"John … Turn around!"
"Don't even say it, Roxton!" Marguerite cut him off.
The two of them were on a hunting trip. But after a hike in the jungle for nearly three days, the heiress really wanted a bath. Luckily, they camped near a small pond last night. Waking up this morning before Roxton – a rare thing to happen – Marguerite decided to take a bath, bending all the rules once again.
Roxton had woken up and immediately noticed that the lady was gone. He stood up and walked to the pond. When he saw her, he forgot to breathe for a few seconds. She looked like a water nymph.
Only after she had said he had to turn around, he came back to reality. He colored a bit, to Marguerite's delight. Roxton felt like a little boy who was caught stealing a cookie out of the jar.
Roxton looked at Marguerite and then turned around, giving the lady some privacy. That got rewarded with a sultry "Thank you" in his right ear. That did it. Roxton grabbed Marguerite's hand and pulled her back. Now their lips were just inches away. Roxton bowed his head further and his lips touched Marguerite's lightly. Then he turned around and started breaking up camp, leaving a confused Marguerite standing. Slowly she started to dress herself.
"Euhm … John …" Marguerite started.
Roxton turned around, smiling. "Didn't like it?"
Marguerite cocked an eyebrow, and then answered: "You know I did. However, we are supposed to be out hunting and …"
Marguerite didn't have the time to finish what she wanted to say. The sounds of gunshots filled the air. Marguerite looked at Roxton. Then they started to run into the direction where the sound had come from. After a mile they saw two men running toward them, followed by nothing. Roxton stopped, raising his rifle. Marguerite followed his example and raised her gun.
"Stop right there! I think that's close enough!" Roxton said.
Both men stopped, seeing a rifle and gun pointed at them. The left man started to speak. However Roxton couldn't understand him. He looked at Marguerite and she translated what the man had said.
The two men were from a Dutch expedition, which had left in 1912, just before the Great War. A group of archaeologists had discovered an ancient Maya temple. They had called for their help. However, when they arrived in South America they had to travel further by a hot air balloon and strong winds had blown them of course. After being in the air for a few days they finally landed, not knowing what terrors lay ahead of them. At first sight, everything looked normal and peaceful. That same night they were attacked by creatures they never had seen, looking like apes and humans at the same time. Only the two of them had survived, by running away.
Roxton raised an eyebrow. After hearing the story he was dubious. He found the story strange. If they had run away from their camp and they couldn't find their way back, how had they managed to survive all those years? Something was just not right.
Marguerite noticed that Roxton didn't buy the story. "You don't believe them do you?" she whispered.
Roxton nodded. "Remember the last time we ran into 'stranded' people? We can't leave them here alone. Tell them they can follow us back to the tree house."
Marguerite told the two men what Roxton had told her to say. Then the four of them went on their way back to the tree house. When they got back, their two guests looked astonished.
"Veronica? Challenger? Finn? Anybody up there? We have brought guests." Marguerite said.
The three explorers looked over the railing. "Well, come up then. Don't just stand there!" Finn yelled.
The men followed Marguerite and Roxton into the elevator. When they were in the living room, Marguerite and Roxton told the story to the others, leaving the two men. But Roxton kept an eye on them.
While the five explorers were discussing the arrival of the guests, the guests were walking through the living room, admiring the tree house. The explorers had turned their attention back to the strange men, who were still talking to each other, not noticing they were being watched.
"Dit is onvoorstelbaar! Een compleet huis, hoog in een boom." One man whispered to the other.
Veronica raised an eyebrow. She didn't like the fact she couldn't understand what they were saying.
Marguerite translated, "He was saying that it's amazing that there's a house in a tree."
Veronica smiled, and then got a suspicious look in her eyes. Like Roxton, she didn't trust the two men. The blond man was looking at Marguerite in such a way it made her feel uncomfortable. She didn't know if Marguerite had noticed this, but Roxton certainly had.
Roxton had walked closer to Marguerite, so that he was standing behind. He put a protective hand on her shoulder. Veronica then noticed that Marguerite had seen the man looking at her, for she leaned into Roxton. Roxton then put his hands around her waist.
"Do those men also have a name?" Challenger asked.
Roxton and Marguerite looked at each other. In all their haste, they had forgotten to ask. Marguerite quickly did, and then told the others. The blond man was called Pieter Verburgh, and the dark-haired man's name was Joep de Groot.
Pieter Verburgh turned to Marguerite and asked her of she could tell the others how grateful they were for being taken in. After Marguerite relayed the message, Veronica and Finn showed the two men their sleeping quarters and Challenger returned to his lab.
Roxton had gone to the balcony. Marguerite walked towards him and put her hand on his arm. Roxton turned around and embraced her.
"Don't worry." Marguerite whispered.
"Don't worry for what?"
"I know you noticed that blond man … what was his name again?"
"Pieter Verburgh." Roxton replied bitterly.
"I know you hate the way he was looking at me. I hate it too, that's why I let you embrace me like that."
Roxton looked at her. "So you don't like my embraces, do you?" he teased.
"You know what I mean, in front of everybody else."
"I know you meant that dear." Roxton leaned down and let his lips brush against hers. Marguerite sighed. She loved the feeling of his embraces. They made her feel safe and secure. She loved this man with her whole heart, nothing would change that, and she knew he loved her too.
"Roxton? Marguerite?" Veronica called them. Both of them walked back inside disappointed that their moment of sincere peace was interrupted.
"Ahhh, there you are. Our guests are settled in Malone's old room."
"Finn has agreed to stay in your room?" Roxton asked.
Veronica nodded, and then hurried to the kitchen. According to all the sounds and curses coming from there, it seemed that Finn could use a hand. Marguerite chuckled. Like herself Finn wasn't very good in a kitchen. But their young friend was learning fast. Marguerite had to admit that Finn's meals are more edible than hers. But then again, Finn is trying very hard to give us something edible. I never wanted to give it any effort. Perhaps I should do that. Marguerite thought.
"A penny for your thoughts?" Roxton said. But Marguerite didn't reply for their two Dutch guests came walking in. And shortly after that Veronica called them to dinner.
During dinner the two Dutch men were whispering to each other. Roxton still kept an eye on them. It's almost like they are planning something or wait … it looks like they are having an argument. He thought.
Roxton looked up and saw that all eyes were on him. "What is it?"
"Is it all right that Pieter accompanies us on that field trip we have to do tomorrow?" Marguerite asked.
Roxton nodded his agreement. Then he stood up.
"If you'll excuse me." Roxton headed for his room.
The remaining explorers looked astonished at each other. This had never happened! Roxton heading for his room before everyone else had done. Normally he was the last one to go, making sure that everything and everyone were safe.
"I'll go check on him." Marguerite said. "This is not like him."
"Finn and I will clean up." Veronica said.
"Then I'll go to my room as well." Challenger said. "It has been an exhausting day." Then he looked at Pieter and Joep. They took the hint, though they didn't know what was said.
"John, may I come in?" Marguerite didn't wait for an answer and walked into the room. Roxton was staring out the window, deep in thoughts.
Marguerite walked to him and put a reassuring hand on his arm. Roxton turned his face to her and what Marguerite saw, broke her heart, because she instinctively knew whatever it was, it hurt him and caused him grief. She had never seen the lord crying.
Marguerite didn't know what to do. She never had been good with grief and pain. "Do you want to talk about it?" she softly asked.
Roxton didn't answer, but walked towards his bed. After two minutes of silence he started to speak. "It's been eight years ago since I shot my brother."
"John," But Roxton waved Marguerite to silence.
"Eight years, Marguerite. But this time it was different. I didn't have this feeling of guilt. Today I was happy to stand up, and I couldn't wait to be back home. I didn't think of William." He added softer.
"You found peace." Marguerite had sat besides Roxton and listened.
"But during dinner, all those memories came back." He continued.
"I told you this before, it wasn't your fault. You shot the ape which would have killed your brother."
Roxton looked at Marguerite, seeing nothing else but honesty and concern on her face. He opened his mouth to speak, but Marguerite spoke sooner. She knew what he wanted to ask and she would stay. She had said it. Roxton lay down, closing his eyes, savouring Marguerite's scent and touch.
The next morning Roxton woke up. He turned around and smiled when he saw Marguerite lying next to him, still sound asleep. He stood up and walked to the kitchen. It was so early even Veronica wasn't up yet. Roxton decided to make Marguerite breakfast. Finished, he walked back to his room, hoping the lady would forgive him for disturbing her beauty sleep. She was sleeping so peacefully when he left. Therefore he was surprised to find her awake, crying.
"Marguerite, darling, what's wrong? Marguerite?" Roxton sat down on the bed, pulling Marguerite into his embrace. She didn't even struggle but simply collapsed against his chest. Roxton stroked her hair, murmuring everything would be alright, everything was okay. Slowly Marguerite sobs quietened, but they stayed sitting together like that for more than an hour. They could hear the others waking up.
Still holding Marguerite close, Roxton softly asked, "Would you like to tell me about it?"
Marguerite hesitated, she had never told anyone about those awful dreams she had. However, Roxton had trusted her, telling her what was bothering him. Why should she not trust him? And softly she started to speak.
"I just had an awful dream." Seeing the look on Roxton's face, she knew he thought she wanted to drop the matter, so quickly she continued. "I haven't had this dream in some time. Actually the last time I had it was after you and Danielle …" Marguerite's voice trailed off.
Roxton looked at Marguerite. He vaguely remembered the hurt look on her face when he left that day with Danielle, but he never had thought of it that much after it. It really must have hurt her deeply to see him leave with that woman.
Marguerite started to speak again. "I always have these bad dreams when I'm feeling miserable but this dream …" Marguerite shuddered at the memory of it.
Roxton didn't ask further, happy she had chosen to share it with him. As a comfort he drew her closer. Marguerite simply let him.
"You know, John, the worst thing that can happen to a child is being bullied for not knowing who her parents are."
"Was that what the dream was about?" Roxton asked. Marguerite nodded, feeling the soft touch of Roxton's hand in her hair. Marguerite looked up at him, seeing he really wanted to ease her pain. Would it ease the pain if I tell him? I never have tried it.
"Sorry, I was thinking about it. I think I'm ready to share." Once again she looked at Roxton and when he gave her an encouraging smile she started to tell him about the dream, completely reliving that terrible day.
She had always hated the convent, the children and the nuns. The convent for … well, just being the convent. The children for always picking on her and the nuns because they kept saying, she was evil.
The day had started different, not the normal mockery that always started after the children were woken up. Marguerite knew they were up to something and she was right. When breakfast had started a girl named Alice, turned to Marguerite. "So what are you going to do this summer? You can't go to your parents like us. You don't have them. Or maybe you do have them, but they didn't want you! I heard Mother Sally say you are evil!"
A fifteen-year-old Marguerite tried to hide her tears. As soon as she had finished breakfast, she walked to the sleeping quarters. Alice and her friends followed her, yelling she was an evil girl. Marguerite put her hands up to cover her ears, though they didn't stop, it even got worse. The name-calling had stopped, instead of that they started hitting her. It seemed like an eternity before one of the nuns had come, but finally Mother Maria pulled her up. She sent the other girls to their class and when they were gone, Marguerite got punished for evoking it. When Mother Maria had left, Marguerite looked at her hands. Small stripes of blood had appeared. Marguerite grabbed a bag, threw her clothes in it and left. Only after half a day on the streets, the police brought her back to the convent and everything got worse and worse each day.
Marguerite stared at nothing in particular. She did feel relieved. During her story, Roxton hugged her tighter. It made him angry to hear how much she had been through. And he suspected that much more had happened during her time of growing up and after it.
There wasn't much time to think about what was shared between them, for Veronica walked in, asking if Roxton knew where Marguerite was. When she had entered Roxton's room and saw the two of them sitting together, she mumbled an apology and walked back to the main area. Roxton and Marguerite stood up and followed Veronica.
"Are you two ready?" Challenger asked. "And you both remember Pieter is accompanying you on this trip?"
Roxton nodded and he and Marguerite quickly ate some breakfast. Then the three of them went on their way. Joep would accompany Finn and Veronica to the windmill. Challenger stayed at the tree house, working on some of his experiments.
Veronica and Finn were walking behind Joep de Groot, guiding him to the windmill. When they arrived there, they showed him what had to be done. Then Veronica and Finn walked to the other side and worked there on the mill.
In the mean time Roxton, Marguerite and Pieter were gathering plants for Challenger. Pieter walked before Roxton, while Marguerite trailed behind. All three of them were deep in thoughts. Roxton and Marguerite both thought about what happened last night. The one happy he was trusted, the other happy she could trust.
Pieter's mind recalled his talk with Joep. They had argued again. Pieter really wanted to make a victim. Joep, however, had enough of making victims. Last night he did have some success with Lord Roxton - as Pieter called it -, but when he had seen and felt the grief it caused he stopped. Pieter, however, really wanted a victim and had decided to go as far as possible without Joep's help. He had tried it this morning and it had worked. This morning Joep once again told Pieter that he wasn't helping him anymore, if he really wanted that brunette woman, making her the victim, he had to do it by himself.
Pieter suddenly stood still, which made Roxton bump into him. Pieter's sudden stop made Roxton pull his rifle, looking out for danger. But there was no danger near. Absolute silence reigned. No screech of birds, no monkey chatter, no dinosaur roars, no trickle of water, not even the gentlest whisper of wind. The only sound was the muffled crunch of his own footsteps. In the lush, vivid jungle, the quiet was anomalous and sent an eerie chill racing down his spine. A sudden loud crack -so intense he could feel it in his bones- reverberated across the plateau. He turned, instinctively knowing where the sound had originated. Terror grabbed his stomach as he muttered, "The tree house," and took of in a dead run. Marguerite and Pieter followed him quickly.
Veronica, Finn and Joep had also heard the sound. But they weren't they only ones. Jarl and Assai were in the neighbourhood and had heard it too. They came running towards their friends, surprised to see a strange man, but they didn't comment.
"Veronica, what was that?" Assai asked in a panic.
"The tree house!" Roxton yelled from a few yards away. This made the other five people run as well.
"Challenger," Marguerite yelled when the tree house got in her sight.
"No need to yell!" Came the response. "One of my experiments blew up once again!"
The six people took turns in the elevator, sighing in relief as soon as they were up, knowing their friend was safe. Pieter stayed downstairs, holding Joep. Together they disappeared.
"Veronica, that man who was with you, where is he?" Assai asked. This made the explorers look up. Joep and Pieter weren't in the room, nor were they outside. Marguerite had taken a look over the balcony.
"You know Jarl, he does remind me of that statue in one of our ancient temples."
"You mean that statue of Eanydo?"
"Who's Eanydo?" Marguerite had come back into the living room. What Assai had said had drawn her interest.
"Eanydo is the god of the nightmare memories." Jarl said.
Assai told the explorers more about Eanydo. He was an old Zanga god. The Zanga people didn't worship him anymore, for all he could do was take away their loved ones and bringing despair. Eanydo made his victims thinking about horrible memories of their past, memories they had suppressed, but he made then also think about their worst nightmares. It started innocently with one single memory, one they had thought of not to long ago. Slowly Eanydo made them think about more memories and even let them believe false ones. Many people have been made crazy, didn't know what happened around them anymore, only seeing those 'memories'.
Jarl and Assai both had heard stories about it. The last time it had happened was eighty years ago. It was the end of worshipping Eanydo. Their shaman had tried to help the desperate woman, trying to kill the god. All their shaman had done, was separate the god into two human beings, one was pure evil and the other was good. It hadn't helped. Eventually the woman had thrown herself of a cliff.
Everyone was listening so intensively to what Jarl and Assai were telling, they didn't notice Marguerite had drawn back. A sudden scream drew their attention. They saw Marguerite sitting on the ground with her hands supporting her head, tears streaming down her face. Roxton hurried over to her, wanting to take her in his arms. Marguerite, however, drew back, eyes wide and filled with tears. While she shoved away from Roxton she kept sobbing. "You are not real, I saw you die, you can't be real." She screamed.
"Marguerite," Roxton pleaded.
Then Assai understood what was happening. "Eanydo, he's taking her. That means he must have been here in his human form. He has to be here while taking a person with him."
All of a sudden Finn understood it. "Those two men, that was Eanydo."
"Is there nothing we can do?" Veronica asked.
Assai thought deeply, then remembered what the old shaman had told her about this god on his death bed. A few years ago he had found out that the only way they could save a person was to vanquish the two human beings."
"Peace of cake. That god will wish he never met us." Roxton said grimly.
Assai warned them that vanquishing the god wouldn't be enough. Marguerite's mind would still be full of memories and it could take quite some time for all those memories to be gone.
"Something that won't happen! She will be mine!"
"I won't let you do it!"
Everyone turned around. They saw Joep and Pieter standing in front of each other. Joep was determined not to bring Eanydo back. Pieter kept haunting Marguerite with memories of her past and her worst nightmare - her being the one who killed Roxton while trying to save him. It made him stronger and stronger. The explorers could see Joep fading.
Challenger suddenly remembered something, during the time the men were taken in, both men had stayed away from fire. It really looked like they were very afraid of it. The day that Finn was cooking dinner, a block fell out of the oven. Pieter and Joep made no movement to extinguish the little fire. Challenger had thought it was some sort of a trauma, but now it seems almost logical.
"John, the fire!" Challenger yelled. "The fire is the only thing that can kill him!"
Roxton quickly grabbed a wooden spike from the fire and then turned around. The evil part of Eanydo backed of, seeing the fire. He stared at it. The spike was lifted out of Roxton's hand and made its way to Marguerite. All Roxton could do was watch in terror as the spike moved quickly closer to Marguerite. Then with a sudden movement Joep, the good part of Eanydo, jumped in front of Marguerite. The spike pierced through his body and his last words were telling the explorers they now could vanquish the evil part of Eanydo using the same method. Finn quickly took a wooden spike from the fire, bowed her crossbow and fired.
Eanydo faded away, screaming in mad fit, but laughing at the same time. "It's too late to save her! I have made her so deranged with these memories and her worst nightmares. She surely will get herself killed soon. There's no way you can be around her all the time, making sure she won't do anything to hurt herself." Then the god of the nightmares was gone.
Roxton hurried back to Marguerite, who was rocking back and forth. He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to her room. The others silently looked from Roxton to each other.
It was two weeks after the explorers had killed Eanydo. Marguerite still was plagued with her memories and nightmares and it didn't seem she would get well. It looked like she had given up her will to live. The explorers, and especially Roxton, didn't know what to do anymore.
Jarl and Assai were visiting the tree house, hoping to see any change in Marguerite. It hurt them to see nothing has changed since that day. Assai walked to Marguerite's room, seeing Roxton sitting besides Marguerite.
"Lord Roxton, if it's okay with you, I would like to try to speak to Marguerite." Assai said.
Roxton agreed, but made sure that if something would change, she would call him immediately. Assai nodded and shoved Roxton out of the room, gently but firmly. Then she closed the door and sat besides
"Marguerite? Can you hear me?" Assai spoke softly, not expecting any reaction. Therefor, she was surprised to find Marguerite looking at her. "Marguerite, you have to try thinking happy thoughts."
"What is the point in thinking happy thoughts? I killed him! I ... I ... killed him!" she sobbed.
"Marguerite, you didn't kill anyone." Assai tried to convince the heiress. Then she remembered something. She called Roxton and told him to go to a place which meant a lot to both him and Marguerite. Roxton took off with Marguerite struggling. The others couldn't do anything else, but wait.
After walking for half an hour Roxton and Marguerite arrived at a cave. Roxton led Marguerite to the entrance and then gently pushed her inside. Once inside, Marguerite started to be aware of her surroundings, she didn't felt comfortable in this cave. She remembered something had happened here. Roxton whispered in her ear, "Do you remember what happened here? Between us?"
Marguerite turned around, tears in her eyes. She remembered again what happened in this cave. She and Roxton had been trapped here after she had stepped on a switch. First she had helped moving the rocks, but soon she had given up. She had thought they would never get out of it, and she kept seeing the words on the entrance: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Roxton had become very angry with her. He couldn't believe she would simply give up. She remembered how his angry words had hurt her deeply. They still hurt her.
Roxton noticed Marguerite remembered their fight. He took her hand and they walked deeper into the cave, till they got to the altar. Roxton scooped Marguerite up and made her sit on the altar. "Remember what else happened between us?"
At his words, Marguerite's eyes lit up, but then saddened again. "What's the point in that? We can never do that again. You are not real. You're dead. I killed you."
"Marguerite, look at me. I'm not dead. You didn't kill me. We can still do what we have done here." Roxton began to be desperate. He saw Marguerite looking at him with weary eyes. He knew she still didn't believe the fact she hadn't killed him. Then he got an idea. "If I'm dead, could this feel so real?" He slowly bowed his head and softly kissed Marguerite on her lips.
Marguerite let herself get lost in his kiss. And as soft and gentle the kiss began, soon it was a kiss full of passion and pant up hurt, anger, but mostly love for one another. Slowly Marguerite broke their embrace. She looked at him, her eyes widened. "You're ... you're not dead?" Roxton nodded his head. "Then why was I so convinced you were dead. Why was I so convinced that I had shot you?"
Roxton explained to her what had happened during this last month. Marguerite vaguely remembered they brought home two Dutch expedition members. What she also remembered was that she and Roxton had talked to each other. She even remembered that they had run back to the tree house, after they had heard a loud crack, when they were on a field trip. But then her mind got blank and she couldn't remember what had happened the last two weeks, only the horrible memories she had. But she didn't want to know all the details about the last two weeks. All that mattered was that Roxton was alive and well. Marguerite hugged him tightly. She still needed the reassurance that he was actually alive.
Roxton held Marguerite close to him. It was hell not knowing if she would ever be her normal self again. He gently broke their embrace to look at Marguerite. Softly he stroked a strand of hair back behind her ear. His face moved closer to hers, and at the same time her face moved closer to his. Once again their lips met in a hungry kiss. Between the kisses, words of love were spoken. Neither wanted to break the kiss, but needing to breathe some new air made them do it.
"We better get back to the tree house. The others are worried about you. I bet Assai and Jarl are still waiting for us to return."
Marguerite looked at him. "Assai and Jarl? What ... why would they ..."
"It was Assai who gave me the advice to bring you here. It worked. You're back among us. I'm grateful to her." Roxton whispered softly. Marguerite took Roxton's hand in hers and they went on their way back to the tree house.
Everyone was waiting anxiously for Roxton and Marguerite to return. They really hoped that, wherever Roxton had taken her, Marguerite would be back to her old self again. They had missed her snappy remarks, her arguments with Roxton and her complaining. Assai and Jarl had stayed, they also hoped Marguerite would come back okay. They liked Lord Roxton and they knew he was in love with this woman, though they didn't understand why.
"What is taking them so long?" Veronica paced anxiously through the room, much to everyone's annoyance.
"Geez, Vee, relax. Roxton won't let anything happen to Marguerite. I'm quite positive he already has blamed himself a hundreds times for letting this Eanydo get to Marguerite." Finn said. "Vee, sit down!"
Veronica looked at the woman she had become to love as a little sister. She knew deep down that Finn was right. Roxton wouldn't let anything happen to Marguerite and she had heard him more than once blaming himself for what happened. She sat herself down on a chair, but was standing immediately by the elevator when they heard it coming up. When Roxton and Marguerite emerged from the elevator, all eyes were on Roxton. Roxton nodded a yes and as soon as Veronica had seen that little movement of his head, she gave a cry of joy and embraced Marguerite.
"Veronica … you're choking me …"
Veronica quickly let go of Marguerite, looking a bit embarrassed, but Marguerite gave her a reassuring smile. Then the others showed her their happiness that she was all right. Roxton guided Marguerite to a chair and the others soon followed his example and sat down as well. Everyone wanted to know where Roxton had taken Marguerite and what had happened there.
Assai looked from Lord Roxton to Veronica and her other friends. Than she looked at her husband and saw the same look in his eyes as she had in hers. We are the only ones who think there might be a chance Marguerite isn't completely healed. Assai stood up and needing the reassurance the heiress was all right she said, "Marguerite, can I have a word with you? Private?"
Everyone looked astonished at Assai. Marguerite said nothing about it but led the native girl to her room and sat down immediately after they had entered. "Shoot it."
"Marguerite, are you really feeling okay?"
"A bit tired, but other than that, yes. Was that what you wanted to talk to me about in private? You could have asked that in front of everyone else."
Assai nodded her head. "Marguerite, most people who were wanted by Eanydo didn't get away as lucky as you did. Please be careful."
Marguerite stood up and walked to Assai, taking the girl's hand in her own to reassure the girl as much as to reassure herself. "Assai, I'm fine. But if it pleases you, I will be careful." And with that said, Marguerite walked back to the others. Assai followed and said her goodbyes to all. She and Jarl really needed to go back to their village.
That evening during dinner, Marguerite was unusually quiet. None of the explorers made a big deal over it. They all thought it had to do with the events that happened and they were right. Marguerite was thinking about the events that had happened these past few hours. She still felt Roxton's soft, warm lips on her. Abruptly she stood up, shoving her chair aside and excused herself.
Quickly she walked back to her room, angry with herself, not even knowing why. It seemed like hours that she stood in front of the window, but it was only a few minutes before Roxton came walking in. He wondered what Assai had said to Marguerite, but knew that she would eventually tell him when she thought it was the time to. He simply stood behind her and put his hands around her waist.
"Hey," he whispered in her ear.
Marguerite leaned into his embrace, feeling completely safe. Neither Roxton nor Marguerite spoke for what seemed an eternity, then Marguerite turned to face the man she had come to love.
Roxton looked down at her lovely face. He didn't want to interrupt the sincere peacefulness that hung around them, but the look on her face and remembering Assai had wanted to talk to her, troubled him. "What is it?"
Marguerite sighed, not really knowing whether it was a good idea to tell the Lord what Assai had told her. She really didn't want him to worry and she told him that.
"Marguerite, I'll always worry about you. I love you! So please tell me what's wrong. Or at least what's on your mind."
Marguerite left the circle of his arms and walked towards her bed. Roxton followed her immediately, not understanding why she didn't trust him by telling him what bothered her. She has trusted me before, why can't she trust me now? He thought while he sat down beside her on her bed.
"I know you all wonder what Assai needed to say me." Marguerite started.
Roxton looked her in her face, nodding his head. "Yes, we were wondering about that."
Marguerite told him what Assai told her. That she had to be careful. Nobody had survived Eanydo before. The woman to whom it happened 80 years ago, seemed to get better after their shaman had separated the God.
Roxton, who had listened carefully to what Marguerite told him, interrupted her. "But Marguerite, Assai told us the woman had thrown herself off a cliff." Marguerite looked at him, tears glistening in her eyes. Finally it dawned on him. "You don't think we would let that happen to you, do you? I won't let you die, Marguerite! I once told you I would give my last breath for you and I mean it! What I said before in that cave … that was the anger speaking. Anger because I couldn't get us out of there. You do believe me, right?"
Marguerite slowly nodded. She couldn't contain her tears any longer. "Please, hold me," she whispered.
Roxton had to do his best hearing it, but quickly obeyed to her question, holding her tightly. Soon Marguerite drifted off to sleep. Roxton looked at her with love in his eyes.
Roxton had not left Marguerite's side that night. He didn't want to let her wake up alone after what happened. When he woke the next morning he was surprised to see Marguerite was already awake and wasn't in her room. He quickly stood up and walked to the living room.
"Finally, we were thinking we had to use the same method we always want use on Marguerite when she's sleeping in late." Veronica joked.
"And what method would that be?" Marguerite suddenly was standing in the living room, arms crossed defiantly.
Roxton immediately knew this was getting out of hand. He thought quickly and remembered he had promised Challenger to look for some sulphur. "Marguerite, would you mind accompanying me on a trip in search of some sulphur?"
"Hey! I thought I would accompany you!" Finn protested.
Challenger quickly jumped in, saying Veronica could really use her help in the kitchen and since no one is allowed to go on a two -or maybe even a three- day trip alone, that would leave Marguerite to accompany Roxton. Both, Marguerite and Finn were complaining about the changes being made. Finn, because she had been really looking forward to get a chance to get out in the jungle on a trip with the man she had become to think of like a big brother. Marguerite complained, as usual about the fact she had to go on a hike.
After breakfast, Veronica pulled Finn out of her chair for the big clean up. Challenger had gone to his lab right after he had finished his breakfast, so Marguerite and Roxton were left alone in the living room.
Roxton could see the irritation in Marguerite's eyes. Well, the lady has changed since last evening. She's back to her old self again, he thought, but wisely didn't speak the words out loud. Instead he happily asked if she was ready for this trip.
Marguerite walked toward the elevator and Roxton quickly followed yelling they would be back in two days at the most. Then he stepped into the elevator and lowered it to the ground.
"I still don't understand why Marguerite had to go on this trip with Roxton and I have to stay back at the tree house." Finn wailed. She had sneaked out of the kitchen and had gone to the lab, where she had found Challenger very busy with one of his experiments.
"Because Marguerite was going to rip Veronica's head off to say the least." Challenger replied. Then Veronica, who had come looking for Finn, walked in and pulled the young woman with her, back to the kitchen.
Marguerite and Roxton walked for hours and they hadn't found any sulphur so far. It was almost dark. They came to a stream and Roxton suggested they should take a break and then they would start making camp. Marguerite sighed in relief and sat down on the first large rock which came into her vision. Roxton looked worriedly at her. She hadn't complained during their trip, in fact she hadn't spoken at all. He thought back to last night, when she told him what Assai had said to her. It couldn't be possible she was having those nightmares again, could it? But Roxton didn't dare ask about it, afraid she would pull back from him.
In the meantime Marguerite was sorting out her own thoughts. She felt awful about this morning. She intended it to sound she was joking, unfortunately it sounded like how she would have said it three years ago, at the beginning of their trip. That was one of the reasons she complained about going on this trip as well, because she had this feeling that the others expected she would complain.
She looked at Roxton. He had walked beside her without saying a word, but she felt his eyes looking at her from time to time. She knew he wanted her to open up to him like she did when she had that nightmare, and like she did last night. But she didn't want to worry him by telling him, she had nightmares again, the whole night. In fact, she needed to be sure that they were only nightmares and that they weren't relapses, like Assai had warned her.
Roxton filled their canteens and when he came back, he couldn't help but smile. Marguerite had closed her eyes and she seemed very far away. He walked toward her and softly pressed his lip against hers. Marguerite opened her eyes and saw Roxton's face very close. He startled her, but seeing his face so lovingly looking at her was enough to take back the retort she wanted to say.
Roxton noticed that Marguerite tensed a little when his lips touched hers, but he also noticed that she enjoyed it. He bowed his head toward hers and once again their lips met in a soft kiss. Marguerite wrapped her arms around his neck and was pleased to feel Roxton's arms going around her waist.
"What do you think of making camp here?" Roxton breathed against her lips.
"Mmmm, I like that idea. But making camp can wait."
Marguerite captured his lips again, her hands left his neck and roamed over his body. Passion grew more and more, both started to breathe heavily. Roxton's mouth left hers and wondered to her neck. This brought back the memory of that day in that cave.
"Please, make love to me John." Marguerite said trembling. Roxton looked at her face. She meant it and he happily obeyed.
That night Roxton was awakened by Marguerite softly speaking in her sleep, tossing her head from one side to another. With a cry she woke up. Roxton immediately knew she was having another nightmare. He took her in his arms, and simply held her close, softly telling her it was all right. When Marguerite calmed down, he took her head in both his hands. "Why haven't you told me you were still having these nightmares?"
Marguerite looked at him and she saw there was no accusing, only concern. "I didn't want to worry any of you."
"Oh Marguerite," Roxton kissed her. "Please understand, you're not alone in this."
"I think I'm understanding that now. It's hard, I've always been on my own, but I'll try."
"We'll help you. You know we will." He hugged her and whispered softly in her ear that it would probably be a good idea they head back to the tree house.
Marguerite looked up at him, a determination in her eyes. "John, we promised Challenger we would get back with sulphur. So we will get back to the tree house with sulphur."
Roxton smiled, happy his lady was getting back to her old self again, determined as ever. They continued their search for sulphur and soon it was found. The trip back to the tree house was quiet, none of them spoke a word, only enjoying each others company while holding hands. Soon the tree house came into their view. They saw Finn and Veronica making repairs to the fence.
"What happened here?" Roxton asked.
"Oh, some ape men were getting really annoying." Finn replied. "So what happened during your trip?"
"What do you mean?" Marguerite said sternly. She saw Finn's eyes wonder off to her and Roxton's hand.
"Why don't you go up stairs and get George? We have found his sulphur."
Finn dramatically waved her hands and went on her way up to tell Challenger the so needed sulphur was found. The other three looked at her smiling. Roxton squeezed Marguerite's hand ever so lightly, but this didn't go unnoticed by Veronica.
"Do you want to tell me what has happened?" she asked.
Roxton looked at Marguerite, seeing his love wasn't ready yet to open her heart to the others. So he simply said: "We'll tell you what happened when the time is right." Marguerite looked surprised, not expecting her secrets and feelings really would be safe with him, but they were.
And Veronica knew she had to do with the given answer. "Come on, let's join Finn and Challenger and drink our afternoon tea." The three of them stepped up into the elevator and when they came up they joined Challenger and Finn, who were sitting at the table, discussing Challenger's latest invention.