“Η ιστορία μας ξεκινά πολύ καιρό. Στην εποχή των ηρώων, των ημίθεων, των θεών και των θεών. "
“Is this thing on?” Mo tapped the translator.
“Who knows, it’s all Greek to me,” Tobin shrugged.
Leif groaned, “Dude, just no.” He flicked the switch on the bottom of the microphone and gave Mo a thumbs up.
“As I was saying….” Mo glared at the other two. “Our tale begins long ago. In the time of heroes, demigods, gods and goddesses.”
“Psst…. You’re supposed to introduce us!” Tobin stage whispered.
“I was getting there! Haven’t you ever heard of pausing for dramatic effect!” Mo rolled his eyes and scoffed, “Amateurs…We are the Fates. You may know us by other names and faces, but our purpose is the same. We are the keepers of destiny, let no man or god interfere with the fates we spin.”
“Oooo, that’s good. You have a real flair for this,” Tobin grinned.
“Seriously? We’re never going to get to the story if you keep interrupting!” Leif scolded.
“Just appreciating the art and the artist bro!”
Mo loudly cleared his throat, “AS I WAS SAYING! This is the tale of two lovers, whose threads of fate were cut before their time.”
*muffled noises* Leif covered Tobin’s mouth with his hand, to prevent any further interruptions.
Mo nodded his approval, “Our story begins….”
Greece 382 B.C.E.
Zoie and her mother were in the garden gathering flowers.
“How did you know that you were in love with Father?"
Her mother stood up, looking at her daughter.
"Well, it was when he first sang me a song, he had written just for me." She smiled at the memory. "It was so beautiful that it made the gods weep, and I knew then that I would never love another."
Zoie nodded, turning her attention back to the garden.
Her mother placed her hand on her cheek, tilting her head up to look at her. "Why do you ask, my dearest?"
Zoie blushed, turning away. "I think I understand how you feel for Father."
Her mother smiled, "And who is the lucky man? It wouldn't happen to be that charming young farmer from down the road, Maximos?"
Zoie gasped, turning quickly to face her mother.
"Hhh… how could you po…"
"Dearest, I am your mother, I always know." She grinned, tapping Zoie on the nose. "You don't think I've noticed the number of times he stops by on his 'way into town'...which is in the opposite direction of our house?"
Zoie giggled, "He does come by quite often, doesn't he?"
Her mother shook her head, smiling, "Has he told you his feelings?"
Zoie bit her lip and nodded, "He loves me, and I love him. He wants to ask Father for permission to marry me, once the harvest is in."
"Oh, my dear girl," her mother embraced her. "I offer you both my blessing, for a loving, happy, fruitful relationship."
Zoie felt a breeze rustle against her hair and cheeks in a soft caress. Her mother placed a kiss on her forehead, causing a slight tingle along her skin.
"Oh Mother, thank you!" Zoie cried with happiness. "Will you prepare Father? I need to go fetch Maximos."
Her mother nodded, watching as Zoie sprinted out the gate and down the path as though she was wearing Hermes winged sandals.
A sunflower began to grow where she had stood, growing into its full height in a matter of moments. The flower leaned, brushing its petals against the mother's shoulder. She smiled secretively and reached over to pat the sunflower affectionately.
"Maximos!!!" Zoie called excitedly as she ran down the path to the field he was plowing.
He held up his hand to shade his eyes from the sun, just in time to catch Zoie as she launched herself into his arms.
He chuckled as he staggered under the momentum. "Now, that's a greeting a man could get used to."
She grinned, eagerly kissing him. "Mother has offered us her blessing and is speaking with Father now."
Maximos looked at her in shock, "You mean, I can speak with your father today?"
Zoie nodded, still smiling.
Maximos let out a whoop of joy, beginning to spin around excitedly, his arms full of the woman he loves.
Zoie laughed, tapping his shoulder to be let down.
"Come on, no time like the present!" She eagerly began to pull him towards the road.
He chuckled. "Hold on, Zoie. You go on ahead, and I'll get freshened up and meet you there."
Zoie nodded, giving him one last kiss. "Don't be too long."
Maximos watched the woman he loved attempt to walk steadily up the path. She turned at the gate and tossed a wink over her shoulder before breaking into a run.
He chuckled and walked into his house to change his tunic and clean himself up.
He had just unclasped his tunic when he heard a voice from his bed.
Zoie, daughter of Nikos and Demter-Zoey
Demeter, Nikos wife, oversees the farmwork- Maggie
The Fates-Tobin, Mo, and Leif
Η ιστορία μας ξεκινά πολύ καιρό. Στην εποχή των ηρώων, των ημίθεων, των θεών και των θεών.-Our story begins a long time ago. In the age of heroes, demigods, gods and goddesses.
Maximos spun around surprised, quickly crossing his arms to cover his chest. "Who in Hades are you? And how did you get in here?"
The blonde woman smirked as she eyed what she could see of his bare chest. "You may address me as Aphrodite."
Maximos gawked at her wide-eyed before kneeling before her, bowing his head and averting his eyes in respect. "Pardon me, my Goddess, I was not aware whose presence I was in."
Aphrodite clucked her tongue, as she walked towards him. "No need for such formalities…for now…." She placed her hand under his chin, lifting his face to see her.
"I'm here for a more…. personal reason," she purred.
Maximos looked confused, what could the Goddess of beauty want with him.
She laughed, caressing his cheek. "Oh, my dear sweet boy. I'm here for you ."
Maximos' eyes widened in understanding, he swallowed nervously.
"Me?!" His voice cracked. "Why me?"
Aphrodite raked her eyes along his body, "You are far superior to other mortal men. Which makes you worthy to worship my body." She unclasped her toga allowing it to fall at her feet. She moved closer to him, reaching to run her hands along his shoulders.
Maximos took a step back from the naked Goddess, refusing to look anywhere below her chin.
Aphrodite grinned, "Don't worry, I won't bite…. until you beg me to."
Maximos shook his head, continuing to back up until his back hit the wall.
"My Goddess," he began.
She placed a finger against his lips, "You may address me by name."
"A-A-Aphrodite," he sputtered. "I am flattered at your attentions…. but you see….ummm…"
She waited for him to continue.
"I am promised to another," he explained.
Aphrodite scoffed, "What she doesn't know won’t hurt her. I shall offer you blessings on your marriage should you accommodate my desires. Surely, that will appease her?" She ran her fingers along his jawline, as she leaned towards him.
He frowned, moving slightly to the left the goddess missed her mark and bumped against the wall.
"OW!! That hurt!" She exclaimed furrowing her brow at him. "Did you not hear my offer of marriage blessings in addition to the joys of my flesh?"
Maximos nodded, "It is a generous offer, Goddess, however, it is not one I can accept. My heart is not my own to give."
"I don't want your heart, merely your body." She explained, patience beginning to wear thin.
"I am sorry, but that also belongs to her. Heart, mind, body, and soul are hers," Maximos smiled, thinking of Zoie.
Aphrodite's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You dare to refuse me? Have you taken leave of your senses?"
Maximos began to inch towards the door, away from the slowly angering, naked goddess.
"I have told you why I must refuse you. And now, I must take my leave. Forgive me, Goddess." He bowed briefly before sprinting out the door and towards Zoie's house.
Chapter 3: Greece 382 B.C.E. Chapter 3
A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on @clarkemanotp and my collaboration! We really appreciate it!
Aphrodite let out a screech of rage. "How dare he refuse me! A mortal man rejecting me?!?! I am THE Goddess of Beauty! He thinks his mere mortal love is a match for me?" She waved her hand and was dressed again. "Hmph. We shall see about that. I believe I shall pay his intended a visit. And see just what sort of spell she has him under."
She snapped her fingers and found herself in a beautiful garden. In front of her was Maximos holding hands with a short redheaded woman and kneeling in front of a handsome older man.
Invisible to the mortals' eyes she crept closer to hear their conversation.
"We humbly ask that you offer your blessing to our intended union," Maximos stated.
"When do you intend for this union to take place?" The older man asked.
"Once this harvest is complete, " Maximos grinned at Zoie who grinned back.
"That's not too far off, why are you I'm such a hurry?"
"Well, sir, it's just as Plato has written. When you meet your other half your senses are filled with love, belonging and desire, and you 'don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment'*" Maximos explained, unable to tear his eyes from the woman next to him as he proclaimed his love.
Aphrodite rolled her eyes at the scene before her. Mortals and their sentiment, she merely wanted to have sex with Maximos she wasn’t asking for eternity.
Zoie had tears in her eyes as she gaped at the man standing next to her. Her heart was bursting with the love she felt for him. She looked at her father who was smiling, pleased with Maximos' answer.
"I offer you both my blessing, for your happiness and union."
"Thank you, Nikos," Maximos said, grinning.
"Welcome to the family, son" Nikos rose, pulling Maximos into a hug.
"Come, let's celebrate, share the good news with your mother," he slung his arms around both their waists and they walked towards the house happily.
Aphrodite scoffed as she watched them walk away. "She's not even that pretty. Short and red-haired? Why have that when you could have me?!" She paced angrily, glaring around the garden. "I need to get rid of her somehow…. then he shall have no objections to me."
She glanced into the far corner of the garden and spotted a small flowering plant. She approached it, caressing the small white flowers and grinned maliciously.
She plucked several long stems of flowers from the plant, a plan formulating in her mind.
"Oh yes, this shall do nicely, very nicely indeed."
A branch snapped and she quickly snapped her fingers disappearing from the garden, the plant in hand.
Demeter walked around the corner calling back towards the house, "I just need to check on something. Go ahead and start the celebration without me!"
She had sensed an unwelcome presence in the garden. The feeling disappeared as she entered the garden, whoever had been there was gone now.
Her watchful grapevine pointed with its leaves in the direction of the shadowy corner. Demeter narrowed her eyes in suspicion and began to inspect the plants there.
She felt her heart drop as she realized what was amiss. One of her plants had been stripped bare, down to its stalk. For such a small, delicate, unassuming flower it could be surprisingly deadly.
She looked around the garden again, making sure she hadn't missed anything left behind by the intruder. Finding nothing, she turned back to the house to join in the celebration for her daughter's engagement.
Demeter couldn't help but wonder as she headed back inside, "Why hemlock?"
Chapter 4: Greece 382 B.C.E. Chapter 4
Zoie had begun making plans for her and Maximos’ wedding as soon as her father gave his blessing. They only had a few months before the harvest was complete and there was so much to do before then.
Her mother had offered to help her with the planning, but her presence had been requested in the fields that morning. Not wanting to waste any time, Zoie headed into town on her own, determined to find the perfect material for her wedding veil.
After perusing the wares available throughout the agora, she was still no closer to finding the right colors or material for her veil.
Zoie sighed heavily, brushing her fingers against a fabric of deep purple.
“Sounds like someone is about ready to give up,” said a voice to her right.
Zoie turned and saw a beautiful blonde woman looking at her. “I’m attempting to find the right colors for my wedding veil,” she explained with a smile.
The blonde woman nodded, “A very important decision, almost as important as selecting the groom.”
Zoie chuckled, “Almost.”
“Well, what does your betrothed think?” The other woman prodded.
“He thinks that what I wear isn’t important, as long as I’m the one wearing it,” Zoie blushed.
A shadow crossed the blonde woman’s face for a moment, before being replaced with a dazzling smile. “OH, how sweet! He sounds too good to be true.”
Zoie just smiled and nodded.
“Oh, how rude of me, my name is Kallikrates, but you can call me Kalli.” She introduced herself and held her hand out to Zoie.
Zoie clasped the other woman’s hand, “I’m Zoie, how lovely to meet you.”
“I think I know of just the place to find the perfect material for your veil. That is if you would like my help?” Kalli offered with a smile.
“Oh yes, I would appreciate your help!” Zoie responded enthusiastically.
“Excellent. Come along, it’s just across the way.” Kalli took Zoie’s hand and led her to a nearby merchant’s stall that Zoie had never seen before.
Zoie was shocked at the array of colors and materials that were before her. She ran her fingers across the rich fabrics, admiring the craftsmanship.
“I think these will compliment your *cough* beauty while maintaining traditional colors,” Kalli said, holding up two gauzy fabrics, one in deep burgundy and the other with a golden sheen.
Zoie’s eyes lit up as she saw the fabrics, the gold reminded her of the wheat fields where she had first met Maximos and the red was the same color as the roses in her mother’s garden where they had first declared their love for one another.
“These are perfect!” she exclaimed, draping them across her arm. “I am very fortunate indeed to have found you!” Zoie squeezed Kalli’s shoulder affectionately.
Kalli’s lips quirked into a small smile, “Oh yes, very fortunate indeed.”
Zoie made her purchase and the two of them left the merchant. While Zoie placed her purchases in her basket, Kalli glanced back at the stall, snapping her fingers, the stall shimmered and disappeared.
“How can I ever thank you for your assistance?” Zoie asked her new companion
Kalli waved her hand dismissively, “No thanks are necessary.”
“Oh, but I insist! I know! Why don’t you accompany me home and I shall make us lunch?” she offered.
Kalli’s face split into a grin, “That sounds like a lovely idea.” The two women linked arms and headed towards Zoie’s home.
Chapter 5: Greece 382 B.C.E. Chapter 5
A/N: Hope you guys are all enjoying this! We appreciate everyone who has been reading and commenting!! We are about to come to the end of our time in Greece.
Zoie opened the door to her home and Kalli followed her inside, looking around at the space. “I do love the way you decorate.”
“My mother is good at many things.” Zoie smiled at the blonde and led her to the kitchen. “Would you like something to drink? We have water, wine, tea?”
“Tea would be lovely.”
Zoie moves to place the kettle on the fire but Kalli stops her. “I happen to have my favorite tea with me, and I would love to share it with you. That is if you have no objections to me making it?”
Zoie smiled again and nodded at the blonde, moving to gather items for lunch.
A few minutes later, she brought a plate of bread, cheese, olives, and mixed vegetables, placing it in the middle of the table. She handed the blonde a smaller plate taking the seat across from her.
Kalli poured each of them a cup of tea and filled her plate with a selection from the platter.
Zoie smelled the tea; it was wonderfully floral and sweet. “What tea is this?”
“It’s an old family recipe, made to help to calm the nerves. I thought as a busy bride it might help you relax.”
Zoie smiled and nodded at her new friend as she took another sip of the tea. It tasted as it smelled, and it was delicious.
Maximos walked down the path towards Zoie’s house. He stopped to pick some wildflowers along the way, smiling at the thought of his betrothed. As he approached the door, he heard feminine laughter from inside and wondered who she was with. He entered the house and made his way towards the kitchen. As he turned the corner, he saw a familiar blonde woman and froze. Aphrodite waved her fingers teasingly at him, grinning smugly at his discomfort. Zoie had her back to him, but at Aphrodite’s wave, she turned and smiled as she saw him.
“Maximos! What are you doing here?” She exclaimed, rising from the table to greet him.
“I came to see you, sweetheart.” He shook himself out of his daze, and wrapped his arm around her waist protectively, steering her away from the smiling goddess. He kissed her hello and presented his bouquet to her. She lifted the blooms to her nose and smelled them.
“They are beautiful, love. Thank you.” Zoie attempted to withdraw from him to find a vase for the flowers, but Maximos’ grip on her waist tightened slightly.
Zoie looked at him confused, “Is there something wrong?”
“Where did you meet this woman?” he murmured in her ear.
“She’s a new friend that I met at the market. Without her I would have never found my veil,” Zoie explained. “Kalli, this is my intended Maximos.”
“Oh, we are already acquainted,” Maximos growled.
Zoie looked back and forth between the two of them. “What do you mean?”
“Shall I explain, or will you Kalli? Or should I say, Aphrodite?” Maximos glared at the other woman.
Zoie gasped and looked between the two of them in shock.
“What? You mean...she is…”
Aphrodite chuckled, “Yes my dear, your handsome young man is correct. I am Aphrodite, and he and I are well acquainted with one another....”
Zoie looked to Maximos for confirmation, he shook his head in the negative.
“She appeared in my home the day I came to obtain your father’s blessing and attempted to seduce me.”
Zoie felt numb, “She tried to seduce you?”
Maximos tilted her chin up, looking her in the eyes. “She tried, sweetheart, but I refused. There is only one woman for me.”
Zoie smiled and softly kissed his lips. “I know, I trust you Maximos.”
Aphrodite rolled her eyes at the couple and gagged. “You mortals and your one true love, disgust me.”
Zoie turned to look at her with disdain, “Get out of my house.”
Aphrodite laughed, “You dare to cast ME out?!”
Maximos stepped forward, placing his body between Zoie and the scorned goddess. “You heard her. Be gone. You are not welcome here.”
Aphrodite moved towards the door and Zoie turned to pour herself a cup of wine to calm her nerves. Aphrodite paused in the doorway and turned to face Maximos. “You sure you won’t change your mind?”
He responded with a clipped tone. “Get out.”
The blonde smirked as a crash sounded from behind him. He turned to see Zoie clutching her stomach, her cup lay shattered at her feet.
“Zoie?! What’s wrong?” He moved quickly to her side, lifting her up and placing her in a nearby chair. She grimaced in pain as she held her abdomen tightly. “Zoie?” He asked quietly, brushing a tendril of hair off her face.
“Oh, it’s nothing.” Aphrodite chuckled darkly. “Not my fault she can’t handle her Hemlock.”
Maximos felt the blood drain from his face. He turned and looked at the vengeful goddess as she stood in the doorway, a triumphant grin on her face. “What did you do?”
“I am eliminating the competition. You chose a weak mortal over a goddess. You should be pleased; I’ve given you the chance to rectify that mistake.”
“Mistake? The only mistake I made was when I thought that you were a benevolent goddess. You poisoned the woman I love.” He looked back at Zoie, her face growing paler as her arms tightened around her belly. “Will you save her?” he pleaded.
Aphrodite shook her head. “You made your choice.”
Zoie groaned again, doubling over crying out in pain as Maximos helped her to the floor to lay down. He winced at her cry as he held her in his lap. Her legs curled towards him, attempting to brace herself against growing the pain in her stomach. Maximos cradled her to his chest, running his fingers soothingly through her hair. “I’m here, my love. I’m here.”
Aphrodite scoffed from the doorway. “You would still choose your mortal love, knowing that she is dying? Do you not see how easily a mortal life can be broken? And still, you would refuse me."
Maximos looked down at the woman he loved as she shivered in his arms, before looking back up at the goddess, his voice filled with conviction. “Every single time.”
Aphrodite’s face contorted in rage and indignation. “Mortal love? I curse your mortal love. You shall find one another again, in another life. But your happiness will be short-lived. One shall die as the other watches, helpless. You will live out the end of your days, alone, haunted by their death. When you reach the end of your days, the cycle will begin anew, and you will both be reborn through the sands of time. Your life may not be forfeit by your own hand, for if you do so, you and your mortal love will never see one another again. Your souls will be trapped on the opposite banks of the River Styx doomed to remain apart for all of eternity.”
She snapped her fingers and disappeared, leaving the lovers alone. Maximos turned to Zoie, as she groaned and tightened her grip on his arm bracing herself against another wave of pain. He watched as she suddenly began convulsing. Fear clutched at his heart as he attempted to brace her against the worst of it. He felt her relax as she attempted to catch her breath, but her breaths grew shallow and caught in her throat.
Her blue eyes opened to meet his as she looked up at him, her head resting in the crook of his arm. “I’m sorry, my love.” She whispered; her speech halted as she shook from the pain.
“This is not your fault, my love. It wasn’t you.” He said, his voice cracking as tears began to pool in his eyes.
Zoie tried to smile at him as another wave of pain racked her body causing her to cry out, tears escaping from her eyes. He stroked her face, wiping her tears away, and trying to comfort her, knowing that he was losing her.
“I’m so sorry, Zoie. I should have just….”
She shook her head minutely, gasping as she tried to speak. “Don’t say that. It’s not your fault, either….” She took a shuddering breath, her eyes locking with his as his grip tightened around her.
“Maxim…” She swallowed, trying to control her speech. “Max... I... I lo…”
Maximos felt tears stream down his cheeks as the woman he loved fell still and silent in his arms. Her vibrant eyes lost focus and stared past him, unseeing. The only blessing was that her body no longer shook with pain and from struggling to breathe. His face was soaked with tears as he cradled her limp form to him. He buried his face in her neck and let out a heart-wrenching scream of anguish.
Chapter 6: Greece 382 B.C.E. Chapter 6
A/N: Thank you, everyone, who has read and reviewed! @clarkemanotp and I appreciate your support so much! And now it’s time to say goodbye to our time in Ancient Greece! See you all at our next stop Florence, Italy 1485
Demeter stood in the field watching as the men worked the rich land to bring in the harvest. She heard a piercing cry from the sky and saw an eagle flying overhead, her blood ran cold.
“ZOIE!” She spun and disappeared on the spot.
She took in the scene before her, Maximos was cradling Zoie’s lifeless body to his chest as he screamed. She knelt next to him, placing her hand on his shoulder, brushing her hand along her daughter’s pale cheek.
“It was Aphrodite,” Maximos murmured, refusing to take his eyes from Zoie. “I rejected her attempts to seduce me and she decided to exact her revenge. She was poisoned with Hemlock.”
Demeter felt her blood boil at the revelation. Aphrodite had murdered her daughter and used the plant stolen from her own garden!
She leaned down and brushed a kiss across Zoie’s forehead, “Fear not, my daughter, you shall be avenged.”
Demeter withdrew, leaving Maximos to his grief, she began to formulate a plan.
“Who dares to enter here?” a voice spoke from the darkness.
Demeter lowered her hood, “It is I, Demeter. I seek an audience with the Fates.”
“Do you have an appointment?” another voice spoke.
Demeter shook her head and frowned, “I do not. But It is of utmost importance that I speak with them today.”
“Hmmm, we might be able to pencil you in some time...next decade. We’re booked pretty solid for a while….”
“Aphrodite has cut short a mortal’s life, one which I hold dear. I seek to undo this fate.”
“Mmmm, I can see how this might be a pressing matter. Mortal lives are so fragile, and time is crucial…. alright, I guess we can squeeze you in now.”
A door appeared in the wall in front of her, nodding her head in thanks she entered the room.
The room was lavishly decorated in rich reds, with beautiful tapestries and paintings on the walls. On a crimson sofa in the center of the room sat the three Fates in a heated discussion, their conversation stopped as Demeter approached.
“Demeter, you have come to us for revenge against Aphrodite?” Mo asked, gesturing for her to take a seat.
“She poisoned my daughter because my future son-in-law spurned her advances,” Demeter explained.
Mo arched his eyebrow as he looked at Tobin and Leif.
“Normally, we don’t like to interfere when it comes to Gods and mortals,” Leif began.
“But we can’t stand that Aphrodite bitch!” Tobin interrupted.
Demeter smirked, “You and most of Olympus it would seem.”
Mo snapped his fingers and a file appeared on the coffee table in front of them. He began to read through the file with the other two peering over his shoulders.
“Oooo, I can see why Aphrodite picked him,” commented Mo. Leif and Tobin nodded in agreement.
"They were soulmates," Demeter replied.
"Oh, my Gods, they were soulmates," Tobin exclaimed, looking at the other two.
"Is Aphrodite aware that Zoie is your daughter?" Leif asked, ignoring Tobin.
Demeter shook her head, "I took great care to hide her from the other Olympians. Zoie doesn't…. didn’t even know who I truly am."
Mo nodded sympathetically, "Well, let's see what we can do to fix this mess."
The three of them continued to pour over the file, making comments and observations throughout.
"Hold on…. what’s this about a curse?" Tobin said, pointing at a footnote.
"It appears that not only did Aphrodite kill Zoie, but she has cursed the couple," Leif observed. "They will be reincarnated and reunited, all throughout time. The curse is that every time without fail one of them will die as the other is forced to watch, unable to prevent it."
"They are to be tormented throughout all eternity because Aphrodite can't handle rejection. Not cool, bro," Tobin responded.
"Is there nothing you can do?" Demeter pleaded.
"We cannot undo Aphrodite's curse, for that is beyond even our magics. However, we can give them dreams and memories of their past lives, tools to help them understand what is happening. But it is up to them to find a way to break the curse," Mo explained.
"We will also act as guardians for the couple, nudging them in the right direction, offering our assistance when needed," Tobin interjected.
"How will they break the curse?" Demeter asked worriedly.
"The threads of their fates are interwoven; they will do great things together and apart. But it is unclear how they will end the curse. If they truly are soulmates, then they will find a way. The course of true love never does run smooth," Leif replied.
Demeter thanked them, and taking her leave, she returned to her garden.
Her heart was still filled with grief, but with the Fates’ assistance, she would have her revenge.
All the fires of the Underworld were nothing to Demeter's rage. Aphrodite would rue the day she crossed Demeter.
Chapter 7: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 1
A/N: Special thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing our hard work! @clarkemanotp and I greatly appreciate you all!
Now, who is ready to head to Florence, Italy 1485?
“Step right up, place your bets, ladies, and gent…. Gods and Goddesses,” Tobin corrected himself. “What awaits our cursed couple this time around?”
Hera pushed through the line to the front. Tobin yelped and pushed Leif in front of him to deal with her. “I need to collect my winnings from last round,” she said imperiously.
“Let me see here….ah yes the Black Death, that was a particularly gruesome death for him, if I recall. Very perceptive, ma’am,” Leif simpered.
Hera rolled her eyes and snapped her fingers in impatience, “Sometime today. Now, put me down for Zoie being accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake in 1692.”
“Gotcha down for one Zoie flambe,” Tobin made a note on his board.
Hera nodded and swept out of the room, the other Gods and Goddesses giving her a wide berth as she left.
The phone rang and Tobin quickly answered it, “Uh-huh….right. Hold on, slow down Mo! Alright, I got it. Okay, see you in a few.” He hung up the phone and moved to consult the board.
“Which one of you had Maximos being grievously injured but still surviving the Crusades, only to return as Zoie was dying from malnutrition?”
Athena stepped forward, “That would be me.”
“Goddess of wisdom, figures,” Tobin mumbled to Leif. “I feel like she’s cheating somehow….”
“Dude, we know exactly what will happen and how it will happen. You really don’t have much moral ground to stand on,” Leif responded, rolling his eyes.
Tobin shrugged and handed Athena her winnings. “I’ve got my eye on you,” he whispered as she walked away.
“Did anyone make any bets on Italy?” Leif asked.
Tobin consulted the board, “Looks like the Muses all went in on that one together.”
Florence, Italy 1485
“You want me to paint a portrait of your wife?” Lucian looked up from arranging his paints at the gentleman.
“Yes. My name is Pietro de’ Barbari, my wife Elena and I have our first anniversary approaching soon. As an anniversary gift to me, she has agreed to sit for a portrait.” The tall, dark, young man explained in a tone of someone who was used to getting what he wanted.
Lucian examined the man in front of him, he was younger than his usual patrons. He seemed to remember hearing that the head of the de’ Barbari family had recently succumbed to an illness of sorts, leaving everything to his young son.
“I am willing to pay whatever you ask,” Pietro stated, placing a sizable bag of florians on the table. “Half now, the other half upon the completion of the portrait."
Lucian raised his eyebrows, it was no small sum that Pietro was offering. He found himself nodding in agreement, “I will paint your wife for you.”
Pietro gave him a small smile that did not quite reach his eyes. “When should I tell her you will begin?”
“Tell her to arrive early tomorrow morning. She should bring whatever clothing and jewels you wish her to be painted in.”
Pietro gave him a terse nod and took his leave.
“Nunzio!” Lucian called his apprentice.
The tall sandy-haired youth came running, “Yes Master?”
“Make the studio ready for a portrait sitting. We begin work tomorrow,” Lucian took the bag of florians off the table, leaving the studio to his apprentice.
The next morning Lucian was up early, preparing for the arrival of the de’ Barbari bride, arranging and rearranging his tools and pigments as he waited.
A small knock came at the door, “Enter,” he called as he pulled out the supplies to mix his paints.
He heard two people following his apprentice into the room. “Master, the Lady Elena de’ Barbari and her nurse are here,” Nunzio announced.
Lucian set his tools down and turned around just as Lady Elena removed her hooded cloak. He felt his heart skip a beat as he stared at the beautiful creature before him. She was a young and petite woman, with hair the color of gleaming copper and eyes as blue as the Adriatic Sea. He stared openly at her, drinking in every detail he could, the sparkle in her eyes, the pale pink of her parted lips, and the soft blush of her cheeks as her eyes held his.
He cleared his throat, reluctantly turning away from her. “You...umm...you may make yourself ready behind there,” he gestured to a screen in the corner.
She nodded and gestured for her maid to follow her, carrying a dress as blue as sapphires with her.
As she stepped behind the screen, he shook his head trying to get a hold of himself.
"Master?" Nunzio ventured.
Lucian startled slightly before turning to him. "Bring that chair over there," he pointed to a spot nearest the window.
He began to envision how the room should be arranged to suit the painting best.
"And that table….no not there, on the other side."
Nunzio nodded, familiar with his Master's habits he followed his instructions.
"Now bring a pitcher of wine and gather a selection of fruits," Lucian said after the room was arranged.
Nunzio left the room just as Lady Elena stepped from behind the screen.
She had her head bowed, avoiding making eye contact with him. Her hair was coiled in a golden net at the nape of her neck, with stones the same color as her eyes sparkling in the sun.
He took a steadying breath as he glanced at the gown she had changed into. The sapphire dress with its goldenrod embroidery stood out against the darkness of the room.
He cleared his throat and gestured to the chair nearest the window. "Lady de' Barbari, if you would."
She nodded and quietly sat down, arranging the folds of her skirt nervously.
Her nurse sat watching them from the corner, her watchful eyes never leaving the pair.
Lucian sat at his canvas and observed his subject. She appeared stiff and uncomfortable, as though she had no desire to be there. This was unusual for him as the other wives he had painted were eager to have their likeness captured and to showcase their wealth.
He walked over to her, kneeling at her feet he spoke to her. "Lady de' Barbari?"
She looked up startled at his proximity, her mouth open in an "Oh!"
"Forgive me, it was not my intention to startle you."
She shook her head and wrung her hands in her lap.
"My lady if you are not comfortable with this…" he began as he took a step back from her.
"No!" She gasped, reaching out to grab his sleeve. He looked down at her hand and she blushed at her boldness.
"I mean, I am fine. I am just not accustomed to things such as this," she explained biting her lip nervously.
Lucian smiled softly at her, "If I am being honest Lady de' Barbari, neither am I."
She looked up at him, smiling as she met his eyes and took a calming breath.
"If we are to be spending our time together I would prefer it if you called me Lady Elena. Lady de' Barbari is my husband's mother," she scrunched her nose as she said the word husband.
Her nurse made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a laugh but was quickly turned into a cough.
"Very well Lady Elena," his tongue caressed the syllables of her name as though they were the sweetest nectar. "You may address me as Master Lucian."
She smiled and he felt his pulse quicken.
"Don't move a muscle," he said, quickly moving to his worktable. He sketched the curve of her mouth several times on a nearby piece of vellum. She sat patiently while he finished his sketches.
He moved back towards her, "My lady, I need you to turn and face the window, leaving your hands relaxed on your lap."
She nodded and positioned herself as he asked.
"Do I have your permission to fix the placement of your skirts?" He asked, reaching his hand out.
Her cheeks turned pink as she nodded.
He delicately arranged her skirts to best reflect the light. Focusing on the colors, and trying not to think of the woman wearing them.
He stepped back, taking the whole image in. Something was still not quite right, he tilted his head trying to find what was missing.
The sunlight filtered in through the window, highlighting her profile.
He reached out, touching her cheek without thinking. He felt her inhale sharply and he dropped his hand quickly, "Apologies," he murmured.
She shook her head, "No, it's fine. You just startled me. You have my permission to arrange me as you see fit."
He nodded and brought his hand back to her face, tilting her just so she looked towards the canvas.
"Stay there, just so," he said, moving back to his canvas.
She sat there quietly as he worked.
After a few moments, he leaned around the canvas, and teasingly said, "Do you intend to spend all your time in silence?"
Her mouth fell open before she quickly closed it. "I had heard that artists preferred their subjects to be silent and unmoving."
He chuckled, "There are some that do. But I ask you, how am I to paint the real you if you sit there in silence? Anyone can paint a simple portrait. No, I prefer to paint the person behind the portrait. To capture who they are, what they love, what they enjoy, their true spirit and beauty."
Elena felt her pulse quicken as he explained how he chose to paint the subjects of his portraits. How often had she longed for someone to take an interest in her?
In a year of marriage, Pietro had never once wanted to know these things. He had married because with his father gone, the estate fell to him, and he needed a wife to see to the household needs. Her father had arranged the match, claiming it was advantageous for all involved. She had no choice and soon found herself in a cold and loveless marriage.
Except for their wedding night, there had been no physical intimacy between them. They kept separate bedrooms and separate schedules. When necessary they attended events as a couple, but for the most part, Elena was alone. She had not expected a romantic match, but she had hoped that they could at least have an amicable marriage. But in the past year, she had realized that there was no point. He didn't care about her, and though she respected him as her husband, she did not care for him either.
Yet here was this painter, who spoke to her in such a sweet tender manner, respected her as a woman, and whose gaze followed her every movement. She found herself wanting to tell him everything, there was just something about him that drew her to him.
Oh, he was handsome to be sure, with his dark curls, warm brown eyes, and a roguish tilt to his lips as though he were secretly amused by something. But there was something else, nudging at the back of her mind, as though she knew him as well as she knew herself.
"What would you like to know?" She asked softly, looking up and locking eyes with him.
Lucian Gritti, Italian painter-Max
Elena de’Barbari, Lady of noble blood, Pietro's wife-Zoey
Pietro de’Barbari, Wealthy Italian merchant, Elena's husband-Simon
Nunzio Fonte, Lucian's apprentice-Leif
Magdalena Donato, Elena's nurse-Maggie
Chapter 8: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 2
A/N: A big thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed, we really do appreciate every one of you!! Updates might be a little behind because school has started again, but hopefully, we'll be able to stay on track!
Over the months Elena and Lucian had started learning about one another while he painted her. She had learned that painting was his true passion, though he was taught sculpture and drawing during his apprenticeship. However, it was his talents with the brush that had helped him to become Florence’s youngest Master.
Unlike what she had been told about the stoic nature of artists, Lucian was of a much more charismatic demeanor, making conversation flow easily between them.
He rarely ate or drank when working, often needing to be reminded by his apprentice to pause for their midday meal. It was these moments that she looked most forward to, there was an easy intimacy between them, almost domestic in its nature, while they ate. She could count on one hand the number of meals she'd had with her husband as such.
She was drawn to him in a way that she had never been to anyone before, as though a part of her had been locked away, hidden from the world, and only Lucian had the key. She learned to appreciate his quick wit and knew that when he would say something in jest, his nose would crinkle in the most adorable manner. She learned that he longed to leave the city and build a house in the country, spending his days studying the world’s natural beauty.
She in turn revealed that her father had allowed her to study as a young child, that she took great solace and comfort in reading everything she could get her hands on. Eventually, she confided in him that her marriage was purely monetary and that there was not even friendship between her and her husband. Their marriage had merely been the means to an end for Pietro. Elena’s sizable dowry had helped him increase his shipping business revenue, and in allying his family with hers, his social circle continued to grow.
“Mistress?” her nurse called to her, shaking her from her thoughts. “Your husband has left for the day,” Magdalena informed her. Magdalena had taken care of Elena since she was born, her mother died shortly after she bore her, so Magdalena had stepped in and raised her as her own.
Elena’s face broke into a grin and she grabbed her traveling cloak, practically skipping to the door in excitement. “Come, Magdalena, we don’t want to keep him waiting,” she called over her shoulder.
Her mistress had never smiled like this before she began sitting for the painting, and Magdalena knew that it wasn’t the art that had captured her interest. She smiled fondly at the woman she looked upon as her own daughter, it would seem the time had come to enact her plan. She dutifully trailed behind her mistress as they headed for Master Lucian’s home.
Lucian had begun rising with the dawn as of late, his body and mind in a constant state of unrest since he had met Elena. She was more beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate than any other creature he had encountered, and with every session he found himself falling more in love with her. He took to leaving small tokens for her, flowers, books she might find of interest, even having his cook prepare her favorite treat, strawberries cooked in wine. He would watch as her face lit up each time, as she searched his expression for a sign that it was from him. His face fought to give away nothing, but when she smiled at him he was unable to keep the smile from his own face.
Elena knocked on the front door and the pair were ushered into the house by Nunzio. Magdalena caught Nunzio’s eye and he nodded. “Mistress, I must run to the market, Nunzio has offered to escort me. That is, with your permission of course.”
Elena looked confused, she was not aware of anything that they needed to purchase. She opened her mouth to ask what they so urgently needed just as Magdalena sent her mistress a discreet wink. Understanding dawned on Elena’s face, flushing slightly, she nodded, smiling at her companion. “Of course….Nunzio, I thank you for your...assistance.”
Nunzio bowed to her and offering his arm to Magdalena, they left the house.
Elena felt her pulse quicken as she thought of the man upstairs in the studio, Lucian, who she was now alone in the house with. She took in a calming breath and made her way upstairs, tapping once on the door before entering.
Lucian looked up as she entered, a large smile appearing on his face as she walked into the room. He sketched a small bow, "M'Lady." He glanced behind her for the familiar faces of her nurse and his apprentice.
“Magdalena had an errand to run at the market, Nunzio kindly offered to escort her,” she explained, as she ducked behind the screen to change.
Lucian cleared his throat, as his brain fully registered what she had said. They were alone in the house, and Elena was disrobing mere feet away from him.
He fiddled with his paints in an effort to distract his thoughts when he heard Elena let out a frustrated sigh.
“Magdalena normally helps me….would you….could you assist me?” she quietly asked.
Lucian swallowed thickly, as he moved to the screen, and Elena stepped out holding her kirtle against her chest.
“I need help with the lacing,” she blushed, as she turned to show him the back of her dress. She glanced over her shoulder at him and he nodded unable to speak.
His hands shook as he threaded the laces, carefully focusing on the task at hand. As he reached the top, his hand accidentally brushed against her neck causing her to shudder in response. He stepped back quickly, his hand burning from the feel of her skin.
“Thank you,” she murmured, unable to meet his eyes. Lucian gestured for her to sit, as he moved to his easel, closing his eyes he took some steadying breaths in an attempt to calm himself. Opening his eyes he was determined to focus on his work, and not the distractingly exquisite creature in front of him.
Elena watched, entranced as his long fingers tenderly ran across the brushes before selecting one. His fingers wrapped firmly around the delicate brush, dipping the tip of it into the color he needed. He ran the brush gently across the canvas, as though he were fondly caressing a lover’s cheek. Elena had never felt so envious of a painting before, her mouth went dry and her cheeks reddened. He stared at the painting in deep concentration, running his thumb along his lips, unaware of the effect he was having on Elena.
Grabbing the glass of wine and her fan from the table, she turned her head and slowly sipped the wine, determined to calm herself. The wine had the opposite effect, causing her to flush and feel warm. She opened her fan and began fanning herself rapidly, desperately trying to abate her desirous thoughts.
Lucian glanced up from the canvas at the movement, his breath hitched as he took in the sight of her wine touched lips and reddened cheeks. “Are you too warm, Lady Elena?” he managed to ask, concerned at how frantically she appeared to be fanning herself.
She shook her head, unable to meet his eyes, “No, I am fine.”
He slowly approached her, his hand stilling the movement of her fan, Elena slowly turned to face him, her breath catching at the look in his eyes. He looked at her just as he had on the day they first met, as though she was the only other person in the world.
“Lady Elena….Elena,” he whispered reverently, brushing his hand across her cheek lovingly.
“Lucian,” she sighed, leaning into his touch, her eyes fluttering closed.
Emboldened by her response, he leaned forward and captured her lips with his, tasting the wine that still clung to them. She returned his kiss eagerly, her fan falling forgotten to the floor, as she pulled him closer.
The pair broke apart panting, faces flushed and bodies aching with need. Lucian quickly scooped Elena into his arms and carried her to his bedroom determined to make the most of their time alone.
Chapter 9: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 3
A/N: A big thank you to all of you who are reading, commenting, and enjoying this story! You guys are what drive us to continue to write!
4 months later
Elena smiled as she walked past the marketplace with Magdalena at her side. She paused as she heard the soft sounds of a lyre being played, the melody unknown to her but captivating nonetheless. She stood there listening as she memorized the tune, before turning to Magdalena. "What an interesting song, I've not heard it's like before."
Magdalena looked puzzled, "Song, m' lady?"
"Yes, the one just being played on a lyre from somewhere nearby. The tune was," she hummed the notes, "like that."
"M'lady there was no music playing, and that is the first time I've heard that tune," Magdalena explained, looking concerned.
Elena was confused, "You mean you didn't hear a lyre playing?"
Magdalena shook her head. Elena felt light-headed, reaching out for her nurse's hand she clutched it as the world spun slightly before her eyes.
"Perhaps you've been out in the sun too long. Let us make our way to Master Lucian's so you may rest," Magdalena urged.
As the world stopped spinning, Elena agreed, unsure of what had happened. What was it she had heard, and why had she suddenly felt ill?
She allowed her nurse to guide her the rest of the way, her mind occupied with thoughts of a song only she could hear.
Lucian heard them arrive and raced down the stairs to greet his love. Magdalena had seated Elena down and poured her a glass of wine.
Lucian dropped a kiss in greeting on her head, "Are you alright my love?"
Elena smiled at him, "I'm fine. Just a little tired." She shook her head discreetly at Magdalena, asking her not to mention the song.
Magdalena nodded and moved away to give the couple space.
"If you are tired, you shouldn't have exhausted yourself by coming. You could have come another day," Lucian said worriedly taking her hands in his.
She smiled fondly at him, "And miss my time with you? Never."
Lucian kissed her hands, "I ache when we are apart my dearest, but if you are unwell…."
Elena placed a finger on his lips to silence him.
"If it will cease your worries, I will go upstairs and lie down for a spell."
Lucian nodded, rising from the table and offering her his hand.
Elena stood, grasping his hand as he led her upstairs to his bedroom. Though he had come to think of it as theirs since he first brought her to it.
She lay down smiling at him, "I love you," she said as he placed a soft kiss on her lips.
"And I, you," he replied, leaving her to rest as he returned to his studio.
"So what really happened?" Nunzio asked Magdalena, once both their charges were occupied.
"I'm uncertain. She said she heard a melody being played on a lyre, but there was no one nearby," Magdalena frowned.
"Do you think that perhaps she is starting…"
"It is a possibility that has crossed my mind," she replied.
"Would such a thing make her dizzy though?" Nunzio mused out loud.
"I believe the dizziness to be another situation entirely," Magdalena explained.
She nodded, "I believe so."
Nunzio placed his head on the table and groaned, "Lord, what fools these mortals be."
Magdalena frowned at him, "Fools they maybe, but it is your job to help them. Do you not recall?"
Nunzio nodded his head wearily, "I remember, I will do what I can." He waved his hand in the direction of the bedroom and muttered a few words.
"She should dream now of him, not as he is, but how he was."
Magdalena nodded her approval and sighed, pouring them both some wine while they waited.
"Do you intend to tell her?" Nunzio asked.
She shook her head, "She is a smart young woman, it won't be long until she discovers it herself."
Elena smiled in her sleep as she saw the man she loved in her dreams. She would know that smile anywhere, though strangely enough he was garbed in unusual attire, something resembling broadcloth belted at the waist. Glancing down at herself she saw that her attire was similar to his, pinned at the shoulders, soft and flowing, allowing for much more movement than what she normally wore.
"Zoie, my love," Maximos smiled at her, placing a kiss on her forehead. "Just think, in a few short months we shall be wed."
"I wish it were tomorrow," she found herself saying. "I long to be your wife, Maximos," she leaned up to kiss him, savoring the feel of his soft lips.
Elena frowned at the words coming from her mouth, why was he calling her Zoie? And why was she calling him Maximos? What a strange dream this was.
Maximos groaned, "Believe me, my love, I long for that too. But your mother is planning quite the ceremony. "
She sighed, "I know. Must you remind me of how long we have to wait?"
He tilted her chin up to face him, "I would wait until the end of time for you, my dearest. You hold my heart, and no amount of time or distance will change that."
Elena awoke from her nap, finding her cheeks wet from tears. She had no idea what that dream meant, it seemed familiar in a way that she could not quite put her finger on.
Rising from their bed, she headed to the studio where she found Lucian sketching new ideas on vellum.
She came up behind him and wrapped her arms around him, grinning as he stopped his work to return her embrace.
"Did you sleep well, my love?" Lucian asked as he shifted for Elena to sit on his lap.
Elena nodded, "I had a strange dream where we were in some old clothing discussing our future. You called me by a different name, as I did you."
Lucian smiled, "Perhaps it is a sign that this is not the first time we have met."
Elena placed her finger on his lips, "Must you be so blasphemous, dearest?"
He grinned kissing the finger placed on his lips. "Would you have me any other way?"
An impish look crossed Elena's face, "Oh, I would have you many ways."
Lucian's groaned as he placed his head against her chest. "You mustn't tease me so when you are unwell."
"I feel much more invigorated after my nap," she ran her fingers through his hair, causing him to shiver.
"Though perhaps a return to bed is just what I need," she stood walking towards the door. She turned and held out her hand to him, "Offer a lady an escort?"
Lucian was out of his chair in an instant, grabbing her hand and racing back to the bedroom as Elena let out a shriek and then a giggle at his eagerness.
The ladies returned home that evening, surprised to find Pietro waiting for them.
"Where have you been?" He demanded when they came through the door.
"I was at my portrait sitting, and we stopped to browse the market," Elena responded calmly.
"That painter still hasn't completed it? I would have thought he'd be done by now," Pietro scoffed.
"M'lord, if it pleases you," Magdalena interrupted. "I've been told by the nurses of other homes, that these things take time, sometimes up to a year."
"Hmph," he replied. "Well, it better be worth it then."
"I wasn't expecting you home, otherwise I'd have arranged a dinner for us," Elena apologized.
He waved his hand dismissively, "No need. I am only home to inform you that I will be going on an extended trip."
Elena looked surprised, "A trip?"
"Yes, there are some new ships coming into Venice that I am to inspect. If their goods are satisfactory I shall return with them on their voyage back. I hope to negotiate a handsome offer with them.to bring their supplies here instead of Venice," he explained.
Elena nodded, "How long do you expect to be gone?"
"If all goes well I should be back in ten months’ time," Pietro smiled at her. "So in the meantime, it is your responsibility to attend our social engagements in my stead."
"As you wish," she replied, looking down at her feet. She loathed the engagements he would have them attend, too many people, flashing their wealth with no real desire to know one another apart from what they could do to advance them socially.
"I am off to rest. It's been a long day and I find myself fatigued," Elena excused herself, walking to her bedroom.
She breathed a sigh of relief once she shut the door behind her. Ten months without Pietro was the most wonderful news she had ever heard.
There was a knock on the door, and Magdalena entered with a small pile of rags.
Elena smiled at her, "Ten months free of him! Can you believe it?" She danced happily around the room.
"The timing is very fortunate," Magdalena replied.
"Timing? What do you mean by that?" Elena asked puzzled.
Magdalena gestured to the rags in her hands, "M'lady when did you last bleed?"
Elena wrinkled her forehead in confusion, "I don't recall… why do you ask?"
"My dear, the timing of your husband's trip is fortuitous because you are with child," her nurse explained kindly.
"With child? But that's not….." Elena blushed as she realized whose child she carried.
"By the time this babe comes along, we will have a plan in place. At least with your husband gone, he will not suspect anything when you begin to show more," Magdalena nodded at her waistline.
"I'm showing?" Elena grasped her middle, feeling the slight swell of her stomach.
"Only to one who knows what to look for," Magdalena replied. "Thankfully your clothes have hidden it so far."
"Lucian," Elena whispered. "I must tell him, oh Magdalena what shall we do?" She buried her head against her nurse's shoulder in tears.
Magdalena ran her hand down her back soothingly. "Hush child. I know you love him, and he loves you. We will figure something out."
Elena nodded, a small smile on her face as she pulled away. "We do love one another, and we will love this child." She rested her hand on her stomach, "Do you hear that little one? Your mother and father love you and each other very much."
She began humming the tune she had heard at the market as she stroked her belly tenderly.
"Don't worry, we will find a way for the three of us to be together. I promise."
Chapter 10: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 4
A/N: Short update this time as we are nearing the end of our time in Italy! Thank you to everyone who has been reading and commenting! AubreyRichman and I truly appreciate you all!
Lucian slipped his arms around Elena's waist, placing his hands on her swollen belly. He kissed her neck tenderly as she sighed and leaned against him.
"You should be resting my love," he murmured.
"Mmm I was until your child decided they couldn't stay still any longer," she smiled fondly.
Lucian bent down and spoke to her belly, "We've talked about letting your mother rest, little one." He felt a kick in response and grinned, looking at Elena with love.
Elena ran her fingers through his curls and smiled, she had Lucian and their baby, and nothing else mattered.
"I've made arrangements for us to leave by ship in two weeks’ time," Lucian said standing, dropping a kiss on her forehead.
Elena nodded, she knew her time was growing closer and it was crucial that they were gone before the babe arrived. She had worried at first about leaving Florence, and all that they knew behind. But then she thought of Pietro and how he would react when he discovered her affair. For the safety of her lover and their unborn child, she had agreed that they must leave.
Pietro was still away, so he remained ignorant of her situation. As Magdalena had predicted her clothing had allowed her to hide her condition for a while, but now it was obvious to all that she was with child. She had made her excuses to their social circle and declined invitations and visitors for the past few months.
"I have been meaning to ask," Lucian began. "Your painting is complete. Should we bring it with us?"
Elena shook her head, " No. Arrange to have it delivered to Pietro after we are gone. It is the only piece of me that he will ever own." She turned in his arms to face him, "For all the rest of me belongs to you, and only you."
Lucian leaned down and captured her lips in a soft kiss. Elena smiled as she teasingly ran her fingers along the nape of his neck. "Elena," he growled against her mouth. She slid her tongue into his mouth, tasting him as he pressed her against the wall. She moaned as he ran his fingers along the swell of her breasts, they were more sensitive as her time neared. She reached to pull his tunic off, running her fingers along his chest, feeling him shiver against her.
She gasped as he trailed nibbling kisses down her neck, pausing to suckle a mark just above her collar bone. He grinned, knowing her dress would hide it, but he would know that it was there and that she was his.
She hooked her ankle against his calf and urged him to press against her, hungry for his touch.
Elena groaned, knowing it was Magdalena reminding her of the time.
Lucian smiled softly at her. "Soon we will be gone, and nothing will interrupt us again, my heart."
Placing a soft kiss on her lips he pulled away so she could tidy herself up for the walk home.
Elena sighed, fixed her hair, and smoothing her dress she opened the studio door.
Squeezing her hand tenderly, Lucian walked them out. "I will see you in a few days, I must complete our arrangements. For now, begin your packing, and send for Nunzio once your bags are ready. I love you, Elena."
"I love you too, Lucian." Elena and Magdalena smiled at him as they left.
"I have a request, one that is not small by any means," Elena said looking at Magdalena.
"Anything you ask of me, child I would do willingly," Magdalena responded, looking at her worriedly.
"Once Lucian and I are settled, will you join us?" Elena asked. "You have been the mother I never knew, and can think of no one I would rather have at my side while this babe is born. I ask this not as a lady and her maid, but as a friend. You will not be bound to me in service once I am gone, so the choice is yours." Elena rambled on, not waiting for an answer. She paused as they reached the door to the house and turned to look at her.
"Yes," Magdalena whispered with tears in her eyes. "Oh yes, my dearest child. Of course, I will be there, as long as you will have me I'll be at your side."
The two women tearfully embraced, relieved that they would not lose one another.
Drying their eyes they walked inside, freezing at the sight that greeted them.
There in the entryway was Pietro, a crumpled letter in his hand, his back to them.
Elena gasped in shock, he was supposed to be gone for two more months.
He turned as he heard her, staring at Elena's swollen stomach.
"So it's true then…"
Chapter 11: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 5
A/N: Thank you all for your responses to our work! AubreyRichman and I appreciate all your comments and kudos! This is the second to last chapter in Italy, and then on to new and exciting places....
"Imagine my surprise at the letter I received, offering me congratulations for my impending fatherhood," Pietro looked at her coldly. "Your duty was to me and our house, but now you would bring shame to us. Give me the name of the father and I won't throw you out into the street."
Elena's heart raced, but she stubbornly lifted her chin, "I myself shall bear the blame.*"
Pietro narrowed his eyes at her defiance, "You've brought this upon yourself." He stalked down the hall to Elena's chamber and began tearing through her belongings, searching for any information about her lover.
Elena ran after him, Magdalena at her side. "Pietro, stop this madness!" she cried.
"Then give me his name!" Pietro yelled.
Elena remained silent, Pietro could do what he wanted but she would not betray her love.
Pietro walked from the room, pausing at the door, "I will find him. Then his blood will be on your hands, Elena."
Elena collapsed into a heap on the floor shaking with sobs. Magdalena wrapped her arms around her, stroking her hair and murmuring words of comfort.
"We must get word to him," Elena whispered. "Somehow, without Pietro finding out."
"I will talk to Nunzio, we can walk through the market so as not to be overheard. We have been there often enough that it will not cause any gossip."
Elena nodded, "We must be extra cautious, do nothing to raise suspicion."
"I must say, I am quite flattered that you are seeking my attentions so frequently," Nunzio smiled.
Magdalene rolled her eyes, "You should be so lucky. You are merely a convenient means of conveying a message."
"It's been many a century since someone tried to woo me, but I'm fairly certain insulting one's love is not how it works," Nunzio teased.
"Must you be so insufferable. Time is of the utmost importance," she hissed at him.
"What has happened?" all trace of humor was gone from Nunzio's face.
"Pietro had returned and is aware of Elena's condition. Even as we speak, he is trying to find out who the father is."
Nunzio's face grew white, "Then, they need to leave as soon as possible."
"He must not do anything to raise suspicion. Pietro has eyes throughout the city," Magdalena warned.
"There should be a ship leaving in the morning. I'll book their passage on it, meet us at the docks tomorrow at first light," Nunzio told her.
She nodded as they took their leave of one another.
"Master?" Nunzio called had he raced through the door and into the studio.
Lucian looked up from his packing startled. "What is it? Is it Elena?"
"Her husband has returned, and he is aware of her condition."
"Then she is not safe, we must leave immediately," Lucian began pacing frantically.
"I've arranged passage for you both on a ship leaving in the morning. It is headed for Spain, but it was the one leaving earliest," Nunzio explained.
"I don't care where it is headed, as long as it gets Elena out of here!"
"She sent her nurse to warn you that Pietro is searching the city for you. He doesn't know your identity, yet. But he is out for blood. Elena begs you to be discreet."
Lucian nodded, "Come, we must pack quickly. Take that package and arrange to have it delivered tomorrow evening," he gestured to a wrapped canvas addressed to Pietro de' Barbari.
Nunzio took the package and headed back out into the marketplace.
Finding a courier, he gave explicit instructions that the parcel was to be delivered to the house tomorrow evening.
The courier nodded and took the parcel and his fee.
Satisfied that his duty was discharged, Nunzio returned home.
Magdalena returned with the news that they would be departing in the morning.
Elena was relieved, soon she and Lucian would be far away.
She packed only the essentials, as well as some of her jewels that they could sell if needed.
"It has been an exhausting day for you. It's best if you get some rest now," Magdalena told her.
Elena nodded, knowing that she needed to rest for both herself and the babe.
Magdalena gathered their bags and slipped them into her chamber. Thinking ahead she headed to the kitchen and packed some food for their journey. Satisfied that everything was in hand, she retired for the evening.
Elena crept out of her room and down the hall to Magdalena's chambers, where she tapped quietly on the door.
Magdalena opened the door, handed her a woolen cloak, and stepped out of the room.
The house was quiet and still as they made their way to the door.
On the table nearest the door was a parcel that was torn open.
Elena looked down and gasped, it was her portrait. And crumpled on top was the note she had written to Pietro.
She turned quickly and headed towards her husband's chamber and threw open the door. It was empty.
Running out of the room she yelled to Magdalena, "He knows! Oh God, he knows!"
They ran out the door and onto the street just as Nunzio arrived in a carriage.
"Where is he?!" Elena cried.
Nunzio shook his head, "Your husband arrived not an hour ago with some men and dragged him from the house. He challenged Master Lucian to a duel and then they threw him in a carriage. I heard the other men mention something about the clearing outside of town."
Elena gasped, "No! Where is this clearing? Nunzio, take me there at once!"
Nunzio looked at Magdalena who nodded. "We have no time to lose. Get in the carriage."
The three of them quickly jumped into the carriage, speeding away.
Elena held her hand to her swollen belly as a twinge ran through it, "Please, let him be okay. I need him….we need him…"
As soon as the carriage arrived at the clearing, Elena jumped out, not wasting a moment. She raced towards the two figures she spotted in the distance, circling one another almost as if they were dancing until she saw the glint of the sun on polished metal. She couldn’t tell the figures apart at first, but as she drew closer to them, she recognized the bronzed skin of her husband as he faced her. Her attention, however, was focused on the other man, the man she needed to save. Lucian.
She drew closer, unable to take her eyes off of them, as their weapons clashed. Lucian parried each blow expertly, moving quickly out of his opponents’ reach. Pietro was not nearly as adept as Lucian, his life of leisure had not prepared him for the strain of this fight.
The moment she was close enough to see them clearly, she cried out, attempting to get their attention. “STOP!”
Lucian’s blade stilled and as he turned towards her, she smiled, relieved at her success. She lifted her skirts, moving towards Lucian, just as Pietro’s sword continued its arc. Pietro’s blade drew across his neck as Lucian turned distracted by Elena's arrival. He now faced her, a look of concern on his face that quickly morphed into pain as blood began dripping from his mouth. She watched in horror as blood began to pour from the gash in his throat.
Letting out a wordless scream, she ran towards him, reaching him just as he hit the ground. He lay there, pressing his hand against his throat, as he coughed and choked, gasping for air as his blood pooled on the ground around him. She fell to the ground, mindful of her swollen belly as she gently pulled the bleeding man into her lap. She cradled his head with her left hand as she pressed her right hand to the wound, attempting to staunch the flow of blood, knowing it was hopeless.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” she cried, tears pouring down her cheeks.
He coughed, desperately trying to speak as more blood expelled from his mouth. He reached his hand up and tenderly traced her cheek. She leaned into his touch, feeling the sticky warm substance his fingers left behind, as more tears escaped from her eyes.
“I’m so sorry, my love,” she whispered, running her fingers softly through his hair. He choked, trying to breathe again, but could not draw in any air. Then suddenly, smiling softly, he relaxed as his rich brown eyes met hers, as his body became still. His head fell to the side leaning towards her abdomen, his glazed eyes unknowingly staring at the child he would never meet.
Elena looked down at the shell of the man she loved and let out a heart-wrenching wail. She gripped his shoulder, bending over him as if to shelter him from the world. She knew that it was her desire to protect him that had cost him his life, she distracted him and at that moment she lost everything. He could have survived if she had just stayed away if she hadn’t fallen in love with him in the first place, but now, she would never know. Lucian was gone, and she was alone. All she had left of him was their child that she carried inside her, and the crimson stains of his blood on the cream fabric of her dress.
*"Tam Lin"-Fairport Convention
Chapter 12: Florence, Italy 1485 Chapter 6
A/N: Thank you all so much for your comments and kudos, we truly appreciate you all! And so here ends our time in Italy. Next up, France!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Get up," Pietro said coldly, refusing to look at her. "You will return home with me and we can forget this nonsense ever happened."
He turned to walk towards the carriage when her voice stopped him, "No."
Pietro spun around and looked at her in astonishment, "There is nothing for you here. Your lover is dead. Come with me now and I will claim the child as mine."
"Never!" Elena bit out as she lifted her head to glare at him. She gasped slightly as she felt her back spasm painfully. Refusing to let him see her weakness, she grit her teeth and continued, " HIS child was created from love. Something you couldn't even begin to comprehend." She was shaking with emotion as she spoke. "I would rather live on the streets then return home with the heartless creature who murdered my love."
Pietro opened his mouth to respond, just as Nunzio and Magdalena arrived.
Magdalena inhaled sharply as she took in the sight before her. Elena was cradling Lucian's body, her dress soaked with his blood. Her face was streaked with tears, but there was no mistaking the look of anger on her face as she glared at the man responsible for this disaster.
Pietro was standing nearby staring at Elena as though she were a madwoman. "Then so be it," he spat. He turned and walked towards his carriage without a backward glance.
Once he was out of sight, Elena's body seemed to sag in relief. Magdalena approached her side, wrapping her arms around the shaking woman.
"He's gone, oh God, he's gone," Elena sobbed in agony, leaning against her.
Magdalena murmured comforting words to her, softly stroking her hair.
Elena hissed again at the pain in her back, breathing deeply as the pain receded.
Understanding dawned on Magdalena's face as she caught Nunzio's eye.
He nodded and approached them quietly. "Lady Elena, we need to get you away from here," he said, crouching down next to her.
"I will not leave him," Elena insisted.
Nunzio nodded in understanding, "We will take him back home, and make arrangements from there."
Elena nodded weakly, knowing that Nunzio would do right by his Master. Leaning forward, she placed a tender kiss on Lucian's lips. "You are my only love," she whispered.
Nunzio lifted Lucian's body from her lap and began walking towards the carriage.
Magdalena helped Elena shakily to her feet. As she stood, Elena felt wetness run down her legs. She looked at Magdalena in shock as she nodded in response.
"Your time has come early. We need to get you home quickly," Magdalena supported her as they slowly made their way to the carriage. Elena winced and gripped Magdalena's hand as a new wave of pain rippled throughout her body.
They managed to make it inside and began the swift and bumpy ride towards Lucian's studio.
Every movement of the carriage caused Elena to cry out in pain. Nunzio rapped on the roof for the driver to move faster, as he exchanged a worried look with Magdalena.
They made it to the studio as swiftly as possible, Elena's face twisting in agony.
Despite her protests, Nunzio carried her up the stairs and placed her in the bedroom, Magdalena quick on his heels.
"Get Lucian inside, and then bring me towels and water. I'll need your assistance," Magdalena told Nunzio.
He paled but nodded, running downstairs to follow her orders.
Magdalena lifted Elena's skirts and saw that she was further along than she had anticipated.
"Elena, Elena look at me!" she told her.
Elena weakly lifted her head and looked down at her.
"I need you to push when your body tells you to, alright? Your baby is coming quicker than we had expected. Eager to greet the world, much like you were," she smiled fondly.
Elena nodded, shifting herself onto her elbows as she felt a pain coursing through her again. She bore down and pushed, screaming through the pain.
"Good girl. We're getting there," Magdalena praised.
Elena collapsed weakly against the bed panting in exhaustion.
Nunzio came in holding towels and a large pot of steaming water.
"I need you to help Elena to sit, and support her body while she pushes," she told Nunzio.
He helped Elena to sit up, leaning her upper body against his. Elena gripped his hand tightly as she began pushing again.
"Almost there. I can see the head," Magdalena encouraged.
"I can't," Elena breathed, as she lay back against Nunzio. "I'm too tired."
"I know you are, dear child, just one more big push, and this will be over."
Elena nodded weakly as she began to push with everything she had.
"There we go, and here comes the babe!"
Magdalena wiped the baby's face and they let out a tiny cry.
"You have a beautiful daughter, Elena!"
"A daughter?" Elena smiled tiredly.
Magdalena tied off the cord, wrapped the newborn in a towel, and placed her in Elena's arms.
Elena felt tears trickle down her cheeks as she looked down at her daughter. "Hello, my little love," she cooed, stroking her downy dark hair. If she was lucky, she would inherit her father's beautiful curls in addition to the color. At the sound of her mother's voice, she slowly opened her eyes to take in her surroundings.
Elena felt her heart clench, those were Lucian's eyes staring up at her from her child's face. Those eyes that she had fallen in love with, the ones that saw her for who she truly was.
Elena smiled through her tears, "You are your father's daughter aren't you, Lucia?"
Lucia yawned sleepily as she nuzzled into her mother's arms, exhausted from her journey into the world.
"Elena, can you hand Lucia to Nunzio?" Magdalena asked with a smile.
"Is something wrong?" Elena asked, holding Lucia close.
"We just have the afterbirth, and Nunzio can get Lucia cleaned up while we finish with you." She nodded to Nunzio to take the baby.
Elena placed a kiss on her forehead and reluctantly handed Lucia over. Her face twisted in pain as she felt her body urging her to push again.
Nunzio turned away and began to clean Lucia with a warm cloth, speaking to her softly as she began to fuss.
"It's okay little one, we just want you to be nice and clean for your Mama."
"Good job, Elena, you're all done," praised Magdalena.
Elena let out a sigh of relief as she slumped against the pillows.
"I'm just going to place some rags to help with the bleeding…" she trailed off as she saw that Elena was still bleeding quite heavily.
"Elena, I'm going to press on your belly to help slow the bleeding. It will hurt," Magdalena warned her.
Elena grimaced in pain as Magdalena pressed down.
She looked down, but the blood flow wasn't slowing as it should.
Nunzio exchanged a worried look with her and she shook her head. Magdalena gestured for him to hand Lucia back to her mother.
Elena smiled as Nunzio placed Lucia next to her on the bed. "My beautiful little girl,” she sighed.
Nunzio began to apply pressure on Elena's stomach, while Magdalena continued to try and stop the bleeding.
"Your father and I love you so very much," Elena murmured, her eyes fluttering closed.
"Elena….ELENA...I need you to stay awake!" Magdalena shouted startling Lucia who began to cry.
Nunzio moved, shaking Elena's shoulder to wake her, but Elena remained still.
Dropping her human guise, Demeter shoved him out of the way, moving her fingers along Elena's neck searching for a sign of life….and found none. Even the powers of a goddess were useless in the face of death.
She let out an anguished cry as she cradled her daughter's lifeless body. Her body wracked with sobs, as she once again was unable to prevent the death of her beloved child.
Nunzio picked up Lucia, walking from the room with her to give Magdalena privacy.
Sometime later, Demeter emerged from the bedroom and found Nunzio feeding Lucia from a makeshift bottle.
Her face was pale and drawn, she looked as though she were carrying the full weight of her years upon her.
"I shall take her," she said holding out her arms.
Nunzio handed her Lucia, taking a seat at the table as he waited for her to speak.
"I need you and the others to continue to watch out for them. I can...cannot bear this pain again, it's...it's too much. I entrust them to you," she told him.
He nodded, "I understand. We will continue to watch out for them, and help them seek an end to this terrible curse."
Demeter nodded, and standing with Lucia she spun around and disappeared.
Nunzio sighed, with a wave of his hand the house disappeared around him.
In a nearby graveyard a stone appeared, with only the words, "L'amore troverà una via," inscribed upon it.
*"Love will find a way"
Chapter 13: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 1
A/N: Thank you to everyone who has been reading and commenting! We are now officially in France, what awaits our couple in this era?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Leif returned looking emotionally wrung out.
"You okay bro?" Tobin asked, concerned.
Leif waved him off, "Just a rough era. We lost them both this time, and Demeter is not handling it well."
"Good thing I stopped taking bets then," Tobin replied. "She probably wouldn't have appreciated us doing that."
Mo rolled his eyes, "You only stopped because you found out that certain goddesses were manipulating events so they could sweep the pool."
"Stupid Hecate and Eris, cheating the system…." Tobin muttered under his breath.
"Demeter has decided to bow out for the time being, so it's up to us to help them," Leif continued.
Tobin sighed, "I think it's my turn to help this time? Though if we're down Demeter I wouldn't say no to some assistance," he looked to Leif who nodded wearily in response.
"You joining us too?" Tobin asked Mo.
"Oh no! Someone has to stay behind and keep an eye on things! And I wouldn't be caught dead in the fashions where you're headed!" Mo shuddered in response.
London, England 1792
Sir Percy Blakeney had arranged a private meeting among his closest friends and confidants. The revolution across the channel was in full swing and the French aristocracy was dwindling by the day. The horror stories of Madame la Guillotine had spread far and wide, and the cruelty...it needed to stop. Sir Percy, was bound and determined to save as many as he could.
"I will need someone to leave for France immediately. You will work alongside our allies there," Sir Percy explained. "The rest of us will follow in a month's time, but for now, we need men there as quickly as possible."
He caught the steady gaze of his cousin, Edmund, who was seated with his close friend, Thomas Foulkes. Edmund nodded his silent agreement and nudged Thomas, who nodded as well.
Sir Percy cleared his throat, "Very well, Edmund and Thomas will leave for France immediately. The rest of you have a month to arrange your affairs discreetly before we are to join them."
He glanced around the room at the men who were united in their determination to make a difference, to save lives and thwart the revolutionaries. Thus, the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel was born.
Paris, France 1792
The waves splashed against the keel of the Daydream. Edmund looked down into the icy water of the channel and shivered, not from the cold, but with anticipation of what awaited them at their destination. Thomas came up beside him and rested his hands on the rail.
“Are you alright?” the younger man asked.
Edmund nodded at his friend, “Yes. Just...thinking about our next move.”
“The contacts have a safe house ready for us. We have to do what we can for now.”
“I know, and I agree. I just...wish we could end all of this now. Save all of them, not just a few at a time. Make a difference...”
Thomas nodded in return, turning to face Edmund, who looked back at him in question. “Edmund, I wish we could save them all. But, because we can’t, we will save those that we can. This is not a pointless mission. Each person we save will make a difference to them, and to their families. I promise you that.”
When the ship made port, the two men disembarked. They made their way through the streets of Paris to a house on the edge of the city. Thomas knocked on the door and an older woman answered. They spoke a few words in French and the woman gestured for them to follow her inside.
The men entered the house and were led to a drawing-room off of the main area. Edmund looked around at their surroundings, admiring the differences in the architecture from the traditional British designs.
A young woman entered the drawing-room carrying a tray of bread and a pitcher of wine. Edmund looked up and smiled, nodding his thanks. Her long red hair was pinned up, but for a few loose tendrils. She set down the tray and huffed in exasperation as she pushed the wayward curls behind her ears, drawing Edmund's eyes to her face.
She is quite lovely.
Her blue eyes sparkled as their eyes met, her smile deepening.
“Merci," he murmured, blushing as she caught him staring.
“You are welcome,” she replied softly in English, her French accent evident.
The older woman returned, followed by an older gentleman, the redhead conversed with the couple and glanced back at Thomas and Edmund. The older man spoke in heavily accented English. “Thank you for coming. We are most grateful for your help. I am Francis D’Tournay. You’ve already met my wife, Charlotte, and our daughter, Vivienne."
The redhead nodded at them, smiling, her gaze focused on Edmund, as her father spoke.
He smiled back at her. Maybe, this journey will mean much more than I originally thought…
Later that evening, Francis took Thomas and Edmund through the city, showing them the secret alleys and safe passages before taking them past a massive square filled with people. Edmund stopped, looking towards the crowd.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“This is La Place de Revolution...look over there. They are preparing the last execution of the day.”
Edmund and Thomas moved to the side of the crowd, looking at the guillotine as it stood tall at the center of the square. A hesitant woman made her way up the steps as she was lightly pushed by the guards to either side of her. The collar of her dress had already been cut to show her shoulders, and her hair had been shorn to expose her nape. She was buckled onto the bascule and tilted into position while one of the men read out her name, Marguerite Lachance. As the execution commenced, Thomas looked over at his friend, Edmund was watching the scene with sorrow and pain in his eyes.
The guard released the blade, and it moved towards the woman beneath it. They saw it hesitate in its track and shudder to a stop halfway through the poor woman's neck as she let out a pained groan. The guard hauled the blade back up to the top, releasing it again, Edmund turned to look away. This time, it finally did its job, they heard a sickening thud, and the crowd cheered.
“It’s not like that every time," Francis explained sadly as he led the men away. “She was just unlucky. The blade was probably dull and the track can get sticky from the blood. She suffered greatly before it was over.”
Thomas grew pale and turned into the alley on his right, bending over and emptying the contents of his stomach. Edmund turned, looking back at the square, the thought that this happened to people regularly was too much. He turned to his companions with new determination in his eyes, this is what they were fighting to stop, “Gentlemen, our work is just beginning.”
Edmund Blakeney, cousin of Sir Percy Blakeney-Max
Vivienne Renae D’Tournay-Zoey
Thomas Foulkes, Edmund's friend-Tobin
Jeanne Aumerele (maid in the house D'Tournay)-Joan
Chapter 14: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 2
A/N: Thank you all to everyone who has been reading and commenting! We appreciate you all!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"I think if we are seen together it will raise too much suspicion," Thomas explained to Edmund. They were in the D’Tournay's parlor making plans to begin their extractions.
"I see your point, but we work in pairs, and without you who is to be my partner?" Edmund sighed.
"I'm so glad you asked that dear friend," Thomas’ eyes lit up as he gestured for someone to enter the room.
Vivienne D’Tournay entered, smiling at them both, " Bonjour messieurs .* You require my assistance?"
"Absolutely not, Thomas! Have you taken leave of your senses?" Edmund stood, and began pacing the floor.
"Actually, monsieur * it was my idea," Vivienne broke in.
Edmund turned to stare at her, " Mademoiselle * D'Tournay, you suggested this?"
" Oui .* Monsieur Foulkes is correct that two English gentlemen together are far too conspicuous in Paris," Vivienne explained.
"And an English gentleman accompanied by an unmarried French woman at night is not?" Edmund replied.
Vivienne raised her eyebrow at him, refusing to be cowed, " Non monsieur .* It is not unusual that an unmarried gentleman would seek companionship for the night."
Edmund flushed, as Thomas attempted to cover his laugh with a cough.
"That, that is highly inappropriate Mademoiselle D'Tournay. I could not risk your reputation in such a manner, no matter the cause," Edmund attempted to regain control of the conversation.
" Bien * for that was not what I was suggesting," Vivienne took a seat. "Our story if we are caught is simply that we are eloping," she explained.
"It's brilliant!" Thomas exclaimed. "The watch is unlikely to be suspicious of a young couple eloping."
Edmund sighed, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, "It is a good plan….Mademoiselle D'Tournay are you quite certain you want to do this?"
Vivienne's eyes sparked with fire, " I cannot allow myself to sit at home knowing I could be of some help. Oui je suis absolument certain .*"
Edmund nodded admiring her passion, "Then I accept mademoiselle." He bowed and placed a kiss to her hand.
Vivienne blushed, feeling a spark course through her at the touch of Edmund's lips on her hand.
Thomas discreetly coughed, breaking the spell between them.
"Now, Vivienne, may I call you that?" Thomas asked. Vivienne smiled and nodded in response. He pulled out a rough sketch of the city's roads, "You and Edmund will need to familiarize yourself with this route out of the city. We don't know when you will need to use it, but you both need to know it backward and forwards. Our contacts are gathering information about who will need our assistance. But I need you two prepared to make this journey at a moment’s notice, even in the dead of night," Thomas explained.
Edmund looked at his friend, "So we are to memorize our path? And then what?"
Thomas shook his head, "Patience my friend. By the time you know the route we should have some in need of it."
Vivienne pursed her lips as she looked over the pages, "I believe I know part of this route, it should be easy enough to follow."
"Then I leave this in your hands," Thomas gathered up his papers. "Now I have a meeting with our contact. I will let you know what I learn," he nodded at them, leaving and closing the door behind him.
"Well there is no time like the present, shall we Mademoiselle?" Edmund offered his arm to Vivienne who smiled.
"If we are to be so madly in love we are eloping it is probably best if you call me Viv," she suggested.
"Viv," Edmund said softly, watching as her eyes fluttered closed and her breath hitched as he said her name. "Then you must call me Edmund."
Vivienne locked eyes with him, "Edmund…" she murmured leaning towards him. He felt his pulse quicken as she breathed his name. His eyes darted to her lips wondering if they tasted as sweet as they looked. He bent his head towards hers slowly, his lips a whisper away from hers.
The door burst open and the couple sprung apart, blushing.
"I forgot my spectacles," Thomas said, grinning at their flushed and guilty faces. He winked teasingly at Edmund, "As you were."
Within a few days, Vivienne and Edmund knew the ins and outs of their assigned route and had begun to grow restless as they waited for their first mission.
"Thomas has asked us to meet him this evening," Edmund told Vivienne as they once again walked along their route.
As eager as he was to begin their work, Edmund enjoyed having these moments alone with Vivienne. It was during their walks that they learned more about one another, and what brought them to the cause. He told her of his recruitment by his cousin Sir Percy, and how he along with Thomas had been selected to start their work ahead of the others.
"What of you Viv? Why join such a dangerous cause?" Edmund asked, curious to hear her answer.
Vivienne's face clouded over, she pressed her lips together into a thin line. "I watched as they led my dearest friend Henriette De Barbarac, up the stairs of the scaffold to meet Madame Guillotine. Though it pained me to, I remained there for her, she needed a familiar face among the bloodthirsty crowd. For if I were in her place I could not bear to be alone in the moment of my death. Before the blade struck, she caught my eye and smiled at me, grateful for my presence in her last moments. I knew then that I could not permit this to continue, I could not save her, but I could save others in her name."
Edmund handed her his handkerchief, "Viv, I had no idea. That you watched such horrors happen to someone you held dear."
Vivienne dabbed at the tears on her cheeks, "It is not a fate I would wish upon anyone."
Edmund stopped and turned to face her, "You are an amazing and brave woman Vivienne D'Tournay. And I am honored to work beside you," he placed a lingering kiss on her hand, before tucking it into the crook of his elbow and resuming their walk.
Vivienne felt her cheeks flush at the compliment and the touch of his lips. She turned to look at him admiring the curve of his jaw, the soft cupid's bow of his lips. As she gazed at him, his profile changed, his hair appeared longer and more disheveled, and his clean-shaven jaw disappeared behind a short beard. He turned to look at her, and she gasped, "Lucien?" The spell was broken and Edmund stared at her in confusion.
"Viv? Are you alright?"
"I thought I saw...no it was merely the sun in my eyes making me see things. Come let's head back, surely Thomas will be on his way soon," Vivienne turned them back towards her home, confused by what she had seen and the unknown yet familiar name she had said.
"This evening you will be needed to escort the Comtesse de Lancret and her young daughter Lucie out of the city. You will bring them to the ship docked here," Thomas pointed on the map. "The Comte awaits them, and the ship is set to sail at dawn. With only the mother and child this should be a simple task. As soon as they are safely aboard, send word from the inn and then return here."
"Will they be up to the task of walking all night?" Edmund asked.
"The Comtesse has been briefed and they are prepared for the journey," Thomas answered. "They await you at the safehouse. The sooner you deliver them to safety the better we shall all sleep tonight."
Edmund and Vivienne nodded at Thomas and departed for the safe house.
Bonjour messieurs- Hello gentlemen
Monsieur-Sir or Mr. if preceding a name
Non Monsieur- No Sir
Oui je suis absolument certain-Yes I am absolutely certain.
Chapter 15: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 3
A/N: Thank you all for your comments and support, we really love and appreciate all the love you guys have for this fic!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Vivienne and Edmund arrived at the safehouse to find that their information, while correct, was missing a key element. Comtesse Céline de Lancret was waiting there with her daughter Lucie, however, Thomas had neglected to mention that the Comtesse was also heavy with child.
The journey wasn’t going to be easy, traveling by night with a young child and a pregnant aristocrat’s wife, they would be lucky to make it to the ship by dawn.
"Comtesse, are you sure that you are up to this journey?" Vivienne asked.
"Making the journey now while the child is still within me is much easier than making it with a screaming infant and Lucie," the Comtesse rolled her eyes. "As long as we make it to the ship in time, I will be fine."
Vivienne looked at Edmund and shrugged, "She's not wrong."
He nodded, “Viv, can you carry Lucie? We will move much more quickly if she does not have to walk." It would be easier for her to carry the small child, and leave the Comtesse to him.
Vivienne nodded and scooped the little girl into her arms, “Come on darling, we’ll get you somewhere safe with maman.” Lucie nodded her curls bouncing as she wrapped her arms around Vivienne’s neck. Vivienne looked over Lucie’s head and met Edmund’s eyes, nodding to let him know she was ready.
Edmund felt his breath catch as he stared at Viv holding Lucie, a sense of longing stirred in his heart. An image came forth of Viv standing in front of the window, her stomach swollen with child. He smiled as he saw himself wrap his arms around her, and gently place a kiss to her hair. “Elena, my love,” he murmured.
He shook his head, the image disappeared and was replaced with Viv looking at him in confusion.
“It’s nothing,” he nodded at Viv, and they headed out into the night. The cool air helped to shake him from his daze, he needed to focus on the task at hand.
Lucie had fallen asleep not long after they began their journey, the excitement proving to be too much for her young body. They made their way through the streets as quietly and quickly as they were able. Vivienne began to tire from carrying Lucie and found herself lagging slightly behind Edmund and the Comtesse.
As they neared the docks, the voice of a guard called out, and Vivienne froze.
“Arrêtez mademoiselle ."
She watched as Edmund and the Comtesse ducked into a nearby alley. Taking a shuddery breath she turned around. “Pardonne moi monsieur, ” she murmured politely, dipping a slight curtsey.
"It is awfully late to be wandering the streets alone. Where are you heading?" the guard asked.
Vivienne paled as she shifted Lucie's weight in her arms, thankful that the little girl remained asleep. Viv worried her lip as she tried to come up with a story for why she and Lucie would be out at such an hour.
"Mademoiselle?" the guard looked at her, waiting for an explanation.
Thinking quickly, she squared her shoulders and her voice took on an affronted air, "I am off to bring my husband home if you must know."
The guard looked confused, "And the child?"
"Our daughter is not feeling well. I sent him to fetch a draught from the apothecary and he has yet to return. I suspect it is because he stopped at the tavern on his way home," Vivienne replied, hoping the guard would believe her tale. She pitched her voice loudly, praying that Edmund could hear her.
"I would be happy to escort you…" the guard began but they were interrupted by a drunken laugh.
Turning around Vivienne caught Edmund's eye as he stumbled towards them.
"Ahhhh there she is! Ma belle femme !" Edmund slurred. Wrapping his arm around Viv's waist he pulled her towards him, placing his body slightly in front of hers.
Viv scoffed loudly, and turned to glare at him."I should have known you would stop for a drink!"
" Ma cherie, I only stopped for a moment," Edmund replied, caressing her cheek. "Surely you cannot be mad about that."
Vivienne became momentarily distracted by the feel of Edmund's hand on her flushed skin. She cleared her throat and fixed him with a glare, "A moment has passed and then some mon chou ."
The guard looked uncomfortably between them, trying to discern whether or not he should interfere.
Edmund hung his head contritely, "I have the draught you sent me for. Je suis désolé mon ange .”
Vivienne sighed and patted his cheek, "Very well. Let us return home, and I'll put you both to bed."
Edmund smiled, lifting his head he placed a kiss to her temple, before turning to the guard. " Monsieur, we must bid you adieu," he gave a stumbling bow and guided Viv away from the guard.
Viv followed slightly dazed, unable to focus on anything except how Edmund's lips had felt against her skin.
She lifted a hand to her temple, as though she could still feel them.
Edmund led her to a nearby alcove to wait for the guard to move on in his rounds.
"Viv I'm so sorry," Edmund began.
"Don't be, our ruse worked well. One would think you've had experience being the drunk yet devoted husband," she teased.
Edmund chuckled, "Drunk yes, devoted husband not so much."
"Pity, you played that part rather well," Viv replied softly.
"Viv," Edmund breathed, as she turned to look at him.
He saw the same desire he felt reflected in her eyes. Leaning forward he placed a soft kiss upon her lips, Viv moved to pull him closer, just as Lucie began to stir in her arms. "Maman ?" she mumbled.
Edmund cleared his throat, "Shhh Lucie, go back to sleep. We're not quite there yet."
Lucie nodded sleepily and snuggled back into Vivienne's shoulder.
Sighing, Edmund took Viv's hand, "Come, I suspect he's moved on."
He led them back up the street to the alley where the Comtesse was waiting.
She glanced at the sleeping Lucie and let out a sigh of relief, nodding her thanks to Vivienne.
Edmund peered out of the alley, making sure the coast was clear. He gestured for them to follow, and they quickly made their way to the docks.
Pacing anxiously in front of the ship, awaiting their arrival, was the Comte de Lancret.
The Comtesse raced forward and threw herself into her husband's arms.
Allowing them a moment for their reunion, Vivienne gently woke the sleeping Lucie.
"Lucie, mon agneau, it's time to wake up," she whispered.
Lucie opened her eyes and yawned sleepily. She turned her head and looked around before spotting her parents. She wiggled to be put down and ran over to join them.
The Comte looked at Edmund and nodded his thanks before turning to board the ship with his family.
Edmund turned to Viv, as he awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. "Viv, I…"
Before he could finish Viv had wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down into a kiss.
Edmund chuckled at her eagerness. Placing his hands on her waist, he pulled her closer to him, returning her kiss with equal fervor.
Arrêtez mademoiselle- Stop Miss.
Pardonne moi monsieur- Forgive me sir.
Ma belle femme- My beautiful wife
Ma cherie- My darling
Mon chou- Sweetie (also literally translates to my cabbage)
Je suis désolé mon ange- I’m sorry my angel
mon agneau- My lamb
Chapter 16: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 4
Chapter by ladylillianrose
A/N: Thank you all for your comments and support, Aubreyrichman, and I really love and appreciate all the love you guys have for this fic!
Hope you enjoy your cameo @vilindeer pleased don’t hate me too much!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Word had quickly spread of the success of Edmund and Vivienne's mission, and soon they had a growing list of those seeking safe passage out of Paris. Thomas and his partner, who Vivienne and Edmund had not met, were responsible for making the arrangements and getting the individuals to the safe houses.
Since their kiss on the docks, Edmund and Vivienne had become inseparable. Every moment they spent together the couple fell more in love.
As Vivienne made her way to the study to meet Thomas and Edmund, she heard a knock at the door.
The door opened to reveal a nervous Vanessa De Barbarac.
"Nessa! What are you doing here?" Vivienne asked as she hugged the younger woman.
"I must see Monsieur Foulkes at once! Is he here?" Vanessa's hands were shaking as she removed her cloak.
Vivienne looked at her warily, "Why do you have need of Monsieur Foulkes?"
"Viv, please. Take me to him and I will explain everything," Vanessa pleaded.
Vivienne nodded, and the pair made their way to the study where Edmund and Thomas were looking through their correspondence.
"Thomas!" Vanessa cried, running to his side.
"Nessa, what are you doing here?" Thomas looked up in surprise.
Vanessa opened her mouth to explain but a small sob tore from her throat. Thomas wrapped his arm around her and led her to the sofa.
Edmund looked to Vivienne for an explanation but she just shrugged her shoulders. Vivienne made her way to the tea tray and fixed a cup with plenty of sugar for Vanessa.
"Here, the sugar will help with the shock," she explained. She placed the cup in Vanessa's hands, before moving to stand next to Edmund.
Vanessa nodded her thanks, taking in a shuddering breath as her tears slowed.
She took a sip of the tea before raising her eyes to look at Thomas. "I fear that I have been compromised."
"What makes you suspect this?" Thomas asked calmly.
"On our last mission, when they nearly caught up to us, my hood fell away and I'm certain the guards saw my face. Since that night, I haven't been able to shake the feeling that someone has been following me. My parents have already lost my older sister, to lose me too would destroy them," Vanessa looked down as fresh tears fell.
"Nessa is the younger sister of Henriette," Vivienne quietly explained to Edmund. "I had no idea she had become involved in all this."
"I would imagine, much like with you, losing her sister spurred her desire to save others," Edmund squeezed her hand affectionately.
"We need to get Nessa out of the city as quickly as we can," Thomas said turning to look at them.
"Viv and I can take her now and be back by dawn. There's an inn where we can stay until the ship leaves in the morning," Edmund offered.
Thomas shook his head, "I'm coming too." He took Vanessa's hand in his, "I need to know that she's safe."
Understanding dawned on Vivienne's face and she smiled at Vanessa who nodded and blushed.
"Edmund can take you both," Vivienne offered. "Two women traveling with one man would look too suspicious, and someone needs to stay behind and take care of things here."
Thomas smiled gratefully and nodded in agreement with her plan.
Edmund looked at her worriedly, "Promise me that you'll stay put until we return."
Vivienne placed a gentle kiss on his lips, "I promise mon amour. Now you must hurry, the sooner you leave, the sooner you will return to me."
The men left to retrieve their cloaks, giving Vivienne and Vanessa a moment alone.
"So, you and Thomas?" Vivienne smirked at the younger woman. "I had no idea you were so well acquainted with one another."
Vanessa flushed, "I would say we are as well acquainted as you and Edmund seem to be."
The two women laughed and embraced one another.
"Write to me once you are safe. I'll explain everything to your parents and we will get them to you as soon as we can," Vivienne reassured her.
Vanessa nodded, "Thank you, Viv. I think Henriette would be proud of us."
Vivienne smiled sadly at her, "I know she would."
"Ahem," Thomas cleared his throat. "Nessa, we're ready when you are."
She nodded, giving Vivienne one last embrace before following Thomas out the door.
Edmund walked into back into the study.
"Did you forget something?" Vivienne asked.
"When this is all over, come back to England with me," Edmund asked earnestly.
"Do you mean?"
"Yes, be my lady?"
Vivienne's eyes filled with tears, "Yes, I will."
Edmund's lips descended upon hers, pouring all the love he had for into their embrace.
They broke apart panting heavily, unable to keep the grins off their faces.
"You had better go," Vivienne murmured.
"I will return as quickly as I can," Edmund promised. He placed a soft kiss to her forehead and walked out the door
"Reviens à moi en toute sécurité, mon amour *," she whispered as she watched him leave.
Reviens à moi en toute sécurité, mon amour- Come back to me safely, my love.
Chapter 17: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 5
A/N: As always a big thank you to everyone for reading and commenting! Aubreyrichman and I really do love hearing how much you enjoy this fic!
We are nearing the end of our time in France, but don't worry there are still 2 eras remaining for our star-crossed couple.
Vilindeer I hope you'll still speak to us after this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Edmund signaled to Vanessa and Thomas that the road was clear. They moved quickly through the alleys, avoiding the main roads as much as possible.
As they rounded the corner, Vanessa misstepped and her ankle gave way, causing her to cry out in pain.
"Edmund!" Thomas hissed, trying to gain his friend's attention.
Edmund turned and saw Vanessa leaning on Thomas for support, as she tried to keep her weight off of her right foot.
Edmund doubled back, "What happened?"
Vanessa leaned against a wall as Thomas bent down to inspect her injury. He gently touched her ankle as she winced in pain.
"It's not broken, but it will be difficult to bear weight," he murmured to Edmund.
Edmund frowned, time was not a luxury that they had right now.
"I'll be fine, let us continue," Vanessa insisted. Her bravado was betrayed by the way her voice shook as she attempted to stand.
Thomas wrapped his arm around her waist, "Let me help you, Nessa. Please," he whispered as he looked into her eyes.
Edmund could see how much they cared for one another, he smiled as he thought of Viv. Even with this small setback, they should be home by early morning, and he would once more be at her side.
Vivienne was restless as she waited for Edmund and Thomas to return. She knew they would get Vanessa to the safehouse, it was returning home safely that she was worried about.
She was attempting to read in order to distract herself. She had started, A Modest Proposal but found even the wit of Johnathon Swift could not keep her attention. Her gaze returned to the window, where the sun had just set, and she sighed impatiently. Their destination was at the farthest outskirts of the neighboring village, they would not return until morning.
With one last glance out the window, Vivienne closed her book and made her way upstairs to bed. She knew she would sleep very little tonight, but it was worth the try.
She sent up a silent prayer to whoever was listening, that Edmund and Thomas would be safe.
"The safehouse is just up ahead," Edmund whispered, as he glanced back at the couple.
Their journey had taken nearly twice as long due to Vanessa's injury. She had done an admirable job of keeping up on foot with the assistance of Thomas. But Edmund could see the pain and exhaustion etched on her face.
Thomas and Vanessa stopped, taking the moment to rest and catch their breath.
The bright rays of dawn were beginning to color the early morning sky.
"Can you make it the rest of the way?" Thomas asked Vanessa, squeezing her hand tenderly.
Vanessa nodded weakly and attempted to step forward before her legs gave out.
Thinking quickly, Thomas scooped her into his arms and ran with Edmund towards the house.
Edmund whistled twice before knocking on the door, to signal their comrade. The door opened, and an older gentleman admitted them inside.
Thomas carried Vanessa over to the settee, removing her shoe and placing her ankle upon a cushion. She smiled at him as he leaned down to place a kiss on her forehead. "You're safe now," he murmured lovingly.
"Qui est-elle ?*" the older gentleman asked, staring at the three of them.
Edmund frowned at him, "She is Mademoiselle Vanessa De Barbarac. The one we were told to bring to you because her identity was discovered."
"Non non . Elle n'est pas celle.*"
Thomas looked up confused, "What do you mean she isn't the one?"
"Que se passe-t-il ici ?*" asked Francis D'Tournay, as he and his wife Charlotte entered the room.
"Oh mon cher,* Vanessa! What happened to you?" Charlotte asked worriedly. She began to fuss over the younger woman, as she tended to her injury.
Francis looked from Edmund to Thomas to Vanessa, confusion evident on his face.
Edmund could feel the blood drain from his face as he put the pieces together.
"She isn't the one," Edmund whispered, turning to Thomas. "She isn't the one….Oh God, Viv!" He raced out the door, Thomas hot on his heels.
Vivienne awoke to the quiet knock of her maid Jeanne.
"Entrez,*" she murmured sleepily.
Jeanne came in and drew open the curtains, Vivienne winced at the brightness of the day. She was exhausted, sleep had not come easily to her.
"Monsieur Blakeney and Monsieur Folkes, have they returned?" she asked.
"Non mademoiselle* ," Jeanne replied.
Vivienne frowned, she had thought that they would have returned by now.
"No messages either?" she asked, trying to keep the worry from her voice.
Jeanne shook her head sadly.
Moving out from her bed, Vivienne looked out the window searching for any sign of the men.
"Mademoiselle, you cannot greet them in your nightclothes. Come, let's get you ready, and by the time we are done perhaps they will be here," Jeanne suggested. Vivienne nodded and allowed Jeanne to lead her to the washbasin.
Opening the wardrobe, Jeanne looked over Vivienne's gowns. "Préféreriez-vous le bleu ou l'or ? Ou peut-être devrais-je demander lequel il préfère? *" Jeanne asked with a knowing look at her mistress.
Vivienne flushed, "L’or.*"
Her mind was distracted as Jeanne helped her to dress. She couldn't help but wonder what could be taking Edmund and Thomas so long to return.
Sitting at her vanity table, she watched her reflection as Jeanne brushed her hair.
Jeanne began to quietly hum as she worked to pin her mistress's hair up, in the style she preferred.
"Jeanne, that tune, what is it?" Vivienne asked. "It sounds familiar."
"C'est une chanson que ma mère m'a chantée,*" Jeanne replied.
"Do you remember the words?"
Jeanne nodded and smiled, "Oui, I do." She took a deep breath and began to sweetly sing.
O I forbid you, maidens a',
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh.
A knock on the bedroom door interrupted Jeanne's singing.
Vivienne smiled and quickly ran to her door, relieved that Edmund had finally returned to her safely.
Qui est-elle- Who is she?
Non non, elle n'est pas celle.- No no, she's not the one.
Que se passe-t-il ici?- What is happening here?
Oh mon cher- Oh my dear
Entrez- Come in
Non mademoiselle- No, miss
Préféreriez-vous le bleu ou l'or? Ou peut-être devrais-je demander lequel il préfère?- Would you prefer the blue or the gold? Or maybe I should ask which one he prefers?
C'est une chanson que ma mère m'a chantée- It's a song my mother sang to me.
The ballad is Tam Lin 39A
Chapter 18: Paris, France 1792 Chapter 6
I hijacked posting from LadyLillianRose for this chapter :) I just couldn't wait and its after midnight here! I am excited but also just want to get this heartbreaking moment over with! I am so sorry for what is coming in this chapter. I will personally send all of you tissues if you need them.
Thank you all for supporting us throughout this endeavor. I am so excited to show you all the next 2 eras!! LadyLillian has admittedly done more on this story than I have and I just want to say how amazing she is about being so patient with me and my shenanigans... I can be a little much sometimes :)
Without any further ado, the end of France!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Edmund entered the house through the back door, trying to avoid being seen by any citizens on the street that could report a wanderer. As he entered, he looked towards the entry and noticed broken glass from a vase that had shattered. There were no servants to be seen and the house was eerily quiet.
Where is she? They couldn’t have come for her yet…
He climbed the stairs to her room. The house was deserted. He heard a noise behind him as he moved towards the back door to leave and go to the safehouse. He spun, pulling his gun as he did, to find that it was pointing at Thomas. He held up his hands at the firearm and Edmund put the gun away.
“Thomas, where is she?”
A sad look came over his friend’s face as he shook his head. He took a deep breath before speaking his next words, “They came for her early this morning. She faces La Veuve.”
Edmund felt the air leave his chest as if by force. La Veuve. The Widow. She faces the Guillotine. He braced himself against the chair to his right and looked up at his friend. “The Place de la Revolution?”
Thomas nodded in confirmation. Edmund turned and ran out of the door. The square where Madame la Guillotine stood was across town. He looked at his pocket watch as he moved towards the square through the streets.
21 minutes to 9. It’s Sunday. They start at 9 on Sundays. I can save her. I still have time.
He heard Thomas breathing hard behind him as they raced to the square. The cold November air pierced his lungs and stung his airway.
Viv. I’m coming, Viv.
As the roof of the Hotel Crillon came into view, he heard cheering from the square and the rumble of a tumbrel moving through the streets. He heard the wheels come to a stop as the bells of Notre Dame rang out across the city. No. Not yet…
He emerged from a side alley into the middle of the crowd surrounding the scaffold. The basket lay in front of him as he made his way towards the looming blade to try to discover if Vivienne was among the first load of prisoners. He moved closer, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that would help him identify the woman he was trying to save. He came to a stop directly before the scaffold, two rows back. A glimpse of gold among the sea of simple white cotton drew his eye, but what stopped his heart was the familiar flash of red hair that belonged to the woman stepping off the cart. One of the guards turned her to face the crowd as he bound her hands behind her.
Her blue eyes scanned the crowd and met his in a piercing gaze. He shifted and made a move towards her, but she shook her head slightly, and her lips turned up in a sad smile. He took a step and she shook her head again, making him stop in his tracks. He felt a hand on his shoulder and glanced back to see that it was Thomas. He turned back to the woman who watched him closely before being forced to take a step forward towards her fate. He knew he couldn’t save her. He was too late.
He watched as she climbed the stairs, one by one, her hands clenched behind her, her breaths slow and even, trying to calm herself. Her fiery hair was pinned up, no doubt to allow the blade to do its work uninhibited. He swallowed hard as she crested the steps and he saw her steps falter as she saw the machine before her. She found his eyes again in the crowd and stared at him, terror filling her gaze. He nodded, returning her sad smile.
He mouthed at her. “Keep your eyes on me. I’m right here. Just look at me.” I’m here, Love. I’m not going anywhere. I won’t leave you to face this alone.
She nodded as the guards moved her to stand in the bascule. Her gaze never left his as he watched them take the straps and secure her to the board. The men roughly adjusted the neckline of her gown to bare her shoulders and neck. The officers then tilted the board forward, laying her flat before pushing the bascule forward and into position. As they moved her, for a moment, Vivienne’s eyes left his as she looked at the lunette and the basket that lay below her.
Look at me, Love. Look at me. He begged. She tilted her head up slightly so that she could see him. Tears welled in his eyes but he refused to let them spill. “I’m here. I’m right here with you.” He whispered. She smiled softly, and his heart broke. The two officers stepped forward and pushed the top of the lunette into position, securing her neck and locking her head in place.
The officer read out her name, Vivienne Renae D’Tournay, followed by her sentence. As the officer moved forward, Edmund whispered once more. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
The sad smile remained in place on her beautiful face. “I love you.” She said quietly, just loud enough for him to hear and a lone tear escaped from his eye.
The officer rested his hand on the handle on the side of the machine and Edmund found himself taking a deep breath. “I love you,” he whispered, again and her smile widened. He saw movement from the officer as he pulled the handle. His eyes remained locked with hers, but he saw everything. A flash of light on the metal of the blade when it met the sunlight as it rushed down towards the helpless woman beneath it. He heard the sound of metal meeting flesh and bone as the blade fell and did its brutal work. It was quickly followed by a thud as the weight that held the sharp metal came to rest on the lunette that held the neck of his love. But still, He kept his promise. He kept his eyes on hers as her head fell away and dropped into the basket, revealing the bloody blade that had taken its place. The tears in his eyes begged to fall, and he refused to let them, as he watched the blood drip off the angled steel. Vivienne’s blood. He saw the other officers unbuckling the straps that secured her and watched as they lifted her petite form from the bascule and placed her into the pine box next to the machine that had taken her life. He knew what came next.
Sometimes, they last too long. Sometimes, they can see. If she can still see me, I need to be strong. For her.
The officer reached into the basket and grasped the fiery hair that peeked from above the wicker. Thomas’s grip on his shoulder tightened as the officer lifted Vivienne’s head aloft. Edmund looked up with pain in his heart as he noticed that her red curls had come loose from the pins. She would hate that. He looked into her open blue eyes, for a moment he thought he saw a flicker of light still in them, but it quickly faded. Her eyes stared blankly ahead, devoid of the sparkle that he knew so well. He knew then. He was all alone. He blinked, turning his head away from the scene, letting the tears fall in torrents down his cheeks instead of one at a time.
I am so sorry, my love. I’m so sorry that I failed you.
He turned to walk away, keeping his head down. He did not want to hear or see any more as the officer raised her head high once again with shouts proclaiming her a whore and a traitor. It took all he had to keep walking away. She would not want him to die like this. He needed to help end this cruelty. But, he knew, in his heart and in his mind, that he would never forget her eyes. Both the ones that were happy and full of love and the ones that were so empty and devoid of life. They took that from her. They took her from him.
Robespierre will pay with his life.
bascule- At the start of the execution this teeterboard stands in vertical position. The condemned is pushed against it, and is tilted into horizontal position, face down with his neck in the lunette between the uprights. On the side of the bascule is a sort of table, also hinged, which is there to make it easy, to push the headless body into a big basket immediately after the execution.
lunette- This part of the guillotine is made of two wooden pieces, one fixed and one moveable. The lunette is copper lined at the side towards the blade. It is used to hold the neck of the condemned in position.
Chapter 19: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 1
A/N: Thank you everyone for all your comments and support! We are entering the last era before we make it to modern-day! Aubreyrichman and I really do appreciate all your love for this story! This tale truly is a labor of love!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"What I don't understand is how you found yourself in this situation in the first place," Mo said, threading a rather large needle.
"Someone didn't meet me at our previously arranged time," Leif muttered.
"Where is he, by the way? You all are normally back by now."
"I heard something about him falling in love with a mortal. He's probably spending her last few years by her side," Leif explained.
"Awww, our little Tobin, all grown up and falling in love. You think it will make him more mature?" Mo grinned, holding his measuring tape to Leif's torso.
Leif snorted, "Not a chance."
As though summoned by their discussion of him, Tobin waltzed into the room. "Bro, what happened to you?" he gestured at Leif's headless body.
Leif's head rolled his eyes from its position on Mo's worktable. "Oh, this? It's nothing just a minor run-in with THE GUILLOTINE!!"
Tobin winced as Leif yelled at him, "I looked for you when we arrived in Paris. You were supposed to meet me at the docks on August 2nd! We got there and you were nowhere to be found!"
Leif's head frowned, "No, you were supposed to meet me there August 1st! And when you didn't arrive, I was arrested and beheaded under suspicion of being an English spy!"
Tobin couldn't help the snicker that escaped his lips, "So, what you're saying is that you got there ahead of me?"
Leif sighed, "Here we go…"
"No, seriously man. I'm sorry we got the dates mixed up. But really, it's nothing to lose your head over."
Mo chuckled as he began sewing Lief's head back onto his body.
"Must you continue?" Leif rolled his eyes, trying his best to ignore Tobin's antics.
"I've got one more joke, though it may go over your head !" Tobin collapsed onto the sofa laughing at his own wit.
"And to think you're leaving me alone with him," Leif groused at Mo.
Mo made the final stitch to Leif before responding. "It's my turn to offer my expertise to our young couple. Besides, have you seen the hats they wore then? I was not going to pass up a chance to snag one of them!"
"On the off chance that things go wrong this time, we may need to consider a new plan to break Aphrodite's curse," Leif suggested, inspecting Mo's handiwork in the mirror.
Mo and Tobin nodded in agreement.
"I hate to say it, but it may be time to talk to them," all three of them shuddered at the prospect.
" If and only if, things do not go well this time, do we involve them," Mo stated as he grabbed his bag. "I've got a good feeling about things this time around," he grinned at the other two and walked out the door.
"Sorry about all those jokes, bro," Tobin apologized to Leif.
Leif waved him off, "It's to be expected."
"I hadn't even thought of them before, they were all just off the top of my head !"
Leif groaned, "It's going to be an unbearable era!"
Queenstown, Ireland April 11, 1912
Cordelia Haughey nee Murphy stood staring in awe at the large ship, her eyes wide with wonder at how something that large could even stay afloat.
"Excited, Delia?" her husband Andrew asked, as he smiled at her. Setting down their bags he wrapped his arms around her waist lovingly.
Cordelia sighed, enjoying the feel of his strong arms around her. She tilted her head and brushed a kiss along his cheek.
"I can't believe we're actually going to New York on that ship!"
"It's our chance for a whole new start," Andrew said, a slight frown marring his handsome features.
Reaching up, Corelia caressed his cheek, "Come now my love, this is our honeymoon. Don't let thoughts of the past cloud our joy."
Andrew's face softened, he kissed the palm of her hand, and lovingly ran his fingers along with her simple gold wedding band. "I'm sorry, my heart. I just wish…."
Cordelia nodded, "I know, love. I know."
Their families had been against the match from the start. The Murphy's were a proud Irish family, rarely did they stray far from the land they had farmed for generations. Cordelia had been expected to marry a good Irish lad and settle to raise their family nearby, ensuring the next generation of Murphy's grew up near their roots. This was the way things had always been with the Murphy's, so why should Cordelia expect her future to be any different? But as soon as she met Andrew, she knew that fate had other plans in store for her.
Andrew Haughey had been sent by his father to investigate a small parcel of land willed to their client. Letters had been sent informing the landowners of his pending visit, but there had been no response, which explained the lack of a welcoming committee at the train station. Never one to be deterred, Andrew grabbed his bag and began walking down the dirt road. He had dutifully studied the map of the property in question, so finding the farm proved to be a simple task. He arrived at the farm, just as a young woman with hair the color of flames, stormed out of the chicken coop.
"Fine! Keep your damned eggs, you spiteful old biddies!" she yelled, giving the door a kick for good measure.
Andrew unsuccessfully tried to stifle a laugh, as the young woman turned, her cheeks flushed at her outburst being overheard.
"I'm so sorry, I had no idea anyone was nearby!" she apologized, refusing to meet his eyes.
Andrew smiled and waved off her apology, "I should be the one apologizing, I didn't mean to startle you."
She smiled and looked up at him for the first time, his breath caught at the piercing blue of her eyes. "I'm Cordelia Murphy," she said, introducing herself.
"It’s a pleasure, Miss Murphy, I'm Andrew Haughey."
"What brings you out to my family's farm, Mr. Haughey? Your accent places you a long way from home," Cordelia gestured for him to follow her towards the house.
"Well, I'm here to speak to your father about a small part of the farm that was left to a client of mine," Andrew explained awkwardly. "I had written to inform him of my arrival but…."
"I see," Cordelia frowned. "Do you have a place to stay, while you conduct your business?"
He blushed, "I must confess that I had not planned that far ahead. There was an inn not too far back that I'll see if I can rent a room at."
"Father has gone to the city for supplies and won't return for at least a week. In the meantime, you are welcome to stay in the farmhand's bunkhouse."
Cordelia glanced at the attractive man next to her, hoping he would say yes. He was handsome to be sure, but there was something more that drew her toward him, as though their hearts already knew each other.
Andrew was taken aback by her offer, "I appreciate that, but I doubt that would endear me any further to your father if he learned that I was here with you alone."
Cordelia laughed, "Oh, I'm not here alone! It's almost impossible to be alone when you're a Murphy."
"Then where is everyone?"
"My mother just returned from checking on my brother's wife, she's nearing time for the baby to be born. They live just in that house over there," she pointed to a small house nearby. "Then there's my sister and her family who live in that one, just over the hill. And my younger brothers and sister still live with Mam, Da, and I in the larger house just here."
"You must all be very close with one another," Andrew observed, taking in how close all the properties were to the main house.
Cordelia smiled, "We are, though a moment or two alone wouldn't go amiss."
Andrew let out a chuckle and nodded in agreement.
Opening the door to the large house, Cordelia placed her empty egg basket on the bench and hung up her shawl.
"Mam?" she called.
"In the kitchen!"
"You can set your bag right on that bench there. Take a seat, and I'll be right back," Cordelia headed in the direction of what he assumed was the kitchen.
Andrew wandered around the small living room, enjoying the warmth and coziness it exuded. He frowned as he imagined the look of disdain his father would have at such simple furnishings.
"Who are you?" he heard a small voice ask from behind him. Turning he saw a young girl, roughly 5 years old, staring at him in confusion.
He bent down to her eye level, "My name is Andrew Haughey, what's yours?"
"Norah Murphy," she stated proudly.
"A pleasure to meet you, Miss Norah," Andrew smiled as he shook her small hand.
"You sound funny," Norah said wrinkling her nose.
He chuckled, "Ahh, that would be because I'm from a place called Scotland."
Norah's eyes widened and she opened her mouth to ask another question.
"Norah Claire!" a voice interrupted. "Leave our guest alone, and come wash up for supper!"
"Yes, Mam!" Norah quickly ran to the kitchen to follow her mother's instructions, nearly running into Cordelia in the process.
"Come, I'll show you where you can get cleaned up. Then I'll take you to the bunkhouse after supper," she smiled at him. Andrew smiled in return, Cordelia's heart skipped a beat.
By the time Cordelia's father had returned from the city, Andrew and Cordelia were smitten with one another. Andrew had sent a telegram to his father to tell him of his attachment, saying that he hoped when he returned home that it would be with Cordelia as his wife.
Robert Haughey was less than pleased with the news he received from his son. He replied immediately, stating that under no circumstances was he to bring some Irish farm girl home as his bride. He was to return home at once and Robert would send someone else to deal with the Murphy property.
Andrew was furious, how dare his father orders him around as though he were a disobedient child. He was an adult, free to love and marry whomsoever he chose.
Cordelia was facing a similar disagreement with her parents.
"I will not have my daughter marrying some Scottish lawyer, and running off to Lord knows where!" her father thundered. "You are a Murphy, it's your duty to stay here on our land, marry and raise a family!"
"But that's not what I want!" Cordelia cried. "That's what you want for me! I love Andrew, and he loves me! I'd rather be anywhere in the world with him than trapped here on this awful farm!" She stormed out of the house, racing across the field to the bunkhouse.
Andrew opened the door and Cordelia threw herself into his arms sobbing.
"Delia, what's happened?" he asked, concerned.
"They don't care that I love you and you love me, it's not what Murphys do. Being a Murphy means being trapped here on this godforsaken farm, never to have a moment’s peace," she bit out between sobs.
Andrew frowned, "My father shares a similar sentiment."
"What are we going to do? I won't give you up, not when I've just found you," she declared firmly.
"Nor I, you," he replied, dropping a kiss on her forehead.
"We could leave, together…," Cordelia suggested, quietly.
"Start a new life somewhere else?" Andrew mused.
"Yes! We could get married, and find a ship that's traveling far away from here, where no one knows our families! Just you and me, a fresh start!" Cordelia's eyes sparkled as she looked at him eagerly.
"I've heard stories about a ship leaving next month for New York. It's departing from Queenstown, I'm sure we could still manage to book passage on it!" Andrew explained, quickly warming up to the idea.
"Then what are we waiting for!" Cordelia excitedly peppered his face with kisses.
Andrew laughed, "Go pack your bags, my darling. Once everyone is asleep we'll leave, and when we board the ship in Queenstown, it will be as man and wife!"
The ship's horn blasted, pulling Cordelia from her musings.
"I do believe that's our cue," Andrew smiled at her, moving to gather their bags. Weaving expertly through the crowd, Cordelia followed him closely, practically jumping with excitement. This ship would take them to begin their new lives in New York. A whole new adventure awaited them on the other side of the ocean, and they would face it together. As they boarded the ship, Cordelia felt a weight lift off her shoulders. They were finally free.
Andrew Haughey, a Scottish Lawyer (traveling 2nd class)- Max
Cordelia Murphy, an Irish farmer's daughter, newly married to Andrew (traveling 2nd class)- Zoey
Alexis Howard, an English singer and entertainer (traveling 2nd class)- Mo
Chapter 20: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 2
A/N: As always a huge thank you to everyone reading and commenting on this fic! Aubreyrichman and I really love hearing from you all! And for those of you speculating about the time period, you will just have to wait and see!
Chosenandloved and TheAuthor44 we hope you guys enjoy your cameos!
April 13, 1912
Cordelia sighed happily, leaning against Andrew's arm as they walked along the promenade. She had to keep reminding herself that this was real, that she and her husband were sailing away from their families and towards their future.
"Happy, my love?" Andrew asked, placing a soft kiss to her temple.
"I'm so happy that I keep thinking this must be a dream!" Cordelia admitted.
He chuckled, "I must confess, I feel the same way."
Cordelia turned to reply when a young woman bumped into her.
"Oh, I beg your pardon, ma'am," the young lady apologized. "I don't quite seem to have my sea legs yet."
Cordelia smiled, "No harm done. Are you alright?"
"Oh yes, I'm alright now," the young lady replied, steadying herself against the railing. "Though, I do appear to be a bit lost. Do you happen to know which way the dining room is?"
"Of course, we would be happy to show you the way," Cordelia replied. "I'm Cordelia Haughey and this is my husband Andrew."
"There you are, I've been looking all over for you! Don't disappear like that!" a voice scolded.
"I'm Erin McKenzie and that would be my twin sister Jacqueline," the young woman introduced herself.
"Call me Jackie, please," her twin insisted. “Jacqueline is what my mother calls me when I’m in trouble.”
"McKenzies eh? It's nice to have some fellow Scots aboard," Andrew smiled at the twins. "What takes you to New York?"
"We have an aunt there who requested one of us to be her companion. When Erin said she was going, well I couldn't let her have all the fun now could I?" Jackie winked at the couple, while Erin rolled her eyes.
"And what awaits you in New York?" Erin asked Cordelia.
Cordelia grinned up at Andrew, "A world full of possibilities!"
"Spoken like true newlyweds," Jackie grinned, as Cordelia blushed.
"How did you know we were newlyweds?" Cordelia asked blushingly.
The twins exchanged a look and chuckled. "Let's call it a hunch," Erin replied.
Andrew chuckled and placed a kiss on Cordelia's hand, "Our secret is out dearest. We were wed just before we boarded the ship," he explained to the twins.
"Well, then it sounds like a celebration is in order!" Jackie exclaimed.
"We were just about to head to the dining room for dinner if you would care to join us. We can toast to your future together," Erin offered.
Pleased at the prospect of having made new friends aboard, Cordelia nodded eagerly.
"Splendid!" Jackie exclaimed, looping her arm through Cordelia's and steering her towards the dining room. "Now, I want to hear every detail of how you two met! I'm sure it's quite the story!"
Andrew chuckled as he offered Erin his arm and they followed the pair.
The four sat companionably enjoying their dinner when a fashionably dressed passenger caught Erin's eye.
"Jackie, is that who I think it is?" she asked, nudging her twin.
Jackie glanced over discreetly, before nodding. "I do believe it is. Should we invite them to join us?"
Erin glanced at Andrew and Cordelia, "If there is no objection. We've spotted a friend of ours, we had no idea that they were also on board."
"By all means, the more the merrier," Andrew replied.
Erin stood and made her way over to the other table. After a few words were exchanged the pair returned to the table.
"Andrew, Cordelia, this is the wonderfully talented Alexis Howard, an old friend of our family," Erin explained, as she made the introductions.
"Not that old, mind you!" Alexis teased.
"Andrew and Cordelia are newlyweds and on their honeymoon," Jackie explained to Alexis.
"Honeymoon? How lovely! You two are well suited, I can see it in your eyes," Alexis sent the couple a knowing wink.
"Please, join us," Cordelia said smiling. "I must say your dress is quite exquisite!"
Alexis grinned, sitting down next to Cordelia, "A woman with good taste in fashion and men? I see we shall become excellent companions then."
Andrew blushed slightly at Alexis' frank admiration, but Cordelia laughed along with the twins.
"Alexis, how did we not know you were going to New York?" Jackie asked.
"It was all very last minute. I received an invitation to perform there, so I threw everything in my suitcase and booked the next passage out of there!"
"You're a performer?" Cordelia asked, curiously.
"Oh, Alexis has an amazing voice, and is incredible on the stage," Erin praised.
"Then we look forward to seeing you showcase those talents in New York," Andrew smiled, raising his water glass in a toast.
Alexis smiled, "I'll be sure to reserve you all the best seats In the house!"
The hour grew late and the new friends reluctantly parted ways, agreeing to meet up in the morning.
"Well, I must say that I enjoy our new friends immensely," Cordelia said grinning at Andrew in the mirror as she got ready for bed.
Andrew returned the smile, "I do, too." He wrapped his arms around her, dropping a kiss to her hair. "And now you have people to spend time with when you tire of my company," he teased.
"It is far more likely that you will tire of me before I tire of you," she replied cheekily.
"I could never grow tired of you, Delia," he turned her around to face him. "You are my everything."
Cordelia could see the love in his eyes. "And you are mine," she replied, kissing him sweetly.
Chapter 21: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 3
A/N: As always a huge thank you to everyone reading and supporting this story! I can't tell you how much AubreyRichman and I appreciate all your comments and love!
April 14, 1912
The Library late afternoon
Cordelia sat enjoying tea in the library with the twins and Alexis. Andrew had mentioned needing to visit the barber and insisted that she spend time with their new friends.
"How odd, I had thought they were to run the lifeboat drill today. It is Sunday after all," Erin observed, as she glanced up from her book.
"Why should it matter that it's Sunday?" Cordelia asked.
"Other ships usually do them on Sundays, so I assumed the same would happen here," Erin explained.
"Why ever would you know such a thing?" Jackie asked, staring at her twin oddly.
"I've read about the procedures and was hoping to have the chance to observe it in person. It really is quite fascinating how it all works," she explained.
"Mmmhmm…. You're right I'm sure that it is fascinating, watching all those attractive crewmen at work," Alexis teased.
Erin blushed and hid her face in her book as the others laughed.
"What are you all giggling about?" Andrew asked as he took a seat next to Cordelia.
Cordelia's eyes met Jackie's and Alexis', and they erupted into laughter again.
Erin waved her hand in dismissal, "Ignore them, they think themselves amusing."
Andrew quirked his eyebrow but wisely chose to say no more.
"I do believe I'll take a walk," Erin said, closing her book and standing.
"I'll join you," Alexis said.
"I suppose I should come along and supervise any fascinating observations you might have along the way," Jackie stood with a sigh.
Cordelia stifled a giggle at Jackie's teasing.
Promising to meet up for dinner later, the three of them left the library.
Andrew leaned over and captured Cordelia's lips in a brief but passionate kiss.
"What was that for?"
"Do I need a reason to kiss my beautiful wife?"
Cordelia blushed and shook her head.
"Good, because it's something I intend to do often," Andrew promised.
Cordelia smiled and leaned against Andrew's side, picking up her book and resuming her reading.
Andrew picked up a nearby newspaper, and the young couple enjoyed a leisurely afternoon reading in one another's company.
Cordelia squinted in the morning sun, moving to shield her eyes with her hand, she found that they were bound behind her back. She looked around startled, seeing others dressed in white standing close to her.
She thought she heard a whisper, looking up she saw a pair of warm brown eyes staring at her from the crowd.
She saw him move as though to come closer but she shook her head. She had to keep him safe, he needed to finish their mission.
She caught the eye of his cousin, Thomas, who nodded in understanding, knowing that she was silently asking him to keep her love safe.
She moved forward, Edmund's eyes never once leaving hers as the officers prepared her for her sentence.
I'm here. I'm right here with you. She heard him whisper, as though he were standing beside her and not at the edge of the crowd. She smiled softly, he would not leave her to face her fate alone.
She heard an officer read her name aloud, Vivienne Renae D'Tournay. She smiled sadly, it would never be Vivienne Blakeney now.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
She blinked back tears and replied, "I love you."
She heard the creak of the scaffold as the officer moved towards the handle.
I love you. She heard once more, and she poured all the love she felt for him into her smile.
His eyes, filled with love and sorrow were the last thing she saw….
Cordelia awoke gasping for breath, her heart racing.
What had that dream been? And why was Andrew there watching….no not Andrew, Edmund. What did it all mean?
She lay there quietly, her thoughts racing. There was doubt that sleep would return to her after such a harrowing dream.
Rolling over, she gently nudged her sleeping husband, "Andrew? Are you awake?"
"Hmm?" he sleepily mumbled. "What is it, love?"
She felt guilty for walking him, "Nevermind, go back to sleep."
"Delia, what's wrong?" Andrew sat up, looking at her with concern.
"Just strange dreams that have left me on edge….I think I'll take a walk, clear my head some," Cordelia got up, pulling on her heavy coat and shoes.
"I'll come with you," Andrew said, getting out of bed as well.
"You don't have to," Cordelia insisted.
He pulled her towards him and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Why would I not want to join my beautiful wife on a moonlit stroll?"
There was a chill in the air as they stopped along their walk near the railing.
"I've had such little opportunity to observe the beauty of the night sky," Andrew confessed as he looked up at the sky in awe.
"Sometimes when things on the farm got difficult, I would go out and lie under the stars. I'd whisper all my hopes and wishes to them, thinking that someday they might come true," Cordelia smiled softly.
"Did any of them come true?"
She turned in Andrew's arms to face him, "One."
Andrew tucked a wayward curl behind her ear, and gently kissed her lips.
A bell clanged loudly three times, startling them apart.
Andrew chuckled, "I suppose that's our cue to return to our cabin."
Cordelia nodded as she shivered a cold wind brushing against her face.
"Cold, my love? I can think of a few ways to warm you up," Andrew murmured in her ear.
She blushed and opened her mouth to reply when a sudden jolt ran through the ship. Grabbing onto the railing for support the couple looked at one another in surprise.
"What was that?" Cordelia asked worriedly.
"I'm not sure….Are you alright?" he pulled Cordelia close as she nodded.
Several crewmen came running past the startled couple, making their way towards the bridge.
"Iceberg. Hit starboard," they overheard one of the men explaining.
Cordelia froze, was that what they had felt a moment ago?
"Did we hear that correctly?" she asked, worriedly.
"I fear so, dearest. It appears the Titanic has struck an iceberg."
Chapter 22: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 4
A/N: Seriously guys the love and comments from everyone are wonderful, Aubreyrichman and I appreciate all your support!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
April 14/April 15, 1912
Cordelia felt a knot of dread in her stomach as Andrew's words sunk in. They had struck an iceberg? How was that possible? The sea was calm and the sky was clear, how had they missed it? Had her dream been a warning?
"What….what are we supposed to do?" she asked, nervously.
"Let's go back to our cabin for the moment. You're shivering and we need to get you warm," Andrew said, steering them back towards their cabin.
Once inside, they quickly changed out of their nightclothes and into warmer attire. Cordelia sat there, her arms wrapped around Andrew, taking comfort in his solid presence.
A loud pounding on their door startled them apart.
"Please get dressed. Put on your life belts and report to the boat deck," they heard a voice outside tell them.
"What do you think is happening?" Cordelia asked Andrew, worriedly.
"I imagine they are gathering everyone together, just in case the damage is too severe," he replied. "Better that everyone is nearby and able to get onto the lifeboats if needed."
She paled at the thought of them having to abandon ship. Andrew held her close, and brushed a kiss to her temple; "Come, let's get to the deck and see what the crew has to tell us."
Emerging from their cabin, they saw passengers slowly making their way to the deck. Stewards and crewmen continued to knock on doors, waking the sleeping passengers.
Cordelia gripped Andrew's hand tightly, as they wove their way through the slow-moving crowd.
When they arrived on the deck they saw that passengers were slowly making their way into the lifeboats. If they had begun to load the lifeboats then things must be serious.
Andrew frowned as he took in the severity of the situation. He needed to get Cordelia to safety, that was the only thing that mattered. Squeezing her hand gently, he began to lead her towards the lifeboats.
Cordelia paused as she heard the sound of music being played. Confused, she glanced around seeing that the ship's musicians had brought their instruments out, and were playing for the passengers. It was deeply moving, a calming presence amongst the darkness and uncertainty.
A young woman stopped in front of the musicians, listening intently to the tune they played. After a few moments she began to sing;
Take the Bible in your right hand,
With God for to be your guide,
Take holy water in thy left hand,
And throw it on every side.*
Cordelia froze, the melody was familiar, but the lyrics were unknown to her. How did she know this song? Had Mam sung it for her?
"Delia?" Andrew asked, pulling her close to his side. "What is it?"
She shook her head, frustrated at her inability to remember. "Nothing, I thought I heard….it's nothing."
Andrew looked confused but nodded. "Come, I think there is some space in that boat there," he said, pointing at a half-filled lifeboat.
The crewman stopped them. as they approached, "Sorry sir, it's women and children only."
Cordelia paled and pulled Andrew to the side. They watched as the only partially full boat was lowered into the water.
"We either both get on that boat, or neither of us does," she stated, firmly.
"Delia, that's foolishness!" he argued. "You get on the next one, and I will get on another one once the women and children are safe."
She shook her head, "Remember what I said to you, the night we left the farm?"
I won't give you up, not when I've just found you.
"You're the only thing in this world that matters to me. Please get on the boat so that you will be safe," Andrew pleaded, holding her to his chest.
"We are in this together by love, side by side. Not even God himself would dare tear us apart," she said softly, caressing his cheek.
Andrew nodded slightly, knowing that nothing he said would convince her to get into a boat without him.
He would have to find another way to ensure her safety.
"Oh, thank goodness you both made it here," Alexis exclaimed, approaching them. "It's such a relief to see familiar faces right now."
Cordelia smiled slightly, glad to see that Alexis was there and safe.
"Where are Erin and Jackie?" Cordelia asked, glancing around for the twins.
Alexis frowned, "I haven't seen them, but our cabins are on different decks. I'm sure they've found their way up here."
Cordelia bit her lip and nodded slightly in agreement, hoping that the twins were among the crowds.
Glancing over her shoulder, Andrew's eyes met Alexis' in a silent plea. Alexis frowned but nodded in understanding at what Andrew was asking.
Alexis stepped into the lifeboat and signaled for the crewman to wait just a moment.
Andrew tilted Cordelia's chin up and captured her lips in a passionate kiss. They broke apart and Cordelia smiled at him dazedly.
"What was that for?"
"Delia, I love you with every breath in my body, and every beat of my heart. Someday, I hope you can find it in you to forgive me for this," Andrew murmured. Moving quickly, he pushed her onto the lifeboat and into Alexis' waiting arms. Cordelia turned and looked at him confused, as the crewman began lowering the lifeboat.
Quickly realizing his deception, she began to fight against Alexis' hold. Andrew's heart ached at the betrayal he saw flashing in her eyes.
"NO! I WON'T LEAVE YOU!! I WON'T, I WON'T…" she screamed, thrashing wildly.
Alexis attempted to calm and soothe her, keeping a tight grip on her, to prevent her from rocking the boat as they were being lowered towards the icy waters.
Cordelia watched as Andrew disappeared from view, feeling as though her heart had been ripped from her chest. As their boat began to slowly row away, she collapsed against Alexis, sobbing.
Andrew watched as the boat safely landed in the water. He wiped at the tears on his cheeks and let out a sigh of relief. She would be safe, Alexis would make sure of it. "I'll see you soon, my love," he whispered. "I promise."
A/N: *Child 39J
Chapter 23: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 5
A/N: Okay guys we are heading towards the end of this era, and then we move onto the last era! AubreyRichman and I appreciate all your support! And TheAuthor44 and chosenandloved I am so so sorry, we love you!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
April 15, 1912
Andrew moved away from the railing, relieved that Cordelia was safe with Alexis. He watched as women and children boarded the other lifeboats. Frowning, he realized that he still hadn't seen any sign that the twins had made it to the deck safely.
Knowing that space on the lifeboats was limited, Andrew set off in the direction of the cabins. He needed to be sure that Erin and Jackie made it to safety.
He raced down the stairs, past passengers who had sleepily tumbled from their cabins once they heard the orders from the stewards and members of the crew.
"Sir, all passengers are asked to be on the boat deck," a steward stopped him halfway down the stairs.
"I understand, I need to check on some friends who weren't up there. They may not have heard the orders," Andrew explained.
The steward looked as though he was going to object, but he must have seen the determination in Andrew's eyes.
"Very good, sir. Please make your way with them to the boat deck as quickly as possible," tipping his hat he returned to directing passengers up the stairs.
The ship creaked and shifted ominously as he continued down the stairs to deck E. When he reached the bottom, he found that the deck had already begun to fill with water. Taking a deep breath, Andrew stepped into the water, it was already high enough to reach his knees. He began to wade through the chilly water, hoping he would find Jackie and Erin soon.
"Jackie? Erin? It's Andrew! Are you down here?" he called.
"Andrew?" he heard a faint response at the end of the hall.
Making his way past luggage and pieces of furniture that had escaped from the cabins, he froze when he realized that the bulkhead separating the second and third-class cabins had collapsed, blocking his path.
"Erin? Jackie?" Andrew reached the bulkhead and called through the wood.
"We're here, but we're stuck," he heard Erin reply weakly.
"The best-laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, gang aft agley*, eh Andrew?" Jackie quipped.
"Really, Jackie? Rabbie Burns at a time like this?" amusement mixed with exasperation filled Erin's voice.
"Seemed as good a time as any,” Jackie quipped.
Erin let out a cry of pain as her leg bumped against the wood.
"Are you alright?" he asked, concerned.
"Erin’s leg was hit when the bulkhead fell. I...I fear….it may be broken," Jackie explained. He could hear the worry in her voice. "She can't put any weight on it to stand."
"Just keep her comfortable. I'm going to see if I can find a way to get you guys out of there!"
Andrew began searching the hall for anything to use to get through the wood that trapped the twins.
At the end of the hall he spotted a fire axe, racing towards it, he quickly ripped it from the wall, time was of the essence l.
"Stand back! I'm going to try and chop a hole to get you guys out!" he warned, as he approached the collapse.
Andrew had never wielded an axe before and the knee-high water made swinging it that much more difficult, but he was determined to save his friends.
By the time he had managed to chop a large enough hole, the water had risen to his chest.
Tossing the axe aside, Andrew held out his hand to help pull the twins through.
Erin moved forward, leaning on Jackie for support with one hand and grabbing a hold of the opening with the other. Erin's face was pale, as she looked up at Andrew and gave him a small smile, despite the terrible pain she was in.
The ship groaned and began to tilt, Andrew scrambled to grab hold of the bulkhead with one hand, reaching the other out for Erin to grab.
"KEEP A HOLD OF ME!" Andrew cried, over the noise.
He grabbed Erin’s wrist and held tight as the water tried to pull the girls further down the hall. Jackie kept her grasp firmly on Erin's other hand as Andrew began to pull them towards the opening.
The ship continued to tilt further, causing furniture to fall through the open cabin doors, crashing against the ship's walls. A wooden writing desk collided with Andrew's head, causing his grip on Erin to loosen.
Erin tried to hold onto Andrew's hand, but in her weakened state the pull of the water was too much, her hand slipped from his grasp.
Andrew felt for her hand, through the fog of his injury, but found nothing. "Jackie? Erin?!" he hoarsely called and was met with silence. He called again and was met with only the sound of water lapping against the bulkhead.
Andrew let out a yell of frustration, angry at himself for being unable to save them. He took a shaky breath and turned towards the stairs.
He felt a trickle of blood fall from his temple and winced when he touched it. His head throbbed with pain and his vision became cloudy, but he was determined to move. He slowly made his way down the hall and to the stairs
He glanced back down the hall hoping to see a sign of Jackie or Erin, but they were now lost to the depths of the cold, unforgiving ocean. Shaking his head, he collected his thoughts as he grasped the stair rail, there would be time to grieve later. For now, he needed to get back to the lifeboats, he had a promise to keep.
As the lifeboat rowed away from the ship, Cordelia took a deep shuddering breath, wiping the tears from her face, she had to do something. She moved to stand, determined to make the crewman take her back to Andrew, no matter what. Alexis having caught onto her plan, forced her to stay seated, "Are you trying to drown us all? Too much movement and you'll overturn us!"
"Let me go! I have to get back to him! I can't lose him!" Cordelia cried, as they slowly moved away from the sinking ship.
"There's no going back, missus," the crewman told her. "Not for anyone or anything."
She had no choice, she was stuck in this boat, with no way to get back to Andrew.
"He's a smart man, he'll find his way back to you. I'm certain of that," Alexis soothed.
They watched as the other lifeboats were lowered, many of them at only half capacity. Cordelia's eyes hungrily scanned them, searching for any sign of Andrew.
"They said women and children first, hon. It'll be a few more before they let the menfolk on," Alexis patted her shoulder.
Cordelia nodded faintly, refusing to take her eyes off the sinking ship. The thought of Andrew still being onboard made her heart clench in fear.
He had to get off the ship. He just had to.
A/N: * From the poem “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns
Chapter 24: The Atlantic Ocean, April 1912 Chapter 6
A/N: Here we are in the final chapter of this era! The next era is the last one and will be modern-day! I can’t believe we’ve come this far already! AubreyRichman and I truly appreciate all your support and comments! This is truly a labor of love!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
April 15, 1912
Andrew stumbled up the stairs slowly, his head pulsing in pain as it continued to bleed. He pressed his hand to the wound, in an attempt to staunch the bleeding, but the pain was making him dizzy.
He reached the top of the stairs and paused to catch his breath.
The ship tilted sharply sending Andrew crashing against the wall. His shoulder made a sickening crack, causing him to cry out in pain. Holding his shoulder gingerly, he stood upright, he didn't have time to stop and assess his injuries. He needed to get to the boat deck and onto a lifeboat as fast as he could.
Slowly Andrew dragged himself past the cabins, their doors swung open, belongings abandoned. How many people had escaped? And how many like Erin and Jackie would be trapped in this watery grave? He sent up a grateful prayer of relief that Delia wasn't still on board.
He felt the cold air against his cheeks as he reached the boat deck. He closed his eyes and let out a sigh of relief, he'd made it.
The noise on the deck was deafening, he looked around and saw a large crowd of people who hadn't been there earlier. Judging by their attire and belongings, most of them appeared to be third-class passengers.
Andrew forced his way through the mass of people, he froze as he watched the last of the lifeboats being lowered into the water. That was it, he and everyone else on board was now trapped.
The ship shuddered, the stern began to rise from the water, as several passengers screamed in fear. Panic began to set in as those who remained realized that their last chance for escape was gone.
They surged forward, knocking Andrew off his feet, his head bouncing off the ship's railing. He slumped to the floor, letting out a yell as his already injured shoulder hit the deck. His vision went black for a moment as his body responded to the pain.
Groaning, Andrew lifted his head, his vision clearing as he saw familiar red curls, framing a smiling face.
She shouldn't be here, he had gotten her off the ship safely, how was she here?
He blinked rapidly, attempting to clear his vision, but she was still there looking at him lovingly.
He opened his mouth to ask her how she had gotten back onto the ship, but what came out instead was, " Viv?"
"You were expecting someone else?" she teased, her blue eyes sparkling with mirth.
"I was expecting Thomas, but you are a much-needed distraction," he wrapped his arms around her waist and placed a kiss atop her head.
"Oh a distraction am I?" she attempted to remove herself from his arms, but he tightened them and pulled her closer.
"You are exceedingly distracting my love, in only the best of ways," he soothed.
Vivienne sighed and relaxed in his arms, "No more distracting than you mon chou .*"
Edmund smiled, leading her to the nearby sofa. Vivienne sighed and lay her head down on his lap.
"Read me something," she begged.
Edmund nodded, opening a book of poetry left on the nearby table.
Clearing his throat he began to read;
"Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death."*
Vivienne's breathing evened out as she dozed off against Edmund.
Setting the book aside, he ran his fingers through her curls that had come loose from her carefully placed combs. She hated when she needed to repin her hair, often complaining to him about the hassle of such things. He gently smoothed the wayward strands into place, pinning them back into place with the combs.
He placed a light kiss to her forehead as she smiled and shifted closer to him in her sleep. Edmund smiled, this was what he wanted for them, for the future….together.
The vision faded as the chaos around Andrew continued to unfold. He had failed her before, but she was safe now, he would take comfort knowing that this time he had succeeded. He lifted his head, watching as the lights flickered above him.
"Viv," he murmured, as he succumbed to the darkness.
Viv , she heard him whisper, as though he were seated next to her. Her eyes turned hopefully to her side, but Andrew wasn't there. Glancing back at the ship she saw the lights flicker out, plunging them and the ship into darkness. Cordelia felt as though her heart was shattering into a million pieces.
"Edmund," she sobbed quietly. Her body gave way to the shock and exhaustion as she slumped against Alexis. Alexis attempted to comfort her, offering words of hope. Yet, Cordelia knew Andrew was lost to her. She could feel it in her very soul, he hadn't made it off the ship in time.
A/N: *mon chou-Sweetie (also literally translates to my cabbage)
*"Bright Star" by John Keats
Chapter 25: San Francisco, CA 2020 Chapter 1
Chapter by ladylillianrose
A/N: We have finally arrived in the modern era! Hooray! You guys will recognize some stuff for canon, but we are finally on our way to the end! Will our couple be able to break the curse?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Mo, Tobin, and Leif sat in the chamber of the Goddesses, awaiting their decision.
They had been reluctant to involve the Goddesses, but they had realized that their powers alone weren't enough to break Aphrodite's curse.
Tobin sighed, "What's taking them so long? It's simple, Aphrodite is a bitch, she's been torturing this poor couple for over two millennia, and it's all because she got her ego bruised."
"Take care what you say about her here," Leif hissed. "No one may like her, but she's still a Goddess and a member of the Pantheon. Who knows what spies she might have lurking near."
The trio stood, as the doors to the chamber opened, and the Council of Goddesses filed in.
"Sit, please," Hera commanded. "The Council has come to a decision." She nodded to Athena who stood and unfurled a scroll.
"We, the Council, have decided that this will be the last time the mortal couple is reincarnated," she announced.
"You're ending the curse? Can you guys actually do that?" Tobin interrupted.
Athena pinned him with a glare and he quickly shut his mouth.
"As I was saying, this will be their last time being reincarnated. Aphrodite's curse has extended for far too long, and frankly, we're tired of seeing these mortals suffer."
Mo clapped his hand over Tobin's mouth before he could let out a cheer.
"However, we are unable to break the curse, only Aphrodite or the mortal couple themselves can do so."
"No, you just don't want to deal with her anger when she finds out you undid her curse," Mo muttered, bitterly.
"If the couple should fail to break the curse, they will both drink waters from the River Lethe, wiping their memories of one another entirely," Athena concluded, taking her seat.
"But how is this time any different from the other times?" Leif asked.
"Aphrodite has returned to the mortal world, she has grown arrogant, believing that she will succeed in her seduction this time," Artemis explained, a look of disgust on her face.
"Zoie is about to come into her demigod powers and will require your guidance. Therefore we have decided that you three and Demeter shall be permitted to directly assist the couple. We hope that with your help, and her new powers that Zoie and Maximos will have a chance to end this curse once and for all," Hera explained.
Demeter moved to take their hands, "We will end this curse, I'm certain. And then Aphrodite will pay for what she has done!" Nodding farewell to the Council, the four of them disappeared.
Hera turned to the other Goddesses, "Anyone want odds on the mortals winning?"
San Francisco, CA 2020
Zoey began to panic as the MRI machine began to violently shake. This wasn't supposed to happen right?
Her headphones had fallen off but she suddenly heard music, as though someone was scanning through radio stations inside her brain.
Just as quickly as the shaking had begun, the MRI stilled. Not wasting a moment she jumped out of the machine and sprinted from the room. She quickly redressed and left the hospital, unwilling to stay in that building a second longer. Heart racing she went and sat on a nearby bench, trying to calm down.
A woman walked by and turned to look at Zoey before she began singing.
Janet tied her kirtle green a bit above her knee
And she's gone to Carter Hall as fast as go can she
"I'm sorry, what?" Zoey asked, incredibly confused as to why this stranger felt the urge to sing to her.
The woman looked at her oddly, "I asked if you were all right?"
Zoey nodded, trying to figure out why she had imagined the woman singing.
She'd not pulled a double rose, a rose but only two
When up there came young Tam Lin says "Lady, pull no more"
"Why are you singing to me? And who is Janet, or Tam Lin?" Zoey stood, moving away from the woman.
"Singing? Are you sure you're okay, dear? Do I need to call somebody?" The woman asked, concerned.
Zoey shook her head and quickly began walking away from the crazy woman and her weird singing. She was singing out loud right? Am I the crazy one?
She stopped short as she heard a man's voice behind her start singing.
Help, I need somebody
Zoey turned warily around, hoping that she was just hearing someone's music. A man in a suit was standing in the middle of the sidewalk singing. Everyone else was walking past him as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
Help! Not just anybody
Help! You know I need someone
Others stopped and joined him in singing.
"Excuse me?" Zoey asked a couple sitting at a nearby cafe table."You can hear them singing right? It's not just me?" She turned to point at the people behind her and stared as she saw them all doing ordinary things. The man in the suit was purchasing a newspaper, a woman was talking on her phone and a young man was unlocking his bike.
"You said you heard….singing?" the young woman raised her eyebrows at her companion.
Zoey laughed nervously, "Did I say singing? I meant dinging...I thought I heard some bells…" She cringed internally, Dinging? What the hell am I saying?
Leaving the couple staring at her in confusion she quickly continued walking towards her apartment. This is getting really weird, why are all these people singing? And why does it seem like I'm the only one hearing them?
More and more voices seemed to join in, until Zoey turned and saw a large crowd had gathered behind her, all of them singing.
Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Staring at them in confusion and fear, Zoey did the only logical thing she could think of...she turned and ran.
She quickly slammed and locked the door behind her, praying that none of those weird singing people had followed her home.
Breathing heavily she leaned her head back against the door, enjoying the silence of her apartment.
"Zoey? Are you okay? I thought I heard you running up the stairs," Mo called through the door. "Do I need to chase somebody away with my bat?"
Mo had become her first friend outside of work when Zoey had moved into the building. He was always ready with advice, be it on life or fashion, both areas that, if she were being honest, Zoey could use his expertise in.
If there was anyone who could help figure out what the hell was happening to her, it was Mo.
Zoey opened the door and quickly ushered Mo inside, checking the hall to make sure no one was around.
"Okay, now you're making me nervous, well actually you and your apartment are. I thought we had talked about incorporating some color in here?" Mo shuddered as he glanced at the bare walls. "Maybe a splash of yellow or some bright blue. Oh, I have the perfect painting you can hang up right…."
"People just randomly started singing to me on the street!" Zoey blurted out.
Mo stopped his redecorating plans and stared at her.
"Singing, like out loud?"
Zoey nodded, "I was having an MRI when the earthquake happened. I ran out of the hospital afterward, and then suddenly there's a woman singing to me about a girl named Janet and a guy named Tam Lin. But when I asked her why she was singing, she looked at me like I was crazy. I'm not the person randomly bursting into song!"
Mo raised his eyebrows, "You said she didn't realize that she was singing?"
Zoey shook her head, "I thought it was just her at first, but then the whole neighborhood burst into "Help!" Somehow I'm hearing songs that people aren't actually singing out loud? Except they are singing them, but only to me!"
Mo nodded, "Interesting….”
“What does it mean, Mo?” Zoey moaned, collapsing onto her sofa face first.
“Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll put some feelers out and see if anyone else has heard of anything like this before. In the meantime, you call me straight away if this happens again,” Mo turned and walked to the door.
Zoey nodded and waved half-heartedly as he left.
What the hell was happening to her?
A/N: * “Tam Lin” by Fairport Convention
** “Help!” by The Beatles
Chapter 26: San Francisco, CA 2020 Chapter 2
Chapter by ladylillianrose
A/N: So glad you guys have stuck with the story for this long! We really do appreciate all your comments, love and support!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Zoey was relieved to be heading into work, come Monday morning. Work was normal and routine, exactly what she needed after how crazy and weird her life had become.
She tried to avoid people as much as possible over the weekend, and she had been marginally successful, for the most part. How was she to know that the pizza delivery guy would randomly start singing, “I Want to Know What Love Is” to her, or at least that’s Mo had said the name of it was after she told him what she had heard.
It had helped to be able to talk to Mo about all the weird shit that was happening. He was both helpful and insightful, about her dreams and her new abilities. Mo had found out a little more about what was happening to her, from one of his mysterious sources. It seemed as though her newfound musical powers allowed her to hear people's innermost thoughts and feelings through song. It was unclear as to why she suddenly had this new ability, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
As if her new abilities weren't making things confusing as is, she had been plagued by odd dreams all weekend. These dreams seemed familiar to her somehow, and yet just when she thought she might understand what was happening, she would wake up.
Zoey walked into the bullpen and grinned as she caught Max's eye. Max's face lit up with a grin as he saw her and Zoey couldn’t help but grin back.
She needed to tell Max about all the weirdness that was happening, she knew he'd help her try and understand what was happening. He was her best friend, and she could always count on his support when she needed it most. Maybe he could even help her puzzle out the dreams and what they meant.
Walking over to Joan's office, she froze as she heard humming coming from inside, the tune oddly familiar.
"Hey, Joan," she knocked tentatively on the door frame.
Joan glanced up from her tablet, "Zoey?"
"Sorry, I don't want to interrupt, but I heard you humming a song," she started to explain.
"Humming?" Joan scoffed. "I don't hum. Humming is for children and old people who can't remember the words to songs. But me humming? Never."
"Riiiight...well, since you weren't humming, you definitely wouldn't know what song it was, because you weren't humming…."
"Exactly, I wouldn't know that it was a song that my mom used to sing called…"
Joan's voice became muffled as images flashed in Zoey's head.
*"C'est une chanson que ma mère m'a chantée," a woman who looked like Joan told her.
"Do you remember the words?" she heard her own voice ask.*
"Zoey? Zoey?" Joan was standing in front of her with a worried look.
Zoey shook her head, pushing thoughts of what she had seen aside. "Sorry, just a little dizzy there."
Joan arched her eyebrow as she looked her over. "Don't go passing out on me now. Can't have the new team leader fainting in the first week. HR would have a field day with that, and I cannot deal with Susan again ."
Zoey nodded, "Don't worry about me! Everything's just fine," she said, pasting on a smile and sending Joan a double thumbs up. She quickly backed out of Joan's office, making her way to her desk.
"You're not going to believe what's been happening," Zoey sighed, as she collapsed into her chair. "Seriously my life is so weird right now."
"I mean, your life isn't exactly normal, but what's made it so weird?" Max asked, sliding his chair over to her desk.
"Do you remember how I went and got the MRI because I was having those headaches?"
Max nodded, frowning, "You called me and told me that the scans came back just fine."
"They did, but that wasn’t the only thing that happened with the MRI. I was in the machine when that earthquake hit, and ever since then the weirdest shit has been happening," she explained.
"I keep having these dreams, you're there, and either Leif, Tobin, or Mo are there."
"Dreams involving Leif and Tobin? You're right that's pretty weird," Max teased.
Zoey continued, ignoring his teasing, "Well at least they look like them. They all have different names, some in different languages, but I think it's them. It feels like I should know something about them, and I just can't quite put my finger on it. The only part of the dreams that's consistent is you. No matter what you're always there in my dreams…." Zoey trailed off.
Max cleared his throat and shifted in his chair awkwardly. Zoey's been having dreams about me? Deep breaths Max, don't give anything away…
"Well obviously I'm there, you're my best friend, why wouldn't I be at your side?" he smiled at her.
Zoey smiled back, she could always count on Max. "And to be honest, that's not even the weirdest part…" She trailed off as she heard music beginning. Looking around she tried to see who it was that was going to sing, but she didn't see anyone. She looked back at Max, realizing it was him that was going to sing. He stood up from his chair and began to do a slight shuffle dance in front of her desk.
I was sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream
Like all, at once I wake up from something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed Screaming out the words I dread
"Well, I guess it's sharing time for us. Lay it on me. What's this secret that you need to get off your chest?" Zoey leaned back in her chair. She watched as Max took a deep breath before spinning around and looking her in the eyes.
I think I love you
"WHAT?! " Zoey felt her jaw drop to the floor in shock. Max was in love with her? Since when? Was this actually happening?
Completely unfazed by Zoey's outburst, Max continued his song, dancing around the bullpen.
I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way**
Max sat back down in his chair, looking at her as though he hadn't just confessed his love for her through song.
"Zo? Everything okay in there?" Max smiled, as he waved his hand in front of her face. "You zoned out on me for a second."
"I have to go," Zoey blurted, as she jumped out of her chair and grabbed her purse.
"Is everything okay? These dreams seem to have you on edge. Maybe we should discuss them?" Max asked, concerned.
"Mmhmm and we will, but right now I uh...have to go take care of a thing…"
Max nodded, still looking at her with worry.
Zoey practically sprinted to the elevator, feeling relieved once the doors had closed. First the freaky music powers, then the weird dreams, and now the news that my best friend is in love with me?!
Zoey pulled out her phone, "Mo, I really need your help. I'll meet you there in a few minutes. You're not going to believe what just happened…"
A/N: *Chapter 17
**Episode 1x02 (of course)
Chapter 27: San Francisco, CA 2020 Chapter 3
Chapter by ladylillianrose
A/N: OMG you guys there are only 3 chapters left of this whole fic! Thank you to all of you for your comments and appreciation!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“So, what happened exactly?” Mo asked, following Zoey into The Golden Gate Grind.
"Well, I was trying to tell Max how crazy things had been, with the singing and the dreams…"
"Dreams? What dreams?" Mo frowned. "Zoldilocks, you didn't mention any dreams to me!"
"They only just started recently, and they are unusual," Zoey explained.
Mo raised his eyebrow, "Unusual how?"
"They almost seem familiar somehow, like I know things in them almost by instinct. And then there's you, Max, and weirdly enough Leif and Tobin making appearances in them," Zoey frowned.
"Interesting, so you've been having dreams about Max then?"
She blushed, "Not like that….well, except there was the one where…Hold it we're getting off track here. We can discuss my dreams later. Anyway, I was telling Max about the dreams and was going to tell him about the whole musical powers thing, but then he started singing to me!"
Mo grinned, "Ooo, what did he sing? Was it something good?"
"He sang, 'I Think I Love You,'" Zoey mumbled.
"Little on the nose there for my taste, but nothing wrong with that. So why all the panic?"
"My best friend is super into me Mo!"*
"Your incredibly attractive best friend is in love with you. So why not go for it?"
"Because he's my best friend !"
"Pshhh, that's an even better reason to go for him! Who else knows you better than Max?" Mo stated, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Zoey shook her head, "But what if…"
Mo interrupted, "Look, you like Max right? Get along with him, know things about him that no one else does? And you of course find him attractive."
Zoey sputtered, blushing, "Max, attractive? Who said I found Max attractive? I certainly didn't say Max was attractive, nope not me."
"Uh-huh," Mo looked at her skeptically. "You just used the words attractive and Max three times, and I'm supposed to believe you don't find him attractive? That Zoepatra is more than just a river in Egypt."
"Whether I find Max attractive or not," Mo interrupted with a cough that sounded suspiciously like, "Denial!" Zoey ignored him and continued, "Is beside the point. I don't want to jeopardize our friendship, it's too risky."
Mo rolled his eyes and sighed, "Hera grant me strength. That's part of love, ZoZo, you take risks. Sometimes it doesn't work out, and sometimes two people are so right for one another that even time itself can't keep them apart."
Zoey scoffed, "I think someone's been watching too many Hallmark movies."
"Mock my taste all you like, but there is no denying the power of true love."
Zoey didn't know how to respond, luckily they were next in line to order.
“Hey, Autumn,” Zoey smiled at the familiar barista.
“Hey, Zoey,” Autumn flashed her a smile. “The usual?”
Zoey blinked as things started to become blurry, Autumn's clothing began shifting from her barista apron to some sort of toga. She shook her head, trying to make sense of what she was seeing.
Zoie glanced at her companion, "I'm sorry, I was miles away thinking."
Kalli nodded in understanding, "A future bride's mind is always a busy place. Good thoughts I hope?"
Zoie smiled, "They were. I was just thinking how pleased Maximos will be once the wedding planning is complete. He'd marry me tomorrow if he could," she giggled.
Kalli chuckled, "Well, we can't have that now can we?"
Zoie looked at her in confusion.
"You couldn't possibly let that lovely fabric we picked for your veil go to waste!" Kalli explained.
Zoie grinned, "Oh no of course not! I wouldn't want to miss out on the wedding festivities anyway. After all, a girl only marries her true love once!"
Kalli's eyes blazed with fury, but she smiled and nodded at Zoie. She fingered the bag of tea leaves in her pocket, Soon she would rid herself of this thorn in her side. Then Maximos would be free, and hers….
Maximos tilted her chin up, looking her in the eyes. “She tried, sweetheart, but I refused. There is only one woman for me.”
Aphrodite chuckled darkly. “Not my fault she can’t handle her Hemlock.”
“Max... I... I lo…”**
Zoey’s eyes narrowed at the creature in front of her, her hands shaking with rage. It was her , the woman who had “helped” in the marketplace that day, and then poisoned her in a fit of jealousy… Aphrodite!
“ YOU BITCH!!! ” Zoey attempted to launch herself across the counter but was quickly pulled back by Mo.
“ LET ME GO! THIS IS ALL HER FAULT! ” Zoey flailed in Mo’s arms as he held her tightly, backing out of the cafe as quickly as possible.
Autumn grinned wickedly, waving her fingers at them. "Have a Golden Day!" she called out, as the door shut behind them.
“ PUT ME DOWN!! ” Zoey screeched, once they were outside. “ I’M GOING TO MAKE HER PAY FOR WHAT SHE DID TO US!!! ”
“You really want to go up against a full-fledged goddess in a coffee shop of all places?” Mo set her down firmly.
“ I DON’T CARE THAT SHE’S A ….wait a minute, how do you know who she is?” Zoey stopped mid-rant to look at Mo curiously.
“Your mother came to us after you first died, and asked for our help dealing with Aphrodite’s curse,” Mo explained.
“She put a curse on me?! And just who exactly is us?”
“Aphrodite cursed you and your true love to meet but never be together, one of you will always die while the other looks on helplessly. I’m one of The Fates, my siblings and I have been at your side in some form or another, trying to subtly find ways to break the curse. "
“Well, obviously subtle isn't helping!" Zoey ground out. "So why now? What makes this time so special?"
Mo sighed, “Because the council of goddesses decided that this would be your last chance to break the curse."
"Council of Goddesses? Why should they care about the lives of two cursed mortals? Shouldn’t they be on Aphrodite’s side?"
"The only person on Aphrodite’s side is Aphrodite herself. We should go talk to the expert, they’re better suited to answer your questions," explained Mo, quickly shooting off a text telling Leif and Tobin where to meet them.
"And just who would this ‘expert’ be?" Zoey asked, impatiently.
A/N: *Episode 1x02
Chapter 28: San Francisco, CA 2020 Chapter 4
Chapter by ladylillianrose
A/N: OMG, you guys we are getting so close to the end this is insane! I hope you all are still enjoying this wild and crazy ride, and ready for a lot to happen super quickly!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As they rode to her parents’ house, Zoey felt more memories surface…
Andrew peered over his newspaper at his beautiful wife, she was pretending to read the book in her hands, but he had felt her eyes on him.
“You must be quite absorbed in that particular part of your book, as you haven’t turned a page since I sat down,” he teased her, setting aside his paper.
Delia blushed, of course, he knew she had been admiring him, damnable distracting man. She determinedly turned back to her book, ignoring him as he sat down beside her.
“Now what could possibly have distracted you so, Mrs. Haughey?” he murmured, toying with a curl that had fallen loose from her chignon.
Flushing deeper, Delia batted his hand away, tucking the curl up, “Andrew, I’m trying to read….”
Andrew chuckled, leaning over her shoulder he glanced at what she was reading and recognized the poem.
“For whatsoever from one place doth fall
Is with the tide unto another brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought,”* he recited, pressing a gentle kiss to her temple.
“Zoey?” Mo’s voice interrupted the memory.
Zoey shook her head, “Hmmm?”
She nodded, “Just another memory...I think….”
“Your mom should be able to help you sort those out,” Mo said, as they got out of the car and walked into the house.
“Mom?” Zoey called, wandering into the living room.
“We’re in the kitchen sweetheart!”
“Mom, you’re not going to believe how crazy things are….” Zoey froze as she walked in to find Leif and Tobin drinking tea with her mother. “Or maybe you just might….”
“Hey Zo-dog,” Tobin nodded, while Leif gave her a slight wave.
“Ummmm, okay….Does anyone want to explain why the two of them are here?”
“I told them to meet us here,” Mo replied, pouring himself a cup of tea.
“Why would you tell two of my co-workers to meet us here?”
“Zoey why don’t you take a seat,” Maggie suggested. “I’ll explain everything….”
“So wait, if you’re the goddess Demeter, then that makes me….”
“A demi-goddess, yes,” Maggie nodded.
“And you guys,” she gestured to Mo, Tobin, and Leif, “are The Fates? Isn’t it against some sort of code to get involved in mortals’ lives?”
“Normally it is, but Aphrodite interfered with the natural course of your lives,” Leif explained.
“Your stories were not yet finished, and with her curse, she cut them short,” Mo chimed in.
“Ending Aphrodite’s curse and making sure she gets her comeuppance is just the icing on the cake,” Tobin grinned at her.
Zoey nodded in understanding, she was surprisingly calm given everything that she had just been told.
"So then the dreams and visions I’ve been having, those are really memories from my pasts?”
“They are, though normally our powers have only allowed you to remember one of your previous lives. I’m not sure why you are suddenly remembering all of them,” Leif frowned.
Zoey grimaced as she felt a sharp pain in her head, “There do seem to be quite a lot of them suddenly appearing. It’s getting a little noisy and crowded up there.”
Maggie touched her hand to Zoey’s forehead, the faint smell of rosemary wafted through the air.
After a moment, Zoey took a deep breath in, the pain had disappeared completely. “Okay, that helped a lot. What did you do?” she stared at her mother in amazement.
“Perks of being a goddess,” she winked at Zoey. “I helped your mind to organize and weave the threads of your memories together. You should be able to remember your pasts more easily now.”
Zoey nodded slowly, “The gaps from my dreams are gone….I remember it all now….I remember….MAX! I have to find Max! Oh God, what if he doesn’t remember any of it?” Zoey practically sprinted to the front door in a panic. She needed to find him, and somehow make him remember everything.
Zoey opened the door to a worried-looking Max, pacing anxiously in front of the door.
“Max? What are you doing here?”
"Zoey? Is everything okay? Tobin and Leif said you had a family emergency," Zoey stepped aside to let him in.
“Umm yeah, let’s go sit down,” she suggested. Max nodded, following her to the living room, taking a seat next to her on the sofa.
They sat in silence as Zoey tried to figure out how to explain everything to him. She felt overwhelmed with emotions as she thought of how many times they had loved and lost one another. Tears formed in her eyes as she took a deep breath and looked up at him.
Max cupped her cheek tenderly, "Zo, whatever it is we'll get through it, I promise."
Looking into his warm, tender brown eyes, Zoey could see the spark of their love, buried under his affection and concern for her.
" For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought," Zoey whispered. She needed to jog his memory somehow, remind him of everything they had shared throughout their lifetimes.
Max looked at her confused, opening his mouth to ask her what she meant when Zoey leaned in and kissed him.
Max responded to the kiss, his brain racing as his body reacted on instinct. Zoey was kissing him?! He had wanted this for so long, but never thought that…
Zoey pulled back to catch her breath, her eyes shining and cheeks glowing.
"Why’d you do that?" Max asked breathlessly.
"Cause I felt like it," Zoey grinned at him.
Max leaned forward to kiss her again, "You feel like this…"** He winced in pain as memories flashed before his eyes.
“Mistake? The only mistake I made was when I thought that you were a benevolent goddess. You poisoned the woman I love.”***
“You want me to paint a portrait of your wife?”****
"She isn't the one….Oh God, Viv!"*****
"I fear so, dearest. It appears the Titanic has struck an iceberg."******
"Zoey? What was…." Max's eyes rolled in the back of his head as he fainted.
"Max? MAX?!" Zoey yelled, bringing Mo, Maggie, Leif, and Tobin running in.
"What happened?" Maggie asked as Tobin and Leif helped make Max more comfortable on the sofa.
"I kissed him, hoping that it would help him remember everything…."
Mo covered a laugh with a cough, "That must have been some kiss!"
"Is he going to be alright?" Zoey asked Maggie, who was muttering spells over Max's prone form.
"He's fine. The memories just overwhelmed his mortal mind," Maggie explained. She placed her hand on his forehead as she had done with Zoey earlier, the smell of rosemary much more potent this time. "He should wake soon, and remember everything."
Just as she spoke, Max began to stir, "Zoey?"
"I'm here," she replied, grasping his hand.
His eyes fluttered open, "Hey," he grinned at her.
"Hey, yourself," Zoey whispered. "What do you remember?"
Max frowned, "I remember you kissing me, and then suddenly it was like a door opened and all these images came flooding through."
Maggie interrupted, "It will take you some time to adjust to all of them. Over 2,000 years’ worth of memories will do that to you. In the meantime, Zoey can help fill in the blanks. When you both are ready, come meet us in the garden."
Max watched in confusion, as Mo, Tobin, and Leif followed Maggie out to the backyard.
"I'm sorry, did your mom say memories from over 2,000 years?!" Max asked in astonishment.
Zoey laughed at the shocked look on his face, "Maybe I should start at the beginning."
Max nodded, sitting up to listen as Zoey began to explain.
"A long time ago in Ancient Greece…."
*Edmund Spenser “The Faerie Queene”