25 Jan 2012

The girl with the broach (Final part)


“I should go.” Fred whispered, but it was enough to sober her up. It would have been the same, if he would have shouted. She didn’t move, just replied.
“I understand.” Her reply was also a whisper, but it weighted heavily on both of them.
“Can I…” Fred started.
“No!..Yes!..I don’t know! Yes!” she said, in the end, with a slight panic in her voice.
“I’m glad, thank you!” He replied, while smiling gently at her. She looked at him, and smiled.
“You, have a beautiful smile.” He said, while finally letting go of her. She then blushed violently. He started laughing.
“I bet, I could never get bored of you.” He said, still laughing. After, they said goodbye.
The party was almost over, and the guest were scattered through the halls, some of them even went up to the rooms, they were staying in. Mia hurried back, to the kitchen, to help out, but her mind, was still in the room, where it all just happened, the room where she had, her very first kiss.
The next day, as they were cleaning, after the party, Mia heard some of the servants whispering. She then approached, to hear the conversation.
“So that was him right? Mr. Raymond.” As she heard the name, Mia’s heart skipped a beat.
“Yeah, I hear he’s called Frederick Thomas, after his grandfather.
Who would have guessed, he was the fiancĂ©. Few people knew him; he’s been secluded all this years, good thing he found a wife now.
I wonder why, did he arrived so late last night? He came almost, at the end of the party.
And Miss Evelyn is such a beauty too.” The girls giggled.
“But he’s handsome too, and he has all that wealth now, as a single child, after the accident.
And…” But Mia wasn’t listening anymore; it was him, Fred. Frederick Thomas Raymond. She couldn’t believe it. The happiness from a few moments ago, turned into fright and terror. She was in love, with her own brother? How could that be? And he was marrying Evelyn. She staggered on her feet, for a moment, and then ran into the attic, as fast as her legs carried her. There it was, the painting, placed between some desks and curtains, powdery, from years of neglect. She examined it carefully. Even if she didn’t want to admit it, it was true, he resembled her. The same black hair, and black eyes, even her mouth, looked similar to his. Why, why was it so painful? She always wanted to meet her brother, why did it have to be like this? And the kiss, the soft, loving kiss, now felt like a curse, a chain binding her to her sin. How can she face him, now, after she knew the truth? Day after day, she struggled by herself, thinking what to do, how to tell him. Everything was dark around her, only misery and sadness remained, for the once, extremely happy girl. She couldn’t even smile anymore.
One day, she was called out by one of the servants. When she walked, out the door, into the backyard, she froze. It was Fred, smiling at her, unaware of what she’s been going through. Sheltering the secret, all by herself, having nightmares, her conscience consuming her as time passed. Before he could even say anything, she made her decision. She couldn’t go on like this, she had to disappear.
“Don’t say anything!” She said, with a trembling, forced voice. “Just listen! Meet me, in the central park, the day after tomorrow. I have something important to say, but right now, I can’t. Now, please leave.” And she turned around, and walked back into the kitchen, passed the hall, and entered her room. There, she took a piece of paper, and started scribbling furiously on it. First she made some accounts, to all the money she had, and a list of things she will need. After she finished with them, she placed them in the counter, at her desk. The next piece of paper, and the next, and the next, not one was good enough. How could she, explain to Fred, that his own sister, was deeply and hopelessly, in love with him, and that she couldn’t stay by his side, because he was getting married. She didn’t have good enough words, to tell him, how much he means for her. Finally she took another piece of paper, and wrote, while silently crying:
“Dear Fred,
By the time you will read this letter, I would be long gone. I don’t know where, I just need to go away, away from you. I need to tell you so many things, so may painful things.
The most important, and the most painful thing, is the fact that I love you! I love you more, than you could ever imagine, and that’s exactly why I’m leaving. I know you don’t understand, why I would be saddened by my love, but until the end of this letter, I hope you will, and that you will agree with me, that this was the best way, we could have handled things.
These last few days, I tried to forget about you, I couldn’t. I tried to hate you, I couldn’t do that either. In the end, I was left only to feel love, and sadness, in place of anger, and hatred. I tried to blame the whole situation on you, but you weren’t at fault. You didn’t know. It was me who should have figured it out, before everything that had happened. Unfortunately, all is in the past now, and it can’t be undone. It just happened all too quick, for me to even try to resist. So, I’m doing it now.
And yes, I know you are getting married, and I’m sad you didn’t told me, but back then, I didn’t wanted to know, and I probably would have preferred it, if I wouldn’t have ever found out. But it was inevitable; fate seems to bring me only misfortune and suffering. But I can’t do anything about this, and it’s just too big of a problem, to be ignored. 
I told you, I was searching for my brother, that day, in the room. Well, I must confess, I found him. Unfortunately, in this case too, I would have liked to remain ignorant, to the person who is my brother. Because, the same person who is my brother, my own flesh and blood, is the same person I shared my first kiss with. Yes Fred, it’s you. How do I know? Because I have our mother’s portrait with me, I always did, from when I was little. I will leave it with this letter, since it will only remind me of you now. I came to love you, painfully much. But, even if you are my brother, I can’t stay with you. I realized it today, when you came to see me. It’s too painful, to love somebody, and not be able to touch him, and see him marry someone else. I’m not that strong. That’s why, I’m running away. You can blame me, for being foolish, and a coward, but please never doubt, my love for you, now and forever. 
Your loving sister,
Mia “
One day passed, and Mia started her journey. She knew where to go. The nuns, at the orphanage, once told her, that there was always a place for her, where she was going. It was far away from Fred, and that’s all she wanted for now. She left the letter at a friend, who was also working at that house, and instructed her to deliver it to Fred. She even gave her some money.
While walking down the road, she took out a little pouch, and felt it through her finders. It was empty now; the emptiness that she felt in her heart was the same as that pouch. It was there, where she kept the pendant, with the portrait of their mother, always close to her heart.
After a few days, of traveling through various cities, she finally arrived. It was a small town, with little white houses, spread along the road, and fences that surrounded carefully attended gardens, and dogs barking, at some of them, announcing the rival of the owners, back home.
When she arrived, at the end of the town, she saw a small church, and near it a gray building, which seemed like a dormitory, with windows spread, at even distances one from another. Before she could even reach the door, a big black dog, which contrasted greatly, with the white church, came to greet her. And after him, an old priest, and a young girl, greeted her, and invited her inside.
She was a teacher there, to all the orphaned children, and she enjoyed spending time with them. She often, spent time in the church, praying ardently, for the happiness of Fred. Even if she was miles away, from him, she could still clearly remember the touch of his hands, and the sound of his voice. Even the taste of his lips, was deeply engraved into her memory. She didn’t try to forget him anymore, she just accepted her sin, and prayed to God. Sometimes she would even dream of him, calling her name, from the middle, of a sea of mist. But she couldn’t see him, and when the mist cleared, all that was left, was the pendant, lying on the ground. When she had these dreams, she would always wake up screaming, and drenched in sweat.
A couple of weeks have past, and Mia, was getting used to life, in the little town. She was busy all the time, until nightfall, but it helped her get her mind of things, for a while. One day, while she was walking on the narrow street, between trees abloom, she had the peculiar feeling, that someone was watching her. So she turned around, as to see who it was. She thought it was some of the kids, playing a prank on her, but to her surprise, behind her, at about 10 feet, there was a man, looking at her, without averting his eyes. He wore a large hat, on which the brims covered his eyes, so she couldn’t see who it was. Mia had this strange sensation, of pain in her hearth. She took it as fear, and acted accordingly.
“Are you looking for me, by any chance?” She said, while trying to keep her voice, firm. The man didn’t say anything, he just nodded. She looked at him again, but she still couldn’t see who it was.
“What can I help you with?” She asked, now intrigued, by the man in front of her.
“You should hug your brother when you see him!” A deep voice said. Mia froze, on the spot. It couldn’t be, he was far away, it must have been her imagination. Then the voice spoke again:
“And here I thought, you would be happy, to see your dear brother.”
Hearing this, she realized, that it wasn’t the man in front of her that spoke. The voice, came from behind her. She then, felt a sharp pain, in her chest.
“How is that possible?” She mumbled, while slowly, turning around. There he was, handsome as ever. He had a few dark circles, around his eyes, and he looked like he traveled a lot, but he was still as charming, as when she had first met him. Of course, he did travel a lot, he’s here. She thought to herself. She couldn’t believe it. She was happy, and hurt, at the same time.
“So, you leave me, just one measly letter, with an insane explanation, and a pendant, and you expect me to stay put?”
“Insane?” She asked. “I told you the truth! Why have you come here? I have already said, what I had to say and…” But he interrupted her.
“Yes, you did, and then left, without even waiting for an answer, and you left me, dumbfounded and sick. Did you know, how I felt, when I read your letter?” He was approaching her, slowly, but steadily. She didn’t move. She knew that, deep inside, she wanted to be embraced by him, and called by her name, and even if her logic said no, her heart still longed for him. And now, as he was approaching, she realized it painfully well, how much she had missed him, and that her love, grew even stronger, the time they were apart.
“Let me tell you, how I felt.” He continued. “I was upset, and angry, but most of all sad. I thought you loved me, as a man, and then you tell me, I’m your brother. What kind of excuse was that? I felt hurt, especially, by your running away. Did you ever thought, about confronting me on the subject? Asking me, what my family name was? Or why, I was at the engagement party, that night?”
“It doesn’t matter!” She shouted, and covered her ears, while closing her eyes. Her senses, were going crazy. He was too close to her, and she could barely support herself, from falling down. Her legs were giving in, and the world was spinning, at an alarming rate. The next thing she knew was that she was felling, as light as a feather, blown by the wind. When she opened her eyes, he was there, leaning with his back, on her bed. She got up, and took her dressing gown, from the chair it was placed on, and went into the kitchen. She was terribly thirsty. On the kitchen table, there was fresh coffee made. She first, took a cup of water and gulped it down, and then she seated herself, at the table.
“I see you’re up. Good morning!” She heard a horse voice saying. Mia turned around, to see a tall man, standing at the entrance. He was the man, with the large hat, that she didn’t recognize. But still, he felt familiar. “Come on, drink up your coffee, I made it for us all.” The man said, taking a seat, at the end of the table. “Is Fred still sleeping?” She nodded. “I’m not surprised; he didn’t sleep that much, this last few weeks.” “Why?” Mia asked, her curiosity, winning over her shyness, and caution.
“Why do you think? He was sick of worry.” He said, while fixing his eyes upon her. She blushed, and wanted to retort, but he didn’t give her the chance.
“So you love me?”
“Excuse me?” She said, outraged at the familiarity, this man, was using on her.
“Well, I’m flattered and all, but I’m afraid I’m married already.” He said, with an mischievous smirk, on his face.
“What are you talking about? I never said I love you!” She said more and more enraged.
“Yes you did. Although, I don’t know what you meant by, the room where we kissed, since I don’t remember ever, laying a hand, on my little sister.” She was ready to reply, when she froze.
“Sister, what are you talking about?” She asked, more confused than ever.
“Well, I am you brother, and you did, send me that letter through Fred.” She gasped.
“That, wasn’t for you, it was addressed to Fred.”
“Yes. Frederick Thomas Raymond. Last time I checked, it was my name. I’m glad to see you again little sis.” He said now with a gentle smile on his face.
“Wait a minute, if you are my brother, then who is Fred?”
“He’s Fred, but people usually call him Mr. More.” Mia remained unmoved for a couple more minutes. “But he looks, just like the woman, in the painting, and the pendant.” He started laughing.
“Of course he does, he’s her son.”
“Fred is her son? How? Isn’t that, our mother?”
“No.” Said Fred, with a sleepy voice, from the other room. Then Fred, stepped into the kitchen, and took a seat at the table, in front of Mia. “She’s my mother, definitely.”
“But, the maids said…” She started, but was interrupted by Fred.
“Oh, the maids, is it? They obviously, don’t know who they were talking about.”
“But, I had the pendant, from when I was a little baby.”
“That’s because she was there, my mother, and you mother, were best friends. They both died in that accident.”
“So, you’re not my real brother? And, she’s not my mother?” Mia asked, in a serene tone.
“Yes, that’s how it is.” Fred said, with his eyes, fixed on Mia. Thomas, got up from the table, and stepped outside. In the meantime Mia was trying to put everything in order. Her thoughts, and her feelings, which were jumbled up together, started to make sense. And then, she suddenly asked Fred, who was sitting quietly, drinking his coffee.
“So I can love you?” And while she said that, she gave the sweetest and most sincere smile. Fred choked and asked:
“What?”
“What you heard.” She replied, still smiling. It was so easy to smile now, as if she was just an innocent child again.
“Well, it all depends.” He said, with a grave voice.
“Depends on what?” Mia asked, with a light tremble of worry, in her voice.
“Depends, on whether you will run off again, leaving me behind. It wasn’t pleasant at all, you know?” He said with an upset expression on his face, looking at a corner of the kitchen, as if there was something, extremely interesting there. When she didn’t say anything in return, he turned his eyes on her. She was staying, with her head bowed, trembling, while her hands were clenched, on her dressing gown. She was saying something, with a voice so low, that he couldn’t hear it. He then, got up, and went around the table, until he was near her.
“I can’t hear, what you’re saying. Say it louder!” She then stopped talking, and after a few moments, and a deep breath, she said: “I said I’m sorry! And…” Talking was harder now, because of the tears, which were falling unstoppable. “…and, I LOVE YOU! I WANT TO STAY WITH YOU! PLEASE LET ME STAY WITH YOU!” She shouted it all, in one breath. She felt the need, to say everything, she head on her heart, to share her feelings. All she had been through, over the last few months, all the suffering, she could now let go of it. After she shouted, her feet couldn’t support her anymore, so she almost fell. But Fred was paying attention, and he grabbed her, by the waist, before falling, holding her closely to him.
“I’m sorry too.” He told her, with a soft tone. “I should have known it was hard for you too. It was mean for me to tease you. I’m sorry!” He said while clearing away her tears with his hand.
“So, so…I can.. love you?” She barely said that, among her sobbing, with her head leaned against his chest.
“Always!” Fred replied, and took her head in his hands, and kissed her tenderly. Even her tears stopped falling, as they stayed, embraced, for a long time to come, lost in their own little world.