What would it take for people to know how much you love them?
Back in the old, old days, in a very small town somewhere in England, there was a well-known young woman named Jenny Beaureugard or more popularly known as Jenny the Fair. Jenny was beautiful. She had long blond hair, blue eyes and a pretty face. A typical Goldilocks. She was the town's sweet, polite princess. Every young man around her age admired her.
One night, a small gathering was held to welcome all of Jenny's suitors. She received a lot of gifts and offerings from the boys. Jenny was happy, of course; but she wasn't satisfied. None of the boys could make her feel contented.
The feast lasted until past midnight. When the guests were already gone, one mysterious young man arrived. Jenny felt her heart race once her eyes set on this stranger, and she knew from that very moment that he was the one for her. She watched with pure awe as a man with chocolate brown hair wearing a black top hat, black bow tie, red blazer and black slacks stepped up on the porch and handed her a basket full of flowers. They weren't the typical roses; they were daffodils.
Jenny was mesmerized by the man's mysterious aura. The way his green eyes looked at her was hypnotizing. He was undeniably handsome. It didn't take that long for Jenny to feel comfortable around him. Leo. Leo was his name. Starting from that day, Leo visited Jenny everyday to bring her chocolates and flowers. For some unexplainable reason, Jenny longed for Leo's basket of daffodils. They seemed to make her happy. Elated, to be exact.
Days passed by pretty quickly and Jenny completely fell for Leo. But though she liked him very much, Leo's character was still a mystery to her. Leo never told her about his occupation and personal life. Whenever Jenny asked about it, Leo would just respond with an ominous smile and say, "True love doesn't question". Jenny had learned to ignore his cryptic personality eventually. What's important to her was that she loved Leo.
As expected, Jenny and Leo's relationship became a talk in the town. Boys had stopped visiting her; they knew that they had no competition against the enigmatic young man from the nearby town. And besides, Jenny was so in love with him. Everyone knew it.
* * *
Leo knelt on his one knee in front of Jenny and pulled a ring out of the pocket of his signature red blazer.
Grabbing Jenny's hand gently, he made an eye contact with her. "Will you marry me?"
Jenny, with tears of joy spilling out of her eyes, answered, "I will."
Then Leo stood up and hugged her, kissing her forehead. "I love you, my dear daffodil." Then he whispered something that Jenny wasn't able to hear clearly.
Jenny ignored this and just hugged back. "I love you, too."
Jenny the Fair was about to become a wife; the whole town was happy for her. They set the wedding date on the last day of the month; so apparently, they had a lot of time to prepare. The wedding would be the biggest and grandest in town. It would be a wedding of a lifetime. The town's princess would finally marry her prince.
However, after the wedding proposal, Leo had stopped visiting Jenny. No one knew where he had gone. No one even knew where he lived. They just knew that he was Leo and that he was a mysterious man from the nearby town. Three weeks had passed and Leo hadn't given any sign of showing up. Jenny was already losing hope.
Maybe Leo had already found someone better than her.
Maybe he didn't love her anymore.
Those thoughts kept Jenny up all night, crying. She loved Leo and it hurt her to think that he would just abandon her for some unknown reason. She thought he loved her.
One night, while Jenny was sitting on the porch, wallowing in her depression, she saw a familiar figure walk up to her. Her heart made a leap when she realized that it was her darling Leo. Her one and only Leo.
"I've missed you. I thought you weren't showing up anymore," Jenny cried, hugging Leo.
Leo stroked her hair lightly and kissed her forehead. "I've been busy preparing the house for your moving in. I don't want you to be disappointed."
Jenny smiled, tears brimming her eyes. "It doesn't matter. As long as I'm with you, I'll be fine."
Leo kissed her forehead again and said, "You love me, right? You'll love me no matter what happens, right?"
Jenny gave him a confused look. "Yes, and I will. Why?"
Leo smiled. "Nothing. Just asking. I love you, my daffodil."
Jenny laughed. "I love you, too."
And so, the wedding took place and Jenny the Fair was married to Leo. Jenny had finally left her own town and moved in with Leo. It turned out that Leo was living in a big Victorian house, but it was somewhere hidden in the heart of the woods. It was almost abandoned. Forgotten.
Jenny found out that Leo didn't have a family anymore and that he didn't have friends. She felt bad for her husband. She never thought that a nice, decent man like him could have such a lonely life. That must have been the reason why he didn't tell much about himself.
* * *
Leo leaves the house every night two hours before midnight and returns in the morning.
That's what Jenny had observed after a few days of living with him. She thought he might be working on a night shift, which was a pretty ironic guess since she still didn't know what his work was. He wouldn't tell her, so she just kept silent.
One night, Jenny woke up without Leo by her side. She decided to get up and explore around the house to find some clue that would give a hint as to what profession Leo had. She searched through the drawers and closets until she found a wooden box. There's a carving on top of it that said, 'What you see, what you hear, leave it here'. Jenny opened the box and found a collection of safety pins and razor blades. She didn't know the significance of those appendages, so she just left them there.
She walked around the house once again, searching for more clues. She went into every room until she stumbled upon a trapdoor in a secluded part of the house. Out of curiosity, she pried it open and found a staircase leading to a cellar. It was dark, so Jenny searched for a candle and lit it up. Then she took the stairs cautiously.
There was a faint smell in the air that Jenny couldn't put a finger on. It was somehow familiar. Her footsteps echoed in the darkness with every step. When she reached the bottom, she noticed something on the floor. Bending down to study it, she realized that it was a daffodil. She raised her candle higher and saw a bed of daffodils before her. That was the source of scent all along. It made her feel a little sick.
Still driven with curiosity, she decided to explore more. The daffodils were so many that Jenny wondered why her husband would dump them in that place. She went on until the bed of daffodils was already thick enough to reach her ankle. Then she stepped on something smooth and soft. Looking down to it and illuminating it with her candle, she saw a white cloth. Satin. Jenny traced its source and found that it was a dress—a dress worn by a decaying body of a woman. Jenny was wide-eyed, fear quickly possessing her body. The woman's skin was already dark, but it seemed like someone had been taking care of her. She appeared like a normal corpse except her mouth was sealed by safety pins and that there were razor blades stuck between her closed lids.
Jenny held back the bile in her throat. She couldn't think of any reason why a decaying woman would be there without leading to Leo being pegged as insane. Or a killer. A murderer.
Jenny raised her candle higher. She bit back her tears when she saw a few more women also dressed in white and had mutilated faces lying on the bed of daffodils. Some even looked like they had just recently died with fresh blood still flowing out of their eyes and mouths. Jenny couldn't take it anymore. She stormed out of that hellhole and went back to bed. She was suddenly afraid. Why would Leo do such thing? What if Leo did that to her?
Forgetting about the horrible sight, Jenny forced herself to sleep. In the morning, she found herself locked within Leo's embrace. She trembled at the thought of her husband being a murderer—a sick murderer. She couldn't believe she was lying there on the bed face-to-face with him.
"Good morning, my daffodil," Leo greeted as his eyes opened.
"G-good morning." Jenny tried to smile.
"How have you been?" Leo asked, caressing her face.
"I'm fine." Jenny bit her lower lip, her eyes brimming with tears.
"What's wrong?" Leo's brows furrowed. "Are you sick?"
Jenny shook her head. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" Leo pouted. "Is there something you want to tell me?"
Jenny shook her head again. "Nothing."
"Okay then." Leo smiled.
Jenny didn't know what to do. She wanted to escape that place and tell the people about what she had seen; but she loved Leo so much to do it. She let it pass. Maybe it wasn't that bad after all.
On the next day, a woman from Jenny's town came and told her very bad news: Jenny's father had been found dead in the woods. His eyes were full of razor blades and his mouth was sealed shut by safety pins. Jenny was devastated when she heard about it. She knew Leo was the one who did it; but she didn't know why he would do that to her father. She didn't tell anyone what she had seen. She didn't deserve it.
She cried out all her tears with Leo trying to console her. How Leo could still pretend like he didn't do anything, Jenny didn't know. Maybe he was that insane after all. But she was determined to keep the secret. She loved Leo that much. And like what he had always said, "True love doesn't question."
Jenny came to her father's wake. She reunited with her mother and stayed there with her for a few days. She couldn't bear to sleep in the same bed with Leo at the mean time. She was too astounded to do it. The pain inflicted was still fresh.
After her father's burial, she finally went back to Leo. He was, after all, her husband. She would always return to him. When he found this out, Leo was so happy that he even prepared a special dinner for both of them.
"I missed you, my daffodil. You don't know how happy I am that you're back," Leo said, smiling.
Jenny just stared at the food served before her. She didn't know what to tell him. She was losing faith in him. How could he pretend like that?
Leo, noticing Jenny's lack of energy, asked, "Are you alright? Is there something you want to tell me?"
Jenny shook her head. "Nothing."
That night, Jenny could only cringe in disgust as Leo's arm wrapped around her in her sleep. She hated him; but she loved him. She couldn't just turn him in.
On the next day, the same woman that told Jenny about her father's death arrived once again and told her that her mother was dead. She had been found dead in her room on her bed with razors and safety pins all over her face. Jenny didn't take the news pretty well. She ended up losing her consciousness. When she woke up, she was already in the town hospital with some of her friends watching over her.
Leo had already done enough. Though she loved him very much, she had to turn him in. He should be stopped.
"Where's Leo?" Jenny asked.
"We don't know." Her friends shrugged.
"Listen," Jenny said, voice shaking. "Leo is the one who killed my father and my mother. Actually, he is keeping the bodies of his victims in our house. You should send him to jail. He is a lunatic!"
Her friends didn't have a second thought anymore. They quickly reported to the police about what Jenny had told them. The police immediately searched for Leo in his residence, but he was nowhere to be found. The decaying bodies found in the cellar were retrieved and were given back to their own families for proper burial. Those girls were said to be married to a man named Leo whom was known in different last names at different places. After the said marriages with Leo, nothing was heard from the wives and their parents again. And Leo was never caught.
Leo or Leon Iridia was the only living heir of a very rich but complicated family in Gloucestershire. Nothing much was known about his past life except for the fact that he had killed his parents after a failed marriage. After that, he had disappeared from the public.
After knowing about the background of her husband, Jenny was afraid to see Leo again. He might kill her for turning him in; but a part of Jenny's mind wanted to believe that Leo would not hurt her because of his love for her. But the question was: Did he even love her?
Jenny now stayed at her aunt's house. It had been months since she last saw Leo and that was before she found out about her mother's death. She missed him; but she was afraid of him.
One night, she was left alone in the house. Her aunt had gone into a friend's house and wouldn't be returning until morning. Jenny made sure that every entrance in the house was close and locked. Then she went into her room. At first, she thought she was just imagining the scent of daffodil; but then she saw the flower itself lying innocently on her bed. She froze when she heard a footstep behind her.
"Hello, my daffodil. Missed me?" she heard Leo ask.
Jenny's heartbeat quickened. It wasn't because she was happy to see him, but because she was terrified of him. She turned around and saw the familiar handsome face of his husband. He still wore his favorite red blazer; and he still looked as charming as ever to her. He just appeared sad. His eyes showed longing and misery. This made Jenny's fear melt away.
"I've missed you." Jenny hugged him.
Leo wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tightly against him. "I've missed you, too . . . " he sighed. "You know, I've always searched for those people who would love me no matter what happens. You know . . . my true love. I thought it was you. I thought you were different from them, but I was wrong."
Jenny swallowed. "What do you mean?"
"You didn't love me. You turned me in. I thought you understood me," he answered. "You're just like them!"
Jenny tried pulling herself away from him, but his arms were strong around her. "You killed my parents."
"Can't you see? The root of a failing relationship comes from the parents themselves! And of course, I only did that to see if you're like those other women . . . I only did that to see if you really loved me to keep what you've seen to yourself," Leo mumbled.
Jenny's eyes widened. "How'd you know—?"
"I have my ways," Leo cut her off. "Now if you can't keep a secret, then I shall make you."
Jenny struggled to escape his arms, but, again, he was too strong. He pushed her to the bed and put a cloth over her nose and mouth. She inhaled the scent of daffodil, only it was too strong. It was making her sight spin. She suddenly lost the energy to fight back. She seemed to have lost her senses. All she felt was numbness.
Though she was idle, she could clearly see Leo pulling out a bunch of razor blades and safety pins out of the pocket of his blazer.
"You don't deserve such beautiful eyes," she heard him say as he picked up a razor. "They are not worthy of seeing secrets just to tell about them." Then without a warning, he plunged the metal into her right eye.
Jenny didn't feel anything. She was too high to care. Then Leo impaled another razor into her left eye, completely disabling her sense of sight.
She heard Leo chuckle. "Such a beauty, my daffodil. You'll be one of them soon." There was a long pause. "Now, I shall keep you silent forever, my love. You are not allowed to talk of nonsense anymore."
Leo pierced the skin of Jenny's lips with a safety pin and sealed them shut. He added a few more and then smiled to himself, satisfied with his work.
He sighed. "You are now perfect, my dear daffodil. The secret is now safe—safely secured by the razors and pins. Too bad we didn't have a happy ending. Like what I've told you before, 'True love doesn't question'." He stood up and lifted Jenny's limp body over his shoulder. "But you questioned me."