(A/N. HA HA HA HA HA!!! Oh, S. Renee! I loved your review! Heck no! I ain't mad at you for not liking Elizabeth! To tell the truth, I don't like her too much either at times. But, I mean, I like her, cuz I created her and she's like a daughter to me (sorry if that sounds really scary). But, see, she's supposed to be like that in this book. Remember, she's very young still. She'll grow up soon enough, you'll see. I know, I know! You're all dying for Will and Elizabeth to get their romantic moment, but, as I've said before, there won't exactly be a moment like that in THIS book. This book is pretty much just preparing you for the next one. It's pretty much just a prologue book. Ok, maybe that's not the best way to explain it. I don't want to say too much (not like there's really much to give away), but by the next book, both Will and Elizabeth will realize how foolish they were in this book. He he he, I can't wait! I probably get more excited about my books then you guys do! But then, they always sound so much better in my head then they do on the page. Oh well, hope you guys find at least a bit of enjoyment in this frustrating chapter. 'Till the next A/N, bye!)
Thank you all so much for all you have done for me this past year.
For letting me live in your house, eat your food, and learn from you.
I am sorry that the friendships we have developed have to part this way.
By the time you find this letter, I will be gone. I am sorry, Mr. Wellington,
for breaking the contract I have signed, but there is something I must do,
something I was born to do. And now I am gone to do it.
Yours truly, Will Ingalls.
P.S. Elizabeth, locket.
This was all the Wellingtons had. A crumpled note left on Will's pillow. When Elizabeth had entered his room, all of Will's things were gone.
Posters were put up all over the whole of Massachusetts with rewards and soldiers were asking around for a young man who went by the name of William Ingalls. Will was now a wanted man.
As much as the Wellingtons loved Will, a law was a law and they could not escape from it. If Will was found, he would face a severe punishment. Elizabeth's stomach twisted with worry every time the image of Will being dragged into her house by British soldiers entered her mind. She could hear his screams as he received his punishment in her head and it tormented her. She prayed that he would not be found out; that if he was to return home, it would be of his own free will. He would still receive a punishment then, but it would not be as severe.
Suspicious eyes turned to Elizabeth because of her friendship with Will and most especially because of the P.S. Will had left in his letter. "What locket?" her parents had asked. She remained silent on that subject, determined that she would find out what Will meant by the piece of jewelry herself. And so she did, the night before she would leave for Pennsylvania. Yes, the Wellingtons were still going to Pennsylvania, despite the trouble they were having with an escaped apprentice.
All alone, up in her room, Elizabeth sat on her bed and pulled out the locket Will had given her. What could he want her to know about this locket? She turned it over a couple times in her hands, inspecting the decorative carvings in it, before she finally opened it and out fell a piece of paper, folded into the smallest square it could be. She opened it up and found Will's untidy scrawl over its surface.
Dearest Elizabeth; you surely must know where I have gone. You are a smart
girl and you know of my thirst for freedom. Yes, I have gone to fight with my
brothers in the war for Liberty. I understand that I spoke in riddles about the
stars and fireflies, but I think you will know my meaning at least a little if I tell
you that the firefly symbolized British rule, while the star represented a free government
that must be established. A king will die and who knows what the next in power will
want? But the perfect government lasts for generations and generations.
You deserve the very best. I want you to have the very best. That is why I have gone.
I am sorry to leave you like this. I love you.
A tear of frustration rolled down Elizabeth's cheek. Why was Will doing this? How was it possible for him to make such a bad thing sound so noble? But the last three words of the note took Elizabeth's breath away. Perhaps he did not mean them the way she meant them for him, but she liked to imagine that they did. She smiled and closed her eyes. 'Oh, Father in Heaven,' she prayed, 'please don't let them find him. Let him be safe.'
Samuel Wellington had almost stayed at home while his daughter and wife went to Pennsylvania, but he truly felt that it was too late; that Will was already out of his reach, so he went.
Elizabeth felt so lonely and retched at her cousin's home. She had no one to talk with but Charlotte, who treated her with the savage rudeness of a jealous child. The endless worry that gnawed at her every second was pure torture. What would become of Will? What would she do without him? She loved him so much, and now he was gone.
Now, as Elizabeth walked the grounds of her uncle's estate, she wondered what Will was doing at that very moment. Gray clouds were beginning to gather overhead and she knew that she would soon have to return to the house. But she lingered a bit longer. And it was a good thing too, for at that moment, something caught her eye. A birdhouse sat by the wall of her uncle's house, but it was not this that caught her eye; it was what was sticking out of it. A rolled up scroll of parchment poked noticeably out of the hole of the birdhouse that was the 'door'. She leaned towards it and pulled it out. To her absolute shock, Will's writing was revealed as the paper was unrolled. It had three, simple words scratched onto it, "by the pond."
Elizabeth's eyes darted to the trees in the distance. She knew what pond it was. It was the same pond she had found so much relief in last summer. Could Will really be in there? She ran as fast as her stays and petticoat would allow to that pond she could see so clearly in her mind.
Reaching the trees, Elizabeth slowed down a bit, panting like an excited child. But worry showed more plainly on her face then did excitement. She jogged the last few yards to the pond and found the silhouette of a horse there. A twig snapped to her right and Elizabeth jumped. Will stepped out from behind a tree and smiled sadly. "Hello, Elizabeth."
Elizabeth stared at him in disbelief. His clothes were soiled and torn, his face was dirty and dried blood crusted around several scratches he had received. His auburn hair was, if possible, messier then usual and now flecked with dry moss and pine needles. "Will," Elizabeth breathed, "what are you---- how did you---- how long have you been here?"
"How did you find----"
"I asked around a bit."
"What are you doing here? Why did you run away?"
"You know why I ran away. I'm joining the army. I'm going off to fight."
"Because I have to. This is the most important thing for me to do."
Elizabeth walked over to Will and inspected the cuts on his arms that had dyed his shirt a burgundy color. "You've been living in these woods for two days? What have you eaten?"
"Berries mostly," Will said with a weak smile.
Now Elizabeth was beginning to overcome her shock and the worry was taking over. "Will, how could you do this? Do you realize that you are a wanted criminal now? Do you realize what will happen to you if they find you?"
"Yes, I understand all of that. But I'm willing to risk it to do what is right."
Elizabeth shook her head, her eyes shining with tears. "Do you realize how worried I've been?"
Will looked down at the ground. "I'm sorry, Elsie," he said.
"Will, if you are running off to fight in the war, then what are you doing here?"
Will closed his eyes and sighed. "I couldn't bear to just leave you without saying goodbye."
Elizabeth bit her lip. "Please don't go, Will," she whispered. "I couldn't bear it if you left. I----" she began breathing hard in nervousness, "I really like you, Will." She wanted to say it, but she was so afraid that he would not feel the same way. "I really, really like you." Then she just let it all out. "Will, I love you! I want us to get married! I want us to have children every bit as stubborn as we are! I want us to fight about every little thing and watch you win every argument! I know it would never work, but I want us to make it work. I love you so much. Please, come back to the house with me. We can make it all better. We can clear your name."
The rain began pouring down now, but Will knew it was not just raindrops running down Elizabeth's cheeks. He wanted more then ever to listen to her, to just go turn himself in and start a life with her. But he knew he had a duty. He looked at her sadly, "I love you, Elizabeth," he said. He took her up into his arms and kissed her.
Elizabeth had once told Will that she would love to walk among the clouds, and that's just what she did at that moment that Will kissed her. She had envisioned this kiss so many times in her dreams, but she never could have imagined that it would be like this. But leave it to Will Ingalls to make everything a million times better then any dream ever could.
Elizabeth was still suspended somewhere above the earth when Will pulled away. It took a moment for her to realize that she was still in the woods, now soaking wet from the buckets of water being poured from heaven. She was still in such a daze as Will slowly backed away and approached his horse, his eyes never leaving Elizabeth. It took all the strength Elizabeth had to even attempt anger. "So that's it, then?" she cried, tears streaming down her face. "One kiss and I never see you again? Will, what if you die out there?"
"Then you will marry someone who deserves you more then me."
Elizabeth ran to Will's side. "Will, if you died, I could never live!"
Will slid his foot up into the stirrup of the horse's saddle and prepared to pull himself up.
Elizabeth began to tremble with silent sobs and then swallowed them down painfully as she tried to be angry. "Well don't expect me to stand around and wait for you!" she cried, her voice weak. "You're crazy if you think I won't march right up to that house and tell everyone where you are."
Will gritted his teeth to keep from changing his mind. He heaved himself up onto the horse and gripped the reigns tightly.
Elizabeth began to sob uncontrollably as Will turned his steed around. "I love you," he said one last time, tears of pain glistening in his powerful, gray eyes. Then his heals dug into his horse's sides and the animal jerked forward, its hooves pounding and splashing in the muddy, Pennsylvania soil.
Elizabeth's pained voice traveled through the wind that was blowing right into Will's ears. "Leave!" she managed to sob, "I'll tell them where you are!" But he knew she would never tell.
(A/N. HA HA HA! HE HE HE! I know, what an annoying ending! I hate it myself, but, hey! I guess you'll just have to read the next book to find out what happens. The title will be "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and I've been so excited to write it that I almost gave up on this one. I don't know what you guys will think of it, but I can't wait to begin it! Unfortunately, it's nearly one in the morning and my mom won't be too happy with me if I stay up any longer to write more. Hope the ending of this didn't totally twist your stomach in knots of annoyance, lol.
Love y'all! 'Till the next adventure, bye bye!