Carla didn't really sleep her first night back at the palace. She tossed and turned letting her emotions take her elsewhere while at the same time trying to fight all the dark places they would lead her. It left her drained and in a state of perpetual torture. But she tried to focus on the good, the fact that she had gotten the document for Liam.
Still it came at a price and Carla felt like she was a common whore. The doctor obviously had it in mind to take advantage of her desperate situation and she resented the fact that he was once again the holder of all the power. She resented that he had to the upper hand and once again it was her that stood to lose everything if she told the secret. It was just a repeat of Uncle Aidan, she had lost everything for her family by telling truth about him and her father never let her forget it. He had reminded her everyday of all the generosity withheld by her Auntie Barbara because of Carla's mouth. She had been made to feel damned to hell, but it really wasn't bad what she had done. Carla only told the truth, but apparently the truth meant very little just as it does now. After all the truth is only what those holding power made it. No one ever cared about what she wanted. Except Liam, he cared more than anyone about her happiness.
Carla has an urge to be with her daughter, to wrap her arms around her little baby and protect her from using a chess piece to bended and moved to will of father and grandfather. No child would be able to come out of the struggle unscathed and Carla needed to ensure that Giulia did not lose her willful nature. She didn't want her daughter to lose sight of the person she could be, and that greater world which existed beyond these palace walls. The walls couldn't stand forever and neither could this way of being, living, and the society life in general. Carla had seen it for herself in America how most people were just walking through the streets letting life pass them by and passing life itself on to new adventures and ideas everyday. The women weren't all so confined and sometimes just walking the New York streets Carla got the feeling that there would always be someone to meet, that could show you a different way of being and experiencing things. Carla couldn't help but feeling as though she has failed Giulia in this regard. She had tried to show her what was beyond all the frilly dresses and prissy ladies. But Giulia rejected it, she hung dangerously to the past, set in her ways about how things should be; the natural order of things. But there was nothing natural about being controlled.
Carla gets off of the bed she assumes one of Antony's servants had strewn her upon the previous night. Having sleep a bit before one of them came into to alert her that Maria was out front waiting with luggage. Carla put on the performance of a lifetime. Maria was an excellent partner, they held onto one another like there was no other human in the world. Carla sobbed uncontrollably over Liam and it certainly got the servants talking and few alarmed looks from Alasdair's direction. He was sure to mention such a scene to Antony. It was then that Carla slipped the note into Maria's hand with her and Liam's special code scribbled down on it to indicate she had completed her part of the first step and would like to meet. She had so much to say about the angry shareholders at Liam's fathers company and was sure he'd put it all to good use. When the crying was over and the letter safely tucked away under Maria's coat, Carla dragged herself back upstairs to sleep again under the pretense of a broken heart. Alasdair obviously thrilled she was here to stay with Giulia quickly obliged.
Now Carla was up again for a second time trying to adjust to the fact that she back behind these walls again and that the Doctor assaulted her yet again. She tries to adjust her mind to the fact that her only daughter Giulia is to be engaged and to Trevor Dean of all people. She wished that this news out of everything else were dream. But Carla knows it isn't and as she drags her feet down the hallway towards Giulia's room she has in mind to have a heart to heart with her daughter. She doesn't know what she is going to say exactly but she has to give her some comfort, to let her know everything would be okay. Carla would save her from such a fate.
Carla stops at her daughter's door. It is opened just a crack and from Carla's view she can see Giulia standing in front of a full length mirror in a simple green dress with thick straps. Servants prodded at it, trying to adjust it or fix it when pins. Giulia truly looked lovely as she examined herself in the mirror turning to examine her figure in the dress. She reminded Carla so much of herself at that age, Giulia truly was her double. Carla was about to make her presence known when another girl with dark brown eyes and a tan complexion comes into view. Also standing in front of the mirror she is beaming at Giulia and holding an array of butterfly combs holding them up to Giulia hair and biting her lips trying to decide which ones look better.
"That's Tina McIntyre, in case you were wondering," says Alasdair's voice from behind her.
Carla jumps around immediately. She wondered just how long he had been standing watching her. She says nothing to him glancing back and watching Tina whisper something in Giulia ear and the two girls proceeding to giggle.
"She is but seventeen and pregnant," Alasdair murmurs stepping next to Carla and observing the scene as well, "I doubt the child is Antony's. Only God knows where exactly he found her. But I've been doing some digging."
"Why am I not surprised," says Carla raising her eyebrows. Carla only wished she could be more scathing in her remarks towards this man. But alas Liam's plot required her to be on her best behavior.
Alasdair ignores her remark continuing on in a whisper, "Apparently she's from the inner city. Ran away from home at fifteen from an abusive grandmother. May or may have not worked at a pleasure house, I'm not quite sure about that yet. But I do know she came across some lad from childhood by the name of Tommy Duckworth. Had in her mind to marry him until he ditched at last minute and some how my Antony came upon her and took pity. He's always been a sucker from the tortured dark haired sorts. Just like you."
"She's nothing like me," Carla snaps. She doesn't understand why she had so much bitterness in her heart right then. Perhaps she was jealous to see Giulia bonding so well with Tina when she had given so much adamant hatred towards Liam.
Why was it okay for Antony to move on but not she? Why was Giulia delighted in her father's newfound happiness but so against Carla having any happiness? It wasn't fair. Antony didn't deserve Giulia's well wishes but he had her adoration. She looked at him through color-coated lenses refusing to see all that was bad, the monster in him. Again the truth was what he made it, and Antony always seemed to win.
"Giulia adores the harlot," Alasdair says, "Warmed up to her rather quickly. But of course she would, wouldn't she? Her mother had just abandoned her in Cairo. She latched onto the closest mother figure she could find."
"You will remind me of that constantly," says Carla through clenched teeth, "You never cease to remind me of that shameful moment in my history."
" It could worse Caroline. I'm reminded of Antony's mothers selfish act everyday. She's the saint even though she's the one who decided to jump off the balcony. And yet I still get blamed. You'd think it'd be enough to still she the image of her strewn about in a pool blood every time I look out onto the balcony. But for Antony that simply isn't enough."
Carla says nothing she wasn't going to let her guard down and feel sorry for Alasdair. In her opinion he bought all these horrible things on himself. It was his fault that Antony was heartless, because you only what you know and all Antony had ever known were hatred and contempt. Perhaps Carla didn't know the whole story, but she knew this much; that Alasdair had a choice. He liked to throw that in her face, but it was just as true for him. He could broken the cycle and the struggle that existed in these walls since it's incarnation; the struggle between the dreamer son and the idealist father. He could have been different from his own father and taught his son something new; but he chose to be like all others before him and it was really coming back to haunt his soul. These walls can't hold such hatred forever; this place would have to fall. Carla wishes she could say all of this to him, but it would have to wait. One day she would tell him and everyone how she truly felt about them.
She turns away from the door crack because the sight of Tina and Giulia laughing and smiling lost in girl like bliss is too much to handle. She felt like a piece of her was being ripped away, and that she never have that close relationship with her daughter she so badly wanted. It hurt more then any other pain in the world right now. It was breaking through her heart and making her acknowledge other things that she wanted to keep numb, like Frank's attack on her the night previous.
"Doesn't our Giulia look stunning?" says Alasdair his eyes still peering in, "She looks just as beautiful as her mother."
Carla inclines her head figuring this must be his version of an olive branch. But she will never trust him, no matter how genuine the emotion. He had tricked once already.
"Sir," she says curtly and begins to walk away.
He adds, "I am truly happy you have decided to return to paradise, if only for a while, it still means a lot to Giulia and to me. I remember how much you like to paint; I've had the servants set up an easel in the garden near the apple trees. They've poured fresh cider—"
"—From the trees in the Palace," Carla now whispers remembering how she planted those very trees. It was her mark upon the Palace. And she had so proudly served cider to her Martha on visits.
Antony had told her once how every generation left there mark on Paradise Palace and Carla had thought for days about how she leave hers when she finally decided on the apple trees. Antony had greeted her once they were done and said the apple trees fit her perfectly, because she was the forbidden fruit. She had laughed so hard at this because this was early days when they were newlywed and she thought the remark dorky but romantic. But still what he had said had some truth; she had first encountered Liam's advances in the field near the trees the day she had set up her flowerpots to paint. Her uncle and the doctor had treated her like she was forbidden; a little doll for them to abuse and force into keeping their shameful acts silent. She hated thinking about all these things and all the people connected with certain events or objects; it made it confusing trying to figure how she should feel. Just like she didn't know how to feel towards Alasdair right in this moment.
"Why would you do that?" she says cautiously, "Why go through all that trouble to set up an easel and arrangements in the garden for me?"
"Because," says Alasdair again, "I want you to enjoy your stay."
Carla still doesn't believe him. She would never believe a single world he said. But again she nods her head to indicate the opposite and walks past him in the direction of the staircase and then down into the main area of the house making her way to the gardens. As she does so, she searches out the servant's faces. What had happened to Mary and Libby? Carla again is faced with a foreboding feeling regarding those loyal servants. She hoped Antony did not harm them in her absence. She hoped they had developed the courage to escape as well. Libby was too strong a women, she wouldn't back down without a fight, Carla was certain. And this was comforting so she pushed those dreary thoughts away.
Once in the gardens Carla spots her easel and the flower arrangements set up in the exact same place she had them on the day she had met Liam. It sent chills down her spine just thinking about it all over again, the way he had spoken to her and looked at her. How she felt like she would melt under his gaze and touch. As she walks over to the chair and sits down she remembers the way she felt just staring at him for the first time, how she hadn't wanted to think him beautiful with Antony around but she had. He was so nervous and Carla thought it adorable how polite Liam was to her. But the thing was that once she turned away from him and left that room to go and paint, she was perfectly content to leave him behind and forget him. He however wasn't prepared to take that chance and that had made all the difference.
Carla breaks from her trance now sitting in her chair in front of the easel. She had no idea why she was entertaining Alasdair's every whim but she supposed it came with the territory. She'd have to play none the wiser to Antony and Alasdair in terms of manipulation. She had to bend to their wills and make them both feel all-powerful. She picks up the paintbrush her deposition warming up immediately at being able to do something she loves. She has an urge to paint her Liam just like he wanted to be painted before the sphinx. She could dream it all up in her head and surprise him with a portrait. Just the look on his face, would be worth every long hour of spent painting it. He truly inspired her best art, he bought up the beauty buried deep in her soul. Everything was beautiful with him around, which is why she couldn't think about the things that had been done to her in Antony's study last night. She just wanted to paint Liam and focus only on being with him one day where no one could break them apart ever again. But it is too risky to paint him here, so she sighs looking at the flowerpots and begins to mix the paint getting the colors to her liking before she settles down to work. Perhaps she could make something lovely for Giulia and offer it as a starting point in repairing their damaged relationship. Carla didn't really know yet, but she'd work something out.
"That's a beautiful painting," says a familiar voice.
And like history repeating itself with her encounter with Liam in these very gardens it gives Carla a scare and she manages to drop her palette, like she had in June of 1920. Turning around she stares up into those gorgeous blue eyes and tall frame. She hated these strange feelings she got around him, they only made her more confused when she was supposed to only have eyes for Liam.
"Mr. Dean," says Carla gathering herself and rising in a rigid fashion, "Sir, how do you do?"
"Did I frighten you?" he whispers a faint smirk forming on his lips.
Carla was aggravated by this cocky display. Did he really think he could just waltz into this home and behave in such a way with her when he is engaged to her only daughter. She wants to send the message loud and clear that he better leave her alone.
"In order for you to frighten me, you'd actually have to have a concrete place in my world. I'm sorry say you don't exist for me. You're just a ghost, not a man but a shadow and you mean nothing to me to have any affect on me whatsoever."
Carla glares at him hoping the message drives home loud and clear since she will never do anything to hurt Liam again. She expected Trevor to at least look hurt but her statement only made him grin. He truly did think he was irresistible. She wondered how long he would be staying here at the Palace? She'd have to leave soon if she knew what was good for her. Going to move past him and back into the direction of the home she accidently brushes him making contact and there was that electricity again. He had felt it to, Carla could tell as they glance at one another and he quickly grabs her arm pulling her close to him. Carla let out a gasp and he seemed pleased that he has this effect on her. He lowers his head close to ear and whispers
"Funny how I wasn't a ghost the first time we met in Cairo…that kiss."
"That kiss was mistake," says Carla trying her best to be stern.
"Perhaps you can manage few more mistakes then," he says moving her head to stare directly up at him.
Those eyes were truly beautiful and warm as well as kind. But she loved Liam and she didn't understand why things were so confusing, and why her feelings for Liam didn't seem so clear when she was around Trevor. Why did this man she barely knew make her weak in the knees. She hated the fact that he intrigued her, but she wondered if it was because he shared some of Liam's greatest traits and deposition that she was drawn to him. It had to be. He enthralled her only because of his similarities to Liam in personality as well as the blue eyes and brown hair, or so she liked to tell herself.
"In your dreams," says Carla again trying to make a run for it.
Trevor grabs her hand now not releasing it, "It's my reality."
He plays with her fingers admiring them and making Carla's stomach do flip flops as he tries to tempt her. However she has to remain strong and willful. She has to remain true to Liam.
"Whatever it is your thinking, it will never happen. We don't belong together."
He takes in her words considering them for a moment before deciding they are not an option. The way he stares at her Carla can feel his desire to have her. She wishes he would let go of her hand so she can be free of this tempting situation. She yanks it but he is much stronger and she glares back in frustration. He slowly pulls her in closer by the hand, amused at her flustered expression and clearly enjoying the chase and her fiery attitude.
Speaking very slowly and in a matter of fact tone he whispers, "We don't belong together? Is that what you said?"
"Yes," Carla says wishing for this to end of it because it is all truly draining and taking all the strength in the world to not want another kiss from him.
"Lets get one thing straight," he says grinning at her, "The only place you belong is naked in my bed."
Carla is speechless and taken aback by such forwardness and this time she manages to yank her hand free of him trying her best to display absolute disgust and disrespect. But she knows that she is probably blushing and she hates the effect this stranger has on her. No man had ever said anything so forward like that, not even Liam went that far the first time they met Without another word and only thinking of her own safety she rushes towards the Palace. She could hide from him in there she knew that. But she wasn't so sure she could hide from her own thoughts. She wanted to see Liam; she had to see him now so he could remind her of all that is truly real.