Thursday, March 28, 2013

New postings on Monday

Hey everyone,

I'll be posting the rest of THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 on Monday.  And maybe PART 2, Chapter 9 :)

Tiff

Monday, March 25, 2013

THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931: Section 2 (UNEDITED)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-THE TIME IN BETWEEN, Section 1 before proceeding to reading THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931. 

Otherwise, read THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931: Section 2 from the jump :) 

* Note that there are four sections in THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 and it leads up to PART 2.  Section 3 will be posted shortly.





2
Plains, NY
United States
1846

The Nathaniel Fleming Manor and Orphanage officially opened to the public in the summer of 1845, two months following the wedding of Jonathan and Kimimela Blake.  Cedric and Margaret Fleming and their daughter, Maxine, had moved into the upper quarters of the main building, which was where they would live while they ran the orphanage.  The Flemings had sold their three story house where their son, Nathaniel had passed away just shy of his twelvth birthday and were anticipating having a new start.  Cedric had put the inheritance his father had left him into the project (after putting aside what would be left to Maxine) and with the help of their friend, James Livingston, the idea had been able to come into full fruition.

Cedric and Margaret had lived just outside the city of New York, not too far from the Livingston’s home in the city.  The Flemings had lived a quiet, and relatively happy life despite the fact that they were unable to have children.  In 1830, they adopted a baby boy they named Nathaniel Cedric and doted on the little boy as he grew.  Four years later, they adopted another baby, this one being a girl they named Maxine Rosalind.  Cedric and Margaret would with their two children near the city of New York as James Livingston and others would begin to found the town of Plains.  Cedric and Margaret were also considering getting a piece of land out there after James had showed them the developing town and the area on which he was building his family’s holiday home.  But the good fortune the Flemings had been experiencing took a downward turn when Nathaniel was stricken with a severe case of scarlet fever.  The boy would last a month before succumbing to the disease in the early spring of 1842.  Cedric tried his best to be strong for the grieving Margaret.  James and Samantha, of course, tried to also reassure their friends to call on them whenever they were needed.  One evening n the early summer, Cedric had confided in James that Margaret could barely handle living in the house that Nathaniel had died in. 
“She can’t even walk passed his bedroom,” Cedric said, sitting across from James on the back porch of the Livingston home. 
Cedric also told James that he had even caught little Maxine in her room talking to an imaginary playmate named “Nathaniel” and several times.
“I hardly think that’s anything to be concerned about at this moment,” James said, trying to reassure his friend, “my guess is that that is merely Maxine’s way of coping with her brother being gone.”
“Yes, I agree,” Cedric replied, “but I’m so afraid for Margaret.  And I feel terrible because the first time I saw Maxine talking to this imaginary playmate, I scolded her, forbidding that action.  The look on my little girl’s face when I yelled at her…”  Cedric’s voice trailed off as he swallowed back the lump forming in his throat before saying, “The last thing I want is for Maxine to feel cut off from her mother and I.  Especially at this time.”
James looked at his friend and then turned his gaze out to the field that stretched out behind their house, staring at the empty guest house where he and Samantha had allowed the Blakes to live during their time in New York.  Even though it had been five years since Charles had been able to get his land out near the Iowa Territory, it still seemed odd to James to not see the Blake children out running around near the house.  He recalled his own three boys begging him and Samantha to allow them to run across the yard to the guest house so they could play with Jonathan, Brendan, and Isaiah.  There had even been times when Cedric and Margaret would bring little Nathaniel over and he would normally tag along with Lawrence and Isaiah.  Meanwhile, Frankie would come over and help Margaret with a baby Maxine.  James gave the memories a wistful smile before turning back to Cedric.
“Well,” James began, “perhaps this imaginary playmate phase just needs to run it’s course.  Surely, as time passes, she’ll grow out of it.  In fact, such things are not uncommon at all for children.”
Cedric sighed before saying, “Yes, I know.  But I am so afraid for Margaret.  My poor wife, she’s been so terribly fragile as of late and if she were to hear Maxine…I mean…I told Maxine to not do such things around her mother, and so far she’s listened.  But I still…I feel…”
“You feel what?” James replied, “Go on.”
Cedric paused, his face reflecting a mind deep in thought and trying to figure out how to form the sentences that would let James know what he had been thinking.  Finally, Cedric said, “I feel we need to sell the house.  Margaret even said to me last night that living in there has become almost unbearable for her.
“I see,” James said, “well, where were you thinking of moving to?”
“That’s what I wanted to speak with you about.  You know how Margaret and I had been talking of purchasing land out in Plains for a second home?”
“Yes.”
“Well, I’ve been considering making a more permanent arrangement instead of it just being a holiday or weekend home.  I was wondering what type of land is available at the moment out there.  Of course, I need to be mindful of how I would approach Margaret with the idea.  But I do feel it will help in all of us being able to move on.  Start over.”
“Hmm.”  James thought for a moment, recalling the stretches of land that were available for purchase.  His thoughts then fell upon the stretch of wooded area at the top of a hill.
“There is one place in particular I can show you,” James said, “It is still wooded, but I do need to venture out to Plains tomorrow morning.  If you think Margaret would be well, you are more than welcome to accompany me.”

Cedric had gone with James that following morning while Samantha stayed with Margaret and Maxine at the Fleming home.  Samantha had tea and brunch with Margaret as Maxine wandered about the house with her dolls, and play teaset before eventually heading outside.  There was a moment during the visit when Samantha took a glance out the window to see Maxine sitting on the swing that hung from the branch of a large oak in the Fleming’s backyard.  Samantha smiled at the site of the little girl playing.  But as she looked more closely, it appeared as though Maxine were carrying a conversation with someone next to the swing, despite having been alone out there.  Samanth felt chills creep up her arm, though she couldn’t explain why.  Her husband had told her of Maxine’s having an imaginary friend named “Nathaniel” and Cedric’s personal dilemma over allowing Maxine to do such a thing.  Samantha watched the little girl for another minute before joining Margaret in the other room and dismissed the incident as being a child playing pretend games, as children often did.
Meanwhile in Plains, James had taken Cedric to see the land on top of the hill.  Cedric immediately fell in love with the view as one was able to see the land stretching out into the horizon.  The vastness of the Appalachian Mountains in the distance made Cedric temporarily forget his sorrow.  He felt complete here.  He felt happy and at the top of the world (in both a literal and physical sense).  He told James that he was interested in the land, though he would have to discuss it with Margaret.  Cedric and James spent the rest of the day walking about the property as Cedric made tentative plans on which area of the land they would clear out to build their new home upon.  James then took Cedric to see his own holiday home and the library James had founded and overseen as it was built.
That following month, the clearing of some of the brush on the Fleming’s newly purchased land had begun and Cedric had shown James the blueprints for the new home he was going to build for himself, Margaret, and Maxine.  But one afternoon as James sat in his office at Livingston Publishing eating his lunch, Cedric burst into the room, apologizing to James for the intrusion before informing his friend that he had a slight change of plan for the property and a wonderful idea.  James listened intently as Cedric told him of the plans to, instead, build an orphanage at the top of the hill.
“Margaret, Maxine, and I would still live there, of course,” Cedric said, “but we would live there as Margaret and I would run the business.”
James sat back in his chair, unable to help feeling caught off guard by Cedric’s new idea.  He had never known Cedric to be frivolous, but James couldn’t help questioning his friend.
“You’ve discussed this with Margaret?” James asked.
“Yes,” Cedric said.
James took a sip of his tea before saying, “Cedric, you know I trust your judgement and competance.  But I want you to be certain that you and Margaret are set to run a business.  You’ve seen how much work I do running Livingston Publishing and even the Plains Library.”
“Yes, I know,” Cedric said, “but Margaret and I have discussed it and while we know it will be a lot of work, I think it will help all of us to do something in Nathanial’s memory.  The most wonderful happiness Margaret and I found was through our two adopted children and if we can bring that same happiness to other parents in Margaret’s and my situation, as well as children as precious as Nathaniel and Maxine are to us, well…I think Margaret and I have found purpose again.  And there aren’t any orphanages in or close to the Plains area.”
James leaned forward, resting his elbows on his desk and studying his friend.  He could see how passionate and serious about this idea Cedric was.  But he was talking of taking on a rather hefty endeavor. 
Then James said, “Well you know I will help you in any way I can.  If this is what you really intend to do.  But I really think we should sit down and begin to carefully plan.  The property is yours so you may do what you wish with it.  But there is much to do in an endeavor such as the one you are speaking of.”

The plans for the orphanage began that following week and were finalized by Christmas of 1842.  Cedric and Margaret had called it their greatest Christmas present ever.  Construction began that following spring and would be finished by early summer of 1844.  Trees were cleared for the main building meant to house the children and another building was to be the dining hall, class rooms, and living quarters for classroom instructors.  A small building was built halfway down the hill toward the entrance which would serve as a security building.  Other rooms in the main building included a chapel on the second floor and on the fifth floor where the living quarters of Cedric, Margaret, and Maxine Fleming.  Another area was cleared out to serve as a play area with swings, a sliding board, and other things one would expect to find on a children’s playground.  Cedric and Margaret named the area after their late son, Nathaniel.
The manor and orphanage sat on top of the hill, and could be seen from a distance by the Plains residents.  James had been pleased that he had helped Cedric and Margaret and he try with everything he had to try to forget what he had seen in one of the rooms at the orphanage.  He would be relieved when the next two years would pass without incident. 
Perhaps that really had been nothing more than the tricks of evening shadows...
Cedric and Margaret had been running their business rather successfully and even Maxine seemed to be adjusting well.  According to Cedric, her imaginary playmate, “Nathaniel”, was a distant memory. 
James had also attended the wedding of Jonathan Blake and had his own son, Jesse’s, wedding to prepare for. 

On this late evening in the summer of 1846, James sat in the library of his family’s home in New York City, reading a letter from Charles Blake.  Charles had written James with the joyful news that he was about to become a grandfather.  James smiled and shook his head.
“I probably won’t be too far behind you, old friend,” James said, thinking of Jess and Heather.  Memories of ten-year-old Jonathan and Jesse running around playing boys games with Brendan and Samuel filled James’s mind.
Seems like only yesterday.
James folded the letter and placed it under a paperweight on his desk.  The paperweight had the Nathaniel Fleming Orphanage inscription in it and was in the shape of the stone sign that sat at the bottom of the hill at the entrance leading up to the property.  The paperweights had been one of the items given to the administrators and others who had seen the orphanage come into fruition.  Samantha had long gone up to bed and James decided he would inform her Charles’s news in the morning. 
James stood up from his desk chair, rubbing his face with his hands.
Time to retire, he thought.
James put out the lamps and exited the library.  The house was dark and quiet as his sons were asleep and the servants were in their quarters.  James carried a small, lit candle as he headed to the stairs that would take him to the master bedroom he and Samantha shared.  But as he began to ascend the stairs, three small but sudden taps came from the other side of the front door, nearly causing James to drop his candle. 
Tap tap tap.
James took his pocketwatch out.
Twelve o’clock.  Who the devil could that be at this hour?
James was returning his watch to his pocket when he heard the tap tap tap again.  It was then an image the dark-haired girl he had seen in the room at the orphanage passed through his mind.  He shut the unpleasant memory from his mind and headed toward the door.  James pushed the drape of one of the windows at the sides of the front door, peering out to see who was at his home at such a late hour.  But he couldn’t see anyone.  His front porch appeared to be empty.
Well, whatever they needed, perhaps they’ll come calling again tomorrow, James thought.
He began to turn back toward the steps when he heard it again.
Tap tap tap.
James head snapped back around, looking back at the front door. 
Tap tap tap.  It was more insistant this time.
James took swift steps toward the door.
“Yes,” he said, “can I help you?”
There was a muffled sound from behind the door that sounded like a voice.
“I’m sorry I can’t understand you,” James replied, “who is this?”
The muffled voice continued.  James put his ear more close to the door.  The more he listened, the more it sounded as if the voice was saying I’m cold.
James pulled the curtain that covered the window to the right of the front door, peering out again.  But the voice had stopped and the porch still appeared to be empty.
James returned the curtain to covering the window it was then he heard
BANG BANG BANG!!
The light taps had turned to harsh bangs, causing the otherwise sturdy front door to shake.  James stalked to the door, reaching for the latch.
“What the HELL—
“Father?” James heard a soft voice behind him.  He turned to see his youngest son, Lawrence, at the top of the stairs peering up at him.  The boy’s face was dimly lit by the small oil lamp he carried.  There was something almost ghastly to the way the light of the lamp hit Lawrence’s face. 
It’s only my son…
“Lawrence…” James said collecting himself, “go back to bed.”
“Yes father,” Lawrence said.  James watched as his son turned to head back to his bedroom.  But the boy paused, turned back to his father, and said, “Is everything alright?”
James drew in a breath and replied, “Yes.  Yes, Lawrence…now please, go back to bed.”
But the boy looked back at his father.  In the dim light, James could see tears welling in the troubled eyes of his son.
“Lawrence,” James said, “what is it?”
The boy shook his head with his eyes shut tightly.  “Nothing.”
“Son,” James said making his way up to Lawrence, “please tell me.  What is it?  Do you feel ill?”
“No,” Lawrence finally managed to say before bringing his hand to his eyes.  James was next to his son on the steps and managed to get the boy to sit down.  Lawrence’s quiet sobbing died down after a few minutes.
“Please don’t tell Jesse and Samuel,” Lawrence said.
James smiled at his son and said, “What, that you were crying just now?”
Lawrence nodded.
“Don’t worry,” James responded, “it will be our secret.  Now, what’s troubling you?”
“I had a dream,” Lawrence began, “but it seemed so real that I actually went and looked into your and mother’s room.  I saw you weren’t there, so I came to see if you were down here.”
The hair on James’s arms would rise as he continued listening to Lawrence explain what had frightened him so.
“I saw you, father.  Sitting at your desk in the library reading a letter from Mister Blake.  Jonathan and his wife are expecting a baby, aren’t they?”
Stunned, James could only utter out, “Yes…but don’t tell anyone just yet…”
Lawrence nodded and continued.  “Well, you put the letter under the paperweight that Mister Fleming gave you before you put out the lamps and began to come upstairs.  That was when…”  Lawrence’s voice trailed off and the boy’s eyes grew wide and filled with terror before he choked out, “I saw you die, father.  I saw you answer the door to Nathanial Fleming.  He was knocking on the door and when you opened it, he killed you!”


Read on to THE TIME IN BETWEEN, Section 3 .

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Section 1 of THE TIME IN BETWEEN Posted, The Mission on the Playlist, Inspiration for the "Teresa" Character

Hey everyone!

Section 1 of THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 is now up.  THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 revisits the Blake and Livingston families and we might even see what actually became of Nicolae and Teresa.

You can either read it from the jump at the post below or just click here.

And if you still need to catch up, you can do so in the  CHAPTERS section.

And another song has been adding to the Playlist.  It's The Mission's "Deliverance":




And while I haven't really thought of a "dream cast", I do have inspiration for some of the characters.  Some of those inspirations are people I know in real life and others are public figures.  This was the photo that I found inspiring while writing about "Teresa."  It was this particular still of Samantha Barks in the film Les Miserables (as Eponine).






Hope you guys continue to enjoy the installments of the first Bloodlines book.  I do have a few permanent titles in mind for the series.  Just need to decide on which one would fit best :)  And I'll be starting the second draft soon. :)

THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931: Section 1 (UNEDITED)

If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 8 before proceeding to reading THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931. 

Otherwise, read THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 from the jump :) 

* Note that there are four sections in THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 and it leads up to PART 2.  This is section 1 and section 2 will be posted shortly.




THE TIME IN BETWEEN

1846-1931



1

Illinois-Iowa Territory Border
United States
1846


Kimimela sat up in bed, pressing her palms against the cool sheets that were on top of the goose feathered mattress on the bed.  Some of the front strands of her hair matted to her face by the beads of sweat on her forehead.  She sat there, trying to get her rapid breath and heartbeat to return back down to normal.  She had seen them again, the two young women.  Kimimela turned her gaze over to Jonathan, who slept in the bed next to her.  She was relieved that she hadn’t woken him.  Her husband worried enough about her, especially since the discovery of her pregnancy.  Jonathan and Kimimela Blake had been married for a little over a year and were expecting their first child. 
Kimimela gave her sleeping husband a small, appreciative smile as she remembered their first meeting, the first day she had seen Jonathan riding his horse along her favorite secluded, wooded trail.  Kimimela ventured to the area by herself often despite her father’s warnings of wandering alone on the frontier.  She loved the peaceful serenity and was delighted the day she had discovered the trail.  For a long time, Kimimela had been the only one who knew of that trail and became her special, private place.  But then one day as she was wandering and singing softly to herself along the trail, she was startled when she saw a young man on a beautiful, but large, black horse approaching her.  Her first impulse, as Jonathan brought his horse to a halt, had been to run back to her village, but her legs had failed to move and her stomach felt as though it were plunging down to her knees as he dismounted Samson and walked toward her. 
As frightened as Kimimela was, she also couldn’t help finding Jonathan very handsome.  His grayish-blue eyes had been the first trait she fell in love with, partially because she had never known anyone with eyes that color.  But it was also because his eyes reflected a warmth that made her feel a little more at ease in his presence.  She also liked his thick, dark brown hair and strong build.  But when Jonathan had gotten close enough to be able to speak to her, Kimimela’s initial fear took over and she had fled the trail and back to her Sioux village where she would stay over the next two days, afraid of returning to her trail.  Though told no one about her encounter with the young white man, there was barely a second over those two days when Jonathan wasn’t on her mind.  Part of her was angry with him for invading her special place.  But at the same time, she couldn’t help her fascination with him and the gentleness in his blue-gray eyes made her heart melt when she thought of them.  Surely if he had meant her harm, there was plenty of opportunity for him to do so.  Even when she ran from him he hadn’t persued her.  Still, Kimimela wasn’t entirely sure if she wanted to see him again.  But she did want to return to her beloved trail.  After all, it was her place. 
She decided to return to her trail on the third day after the encounter, her light steps barely making a sound.  Her parents had been right to give her a name that meant ‘butterfly’ in the Sioux language; she had a soft but swift movement to her, especially when she was running, and she valued the freedom she felt when she explored the open plains and the many hidden jems of the Illinois-Iowa Territory border (a past-time that she would soon find she had in common with Jonathan).  Kimimela wouldn’t be too far up the trail before she would see him coming toward her on his horse again.  This time, she would resist the impulse she had to run away.  She mustered every ounce of courage in her being as she continued her walk toward him.
When she was close enough to pet his horse, Kimimela’s heart had been pounding so hard she thought it was going to leap out from her chest.  But the warm smile Jonathan offered put her at ease and she would end up being charmed by his kind nature and Irish accent.  They had learned one another’s names that day, and had small conversation with Kimimela’s limited knowledge of the English language.  But that second meeting would be enough for Jonathan and Kimimela to return to the trail many times after and secretly meet.
Jonathan and Kimimela had grown to enjoy one another’s company more than anyone else’s.  During the course of the month following their first two encounter’s with each other, they had worked up to holding hands while they walked the trail and would sometimes ride Jonathan’s horse, Samson, together with Kimimela sitting behind Jonathan with her arms wrapped around his waist as they rode.  It was after one of the rides on Samson that Jonathan had given Kimimela her first kiss.  But the only barrier between them had been that neither of them was sure of how their families would react to their relationship.  There was a fear shared by Jonathan and Kimimela of their families forbidding them to see one another upon being found out.  They even considered running away together.  But Jonathan and Kimimela both had close ties with their families and would hope that one day soon, they would be able to inform their families and have their relationship blessed.  And that would come much sooner than Jonathan or Kimimela would anticipate when Jonathan’s then thirteen-year-old sister, Frankie, and fifteen-year-old brother, Brendan, would go out looking for their older brother and see Jonathan taking Kimimela for ride on Samson.  Of course, Brendan and Frankie had many questions for their brother and Jonathan begged them to let him be the one to tell their parents.  And of course, Charles and Emma wished to meet Kimimela, the young woman who had captured their eldest son’s heart.  But before any meeting could be set up between Kimimela and the Blakes, Kimimela’s father, Howahkan, had to give his approval.
Howahkan was their Sioux village’s shaman (medicine man), like his father before him had been, and very well-respected.  His wife and the mother of Kimimela and her siblings had passed on three years prior.  Howahkan also had initial reservations about Jonathan, but was willing to have an audience with the young Irishman.  Charles had offered to accompany Jonathan, but Jonathan had insisted that it was best he go alone. 
On the evening of the scheduled meeting between Howahkan and Jonathan, Kimimela had met Jonathan at the entrance of her village, accompanied by her older brother, Chayton (who was Jonathan’s age) and her twin brother, Sunkwa.  Jonathan and Kimimela’s brothers politely greeted one another.  Jonathan gave Kimimela a warm, hopeful smile as Sunkwa took care of getting Samson (who took to the young brave rather well) situated.  Then, Kimimela could only stand and watch as Chayton would walk with Jonathan into the village, taking the man she loved to the hut where Howahkan waited.  Jonathan would turn his head back toward her, his lips turning up in a reassuring smile before he would mouth, “It’ll be alright” to her.  But that still didn’t stop her from feeling nervous for him.  Her father was a fair man, but the meeting between him and Jonathan still had potential to go either way.  She barely noticed that her little sister, Mahpiya, had come to stand beside her.
Kimimela’s friend, Chante, waited with Kimimela and Mahpiya a few feet away from the hut in which Jonathan and Howahkan sat having their audience with one another.  Nearly an hour had passed when Kimimela became more anxious over what was possibly going on inside the hut.  Chante tried to reassure her friend that Howahkan would likely have been done with Jonathan much sooner if he disapproved and Kimimela very much hoped that that was the case.
Another half hour passed before Kimimela would see the door to the hut open.  Her heart pounded with anticipation as Jonathan and her father emerged.  But her anxiety turned to joy when she saw Jonathan beaming from ear to ear and then her father wearing a pleased expression.  Howahkan had given his approval.  Kimimela ran to Jonathan and the two of them embraced, neither of them caring if they had made spectacles of themselves in front of everyone in the village.  It was also that evening that Jonathan formally proposed marriage to Kimimela.
A week later, Kimimela had gone to meet Jonathan’s family.  Charles and Emma were very open and welcoming toward her.  Brendan and Frankie were sheepish over their overreaction they had had when they first saw Jonathan with Kimimela, but that night, they were all able to get on well with one another.  Kimimela would meet Jonathan’s youngest siblings, eleven-year-old Isaiah and seven-year-old Rachel who were friendly, but regarded her curiously.  Howahkan, Chayton, Sunkwa, and Mahpiya had gone to meet the Blakes a few days later.  Sunkwa and Brendan ended up becoming friends that night and Isaiah tagged along when Brendan took Sunkwa out to the barn where the family’s horses were kept.  Rachel and Mahpiya were the same age and went off to play together.  It had meant a lot to Jonathan and Kimimela to see their families getting on so well.
The wedding was set for April of 1845 and combined the Sioux traditions of Kimimela’s family with the Catholic faith practiced by the Blakes.  Kimimela also had to accept the Catholic faith as her own in front of the church, though she would keep her Sioux traditions in the presence of family and friends.  The wedding of her and Jonathan was also the day Kimimela met James Livingston of New York, one of the Blakes’ closest friends and one of the founders of the small New York town of Plains.  He attended with his wife, Samantha (whom Kimimela found to be a rather lovely and refined lady), and his three sons, Jesse (who was also the same age as Jonathan and Chayton), Samuel, and Lawrence.  Jesse Livingston had also brought his new fiancée, Heather (Jonathan, Kimimela, and the rest of the Blake family would attend their wedding the following year).  Jonathan and Jesse had played together as boys as did Brendan and Samuel.  Lawrence and Isaiah were also around the same age and were both grateful to have eachother while growing up so they wouldn’t have to hang around with the girls.  James Livingston was a stern but generous man and showed his generousity in the wedding gift he had given to Jonathan and Kimimela.  James had given the newly married couple the remaining money they needed to build their house on the property that Jonathan’s father had set aside for them which eliminated the need to take out a loan with the bank, which was a burden that Jonathan and Kimimela anticipated facing.  They were unsure of how the some individuals in the banking system would react to them as a married couple and James had relieved them of that potential burden along with allowing Jonathan and Kimimela’s house to be finished in time for the winter that year.  Jonathan and Kimimela would briefly live with Charles, Emma, and Jonathan’s siblings while the final installments where being put in the house.  While she loved Jonathan’s family, Kimimela had been happy when she and Jonathan were able to officially move into their new home.  She and Jonathan were especially grateful for the house when Kimimela’s pregnancy had been discovered. 

Kimimela quietly got out of bed and went to the window, peering out at the flat grounds that stretched out beneath the night sky.  She could see Charles and Emma’s house far across the field.  The house was dark and highlighted by the light from the Perigee moon. She was grateful to live not only close to Charles, Emma, and the rest of the Blake family, but also to her Sioux village.  Kimimela was also glad to have Jonathan with her on nights like this, even if he was not awake.  Just having him near her gave her plenty of comfort.
Kimimela thought of the people in her village and wondered if her father or anyone else had had her experience.  She had felt a low roar beneath the earth earlier that day.  When she closed her eyes she had been taken across the ocean to a nighttime field.  She saw a field near a lake and the ground pulse under the moonlight as droplets of blood fell onto the grass.  As the blood fell, it seeped into the soil and a roar released into the air.  Kimimela would find out the source of the blood droplets after she had gone to sleep that night.  The dream would be a montage of scenes that would barely last longer than a second.  Kimimela would see a younger girl, who was maybe a couple years younger than she was, slice her palm with a dagger (and wear a rather pained expression while doing it) and allow the droplets of blood to run out from her.  There was an air of innocence to the girl. 
There was also another girl whom Kimimela saw.  This other girl was a couple years older, maybe around twenty and had a slightly darker coloring of hair and skin tone than the girl who had been letting her blood onto the ground.  The second girl was tall and had a willowy frame, where the first girl, the one spilling her blood onto the ground, was shorter with a rounder face and fuller bosom. 
Kimimela saw pieced of the life that the second young woman lived, working in a large, stone castle as a house servant.  She had met a cruel end and Kimimela could feel the pain and terror experienced by the young woman in her final moments.  She saw the second young woman’s lover and husband, who had been brought to the brink of madness when he lost her.  Kimimela saw the bloodspill that the young woman endured at the time of her death and the bloodspill her husband caused in a rage of vengeance.  Then she saw the first girl again, this time in her village.  Kimimela could hear the voices that spoke to the first girl, but couldn’t quite make out what was being said.  It was after that that Kimimela had awoken.
Kimimela knew that it wasn’t all that uncommon for an expecting woman to have rather strange dreams.  According to the town doctor, odd dreams were about as common as cravings for unusual combinations of food.  But there was something about these dreams and the people in them that seemed real and felt unrelated to Kimimela’s pregnancy. 

The following morning, Howahkan paid Kimimela and Jonathan a visit with some herbal potions and medicines to aid his daughter through her pregnancy.  Charles and Emma had also stopped over and the six of them had had an enjoyable visit.  After Charles and Emma had left, Kimimela told her father about what she had seen on the dreamscape with Jonathan sitting and listening intently. 
“Sounds like someone making a blood oath to the spirits,” Howahkan said after Kimimela had told him about the young girl letting out her blood onto the soil.  Kimimela also noted the look of concern on her father’s face.  Howakhan then suggested that he smudge her and Jonathan’s house, which he did, carrying the burning cedar, sage, and weatgrass through the house reciting a prayer of cleansing and protection.  Howahkan also prayed over the dreamcatcher that Kimimela kept over her and Jonathan’s bed in order to strengthen it’s power.  He had also brought one for the baby to have when he or she would arrive.  Howakhan, along with the rest of their tribe, believed that there were times when the dreamscape was more than events taking place inside an individual’s head.  They had meanings and were not to be taken lightly.  It was also possible for one’s soul to enter another plain and have the ability to do things it couldn’t while in a physical body. 
“Sleep is as close to a physical death as one can get,” her father had once told her.

Kimimela would never forget her father’s eyes when he left her and Jonathan that evening, simply telling her and Jonathan, “Be careful.”  She felt chilled and hugged her arms around her body.  Jonathan responded by wrapping his arms around his wife as they bid Howahkan goodnight.  They watched as the medicine man headed back toward the village, cloaked in the red light of the sunset.  Kimimela wondered about the individuals she had seen during her sleep the night before and what could be happening with them at the moment.  Then, her father’s words of warning hit her again.
Be careful.
Chills crawled over her skin and that was one of the many moments that she was grateful to have Jonathan with her.


Read on to Section 2 of THE TIME IN BETWEEN.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PART 1, NICOLAE'S ESCAPE: Chapter 8 (UNEDITED)


If you are just catching up, see the CHAPTERS section to read the Prologue-Chapter 7 before proceeding to reading Chapter 8.  

Otherwise, read PART 1, NICOLAE'S ESCAPE: Chapter 8 from the jump :)




CHAPTER 8

Night fell once again on the path that Nicolae and Teresa walked.  They had gone the entire day barely saying a word to one another.  The extent of the conversation between them had been Nicolae letting Teresa know if or when they were stopping and then asking her if she needed something to eat.  At dusk, they settled at the edge of another field near the woods where Nicolae built a fire for Teresa in silence.  Teresa had her back turned to him when Nicolae was finished building the fire.
“I’m going down to the river for a few minutes,” she heard him say, “Do you need anything?”
Teresa remained seated with her back to Nicolae and shook her head.  There was more silence between them before Nicolae spoke again.
“Do you still have the dagger I gave you?”
Teresa nodded, feeling Nicolae’s eyes on her.  She heard his footsteps walking away from her and down toward the river.  Teresa turned her head slightly, peering back over her shoulder.  She knew Nicolae was going to bathe.  He had worked out a system with Teresa that would avoid any accidental encounters.  Teresa was surprised at how resenting of that system she was.  Even with him being as cross with her as he was, it was difficult for her to push away the desire that filled her whenever she looked at him and it had been that way from that first day she saw him when she was with Alea.  Nicola was one frustrating young man and Teresa wasn’t sure if it was possible to fall in love so quickly.  But she was feeling things for Nicolae that she hadn’t felt for anyone.  Teresa sighed as she wondered if there could be a way she could convince Nicolae to change his mind about taking her back to the village. 
The desire she had for Nicolae caused Teresa to stand and moved descreetly toward the river where Nicolae was.  She hid behind a tree and watched him stooping down to his bag and taking his box out, holding it close to him as she had seen him do the first night he was in the village.  Teresa felt the heat crawling to her face as the memory of Nicolae standing naked in the moonlight filled her mind.  She chewed her bottom lip as he placed the box back in his bag. 
What do you have in that box?  Teresa thought, what are you hiding? 
Nicolae removed his shirt, uncovering his scars.  Teresa swallowed back a sob that threatened to escape and give her away.  She was angry with him; but with that anger was the passion she felt for him and her decision to be with him.  Teresa stared at the scars on Nicolae’s upper body wanting to embrace him and heal any pain that still lingered.  Teresa walked back to the fire as Nicolae began slipping off his trousers.  She needed to think and there wasn’t any way she would be able to think clearly staring at a completely naked Nicolae.  She sat back down at the fire, watching the flames flicker and the smoke curling up and disintegrating in the air.  As she continued staring at the wavering smoke, a shape seemed to form in the cloudy substance.  Teresa smiled.  It was a familiar shape, one that she had seen since she was a little girl.  She could feel the fire coursing through her body as the shape whispered to her.  The voices were comforting and assuring to Teresa.  She had never told anyone about the shape and the voices.  She had been seeing and hearing them since she was seven years old, about two years after her parents disappeared.  It began to strengthen when she was eleven and that was when she had gone to Gabriella in hopes of something that would give her a clue to what was happening to her and if it had any connection to what happened to her parents.  Teresa never received any answers but the visions and sounds kept coming.  They were sporadic and sometimes she would go for almost a year without hearing or seeing anything.  But when she would hear and see them, the message was urgent and important.  They had given her the ounce of courage she needed to follow Nicolae and now they were reminding her of something that may allow her to stay with him.  Teresa began to feel a small pang of guilt as she didn’t want to manipulate Nicolae and his feelings.  She had hoped that maybe with some time together, she would be able to win him over.  But that was not what was happening and maybe just a little manipulation would give the push needed to change Nicolae’s mind on returning Teresa to her village.  Teresa did have a fear of it backfiring and possibly making things worse and the voices scolded her for doubting them.
Have we ever let you down? They asked.  Trust us…there’s nothing to lose… 
Teresa turned her head back to glance toward Nicolae, lingering as their last words to her echoed in her mind.
Trust us…there’s nothing to lose…
Teresa turned back to the fire, feeling reassured and even a little joyful.  She just had to bide her time, they told her before fading away with the dissipating smoke.  The flames continued to dance hypnotically in front of Teresa who barely noticed the small giggle that escaped from her mouth.

Nicolae returned to the campsite to find Teresa sitting eerily still as she stared into the flames of the campfire.  He frowned at her as he placed his bag on the ground.  There was an unrest about the area that made Nicolae rather uneasy and he found Teresa’s behavior rather peculiar, even for her.
“Are you alright?” he finally asked her.
Teresa turned her head toward him, gazing up at him for a moment before turning back toward the fire.  Nicolae watched Teresa, taking in her blank stare. 
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hard on her.  She’s just a girl…a young, curious girl.  I suppose I can’t fault her for that.
“Teresa,” Nicolae said, “Listen…I apologize for raising my voice to you earlier.”
“I’ve gotten used to it,” Teresa said shrugging, “If you’re not yelling at me you’re barely speaking to me at all.”
“Is that how you see it being?” Nicolae asked.
“Well why shouldn’t I?!” Teresa yelled, startling Nicolae, “I’m the one who has done most of the conversation ever since we left the village.  All you’ve done is criticize me and treat me like mud when all I wanted to do was be there for you.”
Nicolae stood at a loss for words as Teresa continued.  “No matter how it may seem I know what it’s like to be alone, just like you.”
“Teresa…” Nicolae finally said, “it’s just…I’ve been used to living a solitary life for two years now.  I don’t think I would make a good companion for anyone.  Including you.  Especially you.”
“I may understand better than you think, Nicolae!  Why won’t you give me a chance?”
“Because you are a child, Teresa!”
Teresa stood, mouth gaped at him.  “A child?”
“Yes,” Nicolae said.
“I’m sixteen.”
“Age has nothing to do with it,” Nicolae said, “it’s the way you were brought up.  The way you view the world.  In that, you and I are completely different.”
Nicolae watched Teresa’s face fell. 
I love you, Nicolae! she wanted to scream and it took every ounce of strength she had to hold it back.
Nicolae turned his eyes away from the girl.  It actually hurt him a little to see her so dejected.  But it was true.  In some ways, even Sebastian had been more streetwise at age eleven than Teresa was at sixteen.  Nicolae still wondered how he had agreed to let Teresa come with him.  But he couldn’t deny his admiration for Teresa’s precocious nature even if it did come across as childish and reckless.
“The way I was brought up is not my fault,” Teresa said, “just like the way you were brought up isn’t yours.”
”I know,” was all Nicolae could say.
Nicolae kneeled to tend to the fire, keeping his gaze away from Teresa.  The heat radiated from the flames drying the damp strands of his hair.  He felt a small hand on his shoulder and was instantly reminded of sitting in the 1950s bedroom and finding Sebastian sitting beside him.
“Nicolae…”
His muscles tensed at the sound of Teresa’s voice and he could hear his heart loud in his ears as she stooped next to him. 
“I care about you, Nicolae.  I really do.”
Nicolae dared to turn his eyes to Teresa.  Her dark eyes were intense (intense as Eloisa’s always were during their nights together) as she made eye contact with him.  She brought her hands up to stroke his face with her fingers.  Every muscle in Nicolae’s body began to go soft at her touch.  For a minute, Teresa began to resemble Eloisa. 
“Eloisa…?” Nicolae stammered.
“No…” the woman in front of him said, “Teresa.”
Teresa was moving her face close to Nicolae when he flinched and moved away from her.
“Nicolae!” Teresa protested.
“We should get to sleep,” Nicolae said, “we have a good way to go before we reach your village.”
Before Teresa could reply, Nicolae was lying with his back to her and his bag in front of him.
“Goodnight,” Teresa said.  As usual, there was no reply from Nicolae.

Normally, Teresa would have taken a place to sleep on the other side of the fire across from Nicolae.  But this night, she moved closer to him, sleeping at the side of the fire where her head would be near his feet.  She was told to be patient and they still had a fairly long way to go until they reached her village. 
A lot can happen between now and then.
Teresa closed her eyes, remembering what they had reminded her of.  As she drifted to sleep, the name Eloisa echoed through her mind.  And it wouldn’t be last time she would hear it.

~~~~~

Teresa and Nicolae continued their travels for another week and a half.  Teresa also noticed a change in the way Nicolae behaved toward her.  He hadn’t changed his mind about returning Teresa to her village, but he was more amicable with her than he had been since they ran into one another at the old house.  Teresa had been hoping for more; she had been hoping Nicolae would open his eyes and see how she honestly cared for him and his well-being.  But she did see this as a possible start and it was much better than him being short with her or just not speaking to her all together.  As for Nicolae, he did, in a way, feel it owed it to Teresa to at least make an effort in treating her with more kindness than he had been, though there was still part of him that was disturbed over Teresa’s behavior at the campfire a week and a half ago.  Nicolae didn’t know why seeing her sitting and facing the campfire made him so uneasy.  People did that all the time.  But there was something about Teresa’s expression, the way her eyes glistened.  It was almost as though it wasn’t even her “in there.”  Even the way she had stood up to him.  There was part of Nicolae that had been impressed as it was a different side of Teresa than the meek, quiet young girl he had grown accustomed to.  It was so eerily familiar, so like Eloisa.  Despite everything that had occurred, Nicolae was still trying to find a reasonable explanation for Teresa’s behavior.
She was pretty upset when I told her I was taking her back to her village.  Maybe that was the trigger that finally put it in her to stand up for herself.  And perhaps I just miss Eloisa so much that I’m allowing myself to see her in everything.
It made sense as Nicolae had heard of people who grieved for a loved one so much that they would begin to see that loved one everywhere, including on the faces of other people.  His seeing Eloisa on Teresa’s face could have been just that.  His intense longing for Eloisa combined with the shadows produced from the light of the fire.  Nicolae knew that the odds of him ever being able to move on from Eloisa’s death were almost none even if he tried.  And he almost didn’t want to find any logic in anything that occurred.  Not the cloaked man, the two little boys in the field, Sebastian, 1956, or his nights with Eloisa.  Especially his nights with Eloisa.   He feared those were over as they had been more few and far between since he had met Teresa with her sister outside of their village. 
Nicolae also struggled with the idea that his nights with Eloisa over the passed two years had been nothing but the insanity of his grieving mind. 
But they have to be real…they feel too real to be nothing more than a dream or hallucination…
Nicolae had come to recognize the night for being his and Eloisa’s time ever since they were sixteen and fifteen years old and still slaves for the Domn Alexanderescu and he felt that had been violated in some way when he saw Eloisa on Teresa’s face.  Nicolae didn’t want Teresa or anyone to take the place of Eloisa.  In his mind and heart, no one ever could.  But Nicolae still made an effort to be kinder to Teresa and he found that doing so actually helped the trip run a little more smoothly.  It would only be a couple more days before they would be back at her village.  Nicolae anticipated dropping her off and setting out alone again to the seaport.  He knew he would never completely escape as there would always be a ghost from his life in Europe lingering around him.  Everything from the deaths of his parents, losing his siblings and Eloisa, to the disappearance of Sebastian.  None of it would ever completely leave him, but he hoped that somehow, moving to America would allow him a new start of sorts.  He had been self sufficient for most of his life and would be able to survive until he was settled somewhere.  And Eloisa would be with him.  Always. 
The thought of Sebastian still being out there somewhere still bothered Nicolae and he would be keeping a watch for his little brother until he boarded the ship.  There was still some hope left in him that they would be reunited before Nicolae would make it to a seaport, but that hope had been waning.  He had mentally prepared himself for the possible reality that Sebastian might never be found and that he may even have to accept that Sebastian may not even be alive.  The possibilities of what can occur in the open wilderness was neverending.  Nicolae pushed any horrible possibilities in his mind and tried to allow himself to believe that maybe, somehow, Sebastian found somewhere to settle and was alive, well, and happy.  While Nicolae felt a little foolish for thinking of something that sounded so trite, it was better than thinking of any alternatives.  Nicolae had hope the night he followed Sebastian into the world that was 1956 that Sebastian really had found his way back to him.  But Sebastian had almost appeared to be in a sleep state, despite the boy having his eyes open and speaking to Nicolae rather clearly.  The chilling thought returned to Nicolae.
Is it possible for one to enter a state of sleep and wander but never wake up?  And if so, for how long was that possible?
Sebastian had begun walking in his sleep shortly after they had left the Domn’s property and there were a couple times Nicolae had found Sebastian wandering quite a ways away from their campsite.  It had been a fear of Nicolae’s that one day, despite his being a light sleeper and swift runner, he would not wake up in time to catch Sebastian in a sleepwalking spell.
And maybe that’s the simple explanation for Sebastian…he walked away and never woke up…

~~~~~

It was dusk on the fifth night of the second week.  Nicolae picked out an area for him and Teresa to settle at for the night.  Nicolae had tried to maintain the boundaries he had set for the two of them, but Teresa seemed to be getting more brazen and while she hadn’t really crossed any lines, she seemed less respectful of those boundaries than before.  There were even a couple times when Nicolae would wake to find Teresa sleeping dangerously close to him.  She would always apologize with an explanation of maybe having rolled over in her sleep, but Nicolae found that hard to believe as it was almost impossible to do that with the way the campfires had been set up.  But he didn’t question it further in order to avoid confrontation.
It’s alright.  We’ll be back at her village in a matter of days, Nicolae would keep telling himself. 
But there was still something sitting in the back of his mind that bothered him.  Something that caused him to question the finality of their journey back to Teresa’s village.  Nicolae had considered that there may be consequences for Teresa when she was returned to her village and Nicolae did feel for her and he figured the doubtful thoughts he was having was a result of just that.  But he couldn’t trouble himself with any of that.  In order for him to have any sort of hope and having any kind of life, he had to leave and leave alone.  Having Teresa travel with him was also putting her in far more danger than any reprimanding she might face back at her village.  It had been two years since Dimitri had been killed by Nicolae’s hand and he was far away enough from Romania where the country’s officials would have a difficult time catching him.  But one could never be too certain and Teresa was slowing down his travels much more than Eloisa and Sebastian would have.
But her could austrocize her with nowhere else to go…then what would you do?  What would she do?
Nicolae knew that was possible, but unlikely.  Romani families and communities normally remained close knit even if one member of the family did something less than favorable.
As Nicolae set up the fire, he could feel Teresa’s eyes burning into his back. 
Just a couple more nights, Nicolae reminded himself.
The fire began to blaze and Nicolae asked Teresa if she needed anything to eat.  She said she did.  He did his best to avoid eye contact with her as he got them situated and surprisingly, Teresa didn’t bother him about his lack of contact with her.  Though there was something in her tone that made Nicolae’s insides jump when she made the announcement that she was going to head down to the nearby lake to bathe.  Nicolae reached into his bag, still avoid her gaze, and gave her a cloth to dry herself with. 
“Thank you,” she simply said. 
Nicolae caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of his eye.  She was regarding him rather strangely before she turned and headed down to the lake.  He sat with back to the direction she was in as he always did when she would go to bathe.
“Take the dagger with you,” he told her, “just in case.”
Teresa turned to see his back to her before she headed down to to the lake.

Teresa loved feeling the cool water pouring it’s way down her skin.  Sometimes, she would imagine the droplets of water being Nicolae’s fingers, feeling their way down the curves of her body.  At sixteen, Teresa had never even kissed a boy and it even surprised her at how vivid her fantasies of Nicolae had been since the night she followed him to the lake by her village.  But in the last week or two since they had come to her, she felt her confidence growing and she felt bolder than before.  She still wasn’t sure how she could approach Nicolae, but she was at least beginning to feel as though she actually could approach him and that was a giant leap from where she had been when she first met him.  It was even a great leap from the time he had discovered her at the old house the first night she followed him out of her village.
When he wrestled you to the ground…
Teresa looked back in the direction Nicolae was in.  She could see the glow of the fire and knew Nicolae would be sitting with his back to her.  Teresa sighed.  The thought of Nicolae not wanting to look at her hurt her a little.  If Nicolae would be her first, last, and always, she would be content for the rest of her life.
A rather cool breeze rustled the trees causing Teresa to shiver and her skin to prickle as she stepped out of the lake to dry herself.  She had gotten her undergarments on when she heard them. 
He really could be everything for you, they told her, your first, last, and always.  But you need to act soon.  Tonight.
“Tonight?” Teresa asked, “but he hardly looks at me.  And when he did he called me Eloisa.  Who is Eloisa?  Do you know?  He won’t tell me.”
Don’t you worry about that now, one of them said, she is no threat to you.  Do you see anyone named Eloisa with him right now?
“No,” Teresa said.
Then you have nothing to worry over.
Teresa stood silent, looking back toward the campfire before speaking again.  “What should I do?”
We’ll take care of that when it is time and that time is soon.
Teresa’s eyebrows raised when they told her they would need a payment.
“A payment?” Teresa said, “but I don’t have anything!”
But they didn’t want money or spoils of any kind.  What they wanted was blood.
“Blood?” Teresa choked out.  The idea made her terribly uneasy
You have the dagger he gave you, one of them whispered.
Teresa swallowed.  “Yes…but whose blood do you need?  Not Nicolae’s.  I would never do anything to hurt him!”
Not to worry.  We don’t need his.  Not if we have yours, one of them said, yours in an oath.
Teresa drew in a jagged breath and looked down at the dagger on the ground.  She picked it up, turning it over in her hands in her shakey hands.  The sight of blood was not something Teresa was fond of.  Even when Nicolae had given her the dagger for protection she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to use it even if she was in a situation where she might have to.  She didn’t think she had it in her to cut into another living creature and she always wondered how the butchers of her village where able to do that to the animals they killed for food.  And the thought of cutting into herself was enough for a queasiness to erupt in her stomach.
We only need a little, it assured Teresa in response to her hesitance.
“How?” Teresa asked, her voice still shaking a little. 
See that patch of ground where the moon casts in beams?  You will slice a little of your palm til the blood flows and let it fall onto the soil.  That’s all you need to do.
“I don’t know…” Teresa said.
Not only will you have the man you desire, but the bloodline of you and Nicolae will possess many gifts, just as your mother and father did.  Only the gifts of your descendents will be threefold of what your parents had.
“What kind of gifts?”  Teresa asked, unable to help her curiosity.  Maybe they would tell her more about her parents.
It chuckled. Anything you can think of.  But you will have to make the oath before you can even begin to know.  Before you would be able to have the man you desire.
Teresa turned her gaze again toward Nicolae.  They were right.  She did want him.  But was this really necessary to win him over?  He did seem to warm up to her and maybe with a little more time…
There is no more time!  they said rather sharply, forcing Teresa out from her thoughts.  You’ll be at your village in a matter of two days!  Three at the very most! 
Teresa gasped, noting the difference in the voices at that moment.  What had been so sweet and comforting to her as a child, especially after she had lost her parents, seemed almost…menacing?  They were still beautiful and angelic, but there was something about them that chilled Teresa down to the marrow of her bones.  She turned her gaze to the moonlit area and then back at Nicolae.  She looked again down at the dagger he had given her to ensure her safety.
“Isn’t there another way?” she asked after thinking for a moment.  “I think he does care for me even if he may not know it.”
Foolish girl!  Do you not even realize how close you are to Aragon?  How close you are to the elders and Gabriella?  How do you think they will react to a girl who dishonored them and herself?  Do you even know all that Gabriella went through when she had to tell the family of your betrothed that you had ran away?  Do you honestly think they will be welcoming you back in with open arms?
“You don’t think they’ll take me back into the village?  I mean, I’m sure Gabriella will be angry, but I don’t think…”  Teresa asked, her eyes beginning to well up with tears.
Even if they did take you back in, how would you face everyone?  They will all know what you have done and you will be a disgrace.  You will end up dying alone.  Alone and a disgrace to your kin.
The tears that stung Teresa’s eyes began to flow down her face.  She knew they were right.  Even if they did take her back in, life for her would never return to the way it was before she had left with Nicolae.  She had followed her heart’s desire and it was about to get her nothing but a lifetime of heartache.  Teresa knew what she wanted and that was Nicolae.  She had hoped she would be able to win him over on her own, but her visitors were forcing her to accept that that was not going to happen.  Teresa sobbed at the thought and the desperation she felt grew to where her entire body was shaking so violently she felt as though every fiber of her would shatter into a million pieces.  For a moment, Teresa welcomed that idea, wishing for it to happen.  Wishing that death would just take her and she would be a burden to anyone ever again. 
Teresa, they said, their tone much more gentle, almost comforting as they had been all of her life. 
Teresa wiped her tears away as she calmed down, the voices soothing her as a mother would comfort a child.  She could almost feel arms around her, embracing her.
You trust us, don’t you? one of them asked.
“Of…course,” Teresa stammered, fighting back the fear she was actually feeling.
You know, it continued, there is another method of payment we can take…
Teresa perked up a little.  “Really?  What?”
Unfortunatly, we cannot let you know until it is time to collect, they said.
“Why can’t you tell me?” Teresa asked.
And the only answer to Teresa’s question was, Do you not trust us?

Nicolae looked up from his map to see a slightly damp Teresa returning.  He watched her intently as she sat back down in front of the fire and spread out the cloth she had dried herself with.
“You were gone for quite sometime,” Nicolae said, “I was actually going to come and look for you if you hadn’t returned within the next few minutes.”
“Sorry…I got distracted…” Teresa said lamely.
Nicolae frowned but didn’t inquire any further.  He noticed Teresa’s right hand was wrapped with material she tore from the cloth he had given her to dry off with.  A small amount of blood had seeped through the cloth.
“What happened to your hand?” Nicolae asked.
Teresa hid her hand in her skirt.  “Oh, it’s nothing.  I accidentally picked the dagger up by the blade instead of the handle.” 
“Well, you need to be careful when dealing with a weapon,” Nicolae said, “here, let me look at it.”
Teresa walked over and sat down next to Nicolae who unwrapped her hand and inspected the cut.
“Looks like you sliced it pretty deep,” he said, “does it still hurt?”
“Only a little,” Teresa said, trying to hide her enjoyment of her hand in his. 
Nicolae took his flask of water out, wetting her cut before taking out a small bottle of vodka.
“This may sting a little,” he warned.
Teresa cringed as the alcohol stung her open wound.  Nicolae then re-wrapped her hand telling her to keep light pressure on it for a little while until the bleeding stopped.  Teresa was surprised at how easy it had been for her to lie to him about how she had cut her hand.  She had never the greatest liar but somehow, everything suddenly seemed easier.

~~~~~~~~


The fire had died down to ash and embers as Nicolae slept, unaware that Teresa sat wide awake watching him.  She took in every stir, every breath he took in and exhaled out.  It was one of the most peaceful sleeps she had seen him in.  She stood up and taking in a deep breath, she walked to where he lay.
Don’t be afraid, she heard a familiar voice in the back of her mind tell her.
When she got to Nicolae, she sat down, taking in his handsome features.  With a sudden surge of courage, she leaned in and 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.  As her breath quickened, 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.  Nicolae began to stir and open his eyes.  Teresa froze, her heart pounding as she anticipated Nicolae reacting negatively when he saw her beside him.  But when he opened his eyes and looked up at her, the corner of his lips turned upward.  It was one of the few times she had ever seen him smile and this time, he was smiling at her.  Teresa searched for words to explain her actions, but Nicolae stopped her by bringing his hand to her cheek, stroking it before bringing himself up to her and pulling her into a passionate kiss. 

It would be a night Teresa would never forget for as long as she would be alive.  The night of passion she had with Nicolae that would result in her continuing his bloodline.  They would never return to her village and Teresa would never know of the sleepless nights her adopted mother, Gabriella, spent agonizing over the loss of her adopted daughter.  She would never know the tears Alea shed over the idea of her older sister she loved and looked up to just leaving her.  Having to inform the family of Teresa’s betrothed wasn’t nearly as painful for Gabriella and even the elders as not knowing where Teresa was or what had happened to her.  Gabriella had the feeling that Teresa had followed the young man she knew as Luiz when he had left their village.  Gabriella had seen the way Teresa had regarded that young man and it frightened her.  She thought that by finalizing Teresa’s suitor would allow the young girl to take any thought she may have had about the young drifter.  But Gabriella had severely misjudged Teresa and she now recognized that doing so might have pushed Teresa’s rebellion even further.  It was the same carefree nature Gabriella had seen in Teresa’s mother, Dominique, whom Gabriella had grown up with.
“Too much like your mother,” 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 while Teresa made love with Nicolae not too far from the village and, as a result, became his wife.
But the pleasure and joy Teresa felt would be short lived.  She would have Nicolae and, yes, continue his bloodline, but it would never be as she imagined and hoped it would be.  She would come to find out what was inside of Nicolae’s precious box and come to know Eloisa and would never be the same.  Teresa would still always be alone and, at times late at night while alone with her thoughts, would wonder if she really would have been better off staying in her village back in Aragon, only having known Nicolae Ganoush as a young man named Luiz who had simply come passing through.

And that concludes PART 1, NICOLAE'S ESCAPE (though his story is far from over).  Read on to the next part in the first book, THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931: Section 1 .