THE LAST GOVERNESS-CHAPTER 9

9

After I returned from London, there were many days when I considered the journal’s warning and Gideon nothing but a bad dream. Jasper and I continued his studies. I began to doubt my fearful impression of him, since nothing else alarming occurred. We even resumed our walks, though I did not travel to the duck pond and I allowed him to wander unescorted, so that there would be some distance between us. So everything continued on quite calmly until the day the thunderstorms returned.
I should have refused Jasper when he wanted to go outside after his morning lessons. The day had been gray and overcast, there was no doubt that a storm would break, but I did not have the energy to refuse him. When the heavens opened, I could not see my hand in front of my face. Jasper was nowhere to be found and so I ran for the nearest shelter. The Manor was unusual in that it did not have a chapel on the grounds, but they did have a family crypt. This is where I found myself. I wiped the water from my eyes and took a breath. I tried to dry myself as best I could, which is to say, not at all. It was then I noticed the sound of someone else’s breathing.
I could not leave, I would surely drown in the rain that rivaled Noah’s flood, so I moved forward. There laying against the wall which housed his ancestors was Gideon. It was clear to me that he was not sleeping, but ill. His face was flushed and his brow beaded with perspiration. I knelt down and took his hand. His eyes opened. I knew he did not see me, his eyes were glazed with fever.
“Mother?”
“No, no, Gideon it’s Lucy.”
“You must go, before, you must not-”
“I will get someone from the house.”
He seemed more himself and grabbed at my arm.
“No, if they know I’m here I will never be able to rescue my son. Please, we must get away.”
All the dread that I had pushed away for the last few days came flooding back.
“Jasper is-”
“I, left here many years ago, without my father’s permission. I was in love with-, it doesn’t matter now. She died before she could join me. You have no idea what monsters they are. Malcolm is more my father’s son than I ever was. He has plans for you,”
“You have a fever-”
“I am not delusional. My brother wants a wife without the bother, he will wed you and dispose of you as soon as he has an heir. He is following in my father‘s footsteps. ”
I had no doubt that he believed what he was telling me.
“Your brother has never-”I began and then I raised my eyes to the marker above Gideon’s head. It said,
MOTHER
GOVERNESS
1863.
Our eyes locked.
“Malcolm is 27.”

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