A.N.1: Hello everybody! I normally write stuff for Stargate Atlantis, but I had to do a project for school for Wuthering Heights and this is what came out of it. This is an extended version of the ending. Hope you all like!
Outside a crisp winter breeze blew across the moor, stirring the dried and brittle stands of heather. The sunlight shone cold, but bright and clear, and patches of blue sky could be seen between the gaps in the thick gray clouds. Catherine Heathcliff stood at the open window and gazed at the sweeping expanse of the Heights laid out before her, admiring the dance of sunlight and shadow that played across the much beloved moor land. A bird soared into view from high above and Cathy smiled. She felt like flying herself! She wouldn't be Catherine Heathcliff for very much longer; within a day she would become an Earnshaw, taking up the name just as her mother before her had laid it aside. The thought filled her with happiness, and her exuberance could not be contained any longer. As the bird swooped by again she laughed joyously and waved up at the creature. "There, see?" she called. "Now I am just as free as you are!"
Her warm brown eyes followed the bird's flight for a moment longer, then, still smiling, she leaned out and pulled the window shut, fixing the latch firmly in place. The reach of the gorgeous day outside did not quite extend into the often oppressive shadows of the house, but for once Cathy found herself not minding it. She reached out to either side of the window and grasped the edges of the thick velvet curtains. She took one last look at the prospect visible through the thick panes of glass – the thought that she would never again see it from this vantage point was not an unhappy one - and it was with a glad heart and an eager hand that she drew the curtains, sending the room into darkness.
Footsteps echoed from downstairs and a voice called up the stairwell. "Come along, Catherine! It's nearly finished down here!" They were in the process of shutting up the main part of the house for good.
"I'm coming, Ellen!" Cathy turned from the window and crossed to the other side of the now dark bedroom, picking up a small stack of old books from the cloth covered dressing table before she left the room and shut the door behind her.
As she walked down the empty hallway towards the stairs she lifted the cover on the topmost volume and reread the series of names scrawled across the margins of the page, all written by the same person. Cathy had found her mother's diaries, the entries crammed into whatever space was available around the printed text, a few months after Linton's death, tucked away on the window ledge in what had been her room when she had inhabited Wuthering Heights. At the time she hadn't dared remove them – Mr. Heathcliff had often shut himself up in the room for hours at a time, and he was sure to have noticed if the books had gone missing – but two days after his funeral she had fetched them for herself. They rightfully belonged to her, she had thought, as a part of her legacy from the mother that she had never known.
Her dear father had spoken of the elder Catherine of course, and told his daughter many things about how beautiful she had been and how much he loved her, but for Cathy they had always been little more than stories. For her, her mother was an intangible shadow that lurked at the very beginning of her existence - that lived only in the memories of others; she wasn't real; she had no connection with her. As a child at Thrushcross Grange, Cathy had sometimes looked up at the lovely woman in the portrait hanging above the mantel-piece in the parlor and tried to make herself feel sorrow for her loss. Papa was often sad about it, and it had made Cathy feel that she should try and be so as well. She had known she should be sorry that she had no mother, but it was difficult. And besides, she had had Papa and Nelly to look after her. It wasn't until Cathy had come to live at Wuthering Heights that she had begun to gain some understanding of the woman who had given birth to her.
The scribbled diaries revealed a Catherine Earnshaw that did not quite match up to the picture of the refined lady and loving wife that her father had painted for her. Instead, Cathy had found herself reading about the adventures of a wild, free-spirited, often imperious girl and her playmate, a rough and dirty servant boy who oddly reminded her of how Hareton used to be. It was strange to hear Mr. Heathcliff spoken of in such a way as was presented in the diaries, compared with the proud and savage gentleman she had known, but most startling had been the affection and tenderness with which he was described. In her perusals of her mother's journals, Cathy had often found herself wondering in amazement how they could even be the same person.
Yet still, even though what she read puzzled her in its unexpected nature, Cathy had made the series of tattered and worn books one of her treasures, and, along with the formal portrait of Mrs. Linton that Heathcliff had removed from the Grange, she was going to take them with her that day when she returned to her adored childhood home.
Cathy closed the book as she reached the top of the stairs and, lifting the hem of her gown in one hand, lit down the steps light as a feather. "Ellen?" she called. "Ellen, where are you?"
"In here, dear," answered the housekeeper from the sitting room. Cathy entered the room to find Mrs. Dean alone and holding a large bundle of white cotton fabric in her arms while she vainly attempted to spread it over the settle. It was a comical sight, and Cathy laughed, setting her books down on the small side table that had already been covered.
"Ellen, you must learn to call for help when you need it!" she teased, walking up to the older woman and taking hold of one end of the dust cloth.
Nelly pretended to frown. "I'll thank you to know that there was no one nearby to hear such a summons! Joseph and Hareton are in the stables getting the cart ready, and the servants from the Grange have already gone back to make the house ready for the wedding breakfast tomorrow. You and I are the only ones here! In any case, this is the last thing to do."
The two women shook out the cloth between them and together draped the billowing sheet over the high backed sofa, its folds gathering on the floor around it like a shroud. "There!" cried Cathy, brushing her hands together in satisfaction. "Ellen, I believe there never was a piece of furniture better covered than this one!"
Nelly laughed. "If there was, I haven't seen it!" The rest of the furniture in the room had already been covered with white dust cloths, and the ash in the fireplace already swept away and the grate fastened shut; sunlight still streamed through the gap in the curtains, and golden dust motes drifted slowly through the air. Nelly cast an inspecting glance around the sitting room, and, satisfied that everything was in order according to her exacting standards, stepped over to the windows and briskly pulled the curtains shut. In the sudden gloom the pale drapery that covered everything gave off a slight spectral glow against the shadows, and the whole space instantly took on a rather eerie, abandoned feel.
A disapproving, almost regretful glance was Nelly's reaction to the sudden change in atmosphere. "It takes people to make a house feel alive," she said. "This was a fine place in its day."
Just as she had felt upstairs at the window of her former bedroom, Cathy didn't mind the desolation and emptiness that now permeated the house. Its cares were its own now, and she would not have to suffer them any longer. "Well, I'm sure Joseph will have no trouble in keeping the family pride alive down in the kitchen," said Cathy with a smile. "He's more fond of the place than anybody else!"
"Aye, that he is!"
Suddenly a shout rang out from outdoors. "'Allo in there! Time to be off!"
Cathy beamed at the voice of her betrothed, and caught Nelly's hand in hers. "Come, Ellen. Let's go home."
The air was crystal clear the next morning as New Year's Day dawned, frigid but beautiful, over the countryside. The pale winter sun was climbing into the sky, burning away the last shreds of the night's mist and diamond-like dew still clung to the bare tree branches when the small wedding procession left the church yard.
First came the bride and groom, laughing and smiling, leaning into each other as they walked, their arms linked together. The bride was resplendent in a simple flowing white gown and lace veil, the sun glinting off her golden curls. Around her neck hung her wedding gift from her new husband - the miniature likenesses of her mother and, the fragments painstakingly pieced back together with exquisite care, of her father, housed inside a new gold locket. Next came a rather stout looking woman, crying with joy and dabbing at her eyes with a large checkered handkerchief and exclaiming that she had never been more proud in her entire life. Walking next to her and exhibiting emotions of the exact opposite kind was a lean old man who clutched his cap in his hands and muttered something about disgrace to the family. And trailing after them came the minister, black Bible in hand, to make the party complete.
A.N.2: Well, thanks for reading and reviews are much appreciated! :)