Come A Little Closer

“What are we doing here?” Heidi asked. Here was a break in the trees before the land evened out into cleared pasture and farmland, a brisk walk from the city gates. There was nothing, from her vantage point that would point to why they were here.

“We’ve been spending too much time inside, you’ve been closeted with the King three days this week, if I were a jealous man–and if I didn’t know that the king had received his first tentative diplomatic missive from King Robard of Archerglen–I’d wonder if there were something going on there.” Dolph smiled, though he seemed to peer at her a bit cautiously. He didn’t have any idea why Heidi was closeted with Lachlan, and unfortunately for the both of them, Heidi wasn’t supposed to say.

“Eh, it was something that I sometimes dealt with in my previous job.” Heidi demurred. “Sometimes.” Not exactly the truth but not exactly a lie either. She hated the not being able to tell people, the constantly hiding things. It was one of the reasons that she had never really been involved with anyone before she had come to Shadowcrest, there just was too much that she couldn’t tell people.

Jolene understood, or at least she understood the reticence as something she’d dealt with on the force. Maybe that was why there had been the distance between her and Peyton too. Because Peyton was pretty much an open book, her parents might have both been practiced liars, both being lawyers, but that was different than the sort of lying that Heidi did. The sort of lying Peyton was used to was just words and feelings.

The sort that Heidi did involved… everything. Pulling on a new personality at every new situation. Although, if she was going to be honest with herself, she doubted that was all there was to it. She knew that she’d hurt Peyton’s feelings when she’d gone to Lock back in the winter and there was no way that she could make that up to her.

It was what Lock had told her to do. To pay attention to the other girls and to tell him when they were unhappy, not that that absolved her either. But whatever it was, Heidi was just as glad that Peyton was getting along so well with Victoria. It didn’t make the breach of trust go away, but maybe it would make it enough less immediate that they could resolve it eventually.

Dolph was nodding understandingly. He knew that she had worked for “the government” before she’d come to Shadowcrest, he probably thought that she had been some sort of clerk or aide or something. She smiled as he reached for her hand.

“And I’ve been buried in helping Camden with these military laws. So I thought that we could both use some fresh air.” Dolph finished.

“Isn’t that what windows are for?” Heidi couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tease him, Dolph was so solemn, it worth any lame joke to see him smile at her.

“I’m almost certain you’ll like this better than the view out your window–or even the king’s window.” Dolph said. Heidi followed him down a worn path between two hills and–oh my. He looked over his shoulder anxiously.

“This is beautiful,” She said looking around the little cup of a pond fed by a waterfall and a small spring, little bursts of color from wildflowers sprinkled here and there like fireworks in the lush green of the meadow. “Do you bring all your ladies here?” She teased.

“Only the ones I really like.” Dolph said with a peculiar half smile. Ones? She thought worriedly. “What?” He asked, his brown eyes turning alarmed. Apparently the thought had shown on her face.

“How many would that be?” She tried to make it sound teasing.

“Well, just you.” He admitted toward his leather half-boot.

“Oh.” She couldn’t keep the relief out of her voice–and maybe that was for the better because Dolph seemed relieved too. He lifted her hand to press his lips against the back of it.

“Hopefully those crows haven’t picked over the picnic.” Dolph tucked her hand in her elbow and lead her off toward the carpet someone had lain out under a tree.

“Don’t think you’re getting off that easily.” Heidi said after nibbling at a few berries. “Weren’t you engaged once? Didn’t you really like her?”

“No. It was a good match for me, and perhaps one for her. Besides I wasn’t exactly engaged. I was a suitor, one of a couple actually. And her father chose to pursue the betrothal with the other suitor.” Dolph picked at a strand of grass.

“But didn’t you ever take her out on picnics or anything?” Heidi asked. Wondering why it felt like there was a gulf between the two of them. She couldn’t claim that there was anyone that she’d been serious with since high school, but even she’d been taken out.

“Oh no. It wouldn’t have been proper. We mostly met in the gardens either at Lord Ashby’s estate or on two occasions at the dowager estate where my mother and I lived. Both of which were very closely chaperoned. I think my mother practically denude the estate both of those times.”

Heidi settled back onto her hands. “Why did you grow up on a dowager estate? Isn’t that for cranky old ladies?”

Dolph smiled. “My mother was my father’s second wife. My half brother was twelve or so years older than I was and he very much resented how–quickly–our father remarried. Especially as he already had a son and heir.”

“How quickly?” The question slipped out before she realized that maybe Dolph didn’t want to talk about it. This was probably kind of painful for him.

“He started to court my mother three years after his first wife died.” Dolph traced over the pattern on the carpet with his finger. “It was close to five before they actually married.”

“So five years is quickly?”

“It was to Douglas.” Dolph sighed. “Anyway, our father died when I was eight, Douglas was twenty–and apparently he never lost the animosity to my mother so she and I were shipped off to the dowager estate within a moon of my father’s death. He wasn’t–bad to us. We had only a few servants–but they were good ones, he didn’t stick us with only layabouts. And the house was kept well. Douglas made sure I had tutors and arranged for my apprenticeship.” He shrugged and looked at the trees for a moment.


“Still sounds like a jerk to me. It’s not like she married him five days after his first wife died.” Heidi said. “Then again, my mom never remarried after my dad died, maybe I’d have felt different if she had. I was only a little older when my dad died than Douglas was when his mom did.”

“What were your parents like?”Dolph asked. Heidi paused for a moment and thought, a smile poking up at the corner of her lips.

“Oh, my dad was–like a chameleon. He wasn’t around a lot, but he was always there for anything important. Because of his job, he couldn’t always show up as my dad, but he would be the shifty looking guy who slouched in. Or, like for my kindergarten graduation, he came as a photographer, My mom and I had to pretend we didn’t recognize him, but we could always find him.” Heidi sighed. That job. She couldn’t help but be a little bitter about it. Her father had given his job everything he had, including his life, and in repayment, it repaid him with a tainted legacy and whispers. They weren’t true. She’d never believe it.

“My mom was the most practical hopeless romantic in the entire world. She would lose herself in novels and stories of love everlasting, and yet she’d still have dinner on the table at six on the dot. She missed my dad.” Heidi glanced down at her hands.

“I understand. I wasn’t–trying to upset you.” Dolph said.

“No, it’s not that. I miss them too is all.”As if that bit of conversation had sucked all the conversing they had in them out, Dolph settled back on the grass and Heidi settled in against his side, her head resting on his arm as it was wrapped around her shoulders. He pointed out clouds and birds, although she would fully admit that she watched Dolph more than the robins, finches, and jays.

The afternoon did that peculiar crawl-sprint, where it seemed to take forever and yet no time at all. Then dusk was settling in around them.

“Well, I suppose I should get back–someone’s going to think we tripped and fell down a well or something.” Heidi said, squinting at the cruel sun that was receding on what had been a nearly perfect afternoon.

“Wait, Heidi, something first?”

“Hmmm?” Heidi turned back to Dolph who reached into his tunic and pulled something out. Her eyes flew wide.

The barn looked about the same as every evening. Tiffany engrossed in a book, Kennedy washing something, Jolene sitting on the sofa probably about to get out an embroidery project or something.

Peyton and Victoria were talking about–well, Heidi had no idea when she skipped into their midst–though she would have sworn that Peyton looked over her shoulder and hid a smirk by turning back to Victoria.

“What are you looking so pleased about?” Jolene asked.

“Other than she escaped work all afternoon.” Peyton said over her shoulder. “Usually that’s Tiff. Tiff actually had to stay here and help garden.”

“And your shoes don’t have the right support for a grown woman to skip.” Kennedy cautioned.

“You are not going to rain on my parade.” Heidi stuck her tongue out at Kennedy and then sat down on the sofa next to Jolene.

“What parade?”Jolene asked.

“Notice me not asking if she got laid.” Peyton said to Victoria in a stage whisper. Victoria swatted Peyton on the arm.

“Oh nothing.” Heidi fluffed her hair, the ring that Dolph gave her clearly visible on her hand.

“Ring!” Jolene said grabbing her wrist and jerking it so that she could see the piece of jewelry better. Peyton snickered.

“You knew!” Heidi accused. “Did he tell you?”

“Seriously, Heidi, that red dye’s getting to your brain. Who’d tell me they were going to propose. Next thing I know you’ll be saying I helped plan the whole thing!” Peyton dismissed airily.

Well, put that way…

“So spill.” Jolene said, giving up her examination of the ring to stare intently. “I want to know everything!”

This entry was posted in Dolph, Heidi, Jolene, Kennedy, Peyton, Season One, Tiffany, Victoria and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Come A Little Closer

  1. Morgaine2005 says:

    SQUEE!! MOAR wedding bells!

    Dolph and Heidi are just too cute together. Is this the first time we’ve gotten Heidi’s POV? No, wait, it’s the second — the first was at the fair, wasn’t it? However, oddly, she only seems more mysterious after getting it this other POV. Lock wants her watching all the rest of the girls, eh? I wonder why — is it only his desire for everybody to be happy, or is there something else going on?

    And why is she spending so much time closeted with him? It can’t just be reporting on the gals. They all seem pretty well-adjusted, considering.

    Great update — and another SQUEE for Heidi and Dolph!

    • Andavri says:

      Lol! C’mon, Morgaine, Lock is about as lily white as freshly bleached socks. There’s not any nefarious reason behind why he is having Heidi keep an eye on the other girls. Lock knows that Heidi’s kept an eye on things and people before and having her keep an eye on the girls is a way to keep her observational skills fresh, Lock to find out about problems when they’re still small enough to deal with, and a way of testing how good she is at observing.

      Because eventually Archerglen, Harborgrove, and Mistgate are going to start sending in diplomats and Lock, obviously, would like to know if they’re planning on killing off the few survivors in Shadowcrest and taking the territory or something. And Heidi would need to be up to the task of finding that out.

      As for why they spend a lot of time closeted together, well, Heidi is an adviser of sorts.

      Yep, more wedding. :-D Thanks, Morgaine.

  2. jm.chandler says:

    YAY! So much pretty and sweetness in one post. I’m excited for Heidi and Dolph. They are so very cute together. I hope these kids make it. ;) I’m totally agreeing on the mysterious part. So many questions and scenarios running through my mind about what Heidi might have done, what’s she may or may not be doing for the king. I guess I’ll just have to wait and find out as the story progresses… and LOL!, not nice. Hehehe! At first I thought we’d have to wait for another update to find out Heidi’s answer with the cut off after the ring… but I’m glad we didn’t, because I probably would have been bursting at the seams. Hehe. Also love how Peyton and Victoria are being very zip your lips about the whole helping with ideas thing.

    • Andavri says:

      It wasn’t really supposed to be “mysterious”. *blushes* I was not shooting for trying to be mysterious. I prefer to approach things like backstory subtly. And I try and follow thoughts. I just couldn’t see anyone thinking “I am/used to be a spy” without it sounding terribly melodramatic and needing to pause for the mission impossible theme song.

      And really only other than a couple of references to Peyton’s former college studies and the one comment that Kennedy made about Tiffany’s degree in architecture, I really only have repeatedly brought up one career/former career. Kennedy’s. And that’s mostly because I think that Kennedy defines a lot of who she is through her job of being a doctor.

      We’ll see more of what she’s doing for Lock in the second season. I have so much plot to stuff into the remaining eight episodes of this season that it’s going to be crazy.

      I thought about cutting off and leaving you wondering, but I figured this wasn’t a case of really needing to be mysterious.

      Thanks, Lili!

  3. EkhoGirl says:

    I like Heidi, I hope she and Dolph will be happy together! They really opened up to each other here, and it is very interesting the Heidi seems to have a ‘dark’ background, hopefully she won’t let anything get in the way of her and Dolph being together I mean, it’s not like she has to hide much now right? Or maybe whatever Lock has got her doing is something to hide…. Hmmmmm, anyway CONGRATULATIONS to the happy couple!!!! :D

    • Andavri says:

      Lock is and yet isn’t having her do something that she has to hide. It’s a common proverb in Shadowcrest that “a secret is a secret between two and between three in doubt”, as Dolph said in the previous post. Heidi’s not supposed to talk about the intelligence work she does, with anyone. Heidi’s ability to do her job very much lies in people not knowing about it.

      Dolph would/will (if she tells him) understand why she didn’t tell him about the whole being a spy thing. And Lock knows that Dolph would understand why she had to be reticent, they’ve talked about that. (Heidi and Lock have.)

      I wouldn’t say “Heidi’s past is dark”, more Heidi’s past holds things that talking about would not necessarily be the brightest if she wants to keep doing those things. (And Lock wants her to keep doing those things, so…) But anyway, thanks, EkhoGirl!

  4. Van says:

    Yaaaay for Heidi and Dolph!

    This was a sweet post. Sweet, and very revealing about both of them.

    • Andavri says:

      Thanks, Van! I’ve been trying very hard not to post up blocks upon blocks of back story, so occasionally I gotta let you guys in on stuff. ;-)

  5. Dominiquex says:


    ;) Super sweet post, though! Heidi’s memories of her childhood were brief, but very touching and deepened her character for me greatly. I loved Peyton’s not-lie at the end too. :)

    • Andavri says:

      Yes, yes, she was. lol!

      Part of the “problem” for me is I’m still trying to get this serial story thing figured out. I have tons, and I do mean TONS of backstory for each and every one of the characters in Shadowcrest. At the same point in time I don’t want to make you guys have to slog through pages upon pages of nothing but me dryly explaining things. I’ve been trying to balance past with present and keep the plot moving along. But I’m glad Heidi has more depth for you now. I hope the others will continue to as well.

      Heehee. I think that being involved with the proposal probably falls into Peyton’s do not file along with her love of old movies and certain other things. ;-) Thanks, Dominiquex!

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