Alright, I recently read and fell in love with Rebecca (It's now one of my favourite books), so, naturally, I checked to see if there was any fanfiction for it. And there were only about ten entries! So, I wrote this little piece to give these wonderful characters some closure. Now, I know that it starts off really slowly, but I adore the ending, so I hope you enjoy it =]
In the end, I still believe that it was Frank's letter that did it. If that letter hadn't arrived precisely when it did, Maxim and I might still have been in the sad predicament of reading English news clippings for the fleeting amusement they brought us. Of course, homesickness and a burning desire to settle down were contributing factors, but it was definitely the letter that set action into motion.
I remember the day the letter arrived at our hotel with an odd clarity. I say that it was odd, because that day hadn't been particularly out of the ordinary and thus, very forgettable. When the mailman had arrived, we had been sitting in absolute silence.
A beautiful, peaceful sort of silence though, not one caused by her worming her way into our minds and poisoning our thoughts. Those silences had finally expired, for which I was immeasurably grateful. The word Rebecca was no longer a synonym for malice, cruelty, horror, and murder; as time made plains out of mountains, it had also turned the word Rebecca into a name; nothing more. It affected us no more than the names Charlotte or Jane.
No, that day our silence was simply a habitual one. It represented nothing more or less than Maxim sitting in his armchair while reading a newspaper, and me sitting across from him and finishing some knitting. We may as well have been in Manderley, really, for had we been there at that time, we likely would have been doing the same thing.
Presently, I would finish my knitting, and take a seat by him. Then he would stroke my hair, just as he had at Manderley. But in reality, this hotel room was nothing like Manderley; at the moment, it was far more beautiful. Of course, I'm not insinuating that the hotel room's furnishings came any where near the magnificence of Manderley; they were simple, lackluster, and almost ugly in comparison.
No, what made this moment beautiful had nothing to do with setting. What made this moment beautiful was the understanding and love that Maxim and I shared, and the complete bliss he could make me feel by simply holding me. We had never been this together in almost all our time at Manderley, in any sense of the word.
When the mailman's knock came at our door, it was Maxim who answered it, because he had been looking forward to reading the result of a football match which had happened a few days ago. In fact, he had been so anxious about the results that he had received merciless teasing from me on the matter for the past few days.
Of course, you could never tell that he had football on his mind when he opened the door. No, he greeted the mailman with the same polite stiffness as always (he never bothered acting charming when he wasn't sincerely interested in the other person; the habit was something we both now attributed with Rebecca) then collected the mail with a brief thank you. He absentmindedly opened the first envelope, and there it was; the letter that would change our lives forever.
For a moment, as he looked at the letter in his hands with his dark eyes widened, I began to fear for the worst. Crazy, impossible ideas manifested themselves in my head, and for a moment, I was afraid to move. Could the letter be from Mrs. Danvers? Could it be from Favell, Rebecca's cousin, informing us that he now had the evidence he needed to have Maxim arrested and hung?
"What is it, darling?" I whispered, approaching him. Placing my hand gently on his shoulder, I asked, "What's wrong?"
After a moment, he turned to smile softly at me, "I truly have ruined you, haven't I? Your first assumption is always that something is the matter. Well, you can relax darling; this letter is not a warrant for my arrest. It is a wedding invitation."
I blinked with surprise, "Really?"
Peering down at the ostentatiously styled card in his hands, I instantly realized that he was right. But what I couldn't believe, was the name of the groom, "Frank Crawley? Frank is getting married?"
I laughed. For me, Frank had always represented propriety personified, and I could never picture him feeling amorous, or proposing. As for picturing him kissing a woman, I felt certain that it couldn't be done unless I happened upon him actually doing it.
After getting over my initial shock, I scanned through the rest of the card. The wedding was to take place in two months, in the county next to the one which had contained Manderley. But, I had been to the place before, so I knew that it was only ten or so miles from the actual Manderley property. I can't deny that the thought of going back scared me at first.
Frank seemed to have anticipated this though, for under the calligraphically printed information on the card, he had penned a short note:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. de Winter,
I am well aware of the horrific events which have kept you from returning to England, and not a day passes when I don't regret what has happened to you. Thus, I would never dream of forcing you to return here prematurely. That said, Miss Rachel (my fiancée) and I would be truly honored if you were able to attend even a part of the ceremonies. Please send your response with the utmost haste.
While reading, I tried to imagine Frank sitting in his dining room, wondering how to word his request in a way that would convince us to come. He had probably gone through quite a few drafts before arrive at this final copy. True, the end result wasn't particularly impressive or touching, but I knew Frank well enough to understand that the hidden message in this short note was, "I truly miss you, please come back."
After reading, I looked up at Maxim, who angled face to look at me. Our eyes met, and that was when I knew that he had every intention of returning to London for the wedding. His eyes told me that he had had enough of our foreign exile, he wanted to go home.
Still, for formality's sake, he smiled and asked me, "So, how about it, my dear? Would you be up for a return to England?"
The lighthearted way he said it, with mischief dancing in his eyes and a teasing grin made returning to England seem as easy as changing hotels. I almost laughed, "Am I up for it? I don't believe it was ever a question of my being up to it. It was always you, with your dark past and brooding temperament. You couldn't take the memories."
The teasing vanished from his eyes, and it was replaced with hurt. "You would have felt the same, had the memories in your mind been half as chilling as mine."
I gasped, realizing that I had gone too far, "Oh God, I didn't mean to –"
"I thought you understood."
He looked away, his face frozen into the emotionless mask it had always become when he thought of her, and I took his hand, "Oh, I'm so sorry… please don't be angry darling", I pleaded, "I was being thoughtless and… and stupid; I didn't mean anything by it."
Maxim then began to make an odd choking sound. For a moment, I believed he was restraining dry sobs, but then I realized that it didn't sound as if he was sobbing at all. It sounded more as if he was attempting to conceal his… "Laughter? Here I am feeling guilty and heartless for bringing up your past, thinking that I actually hurt you, and you're laughing at me?"
Maxim looked up at me with now, with unrestrained mirth dancing in his eyes, "Sorry, I couldn't help it. Come now, don't be angry; it was just too easy!"
As he continued laughing, I frowned heavily at him, pretending to be hurt. But in reality, I felt lighter than air; I was weightless and floating.
He was finally free. I was free. True, we hadn't actually been burdened with dark memories for the past few months now, but we had never been able to laugh about them before. The past had never mattered less.
Suddenly forgetting that I was supposed to be cross with him, I turned to Maxim and took both his hands in mine, "Darling, it's only been two years since we left England. We could still go back now and start our lives over, it isn't yet too late. We could use your fortune, and build a new home, a new life! I'm sure most of our old staff would help us. And then we could mend this family and make it into a proper one, with children and everything! The sort of family I used to dream that we would be. The sort of family that we deserve to be…"
Realizing that I had gotten lost in my dreams, I shook my head and looked up at him. He was smiling tenderly at me, in a way that warmed me more than any fire or summer breeze.
"Darling, that's why I love you." He said gently. "I may have cost you your innocence, but you've retained your ability hope, and you've brought mine back to boot. If you want to start all over again, then damnit all, start again we shall. But can I ask you a favor?"
I smiled, "Anything."
A mischievous grin crossed his handsome features, making him look far younger than his years, "Can we start with the children?"
I couldn't help but blush girlishly at his words, and then he leaned forwards and was kissing me as he hadn't kissed me since our final night at Manderley. His hands cupped my face and my arms slid around his neck to pull him closer to me. Our kisses were insistent, hungry, and almost as full of hope as we were. By the time he pulled back, I felt so hot and weak in the knees that it was all I could do not to collapse into his arms.
Then, completely unbidden, a horrid thought crossed my mind: Had he ever kissed Rebecca the way he just kissed me? Maxim must have noticed my change of expression, because he looked at me questioningly. To answer his unasked query, I sighed and said one word, "Rebecca".
For a moment, as he looked at me, I was afraid that he would be angry, or irritated with me for bringing her up now and ruining one of our rare moments of passion.
But then, to my relief, Maxim only wrinkled his aristocratic nose, "Rebecca? Now there's an unpleasant name. Yours has a much nicer ring to it, darling."
And I couldn't help but agree with him.
Fluffy? Yes, it is. Too happy for the sombre ending of Rebecca? I don't care, the de Winters deserve happiness!
Anyways, thanks for reading =]