Helen Magnus looked down at the engagement ring she wore on her finger. It was quite beautiful. A simple diamond surrounded by half a dozen small emeralds. Each gem beautifully cut and perfectly formed. Here she was, a newly engaged woman with a beautiful ring. In every aspect she should have been filled with excitement, instead every time she looked at the piece of jewellery it made her sick to the stomach.
"Helen Magnus becoming a kept woman, now there's something I didn't expect to see." It was a man she barely knew that spoke. Looking towards him she wanted nothing more than to inform his of where he could place his wine glass, but she didn't. It wouldn't do to make a scene tonight.
"I must say Helen, I would never have expected you to be the first to marry. In fact marry at all. I was sure you favoured your independence too much." This time it was a scholar she had taken classes with. She looked upon his more favourably.
"Oh I do intend to keep most of my independence. I do rather hope that we are entering a time where it is seen acceptable for a woman to be both married and independent." She wrapped her fingers around the wine glass to her right and took a deep drink, knowing full well that she had started a debate that would be impossible to win. Of course it would not stop her from trying.
"I think what my darling fiancé means, is that while her independence will remain important. That she also understands what being a wife entails." He too took a deep drink of wine before looking towards her. "Isn't that right darling?" John Druitt looked towards the woman engaged to be his wife. The look he gave her could not be mistaken as anything but a warning.
Helen wanted nothing more than to argue with him, but even she knew better. She had tried that before, and had carried the bruises to prove it for well over a week afterwards. "Of course, I must have simply worded my feelings wrong." She flashed a fake smile around the room before smoothly turning the focus of the conversation away from their engagement, and back to the recent scientific experiments undertaken by the college. All the while trying to avoid the blazing eyes of her fiancé.
The repercussions of the nights conversations didn't begin until the were in the carriage, but the most certainly started with a bang. He close the door on her side with a sharp bang that echoed around the dark street. Helen took a deep breath as she waited for him to walk around, she wanted to be ready for the onslaught that was sure to come.
He didn't speak as he got into the carriage, but his door shut behind him with the same level of force as the first. He waited a moment as the carriage pulled away before turning towards her. "I simply don't understand Helen." His fist came down on the seat next to her hard. "Why you must insist on trying to humiliate me so." He looked towards her before slightly cocking his head. "Anyone would think that you were planning on going back on our arrangement.
Helen looked at him. There was so much she wanted to say to him, but much of it would never pass her lips for fear of the consequences. "I simply cannot stand them mocking me…" She broke off, there was no reason for her to be having this conversation with him. They both knew that he would either laugh it off, or tell her that she was simply being stupid. "I want to be treated as an equal." As soon as the words left her mouth she heard his laugh. It was a deep guttural noise that worked it's way up as it bounced from the walls around her.
"My dear Helen…that is the most comical thing I have heard this year." He lifted a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his brow. "Where do you come up with these things?"
She sighed. "I wouldn't expect you to understand." She gasped as she felt the hand around her chin pulling her around to face him.
"Would you mind repeating that dearest?"
His breath was hot in her face as she tried to pull away. It was no use. He grip was tight and it was quite clear that she wouldn't be moving anywhere unless he chose to release her. "I wouldn't expect you to understand…" The statement was met with a blow to her stomach that winded her instantly.
"Driver, it appears that Miss Magnus has been taken ill. We shall need to call upon the doctor before arriving home." His voice was clear of the anger from before. As he finished he pulled her up to face him by the hair. "Oh I understand Helen…" He looked at her. "But I do worry, you see statements and thoughts like that can get you into all kinds of trouble…
Helen looked at him, all of this was wrong. She was marrying the wrong man. She had never, and would never love John Druitt. Quite simply her heart belonged to another, and how she wished more than anything that it was him there by her side, rather than John.
3 Months Earlier…
"Oh my…" The two words were all Helen had time to utter before she was gently pulled into the side room of the college. Before her eyes had time to focus on the man stood in front of her she felt the familiar lips crush against her own. She quickly relaxed into the kiss, it was several moments before she felt the comforting presence pull away. She felt herself pout slightly at the loss of contact. "You certainly know how to get a lady's attention…"
"My my Helen, there are some people in the college who would not ever imagine to here you describe yourself as a lady…" He winked at her before turning her around so he could gently kiss the join between her neck and shoulder.
Helen let out a gentle sigh. "With you I feel I can be the lady I truly am…" She gently turned back around in his arms so she stood facing him again. "There are no games, or silly remarks about my gender." She kissed him gently on the lips. "You Nikola Tesla, see me for who and what I am." She smiled at him again before placing another gentle kiss to his lips.
"And what pray tell may that be dear Helen?" Nikola loved the minutes they were able to snatch alone, she was right. She was able to be the person she truly was, but so was he, and that was something he would always treasure.
"Why, I am indeed Helen Magnus…and I am truly a lady." This time it was Helen's turn to pause. "And I suppose if I am truthful…then I am in love with you." She tilted her head up slightly to take in his eyes as she spoke the words. To her delight she watched them grow larger with delight.
"Helen Magnus…you truly are amazing." He kissed her again, but this time seemed determined not to let go in a hurry. When he did eventually pull back all he wanted was to be able to stare into those deep eyes. "You are truly beautiful…"
"You're not too bad yourself Mr Tesla." She ran her hands through his wayward hair. It was one of the many things that she loved about him. He could spend an age flattening his hair for it to be a state against with a minute.
"I can't imagine ever feeling like this darling…not with anyone else…" Nikola looked towards her. He lifted his hands gently to slip her hands around her waist and pulled her slightly closer.
"Well you don't have to worry about that do you." Helen cocked her head slightly as she looked at him. "What's bought all of this on?" He ran her hands up and down her side.
"I mean it darling. I can't ever imagine being with anyone else…not now…not for the rest of my life…I want it to be you." Nikola took hold of her hands. "I haven't got a ring…but I promise you Helen to love you for the rest of our lives." He didn't know where it had come from, or what had started it off. All he knew was that she was everything he had ever wanted.
Helen looked at him, she could feel the tears brimming in her eyes, but she didn't even bother trying to clear them. "Nikola I don't know what to say…" She smiled through the tears before moving forward in order to take his lips in a full kiss. "Forever is a very long time…" She spoke through the kiss, not wanting to break any of the contact.
"Not long enough…" Nikola kissed her back hoping that this moment would never end. "Not with you by my side."