He’s unsure of his surroundings. Marley can spot the outline of houses in the distance, tho through the trees he can’t assess whether the houses are nearby or not. It’s still early in the day yet it seems to Marley that it must be much later seeing the dimmed sunlight that lights his muse’s path in front of him.
“My house is nearby,” Ruby says. Again it seems to Marley that Ruby can read his every thought. “Don’t make too much noise approaching it, though, even at this time of day,” Ruby continues.
Marley nods and follows Ruby silently along the path engulfed in trees and bushes surrounding them. They approach one of the houses that revealed themselves earlier right after shutting that magic door behind them. Marley is ever so curious of what is to come.
The house then presents its full form to Marley. Dark figures adorn the roofs and chimney of the home giving it an eerie atmosphere. Red bricks and black wood stare blankly back at Marley as he takes it all in. In awe, he stands.
Before he step’s inside, Marley looks around, wondering where he might be. The house is adjacent to what seems to be a small town square. Marley doesn’t see a familiar site, only four other houses next to the town’s square. As far as his eyes can see, Marley spots only mountaintops in the distance. Being in the mountains would explain the foggy and dark atmosphere that caresses the square and its neighboring buildings.
“Aren’t you coming in?” Ruby asks from the threshold. Then, they both step inside. They are standing in a beautiful red wooden paneled hallway with matching floors. This room feels a lot more inviting than the cold air outside did. Marley takes his coat off and hangs it on the coat rack next to the door.
Ruby swings two doors open so Marley can follow her into the living room. Somehow, the interior of that room seems to match the woman of the house’s state of mind, Marley thinks as he looks around. Marley’s mesmerized by the classy yet lived in and old décor of the room.
Marley looks at Ruby and smiles. She smiles back yet soon the smile makes way for a more concerned face. Looking at her expression, Marley asks Ruby what is wrong. Ruby says she’ll get him a drink first but has a lot to talk to him about right afterward…
Marley has been out of town for little over a week. Abel has only heard from Marley once, a day before Marley set foot in Oasis Springs to meet up with his pal, Leonard. It is at this point that Abel is contacted by Marley’s manager. Two pregnant groupies have presented themselves there. Marley’s manager displays his concern when speaking to Abel on Marley’s old cell phone.
Abel decides to get in touch with the groupies himself before anyone else does or before informing Marley of the matter to convince the groupies to stay with him at the manor awaiting the arrival of Marley. That way, Abel is able to prevent any collateral damage from happening and hopefully steer the births towards nooboo boys.
“Marley is a free rock and roll kinda spirit. I can not promise either of you that he will choose to live his life with you from here on,” Abel explains the girls later that day. “However, I do invite you to stay at the Mezilkree Manor for the time being and enjoy its comforts and riches at least till Marley is back and you can inform him yourselves and in the most ideal situation, until the nooboos are due,” Abel tries to convince them.
Both women, Rylie Wells and Immelda Snide, although they differ in shape, size and more are equally eager to get a taste of the life of the rich and famous and so they happily accept Abel’s offer. After arrangements with Rylie and Immelda have been made, Abel takes a break in the garden.
Having the pregnant women agree to his preliminary terms feels like ‘one down, two to go’ to Abel. He knows he’ll somehow need to inform Viela before the Council gets wind of the pregnancy some other way. Abel decides he’ll call to tell Viela that Marley will share details with him and the Council once he’s back in town.
Then, all that is left to do is inform the father to be! First Abel figures he needs a cup of tea to strengthen his nerves. Why again did he agree to be Marley’s secretary while out of town, he wonders? Maybe it’s all for the best, though.
When Abel drinks his tea, he gets his brother’s phone out and dials Marley’s new number. Abel can’t get a hold of Marley. “Hm, his phone’s dead? Maybe he’s taken the bus to Granite Falls from Oasis Springs? No matter, he’ll get back to me once he sees his missed calls,” Abel concludes.
In the meantime, Marley’s been listening to Ruby, unaware of any missed calls: “He and his consorts drank the life essence of my family and left them to wither. All I had left in the world was my abductor and strange enough, over time, you build connections, even with those you hate.” The pain is visible on Ruby’s face, “It falls hard on me to talk about this, I usually never do,” she continues, laying her head on Marley’s shoulder.
Marley remains silent after hearing a big part of Ruby’s life story. “I can’t even imagine how that must have felt,” he eventually replies. “I’ve been lucky, always a good life blessed even.” Then, Marley remains silent again, not knowing how else to respond to a tale like that.
“It’s okay. I’ve been searching for a way out. Maybe, one day, and until then we can spend time together?” Ruby says with a sparkle in her eye, “I would love a kindred soul around to talk to. You bring joy into my life I haven’t felt in a very long time.”
Marley pulls his muse closer, burying his face deeper in her raven hair. She smells wonderful, a musky scent yet ever so elegant to the nostrils. He can’t help himself, he’s all eyes and ears for Ruby.
He spends the rest of the afternoon side by side with Ruby sharing stories and talking about their life experiences while caressing each other as much as possible.
When the clock and his appetite tell Marley it’s time to grab a bite, Ruby tells him it will not be safe to stay much longer. With his coat already back on, Marley expresses his disappointment for having to leave. He asks Ruby if there is no way for him to stay longer.
“Let me think of a way but, for now, I’m afraid I have to take you back, my prince,” Ruby answers. She and Marley step through another one of her magical doors and the lovebirds kiss their goodbyes.
At first, Marley doesn’t see where he is though soon finds himself transported back into the mysterious grotto where he’s left all alone.
A.N. The building featured in this chapter is a build of my own, and can be found here for a more detailed look and dl 🙂