Chapter 7

Here’s the next chapter in my…story.

The morning was nothing but rain and fog. I didn’t move from my comfortable spot under all the blankets. I listened to the rain as it gently hit the window. Everything seemed so peaceful. The city seemed so normal. If I hadn’t seen the monster I never would have guessed that there was something crazed out there eating people.

“Anne? Are you awake, Anne?” my mother called from somewhere in the house.

Heaven forbid she actually come up to my room instead of waking the entire house.

I climbed out of bed and grabbed the pink robe embroidered with red lace roses that sat at the end of my bed. Tying the sash around my waist I went in search of my mother, who was up unusually early. I tip toed down the stairs hoping the old wood wouldn’t creak much.

“Where are you?” I called out on the landing.

“The sitting room. Come have tea with me,” she said in an unusually chipper voice.

“Um, okay.”

I peeked into the small room and saw her sitting there with the paper and a tea-pot. Nobody else. Just mom.

“Come. Sit down, honey,” she smiled up at me.

“Are you feeling alright, mother?” I asked sliding into the flowered sitting chair across from her.

“I’m fine. I would just like to have tea with my daughter.”

“Why?” I asked.

She folded the paper, put it down, and poured herself another cup of tea, “Sweetheart, I know you don’t want your father and I to invade in your life, but we are concerned.”

“About what?” I asked, blowing on the steaming liquid in my cup.

“About your future. You’re going to be nineteen soon.”

“In ten months, mother.”

“Yes, well that’s not a lot of time. You know, I was married and pregnant by time I was nineteen.”

“Yes, mother. I know. You remind me everyday.”

“Why are you so resistant then?” she asked, sipping at her own tea.

“I don’t want to be like you. Or Elizabeth. Or any of the other women around here. I want to decide for myself. I want to find love on my own.”

She sat the tea-cup down and began laughing, “My dear, it’s not about love. Do you honestly think I love your father?”

I narrowed my eyes at her, “I assumed you did. You’ve been married to him for nineteen years.”

“I married him because it was my duty. It’s what my parents wanted.”

“What about what you wanted?” I asked.

“It didn’t matter what I wanted. As long as more prosperity and a higher status were brought to the family, that was all that mattered.”

“Mother, that is ridiculous.”

“Perhaps, but it’s what we do. Your sister understands that, why don’t you?”

“Because I’m not going to settle for the highest bidder. I want someone who loves me. Surely there has to have been a woman in our family who married for love!”

“No,” her eyes flitted around the room and finally landed on her tea-cup.

“Liar!” I accused.

“Fine. There was my Aunt Beverly. She fell in love with a horse-boy and refused to marry the man her parents had picked out for her.”

“What happened to her?” I asked quietly.

“She ran away with him. Her parents cut her out of the will, and nobody heard from since then.”

“Maybe she’s happy,” I muttered.

“But she’s a butler’s wife,” my mother protested.

“Money isn’t everything.”

“When you grow accustomed to a certain lifestyle, you want to keep it. Do you want to go from having fine thing to having nothing?”

I sat there silently.

“I didn’t think so. Do you really think Thom can provide this sort of life for you?”

I looked at her in surprise.

“Yes, Anne, we know about him. We were tolerant of the flirting, but it’s starting to get out of hand. You need to settle down.”

I didn’t know what to say. I sat at the table staring into my tea-cup. Her words hit like a ton of bricks. My plate was very quickly becoming overloaded. Between my parents pushing me to get married and now the hairy beast stalking me, I had tons of problems lining up very quickly.

Before dealing with my mom and her knowing about Thom, I had to talk to John about the monster being in the alley by the house.


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