Past life paradise
Turning off the engine, she looks around and starts to remember. It has been so long since she lived here that she was pleasantly surprised to see that very little had changed since then. Alexandra smiled softly as she stepped out of the car and headed down the narrow path way in front of her. Thoughts and images swam before her eyes and she saw herself as a little girl, then as a teenager. She knew that these were old memories and an old life.
Just as she reached the beautiful courtyard about fifty feet ahead of where she started from, someone stepped out from behind a tree and blocked her path. "This place is off limits to strangers, miss. You need to leave now or else there will be trouble for both of us," the young man said gruffly. Alexandra grinned at him and replied wryly," What type of trouble would we get into? I am merely looking around here, I am not harming anything. You can search me if you feel that it is necessary. I have reason to believe that I used to live here."
The young man stares at her in astonishment, then smiles softly. "Miss, you must leave now. If my master catches me here with you, he will be quite angry with me for letting you stand here and with you for trespassing. Please do us both a favor and leave now before it is too late." Alexandra opened her mouth to reply when someone walked up to both of them, making them jump in surprise. "Ah, I see that we have a guest among us. Tell me my dear, why is it that you are here in my town when you could be else where and safe from harm?"
The young man quickly kneeled before his master and replied," Sir, this young woman was merely looking but she swore to leave. She has done no harm I swear to it." His master smiles at Alexandra and asks quietly," My dear, you look so familiar to me. Please tell me your name and what has brought you here." Alexandra curtsied mockingly and said brazenly," My name is Alexandra Warren. I came here because I have dreamt of this place and I feel that I belong here somehow. For some crazy reason, you seem familiar to me as well, sir."
The older man nods slowly and looks at her, tear drops glistening in his clear blue eyes. "So she was right. Come with me, my dear. We have much to talk about." He held his arm out to her and as she took it, Alexandra grinned playfully at the young man when they walked by him. The young man shook his head in disbelief and followed obediently behind his master like a well trained puppy.
After a few moments of silence, Alexandra cleared her throat and asked," Pardon my intrusion upon your thoughts, sir, but who was right? And what do we have to talk about?" The young man shook his head, trying to keep his laughter from escaping his mouth. The older man looks at her and says quietly," A long time ago, I had a beautiful daughter who looks exactly as you do, my dear.
She was always a wild little girl, getting into much trouble, and yet she always obeyed her mother and I. We loved her dearly and she was the princess of our family. This town we are in has existed for almost five hundred years now. Barely anyone comes here with the exception of those who have lived here their whole lives. When our daughter turned the age of twenty one, she kissed my wife and I and said she was taking a stroll through the woods.
That was the last time we saw her alive. A few days later, we found her body hung from a tree limb, her throat slashed. The day we buried her, my wife, myself and all of the town made a solemn vow that we would live on and turn our backs upon our faith. We have been this way ever since. My wife always said that our daughter would return to us some day and she was correct, for you have found your way back to us once more."
Alexandra shook her head, her hair flying across her eyes. She moved it out of the way and stared in shock at the older gentleman. "How is this even possible? I am remembering so many things that I can barely understand it all. Does this mean that I am your daughter? This is insane. I was born twenty five years ago, sir. There doesn’t seem to be a way that I can be your lost daughter."
The older gentleman laughed, something he had not done in a very long time. The young man stared at his master, shocked into silence and wonderment over the mysteriously beautiful creature who seemed to be enchanting them both in her own special way. "You are Alexandra De Luce. My daughter and a princess of our township. You have been reborn in this life to search and find your rightful place once more. That is why you have come here and found us. Welcome home, daughter." The old man hugged Alexandra and gave her a kiss upon her cheek after he finished talking to her.
Standing silent as a statue, Alexandra let his words sink in. She realized with surprise that he spoke the truth; she really was his daughter. She had the same eyes, the same posture and air about her, and she remembered everything that he talked about. The young man stepped forward and kneeled before her humbly.
"Welcome back, Princess Alexandra. We have missed you dearly and prayed for this day. If you ever need anything, just let me know and I shall do what I can for you. My name is Jeremiah Santos. All you need to do is ask and I shall prove myself worthy to you," he said, looking at the ground. Alexandra smiles and pulls him to his feet. "Thank you, Jeremiah. It is good to be back here, I will admit that. You do not need to kneel or bow to me though. Not in this life."
Her father laughed heartily and grasped her hand, leading her to the vast mansion that loomed ahead of them. Slowly, she slipped her hand out of his and said,"Father, I have to go get my car. All of my stuff is in there and I will need it if I am to stay here." He looked at her for a second and said," Very well. Go and retrieve your vehicle, Alexandra. You always did like strange things and it will be interesting to see what my daughter drives in this lifetime."
She smiles broadly and rushes down the path, sprinting toward her car. Jeremiah stayed behind with his master while she did so and stared in awe when she pulled up in front of the master’s home in her mustang. Opening the trunk, she took her bags out and carried them into the house, shooing Jeremiah away as he tried to help her bring her things into the house. "I appreciate the offer, but I got it covered," she said, looking at him. Jeremiah nodded and stood back, holding the door open for her.
She took her bags to her rooms that her father gave to her and went in search of him after unpacking everything. She looked all around upstairs, then headed down to the main floor and found him sitting in the sun room. Sitting down across from him, she figured now was the best time to ask her question. "Father, I am truly glad to be back, but I am hoping to see Mother. Where is she?"
He looked at her sadly and said, "I know that she would have loved to see you, my dear. I hate to tell you this, but your mother passed on two years ago. Your name was the last thing she said to me before she closed her eyes and left this world. I am deeply sorry." Alexandra looked at him, upset and confused. "How did she die? I was hoping that there would be time, that I would come back and we would all be together and celebrating."
Her father sighed heavily and replied brokenly," Your mother tried everything to hold on, just so she could see you walk into her room and hug her. Some enemies of mine came one night and stabbed your mother. While she lay there bleeding, they came into my room and tried to kill me as well. My servants came rushing in and dealt with them while I ran to check on her.
When I found her, I knew that she did not have long. I told her I was there with her and that I was deeply sorry that I could not protect her. She said it was all right, that she had a feeling this was how it would happen to her. The last thing she said to me was that ‘Alexandra will come home when I am gone and you must tell her that I love her very much. Promise.’
I promised her and held her in my arms. She smiled softly and when I looked down, she closed her eyes and passed away. " He wiped the few tears away from his eyes and stared at his daughter, waiting to see how she would react to the news. "So mother is gone and I will never be able to rejoice and be with her ever again?
I knew I should have come sooner, it was just that I was going through a lot at the time and never made it here in time. I feel like it is my fault that she died without seeing her own flesh and blood. Like I am to blame for it somehow," Alexandra said, shaking with sadness and guilt.
Her father gathered her in his arms in an awkward embrace of comfort, and though she hugged him back, she whispered softly that she needed time to herself for right now. He nodded and understood, watching sadly as she walked out of the sun room and started down the marble terrace steps that lead to the private beach.
Feeling that his beloved daughter was hurting something fierce, Vincenzo De Luce called his faithful servant Jeremiah to the room and bid him to go and watch over his daughter. "She is walking along the beach alone, Jeremiah. She now knows what happened here with her mother and feels that she is to blame some how. Go and watch over her, keep her from any harm, but do not let her see that you are there for she will be quite angry by it." Jeremiah nods and heads out the door, knowing that he must do as his master bids or face the consequences which would indeed be quite painful.
Walking along the beach, Alexandra saw the clear heavenly blue water lapping gently in small waves on the shore, then floating gracefully back again to the ocean. She saw seashells of all types of color laying in the sand and the shaded woods near her ancestral home. Sighing, she thought about all the things she had heard and seen so far today and wondered what other surprises would manifest themselves before the day was over.
Not knowing that Jeremiah was faithfully and stealthily following her, she decided to cut across and wander aimlessly through the woods. Vanishing from sight among the trees, Alexandra looked around as she remembered her childhood here long long ago. When she was a little girl, the woods and the beach were her playgrounds, the ocean her swimming pool. She would spend hours and hours wandering around, climbing into the trees, and swimming in the cool ocean’s waters.
While reliving these memories, she did not hear someone ‘s heavy footsteps approaching until the person reached out and grabber her shoulder. Turning swiftly, she stared into the rugged face of a man wearing a thin jacket and black jeans. "Who are you and why are you trespassing upon my father’s land?" Alexandra asked loudly. The stranger smiled at her, showing yellowed teeth and declared sarcastically," So the Princess of the Haven has finally returned. You look just like your mother did before she was killed."
Alexandra swore under her breath and knew that she had to get away from this man who meant harm. She ran back the way she came, rushing towards the entrance to the beach. Right before she could get beyond the trees and back to the sands, the man grasps her arm and drags her back to the seclusion of the woods. "You will not leave until I tell you to do so, princess. I have a message for your father. Let him know that if he or his servants cross into my territory again, a heavy price will be paid in blood."
Alexandra jerked free from him and ran quickly to the beach, crashing into Jeremiah and landing hard on the sand. He nimbly jumped up and held out his hand to pull her to his feet. She clung to him and in a breathless voice, told him about the stranger and what he had said to her. Jeremiah looked troubled and said in a low voice," We must go and tell your father this news immediately. It is of the upmost importance. Come on, Princess."
Running back to the house as quickly as they could, the two bounded up the stairs and into the mansion, searching everywhere for Vincenzo. They located him a half hour later in his private study, going over some paperwork. "Master, your daughter met a stranger in the woods who told her that if either you or your servants enter into his territory again, the price shall be paid in blood," Jeremiah said, kneeling before Senor De Luce.
Alexandra walks over to her father, shaking with leftover fear from dealing with the sinister stranger. Vincenzo wraps his arms around his daughter and asks," Did this man have dirty looking hair and a scar across the right side of his face, Alexandra?" When she nodded, he looked deeply troubled. "He is the one who ordered the attack on your mother and I, daughter. He was the only one who got away when my servants came rushing to our aid."
Alexandra gasps in horror, realizing that the stranger was a murderer. "We have to find him, Father. We need to bring him to justice. For mother, I will do so." Vincenzo quickly shakes his head, forbidding his daughter from going after him alone. "I will not allow it, Alexandra. You will stay in the house and not go outside. If you do, you can only go so far as the terrace and make sure that two guards are with you at all times. I will not lose you like I lost your mother. I cannot bear it."
Alexandra sighed deeply, realizing that because of the man in the woods, she was now a virtual prisoner in her home. She stormed out of the study and up the stairs, muttering under her breath while she did so. Her father stood in the hall, watching her as she walked away and looked at Jeremiah. "I guess it is a good thing that I didn’t tell her I was remarried. I am sorry for keeping her inside, but with him roaming out there, I can’t take any chances of something horrible happening to her."
Jeremiah nods in understanding, keeping it hidden that he would be devastated as well. He vowed to never tell the princess how he feels about her and that he was the prince she was supposed to marry when she turned 21 so long ago. He bows to Vincenzo and excuses himself. "Senor De Luce, I am going to go and let the other servants and the guards know to keep a lookout for Senor Vargas. I will report to you in a little bit." Vincenzo waves to him, letting him know that he was free to do so. Jeremiah did as he said he would; he went around and warned all in the house to be on the lookout.
Alexandra stormed around her bedroom, furious with her father for not letting her help with anything and keeping her locked up inside the house. "It ain’t fair!" she hollered, throwing books across the bedroom. She sat down Indian style on the floor and fumed. "I want to be able to help but Father won’t let me. I grew up in this century and learned quite a bit when it comes to dealing with bad creeps. The least he could do was give me a chance and show my potential," she said to herself.
After speaking to everyone and reporting to Senor De Luce, Jeremiah sighed in relief and headed up the staircase. He paused just outside of Alexandra’s door and hesitated for several seconds before knocking. "Come in," she said, rising to her feet. Easing the door open, Jeremiah peeked in and smiled tentatively at her before entering all the way.
"I was just coming up to check on how you were doing, Princess. Is there anything that you need?" Jeremiah asks, bowing gracefully to her in respect. Alexandra smiles softly at him and reaches out, taking his hand in hers. "Yes, there is something I need, Jeremiah. I need to get out of here and hunt that murderous fiend down. Will you please help me?" she asks, looking into his golden brown eyes.
He starts to shake his head but stops when he sees the hurt look upon her face. "I have something to tell you, but now is not the time to do so, Alexandra. Together, we will sneak out of here and search for him." Alexandra grins and gives him a kiss on his cheek, making him blush from his head to his toes. Taking her hand in his, Jeremiah led Alexandra out of the room and down the servants’ stairs. They snuck through the kitchen and ran outside, rushing towards the woods before anyone saw them.
"We have to find him, Jeremiah. He killed my mother and almost killed my father. I would have never come back here and I never got to see my mother thanks to him. Promise me that we will not rest till we have found him and sent his sorry ass to hell where he belongs." Staring at her in admiration and surprise, Jeremiah silently echoed her words, feeling the same way that she did.
Once they reached the middle of the woods, Alexandra looked around and spotted something moving stealthily among the trees before them. Looking closely, she thought she could make out the figure of a man dressed in rags. Jeremiah looked at where she was staring and declared in a hushed tone,"That’s him, Alexandra. You go that way while I go this way. We will close in on him and for both our sakes, please be careful."
Alexandra gave him a kiss and said,"I promise to be careful, honey. Don’t worry about me." With that, she went the way he told her to go and kept a close eye on the stranger. The stranger never knew what hit him as she landed a swift kick between his shoulder blades, knocking him to the ground. "I’ve got him!" she yelled. Jeremiah came rushing up to her and held the stranger down, the angered face turning to peer up at them. It was their enemy, Senor Vargas who was glaring angrily at them.
"Let me go at once! You will pay with your lives for doing this to me!" he screeched at them. Alexandra swiftly kicked him in the head, knocking him unconscious. Jeremiah picked Senor Vargas up and took Alexandra by the hand as they walked together back towards the mansion. The guards stood on the terrace and kept a lookout for them. As soon as the three came in sight, one of the guards rushed into the house to let Senor De Luce know that his daughter was safe and that she and Jeremiah were bringing the prisoner in right now.
Taking the hand of his new wife, Vincenzo rushes out of the house and stands on the steps, red in the face and unsure whether or not to yell at his daughter or hug her. "Here is the one responsible, master. You may have your justice now," Jeremiah said, smiling in triumph. "Thank you both for helping although I did forbid one of you from doing so," Vincenzo said, glaring at his daughter. She smiles innocently and kisses his cheek, then looks at the woman holding onto her father’s arm.
The woman steps forward and extends her hand to Alexandra, smiling softly."It is wonderful to finally meet you, my dear. Your father has told me so much about you that I now see he was correct. You are definitely the spitting image of your mother when she was your age. I am Countess Alana De Luce, your father’s second wife and your mother’s younger sister." Alexandra snuck a quick side glance at her father, seeing his embarrassment. "Well then, I am truly happy to meet you as well, Countess. Do I call you Aunt Alana or do you wish for me to call you Mother?"
Alana smiles and says,"You can call me Aunt Alana if you wish to do so, Alexandra. I know that I can never replace your mother." Alexandra hugs her and whispers,"I think I will call you mother, then. I will always hold my first mother in my heart, but I will also have you in my life so it is worth it." Tears were shining in Vincenzo ’s eyes as he watched his daughter embrace her stepmother.
Jeremiah stepped forward and said quietly,"Maybe it is time for my secret to be revealed, master and mistress. If you will excuse us for a moment of course." Vincenzo and Alana smile at each other and nod, giving him permission to go off alone with Alexandra. They walk into the house and head to the sun room, sitting down across from each other.
"Jeremiah, what is going on? Just spill it, man. You can’t shock me, I promise," Alexandra said, placing a hand upon his knee. Jeremiah cleared his throat and said quietly," Before you disappeared back then, your parents were in conference with mine. They were talking about a match between the two of us. An arranged marriage if you will. Then on the day you vanished from our lives, I was on my way here to declare my love for you and found out that you were missing. I was at your father’s side when he found you and my heart shattered just like his did as we saw you there. I vowed on that day to never fall in love with another and I have kept it ever since. My love for you is still quite powerful and if you will accept me, I wish to make you my bride."
Alexandra looked at him, trying to see if he was just joking with her or not. "You mean to tell me that you are a prince? Then why have you worked as a servant for my father?" Jeremiah locked his gaze on hers and replied," I always knew that you would come back. I told myself that if I stayed here and earned my keep, then I would be able to be here when you came back. I was right and I want to make you my bride. Will you accept this, my heart and the rest of me for the rest of our lives?"
Reaching into his pocket, Jeremiah took out an antique diamond ring and slipped it on Alexandra’s finger. Speechless, the most she could do was nod as tears fell down her cheeks. Jeremiah grinned and wiped her tears away, then gave her a kiss and brought her out to the terrace where her stepmother and father were sitting anxiously. She raised her left hand up and they all shouted with joy, knowing that their daughter would be the most beautiful bride in the whole town.
The planned the wedding immediately, inviting everyone they knew. On their wedding day, they said their vows right after a judge sentenced Senor Vargas to death. Their justice was done, there was peace and happiness through out the land and they had everything they could ever have hoped for; true love, family, and new beginnings.