The last tear fell on her lap as she cradled the silver pendant. Her pale fingers touched the rose sculpt with high quality craftsmanship and admired the golden engravings at the heart of the rose. It read the following: Love blooms like Roses. She ran a finger along the smooth edges of the petals and revived the lovely memories she shared with her dear mother. It was not a winter ago when she let out her last breath and blessed her children with promises of becoming their guardian angel from above. Darlene Campbell was the most graceful and compassionate woman that one ever dared to acknowledge. She was well-respected in town and highly regarded by her former students and their parents. She walked around with a benign air and unwarranted gentility for her placid countenance said more about her character than thoughts and words burdened with ill desires from her female contemporaries. Despite being loved by many, she was disliked by women of superior mind frame and reputation, or so they thought, but she endured their harmful, unfounded, and vile comments with a smile and kind words. She sustained that she was unworthy of Heaven’s blessings and gifts, but she received them with generosity, that was the case with Frederick Everwood and of years later, Charles and Amy.
Amy wrapped the pendant with the white linen, a physical remnant from her mother, and held it close to her heart. After several minutes of silent ponderings, she gently placed the bundle holding her treasure inside the drawer of her night table, and next to it, her father’s letter, a letter holding a promise of a better life, a life of reconciliation with the past and amends of negligence and sufferings. It was no use to think about it anymore, Charles’s heart was set on not meeting their father and Amy was bind to her brother with invisible threads of affection and dependence. She pushed the drawer close and remained silent in the growing darkness of her room.
A soft knock sounded on her door and the soft radiance of a candle lighted the room through the slim crack between the door and the floor. The round door knob was twisted and the door gently pushed open to reveal the slender figure of Charles emerged from the darkness with a candle holder on his hand. The candle was burning away the eminent fatigue that clouded his eyes as he forced a smile to meet Amy’s tired face. He walked inside the room and placed the candle on the night table, quietly sitting himself beside his sister. Although they were physically close, their minds were in separate and distant places.
Amy loved her brother, but sometimes his outlook of the world was insufferable. More often than not, he had intervened in every relationship she tried to establish with respected gentlemen in town. Their acquaintances weren’t and their future was somber and perilous as they ventured forward through time. She felt guilty for staying at home whilst her brother went into town to support them both in these harsh times when you’re known only by title and not by name. She remained at home, dutiful to the chores conferred to her since their mother’s absence. She tended the garden and kept the house clean, she read often and draw sometimes, and in her stolen moments she dreamed of escaping the monotonous cycle she presently found herself entrapped in.
“I’m sorry for hiding it from you,” Charles spoke with painful serenity, his eyes locked in the dark wood floor. His apologies were always brisk and curt, but meaningful nonetheless. “It has been hard when you’ve worked so hard to build a good life upon sufferings and disillusionments and suddenly all of your efforts are dwindled by the appearance of a long-forgotten savior who offers you not only a home and wealth, but an escape.”
Amy remained silent. Charles was the only person so far that has been able to decipher her instantly with just a fleeting glance at her young face. Sometimes she felt grateful for it because words weren’t needed where hearts converse, but she could hide nothing from him. “I understand,” she responded, or rather, was trained to respond. She witnessed Charles changed from carefree youth to restrained adulthood, being forced into maturity when he was Amy’s age. She had to understand his sufferings and burdens and felt obliged to support him hardship after hardship. She had always been proud of him and wished to assist him in any way.
Charles smiled; he had read my heart again. “Life sometimes holds surprises and challenges for you,” he said, “the ability to cope with them and strive are the single-most important lessons at the end of each day. Northampton has become quite stale, don’t you think?”
Her heart fluttered with rising excitement and anticipation, “Charles, pray don’t speak with riddles and puzzles, you know I can’t stand them.”
He laughed, “Amy, I decided it is time to pay a respectful visit to our eager father and comply with his wishes to see us. After all, a change of air will do us good and there is no harm in a little visit.”
Excitement flushed in her face as she clasped Charles’s arm for support, “are you honest about it, please don’t deceive me. You’ve made me the happiest creature! When shall we depart? Soon, I hope for I can’t wait to visit Rosehall and all the promises Oxford holds within its winding roads and mesmerizing city! I am impatient to meet our father and judge for myself what our mother has said about him.”
“We shall send him a letter tomorrow, a letter produced by your hand and guided by your heart and eloquent thoughts,” Charles replied, “within a fortnight we shall depart and stay a week in Rosehall.”
“A week?!” Amy asked in disbelief, “my dear brother, we cannot get to know him in such little time, but very well, if you’re so inclined in the short period of time. I will be happy with every second I spend with him.”
“Good then, good night my darling sister,” Charles stood and took the candle, “I leave the letter in your capable hands, I will get the cart tomorrow in town and will deliver your letter as well.”
“Can I go with you?” Amy asked, “I’ve been locked inside the house for far too long and wish to stroll town with you!” Charles compelled to her desires and kissed her on the cheek before going out of her room, leaving her in darkness once again. She lay on the bed, submerged in bliss, and closed her eyes to the soft lullaby of the wind against the window.