135. - Lucien
I take the place in while trying to decide on an answer to her question. The place is unlike any place I've stayed before, which isn't strange, but it reminds me how differently Emma and I grew up. In my head, I go down the list on how everyone would have responded to having to stay here.
Father would have made immediate requests for a deep cleaning crew and an internet connection. Aleran wouldn't have wanted to be found dead here, so he just would have walked straight back out. Eschieve would have assisted father on the wifi-connection while threatening to throw herself off the cliffs if it didn't get fixed soon. And mother... mother would have loved it. She would have called it charming and would probably try to steal the obviously hand-crocheted throw that's on the couch.
"Let's do groceries." I say eventually, looking down at Emma. "I need some air and normalcy."
"Your normal and the town's normal might not align." She says with a chuckle, taking my hand in hers. "But let's go."
Outside I go to grab my car keys, but Emma stops me. "We can walk just about anywhere. It's maybe ten minutes to the shops."
So we do just that. Holding hands. Walking so close to each other that we keep bumping into each other. All the things we couldn't do back in Edinburgh, we can do here without getting looked at twice. Some of the old people do a double take when we walk past, but Emma ensures me that's because they're not used to someone as 'flashy' as me. Whenever we do catch them looking, they just smile brightly and wave at us.
The shop is barely big enough for us to get our essentials. Emma tells me that there's a bigger grocery store in Alnwick, just under thirty minutes away from here. Neither of us feels like driving there today, so we agree that we'll do that tomorrow and for now we just get what we need to get through the night. We make the walk back and Emma tells me about her summers here. It's not hard to imagine a little rowdy girl wrecking havoc in these streets, but she swears up and down that she was always well-behaved. We stock everything away between the surprising amount of cookies and sweets, and when I ask about that Emma just laughs and says her family is like that. I don't question it.
It truly seems like we've left our problems back in Edinburgh, something both of us desperately needed. In a town as small as Bamburgh, there's no room to worry about those kind of things. I'm tempted to just stay inside after our drive and our trip to the grocery store, but Emma convinces me that the weather is far too nice to do that.
So instead, we're headed towards the castle. It's a beautiful building that stands proudly on top of a hill, announcing its pressence to everyone who comes within quite some miles from Bamburgh. Everyone speaks in such a thick accent that I barely understand, so Emma does most of the communication. We decline a guide for the same reason, but also it's clear that Emma knows just as much as a guide would. She tells me everything there is to know about the castle and the things it holds, with such excitement that it feels like I'm being transported to the seventeenth century and living in the castle myself. By the time we've made our way to the highest point of the castle, the sun is already halfway down it's decent towards the waves. We're enjoying the fantastic view we have from up here, Emma standing with her back against my chest and my chin resting atop her head.
"People say the castle is haunted." Emma says after a while. "Especially this tower. She's called the lady in pink."
"What did she do to get such a dreadful name?"
"Well, when she lived here, she was a princess and she fell in love with a stable boy."
She laughs, nuding me in the side. "Just listen! Her father didn't approve of him, so he sent the stable away to overseas, for seven long years. He hoped that in that time, his daughter would forget all about him. But she didn't, and she only grew more and more depressed as she longed for the love of her life. So in a last attempt to have his daughter forget all about the lowly stable boy, he went to her and said his spies had told him the boy had gotten married to a woman during his time overseas. To cheer her up after this news, he had the tailor make a beautiful garment in her favourite colour."
"Let me guess - pink."
"Christ, you must have been annoying during story time at school."
"Joke's on you, we didn't have story time."
"Poor boy." I can almost hear her eyes rolling. "Anyway - upon hearing the news and receiving the dress, the princess went and got dressed-"
"Wait a second, was the dress actually pink, then?"
"No, it was purple with yellow polkadots." She replies, exasperated but clearly also amused, which is all I care about. "Yes, it was pink. Dressed in that pink dress, she came here, to the highest tower of the castle, and overcome with grief she flung herself to the ground. Two days later her stableboy returned, unmarried and heartbroken by the news. Legend says he went to the cliffs and threw himself in the waves, not wanting to live in a world where his love was no longer alive. They say that on clear nights, the princess can be found strolling through the halls before coming up here, where she stares out over the wall, looking for her lost love to return with her pink dress bellowing in the wind. And once every seven years, on the date of his death, you can hear his screams of sorrow coming from the cliffs."
For a moment, we enjoy the silence as I let the story sink in. It's just a legend, a story like I've heard so many of back in France. But all legends hold some truth to it and with Emma in my arms like this, I can understand where the stable boy was coming from.
"I don't think that anyone would ever stop hearing my screams of sorrow if I ever lost you." I mutter.
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