Chapter Eight: "Goodbyes"
It's no use, I will never fall asleep. Every time I do, I just seem to wake up a little while later. After a few hours of uneasy rest, I finally decided that I will never be able to sleep properly again. So now I just lay here looking up toward the ceiling, imagining the wood was the wood of our home. I look over to the small window, imagining it being the one I would sit at with my sisters looking for Mother's star. I imagined that in a few hours, Abigail would come in and wake me so I could tend to the house. I imagined our old life, the one we could never have.
A tear made its way down my cheek before I quickly wiped it away. I slowly got out of the bed so I wouldn't disturb the sleeping William, grabbed my shawl, and left the room. The house was still dark, but I could tell it was slightly lighter out, maybe around six or so in the morning. My bare feet quietly crept along the floorboards as I made my way toward the stairs. I heard voices talking, so continued and started down the stairs. Half way down, I faltered at the sound of Father yelling after Gabriel.
"Don't you walk away from me boy!" he demanded, the tone in his voice stopping me dead in my tracks. I could hear footsteps coming towards me.
"I'm sorry, Father, I'll find you when this is all over," Gabriel said as he emerged from the right foyer, Father following him.
"No! You're not going! I-I forbid you to go!"
"I'm not a child!" Gabriel turned and yelled.
"You're my child!" Father quickly retorted.
"Goodbye, Father." And with that, Gabriel walked out the door.
"Gabriel," Father quickly called. "Thomas is dead. How many more have to die before you'll heed my word?" I slightly gasped at this and turned to look at Gabriel's reaction. He swiftly turned around with a look of astonishment. He turned back around, placed his hat on his head and walk down the rest of the stairs toward his horse. Father began to let out raspy breathes looking panic-stricken. As Gabriel mounted his horse, I quickly ran down the staircase out onto the porch and out to his horse. He looked down at me as I reached him.
"Gabriel, please…" I silently pleaded.
"I'm sorry, Rose." With that he turned his horse and set it into a gallop down the way. I just stood there as I watched him ride away into the early morning fog. I turned and saw Father and Charlotte in the doorway, Father looking even more distraught then I had seen him in the last few years.
"I'm loosing my family," he said and walked away. Charlotte just looked out at me in a sad gaze, almost as though she was feeling sorry for me having to witness that. I looked up briefly to find William, Margaret and Susan all out on the balcony looking out in the direction Gabriel left. I turned around one last time to see if I could get one last glimpse of him, maybe, just maybe, riding back to his family. No such luck. I walked up the stairs and toward Aunt Charlotte who stood waiting patiently for me.
"What are we to do?" I asked her, the tears slowly coming back.
"Oh, Rosalie , I don't know…"
"I can't take much more of this, Aunt Charlotte. I don't think I have the strength…" I began to slightly shake.
"Come, here," she stretched out her arms, welcoming me into a loving embrace. "I know, I know…" she said running her fingers through my hair as I began to sob once again.
"Father won't let him go… I-I know it. He'll leave too… just like the others…" I cried. She didn't say anything, she continued to hold me in her arms. "We didn't ask for this… why-why did this happen to us?"
"There's nothing we could've done to prevent it, what's done is done," she said. She continued to hold me until a little voice spoke up from behind us.
"Rose?" I quickly separated from Charlotte, wiped my eyes and turned to find Nathan and Samuel standing behind us. "Is he really…" Samuel asked, but couldn't bring himself to finish his question. I walked over, kneeled down and looked into his eyes, and took both into a hug. When we separated, Nathan looked out the doorway and out into the now clearing fog.
"He is," Nathan simply stated. Aunt Charlotte walked up next to him and put her arms around his shoulder then looked at Samuel and I.
"Come, lets go," she said. When we walked up the stairs, we found William, Margaret and Susan looking up the second set of stairs longingly. "Children?"
"He was crying…" William said, his voice slightly cracking. Aunt Charlotte looked at me with a concerned look. I nodded in response. She unwrapped her arm from around Nathan and walked up the stairs to comfort Father. "Will he be alright, Rose?"
"I don't know, Will, we'll have to see. Now, why don't we get dressed, hmm?" They all slowly turned and went to their separate rooms. William looked up at me quizzically. "Go with Nathan and Samuel, your clothes are in their room nice and clean." He nodded and walked away. I stood still in the hallway for a few minutes, not thinking about anything in particular. I just couldn't wrap my head around the past week's events that had occurred.
When I walked into my room, on one of the chairs lay one of Aunt Charlotte's old dresses. I guess my dress was too stained to be wearable. It was quite beautiful and reminded me of Mother's dress… my mother's dress. That was gone too, along with every other thing I have known for the past eighteen years. My room, old family portraits, family heirlooms, all gone. Burned into ashes. I never even got to finish that scarf I had started two years ago. I quickly threw those thoughts away and reached out for the dress. As I finished putting on my undergarments, Clara walked in with a basin full of water and a small towel. She helped me into the dress and took away the water once I was finished cleaning up.
When I left the room, I made my way down the hall and stopped in front of one of the tables. Thomas's satchel was still there, containing his metal soldiers. I gingerly picked it up, and ran my fingers on the leather bag. So many memories were contained within this, many that were those of birthdays and small Christmases. Just thinking about it, I could remember the last Christmas Mother spent with us in 1772. It was cold and rainy, and I specifically remember being angry that Aunt Charlotte wouldn't be joining us that year. Never the less it was one of the best Christmases we had ever shared together. I picked up the satchel and continued my way toward and down the stairs.
It was lighter now, maybe around seven in the morning, with few of Aunt Charlotte's hands working and moving around the house. I stepped outside into the morning light to see one of the hands leading one of the horses over to the front of the house. I turned around to the sounds of many footsteps coming, only to find a sight I had known, and feared would happen. Father was dressed and had his gun, and everything else he needed to be prepared to go into war. Right after him stepped out our family, all wearing looks of disappointment and sadness. Father walked over to his horse and hung up his saddle bags, blanket, and anything else he had. He handed his gun to the man holding his horse, then turned to all of us. He walked over to Margaret first and looked down at her.
"Margaret, I need you to help your sister and Aunt Charlotte, alright?" She nodded her head. "Your growing up so fast, I'm proud of you." She smiled slightly and nodded her head. He scooted over to William and bent down to face him.
"When will you be back, Father?" William asked. Father almost seemed pained to answer.
"I don't know."
"Tomorrow?" William asked hopefully.
"No, not tomorrow." William hung his head slightly, but Father hugged him reassuringly. "Say your prayers."
"I will," William nodded.
"Nathan, I want you to take care of your brothers and sisters and Aunt Charlotte. I'm depending on you," Father said as he shook his hand. He turned toward Samuel and shook his hand too. "As I am on you, Samuel." When Samuel nodded his head at him Father ran his hand across his cheek briefly, saying, "Alright." Father went over to Susan and picked her up. "Susan…" he stated. "Goodbye?" he asked hopefuly. Nothing, she just looked at him, silently begging him not to leave too. A sad look swept across his face and he kissed her forehead and set her down, turning to look at me. "Rosalie, you be good. Help your Aunt."
"Good." He then turned to Aunt Charlotte, but hesitated. "Thank you." She nodded her head. He turned and walked over to his horse, grabbing his musket and mounting. I suddenly remembered something important.
"Father!" I called urgently, slightly jogging up to him. He turned to my voice and looked down at me, he looked almost heartbroken. "I-I… you should have these," I said holding out the small satchel that once belonged to Thomas. "He would want you to." Father looked down at the small leather bag in his hand and looked at me, one small tear in the corner of his eye.
"Thank you, Rosalie." I nodded, one tear of my own escaping the boundaries of my eye. He leaned down and wiped it away, briefly caressing my cheek. "Goodbye." With that he turned his horse and cantered down the drive. I took a few steps toward him reaching my arm out, wishing that he would turn around and come back. Aunt Charlotte walked up next to me, both of us watching him ride away.
Hey, it's me. I am extremely sorry for my absence, but over the summer after I posted these last chapters I had surgury and had no time to get back to the story before school started. I am taking AP classes this year and have not found the time to write a new chapter. While editing the new chapter, my computer's hardrive fell, and i lost everything because I am stupid and did not save it onto a flashdrive. So i am just telling you that I have just recieved my computer back after it being in the shop for two months, and I will try to get back to writting as soon as possible. I also plan on editing the previous chapters. Thanks so much for your patience. - Veryamedliel