Sunday, May 19, 2013

(#Twenty-three: Return) Wuthering Nights: Inspired by Wuthering Heights

Chapter Twenty-three
     The car was sleek and black. Heath loved it above the others. He’d made so much money these last few years, more than he could ever need or want and he was surprised it hadn’t made him happy.
    ‘There is nothing in the world that will make up for a lack of real friends and family,’ Greta said to him once, when he was a child. He knew it to be true as he slumped into his bath, took his plasma capsules and washed them down with red wine. He’d wolfed down a roasted pheasant when he returned from his meeting with Kate, his mind reeling.
    The previous week, Harrison was asleep in a heap at the table when a knock on the door woke him. Most of the staff had left by the time Heath arrived at Hareton Hall. He was surprised he’d left for America without telling his sister about the house. 
   ‘What are you doing here?’ Harrison slurred, surprised when Heath hovered at the doorstep.
   ‘Come in,’ Greta said, ‘I was just leaving.’
    Heath smiled quietly. Harrison could not prevent his entry now that he’d been formally invited in.  
    ‘I gave you six weeks to get out, Harrison. You can either stay on and look after the stables or take your stuff and leave.’
   ‘How dare you? I haven’t told my wife or Hinton…’
    Unbeknownst to them, Harrison had been gambling in a disreputable part of the West End most evenings. Heath and some of his work colleagues had seen him going from one establishment to another until Heath himself had challenged him to a game of poker where the wager on the house had been set in front of at least a dozen witnesses. Still, Heath reasoned, he hadn’t forced him to sign the legal documents. Harrison had done that of his own accord.
   ‘Well, you’d better tell them soon. I just came to drop off some belongings and pick up my suit…’
    ‘You mean my father’s?’
    ‘He was my father too.’
     ‘Adopted,’ Harrison added slyly.
      ‘Yes, and the only father I have known…a quality you would know nothing about. I have no idea how you could possibly imagine I’d be your…blood relation. Oh, that’s right, you knew I wasn’t. Thank you for finally ruining our happiness. You never heard such a conversation as you detailed to me in that note…did you?’
     ‘Of course not, mother wanted to leave. She knew father had not had an affair with your mother. It was not his way. He was honourable.’
     Heath moved quickly this time. Though Harrison was tough he was amazed at the strength in Heath’s hands as he had him in a headlock on the kitchen table.  Then he moved closer and Heath (although drunk by midday as usual) swore he saw fangs emerge from the man’s mouth and moaned and screamed for mercy as Heath threw him, using all the strength he had to resist savaging him, onto the footpath by the scruff of his neck, like an animal.
     When Harrison relayed the story to his psychiatrist days later, the doctor recommended stronger medication.
      Harrison had been so shocked, he could barely speak. When he did, it was more of a whisper as Heath detailed the terms of his ownership…
      ‘You’ll come to a bad end charity case… even with all your new money.’
       Heath threw Harrison’s suitcase on the landing outside the door.
      ‘That’s just the kind of statement I’d expect from a daylight drunk. You have a wife and a child to support. Maybe you should start thinking about how you’re going to do that after going through father’s millions. Face it Harrison, this day was always going to come…’
    ‘Am I really supposed to believe that you did all this because you lost Kate?’  Harrison bawled.
   ‘I’m serving you notice, Harrison. Either accept my offer to stay on as groom until you find a job, something that goes above and beyond what is legally expected of me - and you,  Frances and Hinton can have the cottage - or leave. You have two hours to decide.’
    Heath brushed past him as he walked to his car.
    Harrison banged his fist on the window as Heath placed the keys in the ignition.
    ‘You really are something, aren’t you, Heath Spencer. I did you a favour when I kept you away from Kate, when I insinuated the truth of your dubious heritage.’
   ‘You mean, made it up. Yes, something I’m eternally grateful for. You know nothing about my history, as you put it, but the thought of having you as a blood relation made my stomach turn. I got tested. Kate and I share no biological relation but we have always been of like mind. Perhaps that is stronger than biology. All you did Harrison, was spend enough energy to keep Kate and me apart… for a while, but not forever.’
    ‘She’s married to someone else.’
    ‘Not for long. Get your stuff and take it to the guest house. You’re lucky Hinton’s so young or I’d show no mercy and throw you out on the street.’
   Harrison pitched a rock at Heath’s car but the alcohol had damaged his balance and it missed, smashing a window of the house instead.
   ‘You nearly hit me,’ Heath said, rolling down the window. ‘I’ll add that to your debts, shall I?’ 
    Harrison slumped to the gravel.
    ‘It’s mid-afternoon Harrison,’ Heath said. ‘Get yourself sobered up.’
    ‘You…you clean yourself up!’ Harrison bawled.
     Heath heard the older man screaming at him as he drove off in his sleek sports car. Harrison wobbled out of the house with a shot gun that he was too drunk to point in the right direction. Threats hardly bothered Heath.  He’d proved himself impervious to bullets. Heath considered feeling bad for Harrison as he drove off, but he couldn’t. The years of cruelty Harrison had inflicted on him as a child made pity impossible. Now the captive would become the captor. He did not worry for his own soul or for Kate’s anymore. Their fates were linked, he was sure of it.