The Shadow 21
The next morning Marissa went down to breakfast feeling tired and surly. She hadn’t slept well after Sean left and the nagging fear of being alone wouldn’t leave her mind. Sarah joined her and immediately noticed something was wrong.
“What is it Marissa?” Sarah asked concerned.
Marissa looked at her debating what to say, but finally gave in to sense. “Sean left last night.”
“You went to Dr. Bering’s house, didn’t you?” Sarah accused.
Marissa nodded. “I had to. I couldn’t think of any other way,” she said hopelessly.
“At least tell me you found something.”
“I did,” Marissa answered quietly. She got up from the table and motioned for Sarah to follow her.
When they reached her room she walked over to where she had left the material on her chair. She felt for it and held it out to Sarah.
“What are you doing?” Sarah asked confused.
Marissa shook the material until it brushed Sarah’s outstretched hand. Sarah’s eyes widened.
“He made invisible material?”
“And I found a paper in Jarvis’ study that seemed suspicious to me.”
“Where is it?”
“I left everything just the way I found it, but I memorized what it said: Osborne House, May 17th by 7pm.”
“What does that mean?” Sarah asked bemused.
Marissa shook her head. “I don’t know. I’m going to have to do some social investigating. I know it is one of Victoria’s residences, but she hasn’t been out there for months.”
“We will have to be very careful, Marissa. We are treading in uncertain territory. Jarvis is a dangerous man and he will not let anything get in his way. He’s certain to have people watching you and listening for talk that could change his plans. He told you to tell me to come to his house. He knows the best way to get me to do what he wants is by threatening you, so if I don’t show up at his place soon then he will come after you.”
“Maybe it’s time Lady Edgington took an extended vacation to the countryside or the Highlands. She is becoming far to accessible for my taste. If we take her out of the picture then we can work with relative ease,” Marissa replied, annoyed at her position.
“I’m still not much good to you now that I can be seen,” Sarah said unhappily.
“But you know London much better than I do. Together we can figure things out. We need to know who Jarvis’ new contact is. If Minister Cherington was his contact and his financier, then he will be needing a new one,” Marissa said thoughtfully.
“I don’t think the Minister was financing this project. The times I spied on Jarvis they mentioned an outside source who was assisting them.”
“Then we need to figure out who that source is. Perhaps when we do we can discover what they are up to.”
“How are we going to go about that. No one is going to talk about a secret project and unless we keep a constant watch on Jarvis’ house we are walking blindly.”
“I don’t know what to do, but for now we should at least plan a trip to the Isle of Weight on May 17th. We will just have to find out what they are planning between now and then.”
“What are you going to do about Sean, Marissa?” Sarah asked slowly.
Marissa shook her head. “He left. He isn’t coming back. I suppose it serves me right for not waiting until he calmed down, but I can’t say I’m not glad I went. I don’t think I would have found the invisible material and I certainly wouldn’t have found that note either. Maybe after this is over I can go to his office and beg for him to return.”
She felt like her heart would break. After everything they had been through, it took him leaving for Marissa to understand her feelings for him. She shook her head, pushing her feelings back.
“I want to make a suit out of this stuff so I can move around without feeling so uncomfortable,” Marissa said, holding up the invisible material.
“That’s going to take some doing, but I’ll help the best I can.”
“I just need a shirt and pants. We can pin it so you have some sort of a guide.” She looked over at the door, thinking about her staff. “I should introduce you to Eliza and Tom so you can move about the house freely. Luckily Jarvis and his man don’t know you are visible now, but if they know someone is here they might realize it’s you.”
“We’ll figure it out, Marissa. We have other things to worry about and you also have a dinner tonight to get ready for,” Sarah reminded her.
Marissa groaned. “Simon. I wish I trusted him enough to ask him for information.”
“Who is he?”
“He’s an American investor. He said he came here on business and that he has fallen madly in love with me.” Marissa shook her head. “I don’t believe a word of it, but he seems sincere in his interest.”
“Be careful. He could be a gold digger,” Sarah replied, in a very motherly fashion.
Marissa smiled. “Simon warned me of the very same thing.” And so did Sean, Marissa thought, her smile fading. “I’ve tried to be very careful. He is the one who rescued me and Sean from Jarvis’ clutches.”
“How did he find you?”
“He said he used good old fashioned detective work, but I’m guessing he also paid for the information he got from the cabbies and vendors he questioned.”
“Well that’s usually the best way to get information around here. You’ll still have to keep a close eye on him when you’re with him. At this stage in the game we can’t afford to trust anyone, not even your own people,” Sarah said carefully.
“I really don’t think my servants would ever do anything to harm me, Sarah. They’ve all been with the Edgington House for years,” Marissa said loyally.
“Yes, but you are still new to them and anyone’s loyalties can be bought if the price is high enough,” Sarah said matter-of-factly. “We will have to be very careful from now on.”
Marissa sighed. She knew Sarah was right, but she hated to admit that her people might be bought. It made Sean’s leaving that much worse.
“Well regardless, I have a dinner appointment tonight and I’m going to have to be my usual charming self. Simon could be a very useful resource if I approach him the right way,” Marissa said.
“I’ll get started with the material. You should rest for a bit. You had a late night and very little sleep.”
Marissa nodded in agreement. She was exhausted, physically and emotionally. She got up and headed to her room. She lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling, reviewing the details of the curious mystery she was caught in the middle of.
Her mother had been turned invisible, years ago, by Dr. Bering, and forced to do his bidding against the threat of harm to Marissa. Amongst these things she was sent to find out just what had happened to Minister Cherington and upon discovering his dead body, made it look like a murder instead of a result of Bering’s potions. These men had obviously been plotting something and because of Cherington’s demise they now had to find another contact at the palace.
Next she added in the piece of paper with the house and date on it and the invisible material. Once everything was organized in her head she gasped out loud and sat up. All the pieces put together added up to one thing: an attack on the Royal House! Everything made complete sense except for the why. Why would someone want to harm Victoria? She was old and nearing the end of her life anyways. What good would it do to kill her now?
Marissa shook her head. There had to be some other reason behind all of this madness she had stumbled into because of her own stupidity. She lay back trying to understand what was behind this and who. Jarvis had mentioned his employer, but who that employer was, she had no idea.
The only lead she now had was the paper that had mentioned the Osborne House, May 17th by 7pm. Somehow she was going to have to find out what Jarvis and his employer planned by May 17th or go to the Isle of Wight on that date herself. She sighed. Sean was right, this whole situation was ludicrous and she was an idiot to continue trying to figure things out, but now she really had no choice. Both the Shadow and Lady Edgington were far too involved to back out now.