‘Is it over yet? Can I open my eyes?’
‘No it’s ok Gisele.’ soothed Carl he can not hurt you.Not while I’m here.’
Rose looked over at Carl in disgust. ‘Wish you were like that with me?’ she turned away from him.
Jack sat down at the table.
‘Aw Earl Merrells,glad that you could make it?’
I bet she is loving every minute of it,watching me squirm.No I refuse to give her the satisfaction.’
‘I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.’ smiled Earl Merrells. His smile faded to a menacing look,it made me feel very uneasy.Reinette looked over with a sympathetic look ‘You ok Gisele?’ She mouthed.
‘Gisele? You look like you’ve seen Banquo’s ghost? Still reading this frightful shakespeare plays?’
‘Harbouring a guilty secret are we?’
‘I have no idea what you are talking about Earl Merrells?’
‘No Lord Rickman?’
‘I shall remain to polite conversation that is all.’
‘Don’t tell me you’ve finally killed him? We are two of a kind Gis.’
‘I’m not like you.’
‘Or you’ve simply got bored of him and you’ve moved onto your next willing victim?’
‘Oliver…Lord Rickman,he’s stayed behind to look after Ava and Esme.’
I tried my best not to make eye contact with him.
‘How is our daughter?’
I refused to give him the satisfaction,I shall not raise my voice in polite company. ‘I’m sorry,I can’t do this not now!’
I got out of my seat and darted out inthe hall.
I tried to conceal myself in the darkest corner,I couldn’t see a single thing.But I couldn’t risk using a lighted candle.The sinister game of cat and mouth had only just begun.He won’t give up the fight too easily,he will hunt me down for sure.Just like the dream.Last time I was so much easier compared to the darkness I’m experiencing.I tried not to make a sound,I didn’t want him to find me.I wish Benjamin was here right now,he could kiss me better.Dry the tears away take me in his arms and make sweet love to me.All of my worries gone in an instant.I heard footsteps creep towards me,he was taunting me. ‘Here kitty! Kitty! Come out little minx! You know you want to? You can run Gisele,but you can’t hide.My breathing accelerated.He snuck up behind me,roughly placed a hand on my mouth.His fingers were cold as ice,just like his heart.
‘Quit man handling me!’
I bit his hand.
‘I see you haven’t changed a bit?! I think it’s time you and I had a little catch up.Reminise on old times? Scream if you dare you heartless bitch! But if you do I’d quite happily slit your throat.’
‘Still ever so charming with your words Earl Merrells?’
And with that he dragged me upstairs.
In the dining room,Marianna is pacing up and down.
‘Has Gisele returned?’ asked Marianna.
‘No.’ sobbed Letitia. ‘And Earl Merrells is out of sight.I sense something’s not right? He’s got her.
‘I never should have let her run off?;
‘This isn’t your battle Carl?’ said Rose.
‘I can’t help but feel protective over her Rose.’
‘You behave as if she’s some fragile orchard…It’s obvious you still have feelings for her Carl? I can see it in your eyes? When you speak of her,when you’re with her.You seem so animated,you’re eyes light up.So full of life.You’re smitten?’
‘Now’s not the time to play the martyr.’
‘She’s nothing but trouble.’
‘Don’t tell me you’ve let Lady Rosaline into your head? She’s poisoned your mind!’
‘Well you’re never like that with me?’
‘She’s my best friend,she could be in grave danger.I’ve got to make everything ok,all of my life she has kept me from falling apart.’
‘Carl Casey! You come back here this instant! If you run after her then it’s over!’
‘This could be perfectly innocent?’ said Reinette.
‘I lied to her Ren,I said she would be all right.I let her down.’
‘You’re not to blame my darling.’
‘I could see the fear in her eyes,she looked so broken.I’ve never seen her like that.’
Carl touched Rose’s face.
‘I mean it Carl.’
‘If he’s harmed a hair on her forehead?’
‘If you walk away.Then there’s no going back.It’s over between us? Why do you always do that?’
The next thing I knew I was tied to the bed post.
‘I always remember you liked it rough?’ I teased.
‘Do you want me to gag you as well!’
‘You were never a generous lover?’
‘We didn’t have to come to this moment.But you took my little girl away from me!’
‘You had it coming to you!’
‘Running away to Marseilles?’
‘You had me followed? How typical?’
‘No I followed you,I saw you the night of Lord Henry’s masquarade ball.I thought I could have you now.But it was too easy.I thought I would play the waiting game…All of the precious moments I missed out on? I suspect she calls that weasel of a man Papa?’
‘Oliver is more of a man than you’ll ever be! I love him! How did I ever consider sleeping with you? Esme is the only good thing that I’m greatful for.I never truly loved you! Your hands all over my body makes me squirm!’
‘I used and abused you Jack! That’s all I’m good for!’
‘I should have finished you off,when I was given the choice?’
‘Go on then,give it your best shot? You are never going to see Esme again.I’m no longer afraid,you’re just the monster that invades my dreams.You’re a sad pathetic twisted lonely little man! You’re ideal match is downstairs.Yes that’s right Lady Rosaline.Should I introduce you to her? Oh no I can’t…I forgot to tell you,you never once satisfied me in that department.It was all just an act!’
Jack slappe me to the ground,I hit my head.
‘Is that the best you can do?’
Ignoring the blood,I got up on my hands and knees.
‘How I like to see you beg?’
‘You may beat me black and blue,till I’m crumpled on the floor.But my love for my children is what keeps me breathing.What have you got?’
‘Oh Gisele,I have thought of a thousand ways to hurt you.Poison,no thats too easy.Death by drowning,we could say it was suicide? Accidental death even? I could squeeze the life out of you.’
‘Those are those words.’
‘All I ever wanted was to be the better man,everything you touch you simply destroy! You were nothing until I took you on!’
‘I was blinded by grief I didn’t realise what I was doing?’
‘Brought up and nurtured Ava as if she was my own daughter and what thanks do I get.I loved you,told you every thing….’
‘You’ve never loved anyone but yourself.I should have listened to my sister’s in the first place.You’re bad to the bone!’
Jack pulled out a gun.
‘You don’t have to do this,we can work it out.I promise I will let you see Esme?’
‘You soon change your tune when you’re facing death looking into a barrell of a gun?’
‘I mean it,I will write to Oliver,insist that he brings the girls over,you have my word.’
‘I could never trust you Gisele.’
‘On my children’s life,please don’t do this Jack!’
‘I’ve got no choice.’
He pulled the trigger.
‘I don’t think so!’
A shot rang around the room,I breathed a sigh of relief.My vision was starting to feel hazy.
‘Carl?’ I gasped.
‘Oh how sweet? The cavalries here.The man who was in love with the girl.But she never truly loved him back! Defending the fair ladies honour? Shouldn’t that be the duty of a husband?’
Carl ran over to me. ‘You’re hurt? What’s he done to you?’
‘None of that matters now.’
‘I thought that I would never see you again?’
He hugged and kissed me,I felt his warm breath upon my face. ‘Gisele.Oh my beautiful sweet Lady Delessop.It’s always been you.I want you to know that.’
‘I know!’ I sobbed.
‘I love you.’
‘I love you too Sir Casey.’
‘I think we’re past that now.’
‘Ever the joker? Oh I’ve been so stupid and afraid to say it.I’ve left it too late.’
‘Don’t say that?’
‘Forget about what’s gone on before you and I are bound together.Come away with me.’
Tears rolled down my cheeks. ‘I will.’
In the dining room.
‘William?’ said Marianna.
‘I’ll go and check on him.
Jack didn’t give us a second thought,his actions took over him.He aimed the pistol marking his target,he pulled the trigger,my life running in slow motion,one single shot.Carl fell to the ground.
‘No!’ I screamed. ‘How could you?’
Bittersweet tears and sweet revenge took over my body.I untied myself and with that the coward fled.I ran towards Carl’s side,cradled his head.
‘Ever the tortured soul.’ laughed Carl.
‘Try not to move! Stay with me!’ I begged.
‘Hello.’ he smiled.
I kissed his forehead. ‘I’ll go and get help.’
‘No,I want you here with me.’
‘Rose needs to know.’
‘Please don’t leave me.’
‘I’m never leaving you.’
‘You’ve made me so happy,I’ve never thanked you for what you did.Matthew?’
‘None of that matters now,I feared we’ve left it too late.’
‘We’ve made great progress.I thought that you would always hate me for what I did to Holly.’
‘How could I ever hate you? I love you with my whole heart? Remember that time I was so angry at you,you ran out on me.It was a stormy night.I couldn’t leave you.I found you.’
‘You kissed me in the rain?’
‘How could I ever forget that?’
He opened and closed his eyes.
‘I’m never going to dance again.’
‘No! Please don’t,remember what we talked about? We could do that.Go to Italy,I could seperate from Oliver,we could be a family…maybe have our own children?’
‘I’d like that.’
I touched his finger tips.
‘There’s always hope,promise me you won’t give up.You’ll get better….Why do we always leave things to the last minute?’
I kissed his lips. ‘I’ve loved you all of my life,since that day we first met when we were children? I’ve just been distracted that’s all.’
‘I’m so happy.’
‘You keep saying that?’
‘Tell Rose I’m sorry.’
With that he died. ‘Tell Rose you’re sorry for what? Wake up! Don’t leave me. My sweet Carl,I love you.I love you.I will never ever forget you you hear that? Goodbye my lover.’
I got up,I didn’t want to leave him.But I had to see my son.I missed him so.He was my sanity,my safe place amongst all of this madness.
Unaware of what had taken place upstairs.That day I came to Lady Rosalines,I was hit where it hurt.I was about to deal with something that would shake my world forever.
‘How am I going to tell Gisele?’ sobbed Marianna.
I made my way upstairs,I was heartbroken over losing my Carl.My lover and best friend.He always managed to make me feel beautiful.He always managed to pull me through.One look he blinded me with silence.I couldnt find the strength within me,but I’ve got to fight.Carl sacrified his life.He truly loved me after all.The tell tale signs have always been there.How am I going to tell Rose that Carl has gone? One step at a time Gisele,I just want a cuddle off my beautiful sweet son.Marianna walked out of the room and closed the door,she looked uneasy.I embraced her. ‘Oh Mari.’ I sobbed.
I could barely stand up.
‘I’m here my darling.What’s happend?’
‘Carl’s dead!’ I wailed.
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘He sacrified his life for me.He said he loved me.’Jack he had a pistol he tried to kill me.I can’t make sense of my world right now,I’m going hell right now.I’m going to see my son.’
‘You cant go in there?’
‘I don’t know how to tell you this?’
‘Tell me Mari? What’s happend? Why can’t I see my son?’
‘William? You’re not making sense?’
‘I went to see if he’s ok and he’s gone.’
‘What do you mean gone? Oh my Jack’s taken him!’
‘No listen to me!’
‘No! He has taken my son! I must go and find him! Let go of me Mari!’
‘No He’s dead Gis!’
‘He can’t be?’
‘He stopped breathing.’
‘He was laughing earlier,perfectly fine.I can’t believe it!’
‘Gisele believe me!’
I pushed past her,she pulled me back.
‘Let me go!’
‘No you’ve got to see a doctor,you’re hurt!’
I broke free of her and ran into the room and that’s where my greatest fear was confirmed.I was my beautiful William in the cradle.
‘William? It’s Mama.’
‘Don’t do this to yourself.’
‘He’s not dead,he’s sleeping.’
I touched his hand,I couldn’t feel a pulse. ‘No! Please don’t leave me! His heart’s not beating! Get some help!’
‘There’s nothing we can do!’
‘Don’t you tell me what to do! I know we didn’t have the best starts and I said I didn’t love you.But I didn’t mean it…you mean the world to me.Open your eyes my angel.’ tears ran down my cheek onto his tiny little nose.
Please this isn’t happening to me.First Carl and now my beautiful baby boy.He had his whole life ahead of him and its been cruelly been cut short.How am I going to tell Esme and Ava that they will never see there brother again? My sleeping little angel.I’m never going to see him married all of my dreams that I’d hoped for,shattered in an instant.Why did I bring him to London? It’s all my fault I should have insisted in remaining in Marseilles,he’s not used to the cold London air.
‘He was so perfect,his whole world ahead of him.My little prince,those tiny perfect little fingers and toes.This is all my fault….How am I ever going to tell Oliver?’
‘You’re not to blame,things happen for a reason you can’t control life,its out of our hands?’
‘I’ve did so many bad things in my life time.Why didn’t you take me instead! This is God’s ultimate way of punishing me,by ending my son’s life.’
A little while later,I just lay there next to my son’s lifeless body.The world keeps spinning round and I’m pained with grief.Everyone I’ve ever loved snatched away from me,Lydia,Papa and now my Carl and William.I just don’t know what to think or feel anymore,I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach.
‘Gis,I think it’s time.’
‘I can’t leave him.’
‘There’s nothing you can do?’
‘I can’t let him go.’
‘We must tell Mama?’
‘I’ve let him down.’
‘No.I will not hear any of this.’
‘I can’t bare the thought of my son lying there all alone.’
This is when my heart takes over,I will never let him leave my head.His perfect smile,Marianna took hold of my hand.We walked back into the dining room.This battle was lost.I was battered and bruised.I long to see Oliver,Letitia ran towards me.
‘Not so tight!’ I begged.
I touched my head,drops of blood fell upon my hand.After everything that had happend after,the impact of hitting my head,was a distant memory.
‘None of it matters now.Mama?’
‘You’re hurt? My sweet darling Gisele,what happend in there?’
‘None of that matters now!’
‘Fetch Doctor Bryany at once!’
‘Please don’t fuss Mama!’
‘It all happend so quickly,you’ve been through an ordeal? Tell me what happend to you my child?’
‘I was so frightened Mama!’
‘I’m here Gisele,let it all out.I’m never going to leave you again,I promise.’
I noticed Rose in my eye.My eyes filled up how am I going to find it in my heart to tell her,Carl’s last words rang around my head.Tell Rose I’m sorry.Sorry for what? Loving me or letting her down and leaving her alone in the world.I couldn’t speak the truth of the depths of his feelings for me and I for him.It would change everything.
‘Still hiding from me is he?’
‘So where is the coward? I have plenty more to say to him?’
‘Carl he saved my life.’
‘I think we all established that?’
‘He was armed,he wanted to finish off what he had started.He tied me to the bed post.’
‘And Carl he wanted to join in with his sick little game did he?’
‘I beg youre pardon!’
‘You lured Carl up there to have youre way with him? You and Jack were in it together from the start?’
‘That’s not true at all! Jack hated me,and I him’
‘He almost tried to kill my daughter how can you say that they were in it from the start! I see the Chadwicks have got to you two? Giving my daughter a bad name?’
‘Carl he got caught in the cross fire.’
‘How typical of him? Always wanting to act as the white knight? He’s always been a sucker for the beautiful woman you were his one weakness? I begged him to stay with me,he refused to listen.Is he hurt?’
‘What do you mean no?’
‘I’m so sorry Rose the shot in his side,almost killed him instantly…He died in my arms.
Rose choked back the words. ‘What were his last words?’
‘You don’t have to do this,you have nothing to prove to this woman.’
‘Mari,leave me be.Carl he said that he loved you.That he was finally going to make an honest woman out of you at last.’ I lied. ‘Wasn’t going to take no for an answer this time,you refused his hand?’
‘I should have married him first time round.’
‘He picked the ring out.Sounded so perfect.’
‘This changes everything.Carl was happy at last.’
‘And I was happy for him.’
‘That was until he walked back into his life,in true form you have taken all that is good and shattered it into a thousand pieces.’
‘Sorry? You’re always sorry. You’re nothing but a leech,a black widow.Couldn’t bare to see him with someone else?’
‘It wasn’t like that?’
‘Oh tell me? You fluttered your eyelashes at him.Told him,how hard it was for you and he always came running.I bet you pulled the trigger yourself? I bet he said he didn’t love you and you snapped! You killed him!’
‘No! You weren’t there!’
‘Well you’ve finally did it Gisele! His love for you killed him in the end! You must be cursed,tragedy follows you everywhere! And you love it!’
Letitia slapped Rose ‘You heartless woman!’
‘Letitia! You apologise this instance!’
‘No Mama! I will not apologise to this woman how dare you tare a strip from her,when her best friend and son’s just died!’