Life was finally making a full circle for Eliza. She was feeling happiness that she was sure she would never see again. Yes she still missed Aaron and she thought of him with sorrow in her heart, but Scarlet and her mother made certain that it was never for long. Over the time that Phiona had come to stay with them-which had been ten days-Eliza had found herself feeling new again. She was with people that loved her and it warmed her broken heart. She loved the way Greenwick looked at her mother and it wasn't long before they confirmed what she had suspected. She'd walked in on them holding hands and the minute she found them they stepped away from each other. When she'd addressed Phiona about it, she had confessed reluctantly that they were indeed in love with each other. Eliza liked Greenwick and found him a fitting gentlemen for her mother. She gave Phiona her blessings and told her to feel free to be close to the man that loved her.
Scarlet had taken a few days to speak with her again. Eliza was not too distracted by her mother to see her daughter had been hurt by her actions. When they'd talked it over, and she had heard Scarlet's side of the story, she sympathized with her and held her daughter. Their bound was not one to be easily severed; she was sure that point was proven.
In the short time she'd been there, Phiona had helped Eliza to tend to her garden that had been neglected one too many a times. Phiona was skilled when it came to making a plant yield and grow for her. Eliza was an armature in comparison but her mother was a good teacher. Phiona had made her promise to send her a few strawberries from her crop whenever they sprouted and Scarlet had volunteered to do so. It made Eliza's hard pang in her chest when she thought of her daughter venturing alone in such a dangerous place as the forest.
'Mother please stop worrying. I'll make certain that my journey is safe by enchanting the path way." Scarlet had said as she watered the crops.
Eliza looked up at her and frowned. She was not aware that her daughter knew magic as Eyola did, though she had spend a lot of time with the woman when she'd still lived with them.
"What are you talking about Scarlet, you can't do such a thing."
"Yes I can; Eyola showed me and left me with enough provisions to do so."
"Okay, what are both of you on about and who is this Eyola woman?" Phiona asked as Greenwick helped her up from her knees. He waited on her as if he couldn't bear to be more than two feet away from the woman. Eliza knew that that was what love would make one do and came to the conclusion that her mate must not love her because he could bear years and miles between the two of them.
"She was my father's aid and she was also skilled with magic spells that were good for protection."
Phiona exchanged a look with her daughter and saw the pain in Eliza's eyes. There was more to Eyola than Scarlet was saying and Eliza knew. That said it all for her.
"Oh really? And you say she has taught you how to use these spells?" Phiona asked, taking a seat on a bench in the cool.
"Indeed. I am certain in them and they have proven worthy of my trust." Scarlet replied, moving to the cabbages to give them water.
"And just how do these protection spells work?" Phiona asked finding it hard to ignore her curiosity.
"Well, it keeps all harmful things or people from getting near us. If something means us harm the spell would sense it and shun them in some way. There are things that Eyola called wards, set up about the area in which our home is and they have worked ever since she and father left and even before then. I expanded those wards and now I could travel a bit further into the forest. If I do the same to the path way I can come and see you anytime I desire without mother needing to worry."
The three of them watched the little red hair girl busy her self with her task as she spoke what she called logic. Eliza was not a fan of her daughter's idea but she could see that her mother was considering it. What Scarlet had just described sounded no where near safe. How could she just relax when there were things in the forest that were not human but other? She hadn't even told her mother what Scarlet's father was, much less her daughter. Phiona was not naïve; she'd question Eliza on her youthful visage that was almost close to her daughter's and was still awaiting the truth from her daughter. Eliza would have to tell her before she left for home, which could be any day, but how was she to do so? If she'd told her earlier she could've ruin her stay and that was out of the question. And what if she looked at Scarlet differently when she found out the truth? It would break both of their hearts if Phiona could not accept the truth and them.
"Well it sounds like a good idea wouldn't you say Eliza?" Phiona asked as Greenwick rested his palm on her shoulder. She cover his hand with hers and rewarded him with a smile. Eliza nibbled her bottom lip as she looked down at her soiled hands.
"I'm not certain I can agree to that as yet mother, but I will take it into consideration."
"That is all I can ask. Now I do believe a cup of tea would be lovely after such hard labor, wouldn't you say?" Phiona asked as Greenwick bent to pack up the tools.
Eliza stood just as Scarlet went to the carrots. She looked at her mother and nodded in agreement.
"I suppose so. Scarlet would you join us?" She asked as she dusted her hands on her apron.
"No thank you mother. It is too warm for tea. Perhaps I'll take a dip into the lake for a moment; just to cool off." She said, placing the canister of water down. She'd lifted it without effort and Eliza knew it was heavy. Scarlet was stronger than she seemed, and Eliza knew why. Her father's blood ran strong in her veins and if things panned out the way Eliza foresee them to, Scarlet would become the female equivalent of her father. She wasn't sure if the thought scared her as much as it should and even if it did, there was nothing she could do about it. As she walked toward the house and left her daughter behind, Eliza told herself that no matter what her daughter became, she would never be as bad as her father and never would her love for her change. It was all the comfort she needed to not worry herself.
The pot was over the fire and her mother sat alone in the kitchen. When Eliza had opened the door she'd expected Greenwick to be sitting with Phiona but he was no where in sight. She frowned and went to the basin on the counter top and washed her hands clean.
"I assumed Greenwick was joining us for tea. Was he too weary of the heat or did something other distracted him?" She asked with her back to her mother.
"Nothing distracts Greenwick; focus is one of his best attributes. Actually, I told him to give me sometime with you as I do believe there is much for us to discuss."
The teapot whistled and Phiona's chair scraped across the floor boards as she went to the fire place to remove it. Eliza remained quiet as she retrieved the jar of tea leaves from the cupboard along with sugar. White cups and saucers were already set upon the pale blue table cloth along with napkins and a plate piled with oatmeal cookies. As she busied her self with the tea making, Eliza tried her best to avoid her mother's knowing eyes. She knew she was waiting for her to begin the conversation but how could she when it was one Eliza was trying to avoid all along? This would not end nicely and she'd wished Scarlet would change her mind and join them so that her mother would not question her.
There was no more fiddling and stalling to be done; Phiona was obviously waiting and her attention was centered on her daughter.
"Are you quite done darling?" Phiona asked, leaning back in her chair with her hands in her lap.
"Uh, yes. The tea is ready, let us drink." Eliza poured both cups full with shaky hands but did not spill.
"Yes mother?" She answered with wide eyes. Phiona leaned forward and took her daughter's hand in hers. Eliza was shaking and she could feel the little tremors working through her body. Phiona gave her calming eyes, telling her with just one look that whatever it is, it would be ok to tell her and that she was there for her. But there was so much and Eliza was afraid by telling her she would see Scarlet in a different light. She knew her mother loved Scarlet with an endlessness that was wonderful, and even though she was fine with whatever Scarlet was, she couldn't vouch for her mother. This just might destroy a beautiful relationship that Eliza valued.
"Talk to me darling." She took a deep breath and took her mother's advice. She told her everything; from the Solstice Ball and how she'd met Aaron to the day he'd left her with his apprentice. The tea had kept pouring and with it had been many tears. Every time Eliza said his name her chest ached where her heart was. A sense of something missing pulsed through her and made her want to scream in confusion. Her mother had listened to it all with only a few questions of her own. There had been no judgmental looks just a neutrally supportive face.
"That was quite the story darling. You have been through…so much. Does Scarlet know what her father is?"
"No. I do believe she assumes something is not human about him but not what he truly is." Eliza said with her chin to her chest. She felt miserably depressed and it felt permanent.
"Well, do you plan to tell her?" Phiona asked.
"I don't know."
"Mother I can't!" She whispered with a frantic edge to her voice. She'd looked up and her eyes were wild again. Fear left her lips quivering and her eyes brimmed with tears. Phiona knew her daughter could take no urging that she should tell Scarlet but it was the best advice she could give her. If Eliza loved her daughter as much as she claimed to, then there should be no secret between them concerning what she could be.
"Eliza, just listen to what I have to say." She said because her daughter had begun to shake her head no.
"There will come a day when Scarlet will want to know. She will come to you and ask you of this; what will you do then? Will you avoid answering her, tell her a lie-"
"I would never lie to my daughter." She declared.
"Then perhaps the truth is the answer. Eliza, I know there were many times in your life that I've denied you the love that you deserved, or simply denied showing you that it was there, but I've paid for that by losing you all those years. I lied in my own way by making you believe that I did not want you or that I didn't love you. I did and still do. What I'm trying to say is, spearing Scarlet that very important bit of information might back fire on you later down the path. Tell her."
She squeezed Eliza's hand and knew her words had planted themselves in her daughters heart but she wasn't sure they would take root and grow.
"I'll consider it mother. That is all I can promise."
The sun was finally moving behind that mountains and soon twilight would begin. The creatures that sang at night would be singing their favorite chorus real soon, but Scarlet could not pull her self from the water. She floated on her back with all that red hair drifting about her and her thin white under-gown clinging to her body. She'd left her dress on shore back at her house but had also swam a bit further than she normally did. Her mother would explode with a tantrum if she saw her now or knew how far she'd gotten. But Scarlet was not afraid and couldn't remember a moment in all her years when she had been. This was relaxing to her and she needed to not feel trapped in that tiny bit of forest she called home. She trailed her hands up through the water to the top of her head and then back down again. She closed her eyes and pushed herself under and swam deeper beneath the surface. When she opened her eyes she saw a school of fishes swimming by her; doing their best to avoid her path. She smiled and swam back to the surface.
When she pushed her hair back from her face and cleared the water from her eyes she looked around and saw a shore. She frowned when she saw smoke coming up from a gathering of stones and as she was curious by nature, she swam to shore. Her legs and hands worked her forward at a pace that was amazing given her size. She looked delicate but there was nothing she saw too hard and swimming was just too easy for her.
Seconds later, she stood dripping and barefoot on the rocky shore. Some of the rocks were jagged others smooth so she watched her step. It was a tricky venture but she made it over the stones and found that there were embers where the smoke puffed from the stones. Someone was camping here. She looked around and saw a blanket, a bag and a book sitting next to a log. She moved to where they were, not looking to see if anyone was around. Scarlet just knew that there was no one here, at least not close by. She bent and tucked her dripping hair behind her ears, though that didn't stop her from dripping water everywhere. She sniffed and trailed her fingers over the leather backing of the book. The cover was warm and that was odd. She read the titled and it said, 'Nightlings'. Scarlet frowned and searched for a meaning to the word but found none. It was the first she'd heard of it. Her hands were still wet with nothing to dry them on; perhaps she shouldn't touch the pages. She would hate to wet the person's pages. She licked her lips and looked around as she drummed her fingers on her knees. There was the blanket but that would be rude. But she loved books, and maybe the pages would dry before the person returned. A little peek would be fine, right?
She was drying her hands on the blanket before she changed her mind and went back to the book. She unbound the leather book with aching eagerness, and flipped over the top. The pages were crisp but old yet strong. She rubbed the first page between her fingers and felt something. She shivered and looked around her again. Whatever it was made her feel as if someone was watching her but she saw no one. Returning her attention back to the book, she turned the page and saw, written in bold black letters 'VAMPIRES'. There was never a time she'd heard the word and all she could conclude was that it must be a different language. Her mother had said there were many different tongues out there and they all in some way express themselves the same way but with different words. She wondered what this word could mean and tried to sound it out.
Taking a seat and lifting the book onto her lap, Scarlet lost herself in the words on the pages. She read them silently, frowning with what they said. Apparently Vampires were creatures that roamed only at nightfall or where the sun could not touch their skin. If they were to get caught by the light of the sun their skin would burn and sear and given the degree of light they would eventually die. They were the undead made alive again and fed only on the blood of living creatures. Scarlet was fascinated by what she read and told herself that she would love to meet the creature that possessed these characteristics but not as a meal. She chuckled at that thought and turned the page to the title 'SHAPESHIFTERS'. Underneath the word was the subtitle 'WEREWOLF'. It was then she heard a rustling in the shrubbery and when she looked up from the book, she was surprised to see that it was twilight. Her hair was dry and her gown was nearly as well. How long had she sat comfortably meddling with a stranger's belongings? Her mother must be worried sick! Scarlet closed the book and placed it down on the blanket. She looked around because she'd heard a sound but couldn't guess where it had come from. She looked back at the book and got a crazy idea; perhaps she should take it. No, that was wrong. It didn't belong to her and the person would be upset. She nibbled her bottom lip, a trait she shared with her mother and said to herself that they wouldn't know it was her.
Scarlet gasped and her heart raced at the sound of footsteps approaching. Her legs shook, not because she was afraid, but because she was full of adrenaline and ready to make a run with the book. She had to make a decision. The book was leather bound so the pages wouldn't be too damaged in the water. She bent, snatched the book up and made a run for shore. The person was close and close enough to almost see her. She slowed and tried not to bleed her self on the jagged rocks. It was hard because all she wanted to do was get in to water and swim away as fast as possible. She heard a gasp and the sound of many objects falling.
She turned out of instinct and what she saw stopped her in her tracks. The water was cold but did not shock her as much as the man that stood at the edge of forest he'd stepped out of. The first thing she saw were his eyes; a stormy grey that seemed filled with light yet dark as angry grey clouds. They were just as surprised to see her as she was him. Her lips parted the same time as his and she saw that they were ripe and a luscious hue of pink that made her mouth water and her tongue tingle. His hair was simply black but rich in its color and wavy just past his ears. It fell over his face in unruly lengthy bangs and was stark against his tanned skin. Such strong facial structure, so masculine and definitely not something Scarlet had ever seen. He was shirtless and it nearly undid her wits. All wide shouldered and a chest and torso that seemed stone hard and rippled with muscle. He was big but something inside her loved what it was seeing. The way he looked at her made her wonder if he was just as spellbound over her as she was to him.
"Female…where have you been?" His voice was deep and low but carried and she heard his odd question. Not 'who are you' or 'where have you come from' but 'where have you been' which would imply that he was looking for her and Scarlet knew him not. She needed to leave and just as she thought it he looked down and saw the book clutched tight to her chest. He frowned and a fierceness kindled in his eyes. When he looked back at her his eyes were not as human as they'd been before. They gave off an eerie light that reminded her of her own when she got angry. She needed to run. That was the last time she prompted herself. Scarlet turned and dashed into the water. The cold nearly stunned her but when she heard him calling for her to wait she forgot how cold it was and dove under. Swimming with one hand was not easy but she didn't want to lose her prize. A hand clamped around her ankle and pulled. She screamed under water and felt herself being dragged back. Scarlet turned over in the grip and felt the fingers get tighter. The water was getting lower and she felt rock dragging against her skin. Her head came up and she saw him gritting his teeth as he pulled her back to shore. Scarlet kicked at him with her other foot and kept at it until he caught that foot too. He dragged her closer until he was between her legs so she fought him with her arms.
"Let me go!" She screamed.
"I will if you stop fighting me lass!" He yelled back.
"You can have your stupid book just let go of me!" She screamed as she struggled against his body.
"I will not hurt you! I vow it! Just relax!"
Was he crazy? She was not going to believe him as long as he held her down. Scarlet did only what she could think up next; she bit him on his chest. A growl rumbled through him and a hiss pushed through his clenched teeth. She hoped it was working but then his groan was not the level of pain she was hoping for.
"Ah lass, just a little harder and I'll be forced to turn you over and bury myself in you."
Scarlet pulled away with a gasp and looked up at him in disbelief. His eyes said it all; he was enjoying it. She went still and panted in his arms. What had he promised to do if she stopped? Turn her over and bury himself inside her? Something stirred inside Scarlet and it made a sound in her throat that was somewhere between a whimper and a moan.
"You'd like that wouldn't you lass?" He asked. He held both of her hands by the wrist behind her back and his other arm was locked around her waist; drawing her close against him.
"Please…let go of me and I will give you back what I've taken." She begged. Perhaps Scarlet was beginning to experience the first wave of fear. This was an unusual feeling that left her heart skipping many beats but her mother's version of is seemed different.
He took a deep breath and his eyes rolled back into his head.
"I can smell it lass. You are ready for me."
"Yes, ready for you to let me go. So please…" She begged again, though she made note that his grip was becoming slack. She felt his hips move against her and that feeling that she was calling fear stole her breath again and she knew her eyes were glowing.
"Ah you're even more the beauty with those fiery eyes lass. Tell me your name. I want to whisper it as I push deeper into you." His words had her cheeks red and made her wiggle against the hardness between her legs. She caught herself doing it and gasped. This could not be fear. He wanted her and she was beginning to believe what she was feeling was desire.
He growled again and Scarlet answered with another groan. Her body was wind up tight but she was becoming less tense against his. What had he asked her? Oh yes, her name.
"Scarlet…" She whispered because she had no air in her lungs to speak any louder. Just the sound of her name made his eyes roll back into his head again and he shivered beneath her. That vibration made her squirm against him again. She wanted something…something more.
"Scarlet. Just the mention of your name and I grow hard in my loins for you. Let me taste your lips Scarlet…just a taste."
She looked down at his lips and something happened. A deep sigh escaped Scarlet and her body was alive; more alive than it had ever been before. As if with that one great release of air was pushed from every muscle; from her very bones. She felt his muscles react to the change and she looked up slowly and whatever he saw in her eyes surprised him.
"Ah fate would pick such a creature for me wouldn't she?" He murmured as if it were a thought spoken aloud.
Scarlet pulled her wrists free, because he was barely holding them now, but she didn't move to flee from him. Instead, she trailed her hands up the width of his hard chest and over his shoulders. Her mind was full of thoughts she'd never been able to imagine on her own or even knew how to. Fascination made her stare in awe; made her make memories to keep for when she was alone. She studied his face; the way his lashes grew out and up from his eyes. They were not too long but she was aware of the black dust of them over his lids. Then there were his eyes to drink up. She couldn't recall their original color but where she thought them simply silver before she now saw hints of grey and even a light metallic blue. He cupped her face and looked back at her as if he were doing the same as she was. That was fine with her; she wanted him to remember her just as she would remember the straight bridge of his nose and the fullness of his bottom lip. So ripe and tempting that she had to have a taste and had to neglect the rest of her studies.
"Kiss me." She whispered, still staring after those lips that made her mouth run water. She watched his mouth tilt upward to the left in a wicked grin and pearly white teeth peeked out at her. Such lovely teeth to use for nibbling every inch of her body between wet delicious kisses. Was that her thoughts? Scarlet frowned just a little at the question and he saw it.
"Have you changed your mind so soon?" He asked with a slow sweep of his tongue over his lips.
After witnessing it, no, she had not changed her mind. Without planning to, Scarlet ran her fingers up the back of his neck and under his hair till she felt scalp under them. He was on fire yet he shivered at her touch. She felt the grin on her face that had to be a mirror of his previous one, because every thought following it was wicked. A light press of lips and some spark ignited between the two. Scarlet felt his arms envelope her and she did the same with her other arm. She suckled that bottom lip that had tempted her to taste him. It was better than she had anticipated. Mimicking his every move she slipped her tongue into his mouth and tasted sweet warm nectar. More, she had to have more. There was no need to breathe no need to think, her body knew what it wanted and how to get it. It schooled her mind to relax and learn and as her mind caught up with her body, it placed new pictures of him laying atop her and pushing hard flesh between her legs, behind her lids. Scarlet moaned as if she were hungry from the thought. Something other than the water she sat in made between her legs moist.
She'd thought it impossible for this kiss to be any better, but then his hand slid up the side of her body and cupped her breast she corrected that thought sternly. Her nipples budded for him and swelled to the graze of his palm. It was as if he'd touch them bare because her chemise was thin and wet, but her mind whispered that it could feel better. He pulled away from her lips with a gasp and Scarlet found herself panting as if she'd been underwater too long. He leaned into her again, not for a kiss but to place his face at the side of her neck. She felt him inhale deeply and shuddered on the release of the breath that felt warm against her skin; making her respond the same way return. His lips touched her there and she moaned for more, tilting her head to the side so that he could do as she'd asked. He gripped the back of her neck with his other hand to hold her in place, refusing to stop teasing the breast he held in his right. His lips spread over her skin and Scarlet gasped as her pelvis ground against him. He hissed and pushed back; sending a jolt through her from the hardness he had wedged between her legs. Clothes were all that kept him from being inside her and for some reason that she couldn't understand, that very thought stopped her. Her eyes popped open and she remembered what her mother had told her of a female's virtue. It was something that was imperative to keep until she was wedded. That was what was acceptable and expected. Then she remembered her mother's story of the men that had harmed her in the forest and the evil Lord Senthwil who refused to take no for an answer.
Scarlet grew rigid in his grip and considering how relaxed she was before; it was hard for him not to notice. He stopped and pulled away from her neck with a graze of his whiskers against her cheek. She would remember the sensation as well.
"You grow cold lass. Please tell me it is the water and not my skills as a lover that has turned ye so." He said and she made note of the sweet roll of his tongue that made all his words sound so different.
"I have to go." She whispered and his grip tightened slightly. He didn't want to let got and she assumed the worst because of it.
"Please stay a little longer Scarlet," Another memory, "I will no' hurt you…"
"I must leave now. Mother is waiting." She tried pulling away and
he shook his head in denial.
"But I've waited…I've waited for so long. Please."
"Please release me." Her words were still breathy but she had to ignore them and ignore the look in his eyes that was beseeching her to stay. She couldn't. She wanted to, but she couldn't. He went quiet and still for awhile, looking her over as if his world were crashing down before him and when she left there would be nothing but a post chaotic atmosphere of what it use to be.
"Will you come back?" He'd asked it so softly but she'd winced at the words. Would she come back? She wasn't sure it was safe just yet, but she felt a yes on the tip of her tongue. She was curious about this man, and as that was her nature, she would have to come back or be set mad with trying to restrain herself.
"Yes…" She whispered, still not trusting her voice.
Perhaps he saw truth in her eyes, because after a moment of silence, his hands slid away slowly. He swallowed and the fierceness in his eyes was hard to look away from. He was not going to force her to do anything but part of her, some dark part of her wanted him to force many things upon and in her. Scarlet's heart leaped at that thought and his eyes closed as he took a deep breath.
"Go lass before I canna' let go anymore. Your scent tempts me to do things to you that your body is begging me for. Go, but please return."
Scarlet pushed away from him and waded into the water. It was nearly dark now but she could see just fine. She stopped and looked back; he was standing on the shore as if he were restraining himself from following. She stood up in the water because her feet could touch bottom and it caught her at waist length.
"Your name…" She shouted to him. She could not leave without it, and he must've seen her urgency to it; his grin said he did.
"Fabian, Fabian McLandor." Scarlet sighed in relief and smiled as she sang his name in her mind. She nodded to him and turned to swim away. She had quite a bit to go but she knew she would make it back before it was too dark. Though for her mother this was already beyond too dark for her daughter to be out. But Scarlet refused to sully the beautiful thoughts of Fabian that suddenly crowded her mind. His taste, his scent, the endless warmth that exuded from him were stuck with her now in memory. She had to come up for air because even with water keeping them apart he was still with her. Though the waters were cold and she shivered, it was not from the bite of it but the warmth that still lingered on her skin. Fabian, she would whisper his name all night. But first, home and then her mother. She would not tell her about him though, that would only result in a punishment Scarlet would not obey. She'd think of some story to tell her to settle her fears. It was bad that she considered lying to her mother so easily, but when one had a mother like Eliza, it was a small blessing.
Minutes later she was walking on shore, breathless from the speed she had to swim home with and of course the memories that attacked her even now. But a few minutes had passed since she was wrapped in the stranger's arms and yet already she was being tortured with wanting him. A light shown in the kitchen and she could make out dark silhouettes moving about. This was not going to be easy but it was unavoidable. Perhaps stalling would not make the situation any better so she tried not to take her time getting dressed. She buttoned her gown as she walked towards the house but had to stop as some were in the wrong hole and needed a retry. When the task was done she continued on to the back door while wringing her hair free of water. She was not quite dry and again another element to make the situation all the worst. Scarlet took a deep breath, locked away her memories of Fabian, and turned the knob.
All eyes fell on her as she walked into the room and a collective exhale sounded from the three. It was Eliza who reached her first and Scarlet wondered if she was about to be struck again. She didn't flinch when her mother came to stand before her. She didn't touch her; just stood there.
"Where have you been Scarlet?" Eliza's voice was that false calm that quivered around the edges and suggested that at any moment; with the 'right' words spoken she would explode into a screaming mess. Proceeding with care was the trick to all of this. Scarlet had to play her cards right to avoid the screaming.
"I'm sorry mother, I did go for a swim but I fear I fell asleep upon a shore not so far from here. I've only just awaken to find the night has caught me. Please don't be mad, I meant not to worry you." There, that was a good enough story. Silence. No one said a thing no one moved but simply gawked at her as if she had done something unbelievable. Water dripped from her hair onto the floor and she knew that her once dry dress was now being soaked by her dripping chemise. The story sounded believable but seeing her so soaked and ragged didn't help give it much footing.
Eliza closed her eyes and swallowed. She took a deep breath and exhaled through her lips. Was she angry? Yes, now she was but she was relieved to know her daughter had not been taken away from her. Now she could just be angry; an emotion Scarlet was insisting her mother showed her. Why was she acting so rebellious of late? Could it be the absence of her father that left her wild or was Eliza that much of a horrible parent? There had to be some rhyme or reason to all of this.
"Go to your room. You will have no dinner tonight seeing as you
cannot find it fit to be here when it was served. Further more
you will rise early and prepare breakfast, scrub clean every
surface in this house in the morning and dust every rug clean
before washing them. Then you will tend to washing your own
clothing and have dinner ready at the appropriate hour. Did I
make myself clear?" Eliza had looked so different as she issued
her punishment to her daughter. There was a sternness there that
Scarlet had never witnessed before in the steely coldness of her
"Scarlet!" She yelled and every heart in the room jumped. Scarlet stepped back with eyes gone wide. Her mother had made her seal back any complaint she was about to give her. Doing so didn't sound safe and Scarlet was not seeking another palm across her cheek from her mother.
"Did I make myself clear?" She gritted through her teeth.
"Yes mother." She answered her voice small with caution.
"Go to your room." She ordered as she turned away from her daughter, walked to the tiny kitchen table that her husband had fornicated with that whore upon, and sipped her tea with steady hands. Eliza's anger wasn't leaving her warm but making her heart cold. She felt the frosty bite of angry ice encasing her heart and now that she was so angry she wanted to be angry at more than her daughter's lies. Scarlet may not realize it, she thought as she heard her leave, but Eliza knew when she was lying. It wasn't because her daughter gave off some awkward body language or looked a certain way. She just knew.
"I wish to be alone mother. Please…" She said over the rim of her tea cup. She heard her mother pause and knew she would be wise enough to not push her any further.
"Very well dear. We will retire for the night." Phiona pulled Greenwick with her and left Eliza as she wanted to be…alone.
There was nothing but the sounds of an old house and the crack of fire in the hearth to account for sound. Eliza placed her cup down and continued staring at the table it sat upon. She spread her fingers wide over the surface and pushed them forward, sliding forward till she was laid out over it and her cheek rested upon it. She felt to the sides and then underneath and stopped. Her fingers felt the grooves that were carved there by…Eyola. That night will always haunt her. She'd walked into the kitchen to fend off an intruder or a wild animal and found him doing things to Eyola's body.
Not my body…
He'd never been that way with her; never so caught up in uncontrollable passion that stripped him of any restraint except when he intruded on her dreams. He was so caught up that he'd only notice her when she had made a sound. Was this what he considered love? Eliza stared at the fire in the hearth until her eyes became heavy and the candles in the kitchen burned low. Time had passed and her eyes were sandy. She was sleepy. Peeling herself from the table, she touched the claw marks once more and stood to leave. Maybe she should wash her cup. No, Scarlet would take care of that when she arose in the morning. As Eliza shuffled down the hall with her candle in a daze, she vowed that if her daughter insisted on being disobedient that she would chastise her till her point was understood and her words were obeyed.
She closed her room door and bolted it behind her. The candle was placed in a holder and she begun to remove her clothes. Her dress slid from her body and she shivered when her soft golden strands slid along the bare skin of her back. She dipped her wash cloth into her basin of water and bathed herself clean under the glow of the candle. She swept the cool cloth under her hair and over the nape of her neck. She closed her eyes and replaced the cloth with her fingers; massaging the knot in her neck that was swollen with tension. Her hand was sliding away when she stopped suddenly and her eyes opened in a heart racing fear. An arm had slid about her waist and another over her breasts, her collar bone and stopped to hold her about her neck; not choking but she was sure it would not be hard to do so from the hold on her. A body was pressed up against the back of her and suddenly there was warm lips kissing the exposed flesh of her neck. Eliza whimpered as sharp teeth raked along the vein that pulsed too quickly in her neck. A sigh from the body poured warm air all over her that bored through her skin and boiled her blood. She remained still because fear demanded it so as lips slid up her throat, and to her ear.
"I've missed you Eliza…" The person whispered in her ear and she knew, Eliza knew without seeing who stood behind her, who was holding her naked body. She dared after all these years of not saying his name willingly to say it now.