Open These Eager Eyes

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On the Outside Looking In

“Alexander Rose? I’m William Dover. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m most grateful for your generosity,” Edward smiled politely, hoping he would not meet Kathleen in this guise so soon.

“Welcome, William. You don’t mind me calling you that, do you lad?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, William, welcome to my humble abode. You’ll be meeting my family soon, but why don’t you settle in? I’ll fetch you for dinner.”

“Thank you again, sir. I appreciate it.”

Shooed off, Edward headed up the stairs and headed into a quaint bedroom that was dominated by the color of sky blue. Setting his bag aside, he locked the door and flung the brown wig off his head, revealing dark locks.

He unhappily dressed down to become more comfortable, wondering how he would live under the same roof with his intended for an indeterminable time. He hadn’t even kissed her yet.

‘How is she going on without me?’ Edward thought, dreading the thought of finding her relieved at the lack of his presence, though he didn’t wish her to feel horrible.

‘It’s only been months since we first met. My continued aloofness has put her off and she is no longer as excited at the sight of me as she once was in the beginning. If I was not so cold to her, maybe she would have come to love me.’

He sighed and curled up on the bed, closing his eyes and wishing he could just sleep everything away.

Edward did get to see Kathleen at dinner. She looked lost, though she acted normal. To be honest, Edward didn’t know how he should feel about it. He was more confused than anything.

It was like that for months afterward, his stay with the Rose family dull except for the moments he allowed himself to watch Kathleen. Inside of him, he felt a guilty pleasure at the reaction his beloved was showing, but he was still sorry that she seemed miserable at times. For what, he couldn’t understand. If he had to guess, it was her promise to him.

Did she regret it? Probably. However, Edward couldn’t find it in himself to muster up any remorse for it. At the moment, the promise was the only thing holding her to him. It wouldn’t be long before it didn’t matter anymore.

He tried to focus on his mission, spying on Kathleen’s father. Every Thursday, the man had friends over and they would talk quietly amongst themselves in the parlor. Only recently had he begun to eavesdrop, carefully sneaking to the door and listening with great care.

It was only a matter of time before he could infiltrate their little circle. It takes time after all. Edward needed to gain Alexander’s trust. That couldn’t be done so quickly.

Deciding to retire early that night, he wearily climbed the stairs and was almost to his room when an awake Kathleen stared at him curiously from the bathroom door.

“Mr. Dover, you are awake still?”

Uncomfortably, Edward stopped his mouth from saying something that would give him away. Composing himself, he gave her a polite smile.

“Just. I was only filling my thirst a little. I’m sated now so I should think I’ll go to sleep.”


He couldn’t help a genuine smile from crossing his face as he passed her to go to his room. But he paused and gazed at her unsteadily, licking his lips cagily. And then he leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly against hers, straightening abruptly afterwards. He strode away, feeling his face heating up, and sure he had left her confused and dazed.

The next encounter he had with her was when Alexander hosted a small party in celebration of Kathleen’s birthday. She was turning fifteen and he was still as in love with her as ever.

He watched throughout the party as all sorts of men, boys really, approached her. He watched with envious eyes as they gathered around her, complimenting and giving the barest of touches.

He hadn’t noticed that he kept drinking glass after glass of wine, the alcohol draining his reserves and persuading him to join the others in asking for her affections.

When the party dwindled down, and everyone had left, he was alone with her. They took care of the mess left behind by the guests, her parents having already retired to their room. It was an opportunity he had wanted and yet dreaded.

“Mr. Dover…”

“William,” he interrupted her. As much as he disliked the name because it was his father’s, he wanted to be as familiar with her as he never could as Edward Blake.

“William, that kiss before…why did you –?”

“Because you are a creature of beauty that needed to be worshipped.”

And all the words he could not say before, flowed through him now.

So he really couldn’t be at fault when he reached over to her and pulled her close, smelling the scent of apples in her hair. He swept his lips all over her face, placing butterfly kisses to slake his urge to kiss her wholly. When at last he knew he had to go or else he would lose control, he leaned back and tilted her chin up. He stared into those trusting amber eyes and kissed her tenderly, wanting to slant his mouth and kiss her deeply. But he resisted and left her there, just like the first time he kissed her.

It was unfortunate that not too long after, Alexander began letting Edward into his circle of friends. And it wasn’t too soon after that that Edward was sent off to stay with one of Alexander’s friends, and help the mutinous plans to develop over there.

He wouldn’t forget the heartbroken look on Kathleen’s face as he left, a look that had been absent when Edward Blake had left.

It was ironic that he had lost Kathleen to himself, or rather his alter ego.

Edward heard about her troubles with men, unable to attract one to her, and her family’s increasing worry over their daughter’s lack of marriage. He was unable to completely rein in his envy as he imagined men coming near his Kathleen. He knew her family’s worry would push her to forget her promise to him. He just tried to put all his focus on his mission, sabotaging from the inside while reporting to his superiors. He hadn’t expected the mission to last this long.

Imagine his surprise and happiness when his superiors announced that he could officially stop the mission. He wasn’t quite ready to go back to being Edward Blake, but he still wanted to go back to courting Kathleen. And if it was as William Dover, then so be it.

She was thirty-two by then, and he thirty-eight. A long time had passed since they had met each other, either by when he was Edward or William, and he wasn’t sure if she remembered him any more.

So he set out back to see her, with three flowers in hand. A daffodil, a red carnation, and an amaranth.

My heart aches for you…unrequited love…immortal love…

She had told him once, before she had ever met William Dover, that after the first flower he had given her she had asked her mother to teach her the language of flowers. He was sure then she would understand the underlying meanings of the flowers, though not the true depth or why he picked those certain flowers for their meanings.

He was happy to see her eyes light up with knowledge, and knew she had read the flowers correctly. Of course she only knew the what, but not the why.

She had accepted them, and him as well of course, and they began the courting process. He was reintroduced to her family as her intended, them accepting of him as they hadn’t been with Edward.

He was William now, he realized.

Because as William, he was able to keep Kathleen, or else lose her as Edward.

Their wedding was small, but humble. Even more, it was beautiful. It didn’t have to be grand, but as long as it made the both of them happy Edward was fine with that.

He had no one on his side of the Church, though her family certainly took up all of the spots in hers. Enough so that they had to occupy his side, but it didn’t really matter to Edward because none of his family would want to be there to support him. And he cared more about getting married than trivial matters such as that.

“I, William Dover, take you Kathleen Rose, for my wife,
to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better,
for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Their vows were said and Kathleen became Mrs. Dover, and they were happy.

However, Edward couldn’t keep his smile as real as he wanted it to be, not when for some reason there was this hole inside of him.

I, Edward Blake, take you Kathleen Rose, for my wife,
to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better,
for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Those were those vows he had wanted to say, should have said. But it was too late for that now, wasn’t it? Now Kathleen was married to William, and not really him.

‘Til Death do us part…

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