"you almost unearthly creature"
Genre: Drama, Romance
Characters: Jane/Rochester, Ensemble Cast
Summary: His was a most curious likeness to her eyes, a most common subject to her sketches that she couldn't quite control.
Notes: This is Table II for January's prompts of the 50 Sentence Challenge. Which prompts one to write four stories a month based on four sets of fifty prompts. The fifty prompts each result in one sentence each, and then a whole story is formed from the snapshots provided in those sentences. Obviously, this challenge will slaughter grammar, and bring out the seldom seen fandom from the muse - but is a fun and curious thing that has already been incredibly interesting. If you wish to, you can track my progress in my profile.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.
She was a fair thing that interrupted his peaceful journey home across the moors – stealing his breath with her spell from that first moment, until he didn't even have the presence of minds to hold the reins properly when he steered his mount to avoid trampling her.
"Come girl, your shoulder, if you will – necessity requires me to make use of you," he said to the fairy before him, who was doing her best to fetch the prancing and nervous animal for him; the determined scowl on her small futures amusing him past the pain shooting through his ankle.
Through the whole of her life she had been plain – a girl worth only what she was in the eyes of God – and yet, she wishes that she were the slightest bit charming . . . the slightest bit like every other girl her age when she sees his eyes linger on her for just longer than would be deemed acceptable.
Her pupil was a sweet girl, with cherubic features and more interest in dresses and dancing than her studies . . . but Jane believed that she found a way to reach Adèle's fancy when she introduced the girl to the sweeping passion and lilting lines of Shakespeare.
The old housekeeper was suddenly serious as she leaned towards her, her voice hushed as she said, "Jane, this may be the silly ramblings of an elderly woman, but . . . be careful, my dear."
The water in the basin was freezing, and her small fingers shuddered when they broke through the ice to wash the mire from her hands beneath – the switch hurt more on fingers blue with cold, and so she held her hands under until she could bear no more.
The girl next to her with the dying pulse and the mouth that shaped words of forgiveness . . . Jane calls her sister though Helen is not of her blood, and carries the memory of the girl on in the years to come.
"Love her? Hardly, Miss Eyre – Cèline was put out from the holdings I purchased for her, and he was left with a bullet in his shoulder to show him sense in meddling with what was already taken."
"You study me so, Miss Eyre – you have wholly blinked in these last five minutes - so, tell me, do you think me handsome?"
"What a singular creature, you are – not one lady would have answered honestly in such a biting way – now tell me, what could I do to transform this dragon's face into human flesh - I have heard some nonsense about fair maidens and frogs before."
Thornfield was a harsh mark against the frosted hills of the moorlands, a blot underneath the morose press of the sky above; with secrets to its creaking steps, and cries in the attic above as if it were inhabited by something haunted and fierce . . .
She never kept a diary so much as she held a journal of sketches – far off worlds from dreams, or her impressions of the people around her . . . as of late she has found her hand loitering on his likeness more than she'd care to admit to.
Sometimes, when she was younger, she would wave her spoon as if it was a wand, sure that if she tried hard enough her aunt and cruel cousins would disappear . . . and then they did, and she found herself within the Puritanical halls of Lowood, and immersed in the different form of pain to be found there.
"What strange effects the sun has on you Jane; here, by the river and in the light of morn you look more like a forest spirit than my Jane Eyre . . . tell me, where has the governess gone, pale and washed away creature that she was?"
"He dots upon a . . . servant as if she were my equal," Blanche seethed, her stunningly blue eyes murderous, and her elegant hands tight with anger around the edges of her vanity as she gazed at her reflection . . . and wondered just what her sonnet inspiring beauty was missing.
"Yes, you genuine daughter of Paris – the doll is a lovely shade of blue; now, cease your infernal chattering and sit quietly by Miss Eyre, or I shall have you retire early."
"Tell me, Miss Eyre . . . does the child resemble me?" he asked, his mouth a grim smirk that bore no resemblance to Adèle's cheerful countenance, "If so, than it is by some magician's work – Pilot is more her likeness than mine."
No, he had not looked at the grandfather clock in his study more than five times in the last quarter hour . . . it would do him no good to count down the time until he'd properly be able to call an audience with his ward's governess . . . no good whatsoever.
While she knew it was not her place to judge any of God's creatures, she couldn't help but look upon the proud visage of Blanche Ingram and find something wanting in her; a porcelain shell gilded with gold and lace, but empty and devoid within.
"Copy your arithmetic, and then – and only then – will I consider showing you how to dance," Jane said, her severe voice failing her at the far away look in Adèle's eyes – surely she would have no control over her pupil until Mr. Rochester's guests quited the house.
He entered the tower chamber, his eyes hard as the scent of island spices and seawater rose from the beautiful madwoman who was quietly tearing the pages from a book of sonnets in the corner, and whispered in a low voice: "Bertha, I know you can hear me, so do not play the fool . . . put the girl in harm's way again, and I swear to you that I shall wash my hands of you as I should have done all those years ago – and that is a promise."
"If you accuse me of being a witch once more, Mr. Rochester, I may surprise myself by riding a broom across the sky tonight – there is a full moon to assist such endeavors, is there not?"
Before him, hazy in the smokey air of her opulently colored tent, the Roma woman cast her fingers over the youthful lines of his palm, saying: "I see three before you: one of madness and ensnaring, one of decadence and betrayal, and one of truth . . . you must have learned from the prior to appreciate the gem to be found in the last."
She was quickly becoming an obsession to him – a dangerous place of honor in his mind just short of idolatry, giving her what should only be given to God - but he has never been a man to love by halves, and now that she was so quickly becoming the whole of him . . .
Her fingers undid the ties of her veil, and they shook like the bird she had compared herself to as she heard him pound on her chamber door, desperate to explain what she could not bear to hear from him . . .
"You open your eyes like an eager bird, longing to hear the tale, and yet anxious for its end – and you peer as if you could read the words better from my eyes than from my lips . . . then listen, Jane, listen and understand . . ."
"It was just a bit of sport, Jane," he whispers to her, still swathed in gypsy robes, his eyes sparkling with that same gay mischievousness that she was by turns vexed and enraptured by.
To all intents and purposes, his attention was completely on Miss Ingram through their duet, but he couldn't help but gaze at Jane as he sang, watching the way her eyes held his in return . . . her hands trembling, and her pulse leaping against her throat until he was lost to the fantasy of singing against her skin . . . tasting the pale skin that quivered there; and he was lost to his thoughts until the applause from his guests brought him back to himself.
She sits by the fire, still trembling from the adrenaline of the evening, and waits for him to return, his cloak pulled tight over her shoulders . . . where he had placed it . . . it smelled of smoke and something more; cedar and citrus and the scent of winter . . . something that was simply him.
She awakens to see a woman in white with mad eyes – hungry and full of flames - pulling apart her veil with the mad shriek of a harpy . . . for a moment, Jane was certain that she was setting eyes upon a Nosferatu, one of the brides of the night . . .
"You gave me your hand – so small and elvish formed, but when you did it was as if sap and vitality flowed through these wilting boughs of mine – I had thought myself enchanted; and by your hand, enchanted I was."
He felt ill as Jane informed him of Mason's arrival . . . a black mark from the blackest moments of his past – and that was a stain which he never wished for her to be acquainted with.
From the window of her small room, she watched Saint John and poor Roseamond . . . the former so immersed in his devotion to the celestial that he would forsake an Earthen relationship with the woman he loved . . . and Jane hated him a little in that moment, knowing that she would do anything to have such a chance with her own . . .
"You laughed," he said softly, saying little in words, but of gaze he held whole tomes as he reached out and gently traced the corners of her mouth – the flutter of the grin that she couldn't quite keep from him.
Her charcoal worked quickly against the paper, striking in an impression rather than a portrait – the square face and the strong brow, the eyes like flint and the full but grim mouth, a certain fire of gaze . . . and somewhere in her work, her fingers began caressing the paper rather than clinically imparting his likeness.
"Will you not shake hands with me Jane - unearthly genii, my savior, perhaps you would allow me to do merely that?" his hands were very warm, hard and calloused around her own – warmer than the remaining wisps from the fire that had tried to claim him; warm like the precipice she felt herself leaning over . . . a great chasm that she couldn't quite name.
Amidst the crowd of brightly dressed ladies of country nobility, the plain turn and gray garb of Jane was almost pitiful in contrast . . . and yet, it was her he found his eyes straying to more often than not, entranced by the nightingale she was amongst so many peacocks, strutting and empty inside.
She did not allow her wedding night (for she was no bride to a husband already taken) to be of dreams or pleasure – instead she took to leaving in the silent night, sure that if she heard his pleas again in the morning's light, she would not be able to resist him . . . by God above, she would not be able to resist him.
"The Devil be hung, Mason – Bertha has drawn more blood than that from me on more than one occasion; now bear yourself up and act with the courage of a man, for goodness sake."
He enjoys bitter Turkish coffee, and at his challenge she was loathed to let him see how she almost spilled her cup at the beverage's taste on her palate.
She'd heard it said that passion was a fire that consumes; but this was something different, a scalding potion in her veins that burned in a mirror of where his lips caressed her skin . . . and she was lost.
She knows what it is to want in those days after she ran from Thornfield; without penny or clothes or anything other than the harsh ground to welcome her at night . . . away from what she wanted most.
Her leaving was not a murdering of her love so much as an act of faith - faith that if she didn't betray herself that God would reward her justly; and for a long time, she prayed not out of love, but out of the memory of something that she needed more than her Earthen life.
She has found a new life here; growing into her skin as she taught the village children . . . self proficient and at ease with herself; and yet, there was a voice on the moors at night she couldn't quite shake – as if her soul longed to find its half, discontent with the thought of being Saint John's missionary wife in the name of God above . . .
She sees the towers of Thornfield in the distance, and a part of her runs cold over the marks of the smoke and the flames that had swallowed the beloved palace of her heart whole . . . fear, nauseous and overwhelming swam through her as the man spoke to her of the events of that long off night, of smoke and flames, and her master, her dear, dear master.
"Dammit man, but where are the candles? - just because I am blind does not mean that you can scrimp on your duties, John!"
She feels a pang as she stands before him, completely silent and still . . . he could not see her, she realized, grief flickering through her for all he had had to endure . . . and in that moment she vowed to see for him – to spend the rest of her existence by his side as a balm for their time apart.
He may have been without sight, but his fingers traced her face almost tenderly, finding the old highs and lows that his mind saw so clearly behind the blackness of his vision; when he drew her close, she melted into him like rainwater moulding to sand, and heard his prayers of thanks against her skin like something cleansing . . . "This is my Jane Eyre . . . I would know these features anywhere."
"Jane, I am quite certain that I could tie my cravat with more skill than you – and I have no eyes to see with - why now, on top of my injuries, must I suffer the demise of my wardrobe?" he teased her as she tried to assist him dressing their first morning together – to wich she merely rolled her eyes and countered that he most certainly enjoyed the attention.
This time, in her portrait, she is not alone – she is whole, surrounded by her family; and there that picture hung in her husband's study even when he did not have eyes to see it . . . and there it remained to remind future generations of their tale.