"Happy anniversary, love."
Henry smiled as he held out a yellow flower, it had been a year since that dreadful night that changed him and his family forever, though Margaret was still finding it difficult adapting, Henry had no problems, even the children seemed to be doing better than her. She hated the idea of celebrating something she considered a tragic event, she disliked having to drain victims blood into flask to bring home to keep her children alive, why should they be joyous about taking other people's lives. She scoffed at the flower, carrying on folding the clothes that laid on the table.
Henry slowing placed it on the table, feeling slightly deflated but not willing to give up. "I thought that we could go out tonight, get a proper meal, maybe." Though they relied on blood to keep them alive, they still ate normal food, and going out meant to the pub, like they had done in the past, something they'd both enjoyed.
"What about the children?" She asked, still disinterested, hoping they would be a good reason not to go out.
"Mary could watch them." He suggested, making Margaret stopped mid-fold and stare at him in horror. Though she still regularly met up with her friend, she had not once asked her to look after the children in that year, fearing that the woman would find out their secret. "Don't look at me like that, the children are good, they know not to say anything."
Margaret finished folding the shirt and put it on the pile. "Fine," she sighed, "I'll go ask her now."
Margaret walked down the cobbled street towards the city, listening to the birds singing, the scampering of animals in the fields, the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees. This was how she liked life; peaceful. This was the life she wanted, to be free from the bloodshed, the murder, but it was never going to be like this. 'Henry took it away from me, from our children' she thought sadly, but it was this life they now had or death, as he kept reminding her, but the more she thought about it, the more she longed for death, for peace.
All to quickly the bustling of London broke through her thoughts, and her peace was taken away, she smiled at the guards on the gates, as she passed through them into the walled city. She hated being out in the day, it was always busy, crowded, she felt like everyone was watching her, judging her, like they knew her dark secret. She pulled her shawl tighter around her and quickened her pace, trying not to draw attention to herself, getting to the shop faster than normal.
The bakery was now fully owned and run by Mary, her husband having died from the plague that almost took her life, the smell of fresh baked goods filled the stuffy air. Margaret burst through the door, the welcoming bell ringing, as she shut it she couldn't help but lean back and let out the breath she didn't realise she'd been holding, she was out of prying eyes; for now.
Mary walked out from the cloth covering the door to the back, she looked tired, her hair was in a messy bun, her apron covered in flour. Margaret felt pity for her friend, having to maintain the shop and raise her two children, she couldn't help and wonder if she'd died would Henry be in this same state. What would of happened to him and the children if he hadn't changed them? Upon seeing Margaret, Mary's face lit up, they had both been so busy that it wasn't easy to meet up like they used to.
"Margaret!" The other woman smiled, lines forming at the sides of her eyes, as she got closer, Margaret could see the dark circles underneath them. "It's so nice to see you."
Margaret walked over to her. "How are you coping?" She asked as she embraced her friend, she had tried to avoid close contact with Mary, the smell of her blood, the beating of her heart; she held back the familiar urge to bite her neck. She pulled away from her, forcing the smile back into place, no matter how times she saw Mary, it never got easier.
"Oh I'm fine, what brings you here? It's not Wednesday already it is? I'm sorry I've lost track of time." She hastily started untying her apron, when Margaret caught hold of her hand to stop her. Wednesday was the day they tried to meet for lunch, depending on how busy they were.
Margaret couldn't help but smile, though still feeling bad for being here, maybe she wouldn't agree to watching the children, maybe her and Henry could go out another night. "No, it's only Monday. I actually need a favour." She sighed. "Henry wants to take me out for dinner tonight."
"And you wanted to know if I would watch the children. Of course I will, what time?" Mary smiled, looking somewhat more relaxed.
"Any time, I'll have George asleep, maybe Catherine as well. Thomas won't give you any trouble. And I'll make it up to you." She promised, though feeling nervous, was it the thought of leaving her baby for the first time? Going out with her husband without trying to hide? Or leaving her now unpredictable children in the hands of her friend?
"Don't worry about that, it's what friends do. I'm sure my mother will be happy to look after Edward and Anne. Be at yours for seven?"
"Thank you Mary." Margaret hugged her friend, very briefly again.
"I had better get back to kitchen, don't want the bread burning."
The women said their goodbyes and Margaret walked back onto the busy streets, heading home. She still wasn't sure this was a good idea, she trusted Mary, but, though they had yet to do anything, she wasn't sure how much she trusted the children. They had rules, Henry and her had made sure of that from the start, but what if they got carried away, what if Mary hurt herself and they smelt blood. She shook those thoughts from her head, it had all been agreed, now she would just have to go with it and try and enjoy herself.
Henry stood in the bedroom, getting dressed into the smartest clothes he owned, a pair of brown trousers, a white shirt with a tan jacket. Margaret was putting George in his cot for the night, they were happy that the nine month old was growing and developing like any normal child. Although to start with they had problems feeding him, trying porridge and bread it never seemed to fill his tummy, so Henry suggested giving him blood, after all that's what they used to get their strength, Margaret was against the idea, he was just a baby, but when they gave George a couple of spoonfuls, he soon stopped crying, the sweet liquid clearly satisfying his hunger. He smoothed down his shirt and walked into the living room where Margaret was waiting, having got herself ready earlier, he knew she still doubts about going out and leaving the children, but when he saw her standing in her plain blue dress, he was glad she'd changed her mind.
He walked over to her, wrapping his arms around her. "You look beautiful."
She kissed him when there was a knock at the door. "That will be Mary." She slipped out from his embrace and headed to the door, Henry went over to Thomas and Catherine who were sat on the sofa, Catherine had refused to settle down, wanting to stay up to see Mary.
"Be good for Mary, remember what we told you." They had gone over some ground rules with them, they weren't to mention what happened that night, or that they fed of other people.
"They're always good." Mary commented as she hugged each of them. "You two go and enjoy yourselves, don't worry about us, everything will be fine."
"Thank you Mary." Henry took hold of his wife's hand and together they left the house.