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[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow smiled towards Justin and nodded, agreeing that she would help him, assuming that he would be rather useless in the kitchen but she did not voice those opinions. She would tease him about something or other later but she didn’t want to tease him just yet, not when things seemed so good between them. She laughed as they walked towards the kitchen.
[b “My fault? You simply cannot blame me for everything Justin.”] She laughed again as they ventured into the kitchen and asked around about some food. She wanted to cook something for them but the staff seemed to be confident about the fact that ‘high class’ citizens did not belong in the kitchen cooking for other people. She did not argue because she did not want everyone to know about their secret and she accepted the fact that they organised the tray of cold food.
[b “It’s different, not exactly weird. They did not have the same access to food that we did. I know exactly what a woman would want but we can’t get any here. As luck would have it I may have sneaked some chocolate back here with me.”] She looked at Justin, showing the guilt. [b “Hey, I have needs, do not judge me.”] She said as she laughed and made her way up to her room to retrieve some. [b “I’ll meet you outside the room okay?”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe was nervous about what her response would be. He had not exactly proposed because he wanted a proposal to be far more special than this but he was testing the waters with it. He waited for a moment, watching the expression cross her face.
[b “I do not care about my reputation Anastasia and nor should you. My wealth and business replies on people of your class and those who had partnered with Hughes Factory are sympathetic towards the working class. They are the only people that matter. Who cares if someone spits on me.”] He laughed and looked at her with a new intensity.
His lips parted to speak but there was a knock at the door and he could hear the voices of Justin and Willow outside. [b “We’ll talk about this later. Come in.”]
Justin smirked at her and shook his head,
“Come on, come and help me get them dinner. And we can play cards.” He said and rolled his eyes.
“I’ll have you know it’s your fault I’m a social butterfly.” He said teasingly and went down to the kitchens. Anastasia would need something decent so the kitchen were obliging in setting up some trays. Justin balanced them and smirked.
He set the trays down on the flat surface and looked around. He was pretty clueless with things but the butlers has done a nice platter of cold meats and cheeses that everyone could enjoy but Justin felt like they needed more. Something a little better.
“I could’ve been a waiter.” He pointed out and laughed as he looked around the kitchen.
“Seriously though, they eat some weird stuff here?” He remarked as he dug around the cupboards.
“Okay wait, what does a woman confined to her bed want to eat most?” He asked Willow, she would know better than him for sure.
Willow was the most help and she somehow made him want to be social and free and laugh and join in with everything. Besides, cheering up Anastasia meant cheering up Willow and he knew she needed it right then.
Anastasia sighed softly and shook her head.
“I can fix my own breakfast, Jobe!” She said to him, then realised she was proving him right on the stubbornness thing.
His next words shocked her.
“Are you-“ he was asking her to marry him and she was quiet.
“Jobe- Just listen. Before I answer. Are you aware of what it could do to your reputation? Business partners could leave, people could spit on you in the street... you have worked so tirelessly to gain all the respect you have now.” She let go of his hand and moved her fingertips to his cheek. If he did this- if she accepted then it would be social suicide for him. She had nothing to lose from the arrangement but he had everything to lose. She sighed softly,
“You know I love you too. And that will never change, no matter who you marry. But you need to be sure, I need to know you understand what marrying me would mean.”
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] She felt his kiss upon her cheek but she did not stir, even if it stirred something within her. She had to stop herself from opening her eyes and looking at him. There would be a moment that neither of them could avoid if they did. However, she was not too far from falling asleep and she was pushed further into it as he pulled the covers over her.
It was several hours before she woke up once more and when he eyes flickered open she saw Justin sat on a chair near the bed. She used her elbows to push herself up and she looked over at him with a laugh. [b “Have you been sat there all this time?”] She asked as she started to pull the covers off her so she could stretch her legs.
[b “That sounds like a great idea. If Anastasia could stand me that is.”] She said thoughtfully. [b “It’s mostly card games in this era. [b “Look at you being so thoughtful. Who would have known that there was a social butterfly waiting to break out under your scientific exterior.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe shook her head. [b “You need to take more care of yourself. I will not have you falling ill on me. You matter far too much to me and I have been worried sick about you.”] Jobe almost laughed when she seemed panicked by the idea of bed reaction. He looked down at their hands and then he looked to her and smiled.
[b “Regardless, you are going to rest. I will not have you working yourself into an early grave because you are far too stubborn. Besides, there are other people who can fix our breakfast.”] He sighed softly and then thought for a moment.
[b “Anastasia. I know you are dead set against us exploring our feelings but...I can not live like this. I love you. I want you to marry me.”]
Justin watched her and sighed as he sat with her, watching her eyes close. He stroked her gently and shook his head, leaning down to kiss her on her forehead gently. He smiled and honestly he would never know Willow fully because everyone he thought he knew her, she added something more enticing alluring to the mix.
“Rest a while. I’ll make sure you’re awake for dinner. Perhaps I can even pry Jobe away from Anastasia, but I wouldn’t count on it.” He said softly to her and pulled the covers over her. She needed rest and he sat in the chair by the bed, looking out at the hot sun. Women worried themselves so much and he knew there was little he could do in his power to stop them. He looked to Willow as she rested, he would stay with her a while. She needed company and he wasn’t ready to leave her.
After some time and when Willow awoke, he had an idea. Anastasia wouldn’t like being in bed all the time so why not try and help?
“What if we took Anastasia and Jobe food in the room? Make some light of it. What are popular parkour games Victorian’s played?”
Anastasia looked to Jobe as she took a small drink, setting the glass aside as he took her hand.
“I think I must have forgotten.” She said to him, she didn’t remember the last time she drank.
“Wait- bed rest? Jobe, I cant be on bed rest.” She murmured to him. That would be so awfully boring and she would miss out on so much! And who would make sure that Jobe’s breakfast was cooked properly and that the fires were lit at the correct time? She couldn’t waste away in a bed!
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t my intention to worry anyone.” She said to him,
“I would usually say you worry too much, but I think this time I would stand correct.” His worry was well placed if she had collapsed in the garden but still. She felt helpless. She pushed herself so she could sit a little, the water seeming to help her headache.
“You were always the worrier.” She murmured quietly.
“I’m alright. A good nights sleep and I’ll be right as rain tomorrow.” She didn’t want him to worry and she gave his hand a squeeze before realising he must have stayed with her all day. She was still calling him Jobe, like he had asked her to.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow did not look up when she heard Justin’s voice, she concentrated on writing her letter and it wasn’t until he repeated her name that she looked up from her paper and placed it down on the bedside table. He should have been angry with her but he seemed so calm. When he said that Jobe understood she looked towards him with disbelief.
[b “He isn’t?”] She was confused and delighted all at once but letting them stay and forgiving them was different and she was not worried about Jobe. He was far more understanding but she was worried about Anastasia and what she now thought of them.
She rose from the bed when he told of Anastasia but lowered herself to the bed when he told her that Jobe was with her. She would not intrude on that. [b “She distrusts me. That is bad enough.”] She said with a sigh as Justin looked at her, telling her to sleep and give this a chance. She smiled softly and nodded. [b “I know what you meant.”] She said and she lowered herself on to the bed once more, sighing as her eyes began to close.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe stayed with Anastasia for hours, sitting by her side, cooling her down and willing her to wake up so that he could make sure that she had some water to rehydrate. He had taken to writing when he heard Anastasia’s voice and he placed his book down and handed her a glass of water.
[b “Drink some of this.”] He said softly. [b “Not too much…Justin…Fletcher said that you have not been eating or drinking properly and the heat had made you sick.”] He said gently as he watched her closely. [b “Do not try and get out of bed. I have you on strict bed rest and there are no guests for you to attend to, we have postponed the gathering for another time when you are well.”]
Jobe moved to take the woman’s hand in his and then looked her in the eye. [b “You had us all so worried.”]
Justin looked to Jobe and he couldn’t argue with the man.
“Very well. I’ll let Willow know. If Anastasia awakes, give her water, but only small sips, she will make herself sick if she has too much, too soon.” Justin said to him and sighed quietly.
He retreated and left the two, going to find Willow.
“Willow?” He murmured and pushed her door open. He raised an eyebrow at her.
“Willow.” He said her name again.
“Jobe is not kicking us out.” He explained to her and shook his head.
“He understands our predicament and is more than forgiving.” Oh, Willow would want to know about Anastasia.
“Alright- and don’t go running off because Jobe is with her, Anastasia collapsed. Dehydration, is my best bet. It’s hot outside and Jobe has cancelled all gatherings to sit with her. And-“ he paused and looked to Willow with soft eyes,
“No one blames you. Anastasia is fond of you, she won’t want you leaving anytime soon.” He explained and looked her over.
“You look exhausted, Willow. You should sleep too.” He said and he was worried for both women but more so Willow right then.
“Please, Willow. Give it a chance, give us a chance- well, I mean living here a chance, you know.” He had almost slipped up and he sighed as he moved some hair from her face.
It was hours before Anastasia moved and she opens her eyes. Her head hurt awfully and she put her hand to it, feeling the cloth and she took a few moments to open her eyes properly.
What time was it?
“Oh-“ the guests would be arriving to talk business! And she was in bed?! She tried to sit up but her head stung awfully and she gave up. What happened?
“What-“ she couldn’t quite get the questions out that she wanted. Where was Juliet? Had they left? Had she been out for long?
Blearily, her eyes focused on Jobe.
“Mr Hughes!” How improper of her! She swallowed thickly and any exertion she made, her head seemed to spin awfully. What was going on? Why did she hurt? Why was Jobe here?
Jobe listened as the man revealed their real names and he understood why they changed their names. [b “Well Justin is uncommon but not unusual…as for Willow I do not believe that I have ever heard of a woman being named after a tree.”] He said with humour lacing his tone. He was trying to keep the mood light, knowing that everything had become so intense after their pleasant evening at the theatre. He listened carefully to the man’s explanation. It all seemed to make sense, even if the science behind it all did not. It still seemed impossible for them to be here yet they were.
It was then that their conversation was interrupted and the moment he heard Anastasia’s name he was rising to his feet and looking out of the window. He did not hesitate to move to the woman’s side, Justin close behind him. Perhaps if he were truly from another time he might know more about how to help her. He knelt down beside the woman and looked up at Justin.
[b “I do not know. Yesterday morning was the last time I saw her eat or drink anything. Why would you be so foolish Anastasia?”] He asked as he helped to transport the woman to a room, following Justin’s instructions. He took the towel with a nod of the head and held it against the woman’s head, softly dabbing it across her forehead.
[b “I am officially writing her off duty for the next week.”] He said as he looked to some of the other house staff. [b “Do not let her anywhere near the kitchens. Call off the gathering this evening. I will not have people here tonight. I am going to stay with Anastasia.”]
He watched the staff leave and then he turned his attention back to Justin. [b “You are not going anywhere. While your story may be different, you are still stranded and I will not have you out of the street because of this.”] He thought for a moment before looking up at him. [b “You and Willow are welcome to stay as long as you please. Anastasia will come around and things will go back to normal once more.”]
Justin looked up and sighed a little.
“My real name is Justin. And Juliet is Willo. Willow and Justin.” He murmured quietly and rubbed his face.
“I know it is a lot to take in and out intention was never to hurt you or Anastasia. It started as a simple thing, Willow always loved this era. I wanted to take her here. I thought I had everything calculated right but we are genuinely stuck here.” He murmured, “That much is true.” He assured Jobe. There was no use lying anymore.
“And I am sorry to you and Anastasia and I will apologise, once Anastasia is not busy with arrangements.” He murmured and looked out into the garden to see her still going about her job.
“You’re both strong people, and forgiving. A trait that becomes lost as history goes on. Me and Willow will not ruin what lies ahead for you, I promise. And as soon as we can figure everything out we will try to find a place of our own.” He rubbed his face and sighed. He was about to speak again but a butler cane positively crashing in.
[b “Master Hughes, Miss Anastasia has taken a turn.”] He babbled and Justin looked to Jobe curiously as he stood up. He wasn’t a GP or surgeon but he figured he knew more about medicine than most. He went out to the garden to see Anastasia, passed out. He put a hand to her head.
“When did she last eat- or rather, when did she last have something to drink? It’s hot out here in the sun.” His best guess was dehydration.
“She needs a cool room and water. A damp towel to keep her from overheating.” It was a simple thing but something that could go dangerously wrong if not adjusted.
Anastasia was spark out and hot to the touch. She couldn’t really remember what had happened, her heart rate had increased and her headache had spiked and then nothing.
“She certainly chooses her moments.” Justin remarked as they settled her in a room, a proper room. He opened the windows to let air in properly and circulate.
“Jobe, if you could-“ he handed him the cold wet towel,
“On her forehead. Bring her temperature down slowly.” He advised. Dehydration and overheating were simple to deal with but he didn’t want to cool down Anastasia too quickly. He poured a glass of water and set it beside her.
“She’s poorly, but give her a few hours rest. I understand if you want us to go but I would like to stay, even if it is until Anastasia regains herself.” He remarked and sighed softly.
“And I doubt Willow will want to leave until she knows her friend is alright.” He pointed out.
“It’s like a fever-“ he tried to explain to Jobe. “She’s not contagious and it isn’t serious but she is extremely hot and most likely being out in the sun and no sleep hasn’t helped if she hasn’t drank enough.”
Willow might know of common medicines used in these times to help.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow threw herself down onto the bed, shoving her face into the pillow in anger. How could she have been so stupid as to say something like that? There were so many ways she could have worded what she said but she had chosen the wrong way. This is why she didn’t have many friends. Willow always managed to find a way to screw it up and she knew that this one would hurt more than any other friendship.
In the ended up crying herself to sleep and when she awoke in the morning she refused to move, unable to face everyone. She could smell food working its way through the house but she remained on her bed. There would be no breakfast for her and there would be no company. She could not bear to see the hurt expression that Anastasia had looked at her with the day before.
Instead she rooted around the room for a pen and some paper, and started to write. It was intended to be an apology note to leave for Anastasia when the two were kicked out or worse.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] This was all such a mess and he was going to have to try and keep everything together. He did not want to lose such a precious friendship and he was not about to render them both homeless. He might have done the same thing to protect Anastasia if they were to find themselves stuck in a different time. Anastasia was hurt but he saw their predicament.
He moved to the dining room and noticed that Justin was the only one in attendance. [b “Morning Fletcher…or is that not your real name? I suppose that you have some strange name that is not common of this time and you change it to fit in?”] He said as he lowered himself next to him, drinking the tea that had been left for him. [b” Do not worry. I am not angry at you. I understand.”]
Justin looked at her and shook his head,
“Stop apologising. We can see what happens in the morning.” He watched her go and flopped on his bed. Well, fuck. This had certainly taken a sour turn and he just hoped it was easier in the morning. Sleep did not come easy for him. In fact he was exhausted by the time morning cane and he fixed himself up as proper as he could, cold water waking his face.
He took in a deep breath and headed downstairs. He saw Anastasia, back in her usual servants outfit. He watched her,
“She does consider you a sister, you know? I’ve watched you both.” He murmured quietly but it seemed Anastasia didn’t want to talk, still hurt and confused but she looked at him all the same and gestures breakfast ready and waiting for them.
He sighed and hadn’t much appetite in all honesty. He settled at the table and pushed around his meal rather than eat it. Willow blamed herself and Anastasia was hurt and Jobe was trying to keep everything together. Why did he feel so useless? Perhaps talking with Jobe one on one would be easier. Men were more direct.
Anastasia knew Jobe was right and she sighed.
“I understand.” She gave him a weak smile before heading to sleep.
She did not sleep much either, but of course was ready for duties. No matter how much she had loved the theatre and being as an equal to Jobe and free to express her fondness for him, it couldn’t last forever, could it? Justin only made her wary and she watched him for for dinner, sitting in the conservatory. It was a beautiful day out and Jobe’s business partners would be coming later on. She was in charge of organising a garden party for them all to socialise and drink and talk.
She went outside to fix some arrangements, the servant outfit felt so wrong after last night and she knew what she wanted now and she supposed Jobe had been right. It was because of Willow.
“Make sure-“ she seemed invisible again to the butlers and people as they passed. She sighed dejectedly and settled for watching. She hadn’t really eaten that morning so she was pale and faint looking, ignoring spells of dizziness and waving them off as pointless.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow looked up at Justin before they arrived at the front of his room. Fix it? There was no way he could fix this. [b “I am so sorry. You worked so hard to make sure we were safe and I screwed everything up. I am really sorry Justin.”] Willow sighed and shook her head, using her hand to wipe away at the tears that had formed.
[b "I do not think that I will get much sleep tonight."] She said honestly as she turned away from his so that she could go to her room and wallow in her own sadness. [b "Goodnight Justin."] Willow gave him a look and forced a smile before sighing and closing the door behind her.
[i Well done Willow. You massive screw up.]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe watched the two walk out and sighed, lowering himself next to Anastasia. He had to remain calm for her. If they were both angry and shouting, nothing would get resolved and that would only cause more heartache. He sighed gently and shrugged.
[b “Do you think that if you traveled back two hundred years, that you would be open and honest about where you came from with the first people you met? I do not understand it Anastasia, but I believe they were protecting themselves, their intentions were not to deceive.”] Jobe shook his head gently and look over at her.
[b “I do not know, but I do not see why things should be much different. Has Juliet not helped you become more confident? Has she not been a true confident to you? None of that was fake dear Anastasia. They gave us a chance to be open and honest about our feelings and I think that we would have been in a very different situation if they were not here.”]
Justin looked to him.
“I agree.” He said quietly and looked to Willow,
“Come along.” He said and guided her upstairs. He could tell how upset she was and he looked her over, gently running his thumbs over her tears to wipe them away.
“I’ll fix this.” He said to her softly, assuringly. He didn’t know how but Anastasia and Jobe were not heartless people. Even if he could keep Willow safe from it all.
“Please don’t cry.” He said quietly and looked at Willow with soft eyes. He was desperate to fix this.
“In the morning, I’ll beg and plead and get down on my knees but I will fix this.” He said to her and he meant every single word. He hated to see her full of sadness and regret. Of course he was upset but he needed to make sure Willow was at least settled before he did anything else on the matter.
Anastasia looked to Jobe, shocked by how calm he was as he watched Justin and Willow leave. She sat down, in some sort of shock.
“Why did they lie?” She asked Jobe, as if he would know.
“And how are you so calm?” She asked him. She would not cry in front of Jobe and reveal any weakness. Everything she had done, based on all the self worth Willow had given her was a lie. We’re her feelings false?
She gazed at Jobe with confused and lost eyes.
“They are good people, but-“ she sighed as she couldn’t finish and she was so confused and lost. And how could she sleep? Tonight had been so magical and yet it had ended so disastrously.
“What are we going to do?” Anastasia asked Jobe because he was her rock and anything he said she would go with it. She would support him regardless and cast her own feelings aside in an instant if he asked it of her.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow looked towards Jobe and Justin as they entered the room. When Anastasia said that they had lied she felt as though she had a knife stabbed into her gut. She [I had] betrayed their trust and she was not sure that she would be able to earn it back. Even if they did believe them. Justine interjected to try and help explain and she could only looks towards him apologetically. All of this was her fault and she wanted nothing more than for the ground to open up and swallow her.
She looked towards Anastasia and Jobe and stepped forward. [b “We liked about where we came from but we didn’t lie about who were are. I mean…our names are different and our lives are a little different but we did not deceive you in any other way. I really do care about the both of you and I know Fletcher does too.”] She sighed and found that a tear was beginning to form in the corner of her eye. [b “Please you have to know that our hearts are honest. We did not expect to be so lucky to meet the two of you and I am sorry if we abused your good nature. Anastasia, please I did not lie when I said that I care about you…like you are my sister.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe looked from Anastasia to Willow to Justin as he spoke. He could hardly believe what he was saying. This was unbelievable on every level yet it seemed to make complete sense at the same time. How else could they explain the obvious differences between them.
He remained calm and listened to Willow’s plea and let at a sigh. [b “Perhaps we should all retire for the night and sleep on this. I am not likely to throw you out on the streets but we are all tired and this is a lot of take in. Time travel and the like?! Science really advanced that far?”] He asked shaking his head as he gestured for Anastasia to follow him. [b “Come on. You need to calm yourself down and I do not want you to say something you might regret. Juliet and Fletcher have not fabricated this friendship.”]
Justin figures that the exchange had gone south somehow and he quickly made his way to Willow’s side, listening to her try to explain. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“She speaks the truth. I am a man of science. I managed to build something that could transport us- but we cannot return to our home. The device is unable to be fixed.” He looked to Jobe and Anastasia. He knew it sounded utterly crazy to them and he didn’t know if he would believe them.
“It was my mistake and I understand your distress and emotions but please, we had to lie to protect ourselves and hopefully you both.” He sounded utterly defeated and desperate. If Jobe cast them out he had no idea what he would do.
“We never meant any harm. We wanted to meet people. We are work colleagues, from the future. I-“ he cut off and fell silent. He felt ashamed for lying to them and the friendship they had was genuine and he didn’t simply play on their emotions to be close to either of them.
“They lied.” Anastasia said to Jobe. And now Justin was making all these crazy stories about a device which could travel through time.
“I trusted you both. I thought your advice was from honest hearts.” Her confidence was shattered once more. Everything she had told Willow had been under the influence that Willow was some poor lost soul.
Although they said they couldn’t return home. Anastasia pitied them but she was more hurt than compassionate right then.
“I opened myself to you. Told you everything.” She looked to Willow in particular at this point and seemed utterly lost. Anastasia never had the chance to meet many friends.
“This was a dream. All of it, based on your lies.” She whispered to them both. She was not angry but the hurt was apparent in her face. She had thought them genuine people with good intentions. Were they some sort of experiment to Willow and Justin?
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] A panic rose within the woman. She had done so well up to this point, to convince Anastasia and Jobe that they were from this time and Justin had worked so hard to ensure their safety while they were here and she had ruined all of it. She shook her head as she noticed that the woman seemed to be distressed about her words and she glanced out towards Jobe and Justin, sparing him a look that told her she was in trouble and that she was sorry for causing it.
She reached out for the woman’s hand but decided she did not want to upset her further. [b “I’m sorry Anastasia.”] She said as she rose from where she had been sitting and started to pace the room, wondering if there was anything she could say that would remedy the situation. Perhaps she would accuse her of being a witch. There were not trials at this time but she knew that there were still superstitious people in the world.
[b “Please, listen to me and understand that we were only trying to keep ourselves safe. I did not want to lie to you.”] She looked back at the woman, biting her lip. [b “There is a reason that we seem…different. We did not lie when we said we were not from here…we are not from this time Anastasia.”] She waited a minute, testing the woman’s reaction. [b “We are from a different year…some two hundred years in the future.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe narrowed his eyes and shook her head. [b “You cannot possibly know what she wants… as for deserve, you are one of the finest men that I have ever met. You are exactly what Juliet deserves. You should have more confidence. Juliet would not deny you if you were to admit to your affections. Anastasia is sure she feels for you too and I think I might have observed the same. Tonight especially.”]
Jobe followed his sight line and noticed Juliet pacing around the room and he grew concerned. [b “I wonder what has happened.”] He said absently as he began to stride towards the conservatory and entered the room, looking from one woman to the other as if looking for some idea of what had transpired. He could see the distress upon Anastasia’s face and he went to her.
[b “What on Earth is the matter?”]
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