Their argument sent Hareton out of the kitchen in a silent rage. His pride would not allow him to stay seated and Cathy's compelled her to hold her ground.
She sat there, her hard eyes staring out the window, feverishly trying to ignore the volume he had ripped from her hands and flung to the ground in frustration. She could still see the flashes of anger in his eyes and feel the tense heat from his red face. Her eyes dropped to her lap where she was surprised to see her fists bunched white knuckled in the folds of her skirts. She swiped furiously at her cheeks to scrub the tears away.
It was then that she realized she wasn't crying. A calming sense of awe overcame her. Since being brought to Wuthering Heights to live with her husband after her father's death, the slightest provocation had set her weeping silently to herself if not banishing her from the room.
She checked herself for raw insecurity or a quiet sadness or any emotion remotely similar to what she had fostered and wallowed in the year round. But there was nothing. Her heart beat steadily within her breast and there was a still calm that bewildered her. And then a thought of Hareton came wafting into her mind. It was a fond thought, warming and familiar, and for the first time, a clarity swept over her. It felt the way a warm breeze off the moors felt when Cathy thrust open the windows in the morning—it felt like redemption.
Forgetting Nelly and her knitting in the corner, Cathy rushed out of the kitchen. Her boots clomped loudly on the stone floors and her eyes flitted here and there searching. It was an urgency that spurned her. The change she discovered within her was warning her not to spend another moment in fear or vulnerability. She felt might love.
Hareton was leaning against the stables out back, staring out at the unforgiving terrain. Cathy's eyes grew serious as she surveyed him. His dark eyes were brooding and his thick, workman's arms were folded across his broad chest. A cool summer breeze wafted toward them and Cathy realized she was staring. Even in his anger, her heart warmed towards him.
"Hareton?" she called softly. He let on not at all that he heard her or knew she had discovered his hiding place.
She knew from experience during their endless hours of learning to read that his tempers rendered him unresponsive to words, which at this moment were inadequate anyway. Cathy was becoming strangely aware of the changes in her feelings. Her heart felt as though it were blossoming, opening toward Hareton and she knew she were inwardly admitting her love for him.
His siple gruffness was all she wanted. She had had enough of drama, gossip and tragedy. Too much life and love was lost on revenge and pride and Cathy knew that if she gave up her own pride, Hareton would follow and they need not look further for their own happiness. She felt a sudden burden of sadness as she realized how easily Uncle Heathcliff could have found happiness by this simple act and how cruelly his bitterness had effected all around him. Hareton's temper and detachment was one example.
Stepping forward, Cathy took Hareton's arm. He didn't move except to tighten his grip around himself to bar her from a better hold on him. But even as the wind blew and the sun grew colder and dimmer, Cathy felt the stillness; her heart racing, her mind flitting, hands shaking. It seemed all the bitterness and longing of their forbears were hanging over their heads, waiting. And although Cathy had never been told the histories of her tangled relatives and could not have known that the story yet awaited its proper end, she could sense what seemed to be climactic on a much larger scale than just for her and her unprofessed love. The moors howled in anticipation.
Cathy looked up into Hareton's eyes. They glanced down at her briefly, in secret. Coming around in front of him, she stood on tiptoe and as her fair curls blew around her face in the bustling, tireless wind, their lips met. Softly but loudly, the triumphant resolution came sweeping over them with their announcement of their adoration for each other.
Hareton seemed to forget those who trespassed against him as his large frame molded to fit around her slight and dainty features. Their first kiss was soft and haunting and their second and third were more pronounced until countless others declared themselves, decisive and frantic, claiming their territory all across the faces of their lovers'.
All at once, the dark dungeon, dingy corners and musky dens of Wuthering Heights were thrown into a new light. Its haunted halls were alive with echoes of lovers' laughter to replace moans of the dead. The moors were meadows and Wuthering Heights a palace, a home.
Cathy and Hareton were tireless in finding new places all over Wuthering Heights to hide and frolic. Their play sometimes drove the staff half mad to hear their loving whispers and giddy laughter, but Nelly could never remember a time when the house seemed brighter.
Cathy persuaded Joseph to let her plant flowers in the garden and she could often be found tending her plants, an adoring Hareton hovering nearby with the pretense of helping her weed or trim or carry her shears. And they were often found before the fire huddled in all sorts of shapes, reading or pretending to read and sometimes not even that.
While Heathcliff's torment and vengefulness was a smoke that consumed and smothered Wuthering Heights until it was blackened by the soot, Hareton and Cathy's love was the wind that aired out the suffocating billows and swept away the ashes of former transgressions.
Few seasons passed before the church bells rang out in the showers of joy and freedom over the newly wed, and as the years progressed, Wuthering Heights was filled with sweet and careless children who only knew their parents to fawn and dote on each other.
And there wasn't a happier woman in all of England than the ever faithful Nelly Dean.