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The ride to the hospital was one I would never forget. My heart was pounding as if trying to escape my chest. Eliza held my hand and repeated words over and over but I did not listen. I jumped to the worse conclusions imaginable, and sat frozen with fear.
The hospital that we pulled up to was one of the best in London. As we stepped inside, the smell of sickness hung in the air and I felt ready to lose the contents of my stomach. "Jane, this way," Eliza pulled me along and at the entrance there was Henry.
"HENRY!" Eliza shouted and rushed over to embrace him.
"Come with me, Tom is doing just fine," Henry said and leaned down to me wrapping his arms around both Eliza and I. We walked through the hallways feeling the air weigh heavy upon us. When we entered the small dark room, I saw him lying there with eyes closed. I was relieved that he was still here, that he hadn't left me alone.
"Tom," I whispered and sat at his side. The hair on his forehead was down with sweat, and spots of dirt made him look miserable. His shirt was caked with blood and grime, and his right leg was wrapped in a white fabric. I took my handkerchief and gently blotted his forehead.
The stab was right in his thigh, and I looked at it closely seeing that the blood had stopped gushing and turned some of the white fabric brown. Dirty linens were in a basket near the bed, and most were dark with his dried blood. "Tom," I said again with my voice sounding shaky, hoping that he could hear me.
Tom's eyes slowly rolled open and he looked up at me with half a smile. "You were right," he murmured. "I should not have gone to the tavern," he coughed as he laughed.
"No, Tom, no, this is not your fault." I looked up at Eliza. Henry sat down on a wooden chair.
"Jane, they gave him medicine to briefly ease the pain. The wound is deep but should heal just fine with a scar. At least that's what the doc said," and Henry motioned to the jar with pills.
A knock on the door made us turn our heads and a policeman was standing in the doorway. "I'm hear to take details," and Henry gave his account.
"We were at the boxing tavern down the way, when Tom decided to pick a fight with a man. There was laughing and betting, but suddenly a commotion when Tom beat the man. Everyone went to congratulate Tom but he fell to the ground in pain. Women started to scream because there was blood soaking the ground. There was a man who ran off wearing dark clothing and a cap trying to cover his face." Henry watched the policeman write down details and nodded when he repeated the scene. It made me stomach feel uneasy and Eliza stood beside me holding my hand.
"We shall let any of you know if we catch him," and the man sighed.
"Right before the man stabbed me I heard him say that I stole something important that belonged to him," Tom said.
"Oh?" The policemen said.
"Now Tom think, have you ever stolen in your life?" Henry said and paced.
"Nothing," he mumbled.
"What about your life at court working for your uncle?" Eliza offered and again it was a no. The candle flickered and the idea of this whole thing left us with little to say.
Then it hit me. Hard in the stomach like I had just been punched. I made a small scream and they all looked at me. Tom reached for my hand and asked what was wrong. "I think I know," I looked into his eyes. "You didn't steal anything because it was already yours." His eyes widened with confusion and then became angry.
"Can we be let in on the secret?" The policeman asked and we turned to him.
"John Warren." I mumbled and he wrote down the name. "He's here in London, and he promised he was not pursuing me any longer. But he saw Tom was back in town."
"He must have sent that Irish girl," Henry said, now worked up.
"And he lied to you Jane because he knew he'd do all he could to get his way sometime or another," Eliza said. The policeman nodded and said that they were going to look for the man and let us know right away and left the room.
The tears that had been waiting to come out started to flow.
Tom grabbed my hand and pulled me closer down to him. "I won't let him get away with this. I will do all that it takes to stop him, to find him," and his icy blue eyes were fixed on my face. He was incredibly handsome and I felt very lucky in that moment. I didn't want to have to worry about trying to find John Warren, I just wanted to be happily married and safe with Tom.
I wanted my sister to have a loving husband, and I wanted my parents to be happy that their children were successful. I wanted my books to be published and bring happiness to young women. I just wanted what I wanted. It became very clear to me that I was tired of having to fight and love.
The pain in my leg had faded slowly with the help of the medicine, but was forgotten when Jane had arrived. Her lovely shining face was hovering over my bedside. My thoughts had been focused on her as I was lying in the bed being wrapped up. Henry had called for a policeman and I had waited for my love to arrive.
Now that the police had been notified about who we believed it was, I wanted to hurt the man that threatened my life. If it were not for my leg I would have already been on the hunt for him. Not once, but three times John had decided to break up my fiancé and I. This was the last straw, and I was going to let him know.
Jane looked down at me and I gazed at her beauty with the need to protect her from harm. Pale skin, soft features, her dark beautiful curls had been down for once and hung about her face in such a lovely manor. I wanted to take her in my arms and hold her, and touch her, and make love to her. But she wanted to wait until we had been married. Naturally I agreed, because I wanted her to be happy. The temptation was growing, this need for her, but I had not said a word. Henry and Eliza were still in the room and I did not want to cause a scene.
This medicine was working to suppress pain but I think it was also messing with my head.
"Tom?" The doctor said and came into the room. "We can release you now as long as you have someone to take care of you." Jane nodded and the doctor told her what she had to do. "Luckily the wound is not that deep and there should be no problem with recovery."
"Thank you," I told the doctor and we prepared to return home. As the four of us sat in the carriage, I felt more than a bit of tension.
"This is serious Tom," Henry said and I continued to stare out the window. "He actually attacked you. Was it just to stab you? Or worse?"
"Henry," Eliza nodded toward Jane.
"No, it is important cousin," Jane said and sighed. "I'm afraid to sleep tonight," and I grabbed her hand.
"No one is going to come into my home and hurt you. Henry, Eliza, you are welcome to stay the night," I offered.
"We shall," Eliza said.
Once home Henry helped me inside and I sat on the sofa trying to be as manly as I could. This had been an eventful night, and I was happy that I had been able to return back home. Jane sat down next to me and I held her hand. "My dear," how are you?" She sighed and moved herself closer to me.
"I shall live," and she looked at me with tired eyes.
"Of course," I said and kissed her hand.