DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ariadni.mou[at]gmail.com
SERIES: Follows Winter Wonderland.
Spring is in the Air
Part 3: Old Secrets Revealed
Angie stared at the elaborate, almost old-fashioned signature on the contract. There was something that bothered her about it, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
"Helena G. Wells," she read out loud. She squinted and then stood up staring at the document on her desk. "Oh my freaking God!" she whispered. She grabbed it and quickly left the office.
She hurried across the yard and went inside the main house. "Mel! Where are you?" she shouted as she walked towards the den. She traced the spines on the books until she found the one she was looking for. She pulled it out and opened it to the cover page. She sank down in the chair next to her as she stared at the two signatures. With the exception of the full first name, they were identical. She looked up as her partner entered the room.
"What's wrong honey?" Mel asked concerned when she saw the look on Angie's face.
"I don't know, but the little hairs in the back of my neck are standing straight up right now." She held out the contract and the book to her. "What do you make of this?"
"So Helena, your last name is Wells, any relation to the HG Wells?" Angie said and grinned.
Helena smiled. "As a matter of fact, yes; a distant relative."
"How interesting. I'd love to hear more about it sometime. I love the books."
Helena laughed. "I'm delighted to hear that. It pleases me when family legacy is cherished by others."
Angie smiled at her. "You speak like a writer yourself. Do you write?"
"Just as a hobby now I'm afraid," Helena said and smiled at her.
"Too bad," Angie said and winked at her. "I personally think that Brits in general speak and write much better than us Americans, but you in particular have an incredible command of the English language."
"Why thank you," Helena said and batted her eyelashes. Angie laughed out loud and shook her head.
"You're a terrible flirt Helena."
Helena just laughed. Together they closed up the back of the trailer.
"Mel and I would love to see you and Myka again. If you're available and interested we have an open weekend three weeks from now. I could come and pick up the horses on Friday and you guys could head over whenever you're ready. What do you say?"
Helena smiled and put a hand on Angie's arm. "That sounds absolutely lovely. I will discuss it with Myka. Barring an emergency, I think we will be delighted to accept your offer."
"Great. Just give me a buzz when you know."
Helena frowned at the unfamiliar expression but quickly smiled and nodded. "I will."
Angie looked at her as she turned and walked towards the Landrover. There was definitely something different with Helena.
Angie smiled at Helena who was sitting in an armchair across from her. The early summer night was still a little chilly so she had made a small fire in the fireplace and she and Helena were enjoying a quiet chat over a Cognac in front of it. Angie looked at her for a long moment as if trying to make up her mind. Finally she got up and grabbed the book and the contract Helena had signed only a few weeks back.
"Helena, perhaps you can shed some light on this. It keeps eluding me how this could be a coincidence," she said and handed Helena the two items. She sat down and watched intently as Helena traced the outline of the two signatures.
"Who are you?" she asked softly.
Helena smiled as she looked up at her. "Just a traveler from a distant land," she said and raised her glass to Angie.
Angie shook her head. "It's more than that, isn't it? Everything about you is different. The way you speak. The way you act." She gestured to Helena's pose. "Even the way you sit."
Helena opened her mouth and then closed it again. She smiled at Angie and nodded. "You are right. I am different."
Angie leaned forward, her arms resting on her knees. "Are you HG Wells?" she whispered almost feeling silly for asking.
"Helena, no!" Myka said alarmed. She stood frozen in place by the door. She shot Angie a stern look as she quickly crossed the room to stand in front of Helena. She touched Helena's cheek and looked her in the eyes. "Don't play games with her Helena," she said softly, trying to disguise her words.
"I didn't say anything darling," Helena said softly.
"Oh my freaking God," Angie whispered. "You are, aren't you? How is this even possible?"
Myka bit her lip and looked up. She slowly turned. "She's not."
Angie gave her a look. "Then explain those signatures. I sure can't."
Myka picked up the contract and stared at the signature. She closed her eyes and sighed. "Why Helena?" she asked softly.
"Old habit darling. They say even people who have amnesia still remember how to sign their own name. It's a habit that is very hard to break."
"What did I miss?" Mel asked cheerfully.
"She is the freaking HG Wells!" Angie exclaimed and pointed at Helena.
Mel stopped and stared at them. "You're not serious?" she said with a chuckle. "How much have the two of you been drinking?"
"You've seen the signatures," Angie said ignoring the comment.
Mel looked at their two visitors. "Is this true?"
Myka shook her head and Helena nodded. Mel laughed. "A bit of a mixed message there girls," she teased.
"Helena Wells, a word please."
Myka jumped at the familiar voice.
"Who are you?" Mel asked and stared surprised at the elegantly dressed woman standing in her living room.
Mrs. Frederic smiled at her. "My apologies Mel. My name is Irene Frederic. Your two guests work for me."
"Boss is checking up on you," Angie teased and winked at Helena.
"Helena, now," Mrs. Frederic said sternly.
Helena sighed and got up. "Please forgive me. Barring my untimely death, I shall return shortly."
Helena silently followed Mrs. Frederic outside. She pulled her jacket closer. The night air was still a bit chilly. Summer was clearly not here yet. The chilly temperature did not seem to affect Mrs. Frederic the slightest. Helena wondered for a moment if the woman was completely human. She waited silently for Mrs. Frederic to speak.
"What are you doing Helena?"
"Nothing. I told her nothing."
"You signed your name."
Helena sighed and irritated ran her hand through her hair. "A momentary error of judgment I assure you. As I said to Myka, it is a difficult habit to break. I have only signed my name once before in this time."
Mrs. Frederic sighed and looked at her. "I know it bothers you Helena. Trust me; I know how difficult it is to leave loved ones behind. I too have lived longer than most."
Helena nodded. "I know. I saw you there."
Mrs. Frederic looked at her. "Where?"
Helena smiled a little lopsided smile. "The day I was bronzed. You were there. You were standing in the back, over in the corner. At the time I didn't know who you were, but I do remember you."
"Oh Helena," Mrs. Frederic sighed. She gently touched her cheek and smiled at her.
"I didn't tell her. On Myka's life I assure you I didn't," Helena said heatedly.
"Helena, you are never going back in there. I promise you. The warehouse and I are one. No one can put anything in there without my approval. Even if they tried to bronze you again, they wouldn't be able to."
Helena stared at her and nodded silently. A silent tear escaped and rolled down her cheek. "Thank you," she whispered.
"I had Claudia run a background check on these two women. They come up clean. They are actually borderline heroic in their aim to rescue animals and troubled teens. You couldn't have picked more honorable people to trust with your secret," she said softly.
"What are you saying?"
"As you said, you didn't tell them anything, they guessed."
"You ask me to lie every day of the year. Why is this any different?" Helena asked confused.
"Because they are your friends. Not Myka's, not Claudia's or Pete's. Yours." Mrs. Frederic said and smiled. "You forged this bond. You didn't rely on someone else, or were introduced to them through someone else. This is your creation. If I asked them, they would say that you're their friend and Myka is your partner, not the other way around."
"Thank you for understanding."
"You mostly make surface connections Helena, acquaintances at best, but not friends. For you to truly accept someone and consider her a friend is a huge step forward for you. I sense that you are finally embracing this world. It pleases us all."
Helena was crying now. She sobbed and nodded.
"Go tell them. Share anything you like, but ask them, as your friends, to keep your secret. They will. Have faith in them. This could be your refuge when you need one."
Helena closed her eyes and laughed softly as she wiped her face. "Thank you," she said and opened her eyes. She found herself looking into the dark night. Mrs. Frederic was gone.
Helena stopped in the bathroom to wash her face and to collect herself. She chuckled as she could almost hear her mother's voice. For God's sake Helena Grace; gather yourself and act like a young lady for once.
"Yes mother," she whispered softly. She pushed off the sink and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were a little pink, but all in all she didn't look too worse for wear.
Myka approached her when she returned. She wrapped her arms around her and kissed her softly.
"It's all right darling. She had a great deal to tell me, all of which I needed to hear. I will share it with you later, but for now, let's not keep any secrets from our new friends. I have been assured that they can be trusted."
"Are you sure? Helena, did she say that?"
Helena nodded. "She did. Apparently the regents want me to form relationships of my own in this timeline. If I dare a guess I would say that they are still a little afraid that I will resort to violence again, should I once again feel without ties."
Myka huffed. "As if you ever would. That's a load of crap."
"Myka Ophelia Bering," Helena said shocked. "I'm going to wash your mouth with soap."
Myka laughed. "I think not. You wouldn't like the taste of me."
Helena gently smacked her butt. "No respect at all," she muttered.
Good-natured laughter behind them reminded them that they weren't alone. Helena took Myka's hand and returned to her chair. She pulled Myka down on her lap and picked up her Cognac. She swirled the amber liquid around as she gathered her thoughts. Finally she looked up at Angie and Mel.
"Some secrets are allowed between friends, and some are even best kept hidden, but secrets so large that they define who we are, should not be allowed between close friends," she said softly.
"Oh my God," Mel whispered and sank down on the floor by Angie's feet. Her hand searched for Angie's and she clasped it tightly.
"You guessed correctly Angie. I couldn't tell you because I have been ordered not to. You are a very intelligent and honorable woman, someone I am honored to call a friend."
Angie put a hand to her chest, suddenly choked up. "As am I," she whispered.
Helena smiled and sipped her cognac. "I am not really comfortable with sharing everything with you, primarily because some of the details are quite dark, and I don't want to burden you with that knowledge. I will tell you as much as I can, but please forgive me if I am unable to answer all your questions. I am still troubled by certain events from my past. Do not take offense since it is not your questions, but rather my weakness in handling the memories that prevents me from answering."
"Please Helena," Mel said softly. "You don't have to tell us anything more than what you're comfortable with. I can tell that you carry a lot of pain inside you. You know when you're ready to share it, and with whom. Don't feel compelled to share more than what you are comfortable with, just to please us."
Angie nodded. She looked at Myka and Helena for a long moment. She suddenly grinned when something occurred to her. "You are not really IRS agents, are you?"
Myka laughed. "No, not really."
"Yeah, that scary looking broad with the glasses didn't really fit the bill for an IRS employee," Angie teased.
"Angie, be nice," Mel said and nudged her. She smiled at Helena. "You really are the HG Wells?"
Helena nodded. "I am. I was born in England in 1866. Up until I was recruited into the organization Myka and I work for, I lived only for my writing and scientific research. Except for that, my life was pretty ordinary. I had friends and relatives, a child."
"How is it even possible for you to be here?" Mel asked confused.
"Helena was put in stasis about a hundred and ten or so years ago. She was left there until about five years ago."
"Oh God!" Mel said horrified and clamped a hand over her mouth. "How terrible."
Helena nodded. "Not a pleasant experience I can assure you, but" she smiled at Myka. "I would not have met Myka had it not happened."
Mel smiled at her. "That would've been a huge loss. You are so deeply connected. I don't know if Myka would've found someone else in this lifetime. It saddens me to think that she might have gone through her life without a soul partner."
Helena stared at her. She had never thought of her presence like that, never reflected on how her absence might have stolen something away from Myka. She looked horrified at Myka.
"Darling, I am so sorry. I have been terribly selfish. It never once occurred to me that you would feel pain without me. I honestly believed that my absence would heal you," she whispered.
Angie and Mel watched as Myka hugged Helena close to her as she gently caressed her hair, trying to comfort her distraught partner. Clearly this was a more recent event that the two shared, and were obviously still dealing with the effects of. Neither of them felt comfortable asking about it.
"You came back, that's all that matters," Myka whispered. She pulled away and kissed Helena softly. "I love you Helena."
Helena laughed and nodded. "I love you too."
Mel squeezed Angie's hand again.
"So," Angie said, her eyes twinkling. "Was there really a Time Machine?"
Helena chuckled, thankful that she had changed the topic to a lighter one. "There is."
"Wow," Angie whispered. She looked at Helena. "Did you use it?"
Angie took a deep breath. "This is just too amazing." Then suddenly she realized something and she sat straight up. "Is? You said is."
"I did. It still exists, but unfortunately it is currently out of commission. I'm afraid I used up its last power when using it last," she said and smiled at Myka.
"You used it now? After " she made a little waiving gesture. " you came back?"
Again Helena nodded.
Angie fell back against the chair. She stared at Helena. "You actually went back in time?"
Helena chuckled. "Not exactly. I'd be happy to tell you more about how it works some other time. Let me just say that it's more of a mind travel, than a physical travel. The body remains here, in the present."
Angie nodded as if this made perfect sense.
"Why did you do it? Leaving everything, everyone behind," Mel asked softly.
Helena looked at her. "Why was I bronzed?"
Mel nodded. "You don't have to tell me, if you don't want to. It just sounds like such an awful thing to do. Unless you're dying or something I can't see why anyone would ever do such a thing."
"I was," Helena said softly. "Not physically," she hurried to add when she noticed the distress on Mel's face. "but in my mind. I had lost my daughter. She was brutally murdered and I was unable to save her. I tried more than once and I still failed."
Angie frowned at her choice of words, but then she understood. "Your time machine," she whispered. "You built it so you could go back in time to save your daughter. Oh Helena, you must have been in so much pain."
Helena nodded. She grabbed the locket around her neck and held it as if gathering strength from it. "Christina was my beacon of light, my everything. To lose her was the most painful thing that ever happened to me. I completely lost it. Today I would have been in counseling and probably would've been given some strong drugs, but back then we didn't have any of those options. We were just beginning to understand how the mind and the psyche work. Sigmund was on the right track. If he hadn't been such a stubborn old fool, things would've progressed faster."
Mel and Angie stared at her. "Sigmund? As in Sigmund Freud?"
Helena nodded. "We shared common friends. I wish he hadn't been such a dirty old man or I would perhaps have turned to him after the loss of Christina."
"Send me back and I'll kick his ass," Myka muttered. "Did he touch you with his pervy hands?"
Helena chuckled. "He did, but he quickly learned that I could defend myself. After a cracked rib he did keep his pervy hands to himself," she said.
Angie shook her head. "This is just surreal."
Myka smiled at her. "I know. It's pretty amazing, isn't it? I think I've become so used to it by now. Helena surprises me every day, and to witness her impact on other people never ceases to amaze me."
Mel nodded. "We are very lucky I think. I didn't understand all of what you were saying earlier, but I did get the idea that you are not allowed to speak about your work and Helena's past."
Myka nodded. "Well since Helena has now been cleared, I really don't have any more secrets to add. We do the same work."
"Which is what exactly?" Angie asked.
"We reclaim items, artifacts, that have gathered certain powers over time that make them dangerous to the general public," Myka explained.
Angie frowned. "Like what? How could some dusty old antique be dangerous, unless it was a weapon?"
Myka chuckled. "What about Jack the Ripper's lantern that kills people once they look into it? Or a camera that takes pictures that when developed together transfers youth to the older person?"
Angie gaped. "Are you serious?"
Myka nodded. "That camera nearly killed me when someone took my picture and had it developed with the picture of an elderly woman."
"Wow," Angie whispered.
"If you are interested, we can show you the warehouse," Helena said gently. "I'm allowed to show it to you, but only you, and I would have to ask you to keep its secret, and mine."
"Of course," Mel said quickly. Angie nodded. Mel got up and walked over to Helena. She took her hand. "Helena, you have given us such a gift, not only in your friendship but also by sharing your past with us. We will always keep your secret and you are absolutely safe here with us."
Helena nodded her eyes suddenly misty. "Thank you."
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