The new Mrs. de Winter is sitting on the bench under the chestnut tree. Lost in her thoughts she is realising that Mrs. van Hopper had been right, she had probably done a big mistake in marrying Maxim...

It's only around half past three in the afternoon. I am all by myself today once again. Maxim had gotten up early this morning, he needed to go somewhere with Frank for some business matters. He never speaks to me about business. It was none of a woman's business, he said. It was a man's job. Very well, I probably would only be in the way anyway.

I had hardly touched my lunch again. I felt unwell and uncomfortable here. When Maxim was around I at least felt welcome but without him, I just felt like an unwanted guest. It was almost as if I was granted here because they were sorry for me. I could almost hear them, talking behind our backs. 'Look at her. Too unexperienced and too clumsy to fill her spot.' and 'I wonder what he sees in her. She is never going to get even close to her.' I have never heard them saying so but I knew they thought it. All the servants, especially Mrs Danvers and probably even Frank and Beatrcie and Giles. I wonder if Maxim thought so as well. It must still hurt him so much to have lost his first wife. Everytime he is reminded of her his expression darkens and he becomes quiet. I wish I could help him but he never talks about what's bothering him.

I know I am not like her. I never will be. I don't know if he loves me because of that or despite that. Or if he loves me at all. He had been so romantic and caring and all during our honeymoon. But now I often think when he is here, near her, he is forgetting all about me, just missing her. I often wonder if he thinks of her when he is with me. When we take a walk together, when we laugh together, when we sit and eat together. I know he is comparing me to her. Everybody is. And I know I am not meeting their expectations, his expectations. Maybe Mrs. van Hopper was right. I should have never married him. For his sake. He would be so much better without me. He should have married someone who can live up to him, deal with all what is expected of the mistress of the house. But I love him so much. I don't care whether he loves me too. If he just lets me stay here with him, that is all I am asking for.

She has now closed her eyes, trying to hold back her tears. Her face buried in her hands on her lap, she does not notice someone coming over to her.

He kneels down next to her and lifts up an azalea flower, gently stroking her ear with it.

Startled she looks up in surprise.

„Maxim?", she whispers, her voice broken.

„Hello,my little darling.", he smiles. He sits down next to her, the flower in his hand now touching her cheek. His other arm now wrapping around her shoulder.„Is something the matter?"

„No, nothing. Just a little tired I guess. I'm glad you're home now.", she smiled.

„Good. Because I was hoping you could cheer me up a little. It's been an awfully long day."

She takes the flower out of his hand and then finds the bunch of them next to him on the bench.

„What are they for?", she asks, pointing at them. And immediately her guilt kicks in. „Did I forget any anniversary or anything? I'm sorry."

„Do I need a reason to bring my wife flowers?", he smiles, locking her eyes.

She is confused, blushing a little.

„No, of course not."

„I wanted to do something nice for you. Just for you, for being here with me, for me. For being you."

His soft voice sounds so honest and in his eyes she can read love.

Smiling she takes the bunch and smells at them.

„Well, thank you."

„You are most welcome, darling." He sighs this last word, placing a gentle kiss on her nose.

Maybe Mrs. van Hopper was wrong after all. I know he loves me. And it was probably the best thing to marry him.