Jared Clayson was a very isolated man, he lived alone in a vast mansion on a property of over 2 acres. The mansion was an excellent representation of classic Victorian style building, with a slight gothic influence. The land surrounding the mansion was filled with greenery and flowers; in the front of the home was a road that circles around the front of the home, and in the center of this circle was a large flowerbed filled with all types of flowers, maintained by the gardeners that were paid to care for the property. In back of the house there was a yard with a gazebo where Jared would sit and read; and after the expanse of his yard there was a forested area that led off through the rest of the property; the place was called Clayson Manor.
Jared was content to live alone and revel in the spoils of his riches, which he had not worked a day in his life to build, being born into wealth. He rarely left his home, he would send his servants to do any shopping needed and to take care of any of his business, in actuality, his only real contact with the world was with his paid servants who attended to the manor. But all this was about to change. One Sunday evening Jared decided to take a walk along the trail that traveled through the forest behind Clayson Manor. As he walked along the beautiful trail, filled on both sides by trees and other forest greenery, he stumbled upon a young woman who appeared to be in some sort of distress.
He found it in him to ask the young woman if there was anything he could do to help. She said she was out looking for her nephew who had gone out into the woods earlier that day and had not returned. Jared, despite his usual attitude of selfishness decided to help the young woman and they began their search for the boy. After hours of trekking through the forest they found the young boy stuck in a tree he had been climbing and was too afraid to come down from. Jared climbed the tree and helped the boy to safely navigate his way to the stable ground below.
After returning the boy to his home, the young woman introduced herself as Chloe Archibald. She lived little more than a mile away from Clayson Manor in a very humble home. She invited Mr. Clayson in for dinner, saying that it was the least she could do for all the help he had given in rescuing her nephew. Jared agreed to the meal begrudgingly and spent around an hour just talking with Chloe and her family.
The next morning, Jared woke up with a feeling of emptiness in his stomach. It was a feeling that he had never felt before because he had never been in want of anything. He tried everything he could think of to make himself feel better, eating, reading a book, walking the property, but nothing seemed to help. Eventually, Jared realized that what he was longing for wasn’t something he owned, he could not seem to stop thinking about the young Chloe Archibald. He kept seeing the image of her beautiful face running through his mind, her kind smile, and the gratitude that she had shown him after the help he had given. He began to realize that the only way to feel the emptiness would be to see this woman again.
He took his leave of the manor and headed off the Archibald home. When he arrived he asked Ms. Archibald if she would join him in a walk through the woods, and she enthusiastically agreed. As they walked through the woods she discovered that he was one of the richest men in the city and was the owner of Clayson Manor. She remembered all of the stories she had heard about the man who owned that manor being a cruel man with no thought or care for anyone but himself, but she could not imagine that Jared could possibly be that man that she had heard such things about. After hours of walking they stumbled upon an old man who was in need of food and shelter, he stopped them as they passed and asked if they could do anything to help him.
Chloe, knowing who Mr. Clayson was, felt that he was capable of providing some service to this man, however, rather than even to look at the man Jared stuck his nose into the air strode away very proudly. Chloe was shocked by Jared’s lack of respect and left to her home in the other direction, by the time Jared realized she was gone it was too late to go after her.
The next day Jared once again went to the Archibald home and asked for Chloe. He was told that she was busy at the moment and would not be able to come to the door to speak with him. He was taken aback and returned home disappointed that Chloe had ignored him so easily. The rest of that day was spent in agony as he thought of Chloe and realized how much he missed her. He was determined that he would win her back somehow.
For each day of the next two months Jared would return to Chloe’s home and ask for here company as he walked through the forest, and each day he would be refused without even being able to see her. He finally decided that the time had come for them to talk, and as she would not come to the door he would write her a letter. Paper and pen were brought to Jared by his servants and he began to compose a letter, in which he mentioned how his thoughts could not drift from the young woman and how he so desired to spend time with her. He then hand delivered the letter on the stoop of the Archibald home and left.
After three days of waiting Jared finally received a letter. Inside, in Chloe’s hand, was written that she too missed his company, but that she was outraged by his blatant disrespect towards the man who had needed help. Jared was shocked, he had never been told that there was something wrong with him and was for a while very offended by Chloe’s reply. However, he still could not get the image of the beautiful Chloe out of his mind, and he began to read the letter, over and over, contemplating what he could do. He finally came to the conclusion that the only way to win back Chloe’s love was to prove he was not the man she thought he was.
Jared set out into the woods to find the man they had come across on their first walk together. He eventually found the man and told him he would give him food and a meal if he agreed to go and tell Ms. Chloe Archibald of the generosity that Jared had shown him. The man willingly agreed and was compensated and directed to Chloe’s home. The next day, Jared set off to the Archibald home sure that he would receive Chloe’s company on a walk. When he arrived he received the same response he always had, that Ms. Archibald was indisposed. After returning home he found he had received another letter from Chloe, in which she told him that she was not impressed by his false attempts at proving that he was a good person. Jared decided that he would truly have to change to win Chloe back.
Over the course of the next month he began to spend time away from his home, he went into the city quite a bit and spent time speaking with all the people he had never met before. He discovered that many people were in desperate need of help, however, it was only when he saw the condition of the orphanage that so many were huddled into that he was truly touched. He realized that his actions to that point had been completely disgraceful, and Chloe had been right he did not deserve her. He set to work immediately to right all of his wrongs.
Six months later and Jared had built a completely new orphanage after selling off half of his own property to afford it, he had also opened several goodwill programs that provided food and temporary shelter to those in dire need. He truly became a different person and had really began to care about other, but the emptiness he felt remained because he was away from the one he loved. However, Chloe had watched Jared’s transformation and was convinced that he truly was a changed man. She decided that when he next called on her that she would go out and walk the woods with him. Jared never returned to her home.
Jared had decided that Chloe simply did not want to spend time with him, and he understood her feelings now that he realized the man he had been before. At the same time, Chloe felt that Jared had moved on and did not care for her any more, and neither party wanted to hurt the other by forcing them to spend time together.
Years passed and neither Jared nor Chloe saw one another. One day while walking through the city Jared heard of the recent engagement of Ms. Chloe Archibald to the bachelor of the city Jason Rogers. He was devastated and returned to his home where he spent hours walking the grounds feeling sorry for himself. Jared remained at Clayson Manor for the next two weeks until the wedding he could not bring himself to go to. Two days after the wedding he ran into Chloe in the city diner. He was able to bring himself to ask her why she had married Jason, her response was that she knew he no longer cared for her and she needed to move on. Jared explained to her that he had never stopped caring for her, but rather felt that she did not care for him.
It was too late for their love to flourish, Chloe was already wedded to another man and she was not able to leave him. They both were lost for hope as they realized they could never be together. Months passed as they went their separate ways, and one day Jared once again went for a walk in the forest. Along the trail he met with Chloe and they began to walk together. They spent nearly the entire day just talking to one another and enjoying the company of the person they loved. Despite their tragic separation they had found a way to in some way be together.
They walked together in the woods each day for several hours at a time and they fell more and more in love and “they shared a single heart” (pg. 303).