Telling Someone

“Ye’ve done it, Cessy. Ye’ve done it!” Bess laughed loud then, startling the cluster of women in their blood stained aprons and damp plasters and making Rivens yelp.

It wasn’t real until Cecily saw her mother smile. She had just been claimed as property from the hand of death, and it didn’t matter that Cecily couldn’t understand it. Despite the fears, despite the grave in the churchyard, despite the gray faces and hallowed tones, despite the retching and twisting, she was here. Cecily fell back into Gracia’s arms and cried in fast tears that grew thick in her throat. They held on to each other and waited for the shock to pass, then Bess asked the question that everyone else was yearning to say. “If ye can heal her, what about the others?”

At the moment Cecily’s bones felt as if they’d been scraped raw and ground between millstones. Every piece of her ached.

“Let’s not talk of that now.” Gracia’s tone was adamant. “Rest, is what she needs. I think we all need it.”

“I want to tell someone. It won’t take long.” Cecily pulled gently away from Gracia, brushed her hand through Alis’s hair, and skip-jumped out of the chapel. Once outside the door there were no stares to hold her back from running down the street toward the castle, boots slipping and elbows kicking the wind. It was a moment of triumph, when her fears and hopes had met and for once in her life it felt as though she had done something to be proud of. 

Castle Corridors by andy castro
Castle Corridors, a photo by andy castro on Flickr.
At this hour of the day Jevan was almost certain to be in the Great Hall with the other men, smoking and drinking and perhaps enjoying some entertainment. Cecily couldn’t gain admittance there, but there was a chance at finding Jevan some other way.

She entered the castle through a side door and listened for the sounds of laughter from the Hall. They came, and she stepped through the passages, making her way to the garderobes. He would have to come along here sometime, she reasoned, and so she leaned against the cold stone wall and waited.

Three men and a sotted lady passed that way through the next half hour, and Cecily was one leg cramp away from abandoning the enterprise and returning to the chapel to see how her mother got on. Then the noise of boisterous voices rose up from an opened door and she stood straight, trying to discern if Jevan’s was among them. A pair of boots clumped on the stairs, with a slight stumble at the top, and then Jevan came up the last step and was walking down the hall toward her.

“She’s all right, she’s well again!” Cecily ran to meet him and he started, then wrapped his arms around her. He rocked her back and forth as she laughed into his velvet shirt and streaked it with tears. “Jevan, she is saved! I’ve saved her.

She pulled away from him and looked up, shining. He smiled back at her, tucking a stray wisp of hair behind her left ear. “I’m proud of you, my Cecily. It can’t have been easy, whatever you have done.”

Cecily felt that it was the highest praise anyone had ever given her, and gave him the only thanks she could think of, a kiss full on the lips.

Jevan threw his head back and laughed, then picked Cecily up as if she weighed nothing, whirling her around and around in middle of the corridor.

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Constructive criticism is welcome! Please remember, though, that nearly every excerpt posted here is my first rough draft.