“I find a discrepancy between what Stephen has told us of you and what I know and understand you to really be,” Charles spoke with his back to Simon before returning with his glass now full and sitting down again. “I wish you to try to clear that matter for me.”
“What is it you need to know?” Simon asked, all too aware of the lies Stephen probably told them, lies that his twin had aimed at him all of their lives.
“First of all, I want to know what your childhood was like. Did you get along with Stephen?”
“I tried to,” Simon said, his voice low and full of pain as he began to reveal his long held secret. He felt that other than Leigha, this man would understand, so he opened his heart to him as he had to her. “Stephen hated me for as far back as I can remember. I have never been able to understand why.”
Charles nodded his head then gestured for him to go on.
“Stephen was always getting into mischief as a child and managed to make me the one to blame for whatever he would do. He got worse as he grew older and eventually turned even my father and mother against me so that no matter what happened or what I said, they believed his word over mine. Whenever he did something wrong, I got punished for it, and whenever I did something good, he managed to take the credit.”
“I cannot believe that Katherine could have been that blind to allow that to happen,” Charles said, looking now at the floor before him, missing the startled look on Simon’s face.
“You knew my mother?” he asked, baffled by Charles’s comment.
Charles looked up at Simon and slowly nodded his head. Clearing his throat, he spoke, “I will tell you of that in a moment, but first, let me see if I understand you and your brother. Obviously Stephen is a very badly disturbed young man, shrewd, yes, but disturbed nonetheless. He passes himself off as a gentleman, making you seem to be the dark, evil one, while all the while it is he that is bad. Am I right?”
“You are correct.”
“So you have suffered all of your life because of his treacherous ways. Stephen claims that he loves you and that you hate him. I take it that the reverse is true?”
“Not entirely,” Simon answered, again trying to avoid eye contact with Charles, ashamed for the feelings he held for Stephen. “I have always tried to love him for he is my brother, but he has done so much to me that now I am not sure how I feel towards him.”
“I think that I can understand that. Don’t feel guilty for your feelings, Simon. Perhaps it would take the heart of a saint to forgive such transgressions as he has committed against you,” Charles tried to comfort Simon’s tortured heart. “One more thing, I know this will be difficult, but what of your parents? Stephen said that you had them murdered and that you have even tried to kill him so that you would acquire the wealth of their estate for yourself.”
“That’s an outrageous lie!” Simon yelled. The words cut into his heart, and he felt once again the bitter agony of his parents’ deaths. “I found records that when put together with other knowledge prove that Stephen hired highwaymen to commit the crime! I was not even in England at the time! As far as my wanting him killed, I must admit that I have had that thought a hundred times. I even fought with him the last time that we were together, and it was all I could do to keep from strangling him then!”
Simon was standing and shaking with his fury as he spoke. Turning, he bent on his knee before Charles and, with a choked voice, spoke again.
“He is my twin brother, my blood! I could not kill him even when the opportunity presented itself! Though I feel that he deserves death for all that he has done, it cannot be by my hand!”
“I understand that. Was this fight that you speak of, the one that gained Stephen that scar on his jaw? He has said that you are the one that gave it to him,” Charles asked and shook his head as Simon nodded his in assent. “All this is what I knew you would say to his accusations, and I am proud of the strength of your heart. It is because of the trials that Stephen has put you through that you are as strong and courageous as you are. No, the strength had to have been there all along or Stephen would have broken you long ago. As for him, pity him for his ways, for every time that he hurts someone, he brings greater destruction to himself and is now a weak and despicable man. Someday, his life will end because of his ways. He will not have an honorable death, for he has no honor in his soul. We must watch him very carefully as long as he is with us.”
Virginia Lee – Dagon’s Blood – Kindle Edition