Charles Forces Joshua Out...Or Can He?
|By now, Charles and Joshua had been merged for two years, with one of them married to Constance Moseleigh Smith, now Farrington. It was an arrangement that worked well most of the time. Charles Farrington, Esq. had his own law firm and would not have married at all lest it made career sense to do so. He was able to quiet his inner secrets that no one need know about and at the same time make rapid progress in the political arena. The merger with Joshua was the closest thing to marriage that Charles dared hope for. As for Connie, he could put up with her, and let Joshua have the lead when he “needed” it. Strange that this three-way compact worked so well, but it did.
The only part he could not tolerate were those times Joshua refused to go to Club 411 with him. He should have really. It would have only been fair.
Charles emerged from the Club 411, pulled his hat low over his eyes. He did not want to be recognized. Even though most of the men in there knew each other and were business colleagues during the day, he still needed to maintain a certain level of propriety outside the club. It was the only part of being in this society circle that he disliked. Putting these thoughts aside, he had to get home to Joshua. He wanted to confess before Joshua found out through the merge. Joshua would be furious. It may very well mean the end of the alliance.
Charles made his way out on to the pier. Looking into the black water, he wondered how long it would take to drown in shallow water, or even if would want to. Charles turned his attention to the stars overhead wishing one of them would fall out of the sky and land on him. Chuckling a little, he wondered if Joshua would like an ending like that. Or maybe he had already found another host. If that were the case, Joshua could just push him out a window and put him out of his pain.
He took a step back, turned and ran the entire distance home. He must look foolish running full speed through the neighborhoods with a bowler and overcoat, his speed blurring the spat covered shoes into a long white arced line. The sweat beaded on his lip and soaked through the underarms of his overcoat and left a damp band where his hat pushed down on his forehead.
He saw the turret first. He slowed to a stumbled walk, his legs tingling, breathing hard and heavy. He stood in front of the gated entry until his heartbeat slowed. He opened the gate and stepped inside the courtyard, taking in the splendor of this place that had been his home for the last year. “Why couldn’t you be satisfied, Charles?” All of this was his; three stories of magnificence, rising from columned entry to a turret that overlooked the pond in the back.
Joshua…all Charles’s thoughts started and ended with Joshua. He needed to be held again. Joshua would refuse when he found out. Charles stood in front of the double arched heavy oak doors too afraid to enter and too foolish to dally there.
Charles inhaled, pulled his hat off to fan his face. He dragged his fingers through his hair trying to gage how wet it was, wiped the moisture off where his hand hit the hip of his overcoat. With hand on the knob, he pressed his ear to the crack where the doors jambs met, not hearing any movement, he carefully opened the door and slid inside. He moved along the wall until he got to the stairs and dashed up quickly. At the top, he crawled along the wall, peeking around corners, and then slithering farther down until he got to his room.
Safely inside, he removed his overcoat, depositing the outerwear onto a nearby chair. He shuffled to the mirror to comb out his hair, but could not look at himself. He could not stand it. Turning to lean his back against his dresser, he dragged his hands over his face. This was not good.
He was here. “Hello, Joshua, don’t enter yet. We need to talk first.”
He could not get used to Joshua sitting. It always looked like he was hovering four feet over the chair.
Joshua had a maddening habit of not talking when he had nothing to say.
“I, um, well, you know how I am. You must have known after the first joining.”
“I did. And I joined despite that.”
“I needed you, you needed me. I wanted Connie and could not have her without you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You use my spirit for what you need, I use your body for what I need. What more is to understand?”
“If I broke any promise I made to you and Connie, how angry would you be?”
“You would be British to me.”
“No, I am not. It’s just that I have … you know? … urges.” Charles turned away. He could not take that penetrating stare. “Don’t look at me that way.”
“It’s not like I make you participate.”
“Yes, you do! I’ve been a prisoner of war four times. The Brits did unspeakable things to me – you are kind compared to them. But I survived it all. I took it all. I was willing to go through it all again because you were my chance to live again…to feel again through your body. And now you tell me you couldn’t keep this promise to me. You are British to me!”
“No, I’m not. I just couldn’t resist. I’m sorry. I am just telling you this so that if you can’t forgive me, you have a chance to find another host.”
“Connie doesn’t want another! I need to think. Get away from me before I do something I regret.”
Charles regretted that he laughed. “Then do it. I can’t endure your relations with Connie anymore. I have had enough. I won’t share you with that woman.”
“Don’t be foolish. I have killed more British than you can count. I am responsible for … other deaths.” Joshua’s voice dropped to a raspy whisper. “You won’t like the results if you challenge me.”
Charles paused his pacing, turned to stare at Joshua. “I don’t care. I’m not sharing you with that woman anymore.”
“You don't know what you're saying. You would be wise to remove yourself from my presence before I do something we both regret. Right now, I could kill you.”
“I’m not going anywhere. You are mine, not hers.”
There Joshua went again, staring off into space while he calculated his next move. Charles could wait. How bad could it be?