Expanding the British Empire was of significant importance. Once they had spread to the Americas in the 1600s they set about setting up colonies of their own; colonies that could contribute to the profit of the empire. With the tobacco industry booming and the Americas offering them the perfect environment to cultivate such a demand, there was a new desire to make life there.
At first they transported farmers so that they might set up their homes and begin to farm the land but once the settlers had found themselves a routine, they began to realise that they would not be returning home to England. Such realities demanded laws and governance and women so that the farmers might settle with families and start their lives there rather than simply farm the land.
Those who could afford to pay for the passage of women would marry them. Most of the women were those whose families put them forward for such adventures, others were prisoners who might have been transported for their crimes.
Annabelle was one of the women to be transported, paid for by a man of the colony. She does not know what kind of life awaits her or who will be waiting for her when she gets off the boat.
What is awaiting her is to be discussed with my partner. Looking for someone to play a male counterpart.
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Annabelle was completely amazed by the revelation and she simply nodded towards him when he asked his question. [b “This book is incredible. Please tell me that you have published this. It would be impossible for me to believe that this was the only copy and that I am the only one to have read it.”] She said softly, glancing down at the book momentarily before allowing her eyes to meet his gaze once more.
[b “You amaze me.”] She said softly, ensuring that her hand was now firmly wrapped around his. She had not realised how close she had got to him in the midst of her surprised and amazement.
Christopher watched as she turned through the pages, nearing the end of the book she began her search. It took no time at all as she peeled back the small piece of paper guarding his initials and seal on the book. He smiled as she said his name and raised her eyes to meet his. He chuckled as she asked him if he had written it, he really didn't think too much of it...
Her eyes were ones of confusion and amazement and he wasn't quite sure why. [b "Is it really as good as your eyes betray you in saying?"] He inquired quietly, with a soft questioning tone. He tilted his head a bit, giving her hand a gentle squeeze in his.
Annabelle was often concerned about the way she conveyed herself. Her education had not come from going to school since she had been expected to help around the farm from a very young age, but she taught herself to read and write, with the help of the young girl who lived next door who had been permitted to go to school. It was moments like this where she found herself to be forever grateful that she was able to educate herself considering the restrictions at the time but she never allowed it to interfere with her work on the farm which is why her parents were so surprised to catch her reading on the porch one night before being sent to America. While they never said it at the time, they seemed grateful that she had something to offer to a man. It might have been inconvenient to have someone who could not communicate through written word.
Annabelle nodded as she picked up the book and searched for the name by following the instructions he had given to her and she found it imprinted quite neatly on handwriting that she found so beautiful. [b “C.P Bailey.”] She whispered and her eyes looked up from the paper and found Christopher’s eyes. [b “You wrote this book?”] She asked, both surprised and completely in awe of his ability to communicate a story through such beautiful words.
Christopher thoroughly enjoyed their conversation, he could not say he was surprised to find her speech to be more intelligent, and her English nearly without mistake. She was a beautiful speaker, it was hard to poke a single hole in the way she could articulate her words. Her hand or his having found the others... However it happened having taken her hand felt right, it felt like they were finally connecting more on the physically emotional side of things... A side Christopher never really had until his time in America, so it was a bit new... But having her hand in his warmed him, in another way than the fire... It was a new warmth, one he hadn't felt in the same way ever before.
He was so impressed by her conversation on his book. Only two of his servants had ever read the whole thing, and neither captured it's more intricate parts as she did so early in her reading of it. It was a fairly long novel, however the beginning of the book held quite a few questions... Which could be answered by the reader if they only pay enough attention, and it seemed she had. [b "Just look in the back of the book. It's behind a removable flap of paper, I believe you'll find it's quite interesting... The writer."] His eyes held to hers as he spoke, and then gestured a glance at the book, as he mentioned it. Yes he was confident now that she liked his book, but he was interested to see what she would say... He didn't believe it was worthy of publication however his servants begged to differ.
Annabelle had turned back towards the fire as if to give him some privacy so that he could finish reading his own book but she was more than surprised to find that he had decided to put the book down and lowered himself onto the ground next to her. She looked up and watched him for a moment and then allowed a smile to spread across her lips. Annabelle turned herself to face him now, rather than the fire. Although, she did still benefit from the heat of it.
The two of them got lost in a conversation about the book she had been reading and somewhere along the way, her hand had found his although she couldn't explain who had taken whose hand, nor could she deny that it wasn't nice to feel his hand in hers. It felt right and comfortable as the two spoke of intelligent things that she had not been allowed to discuss at home. Towards the end of her conversation she had one last question.
[b "Do you know who the author is? I could not find a name anywhere on the book."]
Christophers heart filled up with pride. He didn't know why, but it felt so good that she would want to talk to him about his book. He looked down into the finishing pages of his own book, but slid it to the side. He didn't wish to continue reading, he wanted to take advantage of this moment. He slid himself down onto the floor next to her, and looked down into her eyes as she turned to face him.
[b "I don't need to finish it now. And don't worry for a moment about that, I am perfectly fine with answering any questions you have about this book... Do you have questions about this book?"] He raised a brow as he looked at her. His voice filled with excitement, there was obviously something about this book, he was very fond of it, or something else... It was abundantly clear he enjoyed talking to her.
She smiled up at Christopher and looked towards the book he held in his hand and she suddenly felt guilty for interrupting him. [b “I do apologise, I did not mean to make you stop reading. I will let you finish and then perhaps we could talk about this book for a little while.”] She said with a smile and turned back towards the fire, finding herself easily distracted by the flicker and movements of the flame.
Annabelle found herself feeling very grateful in that moment. There were a mound of men in this colony and she could have found herself amongst any one of them but as luck would have it, she found herself in the company of one of the kindest men she had ever met. He was accepting of the fact that she had an opinion and knew how to work a farm, and valued her input.
She smiled to herself as she held out her hand towards the fire and allowed her to warm her skin. She was ready to be his wife whenever he saw fit and when that time came, she would be completely devoted to him and his farm...even though she knew that she already was.
Christopher was deep in his book, he was nearing the ending, it was all coming to a halt, all of the drama, and the mystery of it was ending at a peak. It was all about to be found out, he was almost lost in the pages his eyes sliding from word to word, without a slight hesitation. However as he heard Annabelle's voice his eyes rose from the pages and he looked down from the chair towards her.
He smiled down and nodded. [b "I have indeed, some might even say more then read that book."] He spoke with great joy in his voice. He was quite proud of that book, it was in his opinion his best work, and took him the longest to write. But it was well worth the sleepless nights, the times he couldn't rest he would write. Now he had someone to talk to on those hard nights.
Annabelle was one to get lost in her books easily. When she read she did so with passion and every single emotion she felt as she read could be seen upon her face. After some time she felt a chill overcome her so she closed her book momentarily, keeping her finger in place so that she did not lose her page and she lowered herself onto the ground, closer to the fire. She had become so engrossed in her book that she had almost forgotten that she was in Christopher’s presence.
Her legs were crossed underneath her and she opened her book once more so she could continue to read until her eyes grew heavy from fatigue. She blinked a few times and looked up towards Christopher and offered him a smile. [b “What a fascinating read. Have you read it?”] She asked, placing the book carefully on the floor after making a mental note of the page she had left. Annabelle turns slightly so that her legs were under her and waited for a response from Christopher.
Christopher was now sitting down next to her, in the large chair, he was at a bit of a distance from her he didn't wish to overstep any boundries she still had in place. As the fire crackled and sparked. His eyes dropped to his book as he opened it to it's place near the end of the novel, he began reading. Looking over from his book to her face to see her expression as she read his book.
His mind held thoughts of the trip he needed to take a bit later that week, down to the cotton fields in Boston. It was a long trip and he still needed to ask her... But they had tomorrow on the town first anyway, so he'd ask her tomorrow night perhaps.
Annabelel observed Christopher’s nod of the head. He seemed appreciative of her respect for boundaries, yet as he turned to walk away from her he hesitated. It seemed that Christopher was not like other men at all. He seemed to take the opinion that once they were married they were equal in sharing everything he had accomplished, and he was accepting of the fact that she could go wherever she pleased. Even with his permission, she would not intrude on his space yet. They were still beginning to get to know each other and she wanted to take things one step at a time and somehow being in his study felt like an intrusion of privacy while they were still unwed.
Now that she was alone, Annabelle took a moment to take in the surroundings of the living room. This was the room that she had not spent more than three minutes in so far and now it would be where they spend the rest of their evening together. It was furnished rather softly with only very few decorative pieces which spoke volumes about Christopher‘s personal taste and personality. He definitely did not seem like a greedy man and this was just more evidence of that.
She sank herself into a chair that was made for two, and waited for Christopher to return. He was not long and when he did, he returned with a book that she had never heard of which excited her. Annabelle was a lover of books and appreciated the opportunity to read something that she had never read before. She adjusted herself slightly so that she was more comfortable and watched as Christopher lowered himself next to her. With gratitude, she took the book from him and looked at the cover, running her fingers over the leather binding and smiled upon Christopher.
[b “ I am sure that I will enjoy it nonetheless. I do not think I have ever read a book that I not enjoyed.”] With that she allowed the book to fall open in her hands, casting her eyes over that pages so that she could begin to read.
Christopher nodded, he appreciated her respect of his space, however it was wholly unnecessary. She would soon be his wife, and he was falling deeply in love with her, having her wherever he went wouldn't be a problem. He knew he had to head out of town in the next few days and was set to speak to her about coming with him, up to Boston.
He smiled and turned away beginning his walk towards his study. [b "You know it's really quite alright if you'd like to come in anytime. I don't mind like some might, I have nothing to hide from you... So why would I mind you in my personal business, you will soon be my wife after all."] He spoke quickly turning the corner, not harsh, rash, or rudely. But in his usual soft spoken manner.
He entered his study, and picked up his glasses, placing them over his eyes selecting his book from the table. And picking out a book from the wall, it was one of his own works a short novel, however he had it marked under the name "Edward Stevens" And was interested what she'd think of it. He wouldn't be hurt if she didn't like it he was but a novice writer in his own eyes.
Making his way back to the living room where she sat awaiting him, he slid down into place on the couch next to her, offering her the book. [b "It is interesting, though if you don't like it I have many more to select from."] He spoke in a bit of an excited tone, however it was mellowed, by his calming presence, and soothing tone.
Annabelle knew that this was clearly a man of some wealth, although she did not know how much wealth that was exactly. For him to be able to own a farm of such a size [i and] have acquired more land meant that he clearly had enough money to continue to expand. As for his side business, she did not know much about it but she was sure that with his intellect and work ethic, it was also another success in his life. However, the wealth was not something that interested her. She enjoyed the idea of having someone to share her life with, not having someone spend money of her to make her enjoy things. Annabelle had always preferred simplicity and there was nothing that would change that.
She too envisioned a time where they might both sit by the fire, close together as they shared in precious moments and as the image passed across her mind she couldn't help but smile. Anabelle followed his gaze and started to make her way towards the living room, stopping just before they arrived there when he told her that she could pick something from his study.
[b "Oh, no. That is your private space and I shall not enter. I am sure that you have many books that I have not read and I would be happy to read something by your recommendation. I will wait in the living room. Why don't you choose something for me?"]
Christopher noticed her smile, as he brought up the fireplace. She was quite a perfect fit for him he was quickly finding, she didn't want too much even from a man with some wealth, he was certainly not poor. She was content to read by the fire with him in the evenings. Some would go for more extravagant outings, such as carriage rides, perhaps a night at the theater. There were options with someone like him, and he was willing to oblige any of these things to her. He wholly planned on one day doing all of those things with her, it wasn't that he didn't want to.
More of her being contented or even exited just to be able to read by the fire. He could imagine one day being snuggled together by the fire, together each with a book, or reading one together. That was for a later time, for now he would give her space and time, it wasn't his place to be pushy.
He held his smile, as he turned to look down through the doorway into the living room, which would lead to the stairwell and front door, across that small hall was his study. He nodded and turned to her, and decided he would follow after she lead. [b "You may select any book you wish from my study, save for the work of Niccolo Machiavelli, the book Mandragola. That is my current read."] He made sure she knew, any book save for the one. And he knew should she wish to read it, he could have it ready for her when he was done. Though it was in Italian, which he learned from reading that very book, and from his Aunt.
Annabelle honestly did not mind how they would spend their evening. He might want to retire to bed if he had an early rise to work on the farm or he might have a preferred routine but whatever it was would make it happy. It would also help her to get to know his preferences.
When he told her how he would usually spend evenings such as this she couldn’t help but let a smile erupt across her lips. The moment she had seen the fireplace she had found herself craving a quiet moment curled up next to it, with a book in hand. It was how she spent her evenings at home too, although her fireplace was no where near as inviting as his.
[b “We can sit by the fire and read if you like. It is one of my favourite things to do after all!”]
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