Sunday, May 19, 2013

(#Twenty-nine: Glass House) Wuthering Nights by Summer Day: Inspired by Wuthering Heights

Chapter Twenty-nine    
Glass House
    In retrospect, he had tried to show enthusiasm for the marriage. 
     As they grew apart, Annabelle was unaware they’d never really been together, except as friends and briefly, lovers. If his wife had ever asked, he would have told her everything. Deep down, he knew the truth; Annabelle didn’t want to know.
    Work was always his excuse.
    The office needed him - the businesses. The family fortune required overseeing now that Harrison had drunk himself into despair and lost most of the shares that had remained in his name. Harrison sold the rest to Heath’s company for a third of what they were worth. Of this recent business deal, he was not ashamed. He knew Kate, whom he hadn’t spoken to for months, would be angry at him for stooping to Harrison’s level.
     The adoption of Hinton had not brought the family any closer together and Heath made more excuses to stay out of the house. Heath’s career was escalating and he was expanding the company overseas, preparing to leave London for Asia for three months.
   ‘I’m asking you not to go,’ Annabelle said. ‘It’s too soon with the baby.’
   ‘Well Annabelle, you knew where this was going when you married me. I can’t abandon my career; it’s important.’
   ‘For what? You’ve earned more money than we could ever use and you have mine. You’ve spent half your life trying to get back at Harrison, now you’ve succeeded. You own his house…his companies...’
   ‘Co-own. Remember it’s mortgaged.’
   ‘The same thing, you will own it. And my brother, you won’t even speak to Hunt.’
   ‘It is an understatement to say we didn’t get along at school…’
   ‘But we are adults now, Heath; I just want you to forget…’
    Annabelle put her hands on her husband’s face. Normally her blood did not appeal to him overly, but he hadn’t taken his vitamins and was low on plasma. He pushed her hand away, afraid the yearning to feed and munch on the cool blue vein in her wrist would repel her. If only he could share with her his longings, his issues, himself. Perhaps the marriage would have had a chance. But, let’s face it, she wasn’t Kate. He knew Annabelle would run from him when she discovered the truth. He was sure of it.  
    Annabelle, for her part, suspected Heath was not normal from the earliest days of their marriage. She thought he might need therapy but he brushed her away when she tried to talk to him about his mood swings, as she called them. He’d always been cold towards her, Annabelle realized in retrospect. She had thought Hinton and the baby would bring them together but after he’d satisfied himself that the foetus would be “normal” (going so far as to take her to a strange specialist in Harley Street when she seemed overly fond of lamb chops), Heath had distanced himself from her once again. 
     Every person was worthy of love. It seemed to Annabelle that Heath had received more from the marriage than she had. Annabelle only expected her husband to love her, yet he made her feel unworthy. Sometimes he looked at her as if she was air and Belle caught him looking at Kate’s old photographs more than once. Annabelle didn’t even want to think about her sister-in-law. She was sure it was their love that had wrecked her marriage. On other occasions she realised that Heath was the sort of man who would have found it hard to make any marriage work.
     Belle regretted the loss of her only female friend.  She missed being close to her sister-in-law. Months earlier, Kate had pleaded with Annabelle not to marry Heath and Annabelle hated to admit Kate was right.
    ‘He only wants to hurt you…he wants to hurt me.’
    ‘How can you say that, Kate? Why do you think you are the only person worthy of love?’ Annabelle asked.
   ‘It’s not like that,’ Kate had replied.
   ‘Not like what?’
    ‘Heath and I…we grew up together…I know him. He’s not like other people, he’s…different…’ Annabelle misunderstood her intentions almost entirely.
    ‘He still loves you…doesn’t he?’
    ‘I…I don’t think Heath’s capable of love anymore…he…uses women and he’s not above using you for his own purposes,’ Kate had warned her.
   ‘What purposes? He’s already got his own money. Yes, our family is wealthy but so is Heath…’
  ‘It’s not like that. He wants ownership, power. First it was Harrison, now it’s Edmund… once he marries you, he controls you. He wants to hurt me…promised me he’d get me back, for marrying Edmund…’
   ‘Why did you marry my brother, Kate? I’ve always wondered…’
   ‘Because… I loved him.’
   ‘Because you loved him or because you needed him? Heath wasn’t there and my brother was! Well now I need someone Kate and you can’t stop me from being with him…’
   ‘I’m trying to warn you… he will make your life very difficult Annabelle.’
   Annabelle had packed her suitcase.
   ‘Promise me you’ll give me a chance, Kate. Stay away from us until after the baby is born.’
    ‘If that is what you wish, Annabelle, but you are making an enormous mistake. You barely know this person. Heath is not like you. He’s strong but angry and he’s vengeful. He’ll take all of his frustrations out on you…’
    ‘I don’t care,’ Annabelle raged for the first time in her life. ‘I love him.’
     Kate was not surprised and she wished her sister-in-law well but suddenly they were like strangers in the same room.                                   
    ‘You know what your words do Kate? They make me more anxious than ever to leave this house…tonight.’
    Kate sat on the bed; she knew she had tried to reveal Heath’s full nature to Annabelle but it had backfired. In fact, she’d made the situation worse. Kate had just alienated her only female friend.
   ‘I cannot say I’m surprised,’ Hunt said later. ‘I spent hours trying to talk her out of the marriage last night, but there was nothing to be done.’
    Edmund leaned in to kiss his wife on the cheek. Kate pulled away.
   ‘Annabelle is very determined to make this mistake,’ Kate said.
    One night, after they were married, unable to contain himself as Annabelle kissed him, Heath sunk his fangs into her neck (the taste of her blood was expectedly bitter to him). He knew, even after she’d fled the house, they could never be friends again.
     Annabelle, endlessly forgiving, wanted to try but he could never explain his true condition or his sense of unworthiness. There seemed little point, especially after Annabelle had finally lost it and screamed at him for being a freak. The next day, Annabelle fled to Cornwall and the family estate. It was just until the baby was born, or so she’d said.
     He didn’t blame Annabelle. He was glad, in some ways, to see the back of her. He was becoming exactly what he was born to be, an animal. Soon there would not be a shred of humanity left in him. He littered his wardrobe with discarded packets of plasma and when the maid found the empty packages she screamed. He wasn’t proud of who he was or what he’d done but after his wife left, he reconnected with his specialist and had a new elixir designed for him, Magenta Plus. This liquid began to control the variant in his condition.     
     When Annabelle returned to Hareton Hall, she occupied a separate bedroom.  Heath was surprised Annabelle didn’t leave him permanently. His wife had reverted to type and wanted to keep up appearances at all costs. Heath could read her thoughts by the time she returned and he knew she would run off once the baby was born, perhaps return to The Grange, but never to him. He thought she would leave again after catching him gorging discarded plasma from a plastic bag after a particularly long day at the office. He’d married her for all the wrong reasons; to get back at Kate and Hunt; to possess her and her property. Who could blame her? He’d respect her more for leaving. Deep down, he should have been more careful, controlled himself more around her. He resolved not to be such a fang freak in the bedroom.
     In truth, he was surprised Annabelle had stayed as long as she had. He knew she only tried for the sake of the baby and he wished he could be a better man for her, could love her even, but his heart always belonged to someone else.
     After she left, everyone left. Heath stopped taking his medication and began to drink too much elixir again. This resulted in an imbalance in his system and disturbing side-effects. He craved blood…human blood but had learnt how not to kill, how to just take enough, how to control himself. This control came from the part of him that was still fully human.
     Heath started to bring home girlfriends, randomly. This was an easy thing to do since he was so good-looking and hugely rich. None of them compared to Kate. Always, Heath was dissatisfied.
      Greta was disgusted by his immoral behaviour and resigned, telling him to join a twelve step recovery program and get himself back on track with his medication. She sent his Harley Street specialist for a home visit the day she left and whispered that she would call to check  on him in a few days to re-negotiate the details of her employment contract.
     During that time, Heath detoxed and was put under careful observation until he finally got himself back on track. He did some soul searching. In truth, none of the Spencers appeared to make good husbands, yet he wasn’t a Spencer, not really. He contemplated researching his bloodline but that would take him far from Kate and he didn’t want to leave her again. Though they hadn’t spoken for weeks, he knew she was close by at The Grange.
    It had been six months since he’d seen Kate and Greta had told him news of her pregnancy. After Heath married, he’d sent her running back to her weak and irritating husband. At the time, he was glad to see Kate go. He’d watched her turn and run out of the arboretum that night. He thought she deserved his indifference and was glad to bestow it upon her. 
    Only he hadn’t felt indifferent afterwards.
    He could still feel her under his skin. With every breath, he thought of her, couldn’t stop dreaming about her. He felt she must be feeling the same. His senses were more acute, even though he’d been denying them.