House of Harwood

Vote by January 19, 2014!

HouseHarwood75x99In episode 8, readers voted that she did not kill him, but she knows who did.

Episode 9

Once, when she was young, Clarissa Harwood had been lying in the grass, set back on her elbows and watching the white clouds drift over the roof of the house. The sky was a clear, pure blue, and everything, including the many chimneys of the Harwood house, seemed to be in clearer focus. She played with the hem of her skirt as she contemplated this icon, the house, whose power she felt strongly as a force greater than any other in her life. Greater even than her father, than her grandmother, than her grandmother’s mother; it was the layers of all these people, the history, the sheer time, collected and preserved forever in the stone walls. As a woman, her grandmother had explained earlier that day at tea, she would not be able to carry out the business functions necessary to preserve the Harwood legacy. Her role, her grandmother continued as she broke a tea biscuit in half, was to protect the family through other, more subtle means. Someday, her husband would be head of the house, but she – she would have the real power, if she knew how to use it. Now Clarissa stared at the monumental structure with trepidation and resolve. She made a vow, right then and there, to protect and preserve the house her entire life, with whatever means possible.

Granny placed her cup silently back in its saucer, and thought back to that promise she’d made when she was young. Amy was smart, certainly. Cunning, fierce; she would ruthlessly do whatever it took to achieve her goals. But she was also selfish, and her ruthlessness was tied to a desire for self-preservation that could prove extremely dangerous. Given the opportunity, Granny surmised, she would back stab the family for her own gain with as much ease and thought as it took to blink her big brown eyes. No, Amy would not do. But Tanya…She had already shown she could put family before personal gain, misdirected as the effort had been. When Granny had first heard about Tanya’s deal with Victor, she had been impressed by Tanya’s selflessness and loyalty to her mother. Of course there had been certain necessary actions that followed, but now that the crisis had been averted, Granny wondered if Tanya wasn’t the one who had what it took to serve her family above herself.

“Amy,” Granny said softly. “You are a fool. How many times do I have to caution people in this family not to talk about things they don’t understand? Especially,” she continued, for Amy had furiously opened her mouth in protest, “people who are on such uncertain ground in regards to their, shall we say, legacy. Don’t forget,” she continued, gaze fixed on her granddaughter, “in this, as in all matters, it would be unwise to speak hastily before examining the possible ramifications.”

Amy’s eyes burned brightly, but she closed her mouth with resignation. “You’re quite right, Granny,” she said steadily. “I should examine all the possibilities. Excuse me.” Amy rose to her feet and exited the room, banging the library door behind her.

Granny looked around the room at her own legacy; they all looked somewhat stunned by the events of the past few hours. Nonetheless, there was a glimmer of something different in each of them, something more than shock. Victoria was biting her lip thoughtfully, a curtain of curled hair falling over her face. John James was facing the fireplace, his expression intense and unreadable. Sophia was curled up on the couch, but Granny saw a determined glint her eyes that wasn’t usually there. And Tanya, Granny noticed, looked uncharacteristically calculating. This family was stronger than they appeared, and each one had much more below the surface than anyone would guess. Still, it needed the watchful eyes and protective power of the matriarch. Granny watched Tanya, and thought about the moment she had realized that Victor had to die. It hadn’t been a choice, to poison him, but an inevitable necessity in her role as family protector. She wondered if Tanya would have the strength to do the same, someday. She had a lot to learn, but, Granny thought as she reached for her tea, there was plenty of time. Does Amy tell the family that Granny killed Victor? Please return to the top of this episode to vote on what happens next!

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