[center [font consolas [i ~ The star that makes love’s dream come true was shining on me the day I met you. ~]]
[font consolas [i Private roleplay between Moonbird and myself. Goodbye!]]]
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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman A pencil would balance between Effie's fingers as the young girl would blankly stare down at the piece of paper laid out before her, and Effie would grumble with frustration, her 'brows furrowing with complex concentration. She was in the middle of writing her letter to Malcolm explaining her reasoning and desire to run away with him, and had been hit with a nasty case of second-guessing for herself and the decision at hand.
Was this really what she wanted? Did she truly need this? She had barely spoken to the man and didn't really know anything about him. But Malcolm was her only chance at freedom and Effie knew this. She wasn't going to get another chance anytime soon... Nobody would let her.
She struggled to find the correct words inside her mind to put down on paper; words that would convince the male to come and escape somewhere with her and at least be with her for a long while. She didn't want to sound too needy - but at the same time wanted to be desperate and urgent to get the point across. She bit down on her bottom lip with concentration and allowed the tip of the pencil to glide across the paper; writing out love-enclosed sentences and desperate words.
[+lightpink [i Dear Malcolm.]] She only knew his name from the Hawke's family constantly waiting on him. [+lightpink [i Your offer is one of most pleasantries and I would be more than happy to be by your side throughout this journey. I need to get away from this family - and this place - and you are my only hope. Please - I don't mean to beg but I really need you for this. I will have this letter sent to you right away and I hope you can get in touch with me very soon. I am awaiting your response. Yours Sincerely, Euphemia Blair Devitt.]]
She placed the pencil down by the paper and mentally read the letter over and over again to ponder on her writing. She wasn't quite sure if the letter was convincing enough to send, but Effie didn't really care anymore. She only had one chance at this. Enclosing the letter into an envelope and writing out the appropriate address onto the front, Effie would leave her room and tuck the letter away behind her back. She always had one servant she could trust for everything - and that was Griselda, a young woman around the same age. She turned 'round the corner and approached Griselda with the letter in hand. [+lightpink "Please. This is urgent, Griselda. Send this letter away immediately, okay? Don't let anyone question you."] She quietly whispered before leaving for her room again. Griselda merely nodded and immediately did as she was told... Effie hoped the letter would reach Malcolm soon.
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/oKkBdBX.png]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/KlNKX5D.jpg]] Arthur should've guessed Malcolm would start interrogating him about his mysterious lover, but the young man was left slightly speechless at the round of questions thrown at him. With a slight chuckle and an awkward smile, Arthur would stare off wistfully into the distance, and thought about his lover while speaking. [+lightseagreen "Well. I've, uh, admittedly never met her before."] Saying that aloud made him feel slightly foolish. [+lightseagreen "But I know she lives closeby and that her family own a tailoring store 'round Townsquare."] Arthur would quickly assure Malcolm before the young man would come 'round with another flurry of questions.
[i The tailor shop]... Arthur knew that this was where Ellienora worked, alongside her family, and had always dreamed of travelling over and visiting just for one day, but the young man never got around to doing so. His family surely would've never allowed him to - not with Effie in the picture. His facial expressions showed a little bit of sadness at the thought and Arthur would turn away. [+lightseagreen "I know it all sounds a bit conspicuous, but I assure you she is true. I just - I could never actually visit her. Y'know how my family is."] He'd say with his voice full of momentary dismay and would stand up from his seat to move over towards the window. The blonde-haired male would stare out through the glass into the elegant gardens in the distance and would sigh while seemingly in deep thought.
Arthur supposed that he could possibly visit Ellienora for a single day without anyone ever knowing, but the idea was incredibly risky and the execution would be quite difficult. He just really needed to see her... He turned to Malcolm with an idea clearly showing in his eyes. [+lightseagreen "Malcolm. Uh... Will you do me this one big favour? Just for today?"] He'd ask in a voice full of desperate hope. [+lightseagreen "I know where Ellienora works and... I know that actually going there would be terrible and risky... but my family don't have to know! Please will you - tell them that I'm running an errand for... the Devitt family? Just something simple, like something for Effie!"] He wasn't quite sure if mentioning Effie in the conversation would've helped his case any more than usual, but the suggestion was definitely sensible. Nervously chewing on the inside of his lip - Arthur would wait for Malcolm's response. ]
[font "times new roman" Malcolm looked the male up and down and smirked a bit. He had a feeling something like that was the cause. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the couch a bit. [#E67E22 "So who is she? How did you even get in touch with her? Is she someone I know? Or are you just going to say something like that, and leave me in the dark? What kind of friend does that?"] he asked. He knew he was bombarding the male with questions, but he didn't care at the moment. He wanted answers, and he wanted them now. He looked Arthur over, and smirked a bit more.]
[font "times new roman" He had a feeling something like that had been going on. He just didn't realize for how long it had been going on. He sighed lightly, wondering what to do with himself. He knew that Effie had some things to think about, and he wasn't about to force her into something. He was curious though, as to what she was thinking. Was it even worth it? Was it even worth breaking up a wedding? He wanted Arthur to be happy, and if it was with someone else, then so be it. He would support his best friend in everything. They were pretty much like brother's anyway. He was raised right along side him.]
[font "times new roman" His eyes moved to the parlor door's and wondered if they would be alone for awhile. He then turned to look at his friend once more. [#E67E22 "So spill everything you can about this woman. I want to know who I'm gonna have to beat if she hurts you. I know that'll never happen, and I wouldn't ever raise a hand to a woman, but I am curious as to who captured your attention like this"] he breathed out. He knew it was dangerous for the both of them, but he was more than willing to do anything and everything to make this all possible.]
[font "times new roman" What kind of person would he be, if he didn't support his best friend? He crossed his arms over his chest, and looked the male up and down. [#E67E22 "Start talking"] he said. He wasn't going to drop this anytime soon. He was going to get information out of him one way or another.]
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[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/U7V5Ik7.jpg]]
[font "times new roman" The black haired female looked at the letters in front of her. The way the words filled the page, and the feelings she felt was making her head spin. Being from overseas, and being part owner of the Tailor Made Fabrics made people look at her differently. It was like they turned their noses down on her. She was one of the richest people in town though. That's the only good thing. She reached out and touched the page lightly. [#D7ACAC "I will see you soon.."] she breathed out. She had moved to this small town about five months ago, and she still hadn't seen the male.]
[font "times new roman" The man that had captured her heart with his words. She hadn't seen him before, and she knew the moment she would lay eyes on him, she would know it was true. This was the kind of thing she lived for. Her parents were like this. They had been servant and noble woman. She wasn't a servant, but she was a noble woman. She owned part of the biggest shop in town. It wasn't enough though. She was looking for love, and she had found it withing Arthur. The man she hadn't seen, but knew every passionate detail about. She couldn't' wait for the time to see him face to face.]
[font "times new roman" [b "Little Bird? Are you awake my Little Bird?"} came the sound of her father's voice. She hurried and put the letters away, and stood. She was wearing her light dress today. She walked to the door and opened it. [#D7ACAC "Yes daddy I am."] she said. The male broke out into a smile, and pulled her into his arms. [b "There's the love of my life. Let's get going, your mother is already at the shop"] he said lightly. Ellienora nodded lightly as she grabbed her hat, and small bag. She then walked out with her father, and walked past the carriage they always took.]
[font "times new roman" It was too nice of a day, and their shop wasn't that far. [b "What are you thinking about Little Bird?"] he asked her. She looked up towards her father and smiled a little bit. [#D7ACAC "I was rereading those letters I have been sending, and receiving. Just something about him makes my heart skip a beat. I just wish I could see his face.."] she admitted. The male wrapped his arm around his daughter and drew her to his side. [b "I know Bird. You will I promise you."] he said kissing the side of her head. She nodded lightly, and fell silent once more.]
[font "times new roman" Pretty soon they arrived at the shop, and both walked in. She went over and hugged her mother tightly. She then took her place behind the counter, grabbed her book, and sat down. Today was going to be a long day, and she hoped they would get some customer's today.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman Effie was completely relieved at the thought of the wedding being postponed and let out one final sigh of relief. She felt slightly guilty at disappointing her mother and causing slight grief for Mrs. Hawkes, but this wedding truly wasn't meant to be and Effie didn't regret that one bit. She gave an apologetic smile to Mrs. Hawkes before leaving and slightly waved to Arthur as she'd follow her mother out of the room. The sight of Malcolm following closely behind made her feel a little excited and Effie would cheerfully smile to herself.
She didn't say anything as she and her mother were being loaded into the carriage, knowing that conversing casually with a servant would anger her mother marginally, but as Effie stepped into the carriage and situated herself nicely into the seat she would turn to Malcolm and warmly smile. Her bright blue eyes twinkling with some sort of hope. [+lightpink "Thank you. We shall meet again soon."] She gently whispered before the carriage door was shut and the two women were off home. The entire journey was deathly quiet and Effie knew her mother was quite upset. She felt a little too awkward to start a conversation and kept her silence until the journey was over.
Once they had returned home the women would silently exit the carriage and walk towards the mansion they called home. The atmosphere was incredibly thick with tension and Effie knew what was coming. She didn't bother fighting back with an excuse before her mother would start scolding her. They'd enter the mansion and Mrs. Devitt would turn to Effie with fury in her eyes. [b "You foolish child! Who gave you the authority to postpone such an important thing for us? Go to your room at once and don't even think about leaving!"] Her voice was full of anger and authority and Effie would merely sigh deeply. She nodded her head with sorrow before leaving for her room up the staircase.
She entered her room and sat down on her bed. She was annoyed at her mother's reaction and knew that nobody in her family would ever understand her daring decision to postpone, but Effie couldn't do anything about that anymore and was left with the aftermath. She thought about the possibilities of running away and never returning to this life of oppression and suffocating authority as she leaned back on her bed and stared at the ceiling in deep thought. And then the memory of Malcolm's offer entered her mind and a lightbulb lit up inside her brain...
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/oKkBdBX.png]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/KlNKX5D.jpg]] Effie most definitely wasn't the only one completely relieved at the sudden postpone. Arthur sat back in his seat with his hand covering his gleeful smirk and started almost giggling with happiness once all the women had left the room. Now on his own Arthur would express his joy - or at least a little snippet. That was until Malcolm would suddenly reenter the room and Arthur would cease his mini-mental celebration.
He wasn't upset or disappointed at the minor cancellation at all, but the expression on his face was different from his current thought process. He looked a little trouble and slightly conflicted as Malcolm checked his condition with a question. Arthur would look up and raise an eyebrow. [+lightseagreen "Friend - I couldn't be happier."] His voice was a bit monotoned and betrayed his true feelings. But Arthur wasn't feeling any of this faux emotion for himself but instead for Malcolm. He knew the servant was attracted to the noblewoman - the smitten and lovesick look in Malcolm's eyes told him everything. [+lightseagreen "But what about you? You are head-over-heels for Effie. Don't even try denying it, Waters."] His lips would curl up into a mischevious smile at the end of his sentence and his eyes would light up with opportunity.
Arthur knew that Malcolm would gladly take his place of being Effie's husband and chuckled at the thought. He also knew that was going to be completely impossible but ignored that. [+lightseagreen "Ha! I'm more than fine. You worry way too much. Maybe we could convince my mother that you and Effie are star-crossed lovers. Then you could take my place and I could..."] His voice would suddenly trail off before recovering again. [+lightseagreen "Well... I could have my freedom again for another twenty-two years."] He was clearly joking by the tone of his voice and Arthur would lean back into his chair and wonder.
For the past few weeks, Arthur had been secretly writing letters to another woman he had fallen in love with and hadn't yet told another soul. He had every single letter the woman sent in reply stashed away beneath his bed and no other person had yet seen them - or even caught a glimpse or two. The affair was completely private - at least until now. Arthur knew that eventually, Malcolm would find out - or he'd spill the beans himself. Seems like that time was now.[+lightseagreen "Truth be told, Mal. I've been seeing another woman since before the marriage was even mentioned. Didn't wanna say 'cause - you know, but Effie is all yours. She's not my type."] Arthur would say with a smile. He waited for Malcolm's response with an expecting eyebrow raise. He knew the male would be more than happy - ecstatic even.
[font "times new roman" Mrs Hawkes was slightly upset about the whole thing, but in a way she could understand. [b "Malcolm? Will you please come in here, and escort the Devitt's out to their waiting carriage"] she called out. The male walked into the room, his heart skipping a beat. He had been standing outside listening to the whole thing, and he knew something was up. Maybe Effie could break things off, and he hoped that she could. He wanted nothing more than to have her in his arms, and just lay there well into the night with her. He nodded his head, as he went to go and get their belongings.]
[font "times new roman" He walked back into the room and held his hands out. Mrs Devitt took her things, and looked towards her daughter. [b "Let's go Effie. We have some talking to do"] she seemed to hiss. She then turned her blue eyes on Malcolm. [b "Thank you young man"] she said with a warm smile. [#E67E22 "No need to thank me ma'am, just doing my job is all"] he said with a small bow. He then led the two women back through the house, and to the open doors. He walked out with them and helped them into the carriage. He then shut the door, and nodded towards their driver. He then made his way back into the house.]
[font "times new roman" His heart was racing, and he hoped that no one would notice how excited he was. He walked into the parlor and spotted Arthur sitting in the chair. He walked over to him, and touched his shoulder. [#E67E22 "Art.. You look a bit shaken up. Is everything okay?"] he asked him. Mrs Hawkes was no where to be seen, so the two men would be able to talk openly a little bit. He went about picking up the tea cups, and placing them onto the tray. He then turned to his oldest friend and a small smirk passed over his lips. He wanted to tease the other, but didn't know if it would be wise.]
[font "times new roman" [#E67E22 "Tell me honestly, are you doing alright? Or are you glad that the wedding has been put off for awhile?"] he asked him. He wanted to know what was running around in his friend's mind, but didn't know how else to really approach it. He let the silence wash over them, as he finished cleaning up, waiting for the other male to speak his thoughts.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman Effie was about to make her leave until the male would suddenly start talking. She wasn't really expecting him to say much, but the sudden questioning of her marriage made her stop dead in her tracks. She turned away from the staircase to thoughtfully observe the man as he spoke and started questioning herself mentally. She knew this marriage meant nothing to her and that she wanted no part, but there was never any objections or disagreements with anyone, not even with her own mother. What did she want...
[+lightpink "I don't know."] Was she all really managed to say, her voice quiet and rather insecure. She let out a sigh before continuing. [+lightpink "I don't know! I never wanted this but I can't just turn away and say no. I'd break my mother's heart. And my family... My family would disown me! All the women have been married off for years, my oldest brother went through it, and all my other my brothers will go through the same when their time comes. I just... can't."] Her voice was a sudden outburst of repressed emotions, each word carrying every bit of her anxieties and fear. She looked like she could start crying any minute, but that moment never came and the young woman managed to suppress herself long enough to calm down.
She backed up slightly and would look down shamefully at the floor. [+lightpink "I'm sorry. I'm just so overwhelmed with everything."] She truly was. She was only nineteen-years-old and already the world had started laying thick on her, or at least as much as the world could on an upper-class woman with the expectations of the era's society. She desired so badly to run away into the English countryside, and escape onto a boat leaving for the clear horizon... but that one wish was far away from here.
His words were comforting, however, and Effie appreciated his attempts at consoling her. The hand on her shoulder eased her nerves slightly, and she'd breath out a small sigh. As soon as the hand was removed Effie was about to leave again, but the male's words caught her attention way, and she listened intently.
Escape? She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Was this man really offering a chance for her to escape, with him? This all sounded way too good to be true, and Effie wasn't even sure if her family would ever allow this. They would be raging if the young girl ever abandoned her womanly duties for some seemingly lowly servant. But his words were so convincing and the idea of leaving with him sounded so tempting. She took everything seriously and truly thought about her options. [+lightpink I can't believe this. Really? I don't know what to say. I'll try and slow the process down but...]" The reality of the whole situation started weighing down on her. She wasn't sure how to do this...
Before the man would leave to attend to his duties Effie would say. [+lightpink "I'll think about your offer and send a letter right away when I can."] She then nodded her head slightly at the bow and watched him leave. There was an air about him that Effie missed only a few minutes after the male left, and the urge to follow kept pulling at her mind, but Effie would remain in her place for a few seconds before leaving for the parlour.
She'd walk downstairs and into the parlour with a timid smile and would curtsey to everyone in the room. [+lightpink "Apologies for taking long. I got turned around."] She'd then move to her original seat and sit down. She was thinking about how to possibly halt the wedding but nothing seemed to be coming up. [b "Welcome back, Miss. Devitt. We were just discussing the less important parts of your wonderful marriage to my dear boy."] Mrs. Hawkes would begin and motion towards Arthur... who visibly cringed. Effie would too cringe at the statement.
As the conversation about the wedding would restart an idea would suddenly pop into Effie's head. She hoped this would work. [+lightpink "Excuse my interruption but I have something to say."] The room would fall silent and listen to the girl speak. [+lightpink "This entire wedding is such a wonderful and lovely thing for... us. But I think we're all moving into this too quickly. Mother, do you remember your oldest son, my brother, Ephraim? His marriage was too early and his wife was a stranger. They... didn't get along very well."] She sounded quite confident in her small speech but on the inside, she was panicking. The mini-story about her eldest brother Ephraim was all true, however, and the situation with him and his arranged-marriage wife was an unfortunate one. [+lightpink "Perhaps we should wait a little longer and allow myself and Arthur to converse and... get to know each other."] She was pulling every straw she could at this point.
The room continued listening, though, and both the older women looked at each other quite thoughtfully before nodding in agreement amongst themselves. Mrs. Devitt would sigh. [b "I remember all too well. Perhaps you're right, Effie. We are rushing into this a bit."] She turned to Mrs. Hawkes. Mrs. Hawkes seemed frustrated at the answer but couldn't really fight against it. [b "I suppose so..."] It seemed like Effie's plan was working. Effie would sigh in relief and turn to look at Arthur who seemed to be doing the same. She wanted to call the wedding off completely but knew that was too far out of her reach. This would have to do for now.]
[font "times new roman" The male cocked his head to the side. He watched her body language, and when he mentioned her up coming wedding, her whole mood seemed to change. He wasn't meaning to bring that up, and in all honesty he wished it wasn't happening. He wanted nothing more than to get to know the woman, inside and out. When she mentioned getting back to the other's, he shook his head lightly and reached out touching her shoulder lightly. He knew it was wrong of a servant to do that, but he didn't care at the moment.]
[font "times new roman" [#E67E22 "I know it's not my place to say, but are you really happy about this? Being forced to marry someone you barely know? I'm not trying to pry, and I can understand needing the air, but are you really wanting to do this? You can always walk away, and not let other's tell you what to do. You are a woman, and you have a voice, so maybe speak up about it?"] he breathed out. He knew he would get into some huge trouble with talking the woman out of her wedding. He was trying to help everyone else, including himself.]
[font "times new roman" He didn't want her thinking he was trying to over step a line. That's when he heard his name being called. He dropped his hand from her shoulder and looked towards her. [#E67E22 "Listen, if you can make it where you won't get married for awhile, I promise you I will take you away from here. I know it's not much, but there's a connection between you and I, I'm glad you came looking for me. But I must go. Think about it, and when you decide send a note to Miranda, she will make sure I get it"] he said lightly.]
[font "times new roman" He took a quick bow, and then turned and slipped past the woman. He found Miranda standing there with her arms crossed over her chest. [b "Were you really talking to the woman? You do know she's supposed to be getting married right? You shouldn't be talking to her at all"] she said with a stern voice. The male shrugged his shoulders a bit. [#E67E22 "I know it's going to sound weird, but there's something there. I know that look in her eyes, Arthur has the same look as well. Neither one of them want to get married"] he said lightly. All of a sudden feeling really guilty.]
[font "times new roman" Miranda shook her head lightly and sighed. [b "As long as you are careful, and can keep your promises to the female, I will back you up. Until then, get your ass in gear and finish this floor, and then get downstairs"] she said lightly. The male nodded his head a bit. [#E67E22 "I will"] he breathed out, before Miranda shooed him away, and he was off finishing his chores, before he would be summoned back into the parlor.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman As the male above finally noticed her, Effie would weakly smile. It was clear from the expression on her face that inside she was exhausted, but was trying meekly to put on a brave face to hide her true emotions. She'd walk closer and stand in front of the male, her smile slowly getting wider as the interaction proceeded. [+lightpink "I'm sorry to disturb you, sir."] She'd apologetically say. [+lightpink "I just saw you up ahead and thought I'd say hello."] She was clearly lying by the way her voice wavered at the end of the sentence. Effie really just wanted to introduce herself to him and actually interact with someone who wasn't apart of her life yet. She had been suffocated by her family for so long that any stranger's company would make her happy, and there was something beautifully amiss about this particular stranger.
She noticed his hasty inspection of her appearance and would lightly smile to herself before dismissively waving her hand, and speaking again before the mention of marriage was said by the other. [+lightpink "I will leave for the others soon I merely required some air."] She almost skipped his question by a minor slide until the fraud marriage was mentioned. Just hearing the word marriage made her quiver with nausea, and Effie would become slightly distressed. She knew the man wasn't trying to be rude and was displaying some form of concern, and for that, she was quite appreciative to him on the inside. However, the mere mention caused her anxieties to appear again.
She began explaining herself. [+lightpink "By all means, I know. I just couldn't stand being there for one second more."] She nearly spilt out her entire inner-thoughts in that one sentence, but quickly caught herself before revealing her current mindstate. She didn't want to burden the male with her problems at all and wasn't trying to seek his sympathies. There was just something strange about him, almost amorous. She felt almost comfortable just being in his presence. [+lightpink "Excuse me, I don't want to burden you. I should be leaving now."] She'd say. She sounded almost upset and apprehensive at the idea of departing for the room again.
Effie wanted to stay in this spot forever, or at least felt like it. Merely looking at this man gave her butterflies and caused her head to fill with amatory thoughts. She never felt this way for any man before and scarcely understood the unfamiliar feeling. She barely knew him and knew that feeling this way for a servant was silly, but trying to switch off the sensation was futile. She was staring into his eyes for a long few seconds. [+lightpink "Oh!"] It took her a while to realise. [+lightpink "Forgive me. I'm just a little, uh, unwell."] The excuse was stammered out. [+lightpink "I suppose the talk of my eloping to my soon-to-be [i husband] is making me a bit silly."] She'd awkwardly chuckle, mentally beating herself for the small mistake of staring.]
[font "times new roman" Malcolm was working his way from room to room, to make sure the beds were made, and the other's had done their jobs the way they should have, in the first place. His mind was on the woman down stairs. How could someone so beautiful be married to someone like Arthur? It wasn't like Malcolm hated the male, they were best friends after all, but he just couldn't see the other male with someone like her. He was more of the softer, romantic type. Malcolm on the other hand, loved adventure and exploring different things. It was his goal n life to have the time off, and travel the world.]
[font "times new roman" As he was coming out of one of the bedrooms, he heard a soft voice call out. He looked over his shoulder and spotted the woman on the stairs. Had she really just followed him up here? He wasn't about to judge her for it, but he made his way towards her anyway. He took a small bow, and then looked up towards her. [#E67E22 "What can I help you with Ma'am?"] he asked lightly. He wasn't trying to be rude, but he didn't really quite understand why she was up here. Was she looking for him? There's no way she would be.]
[font "times new roman" He wasn't about to ask the beautiful creature that, so he made sure to keep his mouth shut. He looked her up and down, and wondered what made her even be interested in someone like him? He wasn't rich, he didn't have a nice family name like the Hawkes family, and he sure as hell didn't have status in the town either. He shook his head as if to clear it, and cleared his throat before speaking again. [#E67E22 "You shouldn't be here. You should be down stairs with the other's, planning your wedding"] he said lightly. He wasn't meaning to sound rude, and he hoped he didn't come off that way.]
[font "times new roman" He was kind of glad for the distraction though. She was beautiful, eyes he could stare into for days. Lips he wouldn't mind kissing once in a while, a body he would love to have against his at night. He couldn't believe he was thinking about these things right now. She was a taken woman after all, and yet all of these impure thoughts were driving him insane. He looked down to the floor, as he waited for the woman to say something. Anything at all, to distract him from those same thoughts, he'd been having.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman Thousands of nerves sparked inside Effie as she continued thinking about the eventual wedding. The more everyone spoke about the ceremony the sicker she began to feel. She barely noticed the young male place the tray of tea on the table before leaving and would begin to shift uncomfortably in her seat as she watched him leave. Something inside her begged her to follow him, but leaving right now wasn't the most efficient option.
She breathed in deeply and tried to maintain her composure as best as she could, but noticeable beads of sweat would begin forming on her forehead as her clammy hands fumbled with each other out of genuine worry. Her eyes would dart around the room seeking any kind of distraction. She begged for something to happen. Anything. Anything that didn't involve talk of marriage. Nobody around the room noticed her evident discomfort and unusual behaviour, as they all concentrated fiercely on the specific task at hand.
[b "Now then."] Mrs. Hawkes would promptly begin. [b "Before we commence on our discussion I would naturally like to possibly inquire about all future inheritances."] Although Effie was barely listening to the conversation the mention of inheritance forcibly made something harsh boil deep inside her. Her gradual shifting got worse and progressed into an anxious leg bounce. She could feel a gross mixture of vomit and bile rising inside her throat...
[+lightpink "Mrs. Hawkes!"] Effie suddenly shouted in fierce urgency. The entire room fell instantly to silence and all probing eyes were back on Effie. Everyone stared in either shock or offence and would wait for a plausible excuse to be fumbled out by the girl. Effie suddenly realised her sudden slip-up and would begin to mend her mistake as much as she possibly could. [+lightpink "Mrs. Hawkes."] She'd restart. [+lightpink "I'm terribly sorry for my rude interruption but I am feeling a little ill."] She attempted her best to articulate herself nicely and come up with any plausible excuse to escape the room. [+lightpink "May I be excused for a short while? I merely need some time."] She fumbled nervously a few times with her choice words and quickly caught herself before any mistakes were inevitably made. She realised that her justification for her earlier behaviour and attempt to leave could be thwarted by the maturer women, and tried to seem as convincing as possible in both pained expressions and body language.
[b "Well."] Mrs. Hawkes would carefully begin speaking. [b "I suppose a small delay won't be too dire.]" The tone of her voice betrayed her own words. She sounded unsure and slightly annoyed at the younger female. Mrs. Devitt appeared to be slightly more sympathetic, naturally so and would guide her daughter towards the door with parting words before leaving for the room again. [b "Please hurry. You know how important this is for me. For us."] The sentence made Effie grimace as soon as her mother exited the hallway.
With an exhale, Effie would quickly move aside from the door and lean against the wall. She felt emotionally exhausted and mentally drained from the entire thing. She knew that spending another minute inside that cramped room with everyone else would've broken her in some way.
Wiping away the sweat from her forehead and composing herself enough to be appropriate and calm, Effie would stare up at the staircase in front of her and wonder. She knew that the servant from earlier was around here somewhere, and she remembered him quite clearly. She wanted to see him again for reasons currently unknown to her. She'd inch closely towards the staircase and peer up into the hallway above. She could see someone. [+lightpink "Hello?"] She'd quietly call out.
[font "times new roman" The morning seemed to dawn too brightly for the male. He let out a small sigh when he heard his name being called. He looked towards the closed door, and knew he had to get a move on. He wasn't about to be late. The Devitt's were going to be here in about an hour or so, and he had to be at Arthur's beck and call. Like when they had first been children. He sighed a bit as he climbed out of bed, and got dressed. He might as well take his time. That was when a knock came on the door, and his eyes snapped towards it. [#E67E22 "Come in"] he called out, as he pulled on his shirt and buttoned it up.]
[font "times new roman" Arthur walked into the room, running his hands through his blonde hair. [b "I can't do this Malcolm. I can't. I don't want to marry the woman, I don't even know her. And yet, my parents are forcing me to do it. Whatever happened to marrying for love?"] he asked, as he plopped down onto the bed. Malcolm looked towards his oldest and only friend, and sighed a bit. [#E67E22 "Honestly, people of your standard can't marry for love. It's all about keeping your name alive, and your riches even more richer. I myself, would kill to be in your shoes"] he admitted. He meant it too.]
[font "times new roman" Being a servant wasn't what he had wanted, but her mother had pretty much given him to the Hawkes family when he was born. She couldn't take care of him, and his father hadn't been in the picture at all. Something he didn't like. He felt like there was so much more to life than this, but being a servant was all he had known. The Hawkes family made it known, that he wasn't their child, but they had taken him in, and took care of him. Arthur looked up to the other, and sighed a bit. [b "You can marry any woman you want. You don't have to be forced into a marriage"] he breathed out. Malcolm nodded lightly, Arthur did have a point.]
[font "times new roman" He could marry any woman he wanted, and he had been seeing one of the servant's in the household, but he didn't feel a connection to her. Arthur let out a sigh and stood. [b "They are going to be here any moment. I'll see you upstairs"] he said, an slunked out of the room. Malcolm felt horrible for the male. He wanted nothing more than to help him out, but he didn't know how. He sighed as he finished getting dressed. Buttoned up his suit coat, and then made his way towards the parlor, and everyone waiting inside. He watched as Arthur's mother went to fetch the Devitt's, and bring them inside. He tore his eyes away from his friend and watched the two women enter the room.]
[font "times new roman" His breath caught seeing the younger of the two women. She looked so uncomfortable, and unhappy it broke his heart. He listened as the older women talked about the wedding, and his heart skipped a beat. He had to do something. He had to make it known to his peer's that he wasn't about to let anything like this happen. He couldn't though. He was nothing but a servant, and nothing more. He stood there, waiting to be called on. That's when Mrs. Hawkes spoke out. [b "Malcolm, will you please bring in the tea?"] she asked. The male nodded and bowed himself out. His heart in his stomach.]
[font "times new roman" He grabbed the tray from the kitchen, and carried it back into the parlor, placing it down onto the table. [#E67E22 "Is there anything else I can get you?"] he asked. The woman shook her head and smiled. [b "No thank you child, you can go. Make sure to close the door as well please. There's so much we need to talk about in private"] she said. The male nodded, took another small bow, and slipped out. He shut the door behind him, and let out the breath he was holding. This was going to be a long day for everyone. He sighed, as he made his way to the stairs, to get his daily chores done.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/nvyIjDj.jpg]] [font roman Five minutes had gone past, as Effie stared at the renaissance painting on her bedroom wall, a beautiful replica of [b [i Springtime]] by Pierre Auguste Cot, gifted to her by her deceased father, Lord Edward Devitt, a most gracious man Effie loved dearly before his passing. Today, was a big day for the young noblewoman, for she would be formally introduced to her husband-soon-to-be, Arthur Hawkes, from the wealthy family down the street from the Devitt's manor. The young girl knew absolutely nothing about him and had never truly met him until this point, for this up-coming marriage had nothing to do with the principles of love, and was instead being used purely for the two families statuses and inherited riches.
For a while, Effie was too afraid to leave her bedroom, fearing that on the other side of the door would be her pompous mother, demanding her to dress into her finest silks to be introduced to Arthur, but her mother was downstairs in the study, writing letters for the Hawkes family before sauntering to the staircase, and calling for Effie to come.
"[b Effie, my dear?]" The older woman would call from the bottom of the staircase. "[b Come on, child! We must leave now, the Hawkes' family are awaiting our arrival.]" And the woman would leave for the front parlour. Hearing these words, Effie would exasperatedly sigh and prepare to leave her bedroom behind, dressed in a rather simple pearl-white blouse with a soft pink long skirt, her hair tied into an elegant halo-braid. She'd exit the room and hurriedly rush down the staircase, knowing her mother would be angry if she took too long, and would quickly make her way to the front parlour.
[+lightpink "Here, mother."] Effie would stand politely in front of her mother, waiting for her to speak. Deep inside, Effie was cursing her out endlessly, every devil-touched word one could think of, Effie was blasting out inside her mind. But the young woman remained composed and mannerly in the midst of the matriarch of the Devitt's, and would remain that way until her mother whisked her away through the main hallway and towards the front door. The servants opened the beautiful stain-glassed doors for the two women to leave into the cobblestoned streets of London.
Outside, Effie breathed in the miasma-soaked air of the capital of England, the stench of factory smoke and horse waste filling her nostrils, but somehow the air outside felt less suffocating than the air inside her home, away from the pressuring words of her family, aside from her mother who stood beside her in front of a horse-driven carriage, clearly meant for the two to be taken away to the Hawkes Mansion. As the two women entered the carriage, Effie could only sit in her seat in pure silence, biting her bottom lip with anxiety as her mother began to attempt conversing with the clearly distracted girl. For the entire journey, Effie's mother spoke and Effie heard no words, keeping her attention on her own thoughts, each one about how horrible this Arthur could possibly be and how she'd be locked away in this forced marriage for the rest of her life, but as soon as the carriage came to a halt, Effie had snapped back into reality with her mother finally finishing up the meaningless conversation, and they'd both exit the carriage as soon as the doors were opened.
"[b Chin up, back straight, clothes neatened, and body posed perfectly. We're here, Euphemia.]" Her mother would say while fussing with Effie's blouses' slightly ruffled collar, neatening up any flaw she could spot in both Effie's clothing and appearance. Stood before the pair was a massive mansion nearly twice as big as the Devitt's own manor, a symbol of pure Victorian wealth all set out with one of the most expansive gardens Effie had ever seen. All while Effie stood and silently admired the luxurious residence, her mother had been introduced to the homeowners at the door and had been invited in, quickly signifying for Effie to follow with an impatient hand gesture. The inside was near enough as amazing and deluxe as the outside, and servants lined the hallways ready to take orders at a minutes notice. The walls were filled with paintings from all over the world, and the pottery and ornaments that stood proudly on the tables and surfaces made Effie feel slightly more relaxed.
She'd slowly walk through the hallway and admire the wonderful sights before being greeted by an unfamiliar voice. "[b Euphemia, is it?]" Effie would quickly turn around and see that the voice belonged to the lady of the house. She'd weakly nod. "[b Welcome to our beautiful home, Miss Devitt. Come, I'll take you to our main parlour. Everybody has been awaiting your arrival.]" Waiting? Effie felt terrible - not for making everyone wait, but for being here in the first place. Mrs Hawkes would lead the young girl into the main parlour and would seat her onto the cabriole sofa in the middle of the room where everyone was waiting, including Arthur Hawkes. This Arthur Hawkes was an average young man, taller than the petite five-foot-three Effie by five inches, with neatly parted blonde hair and wide blue eyes. The young male didn't look as nearly as excited as the rest of his family, just like Effie.
Avoiding everybody's piercing gaze, Effie would glance around the large room looking for anything to stare at for the majority of her stay, and nothing would catch her attention apart from one thing - a person stood just beside the door leading out into the hallway. The person was clearly a servant of a high degree by the way he was dressed, and Effie could only describe him as perfectly handsome. She'd fix her gaze onto him while everyone spoke amongst themselves until her name was mentioned in the conversation. "[b Euphemia Blair Hawkes has a nice ring to it. Don't you agree, Effie? My Arthur is so looking forward to the ceremony. We won't have long to wait, though. Just the preparations and the agreements, of course.]" Mrs Hawkes chuckled as Effie subtly winced. This was the end of the road for her.]
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