Read Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts Online

Authors: V. C. Andrews

Tags: #Horror

Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts (5 page)

BOOK: Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts
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I remembered at dinner last night, Tony had insisted on showing Logan around the Tatterton Toy Factory today. "Oh, and you must come along as well, Heaven. After all, someday it will all be yours and Logan's," he added with a wink to Logan. I wasn't going to let Tony lure me into his old plan of bringing me into his business again. "No," I had insisted, "Logan and I were planning to have breakfast in bed tomorrow and spend a leisurely day strolling the grounds of Farthy, weren't we, darling?" But Logan was already caught in Tony's web, intrigued by the promise of Tony's attention, hypnotized by the way Tony already treated him as a member of the family and heir.

I dressed in a bright floral-print voile dress that was part of my trousseau and started downstairs, figuring Logan might be breakfasting with Tony. Just as I rounded the head of the stairs, I heard the shrill, girlish voice of Jillian:

"Do I look especially beautiful today? This is such a special day. Tell me, am I the most beautiful of all? Am I? Am I?"

"You are, dear, the most beautiful of all," I heard Martha Goodman assure her.
I felt, with the disappearance of my husband, and the strange sounds emanating from Jillian's room, that the twist
ea world of Farthy was reaching out to trap me in its gnarled arms again. Almost against my will I was drawn to Jillian's suite. Oh, where was Logan, and why had I agreed to come here before our honeymoon? I should have known that nothing would have improved, that things would only have gotten worse.
"Martha?" I called. Martha Goodman appeared in the doorway. "Martha, what's going on?" I asked.
"Oh, nothing too unusual, Heaven," she replied, as if Jillian's voice always trembled the halls. "Mr. Tatterton was here late last night and he got Miss Jillian very excited about the reception. I didn't think she would remember him visiting her and telling her, but she's been preparing herself since daybreak."
"Then she realizes I am here and that I have gotten married," I said quickly.
"Oh, no." Martha shook her head sadly. "I'm afraid not."
"Well . . . how did Tony explain the reception?"
"He explained it," Martha replied. She smiled and shook her head again. "But Jillian heard different words."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm afraid she thinks it's her own wedding reception."
"What?" I crossed my arms about my chest, hugging myself as if I were a child that I, myself, was protecting from the terrible truth of Jillian's madness and jealousy. "I don't understand. Her own?"
"Meaning the reception that was given for her the day she married Tony and came to live at Farthinggale Manor," Martha said.
"Oh . . . oh, I see."
"Don't worry. It will be all right. Most everyone who has been invited knows how she is now," Martha assured me.
"Of course. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know," I mumbled and ran downstairs, looking for Logan, longing for his reassuring arms, longing to know my life was with him, more than ever.
The breakfast table was already being cleared by the servants. I went into the kitchen looking for Logan. Surely he wouldn't have left without even saying good-bye on our honeymoon morning But in the kitchen I found only my old friend, Rye Whiskey.
"Miss Heaven!" he exclaimed. The stout black chef was happy to see me, but I could also see fear in his eyes when I stepped through the door. He went right to a salt shaker and tossed some grains over his shoulder. I didn't laugh. Rye was a superstitious man, inheriting a legacy of omens and rituals from his slave ancestors.
"Glad to see you, Miss Heaven," he said, "but for a moment there I thought I seen another ghost."
He had always told me how much I looked like my mother. Now, with my hair her color, he, too, was amazed by how much I looked like her.
"Don't tell me you're still seeing ghosts around Farthy, Rye," I teased. He didn't crack a smile. "Have you seen my husband, Rye, or Tony? Surely they haven't turned into ghosts overnight "
"Well, Miss Heaven, now, they left an hour ago, all puffed up with excitement because Master Tony was showing Mr. Logan his factory. That husband of yore's shore does know how to bring Master Tony alive, don't he, Heaven?"
"I'm afraid he does," I said quietly, thinking to myself I was more afraid than anyone could guess. But I didn't want-Rye Whiskey to see my distress, so I went back to his favorite subject. "And just what ghosts have you been seeing lately? Tony's great-great grandfather or great-great grandmother?"
"Don't talk about the dead and gone, Miss Heaven. If you dig up their troubled past, you'll disturb their sleep and they'll haunt ya. I got enough hauntin' me these days," he added.
I had no doubt that Rye knew where the ghosts and skeletons were in Farthy, but like all old and dedicated family servants, he kept the secrets to himself. He was as discreet as an ancestral portrait-- seeing and hearing all, but telling nothing.
"You don't look so bad for it, Rye," I said. Except for a little weight he had gained, and the further retreat of his graying hairline, he didn't look much different than he had the day I left. He was already in his late fifties, but he looked no older than a man in his mid-forties.
"Well, thank you, Miss Heaven. 'Course," he said with a twinkle in his eye, "I keep myself embalmed."
"Still taking a nip here and there, are you, Rye?"
"Just to prevent snake bite, Miss Heaven. And you know what?"
"I haven't been bitten yet," I recited along with him and we laughed.
"Going to be one big party tomorrow for you and your husband, and I'm glad of it. Farthy needs some happiness, needs people and music once again. I'm glad you're here, Miss Heaven. Really am."
"Thank you, Rye." We talked a little more about the preparations and then I left him.
Eating alone at the table with Curtis standing nearby to serve my every need brought back memories. Even when Milan was well, I had eaten breakfast by myself. And here I was, now a married woman, so different from the frightened, vulnerable girl who first came to Farthy, who was afraid of Curtis, who didn't even know how to eat in front of a servant. Oh, I had learned the ways of the wealthy, but the frightened girl lived on inside me, still intimidated by Farthy and its power.
But it was a magnificent summer day with not a cloud in the turquoise sky and I intended to enjoy it. After breakfast I went outside. There was just enough breeze coming in from the ocean to keep it from becoming too hot. I inhaled the briny scent of the sea and stepped into the sunlight.
The grounds around the manor were already abuzz with activity. The gardeners were putting the final touches on the lush green lawns and trimming the hedges into magnificent topiary designs of lions and zebras, fantastical storybook animals. A giant red tent, bigger than any circus tent Pa would ever own, was being erected on the back lawn. A bandstand fit for the Boston Symphony stood out in front of the deep turquoise swimming pool. Truckloads of white wrought-iron tables and benches were being brought in to be placed under the tent. I saw that Tony, not satisfied with the colorful beds of yellow, red, and white roses, blood-red poppies, elegant blue delphiniums, and a host of other exotic floral beds, had ordered oval and horseshoe floral arrangements to be hung from every available post and hook. The word
had been spelled out with red roses strung through an ivory lattice to be placed just above the stage.
I wandered away from the house and the noise of men shouting orders to one another as they unloaded things from the trucks. I walked, not thinking about where I was going, and found myself drawn to the beaches. Troy had been haunting me since I'd arrived at Farthy. Perhaps he would until I said good-bye one last time to my old lover who had drowned in this very sea. For a moment the realization that this was where he had perished took my breath away. The gray crashing waves looked more forbidding than ever. "Good-bye, Troy," I whispered to the waves that would never answer me back. "Good-bye forever, Troy, forever and ever." I sat down o' the sand, gazing at the boundless horizon, where my past and present dissolved into each other as the sky dissolved into the sea.
Suddenly I heard my name and turned to see Logan striding across the warm sand, barefoot, with his trousers rolled up--he looked like one of the Kennedys, so confident and handsome.
"What are you doing, Heaven? I've been searching for you for the past half hour," he called.
"But Logan, I was looking for you. Where were you this morning?"
"I was too excited to sleep and I didn't want to wake you. Isn't this wonderful? All this excitement, all this energy. When I went downstairs, Tony was already up and we decided to visit the factory right then and there so I could be back to spend the day with you. Oh, Heaven, it was so great! And the factory. . the main Tatterton Toy Store . . . it's marvelous . . . the way Tony has managed to create a system that maintains the unique style of each Tatterton toy. He has so many good ideas. I want you to hear them; I want you to think about them."
"Hear them? Think about them? What do you mean, Logan?"
"Let's go inside," he said. He was so excited he could barely stand still. He led me directly to Tony's office and flung open the door.
"Tony's a tyrant about his office," I warned him. quickly. "He doesn't like anyone in here unless he is present to invite them in," I said. But Logan didn't move.
"It's all right. He told me to use his office."
"He did?" I was flabbergasted. "What is this all about, Logan?" I asked. I was even more surprised when he whirled around Tony's high-back, black leather chair and sat down in it as if it were his own.
"What are you doing?" I queried.
He sat back and put his feet up on Tony's antique oak desk, smiling as if he suddenly saw himself to be a big-time business executive.
"It's all right. Really. Sit down."
I shook my head in confused amazement and sat on the soft, charcoal leather settee.
"Now, hear out all I have to say before you speak," he instructed, putting his legs back on the floor and leaning forward on the desk, "and promise to keep an open mind. Do you promise?"
I knew I was about to hear something I wouldn't like--some scheme of Tony's to control our lives. But I didn't want to burst the bright bubble of Logan's excitement. "And hope to die." I laughed.
He took a deep breath and then spoke. "Tony has made me an offer and I think we should take it," he said quickly.
"An offer? What kind of an offer?" I asked suspiciously.
"You heard him at dinner last night . . . all his plans for the company. Well, he can't do it all himself."
"He has very competent people working for him," I said. My heart was starting to pound. I could anticipate what was to come.
"Yes, but _he's very family-oriented. Like he says . . . what's the point in having all this if you haven't a family to share it with?" Logan said, holding his arms out to an imaginary brood.
"What does this have to do with you? You're a pharmacist, working in your family's store." I saw he was stung by the cold tone in my voice, but I couldn't help how I sounded, nor could I help how I felt. It was in this office that Tony confessed to me he was my father; it was because of what was said in this office that Troy had become my forbidden love. It seemed to me that Tony was reaching out again, interfering, changing things, trying to control my life.
"I know what I am. The point is . . . is it enough? Will you really ever be satisfied, after knowing all this wealth and luxury, living in Winnerow for the rest of your life with me working in my parents' store, the only future being my inheriting the business? Granted, it's all right, if Winnerow is the only thing we hope to achieve, but . . ."
"Winnerow was enough for us before we came here, Logan. I don't understand this change of heart. What is it that Tony is offering you exactly?" I asked.
Logan sat back, a self-satisfied smile on his face, a face that had suddenly become unfamiliar to me, unlike the face I had known for so very many years, a face filled with ambition. He straightened his shoulders and looked about the office as though it had been his for years.
"A vice-presidency in charge of marketing," he announced. "I made some suggestions and he was very impressed. They just started to come to me, Heaven," he said, leaning forward again. "It was natural. I thought about different kinds of outlets, merchandising, advertising . . it all spilled off my tongue with ease," he added, his face animated, his eyes wide. I stared at him a moment.
"You mean you would give up being a pharmacist?" I asked softly.
"Oh, Heaven, what am I giving up? Think about it. Think about what we could have; what we could be."
"I know what we have and I know what we can be," I said. I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes, but I fought back my urge to cry. "What would your parents say? They'll be heartbroken."
"Are you kidding?" He started to laugh. "When they see what I am gaining! They're not stupid. They'll work the store until my father wants to retire and then they'll just sell it."
I straightened up in my seat. I felt my pride come back in full dress parade, replacing my disappointment with flames of anger.
"Maybe it's no problem for you, Logan, but I'm a teacher," I said. "In my own way I am doing a great deal for the people in Winnerow. It was my dream to do something significant there, to continue to do something significant there." I sat back and pictured the hill and valley people in church during my wedding ceremony. I remembered the look of pride on their faces, the look of hope in their eyes. They saw something noble and caring in me and in my return, and now Logan was suggesting I simply walk away from my dreams.
"I realize that, Heaven," Logan said, standing up and moving around the desk. "And I explained that to Tony. He understands it, too, but he's made a wonderful suggestion, something that I'm sure will please you."
"And what's that?" I asked with ice in my voice.
"He wants to build a factory in Winnerow and have us develop some Tatterton Toys based upon the carvings the hill people do, the kind of whittling your grandfather used to do. Just think what that would mean for Winnerow and for the hill people. We would employ them to do the handicraft work. There would be jobs for people who presently barely scrounge out an existence. They'll be able to have decent homes; their children will wear decent clothing . ."
"A factory? In Winnerow?"
"Yes." He started to pace the office, reciting with excitement as he did so. "One of the first things we're going to create is a miniature Willies with the hill people, little rocking chairs, old folks like your grandmother and grandfather sitting in them, him whittling, her knitting; little farm animals, the children walking off to school . . . we even thought about having a moonshiner's still. . . ."
"So that's why he was asking all those questions about Winnerow last night," I said, more to myself than to Logan. He nodded. I had to admit to myself that this suggestion took the wind from the sail of my opposition. I sat back, once again in deep thought. Logan was encouraged and rushed up to me.
"Isn't it a wonderful idea? We're going to call the new set 'The Willies,' and just think of the irony . . . rich people buying replicas of the poor and the money finding its way into the pockets of the poor folks who will work in the Tatterton Toy Factory. Heaven," he said, some frustration coming into his voice, "how can you just sit there staring up at me? Doesn't it all excite you?"
"It's exciting," I admitted. "But it's just all coming at me so fast. I have a great deal to think about. I never expected anything like this. We were stopping here for a couple of days and then going on to Virginia Beach to continue our honeymoon. I had no idea this stopover would result in a complete change of our lives."

BOOK: Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts
11.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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