The Shadow 18
Marissa took note of her surroundings as they left the house so she could give a complete report to the police, all the while keeping up a dialogue with Simon.
“I won’t let you out of my site from now on,” Simon declared as he helped her into his private carriage. “Who are these people who have so blatantly kidnapped you? And what do they want from you? Ransom?”
“I don’t know, Simon. I’m still trying to understand the purpose behind this act,” Marissa lied.
“I will personally see that you are watched and protected from now on,” Simon declared.
“My staff will ensure my safety, Simon. You don’t need to make any special efforts,” Marissa said firmly.
“Your staff let you be taken right out from under their noses. Where was your travel companion when you were taken?” Simon demanded angrily.
“My people do not control my every action,” Marissa said meaningfully. “I am a free person and I move about the country where I will. My staff are loyal and would never willingly let any harm come to me.” She kept her tone firm, hopefully reminding Simon of her independence.
She knew she couldn’t blame Sean entirely and she also knew none of her people would have let anything happen to her. Simon sighed and nodded and Marissa knew he wouldn’t press the matter further.
The carriage moved quickly toward her house in London and when they arrived Tom and Eliza met her at the door with relieved exclamations for her health and safety. Marissa let them take her inside and fawn over her a bit, relishing in the attention just enough.
“My Lady, had I known it was all a ruse,” Tom began.
“Tom, I don’t blame any of you. We all acted in good faith with the information we had. How were you to know that Mr. Doveday hadn’t sent the message?” Marissa consoled.
Sean carefully took Tom aside while Eliza and several other servants followed Marissa into the parlor. Simon followed, looking quite out of his element.
“Eliza, will you bring some tea in here for myself and Mr. Anderson?” Marissa finally asked.
The maid nodded and quickly left the room followed by the other servants. Marissa sank into her favorite chair with a sigh.
“You look worn out, my dear,” Simon said coming over and sitting as close as he could get.
“I am tired, but we need to call the police and file an official report.” Marissa sighed. “This is going to give the old cats at court a field day.”
Simon opened his mouth to respond, but Sean interrupted. “I see no reason for this to reach anyone’s ears, Marissa. I will talk to Inspector Anthon privately tomorrow and he can send his men to search the house. There’s no need for you to take any public part of this investigation.”
Marissa looked over at her steward with an eyebrow raised. She couldn’t be certain of his motives. Was he saying that to spare her the public fiasco that would arise, or did he want to spare her father’s good name from any more humiliation?
“Very well, Mr. Doveday. I will leave it in your capable hands,” she said simply.
Sean’s eyes narrowed at her words and he nodded and left. Eliza returned with the tea and Marissa poured for her guest.
“Is there anything I can do for you, Marissa?” Simon asked, exuding genuine concern.
“No, Mr. Anderson. I think I’d best get a good night’s rest,” she replied carefully.
“May I call on you tomorrow?”
“Yes. Perhaps we could have that dinner you mentioned at the ball. I think, since you have rescued me, I can allow you that much,” she smiled and he grinned.
“I consider myself privileged to have the opportunity. I will come around at seven tomorrow evening,” Simon said, kissing her hand.
He rose to his feet and bowed before leaving her alone in the room. She heard Tom thanking him as he escorted Simon from the house. Marissa closed her eyes, her head ached from the solution used to render her unconscious and the arguments with Sean. It was several minutes before she realized she was no longer alone. She looked up and saw Sean watching her.
“I don’t trust him, Marissa,” Sean said stiffly.
“I didn’t think you would,” Marissa replied, just as stiffly. Then her thoughts shifted. “I need to find Sarah. I’m certain she saw some of what happened at the station in Canterbury. We need to send someone to look for her and bring her back here.”
“I’ll ask Tom to send one of his men, but do you think she’ll trust anyone?”
Marissa bit her lip. “Probably not. I should just go myself.”
“You should wait. Sarah came here before. If she saw you taken then she either followed you back or she’ll figure out you were rescued and come back here. You should rest, Marissa,” Sean said anxiously.
“I’m not a frail, helpless woman,” Marissa said, angrily sitting up. “I don’t want to rest, I want to find out what Jarvis is up to.”
“So you’re just going to waltz over there and demand an explanation or are you going to fade into invisibility and break in? I’m sure either way he’ll just tell you everything,” Sean snaps sarcastically. “Not only are you being arrogant, Marissa Edgington, but you are a fool as well.” He turned and walked out.
His words were like a slap in the face and Marissa just stared at him speechless. She knew he was right. She was being arrogant to think she could outsmart Dr. Bering and discover all his secrets without coming to any harm. She was a fool to think her night time job would never affect her life as Lady Edgington. Her temper flared and ebbed as her mind coursed through the different train of thoughts.
After several minutes, Eliza poked her head in the room. “Are you ready to turn in, M’Lady?”
Marissa got to her feet slowly. She felt worn inside and out. She followed Eliza up to her spacious rooms and let the maid help her change into her night dress and robe. She wanted to change into her Shadow clothes and go out searching for Sarah, but she also felt she should stay. She was backed into a corner with no answers.
It was long after Eliza turned in that Marissa returned to her study. She paced the room anxiously, uncertain as to what she should do, and eventually collapsed on the reading lounge. She woke to the sound of the window opening and closing. Her head snapped up and she scanned the room. It was empty. A chill ran down her spine as she got to her feet and backed toward the study door.
“Going somewhere, Lady Edgington?” a deep voice asked behind her.
Marissa let out a frightened squeak and stepped back toward the window. “What do you want?” she demanded, her voice shaking.
“Just to let you know that you can’t hide from us. If Sarah comes here, tell her her job isn’t finished,” the voice said next to her. “And the Doctor expects a visit from her and the Shadow or there will be consequences.”
“Sarah who?” Marissa asked, feigning ignorance. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“Just tell her. She’ll come,” the voice answered behind her again.
Marissa jerked around ready to fight. The window opened slowly and then closed. Fear filled her chest and she stumbled toward the study door, yanking it open. The passageway was empty and Marissa ran out of the room. She pressed up against the wall, staring at the open door to her study, her heart hammering in her chest.
“Marissa?” Sean asked coming out of his small study.
“Ahh,” Marissa cried. Her knees gave out and she sank to the floor, frightened.
Sean was at her side in an instant. “What is it?” he asked concerned.
“He...he threatened me,” Marissa said, trying to regain control of her emotions.
“Who threatened you?”
“A man...a man in my study.”
Sean leapt to the door of her study ready to fight the intruder. He looked around the empty room and then back at Marissa.
She shook her head. “He was invisible,” she whispered, her shoulders slumping.