The couple sat at the kitchen table. The red and white checkered curtains flailed away from the window, orchestrated by the cool breeze of the night.
He touched the small boned knuckles of her tiny hand, turned it over, drew the open palm to his face and brushed his lips against each smooth fingertip. It was still a thrill of pleasure after all these years, and his heart quickened as he felt the surge of love fill his body.
Annabelle coyly cast her eyes downward, a demure smile upon her face. Then she looked up into Gerard’s’ face. Their eyes locked as they experienced a moment of intense emotion, so much more than mere love, nothing less than consummate completion.
“You look ravishing tonight my darling.”
Her cheeks pinked with the blush of a much younger woman. “Thank you, and if not too bold of me, I say that you my husband appear quite striking yourself.”
Gerard’s’ face opened to a large grin. “Why woman, I would accept nothing less than the truth, be it bold or not.”
He noticed her eyebrow arch and a frown take over the smile.
“What is it Annabelle? Have I offended you in some way?”
She sighed softly, rose from her seat and walked to the window and pushed the curtain to one side, holding it against the wall. “It is exceptionally beautiful, this night. The moon so near, brilliantly white and clear. I feel if I reached out my hand I could almost touch it. Silly of me acting so childishly.”
Annabelle turned toward Gerard. He knew that look upon her face, the sadness, the despair, the hopelessness. How he wished he could alter her situation and knew, no matter how much she sought escape, there would be none. Not from the house, not this night.
He walked to her side, took her hand in his and pulled her away from the window and the nights’ hypnotic trance. It drove him mad to see her in such pain, yet he knew he must do what was best for her well-being, her sanity.
“Shall we go to the terrace? You said the moon is very beautiful and the night air should be refreshing.”
Her eyes glowed with anticipation, excitement and joy. “Oh yes my dear husband, may we?”
Her steps quickened to a fast trot as they passed through the living room and approached the sliding door within the entertainment room. The bright blue walls displeased her, how garish and bold. She would have preferred a more subtle off-white or beige design yet realized her opinion on this matter was meaningless. As Gerard slowly slid open the door, taking precaution to remain as silent as possible, she cast one look backward at the despicable decor, now eager to feel the coolness of the night upon her body.
After exiting the room, with circumspection, he slid the door back into place, leaving a tiny gap between the lock and latch, assuring re-entrance would be safe and silent. Lord knows he did not need the others discovering their presence. He never knew how Annabelle would react to their interference. Though timid by nature, when confronted, she could become quite a handful and create havoc within the home. Gerard preferred to treat any intrusion into their life with understanding. After all, this was not their house; he and Annabelle were only residents.
“Look Darling.” Annabelle pointed to the nearby lake. The water bristled with activity from the wind’s caress. She held back a giggle as she watched the moonlight reveal a raft of ducks paddling toward land. The hen proudly led the ducklings who followed in quacking chorus.
He loved the delight upon Annabelle’s face. He wished he could actually lead her to the waters edge and together toss bits of oats or vegetables their way. Again, he realized the futility in this line of thought. Better to enjoy what was granted than to daydream on what would never be.
God, he loved this woman with his entire being. Their partnership was eternal, filled with adoration and youthful passion. He could not foresee a future without his beloved. Her welfare meant everything to him. He was her protector, her security.
Gerard neared her, bowed and extended his hand. Annabelle laughed softly, took his hand and they embraced in a dance, careful to be on tiptoe and not arouse discovery. Each glide across the terrace brought them freedom of space, the moonlight glistened upon the two silver clips which held her auburn tresses in place. All that mattered was the now, the moment, the experience. They danced and pranced. Time ceased to exist, each cast in the magical spell of love. Husband and wife. Partner and mate. Protector and protectee.
Annabelle halted her step, cocked her head, the frown returned to her face. In the silence of the early morning she thought she heard footsteps. Were they coming? The others? It wasn’t fair this life forced upon her. She wanted to scream, lash out and confront the vile family who had taken over her home. They now made the rules, they now called the shots, they now controlled her surroundings. How dare they?
He could see the anger and hatred rising within his dearest wife. Yes, they were prisoners, doomed to exist within the confinement of the home, the rules set by the others, never able to leave its door, to venture outside. They were forced to live in harmony beside the others and were regulated by the restraints of the residence.
They watched through the large pane of glass, knowing their presence would not be detected. They were safe, if silent.
The male child appeared and wiped his sleepy eyes before padding to the contraption the others called a TV. Gerard detested the noise it projected yet pondered how remarkable an object to have the ability to see a variety of people and hear their voices. It did seem rather cold and offensive for surely anyone would prefer the company of friends rather than watching them remotely.
The next other to enter was a blonde-haired young girl. She chatted with the male child and settled down beside him on the burnt-umber carpeted floor. Gerard glanced at Annabelle and saw the rage growing within her. He had to stop her before she allowed her rage to cause distress.
It was too late, she had slid the door open and entered the room. Annabelle walked behind the seated children and flicked their hair. She had to stifle a giggle when they reached up to shoo away the presence of her touch. Gerard looked on in disappointment. It was all a game to Annabelle. A game he wanted no part of, a game his beautiful wife embraced.
She became bolder and pushed the male child into the lap of the young girl.
Oh how she delighted when she heard, “Stop it stupid. Yuck. Get off of me.”
The male child seemed baffled and responded, “Somebody pushed me, I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“Not that again Bobby. Nobody pushed you. Mom and Dad said it was just our imagination, remember?”
“Magination doesn’t push you Sabrina. I don’t care what they say. I was pushed.”
The young girl shook her head and went back to watching the TV program.
Gerard entered the room and arms crossed, stood next to Annabelle. “Okay, that’s enough. You’ve had your jollies for the day. Let’s go to our room.”
Annabelle turned to him, a broad smile on her face. He knew that mischievous smile well. Her eyes took on the glow of madness. She drew every ounce of energy from within the room into her body and walked silently to stand in front of the others. Her form appeared gradually, from a small orb to a bit of mist to a solid mass. Annabelle extended her hand and in a loud roaring voice said, “Hello children.”
It was hilarious. These others shrieked and screamed, simultaneously jumping to their feet and scurrying out of the room at lightening speed. Let them explain that to their parents.
Gerard shook his head in disapproval. Yet he couldn’t help but smile a bit when Annabelle brushed her hands against each other and shook her finger.
“How dare anyone take over my house, my home. Well there’s plenty more where that came from.”
The loving couple who’d existed since 1892 within the walls of the house they’d built, clasped hands and walked toward the attic door. Just another day within eternity.
Monica M Brinkman believes in ‘giving it forward.’ This is reflected by her writing and radio show. A firm believer that open communication is the most powerful tool to make positive change in the world; she expresses this in her book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel and It Matters Radio. Look for her book, The Wheel’s Final Turn, to be release in 2015.
Monica resides in the Midwest with her husband, two dogs and five cats.
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