Allison never thought that she'd be looking at this house again, feel the same gravel under her feet after she ran away with Maurice over a hundred years ago. The house itself was in a moderate condition, the outside paint worn and dingy vines crawling up the pillars on the front porch. she'd read about it online. They were restoring it, trying to bring it back to its glory day, or at least the Edwardian plans.
Allison wasn't sure why that specific time period but some part of her, Alec perhaps or her own curiosity had her returning to the old land.
She had already made plans to see the boathouse, their boathouse. She never gave thought to why she had been reborn, maybe God wanted to play a cruel joke, let her live in a time where she could live freely with her beloved, if he so chose with her being well ,a her this time round, but have no guarantee they would meet again.
The door was held open for her by what appeared to be a stack of old blueprints and books, the person holding the stack didn't say a single word, taking off in a flurry once Allison had made it through the door.
"You must be the gardener." The voice was posh and clearly used to being listened to the moment Allison laid eyes on the woman in front of her she recognized her and knew that she wasn't the only one God was tricking.
"Clive." Allison saw no need for formality at this point. The woman in front of her was what she would have imagined. An expensive well put together suit, dark rich hair tuck neatly away, icy blue eyes stared her down, the image of professionalism and class, she was already grinding on Allison's nerves.
"It's Claira now actually." Her tone was harsh, which only served to piss off Allison more. They may still be employee and employer but that was a different relationship now.
"Allison." The two brunettes stared each other down, neither wanting to back down first.
"Right, you'll meet with Carter the head carpenter out by the old greenhouse. I'll send out the historian with the old plans for you two to rebuild it for now." Claira looked at the stairs as running footsteps sounded.
"Sorry, Claira!" Despite the fact that the voice was just as posh as Claira's Allison found it sounded more like music to her. Her heart nearly beat out of her chest as a well-known soul rushed into the foyer. Maurice was as beautiful a woman as he was a handsome man. The same lovely eyes, soft blue, though her hair was long Allison was certain it would be just as soft, she almost laughed, the blond had her bangs parted in the exact same way. "I didn't realize the time. Oh!"
Allison waited for the moment of recognition, to embrace her love once again. It was amazing, if her mum ever dragged her back to church she'd have to apologize for cursing God so much.
"This must be the head gardener, I'm Marie Hall."
Claira casually tucked some rouge stands of Marie's, a lovely name, behind her ear. "Yes. This is Allison Scudder." Claira smirked at her, even as Marie held out her hand to shake Allison's own.
Her heart nearly fell out, did Marie not have Maurice's memories? She could have been mistaking but she felt it deep in her soul, the same as the feeling Claira gave her, the three were undoubtedly connected. The blatant way Claira touched Marie pushed at Allison's temper.
"It's nice to be able to work with you." Allison took the offered hand and almost felt the spark travel between the two and saw something shift in the blond's eyes. Before the hand was taken out of her grip.
"Well, we should head down to the greenhouse to meet Carter."
"Right, lead the way."
She looked at the woods around her house, the once green trees white, the leaves nothing but ash the trees burnt from the inside, it only took a second of wind to cast the ash off the tree and into the air. For a second she was reminded of winter snow, near silent and gentle, laying a clean start onto the earth but the heat reminded her this was the last visage of her home on the air. The white coving the ground was anything but a clean start. Marie didn't know this place, didn't know why this cabin in the middle of nowhere made her feel at home and why the ash made her want to cry.
Marie jolted up from her temporary desk, looking around her, pausing at the window and for a reason, she wasn't sure of she expected to see an old wooden ladder propped up. She shook her head clear staring at the blueprints that detailed the second story where she was, she found the room that she was staying in finding it quickly.
"Russet Room," even just saying the name sent a flutter up her spine, a shiver she'd been getting ever since she'd met Claira Durham at Oxford, and at times she see's a young man standing in Claira's places that looked like they could be related.
She picked up her phone to check the time.
Marie gathered the blueprint and lists needed for the greenhouse stuffing it into her messenger bag, before hightailing it down to the foyer, the head gardener was supposed to be here today. Marie couldn't believe that she was once again running late to a meeting.
The gardener was a lovely woman, lovely curls framing a face that was almost soft. The eye's struck her like they could see all that Marie was. The same shiver as before raced through her both upon meeting the woman's brown eyes and taking the woman's hand.
The two made their way to the greenhouse, walking in a gentle silence. Despite this Marie started to develop a headache, at first it was a barely noticeable ache, but the closer they got to the greenhouse it went to a pounding. She'd had these migraines her whole life, the only got worse when she met Claria and worse still when they started on the restoration together.
Marie thought that it could be agitated by the gardener's perfume, all she could smell was apricot and evening primrose. She would politely ask the younger woman to tone it down after the meeting with Carter.
The man greeted them soft Irish tones bouncing through his words. "Why hello Marie, how's my favorite bookworm?"
"I'm good Carter." Marie turns to gesture to Allison. "This is Allison. "
The two shook hands as Marie unrolled the blueprints on the only table, and then a notebook that had a list of plants that had occupied the space. The two other joined her at the table, looking over it with her.
"This should be repaired by the end of the week" Carter assured with the same light tone he said everything with, "Hey curls." Marie could have laughed, Carter had a habit of nicknaming the people around the estate.
"What Allison too long for you." Marie worried that she'd have to play refer between the two but Allison only laughed. "Allie work for you?"
"You got it, now what else will you need?"
Marie dug into her bag looking for her medicine, hoping to have relief from jackhammer in her head.
"Bookworm?" Carter looked to her over the table, Allison was looking at her too with her eyes flooded with far too much concern for someone she had just met, it made her feel cared for, almost loved and despite the fact that she'd never known Allison, it felt like a well-worn love as soft and precious as a favorite blanket.
"Sorry, my head is killing me." She turned away from them dry swallowing the two pills one for pain, the other for nausea, before throwing the bottles back into her bag. "So what are our plans?"
"Well I can't do anything in here till it's rebuilt, but I can help get the overgrown vines and flower beds by the porch," Allison stated. "Though some of these plants are still here, I'm actually surprised but see those vines." Marie followed her pointing to see vines around a tall fence. "Those are grape vines. I'm not sure how they can be tamed but I can try."
"Thank you, Claria will need all your paperwork by tomorrow night, you're free to use any of the marked rooms as offices here if you'd like the country may have gotten closer to the city but I still can't imagine dragging all the paperwork and such back and forth every day." She looked around the place and for a second saw what it might have looked like, even people inside of it. A glimpse of a man with the same eyes as Allison, she felt sharp pain instead of the almost pleasant shiver. "Oh except the Russet Room and the Main Study, I'm in the Russet Room and Claria's using the Main Study."
Marie gathered her stuff, leading the others back to the house, starting to feel the medication kick in. Allison kept pace with her looking ready to catch her if anything happens, the same well-worn comfort rested in Marie's bones. It didn't drive off the horrid headache any faster, didn't help the medicine but it still felt good.
As they entered the house Marie looked around for Claria finding a note on the main table. She rolled her eyes and started up the stairs, a gentle hand was on her elbow and the small of her back. Oh god, it was like a shift in her whole body, it was pleasant until it wasn't.
"Are you gonna be sick?"
Allison helped her to the Russet Room, Marie almost asked how the woman knew how to get there but was thankful for the small bed that was in the room. It felt like they had been here before, but fuck she felt like she was going to puke.
"Thank you for your help, Allison."
"No problem, love." A gentle kiss on her forehead and gentle fingers in her hair lead her into sleep.