Helen walked through the busy London streets on her way to meet a few female friends from her childhood days. She was nervous and feeling nauseous because of it. She tried to pay attention to small things around her. The smell, the sound of her heeled boots click-clacking on the cobblestone.
Today she had to start announcing the end of her engagement. So many people, who had gushed over her ring and congratulated her… and she had to let them all down.
It wasn’t an easy decision to leave John but it was something she had to do. Discovering he was the Ripper was the final straw in their already toxic relationship. James told her she should have ended it months ago, but, in typical Helen Magnus style, she assumed she could save him.
How wrong she’d been.
Although she rationally knew that it couldn’t be possible, Helen swore she felt every pair of eyes on this street turn and look at her. She could hear them whispering about the girl who had always been a bit odd but now had a failed engagement. How pathetic, how sad.
Turning the corner, Helen arrived in front of a fancy restaurant that served afternoon tea. The building was tall with big, heavy wooden doors. A man smiled at her and she ascended the stairs.
“Booking Ma’am?” He asked. He couldn’t be any more than fifteen years old. He was slight, with dark hair and was around her height. He had a large smile on his face making her think he was very proud of his job.
“Yes, thank you. For Magnus.” Helen replied, a small smile gracing her face.
“Right this way, Ma’am”. The young boy led Helen through a number of tables until they stopped at one at the back of the room. It was set up for four people, including herself and she was thankful to note she was the first to arrive. As she sat, Helen repeated the words she’d rehearsed in her head over and over…
Honestly, it's fine. We just grew apart and fell out of love. He wanted me to be able to find someone whom I loved and who loved me back. I’m okay, I promise.
Who cared if they didn’t really believe her. It's not like she could tell them the truth.
About a week after Helen and John parted ways and several nights of Helen pretending she was fine when she clearly was not, James thought it might be nice to take Helen to see a play.
She wouldn’t admit it, but she felt horrible and could picture about a million other things she’d rather be doing right now. And to be seen out with another man so soon after the end of her engagement? People would talk! At least that's what Nikola said. Helen had no patience for societal norms. When the play had ended, Helen and James left the theatre with a grin from ear to ear. It was the first time she had truly smiled in a week.
“Thank you for bringing me, James. I had a splendid time.” She smiled at him as they walked a short way down the road to find their carriage. Their arms were linked and James thought he detected a small skip in her step. He knew this would take time, it was a lot of trauma to heal from. But he wanted to at least help her feel a little better about it now.
“I’m glad you liked it! Maybe we can go again in say, a fortnig-” James was cut off by the sound of a crack in the alleyway they were about to pass. Helen froze, knowing the sound all too well.
James tried to urge her forward so they could get past as quickly as possible. After a few seconds, she began to walk again, trying her best not to draw attention to herself as they crossed the opening of the alleyway.
She couldn’t help herself, she had to know. As they passed, she turned her head to the right and saw John. He had a woman pinned against a wall with her skirts pulled up around her waist. Almost as if he knew she was there, John looked up and made eye contact with Helen. A sick grin spread across his face before he turned his attention back to the woman before him before a small tug at her elbow brought Helen back to her senses
“Let's get you home,” James said quietly. The smile had gone from Helen’s face.
A loud crashing sound, like furniture being overturned, broke through the quiet of the Sanctuary. Even from his current position far under the house feeding abnormals, James knew something was wrong. Springing into action, James ran up several flights of stairs and down the hall, before stopping in front of the door he knew to be Helens.
James knocked his knuckles against the door. No response. He called her name softly. Still no response. Starting to worry, James cracked the door open to find Helen sitting on the floor across from her bed. Her knees were tucked up towards her chin and her head was buried in her hands. A soft sobbing was coming from the woman on the floor.
“Helen? Helen, what's wrong?” James asked softly. He moved across the room quickly to sit beside her on the carpet. Without lifting her head, Helen responded in the timidest voice James had ever heard from her.
“He was here. John was here. He was angry about… about us. He thinks we’re together. He… he threatened me, again. This time he was serious James.” Another sob racked her body.
“Helen, look at me,” she shook her head. “Helen… I need you to look at me.” James’ voice was stern, even for him.
Slowly and cautiously, Helen lifted her head. James sucked in a breath when he saw the beginnings of a bruise on her tear-stained cheeks. It was evident John had grabbed her face at some point and hard.
Moving closer, James noticed a small droplet of blood on the side of Helen’s neck. James pulled Helen into his arms and began rocking her softly, backward and forwards as she sniffled.
“It's over, Helen. He’s gone,” Pulling back slightly to look at her, he noticed she had closed her eyes again. “Helen, open your eyes and look at me. It's going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.” James pulled her close to him again and attempted to soothe Helen by rubbing in calming motions up and down her arms. She shook her head against his chest.
“For once James, I think you might be wrong.” Helen chuckled, sniffing sadly. She pulled away and wiped at her cheeks, wincing as she rubbed over the already purpling bruise. James looked at her, confusion pulling his eyebrows together. She offered him a sad smile before she spoke again.
“I’m pregnant, James.”