Disclaimer: Sanctuary does not belong to me. So true, but still so sad... T_T
John had never found anyone after Helen. It was partly out of a fear of hurting them too, and partly because he was still so in love with Helen. But after what had happened over the years, the awful nature and outcome of their various interactions, she just didn't understand. He could quite imagine what she thought of him and his intentions, and seeing her hesitancy with him, whenever he was with her, only seemed to confirm these thoughts in his mind, however painful they were to him. He didn't want to believe his Helen this naive, but perhaps it was only his own fault after all. If she thought all he wanted was to woo her and then bed her, then perhaps he'd gone wrong somewhere along the way and given her the utterly wrong impression of himself and his affections toward her.
It both hurt him deeply and made him so very furious, deeply furious, to think that she could cast such a judgement upon him so easily, without proof, that she could decide after the nature of his intentions all by herself. But after all these years he'd spent torturing her, hurting her, he understood it was best he kept his distance, understood he had to keep his distance in order to prove to her he was no longer the monster he'd once been.
He knocked on the heavy wooden door, looking down at the bunch of yellow roses he held in his hand and chuckled softly. He'd got them in memory of the day he had taken her to the first ever flower festival. Fondly, he remembered her sweet smile.
A soft clicking sound announced his small moment of nostalgia to be at an end and he returned from his thoughts reluctantly. Someone was coming over.
Helen made her way wearily to the door, tired but nonetheless curious as to who might be calling at this godforsaken hour. Cautiously, more so out of habit, really, she opened the door and stood, for a moment, completely, utterly gobsmacked - for there was John, standing on her doorstep, looking, for all the world, quite innocuous, patient, even, a bunch of yellow roses in hand.
"Hello, Helen," he said, offering her the flowers. "In memory of our first flower festival," he added, standing quite still.
Without warning, she knocked the flowers out of his hands, sending them tumbling to the ground. The action seemed to startle her, but in a distant, far-off manner that didn't quite come across in her face, and then, much to her dismay and mounting horror, she said, quite loudly, a tinge of anger marring her voice, "What, another attempt to bed me, John?! How the Hell did you get in here anyway?"
"Your assumption of my intentions tonight could not be farther from the truth, Helen. And I shouldn't think it matters greatly how I got in here."
"Then what are you doing here?" she shouted, the tinge of anger in her tone now audibly obvious. Her voice shook.
"To give you eleven yellow roses," he replied, stooping to retrieve the bunch of discarded flowers. He handed them back to her, hoping she wouldn't cast them to the ground once more. The poor flowers bruised easily, much like his beautiful, headstrong Helen.
Much to his surprise, though it did not show on his features, she accepted the flowers. "You remember."
"How could I forget that day, Helen? Remember how I bought you a bunch of yellow roses but when we left I found there were only eleven and I insisted we go back and get another but you convinced me not to and then you said that they were a special bunch and your new favourite number was eleven," he reminisced, a little melancholy, but happy, also. When he looked into her face, he saw a mirror of the smile she'd worn that day, all those years ago.
"Thank you, Helen. It is good that after all these years and all the pain I have caused you, hurting you and bringing you down, that you can still smile with me. You truly are a wondrous person." There was both relief and wonder in his voice, and perhaps, perhaps that undercurrent she couldn't quite put a name to was love, but Helen didn't want to think about love just then.
It was a lovely memory, but it had also been so very long ago. It was the past. Firmly, the past.
"I'll get a vase," she said, but she didn't close the door.
And with that, John stepped into the mansion, the happiest man alive.
I was listening to a song when the idea for this story came to me. ;) If you stumble upon the song in question, "You Baby" by Jackie Trent, it is from John's point of view that I listened to it.
Smiles all round, Alfie und Micky.