Part 1415 – No One Else’s Fault. Just Raven’s.

Do I trust him?

Should I…

But he isn’t lying. He clearly isn’t lying.

“If you don’t believe me…if you can’t trust me…if you can’t…Els. Maybe.” Hildreth released her arms. “Then, maybe we should just. We should.”

“If you’re trying to say what I think you’re trying to say, you can just shut up right now. Or I will punch you in the face. Yes, I am mad at you, but there is no way on this God-loving green Earth that I am going to let you walk away from me. I love you, you big stupid idiot of a macaroon.”

He choked out a laugh. “Elsie.”

“Don’t speak, Hildreth.” She grabbed the hair on the sides of his head, which made him laugh even more. “Just kiss me.”

“Oh, I don’t know. You didn’t say—”

She silenced him with a kiss.

***

Jeff waited.

He waited for the tea kettle to whistle.

He waited for Hildreth to come upstairs.

He thought about his daughter.

And he waited.

***

Raven shivered. He did a blind patting search for his blanket.

He didn’t find his blanket.

Raven opened his eyes.

“my…my blanket. Where…where…my shirt…”

He frowned at the unfamiliar tiled floor.

That is not my bedroom floor. Where am I?

He glanced around.

It all came back to him.

Missy.

My clothes.

He looked down at his bare chest.

That hideous shirt.

He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

I will undoubtedly need to put that shirt on again before I can leave this room.

He shuddered.

Yet, it fell on the floor. It has been lying on the floor collecting dust, bugs, and unnamable horrors.

And he stepped on it.

Missy’s father stepped on it with his dirty shoes and he stood on it for an interminable amount of time. It is surely wrinkled and filthy with footprints ingrained into the very fabric. I cannot put that on my bare skin.

I simply cannot.

I will not.

He tried his best to not remember the state of his real clothes.

His butler coat.

His shirt.

His slacks.

His underwear.

Which only served to remind him of the fact that he was currently going commando in Robin’s jeans.

Robin’s jeans which had holes in the knees.

He choked up.

He tried not to cry or scream.

It wasn’t easy.

The nurse entered the room, all bright chirpiness, to check on Missy.

Raven folded his arms across his chest.

If she but knew of the anguished state that I am in, she would not be nearly so cheerful.

She did her stuff and left the room.

Raven’s heart hurt as he saw the truth in all of its mucked up glory.

It is my fault.

I knew that she wished to burn down The Institute. I should have pushed myself to run faster.

I could have run faster.

If she had been Miss Farlington, I would have pushed myself to the breaking point. It is my fault.

Just my fault.

All my fault.

And no one else’s.

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