Rachel is getting stronger.
It had been two weeks since Brian and Lynn's wedding and I still could not get the event out of my mind. I finished work at two o'clock and was getting ready to go into town to treat myself to some new casual clothes for the Whit weekend, although I had no plans to go anywhere. I was singing the words of "The Wedding" as I tidied my hair. "I see us now, your hand in my, hand. This is the hour this is the moment..."
"Do you have to keep singing that?" Evelyn said. "People will think you're getting hitched." She suddenly looked at me as if in a panic. "You're not, are you?"
"Of course not. It's just a lovely song. It was playing when Brian and Lynn had their first dance at the reception. I've been to a few weddings, but I've never seen anything so utterly romantic as those two when they were dancing to Julie Rogers."
"Well, it was their wedding day."
"Even so, they were so closely intimate, the way they were holding and touching each other. You could see they were really committed and dedicated to each other."
"All right you've made your point, but can you give that bloody song a rest?"
I picked up my handbag. "I thought you were coming into town with me."
"You go on, I'm not even nearly ready yet. Tell you what; I'll meet you outside Mason's at four."
I agreed to meet my sister and I set off to the bus stop still thinking of the wedding. I am in love with Ellis and I am sure he feels the same about me, but there was a spark in Lynn and Brian's relationship that was missing from ours. I wondered if my life would be blessed with that spark if I were to move the physical side of our relationship forward. Or would it not matter, did that spark, that warmth come from somewhere else? I am confused, but I must try to get that closeness Brian and Lynn have. I had seen it in them, and was sure everyone else had as well.
I got to town and decided to call for a coffee before doing my shopping. I was sitting in one of the market cafes trying to think of a loving message to write in a birthday card I bought for Ellis, when I noticed Gordy walking into the cafe. I smiled at him as he walked over to sit with me and I closed the card and slid it beneath my handbag.
"What's that private then?"
I drank the last of my coffee. "Yes, it is." I thought it was time to leave; Gordy could be good company sometimes, but not all the time. The problem is, even though he is supposed to be Ellis's friend, and despite the fact I had continually declined his advances since our school days, whenever I was alone with him he would still try to chat me up.
"If you want to hang on I'll give you a lift on me bike."
"No, it's okay. I'm meeting Evelyn in town."
"It's no use putting it off you know, Glor, it's only a matter of time before we get together. Ellis is no good to you and you know it, he's not pushy enough. He thinks if a girl says no then she means no. He don't understand that women like their men to be forceful and take the lead."
"What are you a sodding caveman?"
Gordy grinned as if I had paid him a compliment. "I know Ellis, he wouldn't know what to do with you if he had you bollock naked in his bed."
I stood up and slipped the card into my carrier bag. "Well, perhaps that's all changed now. We're going away together for the bank holiday weekend."
"Yeah, and I bet that don't happen." He gave a laugh. "I'll leave a few dates free in my diary; just let me know when you're ready to live a little."
"Don't hold your breath." I gave a sarcastic grin before walking off.
I left the cafe feeling annoyed because Gordy had forced my hand. The thought of going away together had been in my mind all week, but it was just a thought and I did nothing about it up until now. I was worried, I was not sure if I were ready and I was also worried that it might all go wrong; he might think less of me and go off with someone else. It was a dilemma, I liked the idea of going away with Ellis, but I didn't want to commit myself to anything in case I should change my mind.
As I walked through the town I passed a camping shop and an idea came into my mind. There were two small tents at home, under the slab in the pantry. They had not been used since I was a child and the family used to go off on camping weekends. I would get my sister to help me to erect them in the back garden and as long as they were still in a reasonable condition, it could be the answer; we'd go off camping somewhere. We would be in separate tents so if I didn't feel it was right I could barricade myself in, or on the other hand, I could sneak into his tent. I wouldn't be committed and if I did decide not to go through with it, he could not feel let down because he would have no idea what I had planned.
Over in the woods at Carver's Hollow, Rachel was full of glee; she already felt a major surge in her power as they entered the sign of the twins. They had just come back from a visit to Rosie's house checking all was okay and she was available should Rachel decide to choose her. She would be useful as a back-up in case there were any problems with taking Gloria.
"I do not know why you did not just take her, there is no argument now, and it is time." Her partner began to move slowly; he was fading and difficult to see.
"Rosie, Rosie is easy. I want the other one, the chaste, the unspoilt. I want Gloria. She has great spiritual strength and it will be a challenge to take her. Be sure this time next week I will be gone from here and Gloria shall be here in my place. This is what we have waited two hundred years for. Are you not thrilled by it all?"
There was no sound, no sign of her companion's presence. She knew he had not just drifted off to hide this time; he had gone.
"Damn you," she shouted. "Over two hundred years together and not even a goodbye." She felt another surge as she inherited her partner's power. She had not felt such power since she had been looking for a mate all those years ago. She knew her boundaries had now been extended and she would be able to seek out a victim anywhere in the county of Cheshire if she so desired. She had plenty of time, as long as she found a replacement during the sign of the twins; otherwise she may have to remain alone in the woods until the following year.
"Enjoy your mortal existence while you can, Gloria. I am coming for you."