Sunday, May 19, 2013

(#Thirty-eight: Happiness) Wuthering Nights by Summer Day: Inspired by Wuthering Heights

Chapter Thirty-eight

Katarina had been meeting Hinton for months by the time Heath had made plans to sign the freehold title of his estate over to them. It was a regular pattern. They met at a studio space, rented out by the Art College, in Soho.
     Kat loved getting out of North London. She was used to being in central London but she particularly loved the winding cobbled streets of Soho and the West End lights.  She’d dressed up for the occasion, knowing that she and Hinton had a special dinner planned to celebrate the one year anniversary of their first meeting.
     Instead of going to Hampstead, they decided on a tiny restaurant here, beside the studio space. Hinton had something he wanted to show her that did not include a pen and paper.
     In return, Katarina had a gift she had made to give him.
     They kissed as lovers do, warm and close. It was as if they had always been like this. Although it had taken them many months to feel comfortable in each other’s company, they now trusted each other completely. Hinton took Katarina’s hand as they went to the studio together, tripping through crowds and Christmas lights of a frosty London winter.
    ‘Quick, Katarina, I want to show you something.’
    ‘Yes Hinton, I have something important to tell you also, something I’ve been saving for today.’
    Hinton looked at her in the street, as they stood still together as the crowds bustled around them. Her face shone with beauty, hope and expectation.
    Hinton had dreaded this moment - the moment he knew in his heart would eventually arrive. Everyone he had been close to, even momentarily, had abandoned him. First his own parents, whom he’d never met, then his adopted parents; even his adopted uncle had shown little interest in him beyond teaching him to fight back and be sullen and not trust another living soul. But he trusted this girl and she sensed his desperation when she said she had something important to tell him. Hinton’s face was downcast, he knew it was irrational. They’d never had an argument since the day they’d met but still the thought remained that she might be breaking up with him. After all, he needed plasma every nine hours to exist.
    ‘I…I knew you would…tire of me…you are such an amazing person but…’
    ‘Oh no, Hinton, you misunderstand…Hinton …I …love you. I think I’ve loved you since we both sounded out the word “incandescent” …you are…the most original, amazing…’
    He put his finger on her mouth, happy that the night had not been ruined, and the surprise was still before them.
   ‘Before you say anything else, you need to see this…’
    They had reached the studio, a small building, one floor up on a tiny side street in Soho.
    Hinton opened the door slowly.
    He wrapped his tie across her eyes.
    ‘Wait,’ he said.
    ‘Hinton, what are you up to?’
     ‘I’m showing you something I’ve been working on over the autumn. It’s something special…it’s my future.’
   Kate stood still in the centre of the room, an empty room with tall ceilings apart from the   painting on the easel in the middle.
   ‘Open your eyes.’
   Katarina stood in her coat, flicks of snow upon her shoulders and glanced at the tall, handsome boy with the kind eyes, then glanced back at the painting of her.
    ‘What do you think Katarina?’
    ‘It’s…amazing. I’m speechless…’
    ‘It won first prize. You won me first prize.’
    The picture that stared back at them was of a young woman’s face, an identical artist’s interpretation of the beautiful girl in the room. The haunted look in her eyes was replaced with something verging on both satisfaction and calm. If there was a word to describe the expression on Katarina’s face in the portrait, it would be love.
    ‘You are the reason I won this scholarship. I’m going abroad for the summer…’
    Kate’s face dropped…
    ‘Well, that’s wonderful… I had something for you but now…’
     Kate realized Hinton had meant more to her than she to him, for he was the one contemplating leaving.  
   Hinton took her hands in the shadow of the exquisite painting. Light beamed in from Soho streetlamps. Wind whipped up leaves on the cobbled stone. He could hear her heart and tried to stop himself from hearing her thoughts. He’d consulted a specialist who’d said by twenty-one, his needs would be fully formed. But for tonight, he was okay. Together, they were warm and safe.
    ‘It’s just that… I made something for you, but I don’t know if I should give it to you now. I mean, now that you are going…’
   Katarina sat on the forgotten lounge which had been covered in an old painter’s canvas sheet. There were splotches of blue and pink oil paint around the frayed edges of the material.
   Hinton moved towards her slowly, blood tightening in his veins. He hesitated.
   ‘That’s just it, Katarina. I don’t want to go alone. I know you shouldn’t accept me, as I am and I know it’s early to ask you this - we are young…I am…different, to say the least but…’
    Katarina looked more intently at him, not wanting to anticipate his meaning without having it spelt out before her. He wanted her to go with him… or did he?
   It was easier for him. All his life he had felt unloved until now. Hinton did not want any misunderstandings or any lack of clarity to mess things up the way love had messed up the people around him - his adopted Uncle, for example.
    ‘I… I love you. And I was wondering if you could overlook…’
    Hinton got down on one knee on the bare floors, his mouth watering with nerves, his blood tight in his veins…
    ‘I…am wondering…would you do me the honour…’
     Katarina was surprised. She had thought he’d meant her to travel with him but…this.
    ‘Yes,’ Katarina said…
    ‘I haven’t asked…’ he began.
    ‘Ask the question,’ Katarina smiled.
    ‘Katarina Spencer…I know we are young, I know we should be fearful of my…condition, but I’ve never been surer of anyone. Would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?’
   ‘Yes,’ Katarina said.
   In the shadow formed by street lamps, the young lovers kissed.