Always Find A Way

Sometimes Love is so strong that it will cross any boundary; distance, race or social divide. Sometime Love is so unique that it will find ways to survive even when in the greatest peril.

Sometimes Love will conquer death.

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8. Life After Life

The doorbell rung for the fifth time. Jill's head shot up. Her hair was sticking up at the back, dribble had dried around the corners of her mouth and her eyes were wild.

She scrabbled for her phone, which was where she had left it on the coffee table. It said ten o clock. 

'Crap.'

The doorbell buzzed again with a renewed aggression.

'Coming!'

She jumped up, pulling her blanket with her, sending numerous crisp packets and chocolate wrapper to the floor, and rushed over to the front door. She looked through the peephole. Jenna was standing there, hands on hips and lips pursed.

Jill dragged the security chain out of its socket and opened the door. Jenna, who was just about to attack the doorbell again, opened her mouth in surprise.

'You look terrible.'

'I just got up.' Jill replied guiltily.

'No shit.' Jenna said, somewhat more harshly than she usually would have. Jill suspected that she wasn't quite forgiven for her outburst the day before.

'Come in?'

Jill stood back and let Jenna pass through. She got a whiff of hot bread and her stomach growled. Despite the enormous amount of food she had consumed into the early hours of the morning she was starving.

Jenna didn't waste any time. She got out two plates and unloaded her bag. A loaf of freshly baked bread, butter, jam, chocolate spread and two bottles of sparkling fruit juice. She got out several knives and motioned for Jill to pull up a bar stool. Jill complied and sat next to her friend. 

Jenna watched as Jill tucked into a doorstop bread jam sandwich and her expression softened slightly.

'I'm sorry for being so annoyed with you, sweet.'

'Don't even apologise.' Jill replied between mouthfuls. 'You did absolutely nothing wrong, and-'

'But I shouldn't have tried to force my views on you. It was wrong.'

'No but Jen-'

'And I promise that no matter what I will stay with you and we will sort this out your way.'

'But Jenna-'

'I really mean it, you know? Honestly I-'

'JEN!'

Jenna stopped mid sentence and raised her eyebrows.

Jill forced herself to swallow her enormous mouthful of sandwich and said, 'Seriously, girl! I'm trying to tell you something important!'

Jenna's eyebrows rose higher and she folded her arms.

'Don't look at me like that!' Jill said playfully. 'You have really helped me. And it's me who should be profusely apologising. I read your books and... well... let me show you.'

Before waiting for Jenna to reply Jill jumped up and ran over to the sofa, books were still scattered all over the place. She picked one up, checked the cover and threw it back down.  

'It's just... here... no not that... Ah! There.' She raced back over to the counter and skidded to halt simultaneously thrusting the book under Jenna's nose.

'Woah, there tiger.' Jenna took the book and flipped it over to the front cover.

"Life After Life" read the title. Jenna raised an eyebrow at Jill. Jill nodded her head enthusiastically.

'I read it and I can't believe it, but in a few short hours I actually found myself believing that stuff. It made so much sense.'

'You think that this dream you're having is actually a memory from another life?'

Even though it had been Jenna's idea in the first place, Jill could see that she was having trouble accepting that her friend had, so quickly, found the explanation for her nightmares.

'I do. I mean... I know it sounds stupid but... Oh, Jen! You won't believe it but... Oh come here!' Jill was practically bouncing around in excitement as she motioned Jenna to come over and look at her laptop. Jenna slid of her stool and went and sat down next to Jill on the sofa.

Jill had to reboot the laptop as it had run out of battery during the night. She was jiggling around and Jenna had to grab the computer ore than once to stop it jumping off of her friend's lap. 

Eventually the screen lit up and her desktop picture, a goat eating some hay, loaded up. Jill wasted no time in bringing up the internet and loading up several bookmarks. 

'Look! Wait... hang on... Ah, here we are!' She swung the laptop round to face Jenna and watched as her friend leant in to read the webpage.

It was an article from a local paper, The Northamptonshire Echo, dated three years ago. It read:

"Rosehall Manor, the historic and beautiful mansion situated deep in the Northamptonshire countryside, has received funding from several large, local businesses to ensure it's ten-yearly renovation.

After it's patronage was stopped five years ago after the Lord Henry died, aged nintey-six, responsibility for the grand house was passed around from pillar to post. No one from the original family was still alive and Lord Henry's wishes in his will had been unclear at best. He had stated: "Until a persons relating to the specifics, which I have enclosed, comes forward to claim the house it shall be the property of the National Trust who are to maintain it and keep it in its original state, unless circumstances render originality impossible." 

The person specifics to which he referred were a checklist of his own making referring to a person who could give his lawyer a certain piece of information. Said information has, for obvious reasons, never been disclosed. Although highly irregular Lord Henry's wishes have been honoured-"

'Jill, honey, why am I reading this?'

'Huh? Jenna! Where are you up to?'

'I'm reading about some eccentric old dude who died. What has this got to do with you and your dreams?'

'Keep reading! You have to read this one first otherwise you won't understand the second one!'

Jenna sighed but found her place and resumed her reading.

"...have been honoured as they break no law and are of a constant source of delight to the village. 

Lord Henry's attorney was forced to take on several juniors to deal with the incoming messages of people who believe it is they who have the information to which Lord Henry refers in the hope they will inherit the ten million pound estate.

None so far have been successful."

Jenna whistled. 'Ten million... sheesh.'

'Carry on reading!'

'Ok, ok!'

"Unfortunately for the Manor the National Trust refused to take on the charge of the house as, we quote: 'We do not babysit houses for anyone, including Lords, if we are not able to take on full responsibilty. This would be a waste of our time, effort and funds. We rely on public donations for our charity to thrive and we have to decide how best to spend the donations.'.

The decision by the National Trust was met with outrage in the local village but understanding by most other third parties. Since then the house has been run just as it was before (it is kept in it's original state, as ordered by the Lord, and has a household of one hundred servants) and, as it fell into the hands of the local council, it's doors were opened to the public. It charged a five pound entry fee and money was soon coming in thick and fast. It boasts some of the most beautiful grounds and gardens and comes complete with a ghost of a solider that was killed their during the Second World War bombings, in which thirty-seven people lost their lives, including Lord Henry's grandmother Lady Caroline Bleakley and the attending physician to the hospital that was being run inside the house, Carl Bentley-Smith, who was believed to be engaged to the daughter of Lady Caroline, Lady Tabitha Bleakley."

The article ended there quite suddenly and Jill noticed the look of surprise on Jenna's face.

'Yes the ending took me by surprise too. I did try and find out if there was a second page but I had no luck.'

'Yeah... That is quite a dramatic ending. Why did it excite you so much?'

'What do you mean? It has-'

'Your name? Tabitha? Is that it Jill?'

'What do you mean?' Jill repeated. 'Ok... Fine... But wait until you read the next one...'

 

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