andhiswife: (melancholy)
June 12th, 2017:

She has no business going to work on Monday morning. She barely slept the night before, and she knows she ought to call in. Lying is easier over the phone. 'I'm sick' wouldn't be questioned; she feels sick, and she knows she'd sound it.

But the alternative to work is staying here, and she can't bear the thought of it. There are distractions at Green Gardens. There are reasons to put on a brave face and pretend nothing's wrong, and maybe that isn't wise, but it's what she wants. She wants to be brave. She wants nothing to be wrong.

She wants to get out of this too-quiet, too-empty apartment that has gone from borrowed lodging to all she has.

The really shocking thing is that it seems to work, at least in the beginning. Things she'd wanted to do become things she has to do: calm down, make herself presentable, leave her apartment, walk with purpose. The cool morning air soothes her, a little, and she doesn't glance toward the treeline or think about just how much of a waste those trips to Cabeswater turned out to be.

She arrives well before any of the children are awake, and doesn't even have to interact with anyone between the front door and the kitchen except for one of the cats (who submits with surprisingly good humor when, in a moment of weakness, she scoops it up and buries her face in its fur). And then there's breakfast to make -- something new, she decides, and a little ambitious, something that will require her full attention.

Even when people start to wake and poke their heads in, she's able to keep her composure. What's the alternative? She can't just start weeping in front of a child.

Still, there's no getting around her exhaustion, and it's harder to be distracted by the mundanities of cleaning up after breakfast. She finds herself pausing more and more often, staring right through the pile of dirty dishes she's ostensibly washing and swallowing past the lump in her throat. Catching herself after one such lapse, she gives her head a little shake and scrubs harder. She's already made it through most of her shift; she's not giving up, now.

Date: 2017-06-05 03:13 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (007)
It's been a terribly busy day, but the wonderful thing about working at Green Gardens is that every day is a terribly busy day and it's all work Demelza is delighted to be doing. It's different from home, of course, this isn't Nampara, and there is no one even remotely like Jud and Prudie to get in the way of all her hard work. The people she works with are lovely, Simon and Baz have given her so much, and it pleases her to be able to be so near her friends during the day.

Then there's the children. There are times, of course, when Demelza resents that her father had left her to mother six boys, but she knows she'd been born for such a role. Being around children brightens her day and it pleases her that she can bring Julia with her to work, setting her off to play with the other small children. They're messy, horribly so, but she cleans up after them with good cheer, and it's once most of the children are dropping off for their naps that Demelza heads into the kitchen, carrying a hamper piled full of towels and sheets to be washed, hoping to catch Greta for at least a little break.

"Hello," she says when she spies her friend, setting the wash down and aside for the moment. She smiles and brushes some loose curls back into the scarf she's tied over her hair, wishing there was some better way to keep it all out of her face while she works. "Judas, they do create quite a mess, don't they?"

Date: 2017-06-06 04:49 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (010)
Something is wrong.

Greta barely looks over at her and the smile she flashes is so brief Demelza isn't certain it's a smile at all, and her own fades in response as she nudges the basket of washing aside and steps closer. More than her expression, though, Greta looks exhausted, as if she's been awake for days and Demelza can't simply ignore such a thing. The sheets and towels can wait. For that matter, so can the dishes, and she knows there are plenty of people who don't feel comfortable speaking of their troubles and there are certain situations in which Demelza is one of them, but Greta is a friend and she has to at least try.

Coming to stand beside Greta at the sink, Demelza reaches out, trying to still her soapy hands for just a moment. At first she casts about wildly for something to say, worried she'll choose the words as she so often does, she'll say the impolite thing or make matters worse while trying to make things better. It's not as if she doesn't have a history of doing exactly that.

Finally she squeezes one of Greta's hands, then wipes the soap and water off on her own skirt before she begins to hunt down the kettle and tea. "Stop for a moment, will 'ee? Baz and Simon won't care if the dishes soak for a little while longer. I think we both ought to take a break and have a bit of tea."

It's technically too late in the day for tea, but Demelza has never been particularly good at following those rules either.

Date: 2017-06-07 05:02 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (009)
It doesn't take long for the water to boil, for Demelza to have the pot, saucers and cups ready on the island, along with sugar and milk, and she sits beside Greta once she's set it out, waiting for it to steep. The productive task has given her a moment to try and work out what to say, although she's still not sure if she should ask or if she should just leave well enough alone. It's so complicated, she thinks, knowing what to do.

Her nature yearns to help, to ask Greta what's bothering her, and to find a way to fix it. All her life, she has been a fixer, someone who looks at the problem and finds a way to make it better, but she's learned since marrying Ross that there are some things that cannot be fixed, no matter how hard one tries. Or that, in the fixing of one thing, she'll have broken a dozen others. He'd never warned her away from it, not wanting to stifle who she is, but seeing the copper company crumble because of her meddling had been lesson enough.

But Greta is a friend and so once she's seated, Demelza turns slightly to look at her.

"If 'ee want to tell me, I promise I'll not interrupt," she says. "You can say anything at all Greta and I shan't judge."

Date: 2017-06-08 02:50 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (009)
With the words spoken aloud, Demelza feels as if her blood has frozen inside of her, ice all through her body, as cold as she'd been during those awful days she'd spent in the Darrow hospital, shivering with her fever. She could ask Greta what she means, she could ask for her to explain in greater detail, but the words won't come and she knows why. There's no need for an explanation deeper than the one that's already been provided. No need when Greta's sob makes it all more than clear.

Selfishly, she suddenly wishes she hadn't asked. This isn't information she wants to know, she doesn't want to carry the death of her friend like this, but she banishes those thoughts as soon as they come up and she reaches to cover Greta's hand with her other, squeezing it gently between her own. This is why she's never asked Ross why he looked as he had when he first arrived in Darrow and found her and Julia in the market. If she died in Cornwall, Demelza never wants to know.

And she wants to refuse to know this, wants to deny it, because Greta is here. She's vibrant and kind and lives and breathes, she cares for the children and cares for her friends, she is one of the sweetest people Demelza has ever met and what she deserves is a long and happy life, one in which nothing bad ever happens, but such wishes are not realistic and she knows it.

"But you're here," she manages to whisper finally, as if that might be able to undo the things Greta knows. She's grasping at straws, not being the comfort she knows she ought to be. "You're here. Tis not as if it were the real end, not if you're here, right?"

Date: 2017-06-08 07:40 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (009)
Demelza swallows hard at the words, but she can't deny them, can't insist they're untrue, not when Greta has been told otherwise. At least, for her own situation, she doesn't truly know, no matter what she suspects, and there's comfort to be had in that. Comfort Greta is no longer allowed. All of that has been pulled so cruelly away from her and she has to wonder who told her and why. Maybe keeping the truth from her wouldn't have been any better, but Demelza just knows she never would have been able to tell her such terrible news.

"I'm sorry," she whispers, shifting on her seat so she can wrap her arm around Greta's back instead, resting her cheek against her friend's shoulder.

Anything else she thinks to say sounds hollow even in her head, because nothing can give back what Greta has lost. It's more than just coming to Darrow and being stuck here, it's being told there's nothing left at home for her to return to if she were to ever go, and Demelza's throat tightens at the thought, tears stinging her own eyes. She has to hold herself together, though, right now she needs to be here for Greta. Later, when she's at home, she can cry. She can tell Ross all about it and he'll let her cry, but now is not the time.

Date: 2017-06-09 06:33 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (009)
While there are perhaps no words to be said, Demelza is better at comfort than she ought to be, given her tendency toward pragmatism and saying too much in too blunt a manner. Her hand strokes over Greta's hair gently, letting her cry as much as she needs, and while she isn't pleased about the situation, could never be, she is gratified to know she is as much a comfort to Greta as Greta had been to her in those awful moments when she had found her father's belt on the pavement outside Tintern. The situations aren't comparable, she knows they aren't, but all she wants is to be able to be here for her friends when she's needed.

"Judas," she says softly, a breath of air escaping that almost sounds like a laugh. "You don't need to apologize for anything." If Demelza were in her place, if she'd found something out so awful as this about herself, about Ross, about their daughter, she doubts she'd even be able to stand. Someone would have to peel her off the floor and put her to bed and she doubts she would ever rise again. Even as she thinks it, she knows it isn't true, she knows, like Greta, she is stronger than that, but in this moment she wants to think of her friend as the better person.

"I'm glad 'ee told me," she admits. "But I'm that sorry you had to tell anyone at all." She's sorry there's even such news to tell. It breaks her heart more than she knows how to say.

Date: 2017-06-13 03:29 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (008)
"Sometimes tis best, trying to keep busy," Demelza answers, because it's the only thing she can answer. Greta is saying she asked, she wanted to know, and Demelza understands that to a certain extent. She would do nearly anything at all to discover if Verity is happy with Captain Blamey, or to know if Geoffrey Charles made it through after all, if Francis and Elizabeth were well and able to come to forgive them. Demelza wants so badly to know if she was able to mend the rift between the Poldarks, because Ross and Francis, no matter what a troll he'd been, deserved to be the cousins they once were.

But if she finds out about that, there's every chance she may discover things that are best left alone. She may discover she, too, has no home to return to and although she knows her situation is a happy one, due to having her family, she still isn't sure she would be able to learn such a thing. Greta is stronger than she is in that regard, most certainly.

"It keeps your mind from wandering too much," she continues. "Or at least, I suppose that's the idea, even if it doesn't always work out that way." Demelza's mind seems to wander no matter what she does to it, no matter how busy she manages to make her hands.

Date: 2017-06-14 04:07 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (002)
"Yes, it must be," Demelza agrees and she reaches for the pot, pouring tea first for Greta and then for herself. In truth, she'd all but forgotten it, too caught up in the information Greta has just given her and what it might mean. It's selfish to think of herself in such a moment, but she can't help it, just a little, because there are times when she wonders what her own fate might be.

Ross would be able to tell her, she's sure of that, but she's never asked and she doesn't know if she ever shall. Perhaps it's for the best to never know and to simply live her life as it is, because Darrow has truly given her so much. Her husband, her children, even her silly dog, and new friends she'd have never known otherwise. Opportunities not presented to women of her time, rights and freedoms she'd never even imagined.

But it's not so simple for Greta. Not any longer.

"Simon and Baz will understand," she says. "If 'ee choose to tell 'em. It might be for the best, they may wonder if 'ee look... well, if 'ee look sad. Do you think it might be better to have more jobs with the children themselves? I could trade with 'ee, if that might help."

Date: 2017-06-16 06:39 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (002)
In Demelza's mind, it's decided the moment Greta says it might help her, she'll take the kitchen tasks, the ones that are less distracting, anything that might give Greta a chance to dwell too long on what she knows, and Greta can take care of the children. Unless, of course, she wants a break and needs to switch, in which case Demelza will be more than happy to do so.

All she wants is to be able to help.

She squeezes Greta's hand in return and says, "Anything at all you need, if I can help, I gladly will. You don't even need to explain, all 'ee must do is tell me and I will change my plans or switch my tasks to whatever might help 'ee more."

Because she understands the power of hard, distracting work. There had been times before she had gone to Ross that evening when the only thing that had kept her from going mad was the work on his homestead. When clearing the fields had been all that kept her from begging him to love her long before that night. She's grateful to it now, because she doesn't know how things might have gone if she'd taken the chance too early.

Date: 2017-06-21 02:46 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] letitbetrue
letitbetrue: (009)
For a time, Demelza is quiet, giving Greta the space to feel what she is feeling and the time to process it in whatever way she can. She simply sits there with her, holding onto her hand, occasionally rubbing her back with the other, and doing nothing at all to make Greta feel as if they have anything else in the world to do at the moment besides this. Because they don't. Demelza no longer cares there are towels to be folded or dishes to be done. Baz and Simon will understand, they always seem to, and this is more important than those tasks.

They'll get to them eventually, but this is where they both need to be at the moment.

"You know," she begins after several long moments of silence. "If 'ee feel the need for extra hard work, I'd welcome someone when it comes to cleaning the flat we've been given." She's only teasing, of course, and she gives Greta a smile as she squeezes her hand once more. "I feel as if I ought to put you to work to keep 'ee happy."
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