13 Aug 2011

The mysterious man (Part III)

Time flew. Two years had already passed since her parents died. She was now 16 years old. She had grown taller, more feminine, but her blond hair had preserved the same pure color she had had as a child, soft and shining, with the curls falling over her shoulders down to her waist. She usually wore hear hair in a pony tail at the back or the side of her head, while some rebellious curls framed her face, outlining the shape and color of her eyes.
She was a good student, friendly with everyone, and helpful; younger kids admired her, and older people respected her, for she was always kind and objective in resolving a situation. Still, she didn’t have any good friends, because unconsciously she isolated her heart and didn’t trust anyone, not even family, and when someone got too close to her she pushed them away.
She didn’t forget about the mysterious man, and sometimes she would go out at night hoping he would appear, but he didn’t, they hadn’t met once since the last time, so that it was like he didn’t even existed, and only the two handkerchiefs were proof of his existence.
One day, having just returned from school, she overheard her aunt and uncle talking in the kitchen.
“I heard the boy is working for him, he made a little fortune for himself that scoundrel; imagine what would have happened to Elisa if she had really been left with him. He would suck all the money dry from her,” her uncle said. Elisa stood there still, without making any noise, concentrating to hear every word that was spoken. “Well she doesn’t get any money till she’s 20, so I don’t think he could have done anything to get his hands on the money, imagine the impertinence, demanding to let her live with him, saying that her parents wanted that, God rest their souls, they would turn in the grave at such horrific idea. He didn’t even know the names of her parents, said it was Lytton, can you imagine that? It’s disrespectful to the Lytton too, poor Earl, having your kid with his wife and grandchild die in an airplane crash, a real tragedy. And he even approached her when she was little, her parents told me, I understand their worry…” And her aunt would have kept going on and on but their son just then came home and entered the kitchen.
Elisa went up to her room quietly so they wouldn’t hear her, opened the drawer from her nightstand and took out the white handkerchiefs, sat down the bed, and started processing what she just heard. Was the mysterious man the one her aunt and uncle were talking about? Is it possible he was confusing her with someone else? So all the time that he helped her, it should have been another person, not her? This line of thoughts made her sad but she couldn’t tell why.
“And why would they say he’s only after money, he isn’t that kind of person, I just know that,” she said as to encourage herself, it’s all a misunderstanding, “And if he really was only after the money, he wouldn’t have to bother with me, after all…like uncle said, I’ll only be able to get my money in four years time, the little something my parents left me, which isn’t really a fortune …”
From that day onward, Elisa started to be more attentive to the people and events happening around her, and one day, when she was coming home from school, she saw a familiar figure walking on the little streets between houses and shops. Without giving much thought to what she was doing, she went after him, on the little streets, further away from the main stream of people buzzing on the street, until she lost sight of him, when he turned a corner and vanished. But in the place he disappeared, there was a little musical box and an envelope on which it was written: “For Elisa”. She took the musical box, the envelope and went home, and silently climbed the staircases and entered her room, where she excitedly opened the envelope. Inside she found a green card on which it was written: “Blood will out”. What did he mean? Putting the card away, she took the music box and opened it. It was lined with green silk inside and there was a ballerina that started dancing as soon as she opened the box. The melody the box played was familiar, she knew it, but couldn’t remember the name exactly. Inside the music box there was also a silver necklace, with a rhombic shape, and in it a green stone shaped as a tear. When turning the necklace, on the back of it, she saw the gravure of two initials: T and S. Was this for her too? It was time she started getting some answers to all these questions.
She first went to the music teacher of her class, to ask her about the song. When she found out the name of the song was “Fur Elise” she couldn’t stop a smile. Next were the initials, she thought hard how she could identify them and the best idea she had was to at least start searching for names starting with those initials, so when she got back home from school, she opened a drawer from her writing desk and got out a little black notebook, which she started carrying with her everywhere she went, and when she remembered or heard a name with those initials she would note it down on it.
So days passed and the notebook got more and more names and Elisa still had no clue how to filter through them. Near Christmas time, Elisa started to feel sick, and it got to the point where she came down with the flu and a fever on Christmas Eve. Her aunt and uncle together with their son went to the annual Christmas party, and she remained at home in bed; a neighbor was supposed to come and check on her from time to time, but she was too busy with her own family to find the time for that .
Suddenly her fever rose, and she started tossing in the bed, coughing violently until finally she calmed down and fell into a state of semi consciousness. After what seemed like a few hours to her, she felt a cold touch on her forehead, and slightly opening her eyes she saw through a thick fog, a pair of concerned green eyes looking at her. She closed her eyes again and concentrated all of her senses on the cold hand touching her forehead, the familiar feeling which relaxed her, and the joy it brought, just by being there, was almost overwhelming. After a few minutes, vacillating between consciousness and sleep, she felt a warm touch on her lips, and soon a liquid thicker than water, a little bitter, was flowing in her mouth and then easily down her neck. She could feel a wellness sensation growing in her, from her stomach to her hands and head, and then she fell into a deep sleep.
She woke up only the next day, at noon, felling better. She could eat and even rise from the bed for a little, which was a very good sign. She asked when they came back, but they said it was only in the morning, so she believed that the person who helped her in the night was none other than the mysterious man. But why did he come here? Did he have something to tell her? She started looking at her room, to see if he didn’t left anything for her, but she couldn’t find anything, then, suddenly, she got an idea , so she jumped out of bed and reached to her writing desk, where the black notebook was, and flipped through it in rush. She was right, he did leave her something, there were two names underlined: Thomas and Stephanie. So these were the names that she had been searching for. But who were these persons and what connection do they have with her or the mysterious man?
Since the little visit of the mysterious man was real and not just a dream, it was enough for her for now, knowing he had come to see her. That meant she wasn’t indifferent to him, although he had probably realized that she wasn’t the one he thought, the daughter of the Lytton. But if he had, was he still acting the same to her, as he would have done with the Lytton heiress? Was he being as gentle and attentive with her too? At that moment she started wishing she was the girl of the Lytton family or that the girl really had died in that plane crash.

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