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The Shadow 17
Marissa opened her eyes in an unfamiliar room. She felt confused as the remnants of her dream seemed to melt into reality. She had been running away, not as Lady Edgington, but the Shadow.
“Finally, you’re awake,” Sean said, sounding relieved.
Marissa looked up into his worried eyes. “Where have you been?” she demanded, feeling a mixture of exmotions.
Sean’s expression hardened slightly. “Here,” he motioned to the room they were in.
“Where am I?”
“I’m not sure exactly, but I know we are somewhere in London,” he answered.
His expression softened and he gently took her hand. “I thought you would never wake up. You kept murmuring in your sleep and then fading away and coming back.”
Sean looked worn out and now Marissa understood why.
“Did anyone see me disappear?” she asked worried. Dr. Bering must not know she is the Shadow.
“I don’t think so. I kept the blanket over you so when they looked in they could see you sleeping.” He shook his head. “Marissa what in blazes were you thinking, going to the country estate?” he suddenly demanded angrily.
“We were checking to see if they actually took you there before I reported you missing,” she replied, with a humph. All the tender emotions and feelings she had experienced on the train were washed away with his accusation and she felt very defensive at the moment.
“We?” Sean questioned.
“Sarah and I. She’s mostly visible now. Jarvis got her with the antidote when we tried to trick them,” Marissa admitted.
“Who is Jarvis?” Sean asked, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Dr. Bering. He’s behind all this mess.”
“A mess you got yourself nicely mixed up in,” Sean grumbled. “I was going to take you to the estate house to get you away from this madness. After we argued I knew you were in more trouble than you could handle. I asked Peter to take me to the station so I could arrange travel and I woke up here.”
Marissa thought about the argument and her temper flared. She had been worried about him and how her actions had hurt him, but he didn’t seem concerned at all about the things he had said to her. His words still stung, mixed with the accusations of her creating this mess.
“Peter is working for Jarvis,” she snapped. “So you can’t blame me entirely. In fact if I hadn’t got mixed up in this we would be here without even understanding why.”
She folded her arms across her chest, daring him to contradict her. Sean eyed her carefully. He knew her temper well enough not to challenger her.
“I suppose knowing the why gives us a degree of advantage,” he admitted.
She looked at him and her heart softened. “Would you really have forced me to leave despite my intentions to solve this riddle?” she asked, her tone colored with annoyance.
“I would have done it because of your intentions, Marissa. You are determined to destroy yourself and your father’s good name and I wasn’t going to let that happen,” Sean said proudly.
Marissa eyes narrowed. “My father’s good name?” she said slowly, anger building in her chest. “That’s all you really care about is his good name. I’m just some stupid, arrogant woman who’s spoiled all your plans because I don’t fit into the Lady Edgington ideal just the right way.”
She flung the blanket away and jumped off the couch where she had been laid.
“Well, I’m not like Lady Edgington. I’m like Sarah Clarence. I’m independent and willful and I will do what I think is right and nothing you say or do will stop me, Mr. Doveday.” She marched over to the door and pounded on it.
“Marissa, please,” Sean began.
“Let me out of here,” Marissa shouted, ignoring Sean’s pleading.
Suddenly there was a loud bang somewhere in the house, beyond their prison room. Both Marissa and Sean fell silent and listened to the shouts and sounds of fighting. Almost as quickly as it began the fighting stopped. Marissa leaned closer to the door and then jumped back in surprise as it burst open.
“Marissa? Are you all right?” Simon Anderson demanded, entering the room brandishing a pistol.
“Mr. Anderson? What are you doing here?” Marissa asked surprised.
“I’ve been searching the town for you,” he declared gallantly.
“But how did you ever find me?” Marissa asked in awe.
“I went to call on you and the servants said you went to the station early this morning to go to your country estate, so I took the next train out.” He took her hand familiarly. “Forgive my forwardness, Marissa, but I had to see you again. Your beauty and intelligence has bewitched me and I’m afraid I’ve fallen in love with you.”
Marissa blushed deeply, moved by his praise.
“That still doesn’t explain how you found her,” Sean said from behind them.
Simon turned to Sean and glared. “Who is this man that is keeping you prisoner?” he demanded threateningly.
“Mr. Doveday isn’t keeping me prisoner, Mr. Anderson. He is being held captive too,” she answered. She emphasized isn’t for Sean’s benefit. “I went looking for him at the estate house. I received a message that supposedly came from him, but it was D...these men instead.”
Marissa almost mentioned Dr. Bering, but held back. She didn’t feel like she could completely trust him just yet.
“So how did you find us?” Sean asked pointedly.
Simon glared at him again. “When I arrived at the estate house, your people said you had never arrived. I became concerned so I returned to the station and questioned people to see if you had even made it to the country. I finally found a man who said he saw a woman meeting your description being carried onto the train that returned to London.”
He brought his intense gaze back to Marissa. “You can imagine my concern when I heard you were being carried. I just knew the only way they could force a woman of your courage and stamina would be to incapacitate you.”
Marissa lifted her chin just slightly at his praise, but remained silent so he would finish his tale.
“I took the next train back to London and proceeded to question everyone at Kings Cross until I found a trace of you. It was simple to question the cabbie they hired to bring you here and when I was certain you wouldn’t be harmed I stormed the house with my men servants,” Simon finished with a flare.
“Oh my,” Marissa said.
“Why didn’t you simply call the police?” Sean asked, unimpressed.
“I wouldn’t dare leave the fate of such a woman as Lady Edgington in the fate of a common policeman,” Simon replied snidely.
“Nevertheless we should report this, Simon,” Marissa said, stepping between the men.
She carefully took Simon’s arm and allowed him to escort her out of the room. Sean followed closely behind them.