Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Shadow 9


Marissa woke up with a stitch in her side and realized she had slept in her ball gown, corset and all. She rolled out of bed and undid the buttons of the dress allowing it to slide to the floor. She noticed the tear stains on the front and realize it would have to be cleaned so she draped it over the back of a chair to await Eliza’s expert care.
She removed the corset and underskirts and put on a silk wrap with beautiful chinese flowers on it and sat at her window staring out at the park. It was much too early to be awake, but she couldn’t go back to sleep with everything rolling through her head.
She knew few of the servants would be up since it was Sunday. She looked forward to a day with few distractions and annoyances. She got up and started downstairs to get a cup of tea when she remembered her appointment with the American Simon Anderson.
With a groan she continued down to the kitchen surprising the cook who had just started breakfast. 
“Oh, your Ladyship, I didn’t know you were up or I would have had breakfast ready for you,” the cook mumbled.
“It’s all right, Clarice, I just wanted a cup of tea for right now. Breakfast at the usual time is just fine,” Marissa soothed.
She poured herself a cup and left the agitated cook to work in peace and went into her office. Despite the previous evenings argument she curled up in her usual chair to drink her tea and read the morning paper. She would attend church later that morning and then have tea with Mr. Anderson.
She was a little annoyed at the interruption this would be to her day, but in lieu of her fight with Sean she hoped the visit would prove an excellent distraction. The ridiculous news of the day held no interest for her and after a few minutes she tossed the paper aside. 
Everything felt out out of sorts when she argued with Sean, but this time she refused to back down. He had insulted her deeply and until he apologized she wouldn’t budge. She finished her tea and returned the cup to the kitchen then headed back up to her room to dress for church. 
She refused to follow with the silly practice of dressing in something different for every activity of her day. All of her clothes were well-made and sturdy enough to withstand anything the day might throw at her. Her church dress would suffice for breakfast, church and tea with Mr. Anderson.
After eating she let the cook know about their guest at two and decided to walk the two short blocks to the church she attended. On her way back from services she was joined unexpectedly.
“May I have the pleasure of walking you home from service, Lady Edgington?” Mr. Anderson asked with a proper bow.
Marissa colored slightly. “Yes,” she replied hesitantly half hoping Sean would observe this, but then remembering he had been absent from his usual place at the services.
Simon offered his arm and she took it with a silent sigh. Simon’s presence would be a good distraction for her disgruntled feelings. It was a beautiful morning with the promise of a warm day and she wanted to enjoy every moment of it.
“I saw you at church and just had to jump at the chance to share in your inspiring presence,” he drawled.
“Mr. Anderson, please contain yourself,” Marissa chided. A part of her was starting to tire of his endless flattery.
He ducked his head, but she could see that he didn’t care about his manner. In fact he seemed almost proud of his extravagant behavior.
“Did you enjoy the service?” she asked more gently.
“It was as beautiful as the morning dawn,” he replied sincerely.
“The reverend does give an excellent sermon,” Marissa agreed. “So may I ask what brings you to London, Sir?” 
She is curious as to why this man is even in the city.
“I have a few business adventures I have been pursuing. A friend of mine has recently done some research that intrigues me and I am hoping to invest in his findings,” he answered vaguely.
“What research? Perhaps I have heard of it,” she pried.
“Oh I doubt it, nothing a Lady such as yourself would be interested in. Now tell me about yourself. I heard you recently inherited your father’s estate?”
She was instantly on her guard. She wanted no part in a fortune hunter.
“Yes, it was a surprise for all of us when Mr. Doveday found me,” she replied carefully.
“Found you?”
“I had been working in a factory here in London when I was informed that I was the only living, named, heir to Lord Edgington’s estate. I was completely unaware of the connection. Apparently he was going to tell me when I turned twenty-one, but didn’t live long enough.” She knew the information she shared was widely publicized and anyone could find out how she had come into her estate.
“What a wonderful thing for you,” Simon cried. “You should be careful though. There are many a fortune hunter out there that would be more than happy to take it away from you.”
“Oh I know. I have a trusted friend who managed the estate for my late father and continues the work for me. His concern runs deep and he will investigate anyone who could threaten my standing,” Marissa answered honestly.
That should scare away any ideas of marrying her for money. If someone didn’t want to be investigated they would disappear quickly.
“That’s a good thing, dear lady. I’m happy to hear you have such good people looking out for you. A woman such as yourself can never be too careful of the people around her,” he warned.
By this time they had reached her home. It was just lunch time, too early for tea, but Marissa wanted to get to know more about this man than he had shared.
“Would you like to join me for lunch, Mr. Anderson?” she asked carefully. “I know our appointment isn’t until two, but I have enjoyed our conversation these past ten minutes and would like to continue it.”
“I would be honored, Madame.” He bowed and she showed him inside.
The butler took Mr. Anderson’s coat and hat as well as Marissa’s coat and bag. She told him of the addition for lunch and he nodded and left to inform the cook.
They went into the parlor to visit until lunch was laid out.
“Tell me about yourself, Mr. Anderson,” Marissa requested formally.
“There isn’t much to tell. I made my fortune in steel in the eastern United States and I recently decided to pursue other interests overseas,” he began. “I have a passion for all things exciting and interesting and mysterious.”
He raised his eyebrows in Marissa’s direction. She blushed slightly.
“There isn’t much that is exciting or mysterious here,” she replied coyly knowing full well her statement was a complete and utter lie.
“Now I don’t believe a word of that, Ma’am. Just your history and position in life begs to differ,” Simon replied grandly.
“Well the mystery is all out now. I dare say there are some in our little circle of friends who don’t appreciate my background and parentage,” Marissa said.
“A pox on those who do, My Lady, I’m sure you are worth more than all their gold and jewels.”
She lowered her eyes at his flattery. She wasn’t used to this kind of attention from any of her gentlemen friends. Simon Anderson seemed much more sincere than any of the men who attempted to court her.
“You said you made your fortune in steel?” she encouraged.
“Yes, my grandparents were immigrants from Italy and my father was a worker in the steel factories in Chicago. I learned all about steel from my father and used the knowledge to invest wisely. It has been quite a challenge, but I have returned to my parents everything they gave me and more.”
He spoke with a smile, but there was a darker undertone that made Marissa cringe.
“And now you are here in London,” she added lightly.
“Yes. I do rather like the city. It is charming in the least.” He gestured all around and then let his eyes rest back on her. “So you mentioned that you worked in a factory. Did your family also work there?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I was raised in an orphanage since I was a child. I had never known who my father was and my mother had never shared the information with me before she disappeared.” She paused thinking about how literal that last statement was. “When I turned fifteen I got a job at the factory and worked there until I was brought here.”
“I bet it was quite a shock for you to be dropped in the world of aristocracy and wealth,” Simon murmured.
Marissa nodded. “It was at first, but I know how to read and I used that to my advantage. I see no reason for me to not understand my status in life. I think it is silly that some women pay no attention to the financial situation they live in.”
Simon chuckled. “Feisty and educated. You really are amazing Lady Edgington!”
“I’m sure most people think I am crazy, but I have spent enough time poor and alone that I don’t ever want to be there again. I think I’m just as smart as my steward or any of the other men out there that run the world,” Marissa declared haughtily.
“Here, here!” Simon cried.
Marissa blushed realizing that her outburst could be very offensive. “That’s not to say that everyone should participate in these weighty matters, it is just an interest of mine,” she qualified.
Eliza quietly entered the parlor at that point and announced lunch. Marissa stood and led the way into the dining room. They ate a simple meal of cold chicken and stuffed potatoes followed by tea and biscuits.
Simon raved about everything and Marissa found herself enjoying his praise. When the visit was finished he asked to call again and she agreed. She was intrigued by this outward American gentleman.
After he left Marissa made her way to her study and pulled a book from the vast shelves, but her thoughts continued to follow Simon and evaluate the feelings she felt in his presence. She knew she had to be careful with her emotions. Even though he seemed very transparent there was still something that he was hiding, of that she was certain.
She got up from her chair to find Sean. It would be best if he did some background checking on Mr. Anderson. She tried his study, but it was empty. Next she tried the library and the billiard room, but still no Sean. Usually on Sundays he spent his liesure time in those places.
Perplexed she called the butler.
“Yes, Lady?” John asked.
“Have you seen Sean?” she asked casually.
“Mr. Doveday left yesterday evening,” John informed.
“Left?” Marissa questioned.
“He had a suitcase so I assumed he would be gone for a day or two on business.”
“Oh, thank you, John,” Marissa replied disappointed.
Sean had never left without telling her before. His actions were another barb in the already open wound. She returned to her study and shut the door trying to think calmly about the situation.
They had argued and he had said some things that hurt her deeply, but at the same time her actions had concerned him and on more than one occasion he had asked her to give up her life as the Shadow. Yet she refused to do so. Now she was certain her actions had hurt him. It was one continuous round of hurt that never ended. She knew there was one way to stop it, quit being the Shadow, but she knew she couldn’t do that, at least not yet.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pause

So I'm sorry I haven't written for a while. I got busy flying and then I had a family reunion and then I caught a cold. Hopefully in the next few days I will get better and have some time and energy to add more chapters and posts. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Shadow 8


“I think you should start at the beginning,” Sean demanded.
Marissa opened her mouth, but the carriage pulled to a stop at the house. The coachman opened the door and helped her out and Sean followed her up to the house. Most of the staff was in bed or gone for the night and Marissa felt certain they would be safe in her personal study. No one ever went in there, including Sean.
He paused at the door and she rolled her eyes and pulled him in closing the door firmly behind her. She checked everything around to make sure there wasn’t anyone hiding or listening and then poured herself a class of scotch and sat down.
“Well,” Sean said waiting patiently.
Marissa sighed. “It all started with my late night visit last week, the one I told you about that you scolded me for. Well you were right, the Doctor and his friend slipped something into the glass of wine that I drank.”
Sean started up looking alarmed, but Marissa held up her hand to stop him.
“It wasn’t poison, it was a potion of sorts. I don’t know all the particulars, but what I do know is that it changed something in my body. That was the pain I felt the next morning.”
“What change?” Sean asked looking her over suspiciously.
Marissa smiled at the ideas that were probably running through his head.
“This change,” she said getting to her feet. She stood in front of the mirror hanging over the hearth and mentally put on her Shadow persona. She watched with satisfaction as her visible skin disappeared.
Sean gasped and then made choking sounds. Marissa turned to see him standing white-faced and shaking. She rushed to his side returning to the Lady Edgington persona and her skin reappeared. She helped him sit down and gave him a glass of scotch which he downed with one gulp.
“How did you do that?” he gasped touching her arms, hands and face to make sure she was really there, even though she was clearly visible.
“It has to be something in the potion,” Marissa said after he had calmed down a bit. “I think they gave the same potion to Sarah and she disappeared completely, but when they gave it to me it wasn’t me, it was the Shadow, so now I have control over when I change.”
“What do you think of when you change?”
“I become the Shadow,” Marissa said simply. She began pacing the room. “I would give anything to be able to turn my clothes invisible, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It’s a little uncomfortable, but you get used to it.”
“You go out that way without any clothes?” Sean gasped turning several shades of red, green and white. He shook his head muttering something that sounded like ‘utterly inappropriate.’
Marissa smiled. “Only once. I just think of my invisibility as a skin tight suit. I had to be that way to get back into Dr. Bering’s house and see what he was up to. That’s when I overheard Sarah talking to the Doctor and John about an antidote.”
Marissa went to Sean’s side. “Oh Sean, they are making her do awful things because she is invisible,” she cried.
“Why doesn’t she just...disappear?” he asked incredulously.
“Because of me,” Marissa sighed. “They know I am her daughter. How they know I am not certain, but they have threatened to harm me if she doesn’t do what they ask.”
“Did they mention you by name?” 
“No, but Sarah’s visit to you to warn about my safety just confirmed it.”
“She said not to trust anyone in the house,” Sean said thinking. “I want to take you away from here. It’s not safe.”
He gets to his feet and starts for the door.
“It’s not that easy, Sean, besides I think there is something more,” Marissa said firmly. “I think they are planning something and I need to find out what it is.”
“You don’t need to do anything, Marissa. These men have already harmed you and I won’t give them another chance,” Sean declared firmly.
Marissa stood angrily. “You can’t force me to leave,” she declared hotly. “Remember I can disappear very easily.”
Sean’s face went white with anger and frustration and then finally worry. “Marissa please,” he begged. “I’m trying to protect you. Look at what they’ve already done to you.”
He gestured toward her and she could see that her skin was translucent and fading. She shook her head.
“I did this to myself when I drank that wine like an idiot,” she muttered. “I need to find out what they are up to.”
“You are an idiot if you continue down this path,” Sean said angrily. “I refuse to be a part of your destruction, you arrogant woman.”
She stared at him with surprise. He had never spoken to her like that. She regretted ever telling him anything. She stiffly moved toward the door.
“I think we are done here, Mr. Doveday,” she said icily. 
He had crossed a line with his last statement. She left him standing in the middle of the room. She knew he cared about her, but she was also a grown woman and very capable of managing her life on her own. She had done very well before she became Lady Edgington. 
Nothing in her behavior since could even remotely point to her being arrogant, in fact, she had always laughed with Sean about the arrogance of the English upper classes and their silly ways. He had always shown pride in her ability to take on the role that had been given her with as much grace and  stature as her father had portrayed.
For Sean to call her arrogant was like calling her trash and it hurt her deeply. She went to her room and shut the door locking it behind her. She wasn’t doing this to be prideful in her situation. She really wanted to know what the men were up to. Everything about them seemed sinister and wrong. 
She had been given a gift or sorts that would allow her to help and she desperately wanted to help. As Lady Edgington she was just another rich, privileged woman who spent her time attending useless aid meetings and dances and parties with other useless women. As the Shadow she could actually help people.
She paced the room letting the tears she had held back fall down her cheeks and stain the soft satin skirts. Finally she lay down exhausted on the bed and fell asleep.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things to do

So I am writing this post ahead of time because I will be flying on this date and wanted to keep caught up since I am actually on a roll. I'm also writing because I am procrastinating. There are so many things I should be doing and I just don't want to do them. :)

I don't recommend procrastinating because it always comes back to bite you, which I am certain in this case it will do to me, but I just don't have the energy to put forth to accomplish everything I should and I know that if I write in my blog I am at least doing something that I need to do, but don't necessarily have to do right now.

The moral of today's story is to not procrastinate, but if you're going to procrastinate then at least do it with something that will eventually have to be done. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

A few more recommendations

So I was going through the books I have read deciding if I wanted to write or to read and I decided to write, but then I thought I might mention some more of my favorite books that I enjoy reading.

There is a series, of course, that are a delightful mixture of mystery and adventure. They are set in the late 1800s in the glorious age of archeological discovery in Egypt and the surrounding areas. The author is Elizabeth Peters and the books are the Amelia Peabody mysteries.

Book 1
There are seventeen or eighteen books in the series and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. There is a recurring theme of a dead body in each book and a mystery to solve, but the collision of relationships in the book is also fun to watch enfold. Since I am a fan of mystery books I thought this might be a good suggestion.

Along the lines of fantasy or science fiction there is another series of books called The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. These books have been around for a while and they even made a movie about them, though it doesn't follow the books quite as well as I would like.

These books follow a young man who discovers that he has some magical gifts and he must find certain signs and bring them together to fight the rising dark. It is fantasy all the way, but if you like Arthurean legends and stuff like that then you will enjoy these books as well.

So those are my suggestions for today. Enjoy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunset...

I was just staring at a beautiful picture of a sunset my best friend took in Kauai. It makes me think of all the sunsets I have seen in my life and I appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of each one. No two sunsets are ever alike, just like people. Even twins have their differences in personality.

The sunset can be a brilliance of color and in a flash is gone or it can be a gentle fading of the light until we are left in twilight and then darkness. It can disappear with a gold or silver lining around the clouds or be snuffed out by a coming storm.

I love sunset. It is a time of reflection of the day and what you have accomplished and what you haven't accomplished, which in my case seems to be a lot, :). In some places it is watching the heat fade into the cool of a summer night and in others it is the delightful warmth chilling into a cold night.

My favorite place to watch sunset is of course on a beach where the waves are tipped with the golden light as they come crashing in and the large orange orb sinks slowly as if into the water, but sunset anywhere is just amazing to me.

So my advice for today is to go and watch a sunset somewhere and ponder the day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Shadow 7


Marissa stared at her image in the mirror. Her ball gown with its dainty lace sleeves and satin trimmed skirts accentuated her slender frame and pale skin. She liked the way her figure looked and is certain many of the dashing gentlemen of the evening will be smitten by her appearance.
She tucked the beautiful Chinese fan she had found among Lord Edgington’s things into her beaded evening bag and left the room. Eliza waits in the hall with the silk, fringed shawl which she drapes becomingly around Marissa’s shoulders.
“You look beautiful, Ma’am,” Eliza fauns.
“Thank you, Liza. Where’s Sean?” Marissa asks.
“He’s getting the horses and carriage ready for you, Miss.”
“Oh, all right then.” 
Marissa wanted to show off her new dress to the one person who’s opinion matter the most in her life, but she wanted to do it with her usual flare. She waited at the top of the stairs until she heard him come in. With all the grandeur she was accustomed to portraying, she gracefully descended the stairs.
“Always ready for a show,” Sean said wryly when she reached his side.
She arched her eyebrows and he laughed.
“You look very lovely, Marissa, is that better?” he conceded with a bow.
“Yes,” she said pertly.
“I’m certain you will have the droves eating our of your gloved hand before the night is over.”
Marissa smiled coyly. “Isn’t that the idea, Sean?” I thought you wanted me married off to the most eligible bachelor so you don’t have to worry about me anymore.”
She watched his eyebrows and cheeks twitch with annoyance and laughed. He sighed shaking his head and for a split second she wondered what he really wanted for her.
Before she could ask he opened the door and offered his arm. They walked to the waiting carriage and he tucked her inside and then climbed in next to her.
“An escort? To what do I owe this pleasure?” she asked excitedly.
“I just don’t want anything happening to you. You have a talent for getting into trouble, my dear,” he said simply.
Marissa pouted and then laughed. “Oh, Sean, you’re such a dear.”
She leaned back against the cushioned seat and watched the street lights flicker past as they drove through the city. It didn’t take long to reach Sir Barton’s massive house. Marissa geared herself up for the coming evening knowing it would be exhausting. Ball’s were not her favorite events to attend, but there was a certain amount of social credit she had to maintain.
“Don’t break too many hearts tonight, Marissa,” Sean chided.
“Only half a dozen,” Marissa replied with a smile.
She planned to do a lot of listening that night. There were too many strange occurrences to justify before she could venture back into her invisible world.
She walked up the steps of the mansion on Sean’s arm and he handed her off to the stately looking doorman who announced her presence in a penetrating voice. She cringed inside at the old-fashioned gesture, but made her grand entrance with pride in her father’s name.
Sir Barton stood at the front of the receiving line and eagerly requested the first dance when she greeted him. She acquiesced only a little unwillingly and moved into the room. As she moved among the different clusters of people she heard the latest gossip roving the English upper class, but nothing struck her as pertinent to her situation. No unexplained disappearances were mentioned and only the apparent murder of Minister Cherington seemed to be the major concern.
She saw Charlotte and greeted her briefly reveling in the look of annoyed jealousy on her face. 
“Marissa, your maid must be quite exhausted from getting you ready so quickly,” Charlotte said condescendingly.
It always miffed the ladies that Marissa could stay so busy and still look like she had spent hours at her toilette. 
“Not at all, darling. It was an easy thing after the aid meeting. Eliza was quite busy with other things,” Marissa said smugly.
She hated sitting for hours in front of a mirror. For the first nineteen years of her life not really caring what she looked like. She loved cowing the spiteful cats with her simple yet elegant way. By the amount of attention she received it was apparent that the gentlemen didn’t care how long she spent getting ready.
Charlotte feigned seeing a friend and Marissa was glad to see her leave. She moved on until Sir Barton came to claim her for the first dance.
She spent most of the rest of the evening dancing with various gentlemen among the party, enjoying very few until a very handsome American gentleman named Simon Anderson claimed her for a waltz.
His dashing manner and witty conversation left Marissa breathless and wishing for more. She had never completely enjoyed herself at these social gatherings as she did with this man. When the music ended he led her to a table to rest and called for some wine.
“So Lady Edgington what would you say to giving me a tour of London tomorrow,” Simon said in a shockingly forward manner.
She like him a great deal.
“Mr. Anderson we have just met,” Marissa replied with a coy smile and just a hint of disapproval.
“That’s true, but I believe I have fallen madly in love with you and I want to spend all y time in your distinguished presence,” he exclaimed loudly enough that a few of the people around them turned to stare.
Marissa blushed, but her guard was up. He may be a cavalier American, but she was a proper British lady and she wasn’t about to damage her hard-earned reputation on a man no matter how much she liked him.
“Perhaps we could have tea sometime,” Marissa replied carefully. “I have some wonderful gentlemen friends who would be more than happy to take you around the city.”
“You are right, sweet lady. Perhaps we could have dinner one evening instead,” he said chastized.
“Yes, I think that would be wonderful,” Marissa agreed.
“May I call on you tomorrow?” Simon asked.
“Certainly,” Marissa replied. “How about tea at two o’clock?”
That would give her some time to learn more about this forward American.
“Wonderful!” he exclaimed. “I’ll be there at two sharp.” He bowed and judiciously left.
As soon as he had gone Marissa was swarmed by several young ladies eager to hear about the American.
“I heard he’s very rich,” a girl named Clarissa said.
“I wouldn’t know. We didn’t discuss his income,” Marissa replied practically.
“Be careful, Marissa, he could be a fortune hunter,” a friend named Jeanette added.
“Or a handsome doctor,” Eileen Wilson said dreamily. “Will he call on you?”
“He dances very well for an American,” Clarissa said.
“He was a very good dancer and yes, he asked to call,” Marissa said with a smile. “Ny my dear ladies the even is ending. I can see my escort waiting at the door for me.”
She had noticed Sean’s stiff figure near the door. She didn’t realize how late it must be if he had come inside looking for her. She started toward him, but stopped when she realized he was dressed in a tie and coat tails.
Shock must have registered on her face because he came toward her with a smile.
“To what do I owe this shocking pleasure?” she asked with a curtsy.
“I know how much you enjoy these little parties and I thought I would dance with you once before taking you home,” Sean replied with a stiff bow.
He took her hand and led her expertly in the steps of the dance. Marissa had never danced with Sean before and she enjoyed every moment knowing it probably wouldn’t happen again. She also took pleasure in the fact that the old gossips were probably having a shock episode for the fact that Lady Edgington was dancing with a steward.
He wasn’t a servant in her eyes. He was the executor of the Edgington estate and a well-respected lawyer and friend. He had just as much right to be at this ball as anyone here and he would probably be more of a gentleman than these ladies had ever seen. The problem was his relatively constant close proximity to herself. He had managed the affairs of her late father’s estate for the past five years and he continued to do for her as well.
When the music stopped he led her out of the room where she gave her farewells to Sir Barton and his friends. After they climbed into the carriage she let out a sigh of relief.
“Well, that’s finally over,” she said relaxing. “Now tell me why you really came to fetch me.”
Sean let out his breath as if he had been holding it and looked gravely at her. “I had a visitor tonight, Marissa, one that completely unnerved me,” he said slowly.
Marissa immediately knew who he was talking about. The only thing that could shake Sean enough to dress him up and dance with her at a ball would be a visit from the invisible Sarah
“And,” Marissa encouraged. “What did she say?”
Sean looked at her and she knew her question had confirmed some suspicions in his mind. “She warned me that you might be in danger. In fact, that you had been in danger for some time and she wanted me to keep a close eye on you. She said not to trust any of the staff because someone is being paid to harm you if she doesn’t accomplish certain things.”
Marissa stared at Sean as understanding dawned. Sarah was her mother! The invisible woman was the mother she had searched for for years. The reality shocked and frightened her.
“Marissa what is going on?” Sean demanded. “I know you’ve been keeping something from me. Who is this woman? Does she have anything to do with Minister Cherington’s death?”
It was Marissa’s turn to take a deep breath. This was much more complicated than she had thought. 
“I have something to tell you, or show you rather, but not here. Some place private where we won’t be observed or overheard,” Marissa began.
Sean opened his mouth, but she put up her hand to stop him.
“The woman, she’s invisible, correct?” Marissa confirmed.
Sean nodded.
“Her name is Sarah Clarence and she is my mother.”
Sean’s eyes widened.
“The rest has to wait until I can show you my secret,” Marissa finished.
“How do you know she’s your mother?” he asked skeptically.
“I overheard a conversation between her and some gentlemen,” Marissa stated simply. “Her visit to you just clarified everything."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Things we take for granted

I am sitting here enjoying a small cup of applesauce and remembering that I really do like applesauce and how much I've missed eating it and I thought that I had taken for granted the fact that my wonderful friend made jars and jars of homemade applesauce and I never eat it.

Then I started thinking about all the things I take for granted and the things others might take for granted that I value.

Take for instance the sense of smell. More often than not people take this wonderful sense for granted. They spend more time complaining about how bad things smell than enjoying the good scents in life.

I don't have this problem because my sense of smell is not functional. I have had the absolutely wonderful opportunity to smell seven things in my entire life. Of those items only two have been food and two were spices. The only scent I have been able to continuousely smell is peppermint. When I catch that brief hint of something wonderful I go crazy trying to find out what it is so I can remember it if I ever happen to smell it again.

On the other hand I have a friend whose sense of smell is overwhelming to the point that just the wrong fragrance can give her a headache.

Two opposite ends of the spectrum and two completely different views of life. I don't have hardly any memories attached to smell and she has a plethora of them. Smell doesn't draw me to food and all she has to do is smell it and she wants it.

How often do we take something like this for granted. I probably take the fact that something stinks and doesn't bother me for granted. When everyone around me is miserable I am oblivious. :)

So the next time you are enjoying something think about what you have and don't take it for granted.

Monday, July 9, 2012

And more books

So I have been thinking a lot about books lately, as you've all probably noticed and I realized that I haven't really given very many recommendations of books that I've read and enjoyed. So here are a few more to consider.

In the fantasy and fairytale world there is a series of novels call the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. The first is The Goose Girl. It is a wonderful retelling of the Grimm fairy tale. There are four books in the series and each one coveres a different character, but you still have interaction with your original characters.

As you may have noticed I am a fan of series. I guess I just like to get a little bit more if I like the characters that I am reading about. So if you are like this too then you will enjoy these books.

Shannon Hale has also written a few other stand alone novels including a delightful tale called The Princess Academy.

Another author I have enjoyed reading in the mystery and suspense world is Phyllis A Whitney. She writes exciting novels that have a wonderful twist of romance, but keep you on edge and anxious for what will happen next. She has been one of my favorite authors since I was a teen and I think I might have read every book she wrote.

So there are two of my suggestions for books to read. Enjoy, but come back soon. :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What greater witness...than from God?


So I was reading my scriptures yesterday and in one of the lessons I read I came upon this scripture reference that really made me think about my own testimony and witness. 
Doctrine and Covenants 6:23
 21 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the aSon of God. I am the same that came unto mine bown, and mine own received me not. I am theclight which shineth in ddarkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
 22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might aknow concerning the truth of these things.
 23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater bwitness can you have than from God?
How many times do we question our own testimonies of truth or fall to unholy paths in search of a witness that we have already received. Even I have fallen prey to that old trick of Satan's.
I am so grateful for the scriptures and the lessons we read and learn in and out of church. If it hadn't been for these wise words from a prophet of God then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to remember the beautiful experience I had when I gained my own personal witness of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Followers of Galashad 9

Check out the last chapter of The Followers of Galashad.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Shadow 6


Marissa entered her house breathless from her dash. She had taken the most round-a-bout way home to make sure she wasn’t followed. Her heart pounded in her chest at what she had heard and seen. There was another woman out there who was just as invisible as she was and yet she couldn’t change and Marissa could.
She pondered what the difference could be as she removed her Shadow clothing and put on her nightgown. As she reassumed her normal role as Lady Edgington she watched her skin and face become visible. 
That must be the answer, she thought. 
She had two lives and when she was dosed she was playing the life of the Shadow. As Lady Edgington she was seen by anyone who chose to look. This woman must not have been so fortunate. Marissa also recalled that she had been given the second dose and not the first. If this woman had been given a first dose that might also explain the difference.
Then she thought about Jarvis’ instructions to find the Shadow. She shivered. She would have to remain aloof from her night job for a time.
She crawled into bed and lay restless for several hours before falling into a fitful sleep. When she awakened she was dead tired and cross. Eliza came in to help her dress and she made her way groggily down to the dining room for breakfast. Sean was already there waiting with her schedule of activities for the day.
“I’m not in the mood for social calls today, Sean,” she said grumpily.
He waited until the servants had left before responding. “You should think about that before taking to the streets at night, Lady,” he said sarcastically.
In a very unladylike way she stuck out her tongue at him. He only smiled.
“You have an appointment with Lady Cameron at eleven for tea and then the aid society at three,” he continues ignoring her manners. “There is also Sir Barton’s ball tonight. Dinner is at seven and your distinguished presence is requested.”
She made a face. “I’m not interested in Sir Barton nor his ball.”
“Never-the-less you have to go. There is a rumor that the Queen will be in attendance,” Sean replied.
“Victoria is attending Sir Barton’s ball? That’s a laugh,” Marissa said with a snort. “In his dreams will she ever attend one of his droll parties, besides she is getting on in years and after that attempt on her life I wouldn’t leave the palace if I were her.”
“Of course,” Sean replied annoyed.
She thought about her day’s schedule and sighed. “I guess it’s time I wore my new gown anyway. It hasn’t gotten some good dancing yet.”
“Leave it to a dress,” Sean grumbled.
“Thank you, Sean,” she replied sweetly. “Will you be coming to the ball with me?”
“I have other affairs to attend to,” he said stiffly.
“Always other affairs. Someday I will get you out of that board stiff role you enjoy playing so much and we will have some real fun,” Marissa replied with a laugh.
She didn’t feel like doing much of anything that day, but Sean was relentless in helping her fulfill her obligations. The constant visiting and social calls were a total bore to her, but she completed them with flair that usually left the ladies breathless and full of new gossip to share about Lady Edgington.
Marissa didn’t care about what the gossips thought of her. She knew that she was well liked among those who really mattered. Her thoughts returned again to the conversation she had overheard the previous night. 
Who was this woman and who was her daughter that was so accessible. Jarvis had mentioned a Lady, so it must be someone she knew, but who had a mother that had literally disappeared? She had no answers so she pushed it to the back of her mind and finished her breakfast.
On her was to see Lady Cameron for tea she decided it might be a good idea to put out random feelers. Lady Cameron knew most of the ladies in London and most of their background and history too. She would be an excellent resource to pump for information.
The servant immediately let her in after the coachman rang the bell and showed her into the parlor. She straightened her dress and hair after removing her hat and jacket and sat daintily on the small puff chairs that annoyed her. They weren’t built to accommodate the bustles that Marissa despised.
“Lady Edgington,” Lady Cameron exclaimed as she entered the room.
Marissa rose gracefully and went to greet her hostess. “Lady Cameron, thank you so much for inviting me to tea, it is quite an honor,” Marissa lied.
“Marissa dear, it’s been ages since we’ve gotten together,” the lady gushed.
For good reason, Marissa thought, you annoy the daylights out of me. “I know Charlotte, but we’ve both been so busy. Are you planning to attend the ladies aid meeting this afternoon?”
“Oh no, I have to get ready for Sir Barton’s ball tonight. Aren’t you attending the ball?” Charlotte asked amazed.
“Of course, I wouldn’t miss it,” Marissa replied.
How could anyone stand primping for three hours, ugh! She glanced around the room, sipping her tea and trying to figure out how to ask her questions about the missing mother.
“Charlotte, I was wondering if you could possible help me with a little mystery I have on my hands,” she said carefully.
Charlotte’s eyes brightened and she leaned forward conspiratorially. “Yes?”
“I heard, from the servants, that a certain lady’s mother has disappeared in the last few months or years. I’m not certain which, you know how the servants can be so blaze` about these things,” Marissa said quietly.
She knew Charlotte would drink in any gossip that she heard and spill it just as quickly.
Charlotte’s eyes widened and then her brow crinkled. “Which lady?”
“I don’t know, that’s the problem. I overheard them talking about it, but it seems like some time ago and since I am still so new to everything I thought you might know about it.”
“I can’t think of any ladies that have up and disappeared recently, even in the last few years. There have been some who have passed on, bless their souls, but none that have disappeared,” Charlotte replied.
“Nothing mysterious?” Marissa asked hopefully.
“Well, darling, the only mysterious thing lately has been your appearance here in London,” Charlotte said with a smile and a tiny dig.
“Indeed, I am quite the mystery,” Marissa answered with a grin. She found it so much more satisfying to play with their little insults and toss them back than to actually be insulted. The expressions on their faces when their remarks didn’t faze her was priceless. “But everyone knows, I’m no longer the gossip anymore,” she added for the final sting.
Charlotte’s face darkened slightly and Marissa knew she had won.
“I guess the fact that no one knows who my mother is makes quite a stir. I would love nothing better than to find out myself and settle everything once and for all,” Marissa replied nonchalantly. “Thank you for trying, dear. I always wonder at the things I hear the servants say. Sometimes I think they are just playing with me.”
“You should send the whole group packing and hire some that are more respectful of your position,” Charlotte advised.
Marissa nodded laughing to herself. She loved her people. They were all extremely loyal knowing her background and she treated them all with respect. She knew what they were required to do, having been there herself, and they knew she knew and chose to do what they were asked. She made sure they were well compensated for their work and they all worked hard. She would never get rid of one of them unless she were forced to.
Marissa sighed inwardly. Charlotte was not going to be any help. She would have to turn to her next source which was the very servants they had been discussing. She finished her tea spending the hour discussing fashions and parties and balls. Finally she was able to make her escape and on her way home stopped at her favorite sweet shop.
The bell rang cheerfully as she entered and a voice from the back called for her to wait. She glanced over the desserts on display deciding on a sweet little Italian chocolate that she was very fond of. The chef bustled out from the back room looking pale and uneasy.
“Hello Robert,” Marissa said cheerfully. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the curtain move as if someone had passed through.
Her thoughts went wild as her previous evenings adventure sprang to the forefront of her mind.
“Lady Edgington, this is a surprise,” Robert said nervously.
“Not really, you know I always stop by after tea every second friday,” she said her eyes darting to the curtain.
Someone had walked through, she was certain of it, someone invisible. she never would have believed it if she weren’t head deep herself.
“Oh yes of course. What would you like, Marissa?”
“I want the Italian mint chocolate,” Marissa replied eagerly.
“Is that all?”
“Yes.” She paused. “Did I hear voices when I came in?” she asked carefully.
Robert’s hand froze as he reached for the chocolate. “Voices?” he asked shakily.
“Yes. Do you have a guest?”
“No, no guests, just me talking to myself,” he laughed and she could hear the fear in his voice.
“Can I also get a variety box of chocolates. I like to surprise the staff once in a while,” she said airily. She was dying to know if the invisible woman was here or not, but she couldn’t think of a way to find out.
She glanced around the room and noticed a bag of sugar and cocoa beans. She meandered around the shop toward the cocoa beans chatting about how Sean and Eliza loved the chocolates and how much fun it was surprise them. When she got near the bag she faked a trip and pushed the bag to the floor the beans scattered all around the floor. For a split second she saw the outline of two feet in the mess and then it disappeared and once again the curtain moved on its own.
“Oh, Robert, I’m so sorry.” 
She got down and started sweeping up the beans into her skirt. Charlotte would have a field day if she saw this.
“Lady Edgington, it’s fine. I’ll clean it up. You shouldn’t be putting those in your dress. Are you all right? Did you catch the edge of the counter?” he exclaimed.
She allowed him to help her back, dumping the beans into the outstretched bag.
“Oh I’m fine, it’s the lace on this silly dress, the hem is just a tad bit too long. I need to fix it, I keep tripping on it. Did I ruin anything?” she asked hoping she hadn’t.
“No, no, everything is fine,” Robert replied. He was still nervous, but not nearly as much as before. “Marissa, only you would stop to help a working man clean up the mess you made...accidentally,” he said with a sigh.
“But it was my fault,” Marissa chided.
“Yes, but that doesn’t matter to most high born folks,” he replied.
Marissa shook her head in disgust. He was right and she knew it. She held out a three pound note to him. 
“Here is for the chocolates and the ruined beans,” she said kindly.
“Lady Edgington, this is too much,” Robert refused.
“I don’t care, Robert, you deserve it. I’ll see you in two weeks,” she said leaving the money on the counter and taking the wrapped chocolates he had left on the counter.
She had gotten more information from that little accident than she thought. The invisible woman was moving through her contacts. Robert was one of her best sources for messages. He often sent potential clients her way and she paid him handsomely for his efforts.
She wondered if the woman knew what she was doing when she wandered the shop and if she did would she come after Marissa. She hoped she playacted well enough to disguise her actions. If not then she was certain she would be receiving a visit from the invisible woman.
Marissa returned to her waiting carriage and decided to stop at another one of her contacts. She gave the instructions to the driver and he nodded and flicked the reins. They moved through the streets of London to a well-known cheese maker named Albert.
A few minutes later she pulled up to the cheese shop and the driver helped her down. She entered the dimly lit shop and rang the bell. she took a deep breath reveling in the delicious smells that entered her nostrils. She loved the heady smells and sharp tangy flavors of the shop.
A robust man with heavily muscled arms came to the front.
“Marissa!” he exclaimed, “What brings you here today?”
“I need to order some cheese for next week. I’ve been craving a few things and cook hasn’t been in a cheesy mood lately,” she said with a grin.
Albert laughed. He knew just as well as she that her cook would make anything Marissa asked for, she was here for jobs.
“Well I don’t have any new cheeses this week. Do you want to try some nice sharp cheddar or a creamy havarti perhaps?”
“Cheddar is fine.” She paused and then decided to take it one step further. “Has anyone come asking about our friend?” she asked quietly.
“No, not recently at least nothing specifically about our friend,” he replied just as quietly. 
“If anyone does will you let me know?” she asked.
“Certainly. Is our friend in any danger?” he asked suspiciously. “I don’t mind being a contact for him, but I don’t want to be involved in anything dangerous.”
She didn’t blame him. “I don’t think so, but it might be a good idea to send new cheeses in other directions for a few weeks,” she replied.
“All right. So how much cheddar do you want?” he asked resuming his normal tone.
“A small block,” she replied. “If I get too much cook will put it in everything. Just send it up to the house when you have a chance.”
Albert nodded and she turned to leave. He headed back to the back of his shop as she opened the front door. She froze when she heard a cry of fear from the big man. She reached up to silence the bell as she closed the door and crept back into the shop.
The door to the back was slightly ajar and she could hear voices.
“What do you know about the Shadow?” a woman’s voice hissed. It was Sarah.
“I don’t know anything about him, I just receive messages and pass them on to his contacts so he can deliver them,” Albert replied. “Please, I’m just a simple cheese maker.”
Marissa was ready to jump through the door, but Sarah continued.
“Who is your contact?” she asked.
“I...I can’t say,” Albert replied hesitating.
“Oh I think you can,” Sarah threatened.
Marissa’s blood froze in her veins.
“It’s a Lady. She’s a good Lady, please don’t hurt her,” Albert begged.
“What is the Lady’s name?” Sarah demanded.
“Edgington,” Albert replied defeated.
“Marissa?” Sarah said surprised. Marissa heard a knife drop onto the floor.
“Please, Marissa is a good woman. She’s kind hearted to working folks. She wouldn’t hurt anyone,” Albert cried.
“Marissa keeps with interesting company,” Sarah said thoughtfully. “Thank you cheese man.”
There was silence and Marissa heard sobbing. She knew it was Albert and that he felt responsible for anything that might happen to her in the near future. She quietly slipped over to the door and held the bell as she left the shop.
If the woman was tracking her this way then it was possible that she could find the Shadow, but would it lead her to Marissa Clarence or Lady Edgington?