Author

Shadows Of Guta 200-219

Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 219) Bonding

The simple exchange of words between Stephen and Zsofia have brought them closer together, as if bonding two minds and hearts into a secure collaboration. Her tranquil manner is soothing to him and it takes away the nervousness and difficulty he normally has when dealing with people.

In most cases, Stephen’s interactions with others become awkward displays of quietness and insecurity, but with Zsofia, his worries are simply frivolous to him. He feels as if they could sit here at the table and talk for days. Even those silent pauses that find their way into most conversations offer a type of comfort to him.

Because of Zsofia’s connection with Stephen’s family, she has grown up with constant updates about him. It does bother her, just a little bit, that Stephen does not recall meeting her all those years ago. However, she realizes they were merely kids, and witnessing his grandfather’s death had to be very traumatizing, so she understands why he has a lapse in memory.

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Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved.
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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 218) Comfort

Stephen is not used to being around someone with a warm persona. His now ex-girlfriend Kate has a harsh, cold, and abrupt personality and would rather demean you than adore you. That type of relationship is all he has known for five years and as awkward as it feels to him, he is truly concerned about Zsofia. Something inside is pushing him to reach out and comfort her.

Turning and looking up at Stephen, tears form in her eyes and she wraps her arms around him resting her head on his chest. Slowly, he reaches up to hold her and they stand there in a gentle embrace. For several minutes, neither utters a word in the silence of the large dining room and to his surprise, this moment is not at all awkward.

“I’m sorry, Stephen, you have better things to do.” Zsofia says as she begins to pull away but Stephen continues to hold her as if sensing she needs this closeness and she relaxes in his arms.

“You have no reason to be sorry.” He replies. “I’m glad the man had a family like yours to confide in and spend time with. I just wonder what was really going on with him though.”

“I don’t think we will ever know.” She says as she looks up then smiles in a shy way as they release each other.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 217) Reactions

The tension Stephen feels is now showing on his face and Zsofia is looking at him with a questioning expression as she continues with her statement.

“Well, to shorten the story, by the time your great-uncle died, let’s just say he was ready.” She says in a soft voice and as she stands up, she seems to be on the verge of tears. “I should be going, grandfather and Tamas are probably wondering where I am.”

Stephen stands up as well, now concerned that she may think he was not interested in what she had to say. He walks around the corner of the table to stand next to her, but she is busy gathering their napkins and water bottles and does not notice. To him, Zsofia is such a kind gentle person and he hates that she may be feeling sad or upset now due to their conversation.

Reaching out, he barely touches her arm and she immediately stops what she is doing. Her story about his great-uncle upsets him but not because he is sad about the death of a man he never knew, but because she is so open with her feelings toward the members of his family. Yes, what she described causes many questions to flow through Stephens thoughts but he pushes it to the back of his mind for he is more concerned with Zsofia’s reactions.

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 Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved.
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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 216) Last Days

“It was awful watching this strong, independent man lose sense of reality,” Zsofia looks away and hesitates but then continues, “it started out small, he complained of muscle pain, we thought maybe he was doing too much of the manual work himself and no matter how hard we tried, we could not get him to visit with a doctor.”

Stephen begins to feel pressure in his ears as he sits there listening to Zsofia’s account of his great-uncles last days. His skin feels prickly and he is on edge. Maybe it is because his back is to the door and he has a strong urge to turn around. Slowly and hopefully undetected by Zsofia, he glances behind him and looks up at the railings of the staircase. He feels his anxiety rising.

“The worst part was that he seemed so afraid.” Zsofia stops speaking and watches as Stephen turns back to look at her. “Is something wrong?” she questions.

“What?” He asks for he did not quite hear what she said.

“Are you okay? You act like you heard something.” She says as she covers the basket with the checkered cloth.

“Huh, no. I just. . . I don’t know what I was doing.” He laughs hoping this will keep her from asking more questions.

Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved.
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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 215) Something

“If you don’t want to talk about it, that is okay. Unfortunately, I have not yet heard about what exactly happened to him. After the funeral, everyone was whispering about what a blessing it was that he finally passed away. So at first I thought he had some long drawn out illness or was such a horrible man they couldn’t wait until he died.” Stephen hopes his words do not offend her. “So when I heard he had a heart attack, I just assumed they were glad he was gone.”

“Oh that’s horrible but true.” She says. “I mean. . .” she pauses as if the words are difficult to say and Stephen does not interrupt the silence. “He was tormented, that is the only way to describe it.” She leans in looking Stephen in the eyes.

“By someone?” He asks.

“Or something.” She replies without losing her focus.

Stephen finds this to be an odd statement. What could she mean by “something?” He begins to wonder if Zsofia knows more about his great-uncles death than she leads on. Not in a malicious way but perhaps she too has witnessed strange happening’s here at the manor.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 214) A Crush

“Sounds like you had a crush on my uncle.” Stephen says in a joking manner as he smiles.

“Well if I was about forty years older, absolutely, I would have!” She laughs aloud then grows a bit serious. “The thing is, everything was fine until he had the electricians in to update the wiring here.” She looks around the room.

“So why did he do that? Was he planning to move in after all those years of letting it sit vacant?” Stephen asks.

“He never really said. Your grandfather was his older brother and I think for the first five or six years he stayed at the gatehouse because that is where he felt closest to him. Then one day about a year ago he decided to start working on the manor.” She stops as if she hears something.

“What’s wrong?” Stephen questions as he watches her.

“I’m just thinking of how horrible his last few months were.” She looks down as if she is about to cry.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 213) For His Age

“After your grandparents passing, your great-uncle moved into the gatehouse and was more or less the groundskeeper for the entire property. However, he did not do all the work himself. Most of the time he would contract out for each specific purpose, like me cleaning once a week.” She takes a sip of water. “His wife had passed away many years earlier so he was alone and usually kept to himself. I really liked him, he was calm and quiet and very kind. Since he and my grandfather were old friends, we invited him over often for dinner.”

“Well, that sounds pretty normal.” States Stephen as he looks up at the lights. “So was he ill or did he have health problems?”

“That is what makes this so odd. No, he was not ill at all. In fact, he was very healthy. He used to go hiking all the time and I do not mean a walk in the woods, he was the type to be gone for weeks on a mountain climbing expedition. He was very athletic for his age.” She breaks off a portion of her muffin into a bite size piece.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 212) Apprehensive

Stephen is shocked for he was not expecting this turn in the conversation. Here in this big house, and as much as he hates to admit it, spooky place, he is not keen on discussing the recent death of his family member. In addition, he knows when this conversation is over; Zsofia will be leaving him for the night. He replies to her with the facts he was given by the attendees at the funeral.

“I was told he died from a heart attack. Do you know something I should be aware of?” He tosses back to her.

“I only know what grandfather has told me, which is not much.” She replies without elaborating further on the subject and there is a period of silence between them, which Stephen finds odd.

“Okay, so tell me what you know.” He responds a bit coarse because Zsofia’s hesitation makes him even more interested in what she might have to say but more apprehensive as well.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 211) Abruptly

“It’s interesting that you are using some of my grandmother’s recipes as your baseline.” Stephen says as he bites into a slice of banana nut bread.

“By interesting, do you mean good or bad?” She questions.

“Oh, it is definitely good.” He says as he holds the piece of bread up to make his point more powerful. “I just do not remember much about her when my parents and I visited, except for eating fantastic food.” He looks up at the crystal lights above him. “So I find it interesting that you have kept that part of her alive, so to speak.”

Zsofia smiles at him for his interesting take on things and finds it refreshing and sentimental that he thinks of his grandmother in this way. As the room grows quiet, Stephen clears his throat and Zsofia asks a puzzling question.

“Do you know how your great-uncle died?” she questions rather abruptly.

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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 210) Recipes

“You saved the day.” Zsofia grins as she takes one of the bottles of water from Stephen as they both sit down. “Okay, these two are sour cream rolls and the yellow ones are lemon cheesecake buns, of which both happen to be my favorites.” She winks as she continues pointing out the differences. “The long ones are beer breadsticks, and then we have two blueberry and two strawberry muffins, and finally a small loaf of banana nut bread.”

“Sounds great, but we don’t plan on eating them all in one setting, do we?” Stephen questions knowing the answer is no, but he wants to tease her a bit.

“You know,” replies Zsofia very seriously, “we probably could, but I would be as big as this house if we over indulge and you wouldn’t be able to roll me out of here.”

They both laugh at this statement and then together reach for the lemon cheesecake buns and this starts another round of laughter between them. As they begin to nibble on the sweet food, Zsofia guides the conversation as she explains the process of starting her own business and the origin of her wonderful treats. Stephen finds it interesting that she has used many of his grandmother’s recipes for the starting point of some of her prize creations.

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