A new home and an instant family for John!
I walked over to where she stood gazing out the window and put my arm around her shoulder, hugging her gently. I felt her sadness and in that moment, I learned about friendship? My heart ached for her and I wished that there was something I could do to ease her heart? I did not feel this out of any sense of duty, or responsibility to or for her, such as I did for my girls or for Penny, my maid? I felt it because I felt such a connection to Judith in our hearts and our souls even though we had not known each other for very long?
Judith stood there quiet for a bit, seeming to take comfort in my nearness with her? She wiped a tear from her eye and sighed, “This is silly! I shouldn’t be burdening you with my troubles that are more in my mind than anything else! You have enough of your own problems to work out without hearing of mine!” She reached for my hand and held it as we watched the stars.
I spoke quietly, “Sometimes, I find it easier to think of someone else’s troubles than my own?” Giving a small laugh, I added, “There are times when hearing another’s troubles puts one’s own troubles in a different perspective or light? Do you not agree?”
She nodded and I went on, “I have went about feeling like my troubles were the most burdensome and worse than any others because I was thinking so constantly of only them? You have reminded me that others are suffering in their own ways. I understand that I must find a balance between only thinking of others and only thinking of myself now… For while I am much releived at being able to think of myself, it would be unfair and quite selfish of me to think I am the only one whose trials matter!”
We leaned against each other, our head touching side by side were comforted by each other in a way that those who know that true spirit of friendship understand.
That night was the beginning of what I knew would be a life long friendship between us even should we eventually part ways for our seperate paths in life!
Judith and I spent much time together teaching each other. I learned that she had taken this position at the suggestion and encouragement of her friend, Eric. He had come to her and told her of this very unique job opening that he felt would be perfect for her? He knew of her passion for history and love of a good mystery. Apparently, Eric was an ancient Vampyre himself and held a great many secrets unshared with Judith? She said he tended to keep his Vampyre connections and history much to himself and seldom divulged much of it to her. So, when he had approached her with this project, she was somewhat surprised but happy that he trusted her enough to share this part of his life with her.
This position went far beyond anything that she was used to? In her normal life, she told me that she did what she called “free lance” consulting on home renovations and building, and community restorations and improvements? I had little understanding of all of that but it seemed she dealt much with architecture, design, as well as somethin called Public Relations? She explained that as improving, repairing, and at times even creating an entire new image of view of people and places? That I did understand! I knew well how the slightest scandal, or poor showing could tarnish one’s reputation beyond repair!
I asked her how Eric had learned of this position? He must be somehow connected to the Council? She told me of how Eric had finally explained the Council and their workings to her. He had spoken of the ancient ones and the Vampyre community that was now flung across the world but still closely connected and watched over by the High Council. Because he was such an ancient Vampyre, he was well known throughout their community even though he chose to maintain a well private profile in both the Vampyre and the outer world community. Apparently he was a friend of John’s. John had come to him wondering if he knew of anyone who might be able to fill this position? Eric had come to Judith, explaining the entire situation… He had said that he had serious concerns about it, and her safety along with not knowing how long she would be involved in it, away from her life. His concerns were not with whether she could do it, he was quite sure she could excel at it, which was the one reason he was even approaching her with it? Judith said that Eric expressed worry for her safety, and guilt over his selfish reasons for not wanting her to go? This was an opportunity of a lifetime for her and she should be free to accept it with no misgivings or reservations!
As she spoke of it, I could see that thiers must be a very special relationship that allowed them to see past their own desires in order for the other to fullfill a destiny or a dream… I mentioned this and Judith looked at me thoughtully, “I guess when you speak of it like that, Yes that is how we view our life together? It’s difficult at times being apart, but we have faith and trust in each other to know that we will be together again?” She smiled and added, “And, the reunions are so much the better? That old saying about Absense making the heart grow fonder seems to hold true for us!”
Understanding her relationship with Eric helped me to have a better feeling and grasp of my own relationship with John?
During these busy weeks he was much absent from us, and when he was around he was preoccupied with all of those Council matters. He also did a good job of avoiding me much of the time? I found it exceedingly irritating and annoying, but I did have an understanding and inkling of why? I think it was his way of maintaining his self control! When we were near each other, it was increasingly difficult to set aside the desires and the physical cravings we experienced for each other! Just the mere scent of him would set my senses to light and my skin to sparkle and tingle? I am quite certain that he was experiencing much the same reactions… I could see his body tense and his eyes glimmer when he would enter a room not realizing I was there before hand… such as one evening when he entered the music room to listen to young Jane play the piano? I was around the corner where he could not see me at first… He stepped into the room and his body immediately reacted to my hidden presence. I watched as he struggled for that ever present self control of his. He quickly found his cool exterior presence but I had laughed smugly at the knowledge that he was struggling just as much as I was!
He had come around the corner and given me one of his stern glares before caving and reaching for my hand! The touch between us then caused sparkles and shimmers of light to arise from our hands. A few seconds of that heated touch was all we allowed ourselves before we each guiltily pulled away yet savored the remainder of the feelings. I saw in his eyes the extreme frustration, and heard it in his voice as he spoke, “Eleanor, You vex me to no end! I have so much to accomplish that needs my complete focus… and just the thought of you scatters my concentration to the winds!” His voice lowered, “I am at the edge of my limits where it comes to you Dearest, and must figure out some way to get through this next few weeks!”
His admission caused me to smile again, my hear was lifted by his admission that he was consumed with thoughts of me! I knew that I should not be so happy that he was struggling and having difficulty in his duties… but that small part of me was elated with the knowledge of what I did to him?
Of course, a few days later, I was not so amused or elated? I was once again irritated and infuriated with him! This even went far past just minor annoyance at his actions? John’s plan to deal with our situation for the time being, to figure out a way to get through it, was one that as usual he had not consulted me on or bothered to ask my opinion of it?
He quite simply and calmly came home that day to announce that he had requisitioned more suitable and appropriate living quarters for myself and the young ladies! I was at a complete loss for words in my ire at him as he happily explained that he found us a most excellent dwelling that would suit our needs perfectly? As he went on with his description and announcement of said move with great pride, I was in a state of red glazed anger! What ever did he mean by this? We had a perfectly suitable abode right here at White Towers? Why on earth should we consider moving from it!
My temper was seething and those around me were edging themselves away, backing out of the room to leave John and I alone. John looked at me in surprise as though the thought that I should be upset or angry had never once crossed his mind? He quite suddenly realized that he had made some grave error in judgement, that the plan which he was so taken with and proud of was not turning out has he had imagined?
My anger lashed around us, the windows rattled, and doors banged shut on their own accord… the lights flickered and I was in danger of setting the room to flames should I not control it! John just stood there, for once humbled and apologetic. My voice came out in a seething hiss, “I would much appreciate it if you would take a moment to think of what you have just done, John… And, then explain to me your callous and unthinking logic behind it?” I waited for his answer, glaring at him all the while.
It took him some moments to sort it out, during which he went so far as to attempt to glimpse inside my thoughts? I, in my anger, instinctively shut him off, not even realizing that I knew how to do that! My mind was flickering with shards of glass like anger which I for a moment debated on throwing out at him? He winced in pain as a few escaped and pricked at his skin… My words to him, “Feel quite free to enter if you wish for more of the same?” He rubbed his arm and his thoughts retreated to the safety of his own mind then! I spoke slowly but still full of a biting venom, “Do not attempt to get out of this by trying to read my thoughts, or willing me to calm and tell you all is right and I understand?”
John seemed to understand that at this moment, we were not equal footing… I was on the upper footing right now, I was the one in power? He seemed unsure as to how to continue or what to say? With one last toss of an angry glassy shard at him, I continued, “I would suggest that you think very carefully upon your next words to me and your explanation of what you have done in casting me out of the one place I have come to consider as home?”
John took a deep breath and shudder before speaking to me, “Eleanor, my deepest apologies to you for this mess I have just made!” He hesitated and halted while he waited for me to respond. I just glared and nodded my head for him to go on… He slowly began, “I will readily admit that I seem to have made a grevious error in my actions and my explanations? If you would but calm down just a bit, and let me try again?”
I felt him struggling with his own emotions and allowed him make his attempt…
He slowly edged his way over to the sofa near the windows, and sat there running his hands through his hair as he tried to think before speaking. Brave man he was, I gave him much credit for sitting so close to the wall of windows that were still rattling a bit? As if he suddenly thought of that, he looked up and eyed the windows nervously! For good measure, I caused them to rattle a bit more!
His response, “Eleanor, that is quite enough! You have already convinced me of your anger at me, You do not need to destroy the surroundings as well to prove it!”
I stood there with my arms folded, and willed myself to calm the windows… I did not enjoy the vision of having to clean all of it up and replace all of the precious glass?”
That thought escaped my control and John picked up on it, “Yes, indeed, the cost of replacing all of that glass would be enormous and wasted on a home that is not even our own!”
At that comment, my anger was somewhat replaced with puzzlement. Then the realization occurred to me that, no… this was not my home, even though it had felt like it? This estate did not belong to me, it never had. This realization hit me and caused me to be filled with a sadness and aggrevation at myself for having forgotten that one important fact over the past months! This place that I had so lovingly built to my own comforts and tastes was Henry of England’s to do with what he chose. And, what he had chosen at some point was to transfer it to Sir Bradley Pittens? So, Bradley was now the rightful owner of White Towers.
I broached this carefully and cautiously, “Has Sir Bradley requested our removal for some reason?” I was still quite angry over how John had handled this situation, but now I was concerned that I or the young ladies had caused some disturbance which gave Bradley reason to not welcome our staying on?”
John patted the seat next to him and bade me to sit down while he explained. I did so, but left a wide berth between us to remind him that he was not yet free of my wrath?
He smiled grudgingly and nodded his head knowing well that he was not clear yet! He spoke calmly, “No, most certainly not! Bradley has made no mention of wanting you gone… Well, most of you at least?” He gave halfhearted laugh, “He has made mention of thinking that the Lady Mary should well find other accomodations for fitting for her, such as a nunnery or a sanitarium for the deranged?”
I had to laugh at that comment, having had much the same thoughts of her myself in the past months!
John smiled at my laugh, “Well, that is a relief… a start at least? Your anger is not all consuming now?” I gave him a stern mocking glare at which he nodded, “I understand! I will not push it!”
He gave me his explanation of his sound reasons but misguided actions in applying them! “I am quite sure that Bradley would happily have us as guests permanently but it is really not appropriate or wise at this time for a few reasons? The first and most imperitive is the current situation between you and I!” He held out his hand to me to stroke it softly, the sparkles returned, glowing softly now around us, “Eleanor, much as I want and need you near to me, right now the only way that I can get through this and think clearly about the pressing Council matters is for there to be some distance between us until such a time as we can truly come together?”
I sighed in resignation, understanding fully but not being happy with it. “You should have come to me and discussed it first! It should have been a decision we came together upon? And, the choosing of another residence… that should well have involved me!”
He groaned and admitted, “I know, I acted unwisely and rashly, not thinking of you, only wanting to have the matter dealt with quickly? I had this underlying feeling that you would not want to leave here, and would draw out the leaving as long as possible in never finding the exact suitable residence. I had the thought that we would spend much time that we don’t have right now while you searched for the perfect substitute home? I thought to take that ordeal out of the equasion, have it be done and over with as quickly as possible?”
I had to agree with him that his visions were exactly what I would have carried out… it did not make me feel any better to admit that!
He went on, “Besides that all important fact, there is the propriety involved? It is not appropriate for you and your charges to be living here now with no proper chaperone? You are single Noble Ladies and it would be greatly frowned upon… We have Henry to deal with on the appropriateness of this matter? He is much concerned with any hints of misconducts on behalf of his daughters. It came to either sending them all back to him or finding you suitable residence in which to keep them with you? I knew that you would not be keen to send back… other than Mary of course, and that may still be arranged?!”
We both laughed at that thought, but then he grew serious again,
“We must take all caution right now not to ire Henry too much, or set him off, as unpredictable as he and his moods are? He seems in a rather vile mood of late since his recent scheme to wed Lady Leona Woodlyon seems to have gone awry?” John sighed in frustration, “Something else is going on with him… I just have not yet been able to determine what? He is an unknown quality and I feel he could be some cause of danger to all here. We need to appease him for now until we can figure this out?”
I nodded, “He is not one to be taken lightly on any matter… I have enjoyed his better side in the past but also witnessed his darker one?”
John agreed, “He is hiding something, that is certain! He is now insisting that Mary return to live within the confines of his watch… I am hoping that with this move for you and the girls, they will not be called upon to return as well?”
I was resigned to the move but worried as well, “Where does that leave the two of us for now John? And what does this move leave us with for protection?” I was fearful of those things going on which I did not know of. This place was supposed to be safe but now I was not so certain of it!
John held my hands tighter and assured me, “We shall live apart for now, I will stay here for the duration of this… But, we shall announce our bethrothal publically and I will be ever present as much as properly possible at your new home!” He looked at me with love and hope that I was in understanding and agreement on all of this. “Eleanor, I promise you this, I shall do everything in my power to keep you and those two young ladies safe through all of this! I have come to care for them a great deal and would never seek to take you apart from them! You, and they are my family now and I will protect you all with my life!”