Promise

"'We'll find a way out, I promise.'
'Don't you think we have made enough promises today?'
'I only promise when I plan to keep it.'"

Everything in Jenna Larcel's life was going to be perfect, but when her fiancee, Laurence Goodfellow, makes a deal with a strange man, everything goes terribly wrong. Go back in the 1800s where mysteries roam and darkness fills all corners. And where no one can be trusted.

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1. Laurence

  Jenna and I walk down the stone path and stop as we wait for a carriage to roll pass. Water from the wheels of the carriage splashes up and toward us. I try to protect the water from landing on Jenna, but fail as it squirts onto her skirt and my boots.

  Jenna laughs and holds up her umbrella with a smile.

  "Just a little water, Laurence," she says. " No need to worry."

   All I can do is smile tightly. Her hand suddenly slips through mine and I look up from my feet, finding her staring at me with a worried face.

  "Are you all right?" she asks. "You haven't been very talkative this afternoon." We stride across the road to the garden, but I don't answer her. I don't want to answer. I don't know how to answer.

 "Laurence?"

  "I'm quite fine, Miss Larcel," I say matter-in-factly.

"You have not been acting like yourself lately. What's wrong?"

 Drat. What should I tell her? I mustn't tell her the truth that would only drag her down and... it is too early for her to know, too dangerous. Telling Jenna would be a burden to her and she would never forgive me. I look down at Jenna nervously and realize that I have paused too long and have to come up with an excuse fast.

 "Nothing, my love," I say, " just had a bad night sleep."

 "You're lying."

 "Why would I lie to you?"

  "I can tell by your voice.  You're hiding something."

 "Absurd."

 She rounds in front of me, blocking my way. Her bright hazel eyes are on fire with anger and determination.

  "Laurence Goodfellow, you tell me what's wrong this instant."

 I take a step forward and grasp her wrist, feeling her pulse rage faster and faster by the second.

 "Jenna, I can't."

 She purses her lips and yanks her hand way from my grip. Then, she whispers sharply, "Laurence, you can tell me all the fibs you want, but I will only listen to the truth."

 I take a deep breath and look into her eyes. My mind is at war with telling her the truth that will destroy her, or the lie that will protect her.

  Finally, I open my mouth and reply, "Jenna, I will be leaving for some time in the distant future."

 The look of shock in her eyes alarms even me.  I didn't think I would see her so hurt. Ever. "What do you mean, 'distant future'? When are you leaving? Why? What time will you get back?"

 "We will meet again, my young Jenna."

"B-But the engagement. The wedding." I see her fumble the golden ring I gave her. Just a month ago, I proposed to her at this very spot. Except, it wasn't raining like it is now, she wasn't mad like she is now, and I wasn't as dreadfully horrible as I am now.

 "I'm sorry," I say. "I cannot stay. It's a very important matter I must attend and..."

"When are you leaving?"

 "I can't tell you."

"Why not?"

 "Because then you will follow me." I touch her shoulder and turn her around. "Now, you must go home. Your parents will wonder why you are soaking wet and will turn to me for the explanation. Let's get out of here."

  "No, Laurence, not until you tell me what you're doing."

 "It is just a short trip. Not anything to worry about, though."

 "Will you be back in time for the wedding?"

   I don't answer, just smile. I touch Jenna's smooth face and wipe a raindrop from her cheek.  I try to memorize her face. How, despite her umbrella, raindrops stick to the tips of her eyelashes, as if crowing every hair in her lash.  And how her lips are so full and her pale skin seems to glow in contras with the gray sky…

 "Have I ever told you how beautiful you look in the rain?"  

  "Don't try to change the subject, Laurence."

  "I'm not trying to do anything, Jenna." I smile at her, offering my arm so that I may escort her as we leave. She turns around with a small "hmph!", loops her arm through mine, and we begin walking once more.

 As we walk away from the park, I notice a smile creeping on her face.

 

I escort her to her house and right when we're about to enter through the gate, I whisper, "Jenna Marie Larcel, I love you with all my heart. Don't you ever forget that."

  Her eyes search mine and then she sighs, "I love you too, Laurence."

 There is a few seconds of silence.

 "Jenna," I say, "I know that you're holding back something."

"How so?"

 "'Your eyes are the window to your soul.' my love."

 "Oh, don't go quoting the bible on me," she laughs.

 I smile and unlock the gate for her. As she strides to her door, I watch her. The way her white dress seems to glide and flow with every step she takes. Her waves of brown hair as it blows in the wind, regardless of how wet it is from the rain. She is truly as radiant as the sun.

 Jenna starts to open the door, but then she turns around and yells, "Same time tomorrow, Mr. Goodfellow?"

 "Yes indeed, Miss Larcel."

 She nods and enters her house.

 As I turn to walk to my own home, I nearly jump. There, in front of me, is a man.

 The man is wearing a trench coat with more holes and patches than one can count. His crooked teeth and greasy black hair are just as bad as his sour breath. The man lights a cigarette and then offers one to me.

 "Lucifer," I snarl.

 "No need to get feisty, Goodfellow. I'm offering you an expensive cigarette, for Pete's sake. Don't 'cha want one?"

 "No thank you, Lucifer. I don't smoke."

 "Eh, suit yourself." He blows a puff of smoke in my face.

 "I though we had an agreement for midnight," I cough, waving the smoke away from my face.

"Oi, I couldn't help myself but notice ya lady friend. Engaged, are ya?"

 "That is none of your business."

 "But once she finds out, she'll not ever forgive ya."

 "I don't deserve forgiveness."

 Lucifer laughs a chilling dry laugh. "Ah, but Mr. Goodfellow, you are not the only one."

 "What is the real reason you are here?"

 "To inform ye tha ya request is ready." He grins.

  "Then I guess that you want me to follow you."

 He nods and walks away, me following closely behind.

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