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A broken spirit?

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Cassiopeia
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A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Sat May 27, 2017 10:17 am

Image The Royal Hotel on the Isle of Wight, June 1883 Lord Bartholomew of Leicester arrived at the Royal Hotel on June 7th of 1883. It was a bright and warm day and his coach was gleaming in the sun. The coachman jumped from his place and opened the right passenger door with a deep bow. Out of the carriage the tall and fairly handsome figure of the lord in an enormously expensive tail coat stepped out into the fresh air. His face was clenched to his usual, somewhat scary grimace, that looked like he was about to shout at the next best person he would see. He turned around and held his hand out into the dark of the carriage, where it was elegantly taken by the slender, gloved hand of a woman. And out of the carriage came the stunning, almost breathtakingly beautiful young fiancée of the rich nobleman. Her face looked almost like a mask, not giving any hint as to what her thoughts were about. Lord Bartholomew's face now wore an unpleasant smile. It was not a sign of true love or something even distantly similar to that. It was simply the pleasure he got from the envious looks, that appeared on the faces of all the other attendants. Which in that case meant all the employees of the Royal Hotel.
Lord Bartholomew demanded that they all came out to greet the pleasured guest of 35 years. Every year, with the inevitability of the monsoon in India, the lord and, when they were still alive, also his parents came to haunt this quiet place. And so it happened, that the freshly hired young waiter stood on the stairs to watch, as the mesmerizing young woman and the mean looking gentleman on her side entered the hotel.
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Sun May 28, 2017 4:00 am

The sunrise was quite a thing to behold, but there was nothing like a sunrise in the isle of Wight. The distant horizon slowly blossomed into a symphony of vibrant hues. Violet and orange and red and yellow swatches of color, painting the sky in beautiful strokes. The usually grey English Channel was painted in these same vibrant colors, giving the whole vista a truly majestic look. Thomas sat on a hill by the beach taking all this in; it was one of the few things that he enjoyed about working at the Royal Hotel. Thomas was wearing nothing more than a pair of wool pants and a canvas shirt, it was cold but he enjoyed the cool, quiet morning. These couple of hours before work began were the only time he could just think and be himself. No hotel manager biting at his heels, no rich lord demanding more wine, and best of all, no hotel gossip.

Lord knows the ladies from the kitchen and the maids could go on for days about the most mind numbing nonsense, from who was with who, to which maid was sleeping with the guests. Thomas was made to help the kitchen staff on slow days, mostly cleaning and prepping, but those where the times gossip would flow like the river Thames. Thomas missed London, from time to time he would get homesick; missing its lively streets, its people, and its cloudy skies, but he had to leave. Work was hard to come by and when he did find a job, the pay was mediocre. Then his mother’s brother, Uncle James, told him of a position here at the Royal Hotel, a position that would pay him good money. Thomas could send some money back to his mother and sisters, save a little for himself, maybe join the military in a few years.

Thomas sighed, being the man of the house was lonely; he was miles from home in a place filled with the elites of society and he had to adhere to a rather strict code of conduct in regards to the way he acted around guests and senior staff. Though during the night, after work, it got quite fun. There was a tavern near the worker lodgings where most of the staff went, the drinks were good and the girls were plenty. Thomas pulled out a cigarette and lit it, taking a long, slow drag as he sat on the grassy hill, taking in this last peaceful moment before he had to go back to his room and change into his waiter clothes, apparently some mighty Lord was coming in today and the place had been in an excited desperation to get everything ready for the past few days.

After getting back home, changing, and eating some eggs and toast Thomas made his way towards the Royal Hotel. His suit was form fitting and freshly washed and pressed, his dark hair slicked back and his light brown eyes filled with that quiet longing to go back to bed and not work. The sun was already high in the sky, a few clouds hanging around the distant horizon. As Thomas walked up the stairs a few of hotel staff rushed past him, all of them talking quickly, excitedly. Thomas stopped for a second and raised an eyebrow; in all his time here he had never seen the staff act in such a way for a guest.

“must be important, I guess,” Thomas said to himself under his breath as he walked up the last flight of stairs that led to the Hotel’s front court yard.

Quite a few people had already gathered around the recently arrived stage coach and Thomas had arrived right when Lord Bartholomew was stepping out of the coach, his powerful frame demanding the attention of all those around. The lord looked around and Thomas caught a glimpse of the man’s face. Thomas felt a shudder go down his spine, there was something there, that look in his eyes that Thomas did not like. Who knows how long they would stay here, but Thomas would be sure to give him and his company a wide berth. Or so he thought, because a few moments later he caught a delicate gloved hand come out of the stage coach door, followed by what Thomas could only describe as an angelic being of divine nature. The young woman stepped out and stood next to her fiancé, her face lacking any expression but Thomas still thought her beautiful.

“Hey, who is that?” Thomas asked his friend Edgar, another waiter that was making his way up the stairs as well.

“That, young Thomas, is the young fiancé of one Lord Bartholomew, honored guest of the Royal Hotel, the place that decided to employ a low born such as yourself, so don’t stare too hard if you want to keep your job,” Edgar said in a joking manner, but not really as he walked past Thomas.

Thomas simply gave Edgar a dirty look and went back to looking at the young woman as she was led towards the Hotel’s entrance. Thomas just stood there as everyone followed inside.

“I…I have to at least talk to her, just once, just to see what type of person she is,” Thomas told himself, not realizing he was already three minutes late for work.
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Sun May 28, 2017 5:33 am

The feeling of fresh air made Elizabeth shudder a bit. She had been sitting through the journey silently and motionlessly for the whole 5 hour ride of their last stage. Before that they had been guests at one of her fiancée's friend's castle. Elizabeth winced imperceptibly. The last three days had been especially hard for her, sitting through all the dinners, all the teas and all the hunts, without being spoken to more than a few superficial questions as to how the wedding preparations were coming ahead. And at when the sun set down behind the dark woods, her fiancée was only getting started. Elizabeth stroke over her right side absentmindedly. Under the flowing cloth of her summer dress, a few ugly bruises looked like black and blue drops of paint on a new canvas. The staff behind her was whispering something Elizabeth was not willed to understand. She was more than used to it. Wherever they went, she seemed to be the single most interesting thing happening in the lives of the servants surrounding her. Oh how great it would be to go somewhere, where noone knew her name, where her fiancée would be unable to reach her. Where she could be something besides the daytime eyecandy and nighttime punching bag of the cruel lord. But Elizabeth stopped her mind from going any further. It was too hurtful, to think about anything else but irrelevant things, like how beautiful the entrance hall was.

The hotel owner himself was showing the lord to his suite. Of course it was the closest door to their right. His lordship was more than unwilling to walk up the stairs, or even down the hall for that matter. Elizabeth has heard rumours of one of the wives of her fiancée's friends, that the suite was built on the demand of Bartholomew's parents, but she didn't take it seriously. Until now. It was simply breathtaking. "We hope to make this vacation as pleasant as possible, for our most treasured guests." The hotel owner bowed deeply, before backing out of the door and closing it behind them discreetly. The room they were standing in was a sort of parlour, with armchairs with white silk cushions and a dark wooded suite of furniture. Left of was the bedroom, where another door led to the luxurious bathroom and to her right was a private library. Of course their luggage had already been sent ahead and packed out into the wardrobes. But Elizabeth's mind was completely occupied by the huge glass windows. The view was exquisite. Outside, the white horses were dancing on the reflecting water and directly in front of the window, the hotel garden stood in full blossom. It was almost touching her, but only almost. She was too hollowed out to feel something else than appreciation for this stunning sight.

"I am so sorry, my love, but I have a meeting with a business friend to attend." His voice was oozing of sarcasm and his grip around her arm was getting painfully tight. Elizabeth looked away from him, she stopped trying to stop him from hurting her by fleeing a long time ago. "But be a treasure and order us some champagne. I intend to celebrate the beginning of our vacation." She nodded quickly and plainly. "Are you not going to kiss your love goodbye?" Now his voice was filled with that repellent pleasure he got of mistreating her. Elizabeth turned and pressed her lips on his. There was nothing like love or any feeling but hate in this kiss at all. To her relief he grinned sadistically and then turned around, leaving her alone in the mesmerizing room.

She took a deep breath and decided that she would order one bottle of champagne and some harder alcohol for her now. Next to the door she found a handle, which would make a bell down at the reception ring, where a waiter would be sent over to comply to her wishes in a matter of minutes. All she had to do now, was wait on who would come through the door.

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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Tue May 30, 2017 3:02 am

Thomas, in a failing attempt to keep his manager, Mr. Tully, from going into one of his big speeches about the individual’s personal loyalty to Queen and country, usually given to young waiters that tended to be late for work, had been cornered and pinned down next to one of the tables used by the cooks to prep food. Unable to escape without a good deal of shoving and liberal use of his elbows, Thomas was forced to stand there and listen.

“Now, Mr. Drake,” Mr. Tully began in that big, boisterous voice of his,” is a man nothing more than a servant to his Queen? To his country? To his fellow man, good sir?” Mr. Tully was now arching over Thomas, the large man’s figure quite imposing from such a… familiar distance.

“Most certainly, Mr. Tully, most certainly, I couldn’t agree more with you, now, if you would allow me- “Thomas began.

“Then, my boy, why most you fail your Queen, your country, and me, Mr. Drake, your fellow man with such blatant disregard for the rules and practices of the Royal Hotel, hmm?” Mr. Tully said, his voice rising perfectly with every word spoken until the portly man was practically shaking by the end of his tirade with righteous indignation.

“Now, Mr. Tully, I have no intention of letting any of you down, especially the Royal Hotel after being kind enough to take me off the streets,” Thomas had a home with his mother and sisters back in London, but Mr. Tully loved to see himself and by extension the Royal Hotel as an institution that could turn a street urchin into a man of worth with Mr. Tully’s guiding hand.

Thomas was playing right into Mr. Tully’s ego.

“I had every intention of arriving here on time, in fact, I planned to arrive half an hour earlier, but I was waylaid by the arrival of one Mr. Bartholomew and his, uh,” Thomas wanted to say absolutely gorgeous, marvelous young fiancé, but he knew better than to speak so candidly in this den of the gossip queens,” sister, I think she was, I was simply making myself available to anything they could possibly need, good sir.”

Thomas hoped that was enough to satisfy Mr. Tully’s demand for his employees to go above and beyond the call of duty.

“Sister, Mr. Drake? Are you simple boy? That is Lord Bartholomew promised! His fiancé! And I must demand you never forget it for him and his family are cherished guests of the Royal Hotel and I will be damned if they will not be respected by my staff while they stay here. Only the best for Lord Bartholomew and his party, you hear me, Mr. Drake? And for bloody hell don’t call him Mister, his proper god given title is Lord!” Mr. Tully said rather sternly and with a touch of pride, whether that pride was for Lord Bartholomew being here or for Mr. Tully’s sense of duty, Thomas did not know and was not about to ask.

“Certainly, Mr. Tully, your words shall be forever etched into the very walls of my mind, never to be forgotten, now, if you will allow me, I must go check in with Reception and see if anyone needs me, as always, your words are both inspiring and educational, good sir, I shall most certainly reflect upon them!” Thomas said all of this as he wiggled out from under Mr. Tully’s imposing figure and quickly dashed up the stair leading from the white walls of the kitchen to the reception desk.

“Having a hard time down there, young Thomas?” Mrs. Woods said, a respected woman of sixty-three who ran the Reception desk and had christened Thomas with “young Thomas” a nickname he could not shake off.

“No, no, simply some inspirational words from Mr. Tully as he hovered over me with the promise of crushing me with his girth if I didn’t say something pleasing for his ears,” Thomas said, exasperated, but slowly cooling down.

“So, par for the course, then,” Mrs. Woods said without looking up from whatever she was doing at her desk.

Thomas was about to say something else, regarding Mr. Tully’s breath, but one of the many bells that signaled a guest requiring the services of the staff rang. It was a gentle ringing, rather pleasing, but Mrs. Woods, with the speed and grace of a violent sea storm got up from her chair and quickly placed her hand over the bell, silencing it.

“Can’t stand the damn things, not in the morning, dear,” Mrs. Woods said with a gentle smile, Thomas simply raised an eyebrow and gave Mrs. Woods an awkward smile.

“Certainly, Mrs. Woods, now where did that come from so I may go and see what our distinguished guests require.”

Now it was Mrs. Woods turn to raise an eyebrow at Thomas, she could see through Thomas’ sarcasm.

“Oh dear, it appears to be coming from Lord Bartholomew’s room, so be a good lad and go see what you can help them with, and remember, no attitude, Thomas,” Mrs. Woods said, rather seriously considering she didn’t call him young.

“O-Of course, I’ll be right over there,” Thomas gulped, he wanted to see Lord Bartholomew’s fiancé again, to see her eyes, to see her smile, but he wasn’t expecting it to be so soon and he would have to deal with the good Lord, who looked like a proper arse.

‘Look, lad, you don’t have a chance with her, not in a million years, she’s a lady of class and good taste, well, maybe not good taste since she’s with that lordly arse, so just go in there, be all smiles and take down their order and get the hell out of there, maybe just a quick hello to the lady and then I’m out of there,’ Thomas thought to himself.

This was a risk worth taking, he told himself, check what type of woman she was so he could stop thinking about her or else the length of the Lord’s stay would be a personal hell to him, seeing the young wife all over that blasted Lord!

‘Calm yourself, Thomas, stop letting your imagination get the better of you!’

Thomas walked toward the Hotel’s grand lobby and made his way to the Lord’s room on the first floor, his left hand slightly shaking until he knocked on the thick wooden door three times. Thomas noticed the handle moving and prepared himself.

“Lord Bartholomew, I am Thomas and I am here for anything that you might require,” Thomas said with a small bow – it was a rather small bow, it was his own way of rebelling – before bringing his face and eyes back up and noticing the young woman that had captured his heart and imagination standing before him, those beautiful eyes staring at him inquisitively.

“Oh shite.”
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Tue May 30, 2017 4:30 am

While waiting for a response to her ringing, Elizabeth wandered over into the library. It was a truly imposing room. The shelves were a radiant reddish brown and went from the floor up to the ceiling, which was about 4 meters, only being interrupted by big windows. With the room being located in one of the small towers the hotel had, the room was round and had an almost 360 degree view out into the big hotel garden. Of course nobody could sneak a look inside, as the windows were in about 3 meters height. In the middle of the room stood four comfortable looking wing chairs and a grand table of the same wood as the shelves. The carpet was a bordeaux red, which made the wood look even brighter. All in all it was a gorgeous room and Elizabeth decided, that if she should find any time besides being shown and then pushed around, she would read some of the books here. She had always loved literature, but as the daughter of poor farmers, she didn't really have the time or the money to read as much as she wanted to. Her mind was wandering off again and she decided that she would go and take a look at the bedroom next, while thinking about what kind of alcohol the lord would not smell in her breath after she drank it.

When she had made her way back from the library into the parlour, she heard three knocks on the door. It was sounding a bit off, like the person on the other side was unwilling to really get in there. On the other hand, how could she resent anybody for not wanting to spend time with the lord?
Especially an employee, since her fiancé was not really known for being a nice and easy to please guest.

So she slightly shrugged and went over to open the door. The handle was easily pushed down and the well oiled hinge flung open without the tiniest squeak. In front of her, a young and handsome waiter had his head already on the way down. Or at least Elizabeth thought that he was handsome, as she has had maybe 3 seconds to take a look at him, before he bowed down in front of her. She noticed that it wasn't as deep of a bow, as the hotel owner's. Maybe he didn't know the proper etiquette? His accent sounded like Londoner underclass, when he uttered “Lord Bartholomew, I am Thomas and I am here for anything that you might require."

He straightened up again and Elizabeth went into shock for a split second. There was something in his eyes, she couldn't put her finger on it, but it touched something deep, deep down in her. Dangerously down, for her personal taste. She wasn't used to feelings anymore, so it made her freeze for a moment. The man in front of her was staring directly into her almost black eyes. Although it felt more like he was looking into her soul.

When he realized his mistake, he blurted a quick "Oh shite." She just had to smile at that. Never had she seen anything cuter in her life, than this, slightly smug, but nevertheless gorgeous man, who was just completely baffled by her 'not-her-fiancé-being-ness'. It had been so long since she had last heard a sincere and unplanned word from anybody. Most of the stuff she got were fake compliments or polite, but disinterested questions after her wellbeing.

The smile was rolling over her like the waves broke over the sunny beach outside. Elizabeth couldn't remember her last, honest smile, it must have been at least three months ago. She couldn't stop it from appearing on her face, but she was quick-thinking enough to wipe it away. Hopefully before the other noticed it.

She stepped aside, opening the passage for the waiter "Well do come in, Thomas. I hope you can help me, even though I am not quite the man his lordship is." There was a deep bitterness in her voice, oh how glad she was, that she was the complete opposite of this monster.

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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Tue May 30, 2017 7:22 am

Shite. Shit. Shit.

‘What the bloody hell did you just do, Mr. Drake?!’

Thomas could hear Mr. Tully yelling at him, hell, he almost turned around and started apologizing before he noticed the voice was his own subconscious. Thomas was just standing there, thinking of a dozen different ways he could possibly fix this, though most of those plans ended with Mr. Tully or Lord Bartholomew dragging him off the premises. That wouldn’t do, that wouldn’t do at all, his poor uncle, he would bring shame upon the poor bastard, and his mother and sis-

She smiled, Thomas saw it, for a second she had smiled! He had been so engulfed in his own mind that he hadn’t paid any attention to her smiling. Dear lord she was beautiful, her eyes still had that spark of joy after she had erased the smile from her face, Thomas found he was lost in their crystal clear waters, he tried to look away but couldn’t. There was a darkness here, a profound melancholy dancing about her eyes, but there was light and beauty too, dancing right alongside. A warmth Thomas hadn’t felt since his early days in school when Ana Williams shared her chocolate bar with him instead of his rival James, who was better off and could actually afford a chocolate bar a week. One of those chocolate bars James gave to Ana, so he wasn’t at all pleased when she broke off a piece for Thomas.

That day ended with both boys bleeding from the nose and with a few bruises, but Thomas never forgot that feeling. Thomas almost shook his head to try and clear his mind now that that memory had come crashing into his consciousness at this most inopportune moment. The young lady didn’t appear to notice, simply steeping aside and letting Thomas in.

"Well do come in, Thomas. I hope you can help me, even though I am not quite the man his lordship is."

“Of course, Ma’am,” Thomas had gained control of his senses once again and stepped through the door, a little worried the good Lord would step out from some corner and demand just what the hell he was doing inside his room.

Thomas was surprised just how beautiful the room was, it certainly was one of the biggest the Royal Hotel had to offer. The aged wood, the expensive paintings, the perfectly designed upholstery, it was beyond anything Thomas had ever seen and he was having trouble looking at it since all he wanted to look at was the beautiful fiancé of the Lord. While Thomas was looking around he got a sense that the Lord was not in the room, he was somewhere else, perhaps not even on the Hotel grounds.

Was Thomas really alone with the young miss? This could be bad, especially if the Lord was to walk in here and see him standing around eyeing his bride to be. Usually the women were sent in when there was only a lady in the room, but no one had noticed and the young miss didn’t really appear to care. Thomas should have excused himself and stepped out of the room but he couldn’t bring himself to do it, something was keeping him there, was it the way she smiled? Or perhaps the way she said his name? No, he wouldn’t leave until he at least found out her name.

“Is there anything I can help you with, Mrs. Bartholomew?” She wasn’t his wife yet, Thomas thought, she might correct him or she might be pleased.

Pleased at the sound of being called Mrs. Bartholomew, at the idea of marrying such a man of status and wealth. Perhaps she would be displeased at his familiarity and slap him, which, in Thomas was being frank, he was interested in seeing if only to see her animated.

‘Thomas, you are going to bring about your own destruction, my boy.’
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Tue May 30, 2017 8:14 am

The young man seemed puzzled by her reaction, but she could stop herself from smiling again. She was not going to be so foolish again showing any emotion at all could have painful consequences. Surely for her. But absolutely certainly for him.

Elizabeth caught herself in a déjà-vu. One day she and the lord were out in the spacious parks around his castle in Leicester. It had been a day early in their engagement, though he was already beating her, she kept telling herself that he loved her back then, so she was not as dead inside as nowadays. The two of them were having a ride outside in the woods, along with one of the stablemen, a young lad named Sam. Elizabeth knew him since she had been a little girl on her parents' farm, as he had been one of her neighbors. So he was walking slightly ahead of the two riders, to test if the path was still intact after some heavy rainfalls, when he suddenly slipped and landed headfirst in a muddy puddle. Elizabeth just had to laugh along with him. He looked so funny and just so likeable, with this crooked smile on his dirty face.

To put it politely, his lordship was not amused. The next day Elizabeth had a deep cut from the lord's hunting knife on her upper arm and Sam was sent away with several whiplashes, slashing open the flesh on his back. For a second she wondered what might have happened to Sam after that. If he found work again? But Elizabeth cleared her mind once again, this was of all times not the one for old memories.

She looked at the waiter with her cold mask now perfected again. The wonder about the luxurious room was too obviously written on his face and for a second she was about to smile again. 'God damnit, Lizzy, get it together!' her subconscious scolded herself. Nobody really called her Lizzy anymore. Not since she left her parents.

The proper etiquette did not allow a lady alone in a room with a male servant, but Elizabeth didn't want to follow the etiquette in that case. For some inexplicable reason she wanted to spend more time alone with Thomas. This was very dangerous, but she just couldn't resist. The way he made her smile against her will simply fascinated her and she wanted to know what was up with this man. The girls were fawning over him, of that she was sure, but he didn't appear like the typical rake she would have expected him to be. So she decided that a few minutes with real human contact for once would do no harm. She had a reason to call him here and nobody could blame her for the hotel's fault sending a single man.

Determined but quietly, she shut the door behind them, when he spoke again. “Is there anything I can help you with, Mrs. Bartholomew?” Either he really didn't know anything about etiquette, or he was trying to trick her. If she would have been married to the lord, her title would be Lady Elizabeth of Leicester and if she wasn't, she wouldn't be called a Bartholomew. Either way, this address was plain wrong.

She slightly tilted her head. What was this guy's deal? "As you very well know, his Lordship and me did not enter into the bond of marriage yet. If we did, I would be addressed as Lady Elizabeth of Leicester. But as long as we are engaged, I am simply Miss Parker." She walked past him and sat down on one of the armchairs. She liked to be seated while talking to someone, it made her feel at home, where her family would sit around the fireplace and the father would tell stories until late at night. Elizabeth made a gesture, offering him a seat as well. That was highly unusual, but not forbidden and her fiancé would not be back for at least an hour.

"Either you do not have the slightest idea about the proper protocol, which would make you an unlikely employee at a house like this," she gestured at the room around them "Or you are trying to make me believe that you are dumber than you really are, which would offend me as you try to see if I am stupid. And that would make you an even worse employee." She made a pause to tension the atmosphere a bit more "So please tell me, Thomas, what are you after?" But to her own annoyance, there was amusement in her voice, as she spoke to him. Her body should be damned, but he just interested her so much and she wanted him to really have a conversation with her. Just once she wanted to feel like a normal human being.

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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Tue May 30, 2017 9:33 am

In quiet moments, when Thomas could stop and think uninterrupted, he liked to tell himself that he was cleverer and smarter than the general peasantry that he had to deal with in the day to day. Thomas had schooling, the church near his house would hold classes, it’s the place Thomas learned to read and write, the place that sparked his love for reading and writing. So, when dealing with the general public of London, from family to neighbors and strangers, Thomas was a little faster, a little wittier than them. Somewhere along the way Thomas lost his way and began to think of himself as the dashing rouge from one of the many stories he read. To stand there and have his master plan so quickly and viciously laid bare was a punch to the gut that left him reeling.

The way Miss Parker tilted her head before launching into her investigation made it so much worse, she looked utterly adorable! The way she toyed with him as well, “as you very well know,” she so easily placed a cage around him where there was no place to go, he couldn’t worm himself out of this one. There was no way the Royal Hotel would hire someone without teaching them the proper etiquette and rules of high society. Miss Parker knew Thomas was up to something, and she was having fun trying to get the truth out of him. Elizabeth casually walked over to one of the armchairs and sat, rather comfortably, Thomas noted.

“She’s going to drag this out, she’s going to gut me and watch me squirm as I try to get out of this!” Thomas thought to himself, but he wasn’t worried.

It was fun. It was fun to have someone call him out on his bullshit and so expertly deal with him. Thomas had lots of acquaintances but very few friends, most people were boring to him, he liked an edge, a fine edge to a person’s mind. Someone with which to duel over ideas and knowledge, someone who could actually think and see the great big world and be inspired instead of terrified. No…no, no, no. Miss Parker wasn’t someone he could do all those things with, it could never be. She was a woman of status, Thomas was a simple waiter, there was no way she would have more conversations with him, to sit with him and talk about life and books, about ideas and thoughts. No, this was a strange occurrence in the life of a waiter for the Royal Hotel, Thomas would savor it and move on for his own good.

Thomas finally brought himself to look at Elizabeth when she motioned for him to take a seat. Both confusion and excitement washed over Thomas, who stood there with his mouth opened for half a second before regaining his composure and taking a seat. Before Thomas could think about the implication of him taking a seat at a guest’s room or the trouble he would get into if Mr. Tully discovered this, he found himself relaxed by Miss Parker’s eyes. Maybe she was toying with him, but perhaps it wasn’t malicious, it was just good natured ribbing. Thomas didn’t want to become complacent in this situation but he couldn’t help himself, there was something about Miss Parker that made him feel like he could just be himself.

"Either you do not have the slightest idea about the proper protocol, which would make you an unlikely employee at a house like this," she gestured at the room around them "Or you are trying to make me believe that you are dumber than you really are, which would offend me as you try to see if I am stupid. And that would make you an even worse employee." She made a pause to tension the atmosphere a bit more "So please tell me, Thomas, what are you after?" But to her own annoyance, there was amusement in her voice, as she spoke to him.

Thomas could feel his muscles tense with every word she spoke. Elizabeth was so casual, so calm about Thomas’ little plan that it infuriated him a bit, but he liked it. It was like a match of football and Elizabeth had the ball, expertly handling it. All Thomas could do was narrow his eyes and try and figure out what she was up to. Why bring this up? Why embarrass him with no one around? Thomas was sure of it now; she was toying with him for amusement. Then came the magic words “what are you after?”

What indeed. Thomas wanted her name and she had given it to him, hell, he could have gone to any of the staff and asked them for it, negating any of the risk this foolish quest had led him to. What was he really after? A moment, a moment with her and her alone. Thomas had what he was after but he wanted more now that he noticed her mind. Miss Parker had his interest with her beauty, but her mind had gotten his full attention. The way Elizabeth’s voice trailed off at the end, there was a hint of humor there, enough to give Thomas hope for an idea that he had not dared to fully form. Thomas took this chance to lay back into the armchair and relax. Everything so far had been conjecture, and this was too, but Thomas had to take the chance, he had already gotten so far, to not act now would be a wound he would carry forever. A memento of his failure to act.

“What am I after, Miss Parker? Well, I was curious, I haven’t worked here for too long and hadn’t come across such a…. distinguished member of society. I was simply curious to meet you. I do apologize for that gaffe earlier, I had foolishly failed to ask anyone your name so I wasn’t too sure as how to properly address you,” Thomas said, but this time he was ready, this would have been enough for most guests, it played to their ego and made Thomas more likable to them.

But Elizabeth wouldn’t see it that simply, she had dissected every word Thomas had said earlier and it wasn’t that much that he had said. This would be something she could dissect again, showing Thomas she was truly interested in talking, in having a conversation, the good Lord wasn’t even in Thomas’ mind anymore, he was but a distant memory at this point.

Thomas wanted to be sure though, to truly let her know why he was here.

“So, like I said, Miss Parker, I am here because I am curious…. curious about you.”
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Tue May 30, 2017 5:12 pm

'Oh Lizzy, what are you doing? He is a waiter!' The voice of her subconscious was talking to her in the voice of her older sister. What was making it all the more unlikely, that Elizabeth would listen to it. Catherine always tried to make her a better person, or at least more like her, what, of course, just fueled Elizabeth's obstinacy. She would never be a 'good wife', quiet, likeable and great with kids. It just was not in her nature, too strong was her will of independence and too big was her mouth. In front of the lord, she acted like a puppet, but he knew that this wasn't her. He was an excellent reader of human behavior. But she had broken her down so much, that she was willing to do anything, as long as he left her alone. Whenever a new scar appeared on her lightly tanned skin, she cried alone in the bathroom. It just seemed so unfair, that he got to do this to her and that the scars would forever haunt her. There was no way she could ever escape his cruel hands and she was starting to accept that.

But god shall damn it, there was something about this Thomas, that brought her back to her self. Her true, challenging, smart and funny self. Elizabeth had almost forgotten, what it felt like. In the beginning of the engagement, she tried to be herself around the lord, but whenever other people listened, he just shut her up. She was the woman in the relationship and she didn't have the right to talk to him that way. When they were alone, he made it painfully clear for her, that she was to be nothing more than a beautiful decoration, dangling on his arm quietly. So she shut down her real nature, she stored it in a big chest, locked it up and sunk it deep down in her mind.

After all this time, the chest had opened once again and let out her character. Elizabeth could have jumped around the room, so overwhelming was the joy in her head over being back again. But deep down, she knew that she had to store it away again. She was letting it out to play for a while now, but it would go back into the chest and it would be forgotten soon. So she decided to have fun here, while it lasted.

The look in her eyes was sparking with a new excitement now, she was going to savor this moment as much as she could. Looking at the waiter, she could nearly see his thoughts on his face. He was not sure about this situation, he was scared that she would punish him, but he also wanted to play some mind games with her. 'Please don't run away, please sit down and play this tactical little game of chess with me.' Her mind wanted her to smile, to show him that she wasn't serious about this, but this once, her body didn't comply. Elizabeth damned herself, when she didn't want it, she smiled and when she really wanted to smile, her body didn't let her.

Her attention wandered off for a bit and when she brought it back to Thomas, her face was suddenly doing as she wished and smiled. He stood there, baffled and even open mouthed for a second and it made him look even better. Now that she got a good look at him, she noticed how well he was well-built he was. The hard work made him look fit and agile, his face was beautiful, but not in the classical way and his eyes -oh his eyes- the made her feel like a little girl. She wanted nothing more than see him look at her with wonder and she prayed, that he thought her even half as gorgeous as she found him.

This was getting dangerous and she knew it, but it felt too good, to just stop now. He sat down in front of her and she was feeling a strange excitement over him being close to her. “What am I after, Miss Parker? Well, I was curious, I haven’t worked here for too long and hadn’t come across such a…. distinguished member of society. I was simply curious to meet you. I do apologize for that gaffe earlier, I had foolishly failed to ask anyone your name so I wasn’t too sure as how to properly address you,” Elizabeth snorted slightly. 'distinguished member of society' she was nothing than a farmer's daughter and the lord was an arse. But oh well, if he wanted to try and please her with such a plump attempt, she would show him, what that got him from her. And the next part was just plain shite and the two of them knew it perfectly well. If you don't know, how to address someone, a simple 'Miss' would be fine in most cases. Or make sure that nobody got offended and use 'My Lady', either way, what he said didn't make any sense. But he knew that, he was just trying to see, how she would react to this excuse. And she was not going to disappoint him.

She was about to have some fun with him, when he changed his tone. It was now much softer, much more honest and it sounded sincere, when he told her “So, like I said, Miss Parker, I am here because I am curious…. curious about you.” It hit her hard. The last time, someone had really been interested in her was nothing but a distant hint of a memory. Her emotions swept over her, not like small beautiful waves anymore, but like a tsunami. Thomas was everything she desired, he was smart, he was witty, he was young, good looking and he was interested in her as a person and not as the annoying pet of his lordship. Elizabeth was lost.

But she couldn't just sit there and relish this moment, as he waited for a response. She smiled amused and cheekily "Ah so that it what it comes down to? You could have just asked me and I believe, you know that all too well, don't you? And don't try to distract me with flatter, this might work on Lords and Ladies, but I am a simple girl and I know, that you don't like those arrogant snobs, just like I hate them." Whoops. That was maybe a bit too much honesty. But it was said and she couldn't take it back, so she could just hope, that he would not tell anyone about it, or she would get punished for it. "But why are you curious about me? If, like you said, I am a distinguished member of society, isn't my personality completely above your curiosity? And if I am not a distinguished member of society, like I say myself, then why should you be curious about me? Because in that case, I would be just a lucky girl, who made her fairytale come true and marry a lord." And much much quieter, she added "Or am I?"

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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Wed May 31, 2017 5:04 am

What a curious situation Thomas had found himself in; Lounging about in the most expensive room of the Royal Hotel, talking rather candidly to the fiancé of a man with power and wealth beyond anything Thomas had ever seen, and he was doing all of this while he should be working and the Lord could walk in at any moment. Thomas wondered if the staff had begun wondering where the hell he was; it wasn’t unheard for these type of calls to last a while but Thomas was known for keeping them rather short as he had no particular interest in hanging around the pompous elites of society.

Thomas should have left that room long ago, gone back to his world of service and low pay and only having to worry about how low to bow and not to roll his eyes when talking to the older guests of the hotel when they went off about their grandchildren. It was a simple, boring life, with days spent working and nights spent at the local tavern with the rest of the staff, flirting with the occasional maid and even getting lucky from time to time, but god was it boring. Thomas had grown up reading books on adventure, travel, exotic cultures and distant lands. The idea of spending the rest of his life here, on the Isle of Wight working as a waiter was soul crushing. It had been fun at first, to come here and see the country and lifestyle of the rich and powerful, to have some peace from the constant noise of London that he now missed, but he ended up in a routine, living his life by the rules of others.

Now Thomas was here with her, Elizabeth, and nothing else mattered. How could it? To meet someone of such beauty and intelligence, to break the rules of high society was exhilarating, especially since Elizabeth was doing it right alongside him. Did all of this have the same meaning to her? Did she care about having Thomas here while her fiancé was out? Were there repercussions she was worried about if she was caught? Could all this be a game she was playing, ruining the life of a simple waiter simply for her own amusement? No, Thomas would have heard something by now, about the cruel Miss Parker and the way she had young men on the palm of her hand before crushing them. Thomas had sensed something different about Elizabeth, ever since she stepped out of that carriage and had on that mask of stoicism, which was slowly starting to fade away.

"Ah so that it what it comes down to? You could have just asked me and I believe, you know that all too well, don't you? And don't try to distract me with flatter, this might work on Lords and Ladies, but I am a simple girl and I know, that you don't like those arrogant snobs, just like I hate them."

And there it was, the truth. Something both of them had in common, dislike of the Aristocracy. Wasn’t Elizabeth also aristocracy? Wasn’t her husband a very powerful member of the aristocracy? Unless…unless she wasn’t born into it, unless she was plucked from her family and made to marry.

‘No, no, no, you’re letting your imagination get away from you, forming threads that only help your running theory, control yourself’, Thomas thought.

"But why are you curious about me? If, like you said, I am a distinguished member of society, isn't my personality completely above your curiosity? And if I am not a distinguished member of society, like I say myself, then why should you be curious about me? Because in that case, I would be just a lucky girl, who made her fairy-tale come true and marry a lord." And much, much quieter, Elizabeth added "Or am I?"

Thomas didn’t know what to say. It was true, what she said, if she was a happy member of high society than what was Thomas curious about? There was never any chance of him having any sort of interaction with her again, and if she was a girl of simple origins then she got what most woman could only dream of; to be elevated to such heights and to marry such a well renowned lord, most would kill for that. She wasn’t though, not really. If she was high born then the likes of Thomas would never interest her, and if she was a low born and was happy about her coming marriage she wouldn’t have mentioned her dislike for the upper class. No, Thomas was far too deep in it now, too far enthralled by her wit and mystery to leave here with nothing more than a conversation. It was time to be bold, like his heroes in his books, it was time to make them proud.

“ I am curious because….because I saw unrivaled beauty step off a stage coach and I couldn’t look away,” He did it now, he was in it and there was no going back,” I am curious because the lady offered me a seat and wanted to talk about what me, a waiter, thought,” Thomas felt his heart beating faster, his face becoming warmer,” I am curious, my lady, because you do not appear to like the company you keep, I am curious because you are bold, because you are smart, because of the way you sit there, now, so effortlessly you make it to appear both kind and powerful and beautiful…..and most importantly, I am curious because you smiled at what I had to say.”

Thomas felt like he was floating, watching all of this from high above. He could feel waves pounding against his chest, he could feel every breath he took, for the first time in his life he felt like time had stopped. The sun rays lazily poured in through those large windows, dancing across the shelves and tables of the rooms. Thomas could see the sea birds fly by the garden, the distant sound of the waves crashing against the beach. It was all so perfectly peaceful.

And it was always calm before the storm.
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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Cassiopeia » Wed May 31, 2017 8:15 am

“ I am curious because….because I saw unrivaled beauty step off a stage coach and I couldn’t look away, I am curious because the lady offered me a seat and wanted to talk about what me, a waiter, thought, I am curious, my lady, because you do not appear to like the company you keep, I am curious because you are bold, because you are smart, because of the way you sit there, now, so effortlessly you make it to appear both kind and powerful and beautiful…..and most importantly, I am curious because you smiled at what I had to say.”

The world around her stopped moving. All sounds and movements just came to an end. He wasn't serious, he just couldn't be. This was just a daydream she was having. She must have fallen asleep while waiting for a waiter to arrive. Yes, that must have been it. This was the sole sprout of her imagination. A young and handsome waiter, who was smarter than even herself? And then this guy, who could do whatever he liked, go out into the whole wide world, to the most distant islands and countries, who could have a beautiful bride and make something out of himself was interested in the quiet and cold bride of a horrible lord? Yeah, sure, as if that was about to happen to her. She was going to marry Lord Bartholomew and live an awful life as his wife and personal punching bag. Elizabeth decided that it was time to snap out of this dream, so she stood up abruptly and pinched herself.

She closed her eyes for a moment and expected to wake up on one of the armchairs, while the real waiter was waiting outside of the door, but nothing happened. When she opened her eyes, she hesitated a moment, before looking over at Thomas. There he was. Good looking, charming and interested in her. So it wasn't just a dream. A rush of adrenaline went through her body, before her mind started talking to her again. 'He is just testing you. He wants to get you to bed with him, so he can expose to the Lord, who will then kill you. Or he just wants to brag in front of the other servants. Either way, he does not mean it! Nobody could ever like you for who you really are! Look at you, you pathetic little girl, still believing in love after what happened to you!' Her cold intellect told her, that this wasn't true and even if it was, so what about it? There was no way, that this poor waiter could free her from her cursed engagement, he had nothing to offer. 'Give him your order now and tell him to never show his face here again!'

But through all this noisy thoughts in her head, she heard a different voice. It was ever so quiet, but instead of her sister's voice, it was her own. 'Can't you see this look in his eyes?' Elizabeth looked into his face 'Don't you notice the way he looks at you? He really appreciates you, even more though, this poor guy is in love with you! Head over heels! Don't you dare sending him away now! This may be the one chance at something real! Even if you have to marry his lordship, you could at least savour the memories in all the bitterness!'

She wanted to believe this second voice and Thomas really looked enchanted, she couldn't deny it. Or maybe she just wanted to see it this way and he was nothing more than a good actor? This was wrong. This was so wrong! But that made it all the more interesting. So what was she to do now? She didn't want him to go, but she was afraid, that Bartholomew could come back any moment. "If this is your interpretation of a joke, it is not funny at all!" Her voice was annoyingly high and didn't sound threatening in the slightest. She made a step closer to him.

"But... but if it is true what you say... It doesn't matter. You don't understand the position I am in. I am not free to decide, how I want my time and whom I want to spend it with." Sadness was dripping from her voice. "I like you Thomas, I really do. I enjoyed talking to you, you are not like the other folks around here, you are special. But..." Her voice broke and she hoped that he would interrupt he, telling her that he had a plan, that she could just run away with him, or anything at all.

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Re: A broken spirit?

Post by Rick » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:03 am

Thomas felt weightless…and rather hot. His heart was racing and his skin was tingly. Thomas gripped the armrests on the armchair, he felt like he had to anchor himself even though he was sitting down, one wrong move and he would slip into this perfect moment, never to come out of it again. Was that such a bad thing? Before Thomas could think of an answer Elizabeth shot up from her chair, shut her eyes and pinched herself. Thomas was confused, all he could do was mouth a “Wha-what?” before it dawned on him that she thought this could be a dream. Was that a good thing? Had Thomas come on too strong and now Elizabeth was tired of this game? This could go badly rather quickly, but Thomas didn’t care, Elizabeth had been relaxed, calculating, slowly breaking Thomas’ excuse in front of him, now she was flustered and it was the cutest thing Thomas had ever seen. He grinned, from ear to ear.

Thomas almost broke into laughter when Elizabeth yelled out, "If this is your interpretation of a joke, it is not funny at all!" It was rather nonthreatening and she looked even more flustered than angry. Thomas was about to laugh when she took a step closer and then he found he couldn’t breathe. Elizabeth had her hands balled up into fists, she was full of conflicting emotions and Thomas decided this wasn’t funny anymore. What had he done?

"But... but if it is true what you say... It doesn't matter. You don't understand the position I am in. I am not free to decide, how I want my time and whom I want to spend it with." Sadness was dripping from her voice. "I like you Thomas, I really do. I enjoyed talking to you, you are not like the other folks around here, you are special. But..." Her voice broke and she hoped that he would interrupt he, telling her that he had a plan, that she could just run away with him, or anything at all.

Thomas felt his heart break. Here was a strong, funny, kind woman and something had broken her. Some evil thing had laid its terrible claws upon her and dimmed her bright light. What could do such a thing? Who would want to do it? Elizabeth had so much to offer the world and to actively try and silence that, Thomas couldn’t stand it. Now he quickly stood from his chair and took a step towards Elizabeth, Thomas clenched his jaw and slowly raised his hand, placing it on Elizabeth’s cheek. She was so soft and warm to his touch, but she shuddered a bit. Thomas didn’t know if it was from anger, fear, or just that she hadn’t been touch by anyone else for a long time.

“W-what did this to you, E-Elizabeth?” Thomas said her name out loud, she wasn’t Miss Parker anymore, or my Lady, no, Elizabeth had shown him a deeper part of herself, a part she hid away and didn’t – or couldn’t – show anymore.

“Was it the Lord?” Thomas asked, perhaps he was being too familiar with Elizabeth, but he didn’t care; Something had hurt her and he couldn’t stand it.
Elizabeth looked away, but Thomas kept his hand on her cheek. So, it was the lord then.

“That rat bastard, I’ll break his arms if he ever touches her again,” Thomas thought, his anger rising at the idea of the lord laying his hands upon Elizabeth.

“So, is it true, Elizabeth, that you come from a simple family? That you hate these bloody snobs? That you can’t decide for yourself? That…...that you like me?” With that last line Elizabeth turned back and looked right into Thomas’ eyes.

Thomas was taller than Elizabeth, but in that moment he felt equal to her, he felt her pain.

“If that is all true, and you feel like you are trapped, then why stay? Why marry this bastard? If there is truly nothing for you with that man then why not leave….with me?” Thomas didn’t know what he was doing, but if she left he would go with her.

“I’m just a waiter here, if you wanted we could leave here tonight. Go to London, we could figure out something from there, but I promise you, I won’t let him lay a finger on you, never again,” There was no plan, to guarantee of safety, only a burning passion to see Elizabeth happy, for her light to once again shine bright.
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