The first thing she recognised as she slowly regained consciousness was the ease with which breathing came. She took a few moments to fill her lungs and feel the bliss of fresh, cold air as it reached her lungs and replenished her body. Then came array of beautiful distant smells which she thought had been buried in the recesses of her mind for an eternity. The tangy, distinct smell of varnish, mixing with the fresh morning air; the soft smell of last night's aftershave; a freshly mown lawn, and pears soap! Oh pears soap!
Still, without opening her eyes she let her arms stretch out across the bed to discover crisp white sheets. This was the point where she realised something was different to the way it should be. All these luxuries were in the past for her unless they ever find a way home. 'That's it!' she thought as she recalled the expedition and the usual monotony of life on the plateau. 'Perhaps I'm still dreaming' she mused, as she resigned herself to enjoy every last second of it before Veronica or one of the other irritant inhabitants of the tree house came to wake her.
Yet, as she lay there half way between sleep and wakefulness she realised that no one was coming. So, resignedly, she rolled onto her side and opened her eyes to find nothing that she had expected. She watched the morning light filter into the large room through white gauzy curtains. She stared in front of her at the grand mahogany chest of drawers against the far wall and the trinkets that adorned it; she let her eyes flicker over the heavy curtains that were held back from the window against the wall; at the grand wooden floor and the silk covers which adorned the bed when a sound behind her broke her reverie.
She heard a muffled snore and movement beside her and suddenly turned to find Roxton lying, half naked, (she hoped) beside her and let out a squeal before jumping out of bed to face him.
He opened his eyes in fright and sat up to face the beautiful woman.
"Marguerite, what in heaven's name is the matter?"
"What are you doing here? What am I doing here Roxton? Where are we?" She gasped in panic as she took in more of her surroundings until her eyes settled on a silver bound photo above the fireplace, upon the ornate mantelpiece.
"What...?" she half asked as she walked unsteadily toward the picture.
"Marguerite, calm down! You probably just had a bad dream." The Lord said as he slowly climbed out of bed and walked towards her. "We're home, we have been for two years now. Come here." He said as he opened his arms to embrace her.
Yet, she didn't turn away from the mantelpiece. Her delicate hand reached out to grasp the photo. And she turned her body to face him, but did not take her eyes off the photo for one moment.
"This is us?" She asked as she raised her head to meet his eyes in fear.
"Yes, Marguerite" he said with hurt tracing his features, "The happiest day of our lives, you said so yourself." He replied as her eyes once again took in the photo.
Her eyes traced over the beautiful silk gown that flowed over her body and pooled at her feet; the bouquet of dark roses in her hand; her hair pulled back from her face and piled beautifully upon her head with a pearl clip; The church in the background; the handsome man beside her with his arm around her waist and the ring upon her finger...
Suddenly she dropped the photo, oblivious to the loud crash it made as the glass shattered upon the ground at her feet, and looked searchingly at her left hand for the ring, and there it was, a small perfect gold band with a sparkling diamond to top it off.
"Please be careful Marguerite" Roxton said as he stepped forward to gather the pieces of the broken glass from around their bare feet. "You have an appointment today."
Satisfied that it was her in the photo she said in shock and fear: "but, John, I can't remember anything."
The cold uneven floor beneath his spent body was the first thing lord Roxton felt as he slowly began to regain consciousness. Every inch of his body ached and resisted his attempt to move, or even open his eyes. His cold, wet clothes clung to his body, the weight of it pinning him to the ground where he lay.
Fighting the urge to remain stationary, Roxton, using a great deal more effort than he ever thought necessary, opened his eyes. He began to take in his surroundings, whilst trying to recall what had brought him here. He gazed upon the cavern within which he lay; he took in its uneven floor and walls with their odd metallic gleam, as he fought to remember what had brought him here.
Suddenly, interrupting his reverie came a chilling, all too familiar voice:
"So, the gallant lord of secrets awakes."
The lord turned his head in the direction of the voice he recognised, yet could not quite place. Sitting hunched against a cavern wall, to his surprise, was a face he had not expected to see ever again.
"You look surprised Lord Roxton. I think it's about time we had a talk. You see, you have something that I want and, if I'm not mistaken, I have something that you want." said Maplewhite as he motioned to Marguerite's unconscious body before him.