By the time the party had started to wind down Isobelle was beyond exhausted. The entire week was not one she ever cared to repeat. The elation she felt through the evening was a combination of finally making her will known, expressed in words, and being awake far longer than was reasonable. It wasn’t until everything was over and they were in the carriage heading back to the manor that she became a little more somber. “I need to apologize for earlier this evening.” She started, “I was a little more forward than I should have been.” Her normally bright blue eyes had darkened with fatigue and the suddenly serious tone of her voice.
“I should say so,” Sir James replies in an icy tone. Then he sighs and rubs his eyes tiredly. “Perhaps I should apologize as well, Isobelle. I should not have sprung my intentions on you quite so abruptly. But you should know, I never intended for your exile to Foxton to be permanent. Anyone could see that you were heartsick, broken, and slowly going mad from grief and rage. I sent you here because… because I could not stand the idea of losing you to madness and despair. I thought the country air would be restorative. I had no idea just how right I was.”
There is exhaustion in James’ voice, and a touch of bitterness as well. But no anger, none of the fury that Isobelle saw in him earlier this evening.
Isobelle took a moment before speaking, “I don’t think I expected to stay. I certainly didn’t expect to want to stay.” She was speaking quietly, “But I can’t leave. Not now.” She sighed, “I’ve lost too much to go back.” Her eyes had a deep sadness in them, “Everything I was, everything ever asked of me is ashes and dust.” She looked up from where her gaze was on her lap, and into James’ eyes, “I no longer have who I was, and I can’t be that anymore.” Her eyes held an unspoken need for him to understand.
“Isobelle…” he hesitates. “You aren’t the only one who has changed. When Nathan…” he shakes his head, whether in anger, resignation, or sadness, Isobell cannot tell. “Everything is different now. I just pray that whatever it is that you are looking for, when you find it… if you find it… you will come back home.”
“James…” Isobelle was at a momentary loss for words, “I promise I will return home to you when the time is right.” She said finally.