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The Shadow 11
The butler took Mr. Anderson’s coat and hat as well as Marissa’s coat and bag. She told him of the addition for lunch and he nodded and left to inform the cook.
They went into the parlor to visit until lunch was laid out.
“Tell me about yourself, Mr. Anderson,” Marissa requested formally.
“There isn’t much to tell. I made my fortune in steel in the eastern United States and I recently decided to pursue other interests overseas,” he began. “I have a passion for all things exciting and interesting and mysterious.”
He raised his eyebrows in Marissa’s direction. She blushed slightly.
“There isn’t much that is exciting or mysterious here,” she replied coyly knowing full well her statement was a complete and utter lie.
“Now I don’t believe a word of that, Ma’am. Just your history and position in life begs to differ,” Simon replied grandly.
“Well the mystery is all out now. I dare say there are some in our little circle of friends who don’t appreciate my background and parentage,” Marissa said.
“A pox on those who do, My Lady, I’m sure you are worth more than all their gold and jewels.”
She lowered her eyes at his flattery. She wasn’t used to this kind of attention from any of her gentlemen friends. Simon Anderson seemed much more sincere than any of the men who attempted to court her.
“You said you made your fortune in steel?” she encouraged.
“Yes, my grandparents were immigrants from Italy and my father was a worker in the steel factories in Chicago. I learned all about steel from my father and used the knowledge to invest wisely. It has been quite a challenge, but I have returned to my parents everything they gave me and more.”
He spoke with a smile, but there was a darker undertone that made Marissa cringe.
“And now you are here in London,” she added lightly.
“Yes. I do rather like the city. It is charming in the least.” He gestured all around and then let his eyes rest back on her. “So you mentioned that you worked in a factory. Did your family also work there?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I was raised in an orphanage since I was a child. I had never known who my father was and my mother had never shared the information with me before she disappeared.” She paused thinking about how literal that last statement was. “When I turned fifteen I got a job at the factory and worked there until I was brought here.”
“I bet it was quite a shock for you to be dropped in the world of aristocracy and wealth,” Simon murmured.
Marissa nodded. “It was at first, but I know how to read and I used that to my advantage. I see no reason for me to not understand my status in life. I think it is silly that some women pay no attention to the financial situation they live in.”
Simon chuckled. “Feisty and educated. You really are amazing Lady Edgington!”
“I’m sure most people think I am crazy, but I have spent enough time poor and alone that I don’t ever want to be there again. I think I’m just as smart as my steward or any of the other men out there that run the world,” Marissa declared haughtily.
“Here, here!” Simon cried.
Marissa blushed realizing that her outburst could be very offensive. “That’s not to say that everyone should participate in these weighty matters, it is just an interest of mine,” she qualified.
Eliza quietly entered the parlor at that point and announced lunch. Marissa stood and led the way into the dining room. They ate a simple meal of cold chicken and stuffed potatoes followed by tea and biscuits.
Simon raved about everything and Marissa found herself enjoying his praise of her staff. When the visit was finished he asked to call again and she agreed. She was intrigued by this outward American gentleman.
After he left Marissa made her way to her study and pulled a book from the vast shelves, but her thoughts continued to follow Simon and evaluate the feelings she felt in his presence. She knew she had to be careful with her emotions. Even though he seemed very transparent there was still something that he was hiding, of that she was certain.
She got up from her chair to find Sean. It would be best if he did some background checking on Mr. Anderson. She tried his study, but it was empty. Next she tried the library and the billiard room, but still no Sean. Usually on Sundays he spent his leisure time in those places.
Perplexed she called the butler.
“Yes, Lady?” he asked.
“Tom have you seen Sean?” she asked casually.
“Mr. Doveday left yesterday evening,” Tom informed her.
“Left?” Marissa questioned.
“He had a suitcase so I assumed he would be gone for a day or two on business.”
“Oh, thank you, Tom,” Marissa replied disappointed.
Sean had never left without telling her before. His actions were another barb in the already open wound. She returned to her study and shut the door trying to think calmly about the situation.
They had argued and he had said some things that hurt her deeply, but at the same time her actions had concerned him and on more than one occasion he had asked her to give up her life as the Shadow. Yet she refused to do so. Now she was certain her actions had hurt him. It was one continuous round of hurt that never ended. She knew there was one way to stop it, quit being the Shadow, but she knew she couldn’t do that, at least not yet.
Marissa paced the room until she felt like she had a good course of action. She had to find her mother. Sarah was supposed to be searching for her to turn her in to Dr. Bering and John, but she was doing the things she did to protect Lady Edgington.
Sarah had approached Sean to tell him that Marissa was in danger, but now that she knew that fact, Marissa could act. All she needed to do was explain to Sarah who she was and then maybe they could work together to find out what Dr. Bering was up to and stop him.
The idea seemed so simple in her head, but she knew finding an invisible woman would be nearly impossible. The only avenue she felt she could pursue was the one she didn’t feel ready to attack: return to Dr. Bering’s house. She squared her shoulders determined to do what needed to be done that night.