After the Argument

Kitchen

Peter and Rosemary have been arguing. I haven’t written that scene yet, but the thesis is, it’s looking as though Peter and Rosemary are stuck here, and Peter is a lot more okay with this than Rosemary is. This dischord provokes a blow-up.

Peter feels that things could be a lot worse. They have a roof over their heads, food on the table and, most importantly, each other. He is hurt that this isn’t enough for Rosemary. However, Rosemary has far more to lose in 1884 than Peter does, and she makes him see that in short order. Still, Peter goes storming off (and meets up with is foreman, Tom Proctor, for a scene), and Rosemary goes to bed alone. This is a bit of what follows:

Rosemary rolled over in her sleep. Her arm flopped out of the covers and dangled in midair off the edge of the bed. She could feel the other edge of the bed behind her, and nobody but herself in between. It took her a long moment to realize what was wrong with that. She felt around the covers. “Peter?”

No response.

She fumbled for her glasses and sat up. She peered into the dim, moonlit room. “Peter?” She was alone.

“You’re not back,” she muttered.

Her mind ran over the argument. Were the pangs of guilt she was feeling deserved? She shook her head no. Maybe she would have said things differently if she hadn’t been incensed, but her points stood. They didn’t belong here, even if they did belong together.

Still, sitting up alone in their bed (which was so odd to sleep in barely a month before), she could see how things could have been much worse.

She lay on her back and found herself staring at the ceiling. She rolled onto her side and found herself staring at the wall. She rolled on her stomach and found she couldn’t breathe through the pillow. And it smelled of him.

She sat up again, hugging her knees to her chest. After a moment, she threw off the covers and slipped out of bed. She needed a stroll, or perhaps a drink of water.

In the darkness, she stumbled into the water bucket. It clattered, but didn’t splash. The bottom was no more than damp.

“Oh, yeah,” she muttered. Peter usually filled it. “Silly me.”

She pulled a shawl from her clothes-screen and wrapped herself. Slipping out of her bedroom, she tip-toed past Faith’s door, her bare feet silent on the wooden floor.

As she descended the steps to the kitchen, new sounds invaded her thoughts. She slowed, listening.

She wasn’t wrong. She heard the hiss of something flat and heavy being dragged. It stopped with a thud and a choked-off curse.

Rosemary overbalanced and grabbed for the railing. She righted herself, but couldn’t stop herself from putting her foot solidly on the next step. It creaked loudly. The voice below hushed.

Silence stretched as two sets of ears listened to each other. Then, in the kitchen below, footsteps turned and hustled away, scampering like a dog. A door clicked shut.

Rosemary crept down the remaining steps and stumbled into the now empty kitchen. Peering around in the moonlight, she turned and walked right into a wooden box, doubling over on top of it. She pushed away, glaring at the box and rubbing her belly. “Who brought you here?” she mumbled.

The box was a crate made of planks. Words were stensiled on each side, impossible to read in the moonlight. She tried to lift the lid, but the top was nailed down.

The door to the basement stairwell sailed open. Rosemary leapt back, clutching her chest. She gasped in relief when she recognized the shadow. “Edmund! You startled me!”

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Couldn’t sleep,” she replied. “Thought I’d come down for a glass of water. You?”

He hesitated, then emerged into the moonlight. “Couldn’t sleep either. I thought I would work.”

They leaned on the box across from each other. Rosemary tapped the planks. “This your work?”

He nodded. “Brought it up from the basement.

She gave it a tentative push. It was lighter than it looked, though bulky. “It must have given you a lot of trouble getting it up the stairs.

He shrugged. “The exercise would help me sleep.”

“I suppose.” She looked at him. “What’s in it?”

“Merchandise.”

“An assortment?

“Watches,” said Edmund. “From a bankrupt warehouser. I thought I’d sell some.

It made sense, thought Rosemary. But something else didn’t.

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