Under the thick quilt with her husband, Theodosia Burr Alston let the mattress hug her side. She focused on her breath as she heard the wailing from the streets. Alexander Hamilton was dead. Her father was responsible.
On the eve of the duel, her father had shown up at her door. Theodosia squeezed her eyes together as she remembered his explanation. Alexander and I will duel at dawn. No matter what happens, I love you more than my life.
Theodosia bit her lip as she wondered where her father was. Had he fled? Would she ever hear from the man who raised her again?
She hugged the quilt to her chest and gathered her breath in the back of her throat to blow out the candle next to her when there was a pounding against the front door.
As a smile spread across her face, Theodosia threw the quilt onto her husband and crept into the living room. She turned the copper knob and pushed the door into the wall outlining the weak doorframe. Standing in the darkness was her father.
“Theodosia.” When he spoke, Theodosia noticed how her father’s voice seemed to break.
“Father—” Theodosia gathered her father in her arms “—you’re alive. That’s all that matters.” She rested her chin in her father’s broad shoulder.
“But we have to leave,” her father pointed out.
Theodosia’s heart skipped a beat. After she steadied her breath, she took her father’s hands. “Where shall you go?”
“France,” her father answered. His voice was a whisper. He seemed to brush his fingers against Theodosia’s silky, brown curls. “Go to South Carolina, Theodosia. The Alston family will protect you.”
“When will you return?” Theodosia was on the verge of tears.
As she choked on her breath, her father’s breath caressed her cheek. “I will come back. This situation will blow over eventually. When it does, I shall return.” He pulled away, filling the doorframe.
“Okay,” Theodosia muttered. Her face turned to the floor as she began gasping again.
After the silence swelled through the atmosphere for what felt like forever, her father filled the living room with the last words she would ever hear from him again face to face: “More than the sun. More than the stars. More than the moon. I love you.”