|Among the Hills of Edenbrook: FINISHED
Author: R.M.Whitaker PM
Laura Knight is looked on by the people of smalltown Edenbrook, Ireland as a strange, dramatic daydreamer. Which she is. But will her strange ways help to soften the heart of a young, American doctor who has lost his wife? Can she teach him to love again?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 21 - Words: 48,648 - Reviews: 174 - Favs: 106 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 08-24-05 - Published: 04-06-05 - Status: Complete - id: 1879045
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Laura Knight was not born into the happiest of circumstances. Neither was her childhood an enviable one. She was unsure as to who her father was, but since before her birth her mother had called her an accident.
It was on a cold and rainy night in February of 1887 that Bridget Knight hurried through the streets of a small town in Ireland called Edenbrook. In her arms she held a bundle of clothes. From this bundle came the soft sound of a baby crying. "Hush!" she whispered harshly. She stepped into the small church to take shelter as her eyes scanned the small farms and houses. There were twenty in all.
Edenbrook had a population of a mere 130 people. It was built upon the only plane of flat ground for nearly three miles around, surrounded by rolling, bluish-green hills that were Ireland's trademark. It truly was beautiful country.
But Bridget paid the quaint beauty of the town no mind. She had found what she was looking for. A small house standing near the gate of Edenbrook was her destination. She hushed the crying baby up once more and then plunged back out into the rain. Her blonde curls were drenched, sticking to the sides of her face and neck as she reached the porch of the old house. She raised her fist and pounded on the door.
A moment later, the door opened a crack and the face of a woman, who looked to be in her early thirties, appeared. Her gray eyes widened at the sight before her- a young woman out in the rain with a baby and no coat. "Oh my," she said, opening the door wider. "Please, come in."
Bridget's plan had worked. She put on a pathetic face, rejoicing inside that the woman had taken pity on her. She stepped into the warmth of the tiny house, shivering and hugging her baby to her.
The woman closed the door and led Bridget to a chair by the fire. "Now, me dear, where is it ye come?"
Bridget shivered. "Please, miss," she said as pathetically as she could. "I have nowhere else to go." She held out her baby. "I have nowhere to go that I can bring her with me."
The woman knelt down beside her. "What is your name, child?"
"Bridget Knight. This is my little angel, Laura."
"I am Maggy Heart."
Bridget nodded. "Yes, I've heard of you."
"You have?" Maggy's eyebrows knitted together.
"Aye. I've heard that you are a widow." She held out the baby. "Here, take her. I can't." She feigned sorrow. "No one will offer me work if I keep her. And you understand, I must have work. I will send what I earn here."
Maggy shook her head, realizing what this young girl of nineteen was trying to do. "Oh no, no, no. I am sorry, deary, but I cannot take your child. There are other places that can help you."
Bridget shook her head. "They would want money for her."
"You are willing to send your wages to me. Why not to a monastery?"
The blonde girl shook her head and sighed in frustration, standing from her seat. "I beg of you, Mrs. Heart! Please take it! I don't know how to raise it!" She thrust the baby forward and forced her into Maggy's arms.
Maggy shook her head and tried to give the girl back. "You cannot just dump your responsibilities on a total stranger! You do not even know me!"
"I know that you are barren and can not have children of your own. I know how badly you and your husband wanted some. Take this one. I have no use for it. It was and accident. I don't want it."
Maggy looked on the young woman in shock. Without even thinking, she hugged the crying baby to herself, wishing to protect it from this heartless woman. "Surely you don't feel that way!"
"I do and I always will." She looked out the window at the pouring rain and then walked to the door.
"Now hold up, there! You can not just leave her here!"
Bridget's act was gone. She looked quite careless and not half so innocent as she had seamed before. Her attitude let on that she was in a bit of a hurry. "Look," she said as she opened the door. "I'll come and visit it every week. Look at it. You know that you want it. I shall see you sometime next week. Goodbye." And with that, she was out the door before Maggy could do or say a thing.
The baby in her arms kicked it's legs and began to cry again. "Shhh," Maggy soothed, rocking the little girl gently and calming her. "Oh, don't cry now, little one." She sat down in her rocking chair by the fire as the baby started to settle down and fall asleep. She looked down at the sleeping face and sighed. What had the girl called her? Laura. Laura Knight.
Laura stretched sleepily, her little mouth opening wide in a yawn. It was then- as Maggy took in the firelight dancing off the baby's thin sheen of golden hair and the little hand holding her finger, that she first fell in love with the little girl
Bridget did not come back the next week. But she did the next. It was clear to Maggy from just that first visit, that Bridget Knight felt nothing but annoyance toward her daughter. Her visits were not so seldom as she had promised that they would be. She rarely came once every two months.
By the time Laura was two years old, Bridget only visited thrice in the entire year. You see, Bridget Knight was a very handsome woman- with deep green eyes and long, flowing blonde hair. She had a complexion that was without fault and an enchanting smile. Had her daughter possessed her good looks at that young age, she might have considered keeping her. But, as it was, Laura was a skinny little girl with a freckled face and thin, little wisps of curly, blonde hair. Her eyes were brown and her nose slightly turned up at the end, like a little cherry. She did not behave like other girls her age. Almost every time Bridget saw her, Laura was sitting by the window of Maggy's little house, just looking out. On her face would be a look of great concentration, as though she were trying to figure something out.
She had taken to drawing at a very young age and by the age of three she was drawing things as odd as a tare in the fabric on the sofa. And she would always say such strange things. One day, when Bridget was visiting, Laura showed her a drawing she had done of a crack in the wall. "Do you like my drawing, mother?" she had asked sweetly, showing as much respect for the woman as was possible.
Bridget had smirked. "I can not even tell what the scribble is, child!"
Laura pointed to the crack in the wall behind her. "It is this crack. Do you know what I think? I think that the star fairies come in here at night and sleep in this crack. After they sprinkle their star-dust all over the sky, of course."
Bridget's face had showed her surprise. "What in the world are you talking about, child?"
Laura looked down at her feet. Though she rarely ever saw her mother, she wanted nothing more than to please her, but she never could. Bridget always looked as though she thought her daughter was the strangest creature in the world.
But Maggy loved all of the child's unique ways and strange words. She had come to love the child dearly, though her mother only visited twice in that year.
The next year, when Laura was four, Bridget came to visit only once. And then neither Maggy nor Laura ever saw or heard from her again. So Bridget Knight abandoned her daughter, leaving her to grow up under a widow's roof in the small, Irish town of Edenbrook.