uncle Eddie\'s words: He is no one;he is everyone. And still she held her breath as her uncle slowly turned.

’’I think there are two people in this world who have ever successfully planned a job at the Henley, Gabrielle.’’ Kat felt the room grow quiet, her uncle\'s gaze settle upon only her. ’’Visily Romani whoever he is is the other one.’’

Hale reached beneath the table, his warm hand grabbing hold of hers. And just as she leaned closer, relaxing against him, the back door flew open and the Bagshaws burst in, ushering the cold air along with them.

’’It\'s freezing out there.’’ Hamish walked toward the stove and took a bowl from Uncle Eddie without asking, proving with that single gesture that Angus and Hamish had been officially forgiven for the nun incident and brought back into the fold with open arms. Conquering heroes. The boys who had blown up the Henley.

’’What\'s that?’’ Hale asked, and for the first time, Kat noticed the small parcel wrapped in plain brown paper that Angus carried under his arm.

’’Don\'t know,’’ the elder Bagshaw said. ’’Found it outside. Note says it\'s for Kat.’’

Her first thought was Mr. Stein. Her second however brief was of Nick. But as Kat took the package, pulled back the paper, and stared down at the small canvas in her hands, she knew both guesses were wrong.

A girl. She saw a girl with straight dark hair and a heart-shaped face, with a petite frame and a devout posture as she kneeled, praying to Nicholas, the patron saint of thieves.

From the other room, Uncle Vinnie\'s singing grew louder. Uncle Eddie returned to his cooking. Simon and her dad studied their plans.

It felt to Kat as if she and Hale and Gabrielle were very much alone as she heard her cousin ask, ’’Is that what I think it is?’’

Kat nodded, speechless, as a plain white card fell from the package and landed, at last, on Uncle Eddie\'s table.

Dearest Katarina,

Rest assured, the Angel is safe and she is happy. The enclosed belongs to you. It is time that it, too, returned to its family.

Welcome home,

Visily Romani

Kat glanced up and saw Hale\'s concerned face huddled close beside Gabrielle\'s. She smiled reassuringly at them both. For a moment, her mind drifted to Hale\'s confession Kat\'s ticket back into Colgan that lay at the bottom of her suitcase: unopened and unused.

But when Kat\'s gaze fell back on the priceless canvas in her lap, she thought of the girl who prayed to the patron saint of thieves. Katarina Bishop was indeed certain that she was no Visily Romani. And yet . . .

She smiled.

And yet, she knew she could be.


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