A/N: Mr Rochester's reflections and recollection of the night before the morning he finds Jane gone from Thornfield.
I'm really not sure about the style or the perspective.
The soft click of the lock as the door closed did nothing to shatter the serenity of what had been a wretched night. The only thing I had for comfort was the hollow promise from my little Jane's lips that we would discuss the future, our future in the morn. I was left with alone with my dark broodings for company and dark indeed they were that night.
Would she agree? I mused as the carpet wore away before my very eyes as my feet traced a discontented trail over its length.
Of course she would, she had to. I knew she loved me, I had heard it from her own lips! So complete we are, side by side, she can not leave me now.
She has nobody in the world outside this accursed place, no one to care for and love her save me. She will not leave.
These thoughts are a deception I know, I feel it in my heart. I seek assurances of something impossible, a balm for the gaping wound in my breast. She is too spirited to predict, too honest to live outside God's law. Would she, could she choose me over eternity, to lay with me in damnation, forsaking all grace? Had I the right to ask it?
With such finality the thought struck me, I had no right, no claim to her beyond the love we shared. Was it enough?
To that I had no answer, too all my questions I knew she must furnish me with resolution herself.
I was selfish to ask it I know, but I could not resist. Had I not suffered enough? Had I not kept my 'wife' well over the years, when I might have left her in some institution somewhere? I had brought her here and given her all she could want, found her a keeper and tried to care for her when I could, angered though she was by my visage.
The bloated, terrible features I had incarcerated now swam before me in my mind's eye, so different from her, from my Janet.
I gazed out of my window and saw the sun rise, a little past midnight I reckoned, at least another five hours before I could see my future, an age before I could kiss those sweet lips, indeed if she even allowed me. She must, she must yield, what was I without her? Why endure?
I wondered what she dreamed of, whether she slept peacefully or was she as restless as I. No, she had no blemish on her heart, she would rest easy and dream of hot lands and whitewashed villas, perhaps a paradise where we could live in peace, where we would live in peace.
This thought, as happy as I had entertained all evening was banished inexplicably. I knew not why, but something tugged deep within me, it felt as though something pulled at me, a slender thread, insistent and almost pleading, threatening to snap. I did not know it then, but I reflect now and realise it must have been that duality of minds we shared, the bonds of oneness, threatening to unravel, trying to, in their own way, tell me she was leaving me. Departing the house we loved in, fleeing the stars who had alone observed those fervent, stolen kisses all innocence and promise.
I bowed my head, mourning a loss I would not realise for some hours yet.
At last morning came, my heart rejoiced in its light and the anticipation it carried on its back. I almost ran to my study, desperate for the meeting I knew must come.
Calling for Mrs Fairfax, I commanded her:
'Fetch me Jane Eyre!'
and she was away.
Whilst she was gone I fretted again over her decision, whether she would agree. So animated were my thoughts that I did not even entertain the thought of a flight, that she could have crept away in the night. She would agree. I would remind her the grievances I had suffered, would yet suffer were she to leave, she had a heart, she would be my redemption!
I rose as Mrs Fairfax entered but faltered when I saw she was alone.
'Well woman?' I cried.
'She is gone sir!' she told me wringing her hands. 'Her bed is empty and not a soul has seen her!'.
I heard her words but they held no meaning, they were empty.
When my mind returned to me I ran, fled to her halls, she the mistress of my heart, errant shade of my dreams, ever haunting me in sleep and in the waking world.
Upon reaching her chamber and seeing for myself her belongings missing and no trace of her I chocked on the emotions filling my throat. I stood thus for what felt like an eternity until something gleaming on her dresser caught my eye. Her pearl necklace, my gift, left behind, discarded as I had been. I took it up and before I knew what my hands were doing, I had fastened it at my throat, the only token I had left of my enchanter. My fingers caressing the beads as they had once caressed her cheek.
I felt a tear trace a cool path over my searing face, my skin recalling her breath, my eyes her smile and my lips the swell of hers.
Her voice came to me then:
'Do as I do: trust in God and yourself. Believe in heaven. Hope to meet again there.'
At this I fell to my knees and wept like a child, my heart broke anew and all my pain and bitterness broke over me in fresh, strong waves.
And then I prayed. For the first time since my sham of a marriage, I threw myself utterly into my father's hands, commending my battered spirit to his care.
My Jane had asked God to care for me, to keep me from harm. I would trust in her judgement now as I should have done before.
She was gone and yet remained in my heart, shattered and rent as it was.