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Posted: Apr 9 2008, 08:05 PM
Member No.: 8
Joined: 27-November 07
A shudder went through her as she stared at the house. Her skin crawled as she remembered the weeks she had spent there – trapped and powerless – at his mercy. She took a deep breath, fighting to steady her nerves. He is not here. He’s in prison. He can not hurt you any more. She jumped as a hand gripped her arm.
“Cheri,” Bronte said. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
Cheri turned to look into her friend’s worried eyes. “No,” she answered softly. “I am not sure that I want to do this. But I have to. I have to face this.”
“I can come with you,” Bronte offered. “I don’t like the thought of you going in there alone.”
“Thanks. I appreciate that, but this is something I need to do on my own.”
Bronte shook her head. “I still think that you should have told Chandler…”
Cheri shook her head. “You know I couldn’t do that. He’s been doing his best to fight this battle for me, but it’s not his to fight. I’m the one who needs to do this…don’t you see?”
Bronte looked at her for a long time. “Alright,” she finally answered. “But it you’re not out of there in half an hour, I’m calling the cavalry and I’m coming in after you! You got that?”
Cheri gave her a watery smile. “Thanks, Bronte. I don’t know what I’d do without you!” And she gave her a quick hug. Squaring her shoulders, she headed up the stairs and knocked on the massive front door.
The door opened, and she found herself staring into the face of Jarvis. Her skin began to crawl all over again as she felt his optics focus and sweep over her. She wondered again exactly what he saw when he looked at her, and decided it was best not to know.
“I have come to see Mrs. Landgraab,” she said.
“The Mistress is not receiving today,” the servo responded with its mechanical voice.
“She will see me,” Cheri said firmly. The servo hesitated for a moment, and then stepped back allowing her to enter. She swallowed hard as she stood in the entry hall, and it took everything that she had not to flinch at the sound of the door closing behind her.
“Wait here. I will inquire if the Mistress will see you.” And he headed up the grand stair case. Cheri took several deep breaths, fighting to calm her nerves and control the trembling that was threatening to take over her body. You can do this! You MUST do this!
After what seemed like an eternity, Jarvis returned and motioned her to follow him. She straightened her back and walked stiffly up the stairs after him. When they reached the top, she was relieved to see him turn to the right instead of to the left. She wasn’t sure if she could have handled walking back into the room where she had been held prisoner. As it was, she had to force herself not to glance that way. She needed to focus all of her energy on the coming interview.
He lead her to what appeared to be a well appointed office. Dark mahogany bookcases lined the walls, and a massive fireplace took up part of one wall. A rich leather sofa and several matching wing chairs should have made the room welcoming and cozy, but the woman sitting behind the handsome rosewood desk seemed to suck all of the life and warmth out of the room.
She was old, and her skin was tinged with gray, almost matching the hair she had pulled back in a severe bun. And there was something a bit frightening about her…as though she had walked among the dead and still carried some of the grave with her.
But there was nothing frail about her. She sat ramrod straight, and Cheri could almost see the steel just below the surface. Cheri sucked in a breath as she looked into the woman’s deadly gaze. Her eyes were the same as her son, Malcom’s..only her look held pure venom.
“You are wasting you time, Ms Summerfield,” Mrs. Landgraab said, turning Cheri’s name into an insult. “We have nothing to discuss. Kindly leave my home and never return.”
“You are wrong,” Cheri replied calmly, even though her heart was racing. “I have come for my child.”
“Malcom's child,” the woman corrected her. “I repeat – we have nothing to discuss.”
“My child!” Cheri responded evenly. “Your son does not have the right to keep my child! I will not have it raised by him or you are anyone connected with your family.”
“I’m afraid you have no choice,” came the cool response. “Malcom's child is not here It is safe and being cared for. You are the one who abandoned it.”
“I did not abandon my child!” Cheri answered. “Your son took advantage of me, and then held me prisoner. The only reason I left here without the baby was because after your son assaulted me, I was unconscious!”
“You lured my son into your trap!” Mrs. Landgraab hissed, rising to her feet. “Don’t think I don’t know about you! How many lovers have you had, Ms Summerfield? How many children have you had with men other than your husband? How many men have you tricked with your wanton ways?”
The sound of the slap echoed through the room like a gunshot, and Cheri wasn’t sure who was more shocked…Herself or Mrs. Landgraab. She took a step back, her hand stinging from the contact. Gathering all of her strength, she faced the other woman, refusing to back down.
“Do not even go there!” Cheri said fiercely. “I have paid the price for my sins. I have nothing else to be ashamed of. I will not let you get away with this! I will fight you with everything I have, and I will have my child!”
“Do what you wish, Ms Summerfield!” the older woman responded, straightening her back. “You will never gain custody. As long as I have a breath in my body, you shall never see the face of Malcom’s child!” Then, as the door behind Cheri opened, Mrs. Landgraab turned towards it. “Ah, Jarvis. Our – guest – was just leaving. Kindly show her to the door.” She smiled almost pleasantly, and Cheri was reminded again of her son. She withheld a shudder as she turned to go.
As she reached the door, she stopped and turned to look back once again. “I won’t give up,” she warned.
The gray woman stared at her with unfeeling, soulless eyes. “We shall see,” she responded calmly. “We shall see.” And then she turned back to her work, effectively ending the conversation.
Before Jarvis could put an artificial hand on her to escort her out, Cheri turned and walked down the hall, down the stairs and out of the house.
I want to die peacefully, in my sleep, like my grandfather...
Not screaming in fear, like his passengers.
~ Anonymous ~
Posted: Apr 9 2008, 08:42 PM
Member No.: 2
Joined: 18-November 07
Have I mentioned how much I do not like that woman?