Author

Shadows Of Guta 160-179

Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 179) The Same

Stephens relationship with his ex-girlfriend Kate is torrid at best and he is the only giver in the union. He does not miss Kate’s demanding selfish ways, especially now. His friendship with Zsofia is much different and he hopes their relationship will only grow closer in the future. Just thinking about Zsofia has him smiling and he does not realize she is doing the same.

To clear his mind and to focus on getting Zsofia downstairs, he looks behind them to his left where he believes there should be an entrance to the spiral staircase at the northwest corner of the manor. He is almost positive that when he stopped on the third floor to find her, the steps went up one more level. This would mean they do come to the fourth floor and would be the fastest route downstairs.

“There should be a staircase on that corner,” he points to the opposite side of the building.

“Well, If not we can go down through the conservatory entrance.” She points to an iron door that, just like the one he entered through on the second floor, is attached to a walkway inside the gardens glass exterior. “You know, there is only one way to find out,” and with that said she turns and opens a set of glass doors and proceeds to walk along, inside the glass corridor that they originally enter through. “I’ll shut this door at the front,” she says loudly as an echo calls back.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 178) Thank You

“It must be nearing noon,” Zsofia says softly as she turns and looks into Stephen’s eyes, “I should probable get to the teahouse.” As she looks up at Stephen, she nearly leans in for a kiss.

Neither she nor Stephen move or look away for several seconds as they stand face to face atop the elegant building. The silence they are in is not exactly uncomfortable and they both find themselves surprisingly content and at ease. Slowly Stephen slides his fingers through Zsofia’s hair as he tucks the stray tresses away from her sparkling eyes.

“Thank you,” she says as she touches his hand.

“For what?” he questions.

“For letting me experience this with you.” She smiles as she pulls her hair to one side and holds it with her hand.

Stephen nods and grins as he looks back down at the large garden area below and thinks of this new and exciting friendship. He has not been close to anyone in years except for his on again off again relationship with Kate. She lives in the town where he grew up, but at this time, it has been months since he has spoken to her.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 177) Adoration

“So all this time, all the days of working here, alone in the house, you never once strayed from the few rooms on the first floor?” Stephen asks with disbelief and a sly grin as he jokingly implies she has been lying to him.

“As hard as it may be to believe, yes I followed the rules, but don’t think I wasn’t tempted several times.” She laughs in a teasing way. “Remember, I explored the conservatory to its fullest though, and climbed all the way to the fourth level of the suspension walkways, so I have viewed a lot yet stayed within the boundaries as well.”

The wind has picked up slightly and as Zsofia stands in the sunshine, wisps of hair float along her neck and across her face. Before she can swipe it away, Stephen reaches up and slides his hand along her cheek pulling the strands back.  Neither speak a word as they stand there together, extremely close, each with adoration for the other, yet neither daring enough to admit how much they enjoy the company. Zsofia looks up at the sun and raises her hand to shield her eyes.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 176) Manicured

Much to Stephen’s surprise, he looks out over a massive area of manicured shrubs, gravel walkways, and stone benches scattered throughout several acres of land. Various nooks with concrete benches create many sitting areas and private lawns. Stone statues and large urns create many interesting focal points that look intricate and detailed even from this distance.

“Wow, who keeps it trimmed up?” he questions as he stands there astonished at the massive amount of work it must require to keep the grounds in such a groomed shape.

“Your great-uncle hired experts for the upkeep; I believe they are here four times a year.” She tips her head to the side. “I’m sure my grandfather knows who they are. On another day, if I am allowed,” she grins up at Stephen, “I’ll show you the trails in the woods.”

“What kind of trails?” he asks.

“Walking trails, you can walk for miles and the paths always lead you back home. It is my understanding they have been there even before your grandparents moved out of the manor into the gatehouse.” She pauses as if reflecting on a past moment. “This is so fun, I have wanted to climb up here my whole life but until now, I’ve never had the chance to do so. I have you to thank for that.” She grins as she watches Stephen turn to face her.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 175) Protective

From the rooftop, the large old trees look dwarfed from where they stand and the rooftops of the town can be seen clearly, yet far off in the distance. To his left he notices what appears to be the chimney of another house that is quite some distance away.

“What is that?” he questions as he points to it.

“The house with the fireplace?” she questions. “That is where Tamas, grandfather, and I live. It’s a nice little hike in the woods.” She smiles up at him. “You’ll have to come by for a visit sometime.

“I doubt I would be a welcomed guest.” Stephen replies as he refers to the reaction from her grandfather earlier in the day.

“Oh, don’t let grandfather fool you. He really is not as gruff as he tries to come across. He is just, protective.” She assures him without elaborating on the fact that he called Stephen crazy. “Come this way, follow me.” She takes his hand and pulls him along as they go to the back and east side of the manor. “Bet you’ve never seen anything like this before.”

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 174) Look

As Stephen watches Zsofia, he feels as if he has known her his entire life. There is something about her, she is so natural and at ease in her actions and his anxiety is practically dormant. As he approaches her, Zsofia leans over the wall just enough to look down and Stephen quickly steps up next to her, putting his arm around her waist.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, we don’t know how sturdy the walls are.” He pulls her back a few inches and she turns to look at him.

“Look at the view.” She smiles as she watches him for a reaction.

“I am.” He replies without taking his eyes off her.

She laughs and places two fingers on his chin then turns his head to look out across the countryside.

“No silly, look.” She says softly and then laughs again for she definitely liked his attention.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 173) Lighter

On each outside corner of the manor, tall turret type towers stand high as if reaching for the clouds. Rock steps lead up to tall thin open windows for an even greater view of the surrounding landscape. Many chimney’s jet up and out in various places along this rooftop area and the center section spanning all sides, wraps around the glass of the huge conservatory as if protecting its delicate contents.

“Wow, this is how I imagined it, come look at the view to the west,” Zsofia says as she hurriedly heads in that direction.

“Wait, not so fast, you need to be careful.” Says Stephen as he follows her out into the sunlight.

The late-morning sun feels warm and inviting to Stephen after hours of being preoccupied within the cold walls of the manor. He feels lighter and happier, which is rather rare for him. Maybe it is due to the sunshine or possibly, because of the company he is keeping at this moment.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 172) Continuous

Without saying a word, Stephen and Zsofia climb the staircase and where the steps end, they find a glass door. Stephen reaches around Zsofia’s waist, bumping his chest up against her back, as he turns the handle on the door. With a dry, sliding sound, it swings open and they step out onto the fourth floor, which looks just as Zsofia stated.

The entire area is an open floor plan with interior walls made of stone, inset with large tall windows that look out at the upper top section of the glass conservatory. The exterior wall is masonry as well with a huge fireplace centered in the middle and two sets of double glass doors, of equal positions, on either side. If the doors were open, it would transform the fourth floor into one large covered porch.

This vast open area causes each spoken word and every footstep to echo as the sounds bounce from the floor, walls, and many full-length windows. Quickly walking to the front of the manor, Zsofia opens one set of double doors and steps out from under the cover onto a wide unprotected section of the rooftop. This area runs the entire length and width of the house acting much like a long continuous balcony.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 171) Coping Skill

Surprised at Zsofia’s quickness in changing the subject, Stephen now realizes how compassionate and understanding her demeanor is. He feels this is probably partly due to her interactions with her younger brother Tamas, and the challenges he faces every day. It is obvious she takes each moment at face value and does not let things fester or become a bigger problem. She deals with it and lets it go. He admires that coping skill very much for he has never been able to do so himself. He now realizes he is just standing there, quietly looking at her.

“Do you suppose there is a staircase at the end of the hall?” She questions as she lets go of his hand and begins to walk along the corridor once again.

“There was one on the first and second floor, so I would have to assume, yes.” Stephen says as he walks along side her until they come to the end of the hall. “After you.” He says as he stops to hold onto the railing allow her to lead the way.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 170) Just Like You

Stephen stands there looking at Zsofia as her eyes fill with tears. He does not want her to feel bad and in no way does he want to make her cry but he is unsure of how to respond. As Zsofia starts to turn away and wipe the tears from her eyes, he reaches out and touches her arm.

“It’s okay, Zsofia. I don’t want you to feel bad, hell I don’t even remember anything about the woman, let alone have any feelings for her loss.” Stephen states honestly but he realizes how cold that must sound. “No, I don’t mean it like that.” He says quickly as Zsofia turns back around to face him.

He expects her to have a look of shock on her face at how heartless he must appear to her right now. To his surprise though, she is almost smiling, as she looks him in the eyes.

“Look at us, standing here apologizing about things we’ve said.” She glances down the hall somewhat relieved by Stephen’s statement as she tries to lighten the conversation. “I am sorry I brought it up but I want you to know I don’t think anything bad about your statement. I’m just like you; I never met my grandmother and completely understand where you are coming from.” She reaches out and holds his hand. “Let’s go to the fourth floor, I hear it’s all open, like a huge porch and the view is supposed to be breathtaking.”

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