Near You Always
Blue Sky
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Part Two

4 years later

 

He stood at one of the gates of his plantation waiting for his guests to arrive. Giles did not know much about Lord H. Summers just that he was ‘interested in the riches of the colonies’. Lord Summers had written in one of his letters that he would feel delighted to visit an Englishman who knew so much about the African nature.

 

Giles had his own suspicions about which part of the nature interested the Lord especially: Tobacco, wood and cheap workers. Normally he would not have thought twice about denying the request of a visit, but the Lord’s daughter – Elisabeth – seemed to be fascinated by the culture and nature of this continent.

 

She had written one letter only, sent apart from her father’s, asking for permission to come visit the Giles’ plantation. The fact that she did not ask in her father’s name, but just for herself was a strange behaviour for an English lady. Well, Elisabeth seemed to have grown up in the new world with her mother, but after her mother’s death her father had taken her with him to England again.

 

The rattling of a horse and carriage on the dusty street – it had not rained in days – ripped Giles out of his musings. They arrived at last; he was short of getting worried. Of course he had sent his most trustworthy men, but still. The jungle bore unknown dangers even after living in the midst of it for years.

 

Well, Angel knew of them all, but he had learned from the point of view of an animal whose ancestors had lived in the trees for hundreds of years. Giles smiled at the thought of the young man, Angel had learned fast how to read and write, even some society matters, but the jungle had always beckoned him.

 

One day, when his wounds had healed enough, Giles had decided to let him come outside. Giles was not prepared for the young man to run to the nearest tree at full speed and jump in the crown disappearing from view. He was even more surprised when at dusk Angel came back to the farm carrying the corpse of a small antelope offering it to him. The Englishman had thanked Angel seeing the meat as a kind of thank you for his help.

 

Angel had stayed a little longer, but eventually he returned to the jungle. He often came to visit and after some time they had made up a signal if Giles ever wanted him to come. The huge gong usually used for announcements was loud enough to be heard for miles. Hearing it playing a certain rhythm Angel would answer with a guttural cry of his own.

 

Giles was curious about Angel’s reaction towards the visitors, since the young man had not met any other human beings beside the ones from the farm and the surroundings. Of course Giles had thought about taking him to England to search for his remaining relatives, but Angel had run and hidden in the jungle for two months when Giles suggested leaving the jungle. He did not try again.

 

He had taught Angel everything he ought to know, but he had never tried to hold him captive on the farm. Giles had come to know that Angel seemed to have some kind of tree house near the coast and had lived there ever since the pack expelled him. Angel once even brought a book – property of Jacob O’Flaherty – clearing out every doubt about his parentage.

 

“Mr. Giles, what a wonderful place you have here!” the greeting pulled Giles out of his memories.

 

“Lord Summers? Did you have a nice journey?” he asked politely while mustering the arrivers.

 

A shapely brunette sat right beside the Lord, probably his mistress. Next to her sat a young blonde man, who looked as dumb and trustworthy as they come. The small blonde woman sitting on the other side of the carriage next to who appeared to be a servant of sorts had to be Elisabeth. Her green eyes watched on with interest, but her interest was not caught by the greeting – the fieldworkers and the huge trees seemed to enthral her.

 

“Well, why don’t we go inside? It’s too dry and I don’t want your clothes to become too dusty.” Giles made an inviting gesture and turned towards the house where his wife Jenny was waiting at the entrance.

 

He smiled at her and she returned the gesture. Giles could hear his visitors unmounting the carriage and gave one of his men a sign to help with the unloading.

 

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“My darling, come on now. Let’s get inside.” Riley held out his hand for Elisabeth while standing next to the carriage.

 

“I’m not your ‘darling’” came her harsh reply.

 

She dismounted without his help and strolled at a slow pace towards the house, but not to wait for her fiancée; Elisabeth was fascinated at the prospect of spending time in the midst of the jungle. Before she entered the house she heard a distinct cry coming from the jungle. It did not scare her, since it sounded like the source of the noise was far away. Turning to walk inside she almost collided with Mrs. Giles.

 

“Oh, excuse me, I didn’t see you standing there.” apologized the blonde.

 

“No harm done. I’m Jenny; please feel free to call me by my first name. Otherwise I get the feeling my mother-in-law is standing right behind me.” the brunette woman smiled.

 

“Sure, I’m Elisabeth, Buffy for short. My mother always said it fit me better.” a slight shadow settled on her young face, not going unnoticed by Jenny.

 

“Well, come in now. Would you like a bath after the long journey?” she asked, inspecting the dusty grown Buffy wore. It was of the finest quality, but in desperate need of a wash.

 

“That’s nice of you to offer, but I’d like a tour of the lands first. After all, we’ll get dirty again in no time.” Lord Summers interrupted the women’s talk.

 

“Well,… you’d have to ask my husband, if he got the time…” jenny was perplexed at the blunt demand, but she knew Giles would take care of the situation.

 

“Erm, sure. Right now is kind of the best time of day to go into the jungle anyway. Most of the dangerous animals are slumbering around noon. It’s just too warm. I’ll just get my men; one should never go alone into the woods.” Giles finished in a warning tone.

 

“Yes. Riley, would you be so kind as to stay with the ladies, while I go get our hunting necessaries?”

 

“Lord Summers, there will be no hunting today or any other day for you. The weapons my men are carrying are for protection only.” Giles said sternly looking the other man in the eyes as if daring him to protest. Summers was smart enough to let the subject drop.

 

“Elisabeth, be so kind as to keep Cordelia company.” was his next order.

 

“No father, I’m coming with you.” Buffy would not be left behind, that was for sure.

 

Giles smiled at her. ‘This might turn out to be interesting.’ he thought noticing the tension between father and daughter.

 

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tbc

 

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