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A Hidden Love
Maria rushed from the carriage to the front door of the mansion. She hammered on the lion shaped door knocker. Her heart raced as she continued to pound on the door with all of her force until someone finally answered.
Maria nearly fell on top of the maid when she opened the door. She stumbled, but quickly hurried off into the house.
Through these passageways in which Maria had once gone through with nothing but the deepest joy in her heart, Maria now felt like a ghost, nothing in her but fear, and cold.
There it was, the door to his room. Was she too late?
Maria swung the door open wide, and swept into the room. Charlotte Remington, her best friend, stood up as she entered.
“Maria. What are you doing here?”
Maria slowly approached the bed, beside which was the chair Charlotte had recently vacated.
“I know you never cared for my brother Maria. You don’t have to pretend to be sorry he is ill.”
Maria had reached the bed. She took Charlotte’s chair, and slumped over George’s body, crying earnestly. She poured her heart out onto his chest.
“Maria? What…? You hate George! You’re always asking why I can’t control him, why he can’t be a gentleman for once in his life.”
“No.” Maria whispered through her tears, “That was before I knew him. I love him Charlotte. He can’t leave me. He can’t die.” Maria dissolved into tears again, and said nothing more for half an hour. Finally, Charlotte got her to talk.
“Maria, you must tell me. What do you mean, you have never cared for George.”
“Alright, I’ll tell you. The whole story.” And Maria began the story she had never shared with anyone. The story of her hidden love. “You remember the day I met your brother. About a year ago, after I moved here to stay with my aunt and uncle. I met you, and we became great friends. You wanted me to meet your family.
As soon as I saw him, I disliked him. He was rude, arrogant, and noisy. My dislike grew. Before I knew it, I hated him. I had convinced myself that he was dreadful. When he brought my flowers, I thought he was making fun of me for not having a beau. When he asked me to dance, I thought he was being foolish. I knew he never danced. I’d assumed he didn’t know how. I know now that he never liked anyone before me.”
Maria sighed, and placed her hand in George’s. Charlotte looked extremely confused. Well, it’s a confusing story to tell, Maria thought, how can Charlotte understand how I felt, when I don’t understand it myself? Maria continued,
“You remember that weekend I came to stay with you when my aunt and uncle went to visit a dying friend? That’s when it happened. I realized he loved me.” The memory stirred a sad, yet joyous feeling in Maria. “I got to really know him. We spent so much time together those two days, when you were out doing errands and the like. I grew to love him. I realized how handsome, loving, and extraordinary he is.” Maria wiped a tear from her cheek.
“He visited me every day from then on. We went everywhere together, secretly. We thought you wouldn’t approve of us. He took me horseback riding, and on picnics, and …” These memories flooded through Maria, and she felt a new rush of affection for the man in the bed in front of her.
She looked up at Charlotte, expecting to see a look of fury, or at least disappointment. She was therefore shocked to see Charlotte smiling. Something was glistening on her cheek. She looked delighted. “I never knew. Never even suspected. You should have told me. You would make a wonderful couple.”
“I never told him.” Maria whispered.
“All of those times, he told me he loved me. He told me how beautiful I was.” The tears were coming thick down Maria’s face now, and she found it hard to breathe. “He said I was the only thing in the world that mattered to him. He said that I was the meaning of his life.” She cried. Waves of regret and passion were flooding through Maria now. She had never felt so heartbroken.
“And I never told him. Not once, that I loved him. Not once, that he made my life meaningful. He has my heart. He’ll have it until death.”
Maria leaned forward and whispered in George’s ear, “Till death do we part. I love you George Remington, and I will until the day I die.”
“I’m so sorry.” Charlotte whispered. “But, it’s only tuberculosis. I’m sure he’ll…”
Maria gave a second of fake laughter. “Charlotte, it’s the early 1800s. We have no cure for tuberculosis. I can only wait until I join him.”
“Don’t say that…”
“I think I should go. I want to speak with his doctor.”
Maria made to leave, but something was holding her wrist. She looked down, and saw George, with his eyes open, starring into her face.
“Till death do we part.” He spoke in a husky voice, full of meaning. “I love you Maria Darcy. We’ll have a long life together. I promise, the doctor says I’m getting better.”
Tears came once again to Maria’s eyes. But these were tears of joy, as she flung herself into George’s waiting arms.