My blood boiled in anger as I watched Thomas Buckley hold Elvira. They spoke quietly for a while before they kissed. She walked him to the back gate and I narrowed my eyes. He was taking the back path, one I knew very well from sneaking into their garden. I stayed hidden in the shadows. Elvira went upstairs to her room and I watched through her window as she undressed. I gripped the fence with one hand as my other hand ran down my body.
"You'll be mine," I whispered, staring intensely at her breasts as she put on some lotion. "I don't care what I have to do, Elvira. I will claim you as my own."
When I had satisfied myself, her light had extinguished and she was in bed. I went back to my house. I couldn't confront him. If he knew that I was aware of their late night rendezvous, he would panic. So what could I do? Then I remembered his pretty little sister. The one who was getting perfect marks.
I smirked as I walked by their house.
The next day, I sat in the parlor embroidering. I smiled each time the needle would hit the thimble instead of my finger. Tonight I would get to see him again and I couldn't wait. After he had left, though, I had a strange feeling that someone had been watching me. It made me nervous so I blew out my candle early. Perhaps I was just being paranoid....
Shortly after school let out, Daniel came to the house just like he did yesterday. I glared at him but felt a sense of dread at the smirk on his face.
"Hello, Elvira," he said smoothly, sitting beside me on the couch and I immediately regretted choosing the small one to sit in.
"Good afternoon, Mr. March," I said and went back to my embroidery.
Perhaps he would take the hint. I was nervous, though. Mother and Bryant were down at the market. I wasn't sure how Daniel got in but my mind was on the green thread I was pulling through the fabric.
"What a lovely thimble you have there," he said. "Where did you get it?"
"I had read of them," I lied. "I commissioned one from the blacksmith."
"Ivan?" he asked.
"I'm not sure who finished it."
He sighed heavily. "Poor Thomas Buckley."
I stabbed the needle in the palm of my hand accidentally.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"His little sister tragically failed her tests this afternoon," he said, leaning back and I shut my eyes.
"You see, I heard she was cheating," he continued. "A horrible thing to do, cheating is. Of course, I told Mr. Buckley she can make up the tests tomorrow."
"That was very kind of you," I said in a small voice.
"He was most distraught. I've never seen a little girl cry so much." I put my embroidery down and shut my eyes tightly. "It was a heartbreaking sight."
He knows. Good Lord he knows.
I didn't speak but, suddenly his hand was on my knee. I tried to jerk my leg away but he squeezed tighter.
"I despise cheaters, Elvira," he whispered and I felt him lean in. His lips were on my neck and I shuddered, trying to push him away. "I happen to know that you've been enjoying your gardens in the evenings."
"You're mistaken," I said in a high pitched voice. "Now please stop this. You are being very inappropriate."
His hand slid up to my thigh and he gripped it painfully. He knocked the embroidery out of my lap and took my chin roughly. He forced my face to turn to his.
"Open your eyes you tramp," he snarled and I glared at him, shaking under his grip. "You have broken my heart, Elvira."
"I don't know what you're talking about," I said. "Please. You're hurting me."
"Not as much as you have hurt me," he said, now pushing me onto my back. "I know what you've been doing with Mr. Buckley."
"You're hurting me," I repeated, crying, and realizing too late what his intentions were. "M-My brother and-and m-mother will be back soon."
"Stop fighting," he snarled and slapped me.
I gasped in pain but he forced his lips onto mine. I cried and shoved but he was too strong and soon my skirts were pushed above my thighs. He chuckled into my mouth as I sobbed.
Oh god. Please no.
I kept trying to fight until I felt a piercing pain in between my legs and I screamed.
"Shut up," he hissed and closed his fingers around my throat.
I struggled, trying to pry his fingers off of me as the world around me started going black. He kept thrusting, biting down on my ear and laughing cruelly.
Finally, he let me go. I coughed as he slapped me again. When he got off of me, I curled into a ball, gripping my stomach.
"Tell your brother and I'll kill you," he snapped. "Each time you meet with Mr. Buckley, expect a reprimand, my love."
He ran his finger down my cheek, laughing when I winced.
He froze when the front door opened and we heard my mother and brother come in. I kept crying and jumped when the door opened.
"What are you doing here?" my brother demanded of Daniel.
"It would seem her heart has been broken," Daniel said in a heavy voice. "A certain man has touched her. Perhaps you'd like to speak with Ivan next time you're by the blacksmith's." He turned to me. "Good bye, my love. Maybe now you'll realize my love is the only kind you deserve."
He left and Bryant slammed the door behind him. Silence fell in the parlor as I still gripped my stomach, sobbing in pain. He knelt down in front of me.
"Was it Thomas?" he whispered. I couldn't stop my tears. "Tell me, Elly. Was it Thomas?"
"I can't tell you," I sobbed. "He'll hurt me again."
"Who will, Elly?" he pressed, wiping my tears away.
"I-I can't tell you."
"Why was Daniel here?" he asked, his voice hard. "How did he get in? The front door was locked. Did you let him in?" I didn't answer and I saw his eyes harden, too. "Why do you lay down, Elly? You never lay down on this couch. Stand up."
"I'm feeling ill," I whispered.
"Stand up, Elvira, and I will help you to bed."
Whimpering, I tried to move. I cried out in pain, though, when I tried to move my legs. Before I could protest, Bryant scooped me into his arms. He didn't take me upstairs, though. Instead, he was staring at the white couch. His face was pale and contorted in rage.
"Please Bryant," I sobbed into his chest. "Please, just take me to my room."
"I'll kill him."
I shook my head, grabbing his face and making him look at me.
"No!" I sobbed. "No. Just leave it be. He-He'll hurt you. He knows, Bryant. He hurt Megan! He failed her!"
I collapsed into tears again. Bryant carried me upstairs, ignoring my mother's questions. He took me to the washroom and called in a maid to start a hot bath.
"It-It'll help with the pain," he said, his voice shaking in emotion. "I need to go speak with Mr. Buckley.'
"You can't tell him," I begged. "Please, Bryant! It will just cause more trouble. I-I'll be fine."
"Make sure she gets in bed," he said to the maid, ignoring me. "I will return shortly."
I covered my face and sobbed.
The sun had set when someone knocked on my door. Bryant walked in but he wasn't alone. Thomas let out a small sob and held my hand, sitting on my bed beside me. Bryant closed the door with a snap and pulled the curtains closed on my window.
"I'm sorry he hurt Megan," I cried.
He just shook his head, swallowing thickly. None of us spoke. Thomas stroked my hair as I cried.
"Mother has not been informed," Bryant began, "but she will know soon. As for Daniel March, he has not been seen since this afternoon. I don't suppose you have an idea of where he went?"
His voice was cold and I sniffled. I just shook my head.
"Was he at home?" Thomas asked.
Both men were furious.
I sat up but cried in pain. "Megan! Where is Megan!?"
"She's downstairs," Bryant said, making me lie back down. "Do you need another hot pack?"
I nodded and he left. Thomas kissed my forehead.
"I'm so sorry, Elvira," he whispered. "This is my fault."
"No, it's not," I whispered back.
"I should not have agreed to continue seeing you," he said. He caressed my cheek. "But you have captured me, Elvira."
I sobbed. "I'm scared Thomas."
"I know," he whispered, kissing me gently. "But he can't hurt you again."
"How can you be sure? No one knows where he is."
The door opened before he could respond. Bryant returned with a new hot compress and helped me. I winced in pain and felt like being sick again.
"We have to tell your mother," Thomas said, brushing hair from my face. "She has to know."
"She won't care," I said, closing my eyes and crying more.
My eyes shot open, though, when I heard a sob from Bryant. He covered his face and got to his knees beside me. My lower lip trembled.
"She's right!" he cried and Thomas gripped his shoulder.
"We-We'll figure this out," he whispered. "I don't know how, but we'll figure it out." He sighed sadly. "I can't keep coming over, Elvira. I don't want him to hurt you again. But I'll-I'll find a way to send you messages."
I gripped his hand. "I don't want you to-"
"I can't let him hurt you, Elvira," he said, kissing my fingers. "Just stay safe and we'll figure out what to do next, okay? I should go. If he knows I'm here...."
"Please don't leave!" I begged.
He kissed me and I gripped his shirt tightly. I could feel his tears on my face as he kissed me. He pulled back and kissed my tears away.
"It'll be okay," he whispered. "I promise."