[center [font "Calibri" When the Great War broke out there was a surge of patriotism and a rush of men signing up to fight for their country, thinking that the war would be over by Christmas. Four harsh years were taken from those that signed up to fight and for some of the soldiers their time in this world was over; their lives claimed by the horrors of war.]]
[center [font "Calibri" As the war was being fought on the Western Front there were real battles being fought every day back in England. Many women were fighting against the loss of their husbands, fathers and sons and loved ones. It was not uncommon and many banded together to deal with such loss. Still, life had to go on and soon enough the war would be over and those who had lost could work on rebuilding their lives whilst always remember those who had given up theirs.]]
[center [font "Calibri" Elizabeth lost a man whom she loved; a man who had once asked her to marry him but sadly it was the war that broke them apart and one day that dreaded telegram was delivered to her home letting her know that her soul mate had passed early on during the war. She had promised to wait for him until the war was over, but now she knew he would never return to her.]]
[center [font "Calibri" In 1918 a miracle happened and the war came to an end and with the end, came the return of the brave soldiers who had remained to fight for them. Elizabeth hadn’t expected that the man she had once loved would return to her after being pronounced dead but sure enough one day he showed up at her door, ready to give his entire world to her. Yet she seemed sad. It has been a year since she had been told he had died and with not one letter from him how could she had possibly hoped that he was still alive? For when he had returned she had been engaged to another to help with the debt that had been brought upon her family when her father passed.]]
[center [font "Calibri" I am wanting to start at the very beginning of this story. It will begin in 1914 just before the war breaks out. At some point along the line Elizabeth will meet your character, whether that be before the war breaks out or during one of his relief visits home. We can decide that together. I want to follow the story all the way through from them meeting to him returning to her after she had been told that he was dead. Again we can discuss the finer details if you decide to join me. I think after that point we can allow the roleplay to flow however it may.]]
[center [font "Calibri" I would like someone who would be willing to play Elizabeth's love interest. Please PM me to let me know that you are interested and we can discuss the details further. I generally post anything from 300 - 1500 words depending on the level of depth required although I do not require or produce this for every post, especially if there is a conversation taking place. When the time comes, I figured that both of us could have control of Elizabeth's fiance so that we can move the plot along.]]
[center [pic https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/0f/32/92/0f3292a4a124cf8a1d4c43d52ade7c35--thomas-barrow-downton-abbey.jpg]
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Elizabeth could have spent all day staring at him while he worked. He was completely lost within it and his passion was so evident upon his face while he carved every last bit of detail into the rose. When he placed the rose on the table it was as though his presence at returned to the room and he had turned to face her. She stood up, removing her frame from leaning in the doorway and smiled towards him as he removed his goggles and brushed away at the wood shavings. With his permission she stepped further inside. [b “I know I can speak up with you, but I rather enjoyed watching you work. I think this is going to be a beneficial arrangement if I get to see such a passionate man at work.”] She said with a smile before moving towards the table. She allowed her hand to run over the wood, feeling the smoothness of it. It really was something quite marvellous and she was impressed by his craftsmanship. He seemed to pick up on the fact that she had enjoyed watching him and said she had the choice to complete the paperwork, look at the logbook or watch him.
[b “I see no reason why I cannot do both.”] She said as she looked over the paperwork. It seemed simple enough. She looked up once he started carving again and beamed at him words. [b “I’m happy I made it too.”] With that, she easily moved between watching him with amazement and completing the paperwork before her. There was no doubt that she had beautiful handwriting, but she did not see anything wrong with Kyler’s either. She ran a finger over the log book and looked over the transactions so that she could get a feel for his clientele. [b “You know, you really do have a lot of customers. I’m surprised you have no taken on someone to work under you before. You would be able to get a lot more done if you didn’t have to waste so much time filling this out.”]
Kyler was crouching down, his eyes resting on the same level as his work. He was carving the tiniest of details, so he wanted to be able to immerse himself in his work. He wouldn't have noticed if someone robbed him behind his back really, but it wasn't like he normally worried about that. Elaine normally knew better than to bother Kyler when he was working. Kyler finished carving the last petal of the wooden rose into the table before he felt a presence as if someone was watching him. Kyler stood, pulling the goggles up above his head and smiled at the sight that beheld him. Elizabeth. Kyler quickly shoved off all the wood carvings from his body to the ground and adjusted his jacket from the coolness of the garage.
[b "I didn't see you there Elizabeth... You know, you can always speak up."] He stepped forward to usher her inside, leading her towards the table he was working on. [b "You came at just the right time. I was about to fill out some paperwork on this piece... or at least have you do it while I finish carving. I'm sure your handwriting is much more beautiful than mine."] He spoke and then pointed to the line. [b "This is where I put names of my customers. Here is the detail work I did. There is the log book I write all my customers transactions down in. You can take a look if you'd like or... you can watch me do this."] He would smile and then return to carving, letting her choose. [b "I'm happy you made it Elizabeth."]
The rest of the evening seemed to pass by slowly and seamlessly. On the morning of her planned encounter with Kyler, she found herself spending time with her mother who seemed of high spirits again. Every day it seemed as though something threatened to take her from this world so she tried to put on a brave face as she sat in the chair next to her bed. They had fallen into a comfortable silence as the two began to stitch decorations into the handkerchiefs that they had purchased for her father’s birthday.
Every time she had been left alone with her thoughts they managed to find Kyler and the offer he had made to help her become more independent; to learn his trade. Yet she couldn’t seem to shake the thought of how she wished their time together had ended. To kiss under the stars would have been something for her to remember but she had to remind herself that they had made the deal to pretend. Nothing more. A sigh escaped her lips, rousing her mother’s attention from the sewing that she had engrossed herself in. Her mother placed the material down onto her lap and adjusted herself slightly so that she was more comfortable before taking a minute to look over Elizabeth’s face.
“Elizabeth dear. You simply must tell me what is on your mind.” Her tone was not unkind as she addressed her daughter but it was laced with concern. For a moment, Elizabeth continued to embroider patterns onto the material before her, lost in thought until she finally realised that her mother had addressed her. She laughed, noticing the distance that she had in her eyes and shook her head. “There is something on your mind dear.” She said, repeating herself to prompt Elizabeth to talk by breaking the silence again.
“Please accept my apology mother. I do not mean to allow my thoughts to encroach on our time together. I’m not sure that this is something you would want to hear about.” She said simply, not knowing how her mother would feel about her antics with a complete stranger. As though to answer, she stared blankly and blinked a few times, waiting for her to continue her explanation. She smiled and decided against her better judgement, divulging everything there was to know about Kyler and the offer he had made her. If a daughter could not speak to her mother about such things then whom could she speak to? All the while, her mother reserved judgement, nodding at different parts of her explanation to show that she was listening to every word and by the time she finished she found herself taking in a deep breath and releasing a sigh, as though telling her released some kind of pressure that the must have been holding over herself.
There was a moment of silence as her mother began to process what she had said and she found that her heart had quickened slightly with the anticipation of what opinion she would offer. There was every chance that she would see her as a disgrace, planning to learn some trade that was meant for men and to be taught by a stranger. The silence felt like a lifetime but soon enough she broke it.
“It sounds like you have strong feelings about this Elizabeth. I want to to be happy and if this is what it takes then you should go...learn.” The sentiment brought a tear to her eye and there was nothing more left to be said between the two and with her mother’s blessing she placed a kiss upon her forehead and made her way towards the address Kyler had given her. Upon arriving she found Kyler working and the smile found her lips easily as she looking up at him. He clearly hadn’t noticed that she was there and she didn’t want to startle him in case it spoiled his work so she simply remained quiet in the doorway as she watched him work. It was mesmerising and she was sure she could watch him work like that forever. She felt the familiar tug at her heart as she lost herself for a moment.
Her eyes looked like they were lightbulbs of excitement, and he was satisfied for having turned them on. It was like she came alive before his eyes. She was similar to a wind-up toy that just needed a little push to get going. Kyler couldn't imagine growing up in the same shoes as she. Elizabeth had no chance of doing what she truly loved, and he could tell from the moment he met her that she wasn't happy. What was the point of life if you weren't going to enjoy it and live to serve others with your talents? Elizabeth wasn't born to be a seamstress or a cook or a maid. She was more than that, and she just needed someone to unlock her potential. Kyler intended to be that someone, for as long as he possibly could. She reminded him of himself... walking aimlessly until the right moment hit her. If she couldn't make a pathway for herself, what could it hurt to make one for her?
Kyler lifted up on Elizabeth, creating enough pressure to pull her to her feet. [i "We'll start tomorrow then... I don't think I've ever been this excited about anything in my life."] Kyler could only smile at her words. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise to have been blindly set up with this woman. She might have needed him as much as he needed her to provide a new perspective on life. They learned from each other in ways they didn't even know yet. Kyler felt her small squeeze on his hand, and his smile only widened. He felt something flutter in his chest, but he played it off as coincidence. [b "It is my pleasure Elizabeth."] He would run his thumb once over her hand then let it go as he headed back into the party.
Grabbing his sister from dancing on the party floor, Kyler would walk them home and blow off his sister's ranting about how cute he looked with Elizabeth. She even told him off about speaking up to a wealthy man, identifying him as Andrew, the classic business jackass type. Kyler just shook his head, looking down to his bubbly sister, [b "He had it coming to him sis."] Kyler just laughed as Elaine went on and on about some guy she might have found for herself. He was just letting his mind drift to Elizabeth's reunion with him for her first day in training. What would he teach her? He'd just have to start from square one.
Kyler slept well that night, hopping into a quick shower and then dressing down to his work clothes and pulling his goggles on. He'd get to work carving an intricate piece that he'd been putting together for a wealthy family with very particular tastes. The lines had to be impeccably sharp and detailed to the finest point. Kyler was a perfectionist with his work, no matter how much he projected himself differently. In a way, he was afraid to show his true self to anyone other than family. He couldn't be distracted and leave his sister all alone. She'd never make it... Kyler was so into his work that he wouldn't have noticed anyone coming in as he began carving another wooden rose into the tea table he had crafted.
Elizabeth has no idea why Kyler was so willing to help her in the way he had suggested. He owed nothing to her. Although a part of her wondered if it would help their sorry motet if she were to frequent his home. However that would not be a reason for the woman to agree to him offer. While they were alone they did not need to pretend and it wasn’t as though she would ever get such an offer from anyone else. To teach a woman how to work or run their own business at this time was considered inappropriate. Sure, they could train and teachers and nurses and whatever jobs they considered suitable for a woman but carpentry, factory work, business...it was a man’s world and she couldn’t see any other way into it.
As she listened to him speak she searched her mind for an excuse, sure that Elaine would help provide an alibi since she was so keen for her to end up with her brother. Perhaps she could tell her father she was teaching her how to sew. It would please him to hear that she was finally taking up something associated with her sex as she had always refused to let her mother teach her. It was part of the small acts of rebellion she had embarked upon when she was younger. She looked up towards his towering frame now that he was stood up and she smiled towards him softly as she took hold of his hand and pulled on it to help her to her feet. Almost without thinking about it she ran her hand over the dress to smooth it down and tried to look for any damage she might had done to it.
“I do not think you realise how much your proposition means to me Kyler. I would be honoured to have you teach me your trade.” She said as her mind started to wonder about the things she might learn. Starting as early as tomorrow was an exciting prospect that made her want to retire from the party and go to sleep so that the following day might arrive quicker but she would not cut her evening short, especially since she knew Helen would be wanting to know every detail of their encounter. There would be things she would need to fabricate and things she would need to keep to herself.
“We shall start tomorrow then.” She said as he started to joke about the saw but her eyes only betrayed the feeling of excitement within her. “I’m not sure I own anything that should get dirty but I can try to find some old clothes. I don’t think I have ever been this excited about anything in my life.” Elizabeth took hold of his hand and squeezed it affectionately. “Thank you...truly.”
Kyler found Elizabeth's reaction to him offering her an apprenticeship quite precious. He wouldn't change that look for the world. He knew he could hide her as she learned from him in the ways that she couldn't otherwise. Elizabeth wanted this more than anything... and Kyler almost felt like he owed it to her. No one else seemed to listen to her, but he wanted to give her a chance. It seemed that no one messed with his business as he kept mostly to himself. There would be no harm in saving Elizabeth from the mediocrity of her life, would there?
[b "Yes... of course I would do that Elizabeth. You can make some excuse about going for a walk or having to help Elaine with some kind of friendly duties. I don't know, but I'm sure you could think of something. I work from the house, so you know where that is I'm certain. The door could be open for as many times as you find yourself free from your father to learn from me... If you so choose.] Kyler would offer another smile and stand, reaching out a hand to help her up.
[b "Assuming you will say yes to my proposition... we shall start tomorrow the instant you become free from your duties as a daughter. Wear something you can get dirty... I may have you work the saw."] He joked, hoping to get a reaction out of her. He would enjoy this... watching the woman live her dreams right in front of him, even if they were to just be two people stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kyler seemed to confirm once more that he was not like men. If she were ever to find herself settling down with a man she hoped that it would be someone like him. Someone who seemed to encourage her independence in the same way that he did. Although, it seemed unlikely that would be the case. Kyler was truly one of a kind and she was beginning to regret their little façade. Maybe they could have had something real if they hadn’t already agreed on this little deal. However, she kept her thoughts to herself and decided that she would try to separate their deal from her feelings.
Elizabeth decided to sit up straight now as she turned to face him as he spoke towards her. It was nice to know that he intended to speak his mind at all times and that he encouraged her to do the same. She smiled towards him and glanced up at the sky one last time. If she had the courage to speak to her father about her wishes to be involved in business she knew that he would shut her down instantly. He had told her many times that she needed to marry and fulfil her duties like all the other women her age. Even Helen had become one of the women she hoped to avoid. Soon she would fall pregnant and accomplish the sole purpose of being a woman. Elizabeth wanted more than that and Kyler seemed to understand that more than anyone she had ever met.
What he said next shocked her, and she looked him over as if to detect if there was some humour within him. A man was offering her something that she wanted more than anything and he seemed more than willing to help her become the independent woman that she wanted to be. She blinked several times, lips parted slightly in shock as she looked towards him.
“Are you serious?” She asked, blinking in disbelief at his words. “You would do that? You would teach me your business?” Elizabeth almost laughed but she didn’t, understanding that he was entirely serious about his offer. “What would I say to my father about why I keep disappearing?” His offer presented her with several questions, but she was hardly in a position to say no. It was all she wanted and to turn this down did not make sense. “You really mean it?”
Kyler watched as Elizabeth just laughed off the idea of speaking her mind. He didn't really see what was so outrageous about it. But then again Kyler grew up by himself and his sister really as his parents passed when they were too young to comprehend. He was never told that women were supposed to be inferior, and he never saw them that way. Kyler didn't always fit in, and he was fine being a loner type. Kyler made it ever since, and he considered that a pretty damn huge accomplishment. He never opened up to anyone, but Elizabeth needed something to be said to her before she went her whole entire life uneventful and uninspired and unhappy. Kyler wanted to say it was easy, but he knew it wasn't. Elizabeth was raised to be the submissive gender in everything she did. She had the independent spark in her, but it wasn't one she could act on without someone to push her. Maybe he could give her a little shove.
[i “Those people may be boring, but I am a woman living in a man’s business world. To speak my mind would cause outrage and to show any form of intelligence beyond that of the household would not go down well either. I’m rather surprised that you would encourage such a thing.”] Kyler only smiled, wishing to set the little angel of a woman free to open her wings. She didn't know him well enough to know he spoke his mind even if it wasn't always kind. [b "You shouldn't be surprised, Elizabeth. I speak the utter honesty of my mind at all times."] Kyler kept his eyes on the woman as she spoke about the bright stars as if they were a metaphor for herself. Kyler thought a moment more then spoke up with something that was actually rather surprising for him to say.
[b "What if... you were to gain experience in my own business? I'm a carpenter. You know that. I have to sell to clients, find new markets, and keep up with my products. Maybe you could come on as my assistant or apprentice if you will. You could hide under my name and sharpen your skills. That is... if you wish."]
Being able to talk about things she truly cared about so freely brought a smile to her face and she owed it all to Kyler really. He had encouraged her to tell him what she knew of the sky when most men would have preferred her to sit quietly next to them while they showed off their own intellect. There were many occasions where she found herself correcting facts that had been recalled to her or her zoning out because no one could tell her something that she did not already know herself.
Elizabeth had barely noticed the fact that Kyler had spent more time looking at her rather than the stars that she had pointed out to him. Now she was simply lost in the sky like she always did when given the opportunity to. Elizabeth had her arms underneath her head and almost forgot about the fact that she was alone with a man she barely knew. In fact, the more time she spent with Kyler the more she felt as though she had known him for longer. If she had known how much he had focused upon her lips as she spoke, she might have found herself embarrassed. She was not unused to attention from men but with Kyler it felt different. He made her feel nervous and it had been a long time since [I anyone] made her feel nervous. It was something that she couldn’t explain nor was it something she understood but she would soon understand that he made her feel something.
She smiled as she heard his voice and she turned her head so that she could see him. He sat up slightly, but she remained in her position on the floor, far too comfortable for her to be able move in that moment. Seeing him tower over her from this angle made her think what it might be like if he leaned down to kiss her. In that moment, she was glad that it was dark out now because her cheeks blushed at the thought of his lips against her own. It was improper for a lady to think of such things, yet the thoughts were hers alone and Kyler did not know of the brief imagery that crossed her mind. His words only made her desire more prominent. A man had never told her to do what she wanted to before and it was even more clear that he was not from the same world as her.
Elizabeth laughed when he spoke of the people inside the party. “If only it was that easy.” She said as she shook her head. “Those people may be [I boring,] but I am a woman living in a man’s business world. To speak my mind would cause outrage and to show any form of intelligence beyond that of the household would not go down well either. I’m rather surprised that you would encourage such a thing.” She smiled towards Kyler and shifted her hands slightly before looking back up at the sky. “Maybe that’s why I learned so much about the stars…so free to shine as brightly as they wish.”
“Helen would have my neck if I ruin this dress and if it gets stained then the two of us will have some serious explaining to do.” Elizabeth seemed to be trying to make an excuse to deny the man of her company, but he didn't say anything. He just kept his smirk on her, examining as she was a bit flustered. Sure, it wasn't typical behavior. The common woman of the time would almost never agree to walk off with a man she hardly knew if not her brother or father. Kyler was thankful Elizabeth didn't seem to consider that. He had been a bit overwhelmed, but he wasn't put off. Kyler pondered her words, letting his mind head off to dirtier thoughts as evoked by her own. He imagined rolling around in the grass with her in the heat of passion, risking being caught as they were wrapped up in nothing more than each other... It was simply a passing fantasy, but it still crossed his mind rather vividly. Kyler was simply asking the woman to join him for a gaze at the stars, but he wouldn't force her hand if she wanted to hurry back inside. Plus, Kyler couldn't care less what the others thought if they had matching grass stains on their clothes.
Kyler didn't take his light blue eyes off of Elizabeth as if daring her to do something that wasn't normal, especially for the woman he gathered her to be. She had a reputation to uphold, and he assumed she had a father to prove that. When Elizabeth sighed in defeat, Kyler let out a laugh of victory. He knew she'd come around... Kyler busied himself watching Elizabeth as she tried her best to not sit on her dress, leaving his hands up behind his head to support it. It was quite a sight, watching her adjusting her dress to keep modest yet preserve her dress and reputation at the same time. Kyler would only move his attention to the stars when she pointed up towards them.
Kyler followed her outstretched finger to what definitely looked like a hook. He let his imagination run wild in a much needed break from wondering about why he was doing what he did. He would turn his head to watch Elizabeth as she spoke with vast knowledge on each of the stars. The scorpion-shaped constellation she pointed at was indeed shining brighter in the middle, and the interest in them flowed out of Elizabeth's lips like a tranquil waterfall. It was admiring... sexy almost... to see her speaking so freely. It was like she had liberated herself with him, and she was just speaking her beautiful mind. He was watching her lips as she spoke more than the constellations, sitting up from his leaning back position to look at her. [b "You know... you should start telling people things like that more often."] Kyler spoke, looking to the woman more intently. He was speaking from the heart as he examined her.
[b "I know you're probably a part of the big social circle that is ever so present in that room, but you look happier telling me what you did just now than you did with those people. So you know what? In my mind at least, I think you should screw what those people think and do whatever the hell your heart tells you to. They're all boring anyway."] He didn't quite know where it came from, but Kyler had to say it. Elizabeth needed to hear it, and he needed to say it. It might have been a death wish for him, but it was out there in the open for her to react to.
Elizabeth glanced towards Kyler and noticed an anxious look pass over his face. Perhaps he had realised that he didn’t want to be a part of this facade anymore. She couldn’t blame him really. She had not exactly been completely honest with him about how well known she was around town but she was glad that she finally had someone to talk to who saw her and not her father and his money. For the first time ever, she felt like someone actually wanted to know her and she had not felt that since a child when she had met Helen. Even the women of the town only tried to socialise with her because their husbands either worked with or for her father and it was a huge amount of pressure for her to have to contend with such a public pressure all her life. With Kyler, she could be herself without judgement and she figured that he enjoyed her company as much as she enjoyed his. Even if he did look slightly overwhelmed.
She smiled towards him as he seemed to agree with her opinion about the gardens. Even when it was dark out here she found it to be completely mesmerising and now lthe sun was going down quickly. She did not even stop to think about how improper their solitude was. For the two of them to have escaped the public arena of the dance floor to enjoy a walk alone outside would be the cause of much gossip. Perhaps that is why she looked so stunned when Kyler suggested that they should use their time alone to spend time looking up at the stars. She watched as he lowered himself to ground and she laughed gently as he invited her to sit with him.
“Helen would have my neck if I ruin this dress and if it gets stained then the two of us will have some serious explaining to do.” She said with a raised eyebrow as she considered her options. The last thing she wanted to do was decline him and head back into the party. They had escaped from it so they could enjoy some peace and quiet and to avoid men and women both staring at them. Elizabeth sighed as if she had been defeated and moved towards him so that she could lower herself next to him carefully, trying not to sit on her dress in an awkward manner. Once she was settled she glanced up at the darkening sky and started to search for constellations. Not even the light drifting from the house could pollute the sky as she observed it.
“Alright, so you see that group of stars there?” She pointed up towards a strip of stars that almost looked like a hook and a broom joined together. She didn’t say that’s what it reminded her off but Helen and Elizabeth had always referred to it as the ‘broom-hook’ constellation. “On the left there is a long line of stars that curve into an upside-down question mark.” She glanced sideways towards Kyler and when she was satisfied he was looking at the right stars she continued to talk. “That is Scorpius. Can you see how it’s sort of shaped like a scorpion? The brightest star right there... is said to be the heart of the scorpion. It’s called Antares although some astronomers dispute that, suggesting that it is in fact Mars. It isn’t of course because the red colour of Mars is much more significant than that.” With every word she remained looking up at the sky. It was nice to relax and not have to worry about everyone else although she was suddenly conscious that here Kyler could examine her more closely and she was worried he might not like what he found. It wasn’t uncommon for a woman to be intelligent but it was not their place to demonstrate that in some cases. “It’s always been a favourite of mine because of how bright the stars are.”
Kyler took a look around the garden, hearing Elizabeth speak about the eyes and opinions driving you mad. [i I'll say...] Kyler wanted to speak, smoothing his longer hair back. It was a bit much... How was Elizabeth so well known... why did people care so much about her life and what she did? It was like she was some kind of celebrity. Kyler had no idea what he was falling into with this one. Elizabeth spoke the same about her father possibly spying on her, and it all culminated to make Kyler's head spin. How had he never known this woman if everyone else seemed so caught up in her life?
Kyler kept up pace with the woman next to him. There didn't seem to be another person in sight. Well, there was the occasional garden staff, but he was grateful to not have any other eyes on them. Kyler was not made for this... to be the center of attention. He just wanted to live his private life with his private self. Elizabeth even greeted the people in the garden staff with kindness rather than looking down on them. Was she perfect? She damn well seemed close to it. Kyler finally heard Elizabeth's words about it being beautiful, and he took a break from his own mind to respond.
[b "That it is..."] He would look down to the smaller woman as she pointed to an area of grass that seemed just perfect enough to be watching the stars. They both needed the break... [b "Why don't we try to do so again? No one is out here, and it would be relaxing to take our minds off things. Show me what you know."] He spoke, lowering himself down and laying to look up at the stars as they appeared. [b "Why don't you join me?"]
The gentleman he had been referring to had been quite well known for enjoying a lady’s company and he usually smirched the reputation of those who might associate with him. He would often charm a woman and steal their hearts and then their virtue yet still he was able to conquer another. Elizabeth shook her head as she glanced back at the way he danced so carelessly with another fool who would regret ever meeting him. Apparently he had recovered from her rejection quite quickly. “I’m sure he would be thrilled but I can assure you, no such event should ever take place between him and I.” Her voice was laced with the disgust she felt and she realised it too late. “I apologise. He is not the kind of man I should like to associate myself with.”
Although it probably wasn’t seen as proper for her to leave a party to roam the gardens with anyone other than her chaperone or a husband were she to have one, she couldn’t stand to be watched by the greedy eyes of gossip much longer and she knew that Helen and Elaine would not be disappointed that Elizabeth was spending her time with a gentleman, even if it was because agreed to play along with this trick. Perhaps it was not a good idea to have asked him as he himself might consider such a proposition to be improper but she hoped that the promise of her company would be enough to sway him into agreeing to go with her. Helen had always teased her about her attitude towards men but she remained to be strong willed in the fact that [i if] she were to ever marry, it would be a man she loved rather than for the sake of marrying and until now she had never met a single one who remotely peaked her interest. His response to their walk went unspoken and together they began to walk at a comfortable pace. She liked the fact that neither of them felt the need to rush.
“I understand. It can be a bit much at times. All those eyes and opinions are enough to drive one mad. I do hope that it has not put you off staying in my company for while longer. I still do not understand why people seem so interested in me. Sometimes I wonder if my father asked people to spy on me when I’m not in his company. It would certainly explain why people are so interested in what I do.” Elizabeth allowed a moment to compose herself as she walked. She wondered how nice it must have been to have parents with something more on their mind than image. As they walked, she found it a great effort to not look upon his face. Instead she focused on the pathway before them.
There was not a single sole roaming the gardens other than the two but they saw an occasional staff member attending to the roses as they walked. Elizabeth greeted them politely and they did so back with their beloved attitude towards her. Most people considered themselves to be above such people but Elizabeth believed that every person deserved to be treated with kindness, no matter what their background and it was clear that they knew and appreciated that about her. She was surprised that there were not more people taking advantage of the gardens but she also knew that most people who came to a party were more interested in the conversation and alcohol and the occasional card game where some usually bet far too much away.
“It’s very beautiful out here don’t you think Mr Moore?” She said with a smile as they ventured further into the gardens. “It’s especially beautiful when the sun goes down. Mostly because it had one of the best spots to watch the night sky.” She pointed to an area of grass and laughed. “Helen and I spent my evening lying in the ground there, trying to map the stars. I do find them fascinating and peaceful. It had been quite some time since I have taken a minute to look at a night sky with so much intention.”
Kyler looked to Elizabeth as she spoke up to the charming suitor that followed her into the dance floor. How popular was this woman? She had men coming at her left and right, and Helen and Elaine still set her up with him? Elizabeth didn't need set ups with puppy dogs like Andrew or whatever the hell his name was running after her like she was a bone. Kyler was happy that Elizabeth didn't take a liking to this man for more reasons than he wanted to admit. He was acting a bit possessive... Elizabeth was his dance partner, and she was his only way to throw off Helen and Elaine from ever setting him up with a potential suitor again. Elizabeth was the woman he was falsely courting, but she was also becoming someone he truly cared about if only for companionship. Her presence gave such a grace to the rest of the room as if she were a giant butterfly daintily flitting its wings across the rest of the ballroom. She needed to be protected, and there was some urge inside of Kyler to do so.
Kyler wouldn't have minded punching the lights out of Andrew if he had said anything to stop them or attempt to get at Elizabeth again. He didn't even care what the other people in the room thought of him or if they'd suddenly deem him unworthy of the hand of Elizabeth, and their plan to fool Helen and Elaine had ended. No one deserved to be hounded by some fool if they didn't want to be, and Andrew was some fool indeed. Kyler would have balled up his fist until Elizabeth took his hand in hers. In a split second, Kyler rethought his actions for possibly the first time in years if not ever. Kyler was not one to come up with plans... he acted impulsively, and it wasn't his best trait. But watching Elizabeth in that moment, Kyler knew he couldn't disgrace her in such a way by starting up a fight in the middle of the dance floor. It would be ungentlemanly, and Kyler was supposed to come off as the best suitor for the lovely Elizabeth. He needed to clear his head.
Kyler took a moment to look around at his surroundings, seeing his outburst had sent many more pairs of daggers for eyes at his back. Elizabeth was pulling him away before he could react. That was probably a good idea... because Kyler was about to say some choice words to a few of those gaping mouth rich asses. He ran his other hand through his long hair, smoothing it back and taking a few breaths to regain his composure. He was sure he'd hear about that one from at least Elaine... if not gossipers. As soon as they reached the conservatory, Kyler felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders and the pressure to be perfect was removed as well. It was just him and Elizabeth. Everything felt even sweeter when Elizabeth admitted she had distaste for the man and that he wasn't some childhood friend that Kyler had just insulted to no repair.
"I was afraid you'd tell me that man was your brother or some relative, and I made myself more of a fool than I initially thought. But hearing you say he was someone you can't stand makes it all worth it. I apologize for that outburst Elizabeth, but there is no way I was going to let that man pester you." Kyler spoke, walking in step with her through the picturesque gardens, "I'm more than happy to get out of there with all of those eyes on me... I needed a break. This is quite nice."
Elizabeth wasn’t quite sure what this dance was doing to her emotions. It wasn’t the first time she had danced with him, nor was it the first time she had danced with a man but there was something about their closeness and the way his hand rested upon her waist that made her feel [I something]. For now, she told herself that it was simply the elation that came from the mix of champagne and the excitement of trying to pull one over on Helen and Elaine. In reality, Kyler was awakening something within her that she didn’t know was there or if she did, it was something she had pushed down deep within her so that it was completely out of reach. Maybe she had only been so stubborn with her father’s suitors and with Helen’s attempts at setting her up because she had felt no connection to the men they tried to pair her with. Although she didn’t want to admit it, Helen and Elaine might have been right about their compatibility. Elizabeth would never say such a thing out loud but now that she was gliding along the dance floor with him, she was beginning to see why they had tried to set them up in the first place and she found herself slightly disappointed that all of this was for show; that she wasn’t going to end up with him. She couldn’t let that show, nor would she voice that to him.
His smile certainly did something to her. It forced her to mirror it and she took a brief moment to drink in his eyes. His eyes had become softer towards her from the moment they first met. She had remembered how they had appeared hard at first, perhaps from the frustration of having a drink being spilt everywhere but now they seemed to echo the kindness that she knew was within him and she could honestly spend the rest of their evening getting lost in his eyes, but she wouldn’t let herself. The last thing she wanted or needed was to feel the disappointment of rejection. He had suggested that they pretend and that was exactly what she would continue to do, even if she didn’t know how this might end. She imagined that they might tell Helen and Elaine together that they had been pretending all along and that they would stop setting them up out of fear that they might attempt to do this every time they tried. The thought might have made her laugh if she hadn’t been so caught up in the moment with Kyler.
Elizabeth couldn’t help but wonder what Kyler really thought of her. They had agreed that they would essentially use each other to get their cupids off their backs but somewhere in the back of her mind, she was anxious about his opinion of her. While she had always tried to ensure she never looked down on anyone, the background of her parents usually meant that people prejudged her and an upper-class snob who would not look twice at anyone considered inferior to her and she would hate the thought of Kyler thinking that of her. Perhaps he would not have agreed to this is that was what he thought so she pushed that out of her mind. All she knew was that she thought very highly of Kyler already and they hadn’t known each other for very long but his work ethic and dedication to his sister had already earnt a lot of respect from her.
The music started to quicken now and so did their dancing and she couldn’t help but laugh as he spun her around slightly, seemingly enjoying their time together on the dancefloor more now that they were not stuck to a slow rhythm. Now she was positive people were looking at them, but she didn’t pay them any attention. She focused on the feel of his arms around her and the smile that plagued his lips. That rush of emotion came over her again and she was sure that she felt something tugging at her heart and she was beginning to think that it would have been safer for the two of them to call of this deal. Her lips parted to speak but there was an unwarranted interruption that had her turning her head instead. A man had tapped her on the shoulder and she took a moment to look him over. He was just like every other man her father had tried to marry her off to. Self-important and a little too entitled. If she had not been brought up to be polite she might have scoffed at him, but she simply smiled and turned back towards Kyler who had slowed the pace of their dance. She was almost sure that she could see a flicker of something cross the man’s face. Jealousy? But then that did not seem right considering none of this was real.
The last thing Elizabeth wanted to do was dance with this man and she would have politely declined if Kyler did not seem to find the need to interject himself. He stood between them now, showing a possessive or protective nature. She wasn’t quite sure which one it was. After a minute Elizabeth took it upon herself to talk to Andrew, stopping her dance with Kyler completely now.
“I have a dancing partner, thank you. Now if you wouldn’t mind I think we are going to excuse ourselves for a walk around the grounds.” She said as she took hold of Kyler’s hand. It was a bold move and it caused a lot of people around them to whisper. Elizabeth had no doubt that word of this would get back to her father and she had no idea how he might react upon hearing she had spent her evening dancing with a man who did not come from a business background or one of wealth it seemed. She started towards the conservatory that would lead them to the gardens and when they were out of sight she let out a sigh. “I hope you do not mind that I made an excuse for us to get out of there but I simply cannot stand that man.”
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