*WARNING: This blog is intended for a mature audience. Its contents may include adult situations, violence and sensitive issues that some people might find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.

30 September 2014

A Pair of Brown Eyes: Chapter 24

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*WARNING: Hmm, no, no warning this time, just a reminder for you to pay attention to all the things happening in this chapter. Do any of them sound familiar? ;-)

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Upon entering, Claire took one last deep breath. "There's something I need to tell you." she simply told Andrew, and felt surprised by how strong her voice had sounded.


"No, no, please. There's something I want to tell you first." Andrew wanted to talk to her too? Her breathing quickened. "But not here," he continued. "Let's go to the parlour so we can be more comfortable."

And when she thought her heart couldn't beat any faster, he proved her wrong by bringing her hand to his chest, and giving her one of those looks. One of those looks no man had ever given to her, and one of those looks he gave to nobody but herself. Her focus was lost. She was lost. How did he manage to do that?


Not giving her an opportunity to react, Andrew took her by the hand and started for the door, bringing her along with him.


When they entered the parlour, the first thing Claire noticed was that the rain had become more than a threat by then. No wonder the pain in her stomach had intensified!


The next thing she knew, they were seated in a loveseat below the window, kissing. This wasn't going how Claire had intended it. At all! But something deep inside her told her to stop bothering and make the most of the moment, like she wished.

That he was able to have such a strong effect on her with one single kiss could only mean the one thing she had realised long before then – on the night of the festival – but could never bring herself to acknowledge in words... There was no more denying it now: she was irrevocably in love with Andrew. Her heart sank.


Claire was shivering by the time Andrew released her mouth and grabbed her hand once again. He was breathless when he spoke at last, a warm smile on his lips. "Claire, I know I told you I would be patient, but I can't hold it any longer. I need to tell you—"

"Wait! Speak no more, please!" Claire wanted to listen to what he was telling her, wanted to hear it more than anything in the world, but she shouldn't let him talk any further. "It—you and I—it cannot be."


"Why do you say so?" His smile gave way to a slight frown. "Surely you feel the same way, I can tell you do. Besides, my intentions are perfectly honourable." He paused and looked up at her. Claire lost herself in that stare. "In fact, what I want is to ask you—"


"No, you shouldn't speak thus." Claire interrupted him again. "You might regret it afterwards. Especially–" she swallowed hard. "Especially after you've heard what I came here to tell you."

"Regret it?" he sighed. "Claire, don't believe me irrespectful of your loss. Don't worry, I would never think of replacing your late husband in your estimation."


Her husband? Replacing her husband in her estimation? Claire stood motionless as her heart stopped beating. The room suddenly became too small to contain all her emotions. She jumped from the chair, stuttered the first words that came to her mind, "I could never love you", and stormed out of Andrew's home. His reaction would forever remain engraved in her brain, even though she didn't see it.

She just felt the urge to run.

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And run she did, never minding the downpour. She ran, and ran, and ran...

Liar, liar, liar! That she could never love him? What stupid nonsense was that? Where had that come from? Liar, liar, liar! How she regretted what she had answered him! But then again, what else could she have said?


Why did Andrew have to say such things to her? ...But don't worry, I would never think of replacing your late husband in your estimation. He had to use those words precisely, didn't he? They were torturing her the most.

Claire didn't realise she was still running until sheer exhaustion brought her to a halt. Not paying any attention to her surroundings, she took a seat on a rock nearby, and tried to regain her breath.

She now understood the folly of it all, the recklessness of her behaviour in leading him on. She could cope with being hurt. It hardly mattered this was probably the only kind of hurt she had never experienced, because hurt was something she was accostumed to. But hurting Andrew along the way was a different matter altogether, one she couldn't so readily accept. Her past would always come back to haunt her in the most daunting, unexpected manners. And as usual, there was nothing that a woman like her could do except crying herself to sleep.

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How had she come to take that ring out of the drawer? The last few hours were but a blank to Claire. She only had a slight recollection of having woken up by the lake – eyes severely swollen, clothes soaked up in rain – and of having drifted home.

But there she was now, staring at that shiny metal piece, haunted by what it symbolised. She should have disposed of it long ago, as she had intended to, but the rarity of its cut advised her against it, lest it should be tracked down.

Images of her wedding started to flood her mind. September the 12th, 1884. The unhappiest day of her whole life...


All the special decorations were lost on her: the luscious fabric of her bridal gown, her brand-new jewellery, the lace-covered benches, everything. Everything except for the distinctive smell given away by the lilies that lined the whole room. For some reason, those white little flowers caught her attention. And they were all she could think about when she reached out her hand to receive the ring from those hands, which were the same hands that had grabbed her mouth to prevent her screaming while he took her, relentlessly, only a few weeks before. While those lips that were now swearing eternal devotion to her were the same that had growled against her ear all sorts of obscenities. Claire felt too sick to think any further. Again she tried to concentrate on those beautiful flowers.

After a while, Claire managed to gather enough courage to look up at him; but then, all of a sudden, the scene before her darkened, and it wasn't that frightening black-haired man that she saw. In his place, a bearded figure – much dearer to her – had conjured up before an older impersonation of herself. Andrew! Her mind reeled.


Claire couldn't stand the touch of that hateful ring any longer, and threw it onto the floor in a passion. Andrew, Andrew! Was he really going to–? Going to– propose? She burst out in tears.

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Claire exhausted all the strength she had left by going to work the next morning, and a surly-looking Andrew was already waiting for her at the entrance as she set foot in his home. He eyed her from head to toe, then away. Claire wondered whether he had noticed she was dressed exactly the same as the day before.

Perhaps it was not too late to tell him yet? Anything would be better than having his cold stare upon her. She had to be brave and tell him. Tell him about what he had done to her over the years and about her scars; about the musical contests and about how she had come to leave England; about her false identity and about...

"Andrew, I... What happened yesterday..."


"Let's forget about it." The tone of his voice pierced her very core. "And given our present circumstances, perhaps we should revert to our calling each other by our last names..., Mrs. Parker." His lips were tightly pursed. "You may go into the clinic now. I'll be with you in a minute." He turned his back to her, and headed for the parlour, leaving Claire to look behind him, in shock.


So it was too late! Perhaps it was for the best, she'd rather had him thinking her fickle than wicked. And wicked indeed he would think her, judging by how he had just reacted. Andrew would think her wicked if he knew. He would despise her if he knew. He would hate her if he knew. Or worse. He would tell her to come back to where she belonged if he knew: she wouldn't be surprised if he did! And she would despise herself, and she would hate herself. Her tragedy was now complete. She was beyond hope.


Claire's sore legs barely carried her up to the clinic, while her trembling hand, in turn, struggled with the doorknob. She entered the room, and it was then that she saw them. Slowly approaching the shelf, she never let her eyes off those bottles. The painkillers she had so many times stored there herself...

Some inner force possessed her to grab one and hide her under her skirt. Not that she was thinking of putting it to use, but it suddenly gave her great comfort to own one of those. If all came to that, she wouldn't fail a second time; being a doctor's assistant for over six months had taught her how much dose it was needed.



A-Pair-of-Brown-Eyes-Chapter-25A-Pair-of-Brown-Eyes-Chapter-23


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Author's note: As you have probably guessed by reading this chapter, we're now back at the time of the Prologue. And now what? you may be asking yourselves. Well, only I know the answer to that, but for the time being, let's just say this has been a highly emotional chapter for me, since I've been compelled to re-read the stuff I wrote nearly two years ago, and figthing my own demons – a.k.a. inner critic, LOL – in the process. Oh, and in case you're interested, I've reporpused some of the text I already used back then, so feel free to check it out.

29 comments:

  1. Aaaaah! The tension is unbearable! Claire has to tell Andrew, she just has to! Now what, indeed ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe. Oh, my, too bad Claire can't listen to you ;-). Now what...? hmm..., hmm, *shrugs* :-P

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  2. Well shit! That is not what I expected. I mean I knew she ran away from him, but I'd hoped he gave chase, tried to talk to her, but this....damn. How to come back from that?

    Now she's looking at the pain killers, let's hope she fails a second time. Or Andrew finds her in time or something.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not what you expected, huh? Well, no... no chasing after her this time, sorry... ;-) As for the second part, I'll have to bite my tongue for a little bit longer... Just don't hate me (yet) :-P.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  3. Es un capítulo muy tenso. Creo que hay mucho por hablar entre ellos, ya que tanto se aman. Ella debería armarse de valor.
    Besos!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sí, debería armarse de valor. Por desgracia, tiene mucho que hablar con ella misma primero ;-).

      ¡Besos, y gracias por leer!

      Delete
  4. No he podido resistirme a echarle un ojo al capítulo, en inglés o en polaco jejeje.
    Me ha recordado al prólogo, pero bueno, prefiero leerlo en español (ahí metiendo prisa disimuladamente :P).
    Es broma guapa, un beso!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Jejeje, menos mal que no escribo en cantonés o en suajili, entonces, jejeje! :-P

      ¿Te ha recordado al prólogo? No tengo ni idea de por qué será... ;-) Enseguida estará ya en español.

      Un beso y, ¡gracias por leer!

      Delete
  5. Dadgum it. Oh Claire! Though Shame on Andrew for believing her! Shame on him! He ought to know better! I get he's hurt and confused, but to instead accept it? Darn him! C'mon Andrew! Fight for her!

    Oh, no Claire, put those back. :/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I take it you're not exactly... ahem, happy with Andrew at this moment? ;-) Hurt has got the better of him, I guess...

      And I second your plea for Claire to put those painkillers back where she found them :-(.

      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  6. Me pareció un relato muy interesante y me gusto como pusiste las imágenes de la computadora. Si deseas pasas por mi blog http://enamoradadelasletras.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias por tu visita, me alegra que te parezca un relato interesante :-).

      Delete
  7. I had forgotten to visit you this time. As you know I like this story.
    Kisses.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No worries, thanks for stopping by :-).

      Delete
  8. Intento seguir tus capítulos, I promise you. Siempre espero a leerlos en español que los disfruto más. Abrazos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No te preocupes. Y el capítulo en español está ya casi listo, espero tenerlo para comienzos de la semana que viene.

      Abrazos, y gracias por pasarte :-).

      Delete
  9. Andrew, I could slap you for being such a whiney little girl! If you are about Claire, you will listen to her before making assumptions! LOL ok, my rant is over. :) Amazing chapter as always, and I love the cliffhanger! Poor Claire. Surely she will find the strength within herself to keep from ending her life. Too many people care about her!

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    1. LOL, Andrew is not making many friends this time, LOL... Hopefully Claire will keep herself away from temptation :-(...

      Thanks for reading and for your words :-).

      Delete
  10. He empezado por el capítulo 24. Me ha saltado unos cuantos. Me voy a ir poniendo al día. Parece que el pasado y el oresente se enfrentan personificados en el mismo hombre... Me voy al inicio.
    Besos,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ¡Hola! No te preocupes, puedes ponerte al día al ritmo que quieras; quizá te lleves una sorpresa con respecto a tus impresiones ;-).

      Gracias por pasarte :-).

      Delete
  11. I wonder if either her husband is still alive and she just left him, ran away from home and changed her identity for the sake of never being found, OR.... if she killed him in self-defense (or not, I would kill him either away, beast) and ran away so she wouldn't be arrested for the murdered. I like the latter better because I'm obsessed with crime... I don't do any crime hahaha, I just like to read about those who do crime.
    Anyway, can't wait for the next chapter. Hugs Marta. ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I meant, arrested for the murder! Hehe.

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    2. You may be right and one of those options is the correct one ;-). I can't blame you for wanting to kill him, though, hahaha.

      Hugs, and thanks for reading :-).

      Delete
  12. CLAIRE!!! *shakes Claire by her shoulders*
    LOL. *sigh* *composes self again*
    Okay... so... many emotions right now after reading this, and also during my reading of this. Let me see if I can comment properly, LOL.

    I think it was very good that Claire was ready to tell Andrew about her past, but I'm sad that her nerves got the best of her and she ended up using her flight instinct to run away, leaving him humiliated, if he was indeed trying to propose to her. I wondered if he was just trying to say "I love you," but I'm not sure. Either way, I was so angry at Claire for just running away! Yet at the same time I understood her pain, the inner pain she has because she has to keep such terrible things to herself, the fact that she feels like she is completely alone.

    I don't think Andrew was wrong in being extremely curt and short with Claire the next day, he poured his heart out to her, and from his eyes, it just looks like a blatant rejection for no reason after a heart melting kiss. Claire's choice of words! Oh man, LOL, that was probably the thing that pushed the knife in deeper for Andrew, her use of the word "never." If she had said anything else. Anything. LOL. Aaahhh, I'm still like screaming internally. XD

    The end part, where Claire was thinking it was all for the best that Andrew just be mad at her forever because she assumed he was going to reject her because she was too damaged to love, I did feel for her then because I have felt like that before, that I am too messed up and I don't deserve love, but not for the same reasons as Claire. So in that case, I do understand why she ran away, but I had so wished she would have been braver than she was. *sigh* LOL.

    Such a great chapter, Marta. So well written. XD

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    1. Even though Claire chickened out in the end, I think it is a very important step for her to have at least considered telling Andrew the whole thing.

      Right, I think at this point Andrew is to be pitied. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be rejected –and in so weird a way– by a woman who obviously has feelings for you :-(: it must be really frustrating and deeply hurting! And both seem to have a penchant for saying the most inappropriate things at the worst possible time... *rollseyes*

      So sorry to hear you felt like that in the past :-(. I sometimes feel a little guilty for torturing Claire, but in the end, those reactions are the only ones that make sense to me in her wretched state of mind :-(.

      I could kiss you right now for such a sincere, felt, lovely comment that you wrote ♥. Thank you so much for it :-D.

      Delete
  13. Wow...so, we're just going to drop the Christian names? I understand that Andrew is hurt and all but he's a doctor for crying out loud! Isn't there a single patient that has come in for treatment of a hurt not caused by farm animals? I mean, he can't tell battered wife syndrome when he sees it?

    Anyway, I'm all caught up and this has hurt my heart something awful. She deserves so much better than this. And the pill thing? Totally understand, somethings just knowing there's a "way out" eases the stress. NOT that I'm condoning this behavior, just saying I completely understand. Hopefully, she never feels like she needs to use it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I hear what you're saying, I do! *nods emphatically* Too bad I need to bit my tongue for a while longer on a couple of things... ;-)

      Hopefully, owning that bottle will soothe Claire's spirits enough not to have the need to actually USE it.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for all those lovely comments you've left me along the way :-).

      Delete
  14. 'I could never love you." <--- Claire! Seriously?!? Could she say ANYthing worse than that to Andrew? She was finally going to be honest with Andrew and she totally chickened out. He has every right to shut down now and distance himself from Claire. She's given him no reason not to.

    I know Claire has been through a lot, but at some point she has to trust someone. Andrew has always been her best option because he loves her, and she finally realized she loves him, too. There's no way Andrew would do anything to hurt Claire. And, yet, by keeping her secrets from him, she continues to hurt him over and over again. She has to get off this roller coaster ride, or nothing is ever going to change for the better.

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    1. I know, right? It's the worst thing she could have told him: I guess not even herself understands why she's done such a thing. Especially with its being so far from the truth!

      The poor girl is simply too much accostumed to being scared to death about everything and everyone. This once, though, she may have something to be afraid of. I'll leave it at that ;-).

      Thank you for reading :-).

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