Monday, July 29, 2013

Second Draft/First Rewrite: Chapter 8 (Excerpt) and new Final Interlude at the end of Part 1, NICOLAE'S ESCAPE

This is the final portion of the first rewrite of Chapter 8 in PART 1 NICOLAE'S ESCAPE.  I also added a final interlude titled The Beginning of the End at the end of Part 1.  It gives more insight into the beginnings of Nicolae and Teresa's very disfunctional marriage that will assist with later chapters in the first draft that return to Nicolae, Teresa, and Eloisa.

Chapter 27 of the first draft will be coming soon :)

CHAPTER 8 (Excerpt only)

As Teresa stood watching Nicolae, small waves of doubt began to churn inside of her.  Could she really do this with her lack of experience?  She remembered how natural the movements of Nicolae and the other woman being together had been.
They just seemed to fit so well together…
Of course, Teresa had pictured a different type of scenario when she began to imagine herself ending up with Nicolae and she still felt hurt by his repeated rejections of her.
 Don’t be afraid, she heard the familiar voice in her mind say.
 Taking in a deep breath, she slowly walked over to where Nicolae lay asleep.  She sat down next to him, taking in his beautiful, chiseled features.  She began to feel an overwhelming disbelief over the fact that she was sitting naked beside him.  Her breath quickened as her heart picked up it’s pace and there was a stirring in the pit of her stomach.  Then, as if someone else were guiding her movements, Teresa rose to her knees and leaned over him, allowing the tips of her breasts to lightly brush his shirt.  She pressed her body to his as she kissed him softly on his lips.  It was only a small kiss, but it was enough to send the blood rushing down to between her legs. 
“I love you, Nicolae,” she whispered as she lightly stroked the side of his face.  She slowly lay down beside him and brought her hand to his chest, softly stroking with her fingertips.  Teresa’s arousal heightened when she felt Nicolae’s defined chest muscles through the material of his shirt.  She froze as Nicolae began to stir and his eyes opened.  Teresa’s heart pounded as she anticipated Nicolae’s possible negative reaction when he saw her beside him.  But when he opened his eyes and looked at her, she saw the corner of his lips turned upward.  She felt a warming sensation in her heart as it was one of the few times she had ever seen him smile and seeing him smile at her was enough to bring tears of happiness to her eyes.  Teresa opened her mouth to speak, unsure of what she would even say.  Nicolae stopped her by bringing his hand to her cheek, stroking it before bringing himself on top of her and giving her lips a passionate kiss. 
“Nicolae…” she moaned as she felt his mouth traveling down her throat and to her chest.  With every touch of his hands and lips, Teresa felt as though her skin was going to burst into flames.
“Don’t say anything, my love,” he panted as he stripped of his shirt.  “I’ve missed you so much.  Just be with me.”

The Beginning of the End

It would be a night Teresa would never forget for as long as she would be alive and able to remember such things.  The night Nicolae took her virginity would be a lifechanging experience for both in many more ways than one. 
Teresa would never return to her village and would therefore never know of the sleepless nights in which her adopted mother, Gabriella, would agonize over the loss of her adopted daughter or the tears Alea shed over the idea of the older sister she loved and looked up to leaving her.  Having to inform the family of Teresa’s betrothed wasn’t nearly as painful for Gabriella and even the village elders as it was not knowing the whereabouts of Teresa or what had happened to her. 
Gabriella had the feeling that Teresa had followed the young man they all knew as Luiz when he had left their village.  She had seen the way Teresa regarded that young man and it did frighten the older woman.  Gabriella had worked quickly to finalize a suitor for Teresa, hoping that it would allow the young girl to forget about the young drifter.  But Gabriella had severely misjudged her adopted daughter.  The older woman now recognized that doing so may have backfired, doing more harm than good and pushing Teresa’s rebellion even further.  She had seen the same nature in Teresa’s mother, Dominique, with whom Gabriella had grown up in the village.
“You are much more like your mother than I thought you would be,” Gabriella lamented as she sat at the small table in her hut.
Alea had gone to bed and Gabriella sat, looking into the small, flickering flames of the candle she had lit, just as Teresa was managing to seduce Nicolae into making her his wife in a place not too terribly far from the village.  Gabriella gazed more intensely into the flame.  She would almost be willing to swear that she had seen Dominique’s face flash briefly in front of her as she kept her gaze on the candle.  The small image of Teresa and Alea’s mother seemed to mock Gabriella, causing her to jump backward in her seat.  Catching her breath, it began to occur to Gabriella that perhaps things may have turned out differently if perhaps she would have told Teresa the truth behind what had happened with her parents.  Maybe if the girl had known, she wouldn’t have been so moved to follow that young drifter.
She would still be here safe…I truly thought I was protecting her…
Gabriella sat in front of the candle and said a prayer for Teresa, but something in the air told her that the girl was far beyond anything her prayers could do.  She sat at the table, knowing that all she could do was weep for the girl who had once been her daughter. 

As for Teresa, the night she had gotten Nicolae to take her virginity would be one filled with pleasure and pain of both a physical and an emotional nature.  Being in his arms, feeling his skin and body against her and having his hands and mouth roaming her most intimate areas was more wonderful than Teresa would ever imagine it would be.  She could feel his hands tremble with a deep-rooted unconditional love as he explored the curves of her body and she would cry tears of happiness as Nicolae got her ready for him, using his fingers, lips, teeth, and tongue to stimulate her breasts and between her legs. 
Teresa’s tears of pleasure would turn to pain when Nicolae would enter her.  He would not be as gentle as a man should be when dealing with a virgin.  Instead, Nicolae entered Teresa as though he were under the impression that she was an experienced woman.  This left Teresa in a state of shock and confusion as Nicolae didn’t waste any time before he began to thrust. 
“You’re hurting me,” Teresa whimpered as she felt a small trickle of blood exiting her and running down her inner thigh.  “Please slow down.”
Nicolae stopped and looked down at her.  She watched his expression change from one that embodied love and lust into one of bewilderment.  Teresa held her breath, afraid that she had ruined everything, but Nicolae’s expression softened and he said, “You’re right.  I’m so sorry.  I suppose I was just so anxious to be with you.”
He then leaned down and gave her a tender kiss on her lips.
“I love you, Nicolae,” Teresa said, her voice choked.
“I love you.  Always and only you,” Nicolae replied.
Teresa smiled as her heart raced at Nicolae’s declaration of his love.  He smiled back down at her as he continued to thrust, this time moving much slower and handling her more gently.
Teresa clutched Nicolae’s shoulders, feeling one of his scars.
I’ll take away all your pain.  I promise, she thought.
Teresa looked to the years ahead when she would be able to heal Nicoale of any lingering trauma from his past.  She would have her first release just before Nicolae would have his.  The shattering sensation left her breathless as she felt Nicolae emptying himself into her.  They stayed, looking into one another’s eyes for another moment before Nicolae pulled out.  Teresa stroked the side of his face as he declared his love to her once again.  He then lay back down beside her and pulled her close to him.  As he drifted back to sleep, Nicolae whispered his love to Teresa once more.  It would be the last time Teresa would hear those words from him to her.
As Teresa lay with her arms and legs wrapped around Nicolae, she looked up to the starry sky and smiled.  “Thank you, mother,” she said softly, as not to wake her sleeping, new husband.  She lay with her head on Nicolae’s chest.  She could hear his heartbeat slowing down as sleep came over him.  It was then she noticed a difference in herself.  Teresa knew that losing her virginity would turn her from a girl to a woman, but this was more than that.  Instinctively, she placed a hand on the small of her stomach and closed her eyes.  She could see the inside of her womb and the fetus of a baby growing inside of her.  Teresa gasped with both fear and excitement as her eyes snapped back open.  She lovingly wrapped her arm back around Nicolae and allowed sleep to take over her as she anticipated the marriage and family she would have with him.

Nicolae lay asleep, unaware that he had just emptied his seed into Teresa, which would result in the conception of the child Teresa had just seen.  It would not be until the following morning when he would wake up naked next to Teresa that he would figure out what had actually occurred between them the night before.
Teresa watched in a state of confusion and dismay as Nicolae scrambled to dress himself.
“Nicolae…” Teresa stammered on the verge of tears.  She was at a complete loss for words beyond uttering the name of the man she had given herself to.
Nicolae stopped and stared at her.  Teresa flinched under the dark gaze of the man who had looked at her with so much love the night before.  A stunned Teresa covered herself with her clothes, suddenly feeling very exposed.  She stood timidly watching Nicolae draw in a breath and say, “Teresa…somehow I took advantage of you.  I don’t know how…I thought…”
“You thought what?” Teresa asked.
Nicolae shook his head.  “Nevermind,” he said and began pacing about the area, running his hands over his face.
“Nicolae…you didn’t do anything I didn’t want you to,” Teresa said.  “Don’t you remember?”
Nicolae was still silent and Teresa said with a shakey voice, “You don’t remember telling me you love me?”
Nicolae’s head snapped to look at her in surprise.  Teresa watched as his expression shift to confusion, to anger, to something that was just disconcerting.  Then he simply ordered, “Get dressed.”
“I said get dressed!”
Teresa turned away from Nicolae, hiding her tears as she slowly put her clothes back on and had another vision of a child growing inside of her.  She thought about telling Nicolae, but decided not to.
Why is he so different toward me now?  What is wrong with him? Teresa wondered to herself.  She pulled her blouse back on and snuck a glance back at Nicolae, who was already completely dressed.  He was standing, staring off to nothing in particular.  Teresa couldn’t see his expression as his back was turned to her, but she was able reach into his mind and see his thoughts of loss and betrayal.
Why…? Teresa thought.
She would not see the two tears that escaped Nicolae’s eyes as he felt Eloisa leaving him forever.  He could no longer feel the woman he had shared his short years with and failed to protect from harm.  Eloisa no longer loved him.  He was sure of that as he had somehow managed her in the worst way possible and take advantage of an impressionable young girl.  Nicolae had seen Teresa’s blood on himself and on her as evidence that they had been together despite his not having any recollection of being with her.  Broken and confused, he swallowed back more tears as he quietly said, “I’m sorry…please don’t leave me…you’re all I have in this world…I’m sorry…”
Nicolae felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Teresa standing in front of him with a look of worry and love on her face.
“Don’t worry.  I’m not angry with you, Nicolae,” she said.  “I love you and I could never leave you.  I’ll take away your pain.  I’ll make you happy.  I’ll be a good wife.”
Nicolae stood perplexed and stunned as Teresa circled her arms around his waist.  Teresa had no idea that it was Eloisa’s face and body that Nicolae had awoken to find with him that night instead of hers.  She had no reason to believe at that time that he had made his declaration of love to the woman he lost two years prior, a woman whom Teresa had unknowingly been disguised as.  One thing Nicolae did understand was that returning Teresa to her village was now out of the question.

Nicolae and Teresa would continue together as Teresa began to show signs of being with a child inside her belly.  There would be a few more nights in which Nicolae would be with Teresa, under the impression that she was Eloisa, and some nights when he was with her at his own will.  There were times when Nicolae did find Teresa’s body comforting, but it was only a temporary euphoria.  One thing that never wavered was the concern Nicolae had for the child growing inside of Teresa, especially as she began to show a little more.  As the months passed and Teresa was in her fifth month, she started to feel hope that Nicolae was coming around to openly accept and love her as his wife.  But she would soon learn that there was far more below the surface than she would ever be able to accept as truth.
Teresa was on the cusp of her fifth and sixth month into her pregnancy.  She had had another dream of Nicolae and the other woman she suspected to be Eloisa.  In the dream, she could the young woman standing at the edge of a forest looking in as Nicolae fought his way through the brush that seemed to thicken by the second as he tried to make his way over to the other woman.  Teresa awoke from the dream to see Nicolae seated at the window a few feet away from her.  As Teresa’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, she was able to see that her husband was clutching his box.  Nicolae hadn’t noticed that she had opened his eyes and was now watching him as he looked out to the nightsky.  He would whisper words that Teresa would hear and leave her devastated beyond repair. 
“It was your face and body I saw…not hers.  I thought it was you!  I swear it!  Please believe me.  Forgive me, Eloisa…you’re all I ever wanted.  You’re the only one who could ever satisfy me.  The vows I made to you…I was never more sincere about anything than I was that night you became my wife.  You are always my Eloisa.  Even if you no longer love me…nothing will ever stop me from loving you.  And after I die, if I can’t be with you…I may as well just be in Hell.”
Teresa’s lay in the dark feeling as though all the air had been knocked out from her body.  She tried to mentally reach out to Dominique, but to no avail. 
As Teresa lay beside a sleeping Nicolae the following night, she sat up when she heard someone whispering to.  She strained to hear what was being said.
Look in the box, it was telling her.
“Where is it?” she whispered back.
Teresa felt as though her eyes were being guided to a floorboard in the corner of the bedroom inside the hut she shared with Nicolae.  She quietly got out of bed, taking care not to wake Nicolae.  She could feel the baby move a little as she approached the board, pried it away from its place and took the box out from the small compartment in the floor.
“But it’s locked,” Teresa said.  “I don’t know where he keeps the key…”
Before she could finish her sentence, an invisible hand grasped her wrist and pulled it into the compartment, nearly knocking Teresa onto her protruding belly.  Her hand felt a small, hard object and grasped it.  The key!  she thought.
Teresa pulled out the key, unlocked it, and gasped at what was inside.  The box contained a pile of ashes with some small bone fragments mixed among the gray, dusty substance.  From the ashes rose an image of a young woman.  The same young woman she kept seeing Nicolae with.  Teresa could only stare as the woman’s graceful, slender figure rose from her cremated remains.  Scenes of the woman’s life flashed before Teresa, beginning with her birth in a slave village in Wallachia.  The young woman had been separated from her parents and siblings at the age of three and had lived with her uncle in the village until her seventh year.  She and her uncle—whom she obviously loved very much—were separated in another slave auction and as a little girl, she had been brought to a large, stone castle in Transylvania to be a slave there.  Teresa could sense the fear that the young woman had felt as a child when she had been brought to the castle despite the kindness the women already present in the slave village were showing her.  Teresa saw a six-year-old Lucinda Alexanderescu knock over a valuable vase in an attempt to get the little girl in trouble.  Teresa then saw Nicolae as an eight-year-old boy, risking his own well-being to help the little girl.  Teresa saw the journey the two of them had as they grew up together in their slave village (the same one that had been shown to Teresa months earlier).  Teresa saw flashes of the initial courtship, the first kiss, and the night Nicolae and this other woman consummated their love.  Teresa then saw Dimitri’s first assault on her and Nicolae’s punishment for the attempt on Dimitri’s life.  She saw the last months of the relationship with Nicolae before seeing the young woman’s brutal death.  Teresa could feel that this woman had been with Nicolae’s child at the time of her murder…a little over four months along.  Nicolae had then killed for her and was on the run with a young boy who resembled him a little.
The images all disappeared back into the box as Teresa heard a name.
She choked back sobs as she shut her eyes in an attempt to block out everything she had seen only to be shown what really had occurred on the first night she was with Nicolae.  Teresa saw herself as she had been that night, approaching the area beside the campfire where Nicolae slept and watched as her image morphed into Eloisa’s.
Tears began to spill down Teresa’s face as the reality of the situation set in. “It was her…he really did think I was her…

Teresa would get her wish; she would have Nicolae and, yes, continue his bloodline, but it would never be as she imagined and hoped it would be.  She would also discover the truth behind her parents and her own bloodline. 

Teresa would find herself alone in her marriage and, at times late at night, would wonder if she really would have been better off staying in her village back in Aragon, only having known Nicolae Ganoush as a handsome, mysterious young man named Luiz who had simply come passing through the village.

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