And here we are, another chapter! Responses are all positive at the moment which gives me so much confidence and I think the majority are rooting for Barnabas/Elizabeth, which means I've managed to turn some people, so thank you everyone!
Reviews are welcomed with open arms. I won't give you anything if you review, just my love.
P.S. I am basing this story on the FILM of Dark Shadows. I am not familiar at all with the original TV series so some stuff will probably be different. It's called creative license.
DISCLAIMER: Should just copy and paste this. I DONT OWN DARK SHADOWS.
As I have previously stated, I had tried as much as possible to avoid Carolyn.
The girl was argumentative and more than slightly temperamental, and so I thought it best if I didn't get too involved in her personal affairs, that way perhaps she would keep an open mind about me.
However, I did realise that Carolyn was a Collins, and therefore family. She was Elizabeth's daughter and I felt I should at least attempt to seem acceptable in her eyes, and not to let another person in on my secret.
Whenever I was in close proximity of her, I noticed she would repeat the word "weird" over and over again. I understood, she thought I was abnormal, and no doubt I was to such a young, modern thing. But then it hit me; what if others thought I was as well? Was I being too conspicuous? If I continued to work on the cannery renovations, would I arouse suspicion with my foreign accent and out-of-date mannerisms? I was trying my absolute hardest to acclimatise to the time period, but I was finding it increasingly difficult, and people were definitely starting to suspect. Something Carolyn said gave me an idea. She said I had to "hang out with some more normal people." Well, that seemed simple enough.
I decided therefore that the next evening, I would try to mingle inconspicuously with some youth of the age.
Taking the rolled up cylinder of alight paper from the unshaven young person on my right, I politely shook my head and passed it on to the young wench on my left. I was having a highly informative, in-depth discussion with the youth of Collinsport. They had innovative ideas of the topic of romance, and I found myself altogether rather engrossed in this discussion. Yes, I could remember what it was like to love; the warmth, the adoration, the desperation, and of course, the pain. I missed her, truth be told. I missed the promise of a future with the one I loved. Josette was dead and buried and the thought filled me with sadness. There would be no future.
Of course, I was immortal now, and so not entirely opposed to advancing into the battle field that is romance in this day and age; I did not wish to spend eternity alone. However, that was the problem: if I ever did fall in love again, she would grow old, she would die, and I would live on, miserable, alone and untouched by the caress of time. Unless I turned her...
No. I was enough of a monster already without signing some poor woman up for this life of torment as well.
"Girls don't care about money...or sheep."
Really? That was quite a revelation. I remember the large dowry I handed over to Josette's father for the honour of her hand. Sheep were not an area of business we were involved in, but I hear it happened back in England.
"Love, man! Chicks dig love!"
I didn't fully understand what that meant, I must admit. I got the message though. In 1972, such a payment was not required as the basis of a union. How odd! Love, love was the key. That didn't come as such a shock.
I quoted a phrase from a novel I was reading at the time entitled "Love Story" to general approval. These young people were rather luminous and interesting. They spoke of war and peace and the balance of the two, they had facial hair that could match that of any sorcerer, and they were open and welcoming to me. Unfortunately, it had been far too long since such a perfect opportunity arose, and I hadn't had a drink in weeks...
"It is, therefore, with deepest regret, that I now must kill all of you."
"...And she just crawled right out of the car and fell directly on her head! There was a huge bruise and I thought she might have seriously injured herself! But she didn't cry! Not once! She loved the attention, I think."
I laughed softly as Elizabeth looked fondly down at the picture of an infant Carolyn on the desk in front of her. It had been a quiet evening, no arguments, no odd occurrences, just a family meal, and now most people had slunk off to bed. I had sat with Elizabeth in the drawing room for a while as we discussed further plans for our business, but we ended up veering off at a tangent and Elizabeth had told me various stories from hers and her daughter's childhoods. It was all fascinating; they grew up in a completely different way than I had done. It seems, however, that clumsiness did indeed run in the family.
"She sounds like she was a delightfully difficult child."
"Yes, she was. She's my life, of course, but yes, quite a handful at times with just me."
Something had been nagging me for the past few weeks and now seemed like a prime opportunity to ask. I knew it was personal, but I hoped not so personal that she would find me rash or rude. Surely it couldn't be that bad?
"May I ask, where is Carolyn's father?"
She turned to look at me and smiled sadly. She pressed her lips together, walked over to the sofa and sat down with a sigh. She indicated that I should join her, I did so gladly. Maybe now I would get some answers.
"Barnabas, you've probably noticed it isn't something we talk about, the elephant in the room, if you will. This is because I want Carolyn to have as normal a childhood as possible, and part of that is trying to get her to forget everything about him."
She bit her lip and looked down at her hands folded conservatively in her lap. I didn't want to push her too far, I was genuinely curious, but I didn't want to upset her with my persistence.
"I have noticed, yes. Neither of the children in this house have both parents."
She nodded solemnly.
"Poor Laura was lost at sea two years ago. She died with all her family loving her and was given a respectable funeral where everyone to whom she mattered came and said goodbye. It wasn't like that with my husband."
She paused for a moment. I said nothing, silently pleading for her to continue.
"Richard Stoddard. I married him when I was 29. Carolyn came soon after; a year maybe. I suppose I was in love with him, or at least fancied myself to be. Either way, we were happy. He was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and in general, my family disapproved. I was blinded by him, I guess."
I felt I needed to say something here.
She took a deep breath and tucked a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear; a mannerism I've noticed her doing frequently.
"We weren't enough. For the first two years of Carolyn's life, he couldn't get enough of her. He behaved like a father and husband should and we were happy, very happy. I don't know what happened to change things but, it's like he got bored. And then it was the usual; alcohol, violence, arguments, cheating. He was the perfect terrible husband. He blamed me a lot, said some truly awful things. In the end I guess two people like us couldn't live in the same environment without explosive results."
She stopped to clasp her hands together and look out of the window. I waited.
"And then one day, after another fight about his 'close personal friend' he had been seeing a lot of, Carolyn was screaming her head off and I just lost it and said either he sit up, become a proper dad and decent husband, or he could leave. For a moment I thought I'd got through to him. He was gone the next morning."
There was a moment of silence when she just sat staring out of the window. I watched her blinking the tears from her eyes stubbornly. No weakness, ever, that's what she'd learnt from him.
"Look, it's fine. Really. It's just been a while since I've talked about it. It's over, in the past. I just want...oh God...all I want, is to protect her. It's good he's gone, I couldn't have been sure if he was still around, and my responsibility is to her. Good riddance."
I opened my mouth to say something and then decided against it. The answer was worse than I had imagined. To abandon one's family is the greatest sin a man can commit. I put my hand on hers and she turned to give me a reassuring smile.
"Honestly, I'm fine now. I'm glad I told you, instead of you finding out from someone else."
She rose out of her seat. There was so much sadness in her eyes. Guilt started to gnaw away at me. Why did you bring it up, Barnabas?!
"Well, I'd better go to bed." She said, regaining her composure.
It was almost an involuntary action when I stood up as well and embraced her. I've never been good with sorrow, especially when it was my fault, even more so when it came to someone like Elizabeth.
She seemed slightly shocked, but soon relaxed into it. I heard her sigh sadly, she was probably stewing in all the bad memories I'd brought rushing back. Well done, old chap.
I stood for a few minutes, just holding her and hoping I hadn't made anything worse. She was so small and fragile, so very breakable, especially for me. I reminded myself that I had to be careful around everyone; I didn't know my own strength.
She pulled away and hurried out of the room before I could see her tears.