“What are you doing?” she asked him, agitated.
“I am going to turn the pages for you,” he said.
She was sitting at the piano about to play something
while her aunt and her visitors were sitting in the drawing-
room having tea. “I can manage,” she told him.
“Please, Helen. I haven’t been alone with you for
days and you have been avoiding me.”
“Have I?” she began to play and for the next
few moments, no words were exchanged
between them. He turned the pages, his eyes
never leaving her face. How she managed to
concentrate with him being so near, she had
The last note she struck was accompanied
by applause and compliments on her playing
and then the conversation resumed.
“You know you have been avoiding me,” he
insisted. “Why, Helen?”
She looked at him in frustration. “You know
“All I know is that we love each other and
avoiding me isn’t going to change that.”
“Please don’t say that.”
“It’s the truth.”
“We’re not supposed to love each other.”
“But we do. Come for a walk with me. I
need to be alone with you.”
“I can’t. I’m–I’m not feeling well.” She
did feel a little warm.
“Liar” he interjected. He reached in his
breast pocket and took out a folded
sheet of paper. He slipped it over to
She stared at it, not taking it up. “What
“Another one? Jonathan, you have to
stop writing me poems and letters.”
She had them hidden away in her
drawer and at night before she went
to bed, she read them, even though
it tortured her to do so.
“It captures the feelings that I want
so badly to express. I will leave you
now. If you change your mind, I will
be in the gazebo. It promises to be a
beautiful night.” He walked away.
She sat there for a while, staring
at the sheet of paper and then she
picked it up, her fingers trembling.
She slowly unfolded it and read
the bold letters scrawled across
the lines. Her heart breaking as
she read the words. She pressed
the page against her chest and
closed her eyes.
“Are you all right?” the sound of
her aunt’s voice jolted her and
she got up hastily from the piano,
the sheet of paper slipped from her
fingers and fell on the carpet.
“I have a headache,” she said, “Please
excuse me, Aunt Cora.”
“Wait,” her aunt called, frowning, but
Helen had left the room. Aunt Cora stood
there for a moment, pensive and then
she bent down and picked up the paper
which Helen had dropped. She glanced at
it and then she folded it and slipped it into her pocket.
The clock struck eleven. Helen sat by the window, looking
out of the window. It was a beautiful night. The moon cast its
light on the courtyard below. Was he still out there in the
gazebo or had he retired? What was he doing?
Should she have gone for the walk? She knew why
she didn’t dare be alone with him. The last time they
were alone together, they almost got carried away.
She had to practically run away. After that she
vowed never to be alone with him again.
A knock on the door brought her out of her
reverie. She turned to see her aunt in the
doorway. “Aunt Cora.” She moved away from
“I hope I am not disturbing you, Dear.”
Helen shook her head. “No, you’re not. I
couldn’t sleep. I have been sitting at the
window watching the moon.”
“I have something that belongs to you.” She
handed Helen the poem.
Helen blushed as she took it, feeling embarrassed.
Aunt Cora motioned for them to sit by
the window. “I think it’s about time that
I told you the truth about your father,”
Helen was startled. “My father?”
“Yes. My brother John was not your
father, Helen. Your real father was
a close friend of John’s. Your mother
died in childbirth and your father
raised you. When you were three
he died in a riding accident. When
John learned this unfortunate news
he brought you home as you had no
other living relatives. He raised you
as his own daughter and he adored
you. You were his life.”
Helen was crying now. “I adored
him too,” she said. “I miss him. There’s so
much I want to talk to him about.”
Aunt Cora patted her hands. “Yes, I imagine there is.”
“What were my parents like?”
“They were very good people. I met your
father. He was a delightful man. He
doted on you.”
There was a pregnant pause as Helen tried
to digest the news she had just received. “So
this means that Jonathan and I aren’t cousins.”
Aunt Cora nodded. “That’s right. And that’s why
I had to tell you the truth about your background.
I had noticed the way you and my son behaved
around each other. And seeing you together
tonight convinced me that you are in love with
each other. So, my Dear, there’s nothing to stop
you and he from being together.”
“Are you going to tell him?”
Aunt Cora shook her head. “I will leave you to it.”
“Do I still call you Aunt Cora?”
“Oh yes, you do.” The older woman hugged
her tightly. “Now, try to get some sleep.”
Helen smiled, “Goodnight, Aunt Cora.”
Helen turned to look out the window. The
truth about her parentage turned out
to be her greatest blessing. Now she and
Jonathan were free to love each other
without feeling guilty and ashamed. Tomorrow
she would tell him. Tomorrow couldn’t come