25 Aug 2011

The girl with the broach

[I would like do dedicate this story to one of my best friends, in honor of her birthday. Today 25.Aug.2009. Happy Birthday Adela!!!]

“This is a story, about how people can be affected by gossip, and how choosing to run away from a confrontation, can lead to sadness and misery” An old lady was telling a small group of young women. They were seated around her, anxious for her to begin relating.
“But it’s just fiction right?” I asked without hesitating.
“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, you will have to decide whether to believe in it or not.” The old woman replied with a calm, monotone voice.
“It all started, when a baby girl, apparently named Mia, was brought to an orphanage in the middle of the night. She was found near the beach in a basket, wet and crying. The nuns at the orphanage raised her lovingly, and when she was 16, she departed in search for work.
She was a small girl, thin, with black hair of medium length. She always kept it tied back in a ponytail. Her eyes were brightly green, and she was always with a smile on her face.
She started working, in an aristocratic family’s house, as a kitchen helper. The pay was low, and there was always something to do, but she received food and shelter, things that were very important to her, so she was happy. She sometimes even donated a part of her pay, to the orphanage.
One day, while the maids were doing a thorough cleaning of the house, she was sent in the attic, to carry up there some old curtains. She suddenly gasped in surprise, dropping the curtain on the dusty floor of the attic. There it was, in front of her, the same portrait, at which she gazed with love and curiosity, for so many years at the orphanage. It was the same woman, engraved on her pendant. She was given the pendant by the nuns, when she was only 4 years old. They said she was carrying with her, the pendant, when she was first brought to the orphanage. She was grasping the pendant with all her might, in her little hand, not wanting to be separated from it. She always thought that woman was her mother, and whenever she was out in town, she would always search for her, in the crowd. But she never found her.
A couple of days later, she asked the older maids, if they knew who the woman was. They told her she was the deceased Mrs. Raymond.
“Poor soul, she died with her daughter on that damn ship. And her son remained all alone at only 6 years old, good thing that his grandma took charge of him.”
“Where does the son live now?” Asked Mia, with impatience, trying to control herself. Feelings of joy were swelling up inside of her. She was ready to burst with laughter, at the pleasant thought that she had a brother, and that she wasn’t all alone anymore.
“I don’t know for sure, I’m pretty sure they moved away, but I don’t know where exactly.” One of the maids answered.
“I see…” Mia answered a little disappointed.
The next weeks, she tried searching for her brother, but nobody knew where he was. All that she had found out was that he was named Tomas, their grandma had died, and that he was 22 years old.
One day, while she was out shopping for ingredients, some kids bumped into her and while falling, she clanged to the nearest support, which was a young man. Unfortunately, he was caught by surprise, and they both fell on the ground. When she came around, she was being held by the man, who looked a little puzzled.
“I’m so sorry…”Mia started to apologize vehemently, while her checks burned red. The man started laughing. Mia looked at him in surprise. What was so funny? She thought.
“It’s no problem, but do you think maybe, you could get up from on top of me?” The man asked still laughing. Mia then realized, she was still standing on him, and people were looking strangely at them. She quickly got up and arranged her skirt, looking into the ground, while her ears turned red.
“I’m sorry.” She mumbled again, after the man got up.
“Like I said, it’s okay.” The man answered, while looking at her, still with a smile on his face.
“Are you ok or did you get hurt?” He then asked, while the smile was slowly vanishing.
“I’m okay, thank you!” She said, while lifting her head, and looking at the man in front of her. He was a handsome man, although young, his eyes sparkled with intelligence. He had black hair, and equally black eyes. He was also tall, and beneath the clothes, you could tell he wasn’t very slim, but had a slightly muscular build.
“I’m sorry, I have to go now.” Mia said, remembering, that she still had to finish shopping.
“Wait a minute!” The man said, with a light panic in his voice. “Can you tell me your name?”
“My name? It’s Mia.” She said, looking a bit surprised.
“Ah, I see, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you.” He said, his tone shaking a little. “It’s just that for a minute…I thought you resembled someone I once knew.”
Mia smiled softly. “No problem. Can I know your name now too?” She asked, with an indecisive tone.
He smiled. “It’s Frederick, but you can call me Fred, I like it more.”
“Fred it is then. Nice to meet you.” Mia said, holding her hand out.
“My pleasure.” He said, while gently grabbing her hand, and laying a kiss on it. At that very moment, Mia felt a tremor, traveling down her spine, waking up all of her senses. It was a feeling of happiness and excitement, feelings, which were threatening to overflow, from every one of her pores. She gave a gibbering excuse, and rushed home. The feelings she had just experienced, were totally new to her. She didn’t know what it was, until later that week, when fate brought them back together.
There was a party that day, the only daughter of the family, was getting engaged. Servants were preparing fervently for the party, under the strict surveillance of the head servant. Mia was sent to get the rooms ready, for some of the guests, and to check if there isn’t anything missing, that would inconvenience them.
She was at the second floor, arranging flowers in a vase, when she heard the door open.
“Excuse me…” a deep voice started to say, but when she turned, he stopped, while hesitating. “Mia…right? What are you doing here?”The man said with a surprised voice.
“Mm, well…I work here.” She said, while giving an awkward smile. She was so happy to see him again, and at the same time embarrassed. All the time, since the first time they meet, she couldn’t get him out of her mind. She than knew on the spot, that she had fallen in love. And although the realization made her happy, she was also afraid, afraid of the unknown feelings, rising deep inside her, making her tremble. It was a ride, on an emotional roller coaster, of both joy and terror, at the realization of her sentiment.
“Are you a guest here?” She asked shyly.
“Yes…” he answered, still staring at her.
“That must be nice.” She said dreamily. “I will be one too, if I ever find him.” She mumbled to herself.
“You will be what?” Fred asked, as if woken up from a dream. “Who do you need to find?”
“I was just talking about my brother…” She said, with a mellow voice. “He’s a aristocrat.”
“Really?” Fred asked, with a genuine curiosity.”Can I ask what his name is?”
“It’s not that important…” She said. “I don’t even know where he is, right now.” She continued with a sad tone, while lowering her head. She felt like crying. Mia realized she forgot all about her brother, after she had meet Fred. Seeing her, tremble slightly, he approached her slowly.
“What’s the matter?” He asked when he was near her. They were sitting so close, that he could see her tears falling one by one, as she was trying to stop herself, from crying out loud.
“It’s nothing, I’m sorry…” She could barely reply. She turned, and wanted to walk away. They were to close, she could even feel his breath, and smell his cologne, and it was an intoxicating emotion. But before she could even take a step away from him, Fred grabbed her arm, and without realizing it, he pulled her to him, binding her in his embrace. They stood like that, without saying anything. They were enveloped, in the darkness of the night, while live, classical music, was heard from the party, downstairs. Mia was happy, more than ever before. She knew, they couldn’t stay like this forever, but she didn’t want to be the one, to break the silence. She could feel him now; he had his arms around her, holding her tight, refusing to let go. His breath was rhythmic, and she felt his chest moving beside her, synchronizing itself, with the hard beating of his heart. She felt she could die happy now, and that greater joy, wasn’t possible in this world. The music stopped. Her heart started beating, faster and faster, all her senses were sharpened. She felt one of his hand, moving slightly, from the back of her waist, while the band, started another song. He transferred the hand, over her tense back, then on the shoulder, touching it delicately. The hand then stopped at her face, caressing her cheeks. He slowly, raised her face with his hand, until their eyes met.
The next moment, was like magic. She let out, a light gasp of surprise, before she was engulfed by the pleasure, of feeling his lips closing down on hers, at first shyly, then with hunger for her, with a passion she had never seen, or felt before. While the hand near her face was caressing her hair, the other hand, was pulling her closer to him; as if he was afraid, she would escape him. It was heaven. She abandoned herself, to the fire she was feeling in her heart. She put her hands around him, and returned his kisses, with all the warmth, and courage, she could muster.
They stayed in this embrace, for an unknown period of time, neither wanted to let the other go, or to ruin the magic of the moment. After a while, voices were heard, in the hallway, they suddenly remembered where they were. They had to return, to reality. Fred then looked at her, closely, trying to engrave in his memory, every little detail of her being. She just stood there, still a little muzzy, trying to figure out, her feelings and thoughts.

17 Aug 2011

The mysterious man (Part VII) - The end

After about half an hour she felt something cold and wet on her face. She opened her eyes and saw Keith, who was standing at her bedside, with a wet towel, gently rubbing her cheeks.

She rose slowly and Keith jumped up from the chair and helped her, putting more pillows under her back.

“How do you feel?” he asked.

“Fine, I think… what happened?”

“You fainted at the cemetery”

“Ah, I see…the girl didn’t die in the accident right?” She felt him flinch and felt the tension in the air. She was a little uncomfortable but she didn’t say anything, just waited for a response. Meanwhile Keith had turned pale, but he knew this was the right time to tell her the truth.

“Drink some orange juice first”, he said, and gave her a glass with freshly squeezed orange juice. She took two gulps from it before passing it back to him. Seeing that she was done, he took the glass, put it down, and answered:

“Yes…it’s true”.

“You saved her didn’t you? From the plane crash, before the plane exploded…”

“Yes…but…” and before he could finish his sentence she asked:

“Why didn’t you tell me all this time? Caroline is me, right?” He looked at her with a pained look on his face and replied:

“Because you chose not to remember, and the doctor said not to force you…and besides, if I could help it, I would have liked for you to remain Elisa.”

“Why?” she asked with a choked voice

“Because then you wouldn’t have to remember all you went through, and you could have lived happily…I still remember how miserable you were the days that followed the accident, and how you didn’t wanted to eat, or drink anything, and just stood there, in your room, staring into space…and at night you would wake up screaming for your parents, and wouldn’t calm down unless I held you in my arms for a few hours…so, after you blocked your memories, you were happy again, smiling and playing, eating normally…That’s when the Romanov family, who were good friends of your parents, decided to tell you that they were your parents and raise you accordingly.”

She couldn’t say anything anymore; she just stood there in the bed, and listened, while big heavy tears were running down her cheeks. Keith continued:

“So it was decided to let you live your life without knowing who your real parents were.”

She raised her head and looked at him.

“Who decided that? Who gave you the right?” He looked away and continued.

“I know…I know… I’m really sorry, I tried to make you remember. That’s why I sent you to research your family. But there were others who didn’t agree you should be told the truth. Like the Romanov…” She stared at him and asked:

“Was this what you meant when you said you would make me suffer? You helped me remember in the end, so why did you say that?”

He looked at her and with a low voice he said:

“You remember that I was in the plane, right? Then, you cried and begged me to go get your parents, but your father and mother told me to get you to a safe place, and asked me not to return, so I listened to them… but now I think that if I had made an effort, I could have saved at least one of them…”

She looked at him to see that his eyes were red and he was restraining his tears. She took his head in her palms and gently kissed him on the forehead.

“Thank you!” she said “You saved me twice already. It’s ok, you did all you could, and I know how much you being near has helped me, so thank you!”

She hugged him as hard as she could and Keith returned the hug. They kept their embrace for a long time, and then they fell asleep still holding hands.


The mysterious man (Part VI)

A few days later, while she was at school, she overheard two teachers talking about the Lytton family.

“You know, I heard they finally discovered why the plane crashed, and apparently it was a clock bomb on one of the turbines. It’s said they were targeting the Lytton family.”

“And they surely did a good job since all three of them died. poor souls; To think it was just because some people couldn’t handle the jealousy! But oh, petty people do petty things.”

Hearing this, Elisa thought about going again to the Lytton house, but she decided it would be better to wait some more and meet with Keith again.

A few days later, while she was going to town, looking for a magazine for her aunt, she saw Keith buying some flowers from a shop on the corner, and then getting back into a car. She tried to follow it but she was on foot, so she thought about the places he could go in the direction that the car went.

The only place she knew that way was the cemetery where her parents were buried, and since he was carrying flowers, it was likely that he had gone to visit the grave. So she started walking to the cemetery. When she there, she went directly to the grave of her parents, but he wasn’t there, so after saying a prayer she wanted to go out to its other side of it, and while walking on the main path, she saw in the distance a man, dressed in a back suit, with black hair, kneeling before two graves, who had fresh flowers on them. She approached him silently, and when she was a few steps away from him, she read the names engraved on the grave. It said: Thomas Lytton and Stephanie Lytton and between them, there was a little tomb with the name Caroline Lytton. Seeing this, she suddenly felt dizzy, her feet grew limp and then all went black around her.

15 Aug 2011

The mysterious man (Part V)

Mama? Papa? What’s the matter? Why aren’t you getting up?

It’s okay Carol, just go with him, we’ll come later too. Now be a good girl and listen to what he says.

Looking up she sees a pair of green eyes filled with tears, a young boy was grabbing her tightly by the waist, and pulling her away from two people who were crying too.

While she’s struggling to break free from the clasp of the boy, she’s shouting through her tears :

What’s happening? Why must I go? No…I don’t want too... Mama, papa, let me go!

But it’s all in vain, and the boy is dragging her further away. Just then, a loud noise startles her and she sees red flames embracing a white shell and a thick black smoke rising up from it, obstructing the sun, making it seem like the middle of the night.

She abruptly rose from her bed and with tears still in her eyes she looked around frightened, trying to figure out where she was. After a minute or so, she calmed down a little, got out of bed, and walked to the kitchen to get herself a cup of water. After she poured herself some water she heard branches snapping outside so she turned off the light and looked out the living room window. There was a shadow lurking in the dark, turning in circles around the house. She woke up completely, took a knife from the kitchen cupboard and she went out the back door, slowly, making her way to the shadow.

But as she approached it, she realized it was the mysterious man, so she left the knife fall down and ran to him, hugging him from behind. He jumped in surprise and violently shook her off, and she fell on her bottom, letting out a small cry. After he realized it was her he quickly helped her up, by taking her by the waist and pulling her up, and draw her to his chest for a few seconds before letting her go.

She looked at him pouting and said: “What manners, you should know better than to treat a lady like this!” He started laughing.

“What lady? You were the one that almost pushed me down from behind” She smiled.“Well, I missed you a little.”

“Well, I’m flattered… and a little glad.” He replied. They both started laughing.

“So what are you doing here at night?” She asked looking curiously at him.

“Oh, I was just in the neighborhood, and decided to see if anyone was still awake, and then I heard some noise from the garden and was checking it out.” He said, while avoiding to look at her.

“But what are you doing at this hour of the night still awake?”

“Oh, I had a terrifying nightmare, and came down to get a glass of water, when I saw you in the garden.”

“What was the dream about?” he asked jokingly? “A dream where you couldn’t eat your dessert?”

“No! If you really want to know it was a really scary dream. I was crying when a boy was pulling me away from a sea of fire and smoke, and I think my parents were in there…”, she said, and the some tears fell involuntary from her eyes.

The man froze for a second, then seeing her cry, he took her in his arms, and patted her head gently, while hiding his face in her disheveled hair.

“It’s ok, everything is alright, I’m here” he said gently. Cry all you want…” And for a few minutes they didn’t say anything anymore. After she calmed down she asked:


“Why what?” he replied

“Why are you so kind to me? Why did you send me searching for the Lytton family? What connection do they have to my family?”

He didn’t say anything for a few seconds, wondering how to answer her questions and weather she was really ready to know the truth? While hesitating, she looked at him trying to read his expressions, and then she suddenly asked:

“Is your name still unimportant? Cause I want to know what you are called.”

“Well, it really isn’t important to know my name but if you ask me to introduce myself, I can’t say no to such a cute young lady as yourself.” Then he smiled.

“You can call me Keith.”

“Keith, nice name, and I don’t know why, but it fells familiar.”

“Yes, well it should, you used to always call for me”.

“I did? When?” she asked.

“A long time ago, long before you even knew me...” And then he didn’t say anything else. She just sat there and thought of the words he had said, and what they could mean.

Was it possible she had known him before she was 10? If so, why couldn’t she remember?

“Can I ask you something now?” he asked.

“Sure!” she said being only half attentive to what he was saying.

“Six years ago, why were you out on the street? Who were you searching for?”

She then turned to him surprised and said: “Well I saw something moving in the garden, and I thought it was Joe, the driver, and I followed him with the intention to scare him, but then he just disappeared, and I got a little lost” and she smiled at the memory.

He started laughing. “Ah, yes, Joe, same stature.” She looked confused at this answer, but then suddenly she realized, Keith had the same height and build as Joe, so it was very possible she confused them, and she was really following Keith.

“So…it was you that night? The one that I followed?”

“Well yes…” and he kept smiling. She blushed slightly, then continued:

“But then what were you doing at my house?”

“Oh I just had a little conversation with your father. And I was on my way back to my house.”

“I didn’t know you knew my parents…” she said

“Yes, well, you didn’t see me coming to your house, so of course you didn’t know about me.”

Elisa wanted to say something but before she could do it, they heard noises coming from the house.

“I think it’s time I left, looks like your aunt is up.” As he said that, he slightly bent forward and kissed her forehead. “Next time we meet I might bring you suffering, so I’ll say I’m sorry now.” And he left. She remained there, with a blank stare, until her aunt saw her and came screaming at her.

“What do you think you are doing little miss? Have you gone mad? It’s not ladylike to go outside the house dressed like this, and not healthy either. What if someone saw you or you caught another cold? Go back to your bed right now!”

She looked at her aunt and nodded, then she went upstairs and got into bed, but she didn’t sleep, just stood there with her eyes open, thinking of what Keith had said.

“Why suffer? Did something bad happen? He’s still a mysterious man for me, just when I feel like I’m beginning to understand him, he says something which confuses me even more.”

And while thinking, she finally fell in a heavy sleep, to recover the sleep lost thru the night.