The sun parted clouds in the sky, revealing a clear blue behind the whitish clouds. The wind was sweeping gently across the merry streets, carrying laughter and chatter through Northampton. A gentle tap on her shoulder woke Amy from her silent musings and she found Charles staring at her. A grin spread to his calm face and his eyes sparkled with youthful victory.
“We’ve got transportation,” he announced, “I hope you remember John from across the street, yes? He made arrangement for us at a very reasonable price. How about you, did you send the letter?”
“I have,” Amy said content, for the good looking winds that were blowing in their direction. “Shall we go home now and prepare for our trip?” Charles agreed and both of them walked home in complete silence. All the way, Amy was wondering if it was best not to tell her brother about her encounter with Bethany lest it would bring his spirits down. But the silence between them was starting to grow uncomfortable until finally she blurted, “I saw Bethany in town, she sends her regards to you.”
Charles pursed his lips and his eyes were more fixated to the road than ever before, “did you promise her anything on our account?”
“A visit before our departure,” she responded, cautiously treading in quicksand.
He sighed, “Amy, don’t go promising on my account, you know how uncomfortable she makes me feel. This will give Medly another opportunity to sneer at me for my failures.”
“Failure for choosing your family over her?” Amy asked incredulous, “can you hear yourself, Charles? It was hard to maintain your current family healthy, let alone a new one. If someone should feel uncomfortable is Bethany for engaging right after your breakup.” Shame rose to Amy’s face after she expressed her thoughts guided by her feelings. She had betrayed every good sense and affection she held for Bethany.
“Yet you’re unable to blame her or subtly show signs of it whenever you’re with her,” he smirked, “very mature from you, little sister. If I weren’t your brother and didn’t care for your mental wellbeing, a word would have slipped from my mind to my lips: hypocrite.”
Amy turned into a deeper shade of red, “say what you want, it was a spur of the moment thing,” she grabbed desperately at the counter-argument that was slowly forming in her mind. “You’re so unfair!” Charles chuckled and opened the gate of their small and humble house. “Let us not speak of her until we have to.” Charles agreed silently and walked in after her. The entire week was spent packing their personal belongings; none of them utter a word about Bethany, the trip, or their father until its due time.
The house of the Harpers was not big or wide enough to accommodate two more guests after the Medly-Harper engagement had been announced among family and friends. Most of the time, the house was vibrant with people having tea and talking to either the parents of Bethany herself. Today was one of those lively days, in which society decided to gather together and chat, leaving the family to pay little attention to their newly arrived guests: Charles and Amy.
“I told you we should’ve come yesterday,” Amy whispered, “now Bethany will be much too busy with her guests to receive us, which will be a shame to leave without congratulating her formally.”
“You worry too much,” Charles said, clasping his hands behind his back. His expression seemed composed and serene but she knew that there was an ever growing petition from his recovering heart to leave the house immediately. After waiting for fifteen minutes in the parlour, Bethany disengaged herself from the company of some women who wore heavy petticoats in this hot day.
“Charles and Amy, a pleasure to see you today,” she said blushing as Charles eyes fell on her, “please forgive me for making you wait so much, the days prior to the wedding are always the most hectic, or so I was told.” A small smile appeared on her face.
“We are witnessed of that,” Amy said, “we beg for your pardon because of our late arrival, we’ve delayed the visit because of our packing. Without further ado, congratulations for the wedding to come, we’re so very sorry to be unable to attend it. We wish you a successful celebration and a happy married life.”
“Thank you, your good wishes are much appreciated,” she said. “I hope your trip goes well.”
“Congratulations, Bethany,” Charles said in a distant and cold voice. Amy thought he was doing his best not to grimace in this merry situation; apparently it was a really hard battle.
“Thank you Charles,” Bethany said, coloring a little. “I am so sorry I…”
“Look who is here!” the voice from Thomas Medley appeared from the doorway. “The Everwood siblings, glad to meet both of you before you leave.”
Amy cringed; this was the worst case scenario she had pictured during their journey here, an encounter with Thomas. She feared for Charles for she knew his temper was always terse when dealing with the pompous Mr. Medley. Thomas swayed his way toward us and bowed ever so lightly.
“Good afternoon, young Miss Everwood, Mr. Everwood,” he said, displaying a row of white teeth behind his full lips.
“Mr. Thomas Medley, what a surprise, we weren’t expecting you here today!” this, Amy spoke out truthfully, “we’re nonetheless grateful of your appearance. We can now leave without regrets for our congratulations were received by our friends.”
Charles glanced at Amy with a word written in his eyes, hypocrite. Amy looked at him with fierce eyes and dismissed his stare. “Amy already said all that was left to say,” He said briskly, “we hope happiness prevails in your everyday life.” Bethany smiled sadly and nodded in appreciation.
“Well, it is a pity you will not be attending,” Thomas said, “we will be happy to have your company back after the week of your trip.”
Amy smiled wryly. If we come back, she thought. She was certain that Rosehall held mysteries and happiness for them upon their arrival, and reluctance to leave was a growing hope of hers.
“It is getting late now and a long trip waits for us tomorrow,” Charles said, “our best wishes and see you very soon.” Heartfelt exchanges and farewells were passed between them, until the siblings were out of the house and on their way home.
“Tomorrow will be a nice day,” Amy mused, “we will have the chance to explore a road unknown to us since our mother’s death, a road to happiness.”
Charles smiled, “you’re very poetic.”