He stared intently at the majestic bole of the oak and the stained ground underneath. It sounded like a cock-and-bull story, nothing more or less. But so it sounded. Truth always presented itself in the most unforeseen of forms. He glanced at his watch- 4 hours. It had been four hours since they found her lying among the dandelions, a slash across her brow, the only wound on her shockingly perfect face. The police had summoned the investigation team in pretty much no time and he had walked into the scene in his usual nonchalant way. Corpses were not new to him and neither were mysteries.
Jade walked over to the chalk marked spot. He placed his hand delicately on the damp mud, exactly where her heart would have been. He closed his eyes. Memories. Reeling memories. Full of her laughter. His cheeks could feel the rush of blood, the warmth rising to his face steadily. Two hot tears trickled down his muscular face; his eyes, laden with foggy water looked earnestly at the oak beam. What did he expect? Did he want Rosalind to come back? Never in these 20 years of service had he let emotion and profession shake hands. What was her fault? Jade had asked this question to himself for quite some number now. What had she done to deserve two mercilessly screwed nails in the gut and a cut across the eyebrow? It was his self battling against his own. He blamed himself every bit for this. He walked back to the creaking bench and sat beside Aura, his assistant.
She landed a comforting hand on his shoulder and tears took this as a signal for flowing free. He realized. He was crying. “Sir, what is the matter? I have been working with you for the past three years and I have never seen you so vulnerable. Should I inform Mrs. Turner?”
“No Aura! Don’t! No just yet. Mother shouldn’t know about Rosalind. She won’t be able to handle it. And I can’t take any chances. Her failing health, her ever growing attachment with Rose…No.”
“Neither are you being able to handle it sir.” Aura’s tone was hushed but enough for Jade to open his heart. The pressure could no longer be handled by the walls dampened with emotion.
“Cecelia left us when I was twenty-three. Mother thought it was Rosa’s fault. I have seen her cry all nights. She fought the whole stronghold of those free mouth speakers. Her age was tender even. Maybe it was as the situation demanded or maybe because I failed, her innocence, her life, was snatched away from her even before today. She was the grown up in my family.”
He gave a short, sad laugh. “She was the one who made Mrs. Turner, the most stringent lady, smile. She was the one who managed to make me stay home for parties. She brought back life to Charles’ Villa. How proud Cecelia would have been to see her blood grow!”
“No Aura. This can’t be let away. I am not going to let this go.” Jade trembled with fury. The paint peeled from the place where he held the bench, the iron cutting through his bare hands. “I will avenge Rosalind’s death Aura. I will fetch my daughter peace! ”