Shadows Of Guta 260-279

Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 279) Firm Glare

Kate’s statement is not false but not entirely accurate either. Stephen did miss her but not as she is suggesting. Through their five years together, they spent at least two years of it separated. The waffling back and forth of being a couple and being apart became so common that Stephen had actually found it, in an odd way, to be very normal. However, this is not the way he looks at the situation now and he is not sure how or when, but something has definitely changed in him.

Kate presses herself up to Stephen forcefully and begins kissing him on the neck as her fingers tug at the buttons of his shirt. The familiar scent of expensive perfume and cheap hairspray takes him back months ago when she decided for the eighth time that his emotional state was too much work to stay in a relationship with. Slowly, in the past few months, even the past few days, he has moved past this disastrous game of hers.

“You need to stop.” He says in a low tone. “Kate,” he grabs her hands and looks her in the eyes with a firm glare. “You need to stop.”


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 278) You Missed Me

Looking down from the second floor, Kate smiles at Stephen but he is lost in his own thoughts and does not realize he is looking right at her. In fact, he has not caught on to what she is implying and she begins to frown.

“What’s wrong with you?” Kate says harshly as she hits her fist on the wooden rail.

“What?” Stephen questions as he now focuses in on the pointed thin features of her face.

She is not as attractive as Zsofia when it comes to her manners, nor is she as physically relaxed and content with herself. Everything about Kate is rigid, stern, and distastefully brash. Looking at her, he can almost see the negativity hovering around her like a dismal fog.

“Come on lover boy, let’s go find our bed.” She says as she walks across the landing heading down the hall toward the south wing.

“No, Kate wait!” Stephen yells as he begins to climb the stairs after her.

As much as he wishes her to leave, or better yet not have come here at all, he is still concerned for her welfare. If a wild animal or something else is here, it may harm her. As his right foot hits the second floor landing, he turns to the right to follow the direction Kate went when immediately she pushes herself up against him kissing him almost as hard as she did when she arrived.

“I love it when you chase me.” She says seductively as she stares into his eyes. “I know you missed me.”


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 277) Opposite

After slipping one of his anxiety pills into his mouth, Stephen glares up at Kate, detesting the comment she just made. Why would he expect her to find the conservatory to be amazing? She cannot see the beauty the enclosed grounds hold, for her ideals and perception is a complete opposite of his. They have never agreed on anything except when Stephen would give in just to make the appearance of it happening.

He now realizes how cold and harsh Kate is and that she is nothing like the warm earthy person he finds Zsofia to be. Why is it that Kate has to show up now just as he was moving away from his past escaping that old worn out portion of his life? She has barged in on him and probably taken away any chance he had at growing closer to Zsofia.

To him, there is no need to respond to Kate’s statement about destroying the unique splendor the conservatory offers. It is not as if she was truly waiting to hear his response anyhow for she turned away from him as soon as the words left her thin red and dry lips.

“Where is our bedroom?” Kate asks as she leans out over the banister railing in a seductive way.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 276) A Wedge

Stephen is looking at Kate, but Zsofia’s face as she was leaving is all he can see. He fears this recent turn of events will drive a wedge between their developing friendship. With Kate barging in and issuing false statements, he worries Zsofia will believe he has been lying to her, stringing her along for company until his girlfriend arrives.

“How the hell did you find this place and what makes you think I would want you here?” Stephen questions angrily.

With his eyes full of anger and disgust, he turns to face Kate but to his surprise, she is not standing nearby as he assumed. Instead, he sees her at the top of the stairs looking out the large round window. It does not appear that she heard anything he said or maybe she has chosen not to acknowledge it.

“Interesting, I guess,” she says as she continues to keep her back to him. “Looks like a great place for an indoor swimming pool, you plan to clear all the debris and weeds out right?” She says of the conservatory and its beautiful landscape.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 275) In His Ear

Stopping Stephen from going after Zsofia are ice-cold fingers as Kate moves her hands up his arm and down his back. She moves in close and begins kissing him on the neck and lower jaw. He is flooded with rage by her touch and he pushes her back as he gives her a glaring look.

“What are you doing?” He questions.

“Picking up where we left off.” She replies as she moves in close.

“It’s been months since we’ve even seen each other.” He says as he holds her at a distance. “What makes you think I want to see you now?” Kate grins and leans in, once again, to whisper in his ear.

“You always have before.” She says slowly before stepping past him to look up at the staircase.

Once again, Stephen steps in the other direction in order to go out the door and Kate follows. Before he can even turn the handle, she places her hands on his shoulders and begins to massage the muscles of his back and arms. Reaching down she pulls his hand away from the door handle and kisses his palm then she looks up at him and grins.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 274) Impetuous

Tamas does not act as if any of this affected him but to Zsofia, she feels hurt and somehow betrayed, but above all, angry with herself for allowing she and Stephen to get this close so fast. Looking at her brother in his childlike manners walking along beside her, she smiles and turns her focus to him as a way to dismiss her sad feelings.

Watching Zsofia and Tamas leave on such horrible terms causes Stephen too well up with anger. He cannot imagine what is going through Zsofia’s mind right now. Kate’s lack of manners and total disregard for the feelings of others is an embarrassment to him and again, he wonders what it was that drew him to such a hateful cold person in the first place.

Maybe it was because of her directness that he could sit back and let her handle everything allowing him to avoid interactions and confrontations. Full of concern for his two friends, Stephen is not paying attention to Kate’s assumptions as she moves around him. He knows he cannot let Zsofia and Tamas leave on such impetuous terms and he begins to open the door to go after them.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 273) Brush Away

Zsofia is avoiding any eye contact with Stephen and keeping her focus directed at Kate. She feels that if she looks at him, she will surely lose the control she is trying so hard to maintain. The last thing she wants to have happen is to start crying in front of this cruel stranger.

“Well, why don’t you run down and bring us dinner, I would love to taste a sample of the local food.” Kate wiggles her hand as if to wave Zsofia and Tamas along.

“No, Kate. That is not an option.” Stephen says hurriedly as he watches Zsofia closely and steps in her direction. “I want to finish our conversation, Zsofia.” He says as he reaches toward her.

“Maybe some other time, Stephen.” She does not look at him as she gently pushes Tamas through the doorway before Stephen can get close. “Have a good afternoon.”

Once outside, Zsofia quickly takes Tamas by the hand and turns just long enough to close the door behind them. It is all she can do to keep from crying from this humiliating encounter with Kate. How dare she speak to her brother like that! Angry and hurt, she guides Tamas toward the path that leads them both home. Tears are welling up and she wipes her mouth as if trying to brush away the sweet kiss she and Stephen shared just moments earlier.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 272) A Lie

“Who are these people, Stephen?” Kate questions and then continues with a lie. “You told me we would be all alone here.” She presses herself against him.

“I haven’t talked to you in months!” Stephen states angrily to this typical destructive Kate behavior.

He backs away from her hoping this makes it clear to Zsofia that he is not happy with this unannounced interruption. Just as he starts to move toward Zsofia to explain, Kate grabs his arm and holds on tight.

“It is alright, Stephen. I need to get back to the teahouse. Thank you for helping with Tamas.” Zsofia states in a very businesslike and commanding manner as she and her brother once again walk toward the door.

“A teahouse? Do you serve food there?” Kate questions, as she walks up behind Zsofia tapping her on the shoulder causing her to turn and face her.

“Yes, we have several different types of tea, baked goods, soups and breads.” Zsofia replies in a methodical manner.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 271) The Air

From holding back tears, a lump is forming in Zsofia’s throat. She feels her face growing flush with embarrassment for Stephen never mentioned having a current girlfriend. Just moments ago, she found herself happy and excited about the direction her relationship was going with Stephen. Yet, now she feels like running away as fast as she can. A sense of betrayal is choking the air and she finds it difficult to breathe.

“We should be going.” Zsofia states as she takes Tamas by the hand and they start walking to the door.

“No, Zsofia wait.” Stephen pleads.

“Zsofia?” Kate blurts out as she turns and looks her up and down. “What kind of an old lady name is that?” She states with a laugh as her degrading eyes scan Zsofia once again.

“I don’t even know how to reply to that.” Zsofia says quickly but in a calm controlled tone as she continues to direct Tamas to the door.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 270) Cold Hands

Kate is a complete opposite to the type of person Zsofia is. Has Stephens years with Kate finally taught him to understand what he does not want in a relationship? The loud tone of Kate’s voice now jars him from his inner thoughts and he realizes he is watching Zsofia and Kate has followed the direction of his eyes.

“So, are you going to show me around?” Kate questions in a whisper as she steps up close, facing Stephen, making sure she blocks his view of Zsofia.

She runs her cold hands up under his shirt pressing them against his back. The only thing going through Stephen’s mind is how this must look to Zsofia and how embarrassing Kate’s actions are to him. He is about to ask Kate to leave when Zsofia walks up to them.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 269) Unpleasant

“Don’t you ever be rude like that to Tamas.” Stephen replies in a curt manner as he pulls away from her.

He watches Tamas as he walks to the sitting room where he sees that Zsofia is now folding the blanket and not giving him or anyone eye contact. Tamas rolls his toy truck along the back of the sofa while making engine sounds mixed in with a crash and explosion here and there.

Stephen cannot imagine how Kate has made Tamas feel as she picks him apart with her better-than-everyone attitude and ugly glances. It is obvious to him how uncomfortable Zsofia is for her expression is drawn and not the typical happiness she normally presents. He wants to make it clear to her that he is not interested in having Kate in his life but he is not sure how to get her attention.

“Why are you here anyway? I’m pretty sure I didn’t invite you.” Stephen says in a low tone as he tries to control his anger.

Waiting for her to answer, he wonders what it was that he saw in Kate that attracted him in the first place. She is beautiful yes, but in vanity only. Her inner core is dark and unpleasant, and she has come and gone from his life for years now. Each time, he falls for her ploys and suffers when she decides she is once again done with him as she tosses him aside.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 268) Best Friend

“You liked that wheelchair ride this morning didn’t you?” Stephen laughs as he poses the question as he and Tamas hug and for a split second, he actually forgets about Kate.

Tamas releases his hug on Stephen and begins to clap his hands while looking up at the landing. He makes a few vocal sounds, which Stephen has grown to understand means he is happy.

“So this must be the only friend you could make here, huh?” Kate questions in a snotty and ugly manner as she leans close to Stephen’s face. “Well your very best friend is here now.”

She slips her arms around his neck resting her chin on his shoulder as she snickers at Tamas in disgust. She follows her nasty statement and actions with a loud laugh as if this was the funniest thing she ever witnessed. Worse yet, with her arrogant and narcissistic manners, she has yet to realize there is another woman in the house.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 267) Bewildered

From behind the door, Tamas steps out and immediately bends over to pick up the toy truck he left there earlier. Hearing his movement, Kate turns around rather abruptly and in a rude manner places her hand on her hip.

“And who is this?” She laughs as she points at Tamas in a judgmental manner.

She does not wait for an introduction because she really does not care to have one, and simply begins to walk around the room taking inventory of each item and running her fingers along the top of the tables. Stephen’s attention is on Zsofia and he can almost feel the discomfort she has to be experiencing. He just wants her to look up so he can reassure her of their friendship but as he watches, she turns her back and walks the other way. Angry, Stephen directs his attention back to Kate.

“What are you doing here?” Stephen questions loudly.

He discretely glances at Tamas to see if he has a reaction to Kate’s poor treatment and his own raised voice. Since Stephen did not answer Kate’s question about who Tamas is, she places her hand on her hip again giving Stephen a stern look. He shakes his head bewildered and looks down as Tamas comes up to him, handing him his toy as if he thinks Stephen is sad.

“Thank you, Tamas, but I want you to have it.” Stephen says quietly as he gently hands the toy back to him, Tamas grins and hugs Stephen.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 266) Pressing

As Zsofia starts toward the sitting room where Tamas is stirring now that he has been jolted awake, Stephen continues to hold her hand and gently pulls her back for a short kiss. They both grin with understanding before they separate.

“Hold on!” He yells with confidence as he places his hand on the door handle.

With one last smile between the two, Stephen swings the door open to find out who is being so persistent. To his surprise and dismay, he finds his ex-girlfriend Kate leaning against one of the stone columns that supports the covered entry. Her skirt is short and heels tall as she slinks his way with her arms crossed in front of her. Her short auburn hair does not move in the breeze for the amount of hairspray she has on it will not allow such freedom. With a pout across her face, she approaches the doorway.

“Well hello there mister.” She says as if she is gritting her teeth in anger.

She leans in kissing him so hard that he has to take a few steps back before she stops pressing forward. Taken completely off guard and now standing in plain view, he glances over at Zsofia who is standing alone near the sofa where Tamas was resting. She only looks at him for a second then looks down at the floor as Kate leans in for another kiss with Stephen.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 265) Lost Time

With her still looking down, Stephen pulls Zsofia to him as they hold on to one another. She feels warm and comforting and he is not sure which of the two needed the hug more. He finds himself almost angry that their friendship did not start those many years ago. Lost time is the phrase that keeps slipping through his thoughts as he closes his eyes, comforted by the closeness of Zsofia’s tenderness. Looking up at him, Zsofia begins to smile and Stephen cannot resist the softness of her lips as they kiss. Abruptly there is a loud knock at the door.

“Oh,” Zsofia says as she pulls away, startled by the interruption.

Whoever it is knocks on the door once again then follows with a more rapid pattern as if agitated. Stephen and Zsofia grin at each other, then she looks down in a shy way before standing up.

“I’m sure that woke Tamas.” She says as Stephen takes her hand.

“Do you suppose your grandfather is back?” Stephen questions as they walk down the stairs together.

“No, I know it is not him.” States Zsofia as she raises one eyebrow as if thinking hard on who this could be.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 264) I Never Forgot

“Stephen,” Zsofia says in a whisper, “you were in shock, it is okay that you blocked it out of your memory and it is okay that you do not remember me being there.” She says even though she honestly wishes he did.

He is not sure how to respond to her serious and obvious sincerity. He knows that experience changed his life dramatically and haunting memories still dwell deep inside him. It feels so strange to him that she has this attachment after all these years but being here, holding her hands feels right.

“I am so sorry that you were a witness, at such a young age, to the horrific death of your grandfather.” She squeezes his hands slightly. “It is very difficult to watch someone in pain suffer and not be able to do anything about it.” She glances down at the entry to the sitting room where Tamas is sleeping.

“Zsofia, I had no idea you were there.” Stephen begins but Zsofia shakes her head no.

“I was not in the room or even the house. Tamas and I were outside playing under the tree. He had recently made up an imaginary friend and we were in a game of hide and seek, except I never saw his friend of course.” She laughs. “We were looking for him when we heard the commotion in the house and by the time we came inside, you were huddled on the floor. . . screaming.” She looks down at her hands in his. “I never forgot that. . . I never forgot you.”


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 263) Emotional

“You are so easy to be with.” Stephen says as he keeps the direction of his eyes down, focused on the wooden floor. “I’ve never been around someone who I feel connected to, but with you. . . I do.”

He looks up after making this bold statement to find Zsofia is intently watching him. Her blue eyes, sparkling as if smiling from inside, are in deep contrast to the slight blush of color on her face. She does not say a word at first as she slowly starts to bite gently at her bottom lip.

“I had such a crush on you.” She says softly as she grins then looks back out the window. “I stayed with you that day, after your grandfather passed.” She looks down at her fingers delicately rubbing them against the metal between the panes of glass.

“You did?” Stephen says rather puzzled. “How could I not remember that?”

Stephen is surprised when Zsofia quickly sits up straight and faces him with a deeply concerned expression. He is not sure if he has upset her or made her angry because she does not say anything at first. Her eyes become teary and it is obvious she is emotional. Reaching out, she softly takes hold of his hands.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 262) Watching Her

“You said I met you before, when I was here years ago.” Stephen looks up as he tries to remember. “Why do I not remember that?”

“Because nine year old boys do not like girls,” Zsofia laughs as she leans toward him touching her shoulder to his, “so you blocked our introduction from your memory.” She teases as she turns sideways resting her elbow on the window frame, as she grows a bit solemn. “Everything happened that day, so to be honest, you probably did erase it from your mind just to make it through.”

She is very sincere in making this last statement and Stephen can tell it saddens her. Resting her chin on her hand, she stares out at the landscape of the conservatory and the conversation between them grows quiet. The sunlight shining through the glass softens the already smooth features of her face in a creamy glow. Together they sit in their own thoughts. Zsofia is looking down on the enclosed plants and Stephen finds himself watching her.

“A gentle soul.” Stephen says aloud.

“What’s that?” questions Zsofia as she turns to look him in the eyes.

Stephen grins and surprisingly does not look away as she begins to smile as well because of his reaction. Sitting there on the floor in the quietness of the manor, they start laughing. Honestly, neither has knowledge of what they suddenly find funny and Stephen clears his throat as he shakes his head and looks down.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 261) Puzzling

Zsofia is sitting on the floor with her back against the masonry wall as she peers out through the banister railings to the entry hall below. Stephen sits down beside her and realizes how massive the space looks with its tall ceiling and paneled walls. The light shining in through the window accentuates the deep rich color of the wood, pulling the warm and natural tones to the front.

“So, what are we doing up here?” Stephen asks as he mimics her sitting position and looks out at the room.

She nudges his arm for the copycat behavior and they both grin. Being this close to her, once again he breathes in the light scent of lemon and raspberries. He knows as fact, this sweet berry fragrance is one he will never grow tired of.

“I just like it up here where I can view the conservatory if I want to.” She turns sideways to look out the multicolored glass window that spans the wall from ceiling to floor. “Plus, I still have a view of the main floor. When Tamas wakes up I want to be nearby.” She says as she looks at him. “You look a lot like your grandfather from the side.”

“Do I?” He questions as he turns to face her.

Her eyes are piercing blue and the light from the window makes them appear reflective and bottomless. There is an honest quality to her of thoughtfulness and he feels a connection that he finds puzzling. He looks away as he begins to speak.


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Shadows Of Guta (Excerpt 260) Asleep

Zsofia grins and Stephen knows she can see right through his ploy of rational excuses for she and Tamas to stay. To avoid her knowing eyes, he turns his attention to Tamas and helps him out of the chair while Zsofia clears the table. Slowly, he and Tamas walk across the entry hall and to the sofa in the sitting room.

“Is this comfortable?” Stephen asks as he pulls a blanket out of his duffel bag. “Here, this will keep you warm, alright?”

Tamas grins and that is all Stephen needed to see to know the young man is content. Sitting on the opposite sofa, Stephen watches over him for several minutes to make sure he is asleep before leaving the room. Stepping out into the entry hall, he was expecting to see Zsofia in the dining room but as he pokes his head into the room, he does not see her there. He looks back and then up at the large round window on the second floor where he sees her waving her hand to grab his attention.

“What are you doing up there?” Stephen whispers and grins as he starts up the stairs.


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