Past, Present and Future
Chapter One ~ Time Flies
I had known Mrs Heliotrope my entire life. She had brought me up, practically single handily as my mother died and my father was never truly around, cared for me, looked after me and made sure I grew up to be the person I am now. I admired her as she had dedicated so much of her life to look after mine, she was so much like a mother to me. Her judgement was usually something I valued.
Over a year had passed since the attacks from Cassandra and her boys, and it was firmly put behind us all. We had moved on and began to adapt back to life before we were in fear of the forest. Everything had gone back to normal.
I enjoyed life in Moonacre more than I thought I would when I had arrived here nearly three years ago. When I moved here from London, I hated everything and wished constantly to be back in the city life of the capital with my tutor by my side and servants in hand.
I was quite a pride-ridden fool back then.
The move to Moonacre had done me a lot of good. I was no longer the narrow-minded fool I used to be and had come to love the country a great deal more than the city. My friends, Claire and Georgina, thought I was odd for that though I didn't care too much what they thought of me.
All through my life, from when I was younger, just learning how to play piano, as I grew up and my father died, when I moved to Moonacre and met Uncle Benjamin for the first time, meeting the De Noir's and going through everything that the witch and her sons had put the valley through, I had stuck by Mrs Heliotrope's, slightly batty, suggestions and ideas. I knew she had my concerns at heart.
Of course, it wasn't just the scenery that I enjoyed about life in Moonacre. I spent practically all my time with Robin De Noir, my best friend who, over a year ago, I had confessed my love for. He never did tire of me, even though I was four years younger than him and, in my opinion, very irritating.
The adults of Moonacre found our relationship most enjoyable, especially Loveday. She was forever teasing me and I couldn't help but get embarrassed. Robin however was completely the opposite. He seemed to enjoy all the attention we got. I envied him for his thick skin.
I always wondered, if my parents were still alive, how they'd react to Robin. Would they be happy for me or would Father try and scare him away? Not that he would succeed. I knew my father was a prisoner to pride, so maybe it would get in the way of his judgement of Robin as he was a De Noir. All my questions, of course, would never be answered. I could only hope and pray that they trust my judgement and are happy for me.
Life in Moonacre always seemed so careless. Since the attacks, there had been no big event to hype the valley into worry, so life went on and adapted peacefully. My life consisted of learning, reading, playing music, writing, playing in the forest and spending time with my Merryweather family and the De Noir's, mostly Robin. I was 16 and I hadn't even thought about what I wanted to do with my life. It was odd though, that I didn't seem to care.
I cared more when it came to my 16th birthday and Loveday wanted to throw yet another birthday party. Three years in a row and this one was surely to be much worse than the previous two. I was quite wrong this year. Loveday allowed that instead of a party, she would hold a dinner in our manor home. It was a lovely day and I had to admit, Loveday had done an amazing job. It was just a simple family dinner, of course with the De Noir party aswell, and that's what made it perfect.
Since the attacks, the year that followed on had been the best moments of my life.
Though this all changed when Mrs Heliotrope announced to me that we were return to London for a while to stay with a close and personal friend of hers, Lady Harriet Haversham.
"I'm not going." I told her sternly, folding my arms tightly across my chest. Mrs Heliotrope and I were in my bedroom. I sat cross-legged on my bed, whilst she rooted through my box on the floor, pulling out clothes and putting them to one side. She was packing for me, though I had no intention of going anywhere out of Moonacre any time soon.
"Oh Maria." Mrs Heliotrope sighed loudly. "Stop being so childish." She stood up and strode over to my small wardrobe in the corner. She opened it and pulled out a large suitcase. I suddenly became more alert. The suitcase landed at the end of my bed as she threw it over. Mrs Heliotrope then began putting my clothes inside.
"What are you doing?" I cried.
"If you're not going to pack," She began. "I'll pack for you." I quickly scooped up the pile of clothes she had put in and jumped off the bed before she took them back off me.
"I'm not going." I repeated, clinging onto the clothes tightly. Mrs Heliotrope looked over the top of her glasses at me. Her eyes gave me a look of disapproval.
"Maria," She began softly. "We will only be staying for a short while." I didn't say anything for a few moments.
"How long's a while?" I asked, hesitantly, narrowing my eyes.
"At least a month."
"A month?" I cried. The woman was obviously mad.
"It'll do you good, my dear." I snorted in the most un-lady like fashion and she sent me a look of dissatisfaction. I ignored it of course. I was too annoyed to be a 'proper' lady.
"Maria, my child," Mrs Heliotrope began at dinner time, one evening at the end of spring. "We have something to tell you." I glanced around at the other two at the table. Loveday had a small smile on her face, watching me, whilst Uncle stared down at his food, chewing absently. He apparently wasn't listening to the conversation. I looked to Mrs Heliotrope, sensing it must have been important due to their faces.
"What is it?" I asked carefully, eyes suspicious. Loveday turned to Mrs Heliotrope and the two woman shared a brief look.
"I'm planning on visiting a friend in London very soon." Mrs Heliotrope told me. I didn't say anything, I just stared at her waiting for her to continue. "You remember my friend, Lady Haversham, don't you?" I nodded once. I remembered the woman, but only slightly.
Lady Haversham used to visit Mrs Heliotrope all the time when we lived in London. The two had grown up together, apparently, and would get together to chat aimlessly and about topics that had no meaning on a frequent bases. Just a pair of gossiping old women. Lady Haversham used to fuss over me and I always thought it was because she never had a daughter of her own. Though I found out later of Mrs Heliotrope that she infact had two daughters and a son. So I was all the more confused about her constant hovering over me. I was only a child at the time though. So I ignored it.
"Yes I remember her." I said when Mrs Heliotrope didn't continue. I feared at first that maybe Mrs Heliotrope was going to tell me that Lady Haversham had died, which would have been awfully sad.
"Well, she's asked if I would like to stay a while in her home in London, do you remember the place?" I shook my head. Mrs Heliotrope must have forgotten that though her and her friend got together all the time, it would be in the confinements of our home. Not Lady Haversham's. I had never set foot or even seen where the woman lived.
"No I haven't."
"Oh." My answer seemed to set Mrs Heliotrope back slightly and she frowned. She recovered quite quickly though and a small smile appeared on her face again. "Well, anyway, she's asked if I would like to visit her and stay in her home in London and has asked if," She paused for a few moments. "If you would like to come also?"
There was a slightly timid knock at the door, though it startled both Mrs Heliotrope and I. When I didn't move, Mrs Heliotrope called 'Come in!' as loud as she could. Though the door wasn't very far from her and not very thick. She didn't have to shout so loud.
The door opened slightly at first and then Loveday climbed in through the doorway. Her eyes scanned my room and stopped at the suitcase on my bed then at myself with the bunch of clothes held tightly to my chest.
"Surely, you are not going today?" Loveday asked, speaking to my tutor. I glared at the side of Loveday's head. She had sided with Mrs Heliotrope on this, which evidently made Uncle side with her also. So it was the three adults, who pretty much had control over my life, against myself on the matter. I had no chance of winning this argument and I knew it. Though I wasn't going to stop trying.
"Maria, this would be a great idea for you." Loveday began, slowly. "It was very difficult for you to move here from the city after your father died. Going back there for a while will do you some good." Her tone was ever the wise and thoughtful, though I didn't buy it.
"But I like it here." I protested. My food had gone cold now, though I had no intention of eating it anymore. Marmaduke wouldn't be very pleased.
"You won't be moving there permanently." Uncle told me, the first time he had spoken all evening. "It's just a social visit." He shoved a forkful of food into his mouth and chewed viciously.
"Why can't Mrs Heliotrope go on her own?" I demanded. My tutor sighed loudly.
"Dear God, Maria!" She cried. "It's only a trip down to London for a month or so! I'm you will be able to cope without your beloved boy for that short amount of time. You have managed your entire life until just recently. Get over yourself, girl!" I stared, speechless at Mrs Heliotrope, who just stared back with a defiant stare.
My chair scraped loudly along the floor as I shoved it back hard. I left the room quickly without looking back at the three, probably staring, adults.
"We're not." Mrs Heliotrope replied to Loveday. I corrected her quietly by muttering 'you're not', though Mrs Heliotrope just glared at me then turned back to Loveday with a friendly smile. "Though as Maria has no intention of packing herself, I thought I would pack for her and put her suitcase in my room until we leave. So she has no urge to throw everything back into her chest again when I'm not looking." With that she continued packing, not looking at either Loveday or myself.
"Right." Loveday nodded once. "Maria, my dear." I glanced up at Loveday's face as she addressed me. "You have a visitor." I snorted.
"I'm not falling for that." I told her. "As soon as I leave, she'll," I titled my head in Mrs Heliotrope's direction. "Pack all my clothes and lock them away in her room and make sure that I have no choice but go with her to London."
"You don't have a choice anyway, Maria dear." Mrs Heliotrope sighed. "You're coming and that's final." I ignored her.
"Maria, I am not lying to you." Loveday said softly. "My brother is down stairs and wishes to see you." I narrowed my eyes. Of course, they would use Robin as my apparent 'visitor'. The only person in the world right now who would even make me consider leaving this room with Mrs Heliotrope to pack away all my things for London. I stared into Loveday's eyes, trying to pick out the lies, though she continued to stare back at me, her face remaining still. There was no trace of any lie.
I sighed and dropped the clothes onto the bed next to the suitcase Mrs Heliotrope was piling clothes in. Mrs Heliotrope stopped what she was doing to meet my eyes. In that few short moments of silence, I remembered again everything my tutor had gone through to put up with me. She had basically thrown away her London life to move here to Moonacre with me. She had left all her friends, including Lady Haversham, just for me. And here I was, acting like such a spoilt brat because I didn't want to go with her on a trip down to London for a while. I should have thought about what I was doing before I completely lost it on her. And anyway, I couldn't stay angry with her for too long. It was unhealthy.
Mrs Heliotrope gave me a small, apologetic smile. I returned it instantly. When I turned back to Loveday, she was already squeezing herself out the tiny bedroom door. I followed her out, shutting the door quietly behind me.
"Maria, I am very sorry." Loveday began. I shrugged.
"I suppose you're all right." I sighed finally. I sensed Loveday's eyes watching me. "Though I just don't want to leave for that long." Loveday took my hand and squeezed it.
"It'll be fine." She whispered. "The time will fly by and soon enough you'll be back in Moonacre, and with my dear brother again." I looked up to see her grin and wink at me. "And who knows, maybe your absent may knock Robin straight. He's still as annoying and arrogant as he used to be, though I must admit he has softened up slightly. Three chances to guess who that was down to." She knocked her shoulder into mine and I laughed.
We headed down the stone steps of Moonacre manor together, our footsteps echoing quite loudly throughout the hall. When we reached the top of the final steps I saw Wrolf, our resident black lion, sat waiting for us at the bottom. He stared up at us, his tongue hanging out, looking like the true dog he was at heart. The bald patches in his fur had all gone, though it was still quite visible where they had once been. The fur was lighter than the rest of his coat. I didn't know what the witch and her sons had done to Wrolf, but it sure had knocked him down quite hard. It took him quite a while to recover from the incident.
When we reached him, I ran my fingers through his mane and he nuzzled his nose against me. An idea shot into my head.
"Can Wrolf come with me when Mrs Heliotrope and I go to London?" I asked Loveday. She raised an eyebrow and laughed.
"That surely would be a sight." She smiled. Images of Wrolf in some lavish city mansion, smashing up expensive pottery, running about with dirty paws and ripping up furniture, flashed into my mind and I grinned.
There was the sound of male voices coming from down the hall, both of which were very familiar, one of which sent my stomach fluttering. It was hard to believe I was still a love-struck fool a year on. Robin would tell me he found it cute. I would then tell him I found it embarrassing. He would then laugh. I would then hit him.
Loveday, Wrolf and I followed the sound of the voices right down to my study room. It was there we found the sources of them.
Uncle and Robin were both by the table which was set out for my lessons. Uncle stood with his arms crossed across his chest, staring at the younger man, whilst Robin stared down at a book on the table, flicking through the pages absently. Neither of them were aware of our presence.
"-you would have to talk to my father about that." Robin sighed. I saw Uncle Benjamin narrow his eyes slightly.
"I thought you were the one he sent out to deal with his business?" He asked. Robin grinned and looked up from the book, letting it close.
"He sends me out to do his dirty work." Robin corrected him. "Though he still wants full reports of what I do and who I talk to." Uncle chuckled.
"I'll have to go talk to him myself, it seems." He sighed once. Robin nodded once and then coughed loudly.
"Maybe we should save this conversation for another time." Robin suggested suddenly. "We have an audience." Both men, simultaneously turned in our direction. Uncle seemed somewhat surprised by us stood there, though Robin did not. I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if he knew we were there the whole time.
"Maria, Loveday." Uncle spoke, recovering. He strode away from Robin and up to his wife, who he then kissed lightly on the cheek. "Robin and I were just discussing business." He told her in a tone that sounded as if he was making an excuse for doing something naughty. I saw Loveday raise an eyebrow at him.
"Well, perhaps you could inform me of what business in the sitting room?" Loveday suggested. She took Uncle's hand firmly and practically dragging him from the room before he could say a word. Wrolf followed them, trotting aimlessly behind. I watched them go, amused, and then turned back to Robin. He was smiling innocently at me. Though I didn't buy it.
"What were you talking about?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at the De Noir boy. His smile went up into a smirk and he shrugged.
"Nothing that concerns you, princess." He told me. I walked down the three wooden steps and towards where Robin stood in the middle of the room.
"Can you remember what happened last time when you hid things from me?" I asked, raising a challenging eyebrow at him. He stood barely a foot away from me now, so I had to raise my head to look up at him. Robin still stood, smirking. I saw him lean carelessly against the back of one of the chairs situated at the table.
"You're quite short, aren't you?" He noted.
"Don't change the subject." I snapped, punching him lightly in the chest. He grabbed my fist before I could move it away. He uncurled it from my lightly clenched ball and kissed my palm.
"We were discussing business." Robin told me finally.
"What business?" I pressed. He smiled and kissed my knuckles.
"Your uncle wants to expand his grounds and he was asking my father for his permission." I frowned.
"Why does he need to ask your father?" I wondered.
"Because we De Noir's own most of the forest, if not all of it." Robin said, sighing. He entwined his fingers with mine, but let it drop down to our sides. "He needs to ask for my father's consent if he wants to expand. Otherwise he would just annoy my father." Robin grinned. "And we don't want another family war going on again, do we?" I shook my head once and then smiled, content that Robin hadn't hidden anything from me this time.
Though Robin had never hidden anything from me since the attacks over a year ago. That was the one and only time he hadn't told me everything. Now of course, everything was different. Robin would usually turn the whole thing around and tease me first, but he always ended up telling me.
I watched as Robin's grin faded slightly and then his lips were just a mere thin line. His forehead was creased.
"How are you?" He asked suddenly. I felt his thumb carefully rub the back of my hand softly. I shrugged once.
"Mrs Heliotrope's packing up all my stuff as we speak." I sighed. "It seems that nothing I do will change her mind." I looked down at the floor for a few moments then back up into Robin's awaiting eyes. "Looks like I'm going to London." Robin stared at me for a few short moments before smiling sadly.
"And there's nothing that will change Mrs Heliotrope's mind?" He tried, raising an eyebrow. I frowned and thought hard, going over all my attempts to stop myself from going to London in the next few days. Finally I sighed.
"I don't think so." I pouted for a few seconds, still in thought. "Though I could use Wrolf to scare her off whilst I hide my suitcase?" Robin chuckled and shook his head once.
"I don't think anything you do will change her mind, if I'm honest, princess." Robin glanced over his shoulder at the piano, dropped my hand and made his way over to it. I watched him sit down at the bench and press a few keys, not bothering to make a tune, though I knew he was very capable of doing so. He had a somewhat sad look on his face as he stared down at the keys. His lips were turned down in a frown, his forehead wrinkled with creases.
He looked slightly angry too.
I sighed and made my way over to him, hitching my dress up slightly. When I reached him, I sat down at the bench next to, scooting up close to him so we were touching. He didn't flinch or move as I did this. He didn't even look up at me or meet my eyes with his.
Unsure of what had tensed Robin up, I attempted to comfort him in some way by leaning my head against his leather covered shoulder. I felt his body relax almost immediately. This was a good sign.
All of a sudden he began to play a soft melodic tune on the piano. It was always odd to see Robin play the piano. I guess I had never expected someone like himself, who seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't be seen dead playing an instrument or singing a love song to someone, though whenever we were in the presence of a piano, he would play it, sometimes he would hum along to himself. Something I guessed he never did in front of his barbaric friends, who I had grown friendships with over the past year. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't even know he could play at all.
He refused to sing though. That was something he wouldn't be seen dead doing, whether it was with his friends or myself. He would tell me he had an awful singing voice and didn't want to torture me by singing to me. No matter how much I pushed, he had never sung in front of me. I had even told Mr Gomez of my plot to get him to sing, and he was more than happy to help. Which was probably more to the fact he could annoy the young De Noir even more than he usually did.
"When do you leave?" Robin spoke suddenly, still continuing to play the mesmerising melody. I glanced up at his face, which was set looking at the keys, then back down at his hands.
"Mrs Heliotrope will be leaving in a few days. Whether I will be going with her is yet to be decided." I told him. This made Robin grin and he stopped playing to look down at me.
"We both know you'll be going." He said softly. I frowned.
"Do we?" Robin rolled his eyes. "I've still not given up on my bid to convince Mrs Heliotrope." I paused, watching his face for a few seconds. "Unless you don't want me to stay and rather I left?" Robin rolled his eyes again and gripped my hand hard in his own.
"Don't be absurd, Maria." He said, reaching up and gripping my cheeks in between his finger and thumb. He squeezed my cheeks together gently so I probably resembled something like a fish. Robin grinned at this. I pushed his hand away furiously, though Robin could tell I was joking. "Of course I don't want you to go." Robin began, his face falling serious suddenly. "Though it's not like I'm never going to see you again. You'll be back to Moonacre before you know it and I'll write every week." I paused then frowned.
"Every day?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. Robin merely shrugged and made some sort of movement that I thought must have been a bow.
"My wish is your command."
(A/N) Hello everyone! I am back with the sequel people have wanted!
Right, I'll get right to it; I've plotted out the entire story and have written another chapter after this. Updates will not be as frequent as the first story, I'm afraid, soon I will be very busy so it may be slightly harder for me to update. Though whilst I am currently not very busy, I intend to write as much as I can for you all.
I know what you're probably all thinking aswell, about the plot line. ''Maria and Mrs Heliotrope have to return back to London, blah blah blah...", I am aware that there are a few more stories with the same basic storyline, but I assure you that this story is not the same as all of them and trust me, if you like Robin/Maria stuff, I think you will enjoy it! I hope you will. :)
Everything that is in italics in this chapter is flashbacks that start after the end events of the first story right up to the present time in this story. Basically it will be flashbacks on the year that I have jumped from Guardian Angel to this story. This will also come in handy when Maria goes to London as for a few of the chapters, this will be providing the Robin/Maria fluff (I intend to try and put some fluff in every chapter, though I cannot promise everything). This is just incase you were wondering what the italics were for.
The title, I think, isn't very good and if i think of anything better, I may change it. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to tell me.
I think you will all enjoy the next the chapter, so please stick around to see. Also please tell me what you think of the start of the sequel, whether you are interested still. I want to know if a sequel was a good idea or not.
Anyway thank you and I hope *fingers crossed* you have enjoyed the opening chapter to Guardian Angel's sequel. I will hopefully see you in the next update!