Sunday, May 19, 2013

(#Twenty-two: Reunion) Wuthering Nights inspired by Wuthering Heights

Chapter Twenty-two
He was tempted to twist her arm with more than a little bit of force. Tempted to kiss her wrist, plunge his teeth into it, suck her blood and drain the life out of her. But he held back. If she’d come too close, he didn’t know if he’d be able to control himself. Since he’d turned twenty one, everything had changed. Even with medication, he spent his nights out hunting, baying for blood, preying on animals when he couldn’t resist. So far, he’d drawn the line at innocent humans but he craved their energy, especially Kate’s. Her blood had always been tempting to him.
     ‘I waited for you to return,’ Kate repeated, frustrated with the tone of the conversation, ‘until I could wait no longer.’ Her words were greeted with stony indifference as they walked together, yet apart.  ‘I would’ve waited for you forever, if you’d just sent me some word...a proper explanation.’
     ‘Well, it didn’t take you long to make your choice,’ Heath said bitterly.       
    ‘You gave up too easily…’ Kate said incredulously.
    Heath continued to talk. ‘Stupidly, I left quickly, without talking to you. I went to find the doctor on Harley Street; I thought he would be able to shed some light on Harrison’s lies, give me proof we were not brother and sister. My specialist was abroad. By the time I walked back to the bedsit to find you, it was almost midday. I went past that tiny pub near Dean Street where people had already congregated and was caught in the middle of a fight on the footpath. I don’t know how it happened but I was knocked out and found myself in the back of a van being taken for questioning by the police. They locked me up that night and as we didn’t have the telephone, I couldn’t speak to you. I passed out.
     Without my supplies, things just went from bad to worse. I became delirious. When I woke, I was desperate to find you.
     There was a girl and a man that night as I walked back to our flat, and they were fighting and he brought out a knife. There was no one else around and when he threatened her, then me… I… snapped. I did not know my full strength. It was the first time I ever… fed on a human. The girl fled. The man was alive when I left him but I felt so despicable. Still, I wanted to find you, though I could hardly face you. You weren’t at the bedsit and…I believed he would have killed the girl if I hadn’t…stopped him - but I was out of control by then. I vowed never to let myself become like that and to find out the truth about…us.’
     Kate was shocked; she didn’t know what to say.
    ‘Perhaps in some cases…violence is justified. I am not afraid of you, Heath.’
    ‘Their fight started with a few misplaced words and a punch being thrown out on the street…but ours started so much sooner. We were always from two different worlds, Kate, but two halves of the same whole, even so.’
    Heath looked embarrassed as he told Kate the rest of the story.
    ‘I tried to contact you. I’d spent the night locked up and a further day talking my way out of everything - it’s a long story - there was no match to me on the man’s person so they couldn’t charge me. Oh, that’s the latest thing, my…fingerprints have disappeared.  And… when I look in the mirror, I barely see my image. But I’m still okay in the sun, as long as I wear this.’ He pulled out the amulet her father had made sure he wore as a young child.
      ‘I was very…angry when I got back to Hampstead. I felt…unworthy of you, but I was determined to find you. I had my answer from Dr Vincent and I was satisfied the necessary tests had been made to ensure we were not related. Then, I made my way back here to Hareton Hall and walked across this park. It was almost exactly three years ago today.
       As I approached the house, Hareton Hall was lit up like a Christmas tree. I felt a pang of…envy, jealousy as if I didn’t know how I’d react if I saw you. Kate, for the first time in my life, after what had just happened, I didn’t trust myself around you. I was determined to demand your whereabouts from Harrison if you had been, as I believed you were…sent back to Switzerland. I’d already contacted the school after I returned to our empty bedsit, but they gave me nothing, because they weren’t allowed to tell me anything. Then they suggested you might be at The Hall. I thought maybe Annabelle had told someone… that we planned to run away together…’
   ‘No,’ Kate said, ‘she was loyal to us both…’
   Heath continued…
   ‘When I finally saw the inside of that house, through the big lower floor bay window where you always used to sit and read, I saw Hunt’s face, and Annabelle’s, laughing. There was a puppy in your arms and you looked happy. Harrison and Frances seemed so… self-satisfied on the couch. Harrison was playing the “good husband” and talking amiably to Frances. I could hardly contain my…rage when I saw your beautiful, smiling face in the corner room looking outside.’
    ‘I was looking…for you.’
    ‘Well…I’m glad you didn’t see me.’ Heath said resignedly.
    ‘I’m not glad.’
    ‘When I saw Hunt come over and hand you a gift, something inside me, changed.’
    ‘It was Christmas…tradition…’
    ‘I gathered that. But it was unbearable to me. He…kissed you.’
    ‘The party was celebrating my recovery. I could hardly walk after the ski trip. I’d been in a coma and I’d woken up…and you had been missing for so long.’
    ‘I know. But the gloating look on Harrison’s face and Hunt’s obvious attraction to you, made me angry. I felt like… killing him... You kissed him back, Kate…’
    ‘I was acting. I had no choice.’
   ‘I think you were happy with them… with the security Hunt provided for you in that moment …like that. It seemed to be what you had always wanted.’
   There was a long silence that hung between them like ice.
    ‘I vowed revenge.’
     Kate nodded slowly.
    ‘I have since thought… I may have been…partly…responsible. Heath, I called everywhere asking for you prior to the day of my marriage.’
    ‘I was… not fit for company after that moment. I stayed watching you in the shadows, my anger slowly submerged into whatever is left of my soul, along with the happiness on your face.’
   ‘Like I said, I was pretending. You must have turned away before Hunt carried me to the dining room table. But if you hadn’t, you may have realised why I couldn’t walk there myself. My foot was bandaged. It had nothing to do with love.’
     Heath said, ‘I thought you had made your choice.’
    ‘Never, I spent days in the bedsit crying over you before Greta came and found me. I was whisked away to Switzerland that weekend, it’s true. But I planned to find you the moment I could walk again.’
     Kate looked down at her muddy boots. The horses, sheltered, were ready to move again.
     Kate stood up.
     Heath grabbed hold of her wrist.
    ‘Leave him. I cannot be without you.’
    ‘Nor I you,’ Kate said. ‘But I have made a promise and I cannot just walk out on that promise. Not right now.’
     ‘What about your promise to me?’
     ‘You left me. I can’t just…abandon the family who have been good to me.’ She paused, ‘Please, will you come to dinner tonight? We can talk after Hunt has gone to bed. He knows I think of you … fondly.’
    Heath laughed.
   ‘Hunt will do anything, at the moment, to please me.’
   ‘Anything? Why?’
    He looked at Kate’s face.
    Kate blinked and sat down.
   ‘I must have stood up too quickly,’ she said.
     He studied her more closely, blood rising in her cheeks. He’d seen this look before. A girl he’d hung out with in New York, a waitress who became a friend and worked in one of the clubs where he’d played had been dating a guitarist. After they left the club they got married and she had a child six months later. 
      Perhaps Heath knew Kate so well he knew before she did.  She reached out her hand to him and pulled him close to her. His hearing had become extremely good since he’d turned. It was one of the advantages of becoming immortal. He sunk to his knees and pressed his head into her chest. He could hear conversations through walls so why not babies through skin? The two heartbeats pounded his ear as she slumped into him - Kate’s and the heartbeat of her unborn child. He felt sick to his stomach and twice as betrayed as she attempted to take his hand.
     ‘Please, come to dinner at The Grange. I have to see you again and I can’t put off the dinner party I promised Annabelle we’d have. She will be thrilled that you are to be the guest of honour.’
     He flinched and moved away from Kate as she moved closer.
    ‘Annabelle? Is she still living here?’
    ‘Yes, The Grange is half hers, Heath.’
    ‘Oh,’ Heath said, disinterestedly.
    ‘She’s finished her Art Course and has her first commission to paint some houses in this borough. She’s staying with us for a few months.’ Kate added.
    Heath backed away from the woman he loved more than himself, with a blank expression. He wasn’t ready to give her up.
    ‘I’ll be over in the car at about eight,’ he said dispassionately. ‘After all, Hunt should meet his new neighbour.’