Hello again! Well, this is progressing at quite a nice rate! Just want to clarify, this is AU, obviously, as Barnabeth is not canon, but it will follow the basic film plot, and will probably veer off in a different direction towards the end.
PS – Please review and tell me what you think, I love feedback!
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Dark Shadows. I don't even own the DVD yet, as it's not available in the UK until October 15th. Don't even get me started on that...
It was not a particularly enjoyable experience, being crushed into the backseat of the strange, horseless carriage (which Elizabeth had referred to as a "Chevy"?) in which we were to ride down to Collinsport so I could see what was left of my family's cannery.
After Angelique's impromptu visit and Elizabeth's reassuring words, I was absolutely determined to help what's left of my family to return to the wealth and prosperity that, because of me, had been taken from them generations before. While refurbishing the house was simple enough, the Collinses needed a ready source of income, and I knew exactly how the fishing business worked out here.
I sat, crushed in the back of the "Chevy" with Carolyn in the seat on my right, and Roger in the seat to my left. Victoria and David were seated in the very back of the "car". Elizabeth had assumed the front seat, whilst the drunken groundkeeper, Willie I believe he was called, took it upon himself to drive us there. Carolyn had some sort of music-playing device strapped to her ears, a wonderful invention indeed, and David was staring absent-mindedly out of the window, he looked as far away as ever. Roger, on the other hand, looked extremely uncomfortable for some reason, as though he would rather be anywhere but there, and his eyes kept flicking between every person in the vehicle. Elizabeth, as not to arouse suspicion, had agreed to wear dark glasses so I wouldn't stand out as much, as it was rather too sunny for my taste. She stared straight ahead out of the large window at the front, her brow furrowed in concentration, clearly thinking through something thoroughly. Victoria was looking innocent as ever, her pretty pale face a vision of placidity as she gazed at the passing scenery, looking completely at peace with herself. I envied her.
On arrival, I must admit I was horrified at the dilapidated, run-down appearance of the Collinses' cannery which had once stood so proud and prosperous. Elizabeth led the way to the main double doors, high-heeled shoes echoing on the timber boarding, and unlocked the doors. All seven of us, heavens knows where Dr Hoffman had got to, stared rather pitifully at what remained of the once-great factory.
The inside consisted mainly of rotting wood and fish skeletons, the occasional tin can strewn across the wooden flooring, worn smooth by years of busy workers hurrying back and forth. The roof was caving in at some points and rusting machinery stood where it always had, only out of use.
After a few minutes, Elizabeth clapped her hands together.
"Well, some obvious work is needed, but..." she glanced at me and smirked "I think we can afford whatever work is needed."
Indeed we could, with what's under the drawing room we could afford to restore the cannery three times over.
There were a few murmured exchanges among the family but everyone gave a confirmatory nod.
It turns out Elizabeth had spent a large proportion of the night before drafting up plans for rebuilding the whole factory. After spreading them out and showing them to me, I decided that, with a few minor adjustments, it would be simple and, though slightly expensive, perfect in its function. Her, Willie, Roger, Victoria and I spent the next half an hour planning the exact changes that needed to be made while Carolyn stood outside, listening to her music and soaking in the sunlight, and David walked to the water's edge and proceeded to talk apparently to himself.
After the whole area had been measured and the plans modified, I decided to take a stroll around the town I used to know so well. I asked Victoria to accompany me while Elizabeth and Roger inquired about workmen for hire in the renovation of the cannery, and in reply she beamed and took my arm as we headed towards Collinsport.
"It's a beautiful little town" she said, as we arrived in the town centre, gazing around the brightly coloured shops with a huge variety of fascinating object glittering in their windows.
"It was even more so a few centuries back...I believe." I quickly corrected myself, hoping she didn't notice my minor slip up.
She laughed. "Yes well I think everything was a few centuries ago, before tourism spread here." She thought for a moment. "So you are new here, just like me."
"Yes, I am indeed."
"Well, you certainly know your way around this town well for someone who has never been here before."
I swallowed, remembering the promise I made to Elizabeth.
"I have a natural sense of direction that is potent wherever I may be."
She laughed again, the high pitched tinkle so much like that of Josette. I wonder if she ever felt the desire to laugh properly.
"Have I amused thee?"
"No...well, um...yes actually. You speak so differently to anyone I've ever heard. Of course, I've never been to England, but do they really talk like that over there?"
I paused for a minute.
"I apologise, I do not notice the way I speak, it is no different from everyone I have encountered back in my homeland."
"Well I love it, it's so traditional."
"I am glad it does not bother thee."
"So, a natural sense of direction, eh? Where should we go then? Lead the way."
I smiled as she leant closer to me. She was either very friendly, or she felt already comfortable around me. Her company was pleasant, if slightly monotonous and repetitive, but predictability was something I admired in a woman.
On returning to Collinwood, I was seated in the back seat again only Elizabeth was sat on my left as Roger had hurried to get the front seat. As Willie turned a key, causing the whole machine to give a rather disconcerting rumble, she turned to face me, removing her sunglasses.
"Well, we're finally on the right track."
I smiled. "Yes. It feels invigorating to be doing something useful at last."
"And we couldn't have done it without you, Barnabus. Thank you for everything, I mean, you've hardly been here two weeks and you've already done more than I have in all the years I've lived in Collinwood!"
"That is most gracious of you, madam. I must say, you really have thrown yourself into it, more so than I expected."
She sighed. "I just want to regain some respect for this family, you know, like it used to be. I want Carolyn and David to grow up being proud of where they came from."
"Your motives are admirable, and I am eternally grateful for how welcome you've made me feel, especially in my...situation..."
She smiled again and shook her head. "Think nothing of it, you're family."
She took her sunglasses off her forehead and folded them into their case, then ran a hand distractedly through her hair. She smelled...incredible...like flowers and spices, something in her hair product, maybe? Either way I found myself fighting the urge to lean in and inhale more of it. My thought pattern must have shown on my face for a moment, because she gave me a slightly confused look, then sighed and directed her gaze out of the window.
I spent the rest of the journey home breathing through my mouth.