Chapter 3 is up. Sorry for such the long wait :(
26th January, 1919
It's half past Eleven, as I sit on the living room couch in front of the fire, sipping on a cup of tea. Uncle Michael and Aunt Helen have already said their goodnights to me. It would be wise if I, too, should journey to bed soon, but first, I must record the events that took place today.
I awoke this morning around Eight to the sound of birds chirping and the sun shining on my face. A feeling of hapiness washed over me as I stretched in the soft sheets. I slowly sat up in my bed and was hit with a overwhelming smell of breakfast. My stomach growled in appreciation and I followed the smell out of my room and down the stairs into the dining room. Uncle Michael and Aunt Helen were sitting at the table when I made my entrance.
"Good morning, Mary." my Uncle said with a smile as I walked over to him.
"And a good morning it is, Uncle." I replied and leaned down to give him a kiss on the cheek before seating myself at the large table.
"Did you sleep well, my dear?" Helen asked as she looked up from her plate.
"Very well, Helen. I thank you so much for letting me stay in such a beautiful bedroom." I smiled at her before taking a bite of my own breakfast.
"No need to thank me, dear. That room was fit for you." She smiled back.
I turned to my Uncle and saw him writing a letter of some kind. I stole a quick glance at the parchment paper and saw that he was writing to the Talbot's. My curiosity was peaked.
"Uncle, was it that letter you are writing?" I asked innocently.
"It is a invitation for lunch today, Mary. To the Talbot's." He said putting the pen down and folded the letter into an envelope.
"How are your long-time neighbors?" I replied with another question.
"Unfortunately, not all is well. Do you remember Benjamin?" He replied looking up.
"Yes, of course." I said setting my fork down, now fully concerned with our conversation.
"Well, I'm sorry to say, but poor Benjamin was found dead about a month ago." he sighed sadly.
"What! Oh my. Poor Sir John. How was he killed?" I asked completely in shock. I pushed my plate away, as I suddenly lost my appetite.
"The poilice said it was some kind of animal, possibly a wolf, but they're not quite sure. I haven't heard much from John since, and Lawrence has come all the way from America from his career in acting to mourn his brother. And since your here with us now, I thought it was a good time to have them over for a little get together." he said giving the letter to a servant.
The mention of Lawrence's name made my heart skip a beat. Thoughts flooded my mind of him. What was he like now? Would he want to see me? What whould he think of me now? What did he look like?
I quietly excused myself from the table and went to my room to get ready for the day ahead.
It was quarter past Twelve and I was studying myself in the mirror of my room. I chose a soft, blue, silk dress to wear for the occasion and I put my hair up in a bun with a few yellow strands falling around my face.
I was nervous, to say the least, about seeing Lawrence again. My heart was pounding as the minutes passed and my anticipation was growing stronger. I heard the sound of a horse coming up the lane and ran to the window. A black carriage was pulling up to the front of the house. I smiled as I saw the carriage stop and a gray-haired man step out of it.
I recognized Sir John immediately with his wise green eyes and scruffy face. He turned as a young, man with dark hair stepped out of the carriage behind him. My breath caught in my throat as I saw him.
His once boyish face was now strong and manly with the freckles still covering the bridge of his nose. His thick, brown-black hair was messy and fell in his eyes. His green eyes sparkled in the sun as he scanned the tall facade of the mansion. His eyes landed on my window and connected with my dark blue ones.
I quickly moved away from the window and leaned against the wall, trying to steady my pouding heart. Had he seen me? Did he recognize me?
A knock at the door jarred me from my thoughts and I quickly recovered and headed towards the door. The maid stood before me with a smile.
"Lunch is ready and the guests are here, Miss Mary." she said.
"Okay. Thank you. I'll be down in a minute." I said with a smile. I shut the door as she left and went back over to the mirror. I saw the flush on my face and silently scolded myself for getting so worked up. I gave myself a once over before exiting the room. I took a deep breath before desending the stairs into the foyer.
"Ah, Mary! There you are. We were just talking about you." My Uncle exclaimed as I entered the dining room. Lawrence looked up from talking with Helen to look at me. Our eyes connected and childhood memories filled my mind.
"I'm sorry for my tardiness, Uncle." I said as sincerely.
"No apologies, my dear. You remember Sir John?" He said as John came up to me.
"Of course I do! How are you Sir John?" I said with a smile as we hugged each other warmly.
"I'm good, sweetheart. And how are you, my lovely?" He asked with a returning smile as we pulled apart.
"I'm good as well. Thank you." I replied. He returned to his chair and I turned to see Lawrence in front of me.
"Mary." He whispered with a small smile.
"Lawrence." I smiled back as I walked to him. He opened his arms in a warm, welcoming embrace and I went to him. His arms tightened around my waist and I breathed in the scent of him. He smelled of freshly cut grass with a mixture of soap and something that was disinctly him. I sighed into his shoulder. A moment passed before we pulled apart and he lead me to a seat at he table beside him.
Hours passed with merriment and soon all five of us sitting in the living room, drinking tea, and talking about a range of topics.
"So, Mary, how is life in Purfleet?" Sir John looking at me now with honest curiosity in his green orbs.
"To be honest, it's been quite lonely since father's death." I said sincerely. Sympathy shone in Lawrence's eyes as I stole a glace at him from couch.
"Have you ever thought of moving here? To Blackmore?" Sir John asked.
"Well, no. I haven't really given it much thought, but my work at the Sanitorium keeps most of my time there, and I must see to it that all the patients are taken good care there and are seen all the way to the end." I replied honestly. I felt someone grab my hand and I turned to see Aunt Helen and Uncle Michael looking at me.
"Mary, me and your Uncle have been talking, and we would love for you to some and live with us." She said.
"Please, think about it, Mary. We adore you, and it breaks my heart to know that you are all alone there in Purfleet with nothing but your work to keep you there. " Uncle Michael said with genuine concern and love shining in his eyes.
I looked down at the hand Helen was holding. I didn't know how to respond. I was speechless. No words would escape from my mouth. My thoughts raced. How could I say no to them? But then, how could I leave Purfleet? How could I leave Quincey? I couldn't leave him. My heart aches too much now, and I were to leave, my heart would ache forever. Then again, it is more safer here, that is, until John finds me.
"I, um, I have to think about it for a while." I answered looking up at their faces with blunt honesty. Aunt Helen squeezed my hand in reasurance. Uncle smiled at me warmly.
"Ok, dear. Take your time." He said. The tension was broken when a maid holding an envelope walked into the room.
"Miss Mary, a letter came for you." she said holding it out to show me. I got up from the couch and walked over to take the letter from her hand.
"Thank you." I said and scanned the letter in my hands. It was from Purfleet and the writing was unmistakable. Quincey.
"Please excuse me." I said to the group before heading down the hall. I puched opened to the door to the garden and was welcomed with an array of beautiful smelling flowers. I walked down the brick path until I got to the swing set that my Uncle put in when I was younger. I sat down and began opening the letter. I scanned the parchment and smiled at Quincey's hand writing.
How my heart aches with each passing minute you are gone. My body urns for you. I want to do nothing more than to run all the way to Blackmore to see you. But I know that I must stay here and watch for John. Your safety is too important to risk for my desire to be near you. I have not seen or heard anything from John, but without a doubt he is out there, planning for his next attack on us. I must be on guard, for both of our sakes.
And how are you Mary? Are you enjoying your time in Blackmore with your family? I hope you are. You deserve every happiness in the world. How I miss you terribly, and I'm sure my feeling are not in vain. I will hold my breath until you return to my arms.
Sincerly and Utterly Yours,
Oh, Quincey! My heart is breaking straight down the middle at our words. Tears are welling up in my eyes at our distance from each other. Love is overflowing out of the depths of my heart. How I wish you were here, basking in the throws of love with me.
"Are you alright, Mary?" a deep, smooth voice asks from beside me.
I snapped my head up and came face to face with Lawrence. His green depths twinkling with concern and something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I folded the letter in my lap and looked back up at him.
"I'm quite alright. Just a little home sick, I think." I said trying my best to convince him with my smile. He smiled back and took a seat next to me on the swings. We sat in silence for a while, looking over the garden. I glanced over at him, and saw him looking at me.
"What?" I asked looking at him.
"You've certainly changed, Miss Seward. No longer are you the little girl I once knew." he said with a smile.
"Is that an insult or a compliment?" I asked with a wide smile.
He laughed and said, "Please, take it as a compliment."
I laughed, "So, Lawrence, how is your life?" I asked seriously.
"It was going pretty well in America. I was rising in fame with my career as an actor and was basking in the throws of stardom, but then-" he paused, "My brothers death brought me back here, and things haven't been the same since." he said. Something flashed in his eyes, that made me think that it was more than just grief.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Lawrence. But, please believe me when I say that, things will get better in time." I smiled my sympathy and reached over to grab his hand.
He looked up at me with hope. My heart went out to this poor soul. I saw reflected in his eyes, the same broken boy that took my heart years ago and I urned to help him.
"I certainly hope so, Mary." he whispered.
"Am I interupting something?" a old, husky voice said with amusment.
I pulled my hand back like I had just been burned. Sir John had caught us in our moment and embarassment overtook me and my cheeks flushed cherry red.
"No. Not, at all." I said jumping up from the swing. I looked down at Lawrence and I tried to shake the feeling I got when I saw dissapointment cross his face.
"Well, it's time for me and Lawrence to take our leave." Sir John said with a twinkle in his eye.
Me and Lawrence followed him out into the foyer. Sir John hugged me warmly.
"I hope to see you again, Mary. Please stop by our estate before you return to Purfleet." He said.
"I will, Sir John. I promise." I smiled and let go of him. I turned to Lawrence and wrapped my arms around his neck in an embrace.
"Mary, how would you like to take a walk with me tomorrow?" He asked with egerness.
"I would love to, Lawrence." I replied sincerely. A smile gracing my face.
He smiled wide and said," Great. I'll some by tomorrow, say around One?"
"I'll be here." I replied. I watched them go and went to my room.
As I sit here now, contemplating on today's events, I can't help feeling a stong feeling of guit rise inside of me. I am treading n dangerous waters with Lawrence, and I must force of old, childhood feeling for him away. I am with Quincey now. He owns my heart and soul and I couldn't live with myself if I were to hurt him in ayway. Lawrence and I must remain friends and nothing more.
Before I sat down to write, I walked towards the window and was marveled by the beauty of the full moon. The giant, glowing org seemed so close, that I felt that if I reached out I could touch it. The silence that enveloped me and my surroundings was so peaceful and sirene. I felt at ease and secure. That is, until I heard it.
A piercing, spine-chilling, painful howl of what could only be a wolf. Goosebumps spread over my entire body and I was insintly remined of the wolves at Dracula's castle. I peared into the dark woods, looking for any sign of a fury predator, but saw nothing. I backed away from the window and sat on the couch, trying rid my mind of the horrors that might be out there.