We have a new chapter of Rum Cove everyday until the conclusion 7th June

Lot and Josef have a frank discussion

Hastings – 1844

‘Feeling guilty?’ I asked as the carriage left Hastings.

Josef was sitting opposite me looking menacingly grim with his arms folded on the top of his cane and a cigarette dangling from his fingers, we’d left a few unsettled people in town. ‘Rache hurt you and all I did was panic, and she wouldn’t have been interested in you if it wasn’t for me.’

‘Hmm…’ I looked thoughtfully out of the window. ‘So, it seems the only way to make me “safe” is to leave us.’

He lowered his cigarette. ‘I can’t do that.’

‘No, because I’d drag you back.’ I considered. ‘That sounds more like kidnap than romance.’ I smiled. ‘But I’m sure you know what I mean.’

He smiled slightly.

I shifted over to sit beside him. ‘You can’t protect me from monsters, Josef.’

He looked at me.

I nudged him. ‘We are the monsters in the dark.’

He chuckled and rested his face against the side of mine.

I played my fingers through his beard. ‘I love you and I want to be with you, Josef. Perhaps it’s dangerous but I’m plenty capable of finding danger myself.’

He nuzzled my face. ‘I should’ve used my power to stop her.’

‘I felt your energy in the air when you tried, it didn’t work.’ When someone was truly intent on doing something no magic can stop them. ‘Aren’t you the one always pointing out the limits of your power?’

He looked away.

I rested my hand on his thigh. ‘Are you trying to out brood Bran?’

He grumbled.

‘In fairness.’ I leaned in. ‘It does suit you.’

He kissed my forehead. ‘I thought she was going to decapitate you.’

‘If she had any sense she would have as soon as she caught me. Gloating is a fatal condition.’

He sighed and rested his forehead against mine. I cupped his face and caressed his bearded cheek with my thumb.

‘It hurts.’ He put my hand over his heart. ‘Here. The thought of losing you and our family. It doesn’t help I can trace my actions back and see how they brought about a situation that almost got you killed.’

‘Then don’t do it again,’ I said.

He tilted back and frowned. ‘You make it sound simple.’

‘You made a mistake. You lived long enough to see the consequences of that mistake. You learned from it.’ I shrugged. ‘Don’t make the same one.’

‘I’m not sure it’s that simple.’

‘Perhaps not always. People always say there’s a choice but a choice between two bad outcomes is no choice at all. There’s a choice when comes to turning people who desire to dominate others and those that don’t. Rache was a mistake that came back to bite you, now you know better.’

He leaned in. ‘And what do you deem a desire to dominate? You quite like it as I recall.’

‘That’s not the same, and you know it.’

‘I know, I was checking you aren’t secretly evil.’ He kissed me. ‘Seems not.’

I slid my hand up his thigh and stopped near the top of his leg. ‘Oh, I can be.’

He smiled, took my hand, and kissed my palm. ‘I know, and I love it.’

‘Wise man.’ I squeezed his hand. ‘I don’t blame you, Josef. You’re not responsible for what Rache did after you released her, even if you did turn her. I told you before, she was an adult, not a child.’

‘Then I should’ve seen what she would become.’

‘Pain rather skews perspective, and I think you were in a lot of pain.’

He arched his eyebrows.

‘It was never that you didn’t care, caring can be as exhausting as anything else and you were tired.’

‘I’m not sure I had as much wisdom after a hundred years as you have already.’ He brushed my hair back behind my ear. ‘That’s not fair.’

‘Given you can’t remember being a hundred that’s hardly definitive.’

He stubbed his cigarette out in the silver head of his cane.

I dusted the ash off. ‘You’ll spoil it.’

‘I don’t know, some people seem to prefer things a little worn around the edges.’

I rested my feet on the seat opposite and settled into his side. ‘I’ve heard that too.’

He put his arm around me and rested his cheek against the top of my head.

‘I hope it isn’t going to take you long to pick out this present for the children.’

‘Oh, I know exactly which one they’ll want.’

I sighed. ‘See? You have accrued some wisdom.’

He laughed.

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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