Dr. Simon Jordan was not known for being particularly sentimental. All throughout school, he mainly focused on grades. His mother pushed him towards marriage and his friends pushed him towards frolics and brothels. He had no interest in either of those. He thought himself above it, above feelings. Mrs. Humphrey was an annoyance like the rest of them.
But Grace--Grace was something different. He tried very hard not to think of her in a way that all the previous men in her life thought of her. She was very beautiful. But there was something about her mind that drew him to her. He wanted her, though he’d never dare touch attempt to touch her. She was at a disadvantage to him. She was imprisoned. He was free and visiting her on a professional matter only. It was hard not to let her feelings cloud his thinking sometimes. He did not wish to prove her innocence if she wasn’t innocent at all.
As she sat there in the parlor, quietly sewing while they spoke, he thought about all this before he asked her what happened next.
“I don’t care if I’m guilty.” Grace admitted to his surprise.
“Why’s that?” Simon asked.
“It’s peaceful here, in a way. The asylum was terrible but this--this I can bear more than how much of my life has gone.”
“What would you do if you were free?” He shouldn’t have asked this.
“I suppose I’d go to work again. Maybe I’d work on my own quilt.”
So simple. So pure. Could she really not remember?
Once he had a dream that he took her away. He took her to the states and the quiet little mouse met his mother. He hated himself for it.
“If I ever go free--I should like to be friends with you, Dr. Jordan.”
That hit him harder than it should have. He reached out and touched her hand, interrupting her sewing. “I would like that,” he said, despite himself.
Grace smiled that little smile of hers. He was lost.
Months after he wrote his report and went back to the states, he received word that she was released. A month after that, a letter arrived for him. He had never seen Grace’s handwriting before. It was beautiful and delicate despite a lack of classic training.
“Dear Dr. Jordan,” it read, though he had a dark desire for her to refer to him as Simon.
You must know that I am free now and I am told I have you to thank for that. Though I don’t know if I can. I don’t know what I will do now. I received an offer of marriage from my childhood suitor Jamie, and though I don’t necessarily wish to take it, I don’t see any other future for myself. Maybe his warm feelings will cause mine to grow, though I’m not so sure. The odd, horrible thing is I can only think of you. I know it was only your job to listen to me but I felt like you were the first person to actually do so and to understand me. I hate writing this letter. You don’t feel the same and I understand that. I just felt you must know.
There was more, mainly about little things like the people that were helping her and what the sky looked like. She was staying with the reverend and his wife until they could figure out what to do with her.
He didn’t think of what his colleagues or his mother would say. There was only Grace.
He would take her away after all.