Thomas circles Malinda like a predator would circle its prey. She is standing near the exit, hoping to escape at any moment. In minutes, Julius will ask her to stand by his side as he announces their engagement to society.
Malinda is lost deep in her own thoughts. She was standing by the stream again with Sir Thomas’ lips against her lips. She could hear the birds singing a song just for the two of them.
Malinda stirs as a hand presses into her back. “Ms. Addison, would you step outside with me for one moment Please?” She turns to see Sir Thomas at her side. “Thomas,” She pleads “Please, not now, I do not have time.”
Thomas smiles broadly as he turns Malinda and escorts her outside, unnoticed. “Do not fret, my dearest. Mother has Julius occupied for the time being.”
Malinda is silent as Thomas leads her to a secluded, dark area, not far from the exit. He slides one arm around Malinda’s waist, brushing her cheek with his thumb.
“Malinda,” He breaths softly as he moves in for a kiss, “I think tonight is not the night to speak to Julius. Make your announcement and we will speak with Julius privately. You and I will be married and we will return to my family home in Atlanta.”
His touch alone causes Malinda to pink. His kiss seems to set her on fire. She gently pushes Thomas away. “We must tell Julius. I cannot wait another moment. I cannot bear to see Julius hurt.” Her eyes implore Sir Thomas. “Please Thomas, we musn’t”
Thomas silences her with another kiss; she feels her resolve giving way. Malinda is left gasping for air when Thomas finishes with her. “Not tonight my love, but soon.” He brushes a soft kiss against her lips and whispers “Go inside my love, to your betrothed. He will be waiting for you.”
Malinda whimpers as she steps around Thomas, feeling the flush on her cheeks. Never before has she felt a want like this, a need so strong.
Malinda returns to the ball, curtseying to her father as he glares in her direction. “Malinda, what foolishness have you gotten into?” She steps to his side, head down, cheeks burning. “Father.”
“My daughter, it is nearly time. You should be at Julius’ side. Now…” Her father narrows his eyes, “to his side.”
Malinda nods and moves to stand beside her fiancé, attempting to pull herself together. Julius offers his arm as she enters his vision. As she slides her arm into his, Julius turns to take in the sight of Malinda. “My love, you are radiant. The flush on your cheeks draws me in.” The bored, vacant face is replaced with a slightly wild look for a brief second before the vacant stare returns. “Will you accompany me to the music room, for I have a question to ask of you?”
She smiles and tilts her head, “A question of me, dear Julius?” Malinda searches the room for her parents…and for Sir Thomas.
Thomas is standing with her parents, a somber expression on his beautiful face; her parents are beaming proudly as they know the announcement will be made shortly.
Julius guides Malinda to the piano bench, in the music room, where he sits beside her and takes her hand.
“Malinda, I ask you tonight to be my wife, to stay at my side ‘til the end of our days. To be the mother to my children. Please accept this ring as my promise to protect you always.” Julius smiles another tight lipped smile as he slides the ring onto Malinda’s finger.
Malinda smiles sadly as she looks at the ring. “Yes, Julius, I will accept the ring.” She looks up to find Julius watching her curiously, “Malinda, my dearest, are you in distress?” She shakes her head, maintaining her composure. “I…am not in distress, just eager to announce our engagement.”
Julius leans in toward Malinda, he breaths “May I kiss you?” His eyes are closed; Malinda realizes that although she has a deep well of feelings for Thomas, feelings remain for Julius. She does love him, but not in the manner he wishes or needs. Malinda squeezes Julius’s hand as an answer; he kisses Malinda with a passion she’s never felt from him before. He stands and takes her hand, prepared to make the announcement.
Malinda waits in the park as dusk falls, she waiting for Sir Thomas, so that they may speak with Julius regarding their relationship. She cannot help but smile as she sees Thomas enter the park. Malinda’s heart breaks nightly as she is torn between her love for Thomas and the love she feels for Julius.
For Thomas, Malinda feels fiery passion. Her heart flutters at the very sight of him, her respirations accelerate, and she wants nothing more than to have him touch her.
For Julius, Malinda feels a different kind of love. She often wishes she could call Julius her brother. She enjoys time with him and she knows he would be a good father, but that is not enough.
Malinda sighs deeply as Thomas approaches; she pulls her jacket close, looking around the park. They are alone. She stands as Thomas sweeps her into his arms, resting her head against his chest. “Malinda, look at me, my dear.” Thomas lifts her chin, so he can look into her eyes, his smolder as he pulls her in for a kiss.
After several minutes alone in the park, Thomas hears a group approaching. “My love, it’s time.” Malinda and Thomas leave the park, several steps between them, Thomas behind to ensure Malinda’s safety.
As they entered the alley near to Julius’ hotel, Malinda pulled her bonnet closer, shielding her face, in an attempt to protect her identity. Nearing the hotel, she feels an arm slip around her waist, pulling her from the puddle of light created by the gas lamp. Malinda can hear Thomas’ quiet laugh as he pushes her gently against the wall. “One kiss my love…before we see Julius.” Thomas’ boldness is one of the many traits Malinda loves and she cannot help but melt in his arms.
Hesitantly, Malinda pulls away from Thomas, dreading what she must do next. She brushes her fingers gently across his lips before she glances at the hotel.
Her thoughts stop as she glimpses Julius standing in the window, watching Thomas and her. She can see the thunderclouds on his face, the bland expression gone. Malinda realizes in that second that she must convince Thomas that this is not the night for him to be near Julius.
“Thomas,” Malinda gently pushes him away, “I fear this is something I must do alone.” Thomas is not happy to hear this new development. “My love, you should not do this alone.” Malinda endears him with a simple kiss. “Please go home, I will return in time.” Although Thomas is concerned, he trusts his love and knows she is capable of conversing with Julius.
Malinda watches until Thomas has hailed a carriage before she crosses the street. Silence has descended on ST. Ann Street. Julius exits the hotel, his rage evident from a distance away.
Malinda has never seen such strong emotion upon Julius’ face; she is surprised by his fierceness.
Malinda tries to calm her body, she is aware that Julius had witnessed the kiss between she and Thomas. “Where is he?!” Julius screams as he exits the hotel. Malinda cannot stop as the color drains from her face. “Julius, please, lower your voice.” She speaks in hushed tones as she glances down the street, although they are alone now, they will not be for long if Julius does not lower his voice. “Perhaps we can discuss inside?”
“I WILL NOT have you making a mockery of my good name Malinda.” Malinda cannot help but feel shocked as Julius backhands her. “Why?” He screams in anguish.
Malinda sees fury in his eyes as he bears down on her.
In an instant, she knows how deeply she has hurt Julius. “We did not plan this indiscretion. I did not want to you gain knowledge of my deeds in this manner, for that I am truly dismayed.”
Julius mutters to himself, “Why…What…how?” He continues to mutter as he lifts the gun, pointing it at Malinda’s chest.
Her eyes widen as she backs against the wall.
“Dismayed?!” Julius laughs darkly, “Madam, You have destroyed me.” Holding his head in his hand, the gun trembling, Julius seems lost, unsure.
Malinda cannot help, but reach out in an attempt to comfort him. “Julius,” she says blinking back tears, “I…I have nothing to say for myself.”
She cringes as Julius bats her hands away.
Julius stares at the ground. “You have ruined everything.” His voice quivers, “You ruined us.” Anger crosses his face and he raises the gun, pulling the trigger.
Malinda feels searing pain in her chest. Her eyes haven’t left Julius’; she feels as if she’s ripped his heart out of his chest. Her legs feel weak; she is unable to pull in a breath, “Ju…” The street seems darker as she slides down the wall. She wants to tell Julius that she loves him; she just cannot love him as he wants her too, but her thoughts are jumbled.
Distantly, she can hear Julius drop to his knees, he cries out “What have I done?”
Malinda reaches forward with her last strength. “Julius…I…lov…” She brushes his hand lightly as she takes her last breath.
Several guests emerge, from the hotel, shortly after the second gunshot is heard; the guests are surprised to find fellow hotel guests dead. Julius is at Malinda’s feet. The concierge sends someone to find the constable, although the guests could discern what occurred here. After all, the flintlock was still in Julius’ hand.
Thomas paces in his home, several blocks away. Malinda should have returned by now. Worry for her safety overwhelms all his thoughts. “Perhaps, I will venture out for a walk.”
Thomas starts off toward the hotel, eager to ensure that Malinda was safe. As he strides closer to St. Anne Street, Thomas can feel dread creeping in, why had he left her to speak with Julius alone?
He turns onto St. Ann Street, confused by the commotion in front of him. Thomas pushes his way through the crowd, trying to hear the murmurs around him.
As Thomas steps out of the crowd, he glances down to see two bodies in the street in front of him. His heart stops, what he was seeing could not be real. Thomas sags, dropping to his knees, the cobblestones cutting his skin. “Malinda?” He whispers. The constable watches Thomas; the expression on his face is easy to read. “Sir?” The Constable approaches Thomas warily. “Sir, May I speak with you?” The constable seems to recognize the man in obvious mourning, “Sir Thomas Gallagher?” Thomas allows the Constable to assist him in standing before nodding very slightly.
Thomas follows the constable closer to the scene of the crime. “Yes, I am Sir Thomas Gallagher.” He watches the scene over the constable’s shoulder. It is Malinda, she is dead…She is gone from his life. Thomas blinks back tears. “Julius, what have you done?” Thomas whispers as he presses a hand to his forehead.
The Constable gives him a moment before speaking again. “Sir Thomas, You are acquainted with the victims?”
Thomas nods. “Yes, the male is Julius Armand and the woman,” Thomas gasps, “The woman is Malinda Addison, they were engaged to be wed.”
The constable listens to the grief in Thomas’ voice.“Good Sir, do you have any knowledge of why Mr. Armand would kill Ms. Addison?”
Thomas sinks to the curb, head in his hands, before he whispers, “I have no knowledge at all sir.”
Thomas sits at his desk in the hotel on St. Ann. He lost his love here only a year ago. His mourning is never-ending and as he writes of the events in his journal, his heart breaks completely again.
Thomas closes the book and stands in the small alcove in the hotel room. He picks up the book and tucks it under his arm. This is the very room where Julius discovered Malinda’s indiscretions. And this is the room where Thomas will put his feelings to rest. Perhaps by writing his thoughts and feelings in this journal, he will be able to move on from his past tragedies and live his life. Malinda will always be in his heart, but he needs to start living a life again.
Thomas steps down into the small area where he had stepped on the loose board. Before he puts his memories for Malinda and Julius away, he gazes out the small window, allowing tears to fall once more. “Malinda, I am sorry. I feel responsible for your death and for Julius’ death. You will always be in my heart dearest.”
Thomas kneels and pries the floor board up, slipping the journal under the board. He lifts his head quickly, feeling as if he is no longer alone.
Thomas drops the floorboard back as he gasps. He stands and watches as a flickering image of Julius crosses the room to pull the curtain back. Thomas can hear Julius’ voice, ghostly as it sounds… “Sir Thomas…” Questioning in the faint voice, “Malinda?”
Thomas is witnessing the events prior to Malinda’s death; he cannot pull his eyes from Julius. He can sense Julius’ fury as he follows the ghostly figure down the backstairs. Julius exits the hotel with gun in hand.
Thomas is lost. He can see the ghostly figure of Malinda crossing the street. He watches as Malinda tries to calm Julius and watches as Julius backhands her.
Thomas closes his eyes tightly, knowing he cannot be witness to Malinda’s death. He would never be able to let her go. He hears her faint cry and opens her eyes to find himself alone on St. Ann Street.
Breana looks up from the journal, tears in her eyes. Another love story filled with sadness. She is sitting on the stairs in the tiny alcove where she found the journal of Sir Thomas Gallagher and finds herself remembering the strange missing time from both her and Jason’s vacation in New Orleans.
Were they possessed by Julius and Malinda? Their ghosts haunting this hotel and the French Quarter, unable to move on. Breana feels a tug at her heart, sadness once more permeating her heart. If only Malinda had been brave enough to tell Julius where her feelings lie, perhaps their story would have a different ending.
Breana stands up, wishing with all her heart that she had asked Jason to come with her.
She covers her mouth when she sees a gentleman standing in front of her. He is dressed in an old fashioned suit, his eyes focused on her. It is as if he has not seen another person in decades. “Malinda,” He breathes. Breana feels Goosebumps rise all over her body. “Malinda, I love you.” He breathes softly and Breana shivers. “I…I am…not Malinda.”
“Malinda,” Julius urges his voice ghostly. “You will be mine…”
Julius vanishes from before Breana’s eyes.
Breana gathers her belongings and poofs back to the ranch and their tree.
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