The bells chimed signalling that the bride and groom were now married. Within the church the happy couple kissed and their friends and family celebrated. Yet outside the church, able to hear the chime of the bells was a woman who was not happy. The love of her life had just gotten married, and she hadn’t made it to the wedding in time to stop him. It wasn’t as though she was going to just barge into the ceremony and declare her love for him in front of everyone, she had already confessed the night before when she gatecrashed his bachelor party, or rather what she had assumed was his bachelor party. She had come to him as he walked along the street and told him how she felt. He ignored her and Jane was going to make a last minute bid before the ceremony started to try and convince him to run away with her.
The chime of the bells struck her heart strings as she realized with a sinking feeling of despair in her stomach that her life was completely and utterly over.
“Now Jane,” came a gentle voice from behind her. “Will you come with me?”
Jane, or Janet McLeod as she was better known turned and saw not a friendly face but a sinister one– or at least he was sinister in her eyes. Callum O’Henry was nothing like the man she loved. He was short, blonde, blue-eyed, rough, indomitable, rude and sometimes quite downright nasty. Yet he had taken to her like a duck takes to water and Jane had been dealing with his unwanted attention ever since.
“No Callum,” she said evenly as she turned away from him. “I shall not come with you.”
“But you must,” Callum insisted. “It’s all over.”
“It’s not,” Jane cried as she whirled around to face her foe. “I could still have him.”
“And have him be an adulterer?” Callum asked with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t think so.”
Jane burst into tears and crumpled to the ground, sobs wracking her body. Barely aware of what was going on around her, Jane could only and barely hear Callum’s footsteps as he ascended up the church stairs and she could only barely feel his arms as they encircled her. He drew her in and allowed her to cry into his chest. How long they sat there, Jane did not know but when Callum hauled her to her feet she looked up to see why.
Coming out of the church was the bride and groom. The happy couple, surrounded by their happy friends. Callum sequestered Jane in an alcove in the architecture of the church to protect her from prying eyes. When the happy couple passed, and the crowd dispersed he stood away.
“I am sorry,” he apologized. “But I thought it best not to make a scene.”
“You think that I am so weak willed that I would have gone to him now?” Jane asked, her sadness and heartbreak turning back into anger for Callum was ruining the self pity and despair that she so wanted to wallow in.
“In all honesty Jane yes,” he admitted. “I do think so.”
“If you believe that then you do not know me,”
“No,” Callum agreed. “I do not know you. But I have it within me to imagine what you are feeling and I believe that you are not of the right mind. That is not to say that you shall not be in your right mind soon enough,” he added, speaking quickly so as not to offend her. “What I mean to say is that your heart is thinking for you now instead of your head. You have been jilted by the man you love, and you are bound to have trouble dealing with it.”
Jane nodded, but said nothing. She wanted to let Callum know that she understood what he was saying but she also didn’t want him to think that she was forgiving him so easily. Before either of them could speak again the sound of the chime of the bells sounded once more. When they were over, Callum held out his hand.
“Now come with me,” he told her in a gentle voice, one that was most unlike the tone that he generally used in his day to day life but seemed to always use with her. “I will lead you from your sadness.”
Jane just looked at him. “Where are we to go?”
“I am going to take you away from here,” Callum told her. “Away from town. I have been given a country estate by my late uncle and I intend to take up residence in it. It is my wish that you come with me.”
“Come with you?” asked Jane. “I could not dream of doing such a thing. We are not married.”
“I do not ask you to come and share my bed,” Callum promised in an almost biting tone. “I ask that you come to be a part of my household staff. I am sure to find a place for you.”
“A place for me?” Jane said in an almost undignified tone. “How dare you presume to be able to find a place for me. No one can find a place for me save for my own mind or God’s Will.”
Callum laughed at her feisty nature. “It has been a while indeed since I last heard a woman compare her mind to God.”
“That is not what I said,” Jane snapped. “Or rather it is not what I meant to say. I do as my own mind commands but I do it so long as it is God’s Will.”
“So you are saying that it was not God’s Will for you to marry him.”
Jane looked behind her, and saw the happy procession disappearing from view down another street. “No,” she said with a heavy sigh as she turned back to Callum. “I suppose that it was not God’s Will that I marry him.”
“So what does your mind ask you to do now?” he asked.
Jane let her gaze bore into his. “It says that I need to get away, and I shall come with you as a household helper, God does know how skilled I am in such tasks.”
With that said, Jane took Callum’s hand and together they left the town, bound for a country estate where they could live in peace away from the memories that plagued them both.