Read Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts Online

Authors: V. C. Andrews

Tags: #Horror

Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts (7 page)

BOOK: Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts
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"Don't you see," he said, his eyes moving off me and in the direction of the house, "I can't bear the thought of her shut away in some institution.
"She was once very beautiful and very precious to me," he added, turning back in Jillian's direction. "Like a fine, hand-painted piece of china. Oh, she was terrified of getting older, of not being desirable and beautiful, and I'm sure the realization that she couldn't prevent it contributed to the way she is today, but don't you see?" he said, taking hold of both my arms just under the elbows . . . "In a strangely beautiful way, she has it . . eternal youth and beauty. Her madness has given it to her.
"So," he said, releasing me and taking a deep breath as he stood up straight again, "I think we'll tolerate the embarrassment and put up with the snickers. You can make that kind of sacrifice, can't you, Heaven? You can do something totally unselfish, I'm sure. When you want to," he added and started away.
"Tony . . ."
"Yes?" He waited. I looked back at Jillian seated comfortably by a table, smiling and nodding at people, holding her fork like a toothpick and pecking on her platter of food like a bird.
"What if she sees me?"
"What of it?" He smiled. "She'll just see you as Leigh, as young as she was the day Jillian and I were married. She was twelve and she wore a long pink bridesmaid's dress and carried a bouquet of sweetheart roses. I'll never forget how beautiful she looked that day." He tilted his head with the reverie and then his eyes blinked and he looked at me. "And you look just as beautiful today," he said and walked off to return to Jillian.
I gave thought to what he had said and how he had said it. Tony obviously still had a strong love for Jillian. Or was it something else?
The sad sight of Martha Goodman leading the grinning spectacle of Jillian back into her room with its glassless mirror and timeless memories made me both sad and frightened.
"It's time to cut the cake." Logan came up and led me to the cake, which was placed on a table at the center of the stage. It was a fairy-tale cake, a fivetiered white confection bedecked with garlands and flowers. It was almost as tall as I was. Beaming, Logan took my hand and, holding the knife together, we cut a slice from the bottom tier of the cake. As he opened his mouth and I popped in a small piece of cake, I couldn't help but remember that fantastic sundae he had made for me the day he had asked me to marry him. Our cake was a fantastic Tatterton creation, but I would always think of Logan's magical rainbow castle as my true wedding cake.
After everyone had been served cake and ice cream, and the waiters had made their way between tables bearing more champagne and cognacs and brandies and cordials, the reception began to wind to a close. Just as I was beginning to feel the exhaustion of the celebration weighing on me, I saw Keith and Our Jane wending their way over to my table.
"Heaven," Our Jane said, leaning over and hugging me, "Keith and I have to be going. I'll miss you so."
"You'll write me soon?" I asked.
"Every week."
I hugged Keith and watched them tread across the lawn together, arm in arm. Logan kissed me on the neck.
"You really love them, don't you?"
I melted into his arms. "Let's go up to our room, Logan, I'm so very tired."
"But everything's been moved into the new suite," he said.
"What? When?"
"While we were out here. I thought I'd surprise you. Is that all right?" I really didn't like the idea of him doing it without asking me, but I saw how important it was to him to surprise me.
"It's all right. Yes, it's all right." I sighed.
"What about the rest of our honeymoon, Heaven? Can we spend it here?" He seized my hand in his and pleaded with his sapphire eyes.
"Is that what you really want to do, Logan?" "Yes, very much."
"All right, then," I said reluctantly. "Can we go up now? I feel as though I'm about to collapse from all this excitement."
"I'll be with you in a while," he said. "There are a few more people I want to say goodbye to." He kissed me and then went of to mingle in the dwindling crowd. I caught sight of Tony sitting like a king in a lawn chair, some of his business
associates around him. He waved and smiled as he saw me head toward the house.
I met Martha Goodman in the upstairs corridor just coming out of Jillian's suite.
"How is she?" I asked.
"As happy as a button," she said. "Probably as happy as you are," she added, shaking her head.
Probably happier, I thought, but I didn't say it. Instead, I went on to our new suite.
Tony was true to his word during what remained of Logan's and my honeymoon week--he didn't discuss any business with him and, in fact, he was barely around. He was in New York for three days on business and had a number of meetings with his financial advisers in Boston, arranging for, I was later to find out, the establishment of a Tatterton Toy Factory in Winnerow. With Jillian cloistered in her suite, Logan and I really did have most of Farthy to ourselves.
We began each morning with breakfast in bed, after which we either went down to the beach or had the limo take us into Boston to shop, eat in fine restaurants, or go to shows. In the middle of the week Logan arranged for us to go horseback riding.
As Logan and I went to the stables to mount our horses, I couldn't help but remember that day. It was the day Troy and I had made love for the first time. But Logan didn't sense my reverie. We went down to the beach to ride by the ocean, which was a very beautiful and romantic thing to do. We brought a picnic lunch along, too, and spread out a blanket on the beach in a very private inlet Logan had discovered during his explorations. Making love to him with the sound of the ocean in my ears forced away all my painful romantic memories, and for a time I felt renewed and hopeful. Perhaps this decision to honeymoon at Farthy was a good one after all, I thought.
The constant pace of romantic and interesting activities Logan arranged during our honeymoon week and the devotion and love he demonstrated convinced me to close the lid on the trunk of fears stored in my conscience. The nagging feelings of dread that plagued me like a dull toothache, the worries about Logan becoming vice-president of Tatterton Toys and our moving into Farthy, I pushed aside. By the end of the week, when Tony had returned from his business dealings and Logan and I were preparing to drive back to Winnerow to get the rest of our things and to announce our new plans to his parents, we were both tanned, rested, and happy.
"You both look wonderful," he told us.
"I hope we honeymoon forever at Farthy," Logan replied, eyeing me with such obvious romance, I had to blush.
Tony grinned. "Keep every day a honeymoon, eh, Logan? That's the way to keep a marriage happy. But now we have a bit of work to do." How eager Tony was to claim Logan's attention for business again. "Heaven, both Logan and I decided last week that you should choose the location for the new factory in Winnerow. Logan is authorized to make a sizable offer for the property."
"Oh, Tony,' I said. "I don't know. That's an enormous responsibility. What if I make the wrong decision?"
"You won't. You can't," he said. "We all know it's in you now to do only what is best for Winnerow and for Tatterton Toys."
"I'll give you some su estions about what to look for," Logan said.
"Oh? And since when do you have such expertise, Logan Stonewall?" I asked. Tony laughed.
"Well . ." Logan, blushing, looked to Tony. "Tony has filled me in on what to look for."
"That's another thing," I said.
"I'll never have to fear a coup d'etat in this business," Tony said. "Logan, Heaven will always keep you modest and aware of your limitations."
"Don't I know it," Logan said, smiling like a boy. This time Tony and I laughed together.
Logan and I packed only what we needed for the short stay in Winnerow and set out in our new Rolls-Royce. As we drove down the long, winding drive and out the main gate of Farthinggale Manor, Logan looked into the rearview mirror and smiled as though he were looking back at another woman he loved, one he knew he would soon return to and embrace. Once again my heart fluttered in my chest as though a butterfly had emerged from its cocoon within it. I couldn't help it; I felt jealous of the power and beauty of Farthy.
"I'm glad we spent our honeymoon there," Logan said, "because to us, Farthinggale will always be a place of love."
He looked at me and smiled, his face filled with such optimism, I thought there might be enough for both of us. He reached out to take my hand and caught my fingers greedily into his.
I tightened my grip on his fingers and he looked at me lovingly.
"You are happy, Heaven?"
"Yes, Logan. I'm very happy."
"I'm glad," he said, "because from now on, that's all that's going to matter to me."
I prayed that he would always feel that way.
It was strange driving into Winnerow after the week we had spent at Farthy. I felt as though I had moved from one dream existence into another and back again. We had decided that we would spend our time here in my cabin and would keep it as a place for us to use whenever Logan or both of us had to return to Winnerow on business. However, when we entered Winnerow, we went directly to his parent's home so that Logan could announce his new plans.
It was the dinner hour when we arrived, and when Logan opened the door to his parents' home, calling, "Mom, Dad, Heaven and I are back!" his mother rushed to the door to greet us, a flower-print apron tied around her dress, her hands still dredged with flour. "Why, Logan, Heaven," she declared, "you're not due back for a week." A frown wrinkled her brow. "I hope everything is all right?" She looked at Logan, anticipating news.
"All right? It's far better than all right, Mona! You are now looking at the executive vice-president of marketing and research of Tatterton Toys. And at the beautiful director of the board of the about-to-beconstructed local Tatterton Toys Willies Factory." Truly Logan seemed like a kid again, playing king of the mountain.
"I can't believe it." His mother's face fell. She wiped her hands on her apron, obviously trying to hide her shock and disappointment. Then she looked up again. "I must say I'm truly astonished. But what about the pharmacy?"
"Mom! This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Go get Dad and I'll tell you both all about it. I just know you're going to be thrilled for us, for all of
Winnerow!"
At first Logan's dad was visibly upset. "Son, I was so looking forward to us being in business together," he said.
But when Logan described the salary he would be making and then described the proposed Tatterton Toy Factory and its economic potential for Winnerow, his parents changed their reaction. In fact, I thought his mother looked at me with new eyes.
Suddenly she realized that her son was going to be far better off than he could ever have been if he had married one of the town girls and settled in Winnerow.
However, I sensed that her new warm feelings for me were not deep ones. She still wasn't impressed with me; she was impressed with the power and the wealth behind me. I couldn't blame her all that much for it. From what I had seen of the world during my short and troubled existence, her reactions were typical of most people.
Before we left for the cabin, I paid a visit to Mr. Meeks, the school principal, and told him of my intention to resign my teaching position. "The children will miss you," he said. "Especially the hill people's children. But perhaps you are right; perhaps you will be doing even greater things for them by bringing Tatterton Toys here and providing
employment and opportunity. Goodness knows, there's not very much of that around here for them now. Of course, I wish you the best of luck."
I thanked him and then Logan and I drove to the cabin. No matter where I had been or how long I had stayed away, I knew the cabin would always be the same when I returned. Even though it was modernized, the woods around it wore the eternal face of the nature I had known as a child. I heard the same birds, saw the same crooked trees, walked through the same deep, cool shadows, heard the same silvery sounds of the rambling brook. This would forever remain sacred to me.
I made Logan a fine supper that first night in the cabin. We sat on the porch like Granny and Grandpa and discussed our plans for the future until we both grew tired enough to fall asleep in each other's arms. In the morning, after breakfast, Logan went back into Winnerow to tie up some business ends and I drove up and down the side roads, searching for what would be a perfect location for the Tatterton Toy Factory. Logan told me to look for a place that had access to transportation, a place that was close enough to the village so that the employees could easily spend their money there. Once the business interests in the town realized the benefits the factory would bring, there would be no opposition to it, he explained. I knew he was merely repeating Tony's instructions.
I found the perfect location rather quickly. It was a flat piece of land that provided a wonderful view of the mountains, yet was merely a mile or so from the downtown area. Anyone would be inspired working here, I thought. I rushed back to Winnerow to meet Logan and tell him, but his father said he had gone back to the cabin to find some papers he had left in a suitcase. I had unpacked the suitcases and organized everything on shelves and in drawers. Afraid that he wouldn't find what he was searching for, I decided not to wait for him to return. I drove back to the cabin myself.
As soon as I made the turn to approach it, I slowed down. Fanny's car was parked beside Logan's. I had decided not to call or see her until I had finished my business here, but she had obviously heard we had arrived and had come searching for us.
I parked my car and got out slowly. Before I reached the front door, I heard Logan's strange pleas.
"Please, Fanny, you can't parade about like that. Now do what you have to do and go. Please don't cause any problems for us. Please."
I heard Fanny's familiar tantalizing laugh and pulled open the front door.
There she stood near the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her naked hips, her arms folded over her bare bosom. Her hair was wild. She looked like some mythical sex creature, an enchantress tempting him to be unfaithful while his marriage was still in its infant stages. For a moment she stared at me with those dark eyes, her smile frozen on her face. But when she saw the look on my face, she only laughed.
"Why, Heaven, goodness sakes, ya can scare the devil out of a lost and lustful preacher with a look like that."

BOOK: Casteel 03 Fallen Hearts
10.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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