"Then what are you, now?"
"I am…a dingy dog from the street, taken to a home where it's barely wanted. I know the evils of the world, but have always hoped for any small kindness. You are that kindness. "
The woman could only smile at the man's sentiment. But considering every move she might make could determine the creature's existence, she needed some time to think.
"I must take my leave, before Victor makes himself sick with worry." The monster lay still except for a slight turn of the head into the pillows.
"Then you must go. I will be here," responded the creature, his voice taking on a hint of sarcasm.
"I will be back before tomorrow morning. I promise," said the woman allowing she to challenge her husband's desires with her visit's to the creature. She admitted that she like the feeling of adventure that rose within her at the idea, and that she must be reasonable with how the feeling might govern her actions.
"Won't your husband disagree?"
"Who says he has to know...right Alfred?" said Elizabeth turning towards the butler. The servant nodded, staring rather intensely at her. "Might I at least accompany you with Milady: if you plan to go somewhere without your husband' knowledge? At least until we get you a proper Ladies maid?"
"Naturally." The woman then finally let herself rise from the bed and taking a step towards Alfred. But she turned back and gently laid her hand on the creature's leg, making him turn his face towards her once more. "Do you need anything else before I leave?" she asked feeling the goose bumps spreading across the man's leg.
"I'm fine." With a grin at the man's bluff she pulled the blanket from where she had been sitting and laid it over the man, feeling accomplished in her observation as she walked towards to door. Alfred quickly opened the door and then once they were through, locked it just as fast following his mistress through the chain room and up the stairs.
The woman only looked back once more as she got to the base of the stairs seeing the creature clutching the blanket and felt her grin widen. Only once she had risen to the top of the stairs and closed the door to the basement did she feel the reality of the situation come back to her.
"I would like some alone time in the chapel if you don't mind," the woman said before walking inside. Dutifully the butler waited outside. The woman made sure she closed the door, feeling she needed a bit more guidance than usual. The chapel embraced her with its beautiful mosaic floor, wood wainscoting leading to white painted stone, with paintings of angels on the high walls, and gothic curves of the ceilings. There were four pews; two on each side and a humble alter on a small raised platform. It was just what the woman needed. She kneeled before her lord, crossing herself and began to pray.
It seemed only a moment till Elizabeth heard stomping, hurried footsteps approach the chapel from down the hall, giving the away the culprit to be her husband. She kept her fingers firmly clasped and her head bent in prayer, hoping for a reprieve, but doubting such things. From outside the thin door she heard Alfred speaking to Victor in, recounting her exploits with the creature. Thankfully her husband sounded more worried than angry, not that she counted his feelings to the soundness of her thoughts. She might have been just as guilty of the murder of her poor cousin William, but she knew if Victor had paid any attention to the creature as he did to her feelings, the boy might have still lived. And she might have been a woman without the education or general knowledge of her husband but she knew the intimate dealings of the heart and how to commune with her fellow human beings better than he ever would. She could see the creature's sincere desire to simply be recognized, and with the slightest actions of kindness she was able to bring him back to humanity.
The door creaking open and her Husband's footsteps endeavored to break the conversation with the lord, but she knew as a good Christian wife and longtime friend to Victor, she would be faithful to his thoughts and feelings. She lowered her hands ,but remained kneeling before the alter. Victor kneeled besides her crossing himself before kneeling beside her, grasping her fingers in his quivering hands. He lifted them to his lips and gently pressed a kiss to them.
"I don't know what I'd do if you were ever harmed. My thoughts overflow with thoughts of dear William's body on the table and Justine's terrified face as she resigned herself to be a sacrifice for some unknown murderer. I pray, my dearest companion, that my fears are logical in relation to our guest." The woman nodded, lifting Victor's hand within her own, kissing it without looking up, hoping to show her resolve on the matter.
"Logic is not what the Creature's situation needs, my love. I have seen your retribution, and I believe it matches his crime. And I also saw a mirror of William's body with the same injuries on your creations neck. Is it logic that demanded you to have hands wrapped around his neck and make him feel the pain of near suffocation?" Victor's hand retreated from her. "That was not my doing, "he muttered shamefully, but then stated,
"But yet, with all my feelings and logic considered, I respected your decisions and advice concerning the creature. He lives as restrained guest in our home at the risk of the household and when you commanded me to leave, I obeyed. I only ask that you respect my actions as I have yours."
"It is hard though, knowing your intentions and your allowance of your feelings to reflect your actions. You have allowed unsavory men to come live unstrained in our household, and while we speak of logic, they seem to pose a greater threat than that which they guard. I might imagine one of them might corner one of the staff and harass them unchecked." Victor sighed giving away his own worry on the subject.
"I have laid down rules with all of them and I doubt they would ever try such repulsive actions, considering that their competing to stay with us. What they did at the prison was simply their job and here they would never act as such in a refined household." The woman admitted she had forgotten about the competition and it eased her worries but still she felt within her stir a disturbing worry of their presence. Victor continued in the absence of a response,
"Tomorrow a ladies' maid and gentlemen's' butler will arrive with a full knowledge of the situation and to a staff who is already watching the guards to better inform me of any behavior that is undesirable. Our staff is mostly people from the nearby village and will watch out for each other and us, I'm sure." Elizabeth took in the information gratefully, allowing the smallest of smiles to grace her features. She lifted her eyes to meet her husbands.
"I will admit you are thorough in your preparations, and I commend you for the thoughtful considerations with the staff. The idea of a ladies' maid makes me yearn for Justine's company though I am excited at the thought of being able to confer with someone else without the barrier of secrecy."
"And perhaps one day when the creature is tame, Justine may come to stay with us, though I don't think she'll ever abandon our Father and Ernest," the man said, attempting to lighten the conversation. The woman rose from her knees, adjusting her dress.
"What about our dear friend Henry? I'm sure he'd be happy to see you in good health in your new home?" Victor rapidly stood looking nervous at her comment but his voice was calm as he spoke,
"I wouldn't wish to pull him from his studies or travel. I am happy to get accustomed to my lovely wife and house. My father has gifted us with this lovely retreat after everything that has happened and is willing to maintain it till I can do so myself. I am grateful for that." The man pulled his wife close and kissed her forehead gently.
"And I'm ever grateful for you."