Antonia’s Back Home

Antonia was out of the hospital and back at the mansion with Mr. Pendlebury. She seemed to be fine and he was relieved about that but he still feared that she might have a relapse. He still hadn’t told Laird or Martina that Antonia had a mental breakdown and had been admitted to a hospital where she had spent several weeks until it was decided that she was well enough to be discharged.

He hadn’t told Laird because of his feelings of animosity toward his adopted sister and he hadn’t wanted to upset Martina who, in spite of Antonia’s jealousy and resentment toward her, still cared about her. Just the other day she had asked about her and said that she hoped that they could one day be like family. “After all, she’s Laird’s and my baby’s aunt.”

Mr. Pendlebury avoided anything about Martina, Laird and the pregnancy to Antonia. After he picked her up from the hospital, he drove straight home and when they got there, Antonia went straight up to her room where she stayed until it was time for lunch. He hoped that she was better. The doctor had assured him that she was and he wanted to believe that with all his heart. However, he couldn’t forget what Margery had told him.

After telling him that she wasn’t surprised that Antonia had a fainted because she couldn’t deal with the fact that she would never have a future with Laird, Margery said, “I always suspected that there was something odd or off with Antonia.” And then, she proceeded to tell him about the incident with Emily, the girl whom Laird had been sweet on. She had noticed how Antonia had given the other girl the evil eye. “…that’s when I realized that Antonia had a propensity to harm someone whom she perceived to be a rival like Emily.”

It gave him a chill to think that the little girl whom he and Charlotte had adored had it in her to harm others. Laird had said that Antonia had a spirit in her which only God could deal with. She seemed fine now. The danger was over, wasn’t it? Surely, he had nothing to worry about. Yet, he couldn’t shake the feeling of apprehension, a sense of foreboding. All he could do was hope and pray that Antonia would get over her obsession of Laird and move on. And as long as he kept her and Martina apart, there wasn’t any chance of anything happening, was there?

It was such a pity, though. They could have been a happy family, spending time together and looking forward to the baby’s arrival. Antonia should have been excited about becoming an aunt for the first time as he was looking forward to becoming a grandfather for the first time. She and Martina could have been friends. They could have been been having lunch together, shopping for baby things together and so on.

Unfortunately, things were such that if he wanted to see Laird and Martina, he had to visit them at their flat. Laird still refused to visit the manor. And, there wasn’t anything he nor Martina could do to change his mind. Poor Antonia. He sighed heavily. How awful it must be for her to love a man who hated her.

Antonia stood at the window, looking out at the grey sky. The clouds looked dark and ominous as if they were ready to burst. She hoped that it wouldn’t be a thunderstorm. She didn’t like the sound of thunder. It still terrified her. She thought of the times when they were children how she used to go to Laird’s room and he let her slip under the covers. She used to stay there huddled against him until the storm passed.

Sometimes, the storm lasted until the next morning. Somehow, she used to manage to fall asleep after lying there, listening to the clap of thunder and the rain beating against the windows. When she awoke, she would be alone in the bed. Laird had slipped out and gone either to the library or to downstairs for breakfast. She used to go back to her room, bathe and head downstairs.

Laird. She had wanted to ask their father how he was. How she longed to see him. She wondered why he hadn’t visited her in the hospital. Perhaps, it would have made him uncomfortable and he preferred to visit her here instead. She hoped she wouldn’t have to wait long to see him. While in the hospital, she had thought only of him and the wonderful times they had when they were children and teenagers. They had been so very happy.

It felt good to be home again. She hated being in the hospital although the doctor and nurses were very nice. She was determined that she would never end up there again. It felt good to be in her own room too, especially since it was a couple doors down the hall from Laird’s old room. A strong desire to go there now came over her.

Moving away from the window, she left her room and hurried down the hall to Laird’s room. The curtains were drawn. Why were they drawn, she wondered. She must speak to Dora, the maid about that. She drew the curtains aside so that the sunlight could stream into the room, illuminating the furniture and the bed.

She went over to the bed and lay down on top of the covers. Staring up at the ceiling, she thought of those happy times with Laird. Once when they were sitting under a maple tree, he read a story about a giant who went to live in a village by the sea. They tried to figure out how they could get rid of him. Then, one day, the giant fell into the raging sea and they never saw him again. No one knew what happened but they were all happy to be rid of him. It was one of her favorite stories.

She loved it when Laird read to her because he brought the characters to life. When he wasn’t reading to her, they were out on the moors, exploring them. She fancied that they were Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He was her Heathcliff and she was his Cathy until she became engaged to Karson. That had ruined everything.

Well, now Karson was dead and buried. He couldn’t come between Laird and her anymore. Only Martina stood in the way now but, not for much longer. Once she’s out of the way, I will get Laird to love me the way I love him and then, we’ll be together at last.

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