[center [font times [size13 [b X] is on his way back to Junestown, Colarado to meet up with a group of old colleagues. [b Y] is en route with her mother and fiancé to Junestown as well to set up and start a new life as her fiancé’s father has left his oil drilling business to him in his will. After a mistake with [b X]’s ticket, he ends up in the upper-class cabin where he happens upon [b Y]. After a slight derailment, the train is set to stop for the night in order for repairs to be made. Despite those who try to get in their way, [b X] and [b Y] begin to have a conversation about love, life, and their futures.]]
[size13 [font times [I [b • [#a94063 Okay so]]], in my head this is kind of like titanic but on a train. I don’t expect this to really be a long rp as I want everything to happen in the course of them waiting for repairs. Im imagine most posts start on the train before the passengers are directed toward a boarding house. This rp is set around 19th century so it will be a period piece. The overall story of course are people from two different classes who find they share some similar interest. Along with that they begin to develop a sense of romance and companionship their life is lacking; though come the end of the rp one must decide which route they choose to take.
[I [b • [#a94063 Real pictures]]], make sure they match the theme of the roleplay.
[I [b • [#a94063 400 words minimum]]], and [b PLEASE PUSH THE STORY FORWARD]. Your post shouldn't be 2/3 responding to dialogue. I want to know who your character is, be creative.
[I [b • [#a94063 Must be 21+]]], this is honestly more so for my comfort, it has nothing to do with maturity. There will be gore, violence, intimacy, cursing, etc. I am willing to accept 18+ if you're absolutely interested.
[I [b • [#a94063 [u Active in plot discussion]]]], Just because it's my idea, doesn't mean everything is on my shoulders. I want someone who is excited and offers ideas that will make the rp exciting.
[I [b • [#a94063 Post no later than 7 days]]], I understand this is a crazy time, people have work and families. I myself work 40 hour wks, but I also have no life so I'm able to juggle the kajillion rps I have no problem. All I ask is that you don't join if you've already got a lot on your plate. I have a good amount of stagnant and slow moving rps and I hate to see an idea die. But if anything, always let me know - I have bad memory so sometimes I won't respond, but rest assured I've seen it.
[I [b • [#a94063 Finally]]], I will be playing multiple characters, that doesn't mean you have to. Please do not do so if you cannot handle the load.
[I [b • [#a94063 Hopefully]]]: I have still held your interest, if so send me a message!]
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Ethel chuckled. Her father would have never permitted her to be alone with Louis, he'd much less allow her alone with Michael. Even more so if he knew of him being part of the lower class. Well that would be a disgrace to the family! At least in her parents eyes, to Ethel it wasn't something that really mattered. Everyone wore the same skin, different color. They were all humans.
"I am sure I could sneak us a session one day. If we are ever able to keep in touch."
Michael's words had seemed to echo in her head and it caused her slight pain of heart. No, she didn't believe it for an instant. But she had to, for the sake of her future life; whatever it was. "I am hoping that one day I will wake up and be happy, regardless of what comes of it." She admitted softly. Taking the last sip from the flask before handing it back to Michael. She could feel the warmth in her bones. Maybe she had one too many… Her eyes traveled down to his hand which connected to hers. Her eyes drifted up to him with curious eyes. It was a nice feeling, his hand upon hers. A much different feeling from Louis' hands; which sometimes felt more like a demanding grip than an unconscious holding of hands. Ethel's fingers brushed over his gently, as if giving him a hint that she was comfortable with it.
Though Michael's words were sweet, there was something about it that made Ethel feel unsteady. Perhaps it was the mere fact that she knew deep down inside that she couldn't keep such a promise. That if she even dared to go against her parents Will she would surely be… they wouldn't go that far, would they?
“Michael, I cannot promise anything of those sorts." She admitted and let out a small sigh as his hand was taken from hers. She was enjoying the small moment. But as usual it was short lived. Ethel shook her head. "I am not tired. Nor do I need any beauty sleep. There is no such thing." She said a bit roughly before attempting to get up. Though as Ethel got up, she heard a slight sound of fabric ripping. Her eyes glanced down and noticed the new rip at the end of her night gown. The rip had seemed to slip right up to where her femur was. Ethel couldn't help but laugh. Yes, this was exactly the kind of luck she had in life and this was exactly how it would possibly end. Ethel pinched the fabrics together and looked to Michael. "Well Michael, I think you are right. We should go get some rest before things get out of hand." She smiled. Though her attention was caught by a slight light that came form from behind the window curtain on the cart door. Ethel quickly pulled Michael up and pushed him gently behind the wall of the door and pressed herself against him to hide as well.
"Anyone out here?" A man called out. Peering into the room as he held up a lantern to light up the room. Though the man simply shrugged before closing the door and leaving the cart.
Ethel took a deep breath. If she hadn't been sober before she was surely sober now. Her eyes then looked up to Michael. "I think you should head out first." Were her words before she had noticed that she could feel his body clearly upon hers, to which she instantly blushed and moved back abruptly. "O-or I should." She spoke softly before looking away. "I will try to keep my promise… from before. If you promise to do the same?" She held out her hand to him. "Friends?"
He thought about how Ethel had looked at him when he suggested there were just some things you had to get used to while being poor: the taste of cheap liquor, cold nights, sometimes an empty belly for the day. She could apply that to her own life as well. Though her life was glamourous and luxurious, he was sure there were things that she would just have to get used to; like her controlling parents or a marriage to a man she obviously had no interest in. Michael figured he would keep that to himself, but figured Ethel herself had to draw the same comparison. She was a very smart girl and he could tell that for some thoughts she had, they required a conversation only with herself which he imagined made her quite introspective.
Michael watched as Ethel struggled with whether to be honest and not only with Michael. But also with herself. He could see that she was trying to find an excuse or a way to explain why Louis was perfect to marry or why she could learn to like him, maybe even love him. Still, she parted her lips and for a moment there was only silence. Maybe it was the liquid courage, or the comfort of confessing these thoughts to a stranger that allowed her to tell the truth. Though as he held this secret confession, he wondered if he was still considered a stranger to Ethel. Surely after the train ride they would part and maybe once in a while they would cross paths briefly. Though who should she be then? Is it possible she would have lost this curious and playful person she was now to becoming the wife of a successful oil man. That was a whole different personality in itself.
“Well if your father would ever permit such a thing, I would have no qualms about it being just us two.” Michael said. In fact, he actually quite liked the idea better, it seemed more intimate.
“Adapt,” Michael repeated. It was a sad way to speak about one’s future. Michael always thought happiness was something that in some sense just fell in your lap, you could search for it sure, but it shouldn’t be that much hard work. It seemed to him that Ethel in some way was trying to obtain the impossible. “Do you really believe that? That you’ll one day wake up as Mrs. Perkins and you’ll look over and just be happy?” He could feel the last of the liquid in the flask, taking a sip then before handing it over to Ethel. He made sure to hold her hand sin his at that point, feeling how cold they were, though she suspected her palms warm as the liquor was making its way through her body.
“Whatever happens after this train ride, I do want you to promise me that you will try to do what makes [I you] happy.” Michael could tell he was starting to get tired, or maybe he was trying to find an excuse to end their little get together as he knew that a little bit of liquid courage would have him saying or doing other things.
“We should be getting to bed,” he said. “wouldn’t want you to not get any beauty sleep.” He realized their hands like earlier were still connected and quickly removed his grasp.
“It’s not that I don’t think I’m interesting, just – well guess I had my own thoughts about people of your status and people like me having nothing in common. What would we talk about?”
Ethel felt slightly insulted by his question. Yet she had managed to brush it off since he was right. Most people wouldn't have many things in common to talk about; like earlier with him and her parents. "You're right. But that doesn't mean we couldn't maybe make a few adjustments to the topics so that it could be generalized… or talk about the interest of one another."
He said that and Ethel wanted to believe that there was truly someone out there for her. But the truth was that her hopes had been evaporated by the mere wedding that would happen within this year. A marriage that she wasn't looking forward to but had no choice. "You are right, Michael. We are only lucky if we find them though." Like all the characters she had read in the books. Their life had always seemed to steer in the right direction. Yet hers seemed to continue on a trail of misfortune.
The way Michael had seemed to put Louis' image made her stomach turn. Louis truly sounded like a horrible man, like the one described in the romance books, like the enemy. If that was the case, Ethel truly was going to have a tremendous time trying to keep her head above water and not drown in the turmoil that her family had just put her in.
And then Michael had asked the forbidden question. The one that could create a negative impact to her marriage if thought too much of it. "I-I…" she was at loss for words. She swallowed hard. There was nothing that she truly liked of Louis. He was just… not her fancy. Not even a bit. And though she had tried to make up for it by ignoring the fact that she didn't like him and somewhat found him repulsive, she still couldn't deny it.
Ethel took a deep breath and another sip from the flask she had stolen again. This time feeling as the burning liquid calmed her nerves. "I do not like him for that." She began with a sigh, "To be honest. I do not like him at all. Don't get me wrong, he is a nice man... I think… I honestly do not know him that well. Only a couple of things… But I barely know him at all…"
Her eyes shifted to him. Record her playing? "Oh I don't think I'd be able to. I have tried playing in front of others and it is very hard to preform in front of others." She chuckled. "But maybe… I could make an exception if it's only you who'd be there.
Ethel's smile faded. So he too was unhappy with his life. Not that it came to as a surprise to her, but it still made her feel sad. "I am… content with mt life." She recited her mothers words. The words that herother inculcated to her to repeated whenever anyone asked about her inner feelings. "What young girl wouldn't be happy and excited for her wedding day? It will be all I ever wanted…" she lied through her teeth, a hint of gloom in her words. Her eyes trailed over the traintracks.
Soon watching as a tunnel suddenly loomed over them and the only hint of light was that at the end of the tunnel in which was where the moonshined. That's exactly how she had felt… like a curtain of certain control and gloom had been casted over her. And she was not strong enough to pull off the veil. "Marriage is all I was ever taught. Apart from fine arts and music. Languages… so on. My education was very thorough. And being married to Louis will only be a step towards my certain happiness." Her eyes glanced over at Michael as the train then exited the tunnel. "At least that is what I am hoping… but it is nothing too serious. It's only marriage, right? It should be that hard to get used to... I am sure I will adapt to it easily."
“It’s not that I don’t think I’m interesting, just – well guess I had my own thoughts about people of your status and people like me having nothing in common. What would we talk about?” That had changed though as he found he and Ethel seemed to eb having good conversation so far, incredibly pleasant actually. “Ms. Rosebush,” he said finally with a nod in agreement. He could see why her father had eyed him suspiciously with a scowl on his face for nearly half the conversation. He supposed that was a mistake on his part. Though, Michael had always been used to casual conversation. He liked the way his name sounded off her tongue though.
He looked down then at their hands. Ethel’s was warm and soft, just as he imagined. He wanted to pick it up and trace the lines of her palm, to see how nice it would feel with them interlocked. It was a good thing she had pulled her hand away, the thoughts Michael was having were ludicrous.
“The right woman surely has to be out there. There is someone for everyone,” he said. He wanted to believe that despite the trouble his mother had finding a good man. Perhaps because she knew that she couldn’t have his father and ad simply given up. Michael hoped he could save enough money to bring her to Junestown and maybe then she would find someone else; someone that would love her as she deserved to be loved.
“Handsome, powerful and controlling.” Michael listed. “But what do you like about him besides that?” again he felt like he was getting too personal, but Michael couldn’t see Ethel having anyone to have this conversation with. Any girl would think she a fool to question a marriage with a man who was obviously bund for success. She had what most women dreamed of. Was there really anything to complain about? From what he could tell, they seemed like a match; though, a matchmade in heaven he was unsure of.
“Maybe one day ill record you playing?” he suggested. Their fingers brushed against one another as she took the flask. He watched as it went down a bit more smoothly, but of course it was an acquired taste. Most women didn’t drink hard liquor so it was understandable why it wasn’t a normal addition to her pallet. “Bitter?” he questioned. He looked back out front, watching as the trees moved and danced with the wind that passed through. “I suppose there are some things I should be bitter about. But I guess I’d have to face those problems first. Are you happy? About the marriage? Truly happy?” It was a test of trust if ethel would confide in him her truth. Though, he knew without saying her answer should she not tell him.
Get used to it… was that how all the lower class would do? Ethel really was a lucky girl, in their eyes. But what they didn't know was how similar she was to them and how she viewed them a bit more lucky than her. "I have yet to try cheap wine. I'm sure it's worth it. Though I fear that I might take a liking to it if you would teach me." She gave him a cheeky smile.
He had seemed in shock though that she had even dared to say that she wanted to get to know him. As if anyone wouldn't want to get to know a stranger that they would find intriguing. Or perhaps it was the matter that she was supposedly above him economically. Not that it would have ever mattered to her. Though the slight hint of embarrassment made Ethel laugh, "You act as if you're not an interesting fellow. My status in society does not define me nor my view of others. Hence… I would like to get to know you better, if you wouldn't mind."
Call him by name… she smiled softly. Yes, it would've been nice to call him by name instead of his last name. Though in their time it was considered an insult… perhaps even viewed as taboo for a woman to call a man who was not her husband by his name. And even then…
"Michael…" His name seemed to roll off her tongue sweetly. "Alright, if you insist, I shall call you Michael. Only when we are alone, though. If not, my father will surely have my head. "She chuckled.
Ethel leaned over, placing her hand upon his gently. "Firstly, I am sure you will find the right woman soon enough." She glanced away as she removed her hand. "Secondly, Louis is… well he is a handsome man who knows how to control the world around him. He will be a powerful man." She sighed softly.
"Me?" She laughed. "Yes, apart from household duties...which I don't do often. That's more the servants job… and if my mother would catch me, I would surely be reprimanded. Thus I occupy my time doing other things. I play the piano and Cello. And I also enjoyed the time I would have to see a film or two. Whenever I had the chance." She shifted her gaze back to him. "Maybe one day I will truly get to see one of your films… that is if we ever meet again off this train." Her eyes then shifted back down to the flask. "Could I maybe have another?" She said but instantly took the flask and took another sip. No, she still didn't like it. But this time it had been much easier to handle. "Still bitter." She laughed. "But are you a bitter person, Michael?"
The wedding. He nodded then in understanding, though maybe more out of sympathy instead. Weddings were important, for some people it was the happiest day of their life. He imagined that for most young girls it was something that you thought about until the moment presented itself. Sometimes it would remain a dormant memory in the back of your head and then when you found the right one, it would consume your every thought. Though, for others, such as Ethel, he presumed it felt more like getting a root canal. It was business, not love. Though, was it his place to say so? Not only because he was a stranger to her still, no matter how comfortable they were with one another, but because Michael hadn’t the best relationships with women. If you called it that. He liked to think of himself more so as a man that couldn’t be tamed, a creative that needed a fellow soul that he could connect with in order to remain monogamous. He was a passionate lover and kind, he listened to the women he dated and made them feel valued, but there was always something that led to him allowing such an intense burning romance to fizzle away.
It was clear that other than his looks, maybe he obtained his father’s inability to stay committed or did he fear that he wouldn’t be able to remain faithful? He told himself that he wanted to be nothing like his father, but he never gave himself a chance to even test if he would be anything like his father. He was scared.
He chuckled at the face she made, watching as Ethel took a much more sophisticated sip, though it was clear the taste wasn’t to her liking.
“You get used to it,” he said with a shrug, a few remainder laughs falling after his statement. “Guess when it’s all you can get, you learn to like it. I’ve only had wine once and probably not the expensive and good time,” he said. In fact the bottle didn’t even have a label. He just remembered the rich burgundy liquid filling his cup very half hour and eventually waking up in bed with the nastiest headache.
“You don’t have to apologize you know.” They’d already had this conversation once. Though with how kind Ethel was, he supposed that she would not be able to break this habit of hers easily. “You wanted to get to know me?” he asked in a bit of shock. He was glad for the darkness, a great shield to hide his reddened cheeks. He ducked his head then, his hair falling in his face. He was trying to work up a sentence without embarrassing himself. Her opinion had been the only one to matter. Looking up then, his hand went through the dark locks and he took another sip from the flask.
“If we are going to talk, I’m going to have to ask you to call me Michael.” He said to her. His eyes caught a glimpse of Ethel’s portrait, the moonlight shining down on her at just the right angle. She looked like a porcelain doll.” And no I am not engaged,” he said to her. “I suppose when I find the right girl I’ll take that step. I can understand though, why you’re so nervous. But I mean. . . he seems [I nice]. Is he?” His last question was more s for how he treated Ethel when they were alone or even behind closed doors. Anyone would seem nice in the presence of family.
“After the first movie I saw, it stuck with me. For some reason the short video of a dandelion swaying in the wind stuck with me. I always liked the idea of escaping and moving pictures just seemed to be my opening. Like this train – a moving picture, a story can take you anywhere. And what about you? Surely you have to have some hobby – something beyond reading and I guess household duties? Something not a bore,” he teased.
Ethel felt a bit defensive, a slight hint of fear gleamed in her eyes. Though her stare then softened as she had noticed the brunette man with dark eyes. His small and friendly wave only caused a smile to rise on her lips. Was this his way to greet everyone or was it because he wasn't sure how to approach her?
"Oh, Mr. Sullivan, you scared me." She chuckled. Though as Michael suddenly approached her, she could feel her cheeks suddenly flare up. Her eyes suddenly drifting down to the undone portion of his shirt. Ethel quickly averted her eyes and cleared her throat. It wasn't that she hadn't seen a naked male… in paintings and sculptures. But somehow her curiosity was getting the best of her. She needed to stop reading those romance books.
"Yes, well I didn't believe anyone would be either." She admitted with a soft chuckle. Though his following question had caught her off guard. Maybe she should've known he'd ask and maybe she should've prepared a proper answer. Instead, Ethel opened her mouth, but she had no excuse. She only wondered if it would be alright to express herself to a stranger. But he seemed to be a good listener. "I was only thinking about the wedding, is all. I-I am a bit nervous and all. It… it is all a big step into a new life direction." She laughed nervously. Her eyes shifted down to the flask that was offered to her. Her eyes drifted up his hand and to him. His warm and friendly gaze only brought a sense of comfort and trust. Had he known already that she was troubled and was now trying to soothe her?
Ethel grasped the flask and took a sip of the liquor. Her face instantly wrinkled at the burning bitter taste that slid in her mouth. She fought with herself not to spot it out and quickly swallowed it. That was a stronger.taste than she thought it would be… and it certainly wasn't wine. "Oh, that's horrible." She laughed as she tried to take another sip. Successfully doing so before handing back the flask. It was truly disgusting. "How can you drink that?"
She swallowed her own spit that had residue of the toxic concoction. "I think I shall keep my wine." She laughed. Her eyes then met with his. "I apologize for earlier. It was not my intention to lie, but if I allowed my family to think any further I was afraid there would be a violent commotion. And I truly wanted to allow you to enjoy the first class ride as I fear that you do not enjoy it quite often. But as you can tell it's not much different from the rest. Just a bit more spacious." She smiled before glancing back out to the starry night. "And I also wanted to get to know you. Since you seemed like an interesting character. Tell me, Mr. Sullivan, are you also engaged already? Or is your wife your filmmaking? Like, what inspired you to do that in the first place?"
Michael could tell that his acting was pretty good considering that her parents were hanging onto his every word as though it were the Gospel itself. He hadn’t any trouble in making up stories. Not to say that Michael was at all a dishonest guy, but when his poor life was filled with dread, he would often use that time to start creating his own world. A world where he had enough money to give his mother whatever she wanted. a world where they didn’t live in a shack barely able to scrounge up food for the holidays. And even a world where he did have a father that actually loved him. Growing up without a father was the one thing that he wished he could change. While he liked to say that his father didn’t mean anything to him, he hated the idea that for the most part he didn’t have one. He had to grow up to be a man on his own. Even more disappointing was knowing that his father could be seen with his other family, his real family. sometimes they’d cross paths and Michael could swear that the man would look at him, though by the time their eyes would lock, eh would briskly look away.
Something about how Ethel’s father introduced Louis made Michael think that he was trying to make it clear that ethel was not available. No matter how friendly their conversation was, there was no chance that Michael’s relationship with Ethel would go beyond a friendship and even that was a stretch. Once their train arrived in Junestown it was very likely that they would be going their separate ways. Though the town wasn’t [I that] big where Michael was sure he could see Ethel if he wanted to. Would he be allowed to though? Once she was married, there would be eyes on her and she would have to go from a young carefree girl to a married woman with responsibilities and duties, a loyalty to her husband. If she showed any sign of a faltered personality, there was going to be talk and that was never good. Especially so for the upper-class. They gossiped like crazy already, giving them even more fuel was surely a bad idea.
Normally a comment like the one Louis made would go two ways; Michael could say something that would embarrass the male or anger him. Though, he didn’t see the need to fight and certainly didn’t want to make a bad impression on Ethel. Besides, that was surely a way for him to get tossed off the train and he had only a spare amount of money that he needed for when he arrived in Junestown. He would be staying in one of the rooms at a house where many other creatives were living. It would be nice to have a place where he wasn’t the only one thinking of out of the box situations; being able to bounce ideas off one another was exciting.
“Well that would explain my wild and carnal behavior, when the mood fits of course,” Michael said with a cheeky smirk. He saw that brief look of confusion before a red tint bloomed on Mrs. Rosebush’s cheeks. His eyes briefly looking toward Ethel’s to get a smile out of her. he did notice how she seemed to shrink I the presence of her fiancé and parents. Though it wasn’t as though she felt small, more like she wanted to disappear. He could imagine how tedious the conversation could get with the lot. Where did her mind wander to during those moments he wondered?
She was quick with an explanation to defend him against the other’s statements. Again, she came to his defense for something that was not at all her fault. Seeing Ethel pop the tart into her mouth resulted in a boisterous laugh from Michael. It was a laugh of shock and humor as he hadn’t thought she would go that far.
“Well, now I definitely feel welcomed.” He said. He soon finished his meal. The trip wore on and Michael found it hard of course to have a conversation with Ethel like earlier considering he wasn’t alone. He tried to busy himself by reading. Eventually exhaustion overtook and he found himself taking a nap. When he woke up it was night and Louis and Ethel’s father were just getting ready to head to bed. Michael had plans on following them toward the sleeping quarters to retire as well, as sleeping in the booth didn’t sound all that comfortable. Though he was used to sleeping on the ground or a thin cot, the prospect of a nice comfy bed was much too appealing.
Michael ran his hands through his hair, his eyes watching as Ethel can to a stand. His eyes did wandered, despite the little he could see, but something about seeing her fully seemed to thrill him for some reason.
“Goodnight [I Miss] Rosebush.” He said to her before looking over to her mother. “And to you too Mrs. Rosebush.” Ethel’s mother only nodded. Though they had some pleasant conversation from earlier, she didn’t want him to think that he could slide his way into her circle so easily.
With Michael travelling alone, he had a whole cot to himself. Though he was separated from the Rosebush family. He lay in bed then, his mind suddenly awake and his desire to sleep completely gone. His thoughts were consumed with ethel; the way she smiled and the soft laugh she gave when things were funny, but only to her. He turned on his side then, closing his eyes and picturing her face. She was so delicate and yet her eyes were mesmerizing and able to show a variety of emotions. Michael knew that he wasn’t going to fall asleep any time soon. It was too dark to even film outside and he had already filmed a little of the train while everyone was asleep. Eventually he figured some fresh air would do him some good.
He pulled on his trousers and a white shirt, he’d only buttoned a few, allowing a small peek of his chest to be shown. He grabbed his flask and a harmonica and quietly made his way out toward the back of the train. He figured it would be the one place he could get peace and not disrupt anyone, as long as the door was shut. He saw a shadow then when peeking through the window. Though, he figured maybe it was his imagination, he didn’t think anyone would still be up. Michael had barely opened the door when he heard a familiar voice. He stepped out, giving a small wave then for her to see it was I’m and he meant no harm. He closed the door behind him, the smell of smoke from the train masked by the scent of fresh air from the woodland around them. Michael walked over toward Ethel.
“Didn’t think anyone would be out here,” he said as he took a seat beside her. “What are you doing out here anyways? Thinking?” He placed his legs over the rails then before taking a sip of brown liquor from the flask. Michael made a face, a grunt coming from his chest then. He extended the flask to ethel. Would she actually take him up on his offer? “I promise I won’t tell,” he teased as he gently nudged her shoulder with his own.
Ethel returned his kind smile. Even though she knew that this whole hoax would possibly be over by the time they’d arrive and she’d never see him again, Ethel still wanted to pretend that maybe she would be able to maybe speak to someone that was not under the list of what her parents wanted for her. Instead, Michael seemed like someone she would be able to chat with and have no intentions of wanting to know about how much her father made in a year and if there was a possibility of her convincing her father to have them work for him. It would actually be a nice change.
Ethel just watched him, waiting. At length, her calm, open silence urged more detailed revelations from him. She wanted to know more about this man who seemingly attempted very hard to fit in, and if she had not given a helping hand, a heated argument along with possible violence from her father would have taken over the now semi-peaceful moment in the cart.
Louis looked to her father who nodded in approval of Michael’s response. Ethel knew that the two had now seemed intrigued by his charm. Her mother had already been won over. But Ethel could still tell the suspicious look her father had towards Michael who had then spoken her name instead of stating her last name first. As if they’d already become friends or possibly close in a small matter of time. Her father quietly reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and removed the smoking pipe he had stored and quickly lit up a smoke. Plasing the end of the tip between his lips that hid behind the long dark mustache above his upper lip. “Yes well,” he began before puffing out halos of smoke. “The oil business is one of my many successes in life. Louis here is now engaged with my lovely young daughter. Once they are married he will take over the business and I shall be looking into making a bit of profit from plantations.”
Louis smiled and nodded. “We already have a couple of pending deals with potential clients in Junestown. Therefore, we are hoping to meet with them and possibly convince them to make business with us. I already have a couple of ideas which could make that happen.”
“And that is why you are the perfect man for my daughter.” Her father said with pride in his voice. Though Ethel’s eyes couldn’t help but flicker a hint of disgust. Her eyes then shifted back to Michael who had begun to eat. Mannerless, she could tell her parents stared with slight disgust. Louis only then grabbed a cloth napkin from the cart and held it out to Michael.
“Were you brought up by animals, by any chance?” Louis mocked slightly.
Ethel took a deep and steady breath. “I have read in some books that in some other countries it is a custom to eat with your hands because it makes the food taste better, thus you can enjoy it better. Hence, India.” Her eyes shifted to Louis, his brow raised at her with suspicion. “It is actually something quite common. Like how in Asia they eat with sticks.”
“Oh?” her mother then chuckled. “Well I guess it would be rude to judge you for your custom. Our apologies.” Even though her mother had believed her easily, her father still had his eyes narrowed at Michael. Ethel quickly grabbed a tart and slipped it into her mouth in one bite.
“Ethel!” her mother spoke baffled by the rude manners. However, Ethel quickly chewed her tart and smiled after swallowing it.
“I am only trying to make him feel at home, mother.” Ethel said softly. Her mother shaking her head with disapproval. Ethel then took notice of Louis who took a tart and did the same.
Her mother gasped with horror in her eyes. “Mr. Perkins!”
“While in Rome.” Louis said with his mouth nearly full. Her father, who had clearly looked a bit repugnant, sat up straight and cleared his throat.
“Seems to me that we have either traveled the world in seconds or have truly joined the circus.”
Ethel felt a tingle in her lips, she wanted to smile and laugh at how insulted her father had felt. But the truth was that she was enjoying this moment and only wondered if she could continue this whole charade without the possible consequences. It was just something that she would only have to sit patiently and wait for to find out her answer.
As the night began to descend, Ethel had chosen to ignore the dull chat between her father and Louis who spoke about nothing else but business and future plans for the company. Her mother constantly reminded her about how she would have to make sure to have a nice nanny and create the perfect house and nursery for her future grandchildren. All while they clearly ignored Michael for the rest of the evening. But as soon as her mother began to doze off, Ethel noticed her father getting up and tapping her mother’s shoulder. “It is late. Why don’t you both head to bed and rest for the night? Louis and I shall do the same.” Her father said softly. Her mother nodded with a yawn and left.
Ethel followed behind her mother towards the sleeping car, her eyes drifted to Michael for a moment, giving him a kind smile. “Goodnight, Mr. Sullivan.” With that she entered the cart. Her eyes fell upon her mother who stared at her as she began to change into her sleeping gown. “Yes, mother?”
“You seem to be enticed by that young man. Is there something I am missing?”
“No mother. I simply find him strange, that is all.” Her mother gave her a stern look.
“Yes, he is very [i strange]. But nevertheless, you should be careful. Don’t want Mr. Perkins getting all jealous and getting the wrong impression, are we?”
Ethel shook her head as her hands reached up and popped the buttons from her shirt and slid it off. Changing into her own long white nightgown. She then proceeded to slip into the bed, next to her mother. Her mother then placed a hand upon her cheek and smiled softly. “Oh my dearest Ethel, I do hope that one day you will truly see how lucky you are. You’re beautiful and intelligent. And that man you are about to marry can give you the world. What more can you ask for?”
And that was the question that haunted her every single day. What else could she ask for? She was well kept, didn’t have to beg for anything. She had a luxurious lifestyle and had little to nothing to truly do in her life apart from keeping up her image. But...was that really what she wanted? To be another beautiful face amongst the rich? Ethel surely didn’t want to live a life full of unfulfillment and unaccomplished dreams. Lost hopes and bitter regrets. Yet somehow she had still felt trapped in the loop, the never ending cycle that her mother and her grandmother lived. Married off at a young age, birthing children and becoming the wife every powerful man wanted; beautiful, quiet and obedient.
As time had suddenly slipped by, the sound of quiet snores caught her attention. Ethel had then noticed that her mother had been sound asleep, and her father and fianceé, who slept on the bed across from them, had finally entered their deep slumber. Restless, Ethel tossed and turned until she could not take it anymore. Slipping over her sleeping mother, Ethel sneaked out of the car and quietly made her way through the other carts. Her eyes fell upon the rest of the sleeping passengers, none who had seemed to be awake at this hour. She took the chance and made her way to the end of the train where the railing stopped anyone from truly falling off the back of the train. The cart which held the countless of luggages and bags of the passengers.
Ethel took the moment to pull up her nightgown and sit by the railing. Dangling her legs between the iron bars and waved them freely through the wind as she held onto the iron bars. Her eyes then glanced up at the night sky. The half moon lighting up the trail of smoke that was left behind by the train. A moment of silence and peace like this was all she needed. Taking a breath of fresh air to calm the nerves. Though her thoughts had suddenly been interrupted by the sound of something behind her. Ethel then looked behind her instantly. “Who’s there?”
"I promise, as soon as we arrive and I’m settle, I will come for you.” Michaels aid with a small smile. He wondered how true he could stay to his word. Though the kindness her mother offered him would certainly depend on whether he was able to keep up this charade. Surely by the time they reached Junestown or even then, if she were to ask about him, their little game of make believe would be made evident. For now though, if it maintained some sense of peace and assured that he would have a chance to interact with Ethel, Michael had no qualms about playing this game.
He noticeably shifted a bit when he noticed the male sit beside Ethel. Michael had turned his attention to a worn leather notebook to which he often journaled or wrote ideas, anything to distract him from who he presumed to be Ethel’s fiancé. Her father seemed to be the perfect fit for her mother, as he shared the same sentiments toward his being in the car. It was wrong of Michael to become so aggravated or more so annoyed at the sound of Lou’s’ voice. Other than Ethel, he had been the only one who had been truly kind toward him. He offered a small smile.
“Right, I’m sure I’ll find my leading lady.” He said. It seemed the conversation had steered in a nice way and also in his favor. Though he could sense that Ethel’s father wasn’t really too happy with his presence, no one could bear the awkwardness of silence and making conversation would surely provide for a more pleasant ride.
Though, Michael was unsure what to talk about. Should he lie about everything regarding his life? Though he hadn’t any riches or a fancy hoe he left behind, there was nothing that Michael would be ashamed of when it came to his life. And yet he was lying about being this director? One quick glance at Ethel and it made sense. How else would he deserving of her attention?
“I make short films about daily life as well. I try not to limit myself; there’s more to life than beauty and money, the simplest things can truly blow you away.” He watched the look that her parents shared at his comment, not surprised to find that they weren’t all on the same page. “Ethel mentioned something about going into the oil business? I hear that’s pretty big in Junestown. Any plans on when you’ll have the wedding?”
Michael had started to prepare his meal, adding a little butter and honey to his oats and pepper to his eggs. He certainly didn’t eat like a wealthy person, ignoring use of utensils and instead using his bread as a means of getting the food in his mouth.
Well if his mother had truly raised him the way he stated to have been raised, he wouldn’t be much of a hassle for her mother. Be a much less of a headache for her to deal with when her mother would decide to make a mess of things. Though Ethel wouldn’t have responded the way he did, she couldn’t help but have stifled a giggle as soon as he sat up right trying to give emphasis on his words. He truly was an interesting character. She only wondered for how long he would be able to put up with this charade. Especially now that she had definitely lied to her mother in order for him to deem himself worthy in the eyes of her mother. Ethel only hoped that he would play along with her little white lie to save himself from truly being booted from the train.
And thankfully he had played along with it. Ethel looked over at him as he spoke of romance in Junestown. As if such a thing even existed nowadays. Romance existed in novels, even on the screen and in art. Maybe in music. But when it came to real life, at least for the wealthy, romance was beyond anyone’s grasp. Men took the likings to bloating about their success and money while young women were married off to the highest bidder. Luckily Ethel had been, in a sense, sold to the highest bidder who hadn’t seemed to give her much trouble. He was handsome, maybe not to her own taste, but he was also kind. At least that’s what she thought of him.
He cleared his throat and gave a smile. “Right, I guess I was trying to keep a low profile,” he suggested and hoped his modesty would come off as genuine and also as attractive. Ethel didn’t seem like the kind of girl who liked those who bragged so boldly about their accomplishments. Ethel’s eyes were caught by Michael’s. A slight hue of red colored her cheeks. He wasn’t talking about her, was he? No, he must’ve been speaking about another girl. Unless he was just merely trying to make a conversation with her mother in a way that would delight her.
“I would love to see your work, Mr. Sullivan.” Ethel’s lips curled into a sweet smile.
Her mother’s eyes simply fascinate. “Yes, yes! Of course, that would be marvelous of you! Such a generous young man.”
Ethel’s eyes then glanced over at her father and Louis who instantly walked in after the waiter. Louis instantly took a seat beside Ethel as soon as her mother had moved over to her father’s side. Her father looked at Michael with a sour look. “So this is the culprit behind our privacy being invaded?”
“And with much luck my dear,” her mother instantly patted his hand and smiled brightly, “This young man here is a filmmaker. Quite famous back in Davenport. He’s looking for a nice young star. Apparently looking for inspiration from what I gather. Romantic movies.” Her mother swooned.
“Oh, I’m sure you will find inspiration in Junestown. There are many beautiful young maidens there.” Louis spoke with a small chuckle.
Her father smirked. His eyes shifted back to Michael. “Will you also be heading into Junestown?” His eyes shifted back to Ethel who’s eyes stole a small glance at Michael. Her father narrowed his eyes. “Romance is the only type of movies that you film?” His eyes drifted back to Michael.
Michael was not going to let this woman disrupt his trip, considering that if she had to deal with him then he would have to also deal with her nasty attitude which he didn’t seem to find any better as far as company. That said, he wasn’t deaf and so her comments went unnoticed. Had his mother not taught him any better, Michael had a few choice words that he knew was sure to leave the women shrieking out of the car completely. He also wanted to make a good impression on Ethel who was trying her hardest to stick up for him without seeming defiant. He figured this was something that she was used to. It did make Michael curious as to who her husband was. Many women of her caliber were often young and married off to men who were sometimes twice their age. It made him shudder and Michael was sure to keep an eye out when he arrived as he presumed they were travelling together according to Ethel’s account.
“Lady, my mother never raised me to touch what doesn’t belong to me.” He said. Though, Michael did sit up a bit taller to give somewhat of a more dignified look to himself. He could act the part of someone who [I deserved]] to have this seat; couldn’t he? Michael’s lips had parted slightly almost to interrupt Ethel, though by the look on her mother’s face it seemed she had said the right thing. The only problem was it wasn’t true. Michael had a few films made, but none that would deem him successful. Hell, no one knew who he was at all. Though, did she need to know that or her mother? After all, maybe with him being seen as this big time director it would allow him a bit more access into talking to Ethel.
He cleared his throat and gave a smile. “Right, I guess I was trying to keep a low profile,” he suggested and hoped his modesty would come off as genuine and also as attractive. Ethel didn’t seem like the kind of girl who liked those who bragged so boldly about their accomplishments.
“Yes a movie, a romance if you will within the city of Junestown. I’m expecting ill find my beautiful star out here.” He said, his eyes briefly falling on Ethel. “Maybe if I see you around, you can be the first to view it.”
Soon a man with a cart was coming through with their breakfasts, two other men following behind him and grumbling he move as they wanted to take their seats.
[I Ah, so I finally get to see her mystery man], he thought.
He was right. Daphne never dealt with anything far beyond becoming a suitable wife for the man she would marry by the end of Fall. A man about fifteen years older than she. and then she'd move to New York to prosper her life with the man whose family also had a coal mining industry. And like Ethel, Daphne didn't seem to truly care for the man. Though unlike Ethel, Daphne's interests had been more of the large sums of funds that he would inherit as soon as his father would pass.
At least Louis was only about ten years older than herself. Her being Nineteen and soon to be twenty in late September. A fall child as her mother would call her. She wasn't sure why her parents would allow such a marriage, but there it was.
At least Michael seemed to be excited and happy about the trip. An excitement that seemed to be rather contagious since it had made Ethel smile unconsciously. And to be interested in the filming industry seemed quite interesting. Moving pictures had become quite popular and something Ethel had always enjoyed to watch from time to time. Though as soon as Michael spoke about Lois Ethel's smile had faded. It wasn't that… No, Ethel truly didn't like Louis. He was more into business and money. Ethel's passions relied on art and writing.
Her eyes drifted to her mother who walked in with a huff.
Anger displayed on her reddish cheeks while she sat beside her. Her nose was high up, looking down at Michael with a scowl. "Honestly, the service of this train is quite negligent. They refused to change this… whatever he is to another cart. Instead they said that they will compensate your father well. But I do not want their money, I just want him out."
Ethel swallowed hard. She dared not look away from her mother and instead nodded and looked out the window. "I am sorry, mother." She spoke in a hushed tone.
Though her mother directed her attention to the young man. "All I ask is for you to keep your distance from us and refrain from speaking or touching anything that is ours. Then we shall get along greatly. Are we clear?"
Ethel flanced at Michael's reflection in the mirror. "I do not think he will bother us, mother. Besides, he is in the filming industry. You know, the moving pictures and such? He came all the way from Davenport to continue his quite successful carrier."
Her mother's eyes then changed to a curious look. "Oh? Really?" Her eyes then glanced to Michael." Well why didn't you say so? What sort of inspiration are you looking g for now all the way out here? A new movie?"
Michael did feel a twinge of sadness as he thought about his mother. This would be the first time in his life he was away from her and it was an odd feeling, no matter him being twenty-five. In some ways, he could accept the title of being a mamma’s boy. Though, he was excited what this new chapter in his life would bring. He was already finding that there were great pleasantries along the way, such as meeting Miss Rosebush herself. Michael looked down at their hands, hers soft and smooth. Being slightly closer to her he got a hint of a floral scent from her. She was certainly right that he had no complaints on this mistake.
“Very interesting.” He had commented. He was still holding her hand at that point and yet didn’t want to comment on it.
Hearing who her father was had made him a little nervous and Michael now could make even more sense as to why her mother acted the way she did. His [I kind] wasn’t really the type of person that the rich would at all be in the company of. And considering Ethel’s friend Daphne, he suspected that she definitely was not usually in the company of someone from his class unless they were a server. “Sorry, I guess I got distracted.” Michael apologized as he too pulled his hand back. He had noticed the ring on her finger then and it made his cheeks burn red. He was glad whoever her fiancé was had not been in the car with them. Michael was sure that would be a definite way to get him kicked off the train, especially considering how upset his presence had already made her mother.
“Davenport is a lovely place, I suppose if you love farm land and animals. Though, I guess your friend Daphne wouldn’t really deal with hat.” Mining companies and oil companies were quickly becoming popular, tearing up the beautiful earth for riches galore. You were extremely fortunate to come across rich land and that would forever remain in the family. Michael suspected that her fiancé had to also be included in such industry which would mean Ethel and him would be a very powerful couple.
He noticed the subtle hint of sadness in her voice. Though Michael wondered if he was imagining it. He had been very excited to move to Colorado, hell, he imagined everyone was excited to move to Junestown.
“I’m heading to Junestown to meet up with a couple of friends. I’m hoping to become a filmmaker,” Michael said. She was beautiful especially and he wished that he could take a quick shot of her. of course, Michael didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. Would that be off for him just meeting her?
“I suppose you and your fiancé will be starting a new life out there?” He hadn’t meant to pry or to come off rude, which is why he said such statement with a smile. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised a lovely young missus as yourself not to already caught the interest of a well off man.” He wondered then what her fiancé was like exactly. Was he the nice and affectionate type to which she loved dearly? Or was it another marriage slapped together like two puzzle pieces from two different boxes that coincidentally fit together and yet just didn’t match?
Their conversation was cut short then as Ethel’s mother walked in with a not so pleased look on her face. It seemed, there was nothing she could do to get Michael out of the way. He tried not to hide his smile of satisfaction, after all, he was enjoying his view.
He was right. It hadn't been something that she needed to apologize for. However, that hadn't meant that she couldn't try and make peace with a stranger after her mother's rudeness. After all, she knew her mother's intentions were ill for those who she thought to be beneath her. It had always been that way and Ethel doubted that her mother would ever change. It was just how she had been brought up. And in turn, how she had raised Ethel. But unfortunately for her mother, Ethel didn't quite take on that type of personality. And Ethel hoped that she'd never change herself unless it was for the better.
As the train began to move steadily, Ethel listened intently to the male who spoke about his mother. A lovely woman no doubt. For she had purchased a luxurious ride for her son. Either the woman truly loved her son or simply wished him to have a chance at making himself popular amongst the wealthy. A rare chance at making a name for himself. Now that was a modest show of love.
"I think it was a nice mistake. Makes the ride a little less boring for you, wouldn't you think? A little more interesting." She gave him a warm smile before leaning forward. Ethel placed her hand in his. Feeling the rough skin that contrasted her soft and delicate hand. As she had suspected, he must've been a hard worker.
"Ethel Rosebush. And yes, before you ask, my father is Harry Rosebush. Owner of the Rosebush Oil drilling company. " She replied with a slight hint of shame in her voice. "I think you mentioned that you are from Davenport, am I correct? My friend Daphne Anderson is from there. Or at least her father's mining company is there. She was born elsewhere. It's a nice place, lots of open fields." Though Ethel had only really visited once before to see her friend, Daphne, but she hadn't spent more than a day there before she had returned home at her father's wishes.
Ethel then realized that she had still been holding his hand. A slight blush formed on her cheeks as she slipped her hand from his and placed it back upon her lap. "Are you also traveling to Junestown, Colorado? Or is this a simple step towards another destination?" Her eyes shifted to the window, watching the trees go by. "I myself have never traveled to Colorado before. But my family say that it's quite beautiful there." Not that it would really matter to her since she didn't really want to be there for the rest of her life. She would still find a way to make herself happy. Mostly through writing stories and reading. It was her own mental getaway.
"Any real reason for you to be traveling so far away from your hometown?"
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