The Vicar of Darkness

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 27 (v.1) - Part 2 - VII.

Submitted: May 13, 2019

Reads: 23

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Submitted: May 13, 2019



Preston jerks awake, sweating and shaking. He curls into himself trying to slow down his breathing. Finding sleep had taken great effort because of his arm. He sits up and decides that perhaps he's done enough sleeping in the past two weeks.

He cracks his door open slowly and slips out of his room doing his best to not make noise. He has given up on sleep but Iona and Eloise haven't.

Once he's downstairs, he knows he won't wake them up, except-

Eloise is downstairs, having fallen asleep sitting at the table in the kitchen. She is a light sleeper and sits up when she hears him enter the kitchen.

"Eloise what are you doing down here?" he asks bewildered.

She rubs her face and glances at the clock on the wall. It is a little past 3 in the morning.

"Oh I only wanted to be here in case you couldn't sleep," she answers honestly. "I didn't get a lot of sleep after my time at the Institute. Spent most of my nights in the library."

Preston blinks, "were you planning on sleeping here all week or?" He's trying to understand her logic, not that he didn't appreciate the gesture.

She shakes her head smiling, "Only the first night. I didn't plan on falling asleep though."

"You should be asleep, you had a long night." They had returned from the celebration around one in the morning.

"So should you," she counters. "I'll sleep when you sleep, deal?"

He isn't keen on the idea but also knows that convincing her differently isn't going to work. Instead he walks over to the stove and puts a kettle on.

"Would you like some?" he asks instead, opening a cupboard and pulling out a box of sleeping minthonelle tea.

"Sure," she nods, content that he didn't object to her proposition.

Preston pulls out two mugs from another cupboard and sweetener from the first. Setting them down on the counter, he then turns to face her. Leaning back against the counter and holding his slinged arm with his one good arm.

"Do you want to play Adeline's Light Children?" Eloise asks from her chair in a somber tone. "I can grab it from the sitting room."

"I'll meet you there, go ahead and set it up."

Eloise doesn't wish to pry. Whatever Preston had seen in his time in captivity, she knows is not going to be easy for him to talk about. Not for a while anyway.

She wants to help in whichever way she can, despite her having no experience or knowledge in doing so. She doesn't need to fix him, she knows this. But she's here to listen, she's here to be present, she's here to distract him from his troubles until he is ready to face them head on.

She is about finished setting up the game when Preston enters the sitting room holding the two mugs tucked in his good arm. While she had heard the kettle go off moments ago, she is slightly startled when he enters. She jumps up and rushes over to take both mugs from him. How did she forget about his arm? Some help she was turning out to be.

"Sorry, I should've made the tea. I didn't think about your arm." She sets the mugs on the coffee table before taking a seat on the rug.

"It's alright," Preston says with a half-smile, "I offered."

He takes a seat on the rug across the table from her, brushing his golden hair back when it falls forward into his face. His hair is longer now.

Eloise takes a pillow from the couch behind her and hands it to him.

"That might be easier to sit on," she says taking one for herself as well.

He accepts the pillow with a thanks, then picks up his hand of cards.

"I don't think the nerves in my hand will ever heal properly," he says placing his first card down. "It won't affect my Lightwielding, but I'll never be a surgeon now. Not that I want to be one anyway, but I'd never even given it thought until this happened."

Eloise draws a card from the deck on the table and sets it down.

"You're allowed to be upset about it Preston. You don't have to put on a strong face because you're older, or because you're a male. Or because you think that you're not as physically strong as you ought to be."

Preston arches an eyebrow. She does know about his constant insecurity after all. He should have known, she is his partner- no she is more than that. She cares about him, she's here right now because she cares about him. She loves him.

He nods, sensing that she means to continue, and takes his turn.

"I understand that expressing your insecurities makes you feel vulnerable," she resumes, "but this is a safe place. I will never see you as weak Preston. You will always be smarter, wiser, stronger. Regardless of whether or not you see it..

"Training with Iona has opened my eyes. She makes everything look effortless, but it's not. And it takes some people more practice than others, but that does not mean that you are weaker. If anything it means that you have more endurance than the rest of us."

"That's not true though," the young man sets his cards face down and picks up his tea. "You know how many times I've been tempted to throw in the towel and call it quits? I've never wanted to be here... not until I met you anyway. And even then, there were times when I've wanted to leave and never return. I'm not worried that I'll never be good enough, I'm worried that if you move on, I'll stall and drown. I feel guilty because I've never had the self-motivation to be here. I look at you and I'm jealous Eloise. You know who you want to be."

Eloise sets her cards down as well, "You don't want to be here?" She had never gotten the impression. "I guess... while I can't imagine a life without you as my partner... I don't think you should be here if you don't want to be. I'll support you regardless."

Her partner takes a sip of his tea and then shakes his head silently. "I apologize, I think I worded that too severe. I've never resented my life as a Lightwielder, but when I first came to Montpec I had been looking forward to being a healer. Because of my physical build however, they insisted that I train as a Vicar instead. I'm glad I did it too. I would've never met you, or Cyan or Sir Errol if I hadn't... but I can't help wondering what my life would've been like if I had chosen a different path."

The life of a healer... Eloise met one when she was at Preston's side at the infirmary. A small pasty young woman, running tests and fetching supplies for Sir Francois. Eloise can't picture Preston in that environment, which is strange because he is the person who looked after her for the majority of her life.

"I wouldn't throw out that idea quite yet," the young woman tries to encourage him. "Sir Francois was in the Royal Guard and now he's head of the Medicinal Sciences. Healers are technically under his jurisdiction. With your background, I'm certain that you could branch out in that direction."

"That is true," Preston agrees.

They sit in silence, each sorting through their opinions on the manner.

"Preston are you awake?"       

"Preston are you awake?"

The young man's eyes adjust to the dim blue glow in the room. Eloise sits on the edge of his bed facing him, her hands holding him by the shoulders. She is in her uniform and the door to his room is open, so she must have just gotten off her shift. It's been a week, he is honestly surprised the nightmares did not come sooner.

"Can you hear me?"she asks after he doesn't respond to her first question.

"Oh- sorry yes, I'm awake now." He runs a hand through his sweaty hair, "Sorry was I-?"

"Yelling? Only a little," she explains, "I was walking past and thought that maybe you were hurt."

"Sorry, must have been dreaming." He can't recollect what he had been dreaming of either.


She knows he isn't going to elaborate and doesn't inquire.

"Would you like me to stay?" she asks instead.

"Here?" Preston asks mentally slapping himself for asking such a dumb question. "I- yes. I don't do well when I'm alone as of late." This confession had been harder to deliver than the one of his feelings for Eloise.

She is aware of this too. They both share the same stubborn mindset. They would rather handle problems internally rather than ask for help.

She nods, pulling her ponytail out, standing and walking to the door. She closes the door and hangs her coat on the chair next to his desk, her white blouse glowing in the darkness. Returning to his bedside, she lifts the covers and scoots in with a long sigh.

"We don't always need to be strong," she says wearily, tucking her arms underneath the pillow she commandeered. "Sometimes life hurts."

It's not long before Preston goes back to sleep. 


A/N: This was a short chapter, the next one is a long one however so it might take me a hot second to get through all the drawings. 

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