It took a lot of convincing, but once Sylvia saw how much she was hurting the boys, she agreed to let James take her to the hospital.
I stayed with the boys back at the house as we waiting for news. It was sad and a little lonely, but I did everything I could to keep the boys from panicking.
I couldn't keep my mind off of Sylvia, but I also couldn't stop thinking of James.
Sylvia was back with us, but I wouldn't allow her to do much but rest. We were eating with Mother when the door rang. Michael went to answer it, and who should walk in but James. But he was wearing face paint, an Indian headdress, and was holding a duck. Mother looked horrified.
"James" I smiled brightly, after a short snort. "We're just having some tea. You remember my mother, of course"
"Yes, of course, how do you do?" James greeted.
Mother said nothing. "May I take your hat?" I asked, standing from the table.
"That's enough, boys" Mother scolding the giggling boys.
It didn't take long for the boys to take the hat and start playing. "Boys, please don't run in the house. You'll break something" Sylvia called.
"I'd like a word with you, Mr. Barrie, before you go" Mother said as the boys quieted down.
"We'll only be a few minutes" Mother smiled thinly.
"Boys, why don't you go and play in the garden? Go on" Sylvia suggested. "Is he in trouble?" Michael asked. Sylvia shushed him and led them back. I glanced at James before following my sister and her children out back.
"I do apologize for interrupting" James said, but before he could finished, Eliza's mother cut him off. "Would you close the door, please?"
He paused a moment. "Certainly" he carefully shut the door.
"Sylvia has told me you have offered her the services of your household staff" she stated.
"Well, not exactly" James began, but again was cut off.
"That won't be necessary."
"I'll leave that to Sylvia, of course" he told her.
"You'll leave that to me, Mr. Barrie. You see, I'm moving in here from now on."
"You're moving in?" he asked, surprised.
"I'm going where I'm most needed" she explained to him. "And I can certainly see to it that this house is managed without resorting to your charity"
It isn't charity" James sighed, "Mrs. Du Maurier. I was only trying to help, as a friend"
"Have you no idea how much your friendship had already cost my daughters? Or are you really that selfish?" she asked him.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Don't you see what a visit to the summer cottage of a married man does to a widow's future prospects? Even Elizabeth, who has not even been married yet! Sylvia and Elizabeth need to find someone. The boys need a father. And you are destroying any hope this family has of pulling itself together again."
"I have only wanted good things for this family, Mrs. Du Maurier" James told her, though her words were affecting him.
"I'll look after them. You have your own family to concern yourself with" she told him.
"What are you suggesting?"
"I'm suggesting that you protect what you have, Mr. Barrie. That is precisely what I am doing"
Eliza's mother had been right. Mary had left him. And though he was miserable, he was also, slightly…glad. He hadn't been able to get Eliza out of his mind since he met her, and the nagging guilt he had been feeling was gone. He was no longer a married man.
George had gone to the hospital, his wrist most likely broken. He had become so grown-up, and not in the rushed way like Peter, but in the nature, still playful way that he should be. We were waiting in the hospital for word.
"Mr. Barrie?" the doctor came out. "Mrs. Davies would like to see you" James headed down the stairs, and Mother made to follow, but the doctor stopped her. "Just Mr. Barrie"
Mother looked furious, but we waiting for James to come back.
I smiled slightly as the boys continued to call James Uncle Jim. It was funny, how they had pulled him into the family.
I watched as James ran out of the hospital as if he were on fire. I frowned, worried about what was wrong. He hadn't even spared us a glance.
We were getting dressed for the play. I was careful with my appearance, though I knew I had no reason. He was a married man, after all.
Still, I dressed in the lavender gown I had gotten during my engagement. Delicate pearls and small sparling gems across the bodice, and a full skirt. I wasn't sure what to do with my hair; it wasn't fashionable to leave it down. I eventually managed to get my waist-length into a slightly elegant looking bun.
I heard Mother and Sylvia arguing as Sylvia tried to get the boys ready, but just as I was finished, there was a crash.
We all rushed into the room. "Take her feet, George" Mother directed as we got Sylvia into bed. "We'll need some more blankets" she said gently.
"Take Michael with you, would you?" Mother asked. I guess she wanted the rom cleared.
"She looks much worse than when we were at the cottage" Michael said before they left the room.
"Jack's gone to get Dr. Brighton" Mother told Sylvia, who instantly started protesting. "No, Mother. I don't need a doctor"
"Yes you do" I told her firmly. Mother looked slightly surprised that I agreed with her.
"I think I'll get some chamomile to help you relax. Peter and Elizabeth will be here if you need anything" Mother said.
Peter sat on the bed next to Sylvia as she cringed in pain. "Can I do anything, Mother?" Peter asked. My heart broke for him. He sounded so sad and innocent and hopeful, all at the same time.
"No, darling. You must go to the play" Sylvia insisted. "You and your brothers and Eliza"
"I can't do that" Peter answered firmly.
'Yes you can" Sylvia whispered. "I need you to. I need you to come back tonight and tell me every bit of it" She looked up at me. "Please"
"It's only a play, Mother" Peter told her. "It doesn't matter"
Sylvia looked at him for a moment before beginning to open the drawer of her nightstand. Peter instantly stood. "What do you want?" he asked her. I smiled slightly at how ready to help his mother he was.
Inside was the book James had given him. "Take it out" Sylvia told him. Peter pulled the book out and shut the drawer, sitting beside his mother again.
"Open it" she instructed again. Inside was Peter's play.
"I've never been so proud of you" Peter smiled, and Sylvia hugged him to her.
Peter went to the play alone. The others stayed and helped Mother and I watch Sylvia.
There was a knock at the door. "George, will you get that, please?" I asked from Sylvia's room. "Yes Aunt Eliza" he called, running to the door.
Mother followed after him.
I heard George's voice shouting, but I couldn't hear what he said. Shortly after, there was a soft knock on Sylvia's door as George came in. "Mother?"
George stepped aside as James came in. "James!" I cried, running up and wrapping my arms around him. Je hugged me to him tightly for a moment before letting me go and turning to Sylvia. "No, your play!" she protested. "Look at all this"
Sylvia stood up from the bed, gathering things. "I'd have come tonight, it's just I still have things I need to do here"
"Mother, you need to rest" George protested.
"Sylvia, put those down and get back in bed. Now" I ordered firmly.
"Eliza" she protested, but I stared her down, and she slowly went back to bed.
"Boys, would you give me a minute with your mother and aunt, please?" they filed out. "Thank you" James carefully shut the door.
"They can see it, you know" James told her. "You can't go on just pretending"
"'Just pretending'?" Sylvia questioned. "You brought pretending into this family, James. You showed us we can change things by simply believing them to be different"
"A lot of things, Sylvia, but not everything. Some things cannot be changed" I told her, kneeling by her feet.
"But the things that matter" she countered. "We've pretended for some time now that you're a part of this family, haven't we? You've come to mean so much to us all that now it doesn't matter if it's true"
My heart clenched as she said this. I stood and stepped to James, placing a hand on his arm. He placed one of his own hands over mine.
"And even if it isn't true, even if that can never be… we need to go on pretending. Until the end" James looked at me, but I wouldn't meet his eyes. She basically told him I had feelings for him now. He was still married, and – as crassly put as it is – I'm not the one dying, I still have to deal with this after she's gone.
"Let me rest for a bit. I think you need to speak with my sister" Sylvia ordered. I smiled slightly at her, but blushed terribly when I looked at James. He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the room.
"James… what she said" I tried to find the words, but he spoke before I could.
"Mary left me. I am no longer a married man" I looked up, startled. "And yet, I do not find that I feel much regret. I think I have been doing a lot of pretending of my own" he said, pulling me closer.
"Why? Why would she leave you?" the idea seemed impossible to me. Who would leave such an amazing man?
"It was obvious we had fallen out of love a long time ago. But recently… I've seem to have found myself in love again. But not to her" he told me, looking into my eyes. I could not look away.
"James… I do not dare believe… some things are simply too painful to hope to believe" I told him, my voice a near whisper.
"Eliza, it would be a great honor, if you would do me the honor of becoming my bride" he said, his arms winding themselves around my waist.
"Y-y-yes, of course" and slowly, as if time was slowly, he leant down and kissed me.
It was gentle and innocent, and sweet, but it caused my heart to burst. He pulled away and I was smiling like a fool. "I do believe in fairies" I told him, and we both laughed a bit.
We went back to Sylvia, who was looking better. "Would you please go back to the theater and find Peter?" Sylvia asked him. James squeezed my hand and nodded. "Of course"
"Are you sure there's nothing else we can do?" I asked her.
She nodded. "No. Go. We'll be fine" she said, grabbing my hand.
I knew the doctor was with Sylvia and Mother. We had all been working hard to bring Neverland to Sylvia. To say goodbye. Finally, it was ready. "Come on, boys" I said, ushering them into Sylvia's room. "What is it?" Mother asked.
"It's a secret" Michael told her, making us smile.
"Quiet, Michael" Jack scolded.
"I didn't say anything" Michael told him. Sylvia and I exchanged smiles.
"Mother" George said as he and Dr. Brighton came in, "Could you come downstairs for a moment?"
"Of course she can't come downstairs. What are you thinking of, George?" Mother said.
"Actually, I think a trip downstairs might do her some good, ma'am" Dr. Brighton told her with a sly smile.
We all helped Sylvia downstairs, slowly. I watched her face carefully, not wanting to miss her expression when she saw it.
Sylvia's and Mother's eyes went wide as they entered the brightly decorated room. "It's a play" Michael repeated his words from another day, when this all began.