Althought we were no longer at each other's throats, Garrett and I never really had any conversations. I think he couldn't be bothered, and I was simply too scared to talk to him, because I was terrified that I would sound like a total... knob.
"Felix..." I said, getting his attention from the sketch he was doing. he raised his eyebrows in acknowledgement. "You're always drawing... what do you draw?" He smiled,, and closed his sketchbook before handing it over to me. I opened the smooth, black cover and gasped. I looked at each picture, blown away by every single one, the quality of them. There were a few objects, lanscapes, animals. But most of the pictures were of a woman. I was drawn to one particular drawing of her, which had been painted. He intense blue eyes looked out at me, her full lips parted slightly in a smile. Her auburn hair gleamed in its curls.
"She's beautiful. You're such a talented artist." I told him. He smiled at me. "Felix, what is your story?" I asked him. he looked up towards the ceiling.
"Well the easiest thing to start with is my name. I was born Felix John Day. The third. Don't laugh!" He said, laughing at my giggles. "I was born quite a bit earlier than Seth; I was born in 1894. I was 21 when I found the house.
"I grew up in the countryside of Kent. I only ever had one friend, and her name was Emily." He smiled as he said the name. "She was a year younger than me, and I fell in love with her the first time I ever met her, when she was 5. I knew even then that I was going to marry her.
"But when I was 15 I had to move to London, to continue my education at a 'higher' level. Oh how we cried in each other's arms, swearing that we would find each other again and we would marry. I would have done it then, if I could, but my parents had never approved of our friendship, let alone our love. But I knew, that no matter what, I would wait for her.
"At 19, having pined for her for years, Emily and I were finally reunited. But she, a beautiful 18 year old nurse, was engaged. My parents were trying to find a wife for me, which I resisted. I was training to be a doctor and was working in the sam ehospital she was. We worked together for months, without speaking to each other unless it was about a patient. It hurt like a knife in my gut to see her everyday, and see a ring on her finger that wasn't mine. But we couldn't avoid each other forever.
"We sat eating, alone, one night. We began chatting about trivial things and I asked about her fiancee. She blushed and told me that his name was Andrew Graves, a soldier. I still remember her biting her lip, then bursting into tears. I comforted her as she told me that sh had honestly believed that we would never meet again, and that even if we did, I wouldn't be allowed to marry her, if I wasn't already married. I said that she was a silly girl, and that the only person I would ever want to marry was her. Apparently, I can't be sure because we never discussed it, she broke off her engagement with Andrew that night.
"I did not need to court her, we were already besotted with each other and one knew everything about the other. I asked my mother for her engagement ring, a large oval diamond flanked by two sapphires, and my parents were so happy at the thought that I had found a girl." He laughed without humour." When I brought Emily home, a farmgirl turned nurse wearing my mother's engagement ring, they were furious. They told me to break it off or I would be disowned. I chose Emily.
"We moved back to Kent, bought a farm. I was the local doctor in the village, although I was unqualified. I never realised how dangerous it was. We married at the local church, with our new friends and her family. I didn't exist to mine; I was dead to them. Emily was soon pregnant, and we were so excited that we were going to be parents. We were so happy that first year.
"We relished every moment together, we had picnics, decorated our home, reared animals and prepared for the baby. I was going to deliver it myself, even though a real doctor was staying at an Inn in the village; I thought I was smart enough to deliver my own baby. The time came nearer and nearer, and we thought of names. Felix Andrew for a boy, and Eliza Emily for a girl." He was crying already, and I knew that this story would not have a happy ending, although I wanted it to so badly.
"Emily went into labour at 1 in the morning, on the 10th of April, 1915. She was in so much pain, I couldn't bear it. She said that it was worth it for our baby. But I soon realised that this wasn't going to be an ordinary birth; there was too much blood, too much pain, and Emily was in and out of unconsiousness. but I managed to deliver the baby.
"Little Eliza didn't even take her first breath. No matter how hard I tried, she would not wake up from her slumber. "Let me see my baby." Emily whispered. I handed over the tiny bundle and we cried together over our lost daughter, with her auburn hair and perfect face; the image of her mother. "There will be other children, my love." I told her as I held my two precious treasure in my arms. She nodded, and drifted off to sleep.
"Our baby was buried a few days later. despite some pain and a little bleeding, Emily was absolutely fine. The doctor suggested that he took a look at Emily, but I wouldn't hear any of it. Everyone bled after giving birth; My Emily was no exception. How wrong I was. She collapsed only a week after giving birth. She never told how bad the bleeding was, or that it still hadn't stopped. I didn't live at all, I stayed by her bedside, praying to God that he wouldn't take my wife as well as my daughter. But he didn't listen to me, or he believed that it was best for a mother to be with her daughter. Emily was buried with our baby and I was left all alone.
"I was inconsolable. I hated the world, I hated God and most of all, I hated myself. So many 'What if's' went through my head. I drank to numb the pain. It was months before the house found me, drunk and miserable and bitter. I stood at their grave, crying as I usually did, when the house appeared beyond the gate. I went to inspect it, and fell asleep in one of the beds. When I woke up, sober and disgusting, and tried to leave, I couldn't. Luckily I wasn't alone, Zach was there to help me through it. We lived in the house together for many years, before he left. I have no idea what happened to him, but I hope he was happy. Then, in 1939, Seth arrived and the rest, as they say, is history." He finished and looked at me. I handed back the book, stunned.
"I'm so sorry, Felix. I can't believe what you have gone through...." I satmmered. He smiled a little at me.
"It was years ago. A couple of years ago the House stopped in the town I had lived in, and I managed to visit their grave, and lay some flowers. It was so old and weathered... hard to believe it, really." He said.
"Thank you, Felix. I know it must have been hard." I said.
"It was nothing. It was nice to finally get it off my chest... at least since Garrett came."
"So Garrett was last?"
"Yeah, but I won't say anything. I'll let him."
"Oh I don't think he ever will to me! I'm close to you and Seth, we're friends, but Garrett is so... distant. I don't think we'll ever be that close."
"You never know, Aila. You are a very special person." He said, standing up. "If you don't mind, I'm going to my room."
"Oh not at all!" I said. He walked away but I called to him and he turned. "Don't blame yourself, felix. There's no point in torturing yourself with 'What if's'. What happened happened, and you should cherish your happy memories, my friend. Please." He smiled and left.
I was feeling very depressed, so went up to my room. I was on a different floor to Seth and Felix, and often forgot about Garrett. I often sang, as it was one of my favourite things to do, and I decided to cheer myself up by singing one of my favourite songs (Not a particularly happy song, but I loved being moved by the melody). I forgot myself, as per usual, but for once was woken from my day dream by a knock at my door, I opened my door, embarassed, to find Garret standing there. I thought he was going to have a go at me for being so loud.
"You're a really good singer, you should sing more often.. Your voice is really pretty. Perhaps you can listen to me sometime." He said, grinning. I was shocked.
"Errrr... Thanks...." I managed to squeak out, dazzled by his beauty and the compliment.
"I just thought that you might like to know. See you later, Aila." He said, leaving and disappearing into his room. I stood rooted to the spot, happiness, excitement and shock grew within my chest and I wanted to scream with happiness to release it, but settled for an explosive exhale. He had said that I was a good singer. That my voice was pretty.
He had spoken my name for the first time.