The hair’s on the back of Helena’s neck bristled the moment the dark hair young woman entered the room, the castle was rife with rumours about why the young woman resided with the lord, none seemed to suggest she was a mistress indeed they instead suggested she was some sort of witch doing some sort of bidding for the lord.
“Can I help you?” she asked softly her heart pounding she didn’t like the young woman, she scared her.
“I need to speak with you” the dark haired woman smiled. It was a weak sort of smile the sort you forced when you didn’t really want to smile but felt you had to for politeness sake. The sort of smile Helena had forced upon her own fact so many times over the last few weeks in an effort to hide how much she hurt.
Helena nodded, a tight knot formed in her stomach.
The young girl smiled again and took a seat beside her, “Do you know who I am?” she asked.
Helena nodded again, less sure this time. “Anna… or something similar?”
“Asha” the girl corrected, “Do you know what I do for his lordship?”
She shook her head, she dared not suggest she was a witch out loud, at least not till she said it first.
“Im a sort of doctor” she smiled, her voice was gentle but even that was not enough to sooth the fear “im helping his lordship have a baby”
“Oh….. “She nodded, things starting to fit into place. Her time with Gabriel had been brief, he’d been open with her about the fact that he and his past wife had trouble, however what confused her was the fact that he had said, she had plotted against him. Surely if their childless state was her fault he had no reason now to need other ‘help’. Still despite the confusion, what had been clear was the fact that Gabriel was desperate to rectify the situation. “What does that have to do with me?”
“He would like for you to be the mother of his child” Asha replied.
“Oh…..” she murmured, it was not really a surprise. She hadn’t really planned for more children, but as her and Stephan had often learned, children were not something a couple planned with any great success at least they didn’t if they spent any time at all together.
“The thing is there is a problem” Asha continued, “Do you remember when I examined you the other day”
“Yes” she nodded, “When Gabriel thought I looked pale”
“Yes” the young woman agreed, “the thing is I noticed, there is already a baby”
“Pardon?” Helena reeled, “There’s a what?
“How? How can you possibly know?” she demanded sharply, the panic welling.
“I’m…. I’m special” the young woman explained, “I can sence things others can’t I realise you probably can’t even feel it yourself”
“It’s true then?”
“Your… your … a… witch?“ she baulked, making the sign of a cross and offering up a short prayer.
“I guess” the woman agreed.
“Oh heaven’s save me” she gasped, pulling back into her seat as far as the chair would allow. “What do you want from me?”
“It’s…more about what his lordship wants” Asha explained, “He doesn’t know if the baby your carrying is his… or if it’s your husbands”
“Do you know?” she asked.
“No im afraid not, the thing is his lordship would rather we got rid of this baby and tried for the next… one he would know without a doubt is his. Do you understand?”
“He… he can’t bare to think of raising another man’s child” she reasoned, finding herself getting a little hysterical. It was not so much that it was what he wanted, in many ways she could understand. She knew how much it had hurt him to find his son… had not actually been his son at all. It was more that in her panic she knew what suggestion was coming next.
“He’s asked me to help you get rid of it” the young girl reasoned.
“To kill it” Helena corrected.
“I don’t really want to think of it that way and I don’t think you should either”
“I won’t” she retorted angrily. “You not coming near me… you’re not ‘helping’ with anything”
“Please calm down” the girl begged, “I won’t do anything without your blessing”
“Then get away from me” she growled angrily, pulling herself out of the chair. She would see Gabriel about this… she would see him right away.
Storming towards the door she could hear the young woman calling after her but she didn’t stop until she had made her way to Gabriel’s study where she knew he was hard at work, doing the paperwork for the estate.
Knocking sharply she called, “Gabriel, I want to speak with you” she demanded.
“Come in” came his replied.
Opening the door she stormed into the room. “Is it true?” she demands, “Did you ask your witch to kill my baby?”
Gabriel seemed shocked for a minute but it didn’t take long for him to compose himself. “I…. asked her to speak with you about it yes” he agreed.
“Why?” she asked “What does it matter who’s it? Stephan was my husband, I loved him”
“I know” Gabriel soothed “But don’t you think it would be better for us to start a life together with a fresh clean slate?”
“The baby could be yours” she reasoned hysterically “It could be”
“But we don’t know” he nodded, standing from his desk and coming around it to meet her. Gently he brushed a few wisp’s of hair out of her eye’s. “I want things to be perfect for us Helena, I can’t leave my estates to a child that could possibly not be mine”
“What are you talking about?”
“Our first baby, its important we know it’s mine. Can’t you understand that?”
“I… don’t understand” she mumbled, what was he trying to say. Talking such foolishness she could hardly ignore the fact that he’d suggested that he’d leave his estates to her child… what did that mean?
“I just want things to be perfect” he smiled, “Things would be different if there was no chance the baby was mine but there is and we’d never know. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a baby into the world and then treat it differently, how do you think it would feel when I left everything to its younger sibling just because we weren’t sure who’s blood flowed in its veins”
“I understand” she mumbled, though in truth she wasn’t sure she did. Nobility was a funny thing and here he was talking of things she didn’t understand.
“I plan to marry you Helena” he reasoned, “Don’t you want me?”
“Yes… I guess” she murmured her head reeling.
“Then let us … start fresh” he suggested. “We’ll have a dozen babies of our own”
“God would never forgive me” she whispered.
“Of course he would” Gabriel reasoned, kissing her lightly on the cheek. “You’d be doing it so the rest of your children can have a good life, you want them to have a good life don’t you Helena?”
“Yes of course”
“Then let me take care of them, I promise I will pull them out of the gutter… give them trades, security all the things they haven’t had before”