Dr. Matheson wouldn’t let me go back with Thomas. I sat down in the main entryway, trying my best to keep myself from sobbing as Megan gripped my dress. She was wailing in fear and despair. Bryant sat beside us and rubbed my back.
“What happened, Elvira?” he whispered.
I swallowed thickly. “Thomas proposed,” I said thickly. “We-We went to get Megan. Daniel was following us. When I went to get something from the house, Daniel climbed in the house, shut and locked the front door, and….” Megan’s sobs doubled. “H-How did you find out?”
It seemed that Megan had gone down the road screaming. The first person’s attention she got was Mr. Pink. After that, she saw her teacher. Her teacher alerted Bryant who brought the doctor. As for my mother…. Bryant refused to tell me right now. Not while Megan was around.
Megan ended up crying herself to sleep so I cradled her in my arms and looked to Bryant.
“It’s-It’s not good, Elly,” he said, stroking my hair and crying. “She’s the one that made sure Daniel was by the house at all times. She told him to wait for the right moment. When I confronted her about it, she said that she needed you to marry Bryant because-” He sighed. “We’re poor, Elly. She’s squandered all the money on those stupid parties of hers. Bryant would have restored our fortune.”
I shut my eyes. “She was willing to put my life at risk for money?”
“I’m sorry, Elly,” he whispered, kissing my forehead. “I’m so sorry.”
“What now?” I asked. “Is she still at the house?”
“Yes. She wants to see you when Thomas…. She hopes he dies,” he said bitterly and I sobbed. “He’s not going to die, Elly. He’ll be fine. I don’t want you going back home, though. I’m positive she’s going to put on the innocent act again. That’s not going to happen. We’ll… we’ll figure something out.”
I cried some more as the door opened and I gave Megan to Bryant, standing up. The doctor had blood on him but he was smiling.
“He’ll be fine,” he said and I covered my face, sobbing. “He’s awake and won’t stop asking for you. Just do me a favor.” I nodded. “You’re not going to like what you see. Don’t-Don’t mention it. If he gets too worked up, it could make things worse.”
I nodded and wiped my tears away. I cleared my throat a few times then walked in. Thomas was on a bed that was raised slightly at the upper part of the body. His eyes were shut and he was pale. His shirt was missing. I gulped thickly. Dr. Matheson had stitched up the two wounds but they weren’t wrapped.
“Is that you, Elvira?” Thomas rasped.
“Yes,” I whispered, rushing to his uninjured side. “How are you feeling?”
“Tired,” he answered, not opening his eyes. “Can’t even open my eyes….”
“It’s okay. You don’t need to.”
“But I want to. I want to see your beautiful face.”
I laughed and kissed his cheek. “You just worry about getting better, okay?”
“Don’t worry about that, Thomas,” I said and leaned forward, kissing his chapped lips.
“I love you, Elvira,” he whispered, reaching up and putting his hand on my cheek the best he could. “I’ll always worry. At least until it’s over.”
I sighed. “I’ve been thinking about something Megan said,” I said.
“Oh yeah?” he yawned. “Put your head on my chest, please.”
I smiled and did as he asked. He sighed and ran his hand through my hair before resting his hand on my shoulder.
“She overheard you and Bryant talking about me,” I said, playing with his fingers. “About…. About taking me away from here.”
He groaned. “That girl can’t keep her mouth shut.”
I giggled. “If you still want to…. Maybe we could….”
“Yes,” he said immediately. “Yes, Elvira.”
I smiled and kissed his cheek. I could tell he was falling asleep.
“Sleep, Thomas,” I whispered. “I’ll be here when you wake up. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
It took two weeks for Thomas to be well enough to get up and on his feet. Unfortunately, my mother came to visit me at Thomas’s house while Megan was at school. I opened the door and gripped the doorknob. The first thing she did was launch herself on me.
“I’m so glad you’re okay!” she sobbed into my neck. “I was so worried when I heard about Daniel! Oh, you even have a scar! Oh, Elvira!”
“Let me go,” I said darkly and she stepped back, looking shocked at my tone of voice. “Just stop it, Mother. Bryant told me everything.”
Her lower lip quivered. “I never thought it would go that far,” she whispered. “I thought he would just propose while-while Thomas was at work and-”
“You need to leave,” I said. “Thomas is coming back today and I need to make sure everything is ready for when he does.”
“Elvira, can’t we-”
“Leave,” I snapped.
She glared at me. “This is all your fault!” she shouted. “You should have just accepted his proposal the first time! You brought this on yourself!”
She slapped me then left. I sighed and slammed the door behind her, shaking my head. I rubbed my cheek where it was still smarting. I went back to the room I was now sharing with Thomas. He had been making a ring for me at the blacksmith and Ivan would be dropping it off soon. Even though it was tradition that I move in after the marriage, there was no way I would ever go back to that wretched house.
Megan had loved having me live with them. On the days where she didn’t have school, we would spend the day coloring or going down to the harbor. Daniel had been transferred to a completely different state so we didn’t have to worry about him anymore. Rumor was he had been given life in prison. Though I was sad it came to this, I was grateful I could leave the house without constantly looking over my shoulder.
After making sure the sheets were changed on the larger bed Bryant had purchased for Thomas and I, I left to pick Megan up from school. People waved at me and I tightened the scarf around my neck. Though people knew what happened, I didn’t want them staring at my scar.
“Elly!” Megan said happily and I bent over to hug her as she hugged my knees.
“How was school, Megan?” I asked, holding her hand while she skipped back home.
“It was fun, I guess. I had more tests today. I drew something for you!” she said when we got back to the house.
I sat down and got the chair out for her to help her with her homework. She dug through her backpack until she came out with a piece of parchment. I took it and smiled at her.
It was a picture of a dragon on its side. A knight was on top of his head, a sword sticking out of the dragon’s head. On the left side of the paper, two girls were drawn as if they were cheering. ‘Yay!’ was written in large letters. The knight was labeled with Tommy, the girls with our names, and the dragon labeled with Daniel.
I kissed her forehead, wishing she hadn’t found out Daniel’s name.
“Thank you. It’s beautiful.”
I hung it up on the wall where we were putting all her drawings. We were halfway through her math work when the door opened.
“Tommy!” Megan screamed and ran at him.
“Slow down, Megan,” I said, holding her back.
Thomas walked in, supported by Bryant, and smiled at his little sister.
“Hi, Meggie,” he said. “I can’t give you a hug yet, sweetie. I need to get to bed.”
“I’ll help!” she said immediately and ran into the room.
I walked over and kissed him gently. He nuzzled my nose and Bryant made a fake vomiting noise. I giggled.
“I have everything set up for you,” I said, helping by supporting Thomas’s left side. “The sheets are clean and Dr. Matheson came by with your medicine.”
Thomas smiled but grimaced as we helped him get into bed. Megan had me get the picture off the wall and she showed it to Thomas.
“I made it for Miss Elly!” she proclaimed and Thomas smiled sadly.
“It’s beautiful, Meggie,” he said. “I need to sleep, though, okay? We’ll talk when I wake up.”
“Okay,” she said happily and went back to her homework.
“Dr. Matheson said to make sure he starts the medicine when he wakes up,” Bryant said. “He can only sleep for three hours at a time.”
Thomas frowned. “I don’t want to have a schedule.”
I giggled. “You have to, sweetheart. If you don’t, it’ll take longer for you to get better.”
He puffed out his cheeks. “Oh fine.”
I smiled and looked at Bryant. “Have you seen Mother today?” I mumbled, rubbing the cream on the wounds and apologizing to Thomas when he hissed in pain.
“She’s very upset with you,” Bryant said. I rolled my eyes. “But she’s calmed down some. She wants to know if you and Thomas will come over for dinner when he’s better.”
“Absolutely not,” I said immediately.
“Elvira,” Thomas began.
“No, Thomas,” I said firmly. “I’m never going in that house again.”
He sighed but didn’t argue anymore. He fell asleep soon after the medicine numbed his pain.
“Let’s see the ring,” Bryant said and I showed it to him. He smiled. “He did a fine job. The diamond was Father’s.”
“So you knew?” I asked and he nodded. “When he proposed, I thought he hadn’t spoken to you!”
“He had,” he smiled then nudged me. “So, you couldn’t wait until the wedding night, huh?”
I groaned. “He told you?”
He laughed. “Poor man was scared out of his wits again so good job there.”
I sighed. “We’re going to stay here, by the way,” I said, closing the door behind us quietly. “Now that Daniel is gone, Thomas says he wants to live here. I’ve agreed.”
Bryant smiled and kissed my forehead. “You’re perfect for each other. I have to go. You fine on your own?”
“Of course,” I said and hugged him. “Bryant’s leaving,” I said to Megan and she ran over to hug him.
“Bye!” she said.
He laughed and hugged her back. “Bye, Megan. I’ll see you guys later.”
He left and Megan yawned. “I’m sleepy. Can I take a nap before dinner?”
I sighed dramatically. “I guess you can.”
She giggled. I tucked her in and cracked the door. I looked around then climbed into bed with Thomas. He mumbled my name in his sleep and I smiled, putting my head on his chest. He put his arm around me and shifted a little, smiling, when I kissed his cheek.
I grinned and closed my eyes, drifting off to sleep, feeling happy and safe for the first time in a long time.
Sequel to be posted tomorrow.