The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary: men alone are quite capable of every wickedness. -Joseph Conrad
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 An Afternoon Outing

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: An Afternoon Outing   Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:33 pm

Arabella turned from the outside view of the car, the people all busily rushing around London in their various expeditions, and laughed at some comment her fellow passenger had made. Her wide smile and bright eyes were all happiness, and even the driver chuckled upon hearing his lady's amusement.

Charlotte Evans, Arabella's lucky companion, also giggled in response, even though she had been the one to make the joke to begin with. She had been absolutely delighted when her future sister-in-law had made today's plans the previous week. The two had become fast friends after the announcement of the engagement, and as Charlotte was 4 years her junior, she greatly admired Arabella, even going as far to think of her already as an older sister.

Arabella felt similarly, dearly loving the girl, who was innocent and supportive and joyful in all the ways she had hoped a younger sister would be. There was no one else she had wanted to accompany her today, testing the new car her father had bought under the pretense of running errands.

"Is this all right, ma'am?" The driver asked, idling near the marketplace Arabella had told him to go to once they had picked Charlotte up. She gave her approval, thanking the driver as he opened the door and helped her out of the car before doing the same for Charlotte. Arabella asked the driver to return for them in a few hours, and then she looped her arm through the younger girl's and whisked her away to the various stands and shops of the market.

"What did you need to purchase today?" Charlotte asked, fingering a piece of delicate lace fabric that would serve nicely for a wedding dress as if Arabella's hadn't been completed by an esteemed seamstress over a month ago.

"To be completely honest, Charlotte, most of the wedding errands are completed. Really, I just wanted to ride in the new car and get you into town." Arabella smiled, remembering what it was like to be 17, so close to your debut and yet not permitted out without a chaperone. As an engaged woman, Arabella served the purpose nicely, and was one of the less strict watchers at that.

Unbeknownst to Charlotte, her older brother and Arabella had been conspiring. Putting their knowledge together, Thomas claiming that Charlotte had been moping around the manor, Arabella remembering the girl's blush whenever a certain male acquaintance was mentioned, it had been an easy discovery. They had planned and plotted, hoping that giving Charlotte a week's time was enough for her to make a plan of her own.

After shopping around for an hour or so, watching Charlotte's searching eyes with thinly hidden amusement, Arabella felt that the girl needed a little push to go and find her friend. Thomas had laughed when his fiance suggested this as part of the plan if it needed to be as they walked the grounds of his family's manor alone, and Arabella smiled now.

"Charlotte, dear," Arabella motioned for the girl to come closer to her, lowering her voice. "I do actually have one errand to run still, but it's more of the wedding night variety." She looked knowingly to the girl as Charlotte blushed deeply, eyes wide and almost panicked.

"Would you mind if I leave you, just for a little while? I'll only be in that shop over there." She pointed to one of her favorite dress stores, where the seamstresses there had known Arabella for several years. There also happened to include more scandalous selections toward the back, which she would not be needing any assistance with.

Charlotte brightened immediately, trying to play off her excitement. "No, of course I don't mind. I think I may go get something from the cafe, if that's okay?" Arabella nodded, and the younger girl practically skipped off.

Chuckling to herself at the success of her and Thomas' plans, Arabella wished immediately that she could share today's adventure with him. She would have to wait until they dropped Charlotte off, and perhaps if she timed it correctly, Arabella would get an invite to stay for dinner and could maybe swing herself some time alone with him afterwards. She could hardly stand to wait until they were married, and her residence at his family's home was more than merely visits.

On her way to the dress shop, Arabella stopped at a stand selling fresh flowers, admiring the large bouquet of sunflowers that were displayed at the front. The owner came up to her, asking if she would like to purchase them, as a beautiful girl like herself deserved equally beautiful flowers.

Arabella smiled at the compliment and started to say yes, but her hand froze over her coin purse as she looked closer at the owner. At first glance there was nothing to notice, but his eyes were a violent shade of purple, with an almost malicious stare. No one else seemed to mind him, but Arabella quickly retreated, claiming to not have enough money, and hurried along her way.

Taking a few deep breaths to try to calm herself, Arabella stared at the ground as she walked quickly to her destination, unable to look up in the fear that she would see something else that was probably not visible to anyone else. Given this, it was no surprise that she walked straight into someone.

"Oh," She exclaimed, dropping her small bag. "Please forgive me, I was not at all watching where I was going." Arabella made a move to collect her coin purse off the ground, but the man she had bumped into had already stooped to pick it up for her. He placed it in her hands, and finally able to see his face, she reacted instantly.

"Nicky!" Arabella launched herself to him, wrapping her arms around his neck in a tight hug. She felt his hands on the small of her back, hesitant, but as whispers echoed around them, she quickly let go and took a step back, clearing her throat. Other shoppers stared for a moment too long, and then hurried on their way as if they hadn't been obviously curious.

"How have you been?" She asked, nervously tucking a strand of hair that had come unpinned in the excitement behind her ear. It had been almost a month since they had contact, several since they had actually seen each other. "I'm sorry I haven't answered your letter, I...I've been busy with the wedding, you know."

Arabella hated herself in this moment, because almost a month was far too long to let a letter from her friend go unanswered. It wasn't that she didn't want to speak with him, and she had indeed been busy, but since her engagement the letters between them had been slower to come and shorter in length on both sides. Perhaps they were preemptively, gradually cutting ties, but that seemed silly after everything their friendship had already withstood, and she desperately hoped they could navigate to a place in which she was both a wife to Thomas and a friend to the man before her now.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Oliver

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2016-05-22
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:17 am

Anabelles vibrant emerald eyes lit up with delight as the small, winged creatures formed a circle around her, glowing like fireflies on a warm summers eve. The tiny beings tinkling voices were as soft as the distant echo of chimes caught in the wind as they began their enchanting song. The young ladys rose petal lips pulled up in a smile as-

SMACK.

The crumpled up ball of parchment that found its target at the center of Nicholas’ face pulled him from his thoughts as the image of Arabella sitting surrounded by her skirts in the tall grass that grew behind her manor house faded into reality, the faces of his friends coming back into focus.

“Welcome back.” Nathan, the most playful of the group smiled once Nickys eyes found the culprit of the attack. It was then that he realized that the entire gathering that occupied the room were all watching him with mixed emotions dancing across their youthful faces. Some seemed annoyed but most just seemed amused that their leader had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t seen the assault coming.

“So, since our fearless leader seems to be somewhere else entirely, perhaps we can all agree that we've worked enough for one day and move this congregation downstairs where there is wine and food?” Nathan suggested with a teasing smirk directed at Nicholas as the rest of the group nodded and murmured in agreement.

“Really, Nathan. If you put as much effort into our cause as you do tasting the taverns vintages and roasted chicken, women would not only have equal rights but would be running the country by now.” Nicholas laughed, tossing the ball of crumpled parchment back at his friend before gathering the papers he had displayed before him and tucking them safely away in his satchel.

“But yes, we’ve done quite enough today. You've all been magnificent and I believe saturdays rally will be a day to be remembered. Let’s meet back here on friday to go over the details, you all have your assignments in the meantime. I will go to the copy press immediately to get the pamphlets created and bring a stack to each of you to hand out this week at your leisure” As the group gathered their belongings and began to file down the stairs, his friends clapped him fondly on the back or made encouraging and enthusiastic remarks about the upcoming rally, the energy high and electric with excitement.

When all but one had disappeared down the stair to begin their routine after meeting festivities, Nicholas met the steady gaze of the one man that remained. Alexander was regarding him with a look that spoke only of fondness and friendship.

“You've started your next novel then?” It was less of a question and more of an observation as his stormy grey eyes met Nickys. Alexander was the first friend Nicholas had made when he had begun his new life away from his family and despite only being four years his senior, the older man had become a father figure of sorts. He was the only one that knew about Nickys past and about Arabella and the novels he hoped to someday get published. Even in times of chaos and the darkest days when he cursed himself for his stupidity of walking away from a life of comfort, from walking away from her, Alexander was always there to keep him grounded. Nicholas may be the face and the voice of their group of activists but Alexander was the foundation that held them all up.

“I haven't written anything down yet, I know I should stop… But I just can’t keep it out of my head.” His voice was quiet against the roar that had started downstairs, soft enough that even if others had inhabited the room only his friend who had moved to the seat next to him would be able to hear.

“As i’ve told you an infinite amount of times before, Nicky, you should never stop. As long as you feel that young ladys story needs to be told, you need to carry on. Though, you do need to focus, allow that brilliant mind of yours to give everything you have to the task at hand. When you're writing, block out the rest of the world and pour your heart and soul into it as I know you do and when you’re here, give yourself entirely to the causes I know you care so deeply about. The lads look to you to guide them, you are the reason we have all been able to gather and fight for the change this city needs. They look up to you and deserve your undivided attention and effort. We are fighting for a higher call together, and you are our fearless leader, we need you.” Alexander laid a comforting hand on his shoulder as Nicky nodded.

“I know. You're right, as usual.” Pulling his gaze from his hands that were clutching papers in front of him to smile at his friend as he felt his spirits lift as they did after every pep talk from Alex.

“I better get going to have any chance of catching James in a good mood to get these pamphlets printed, but i will see you bright and early tomorrow?” Like his friend only moments before, this was a statement instead of a question. Both men stood and exchanged one last smile before both starting down the stairs, Alexander to join the others and Nicholas to hurry to his office.
~

Nicholas took no pride in being a writer for the sorry excuse of articles that the magazines After Midnight produced, their popularity only riding on the coattails of the Penny Dreadful, though their inconceivable demand from the people of London kept him fed. The other benefit besides being on the favorable side of destitution was the access to the printing press, to create materials that actually benefited the city instead of filling the citizens heads with nonsense. It was the one and only reason that kept him at his current place of employment instead of trying to move up in his field as an actual dignified journalist, no one asked any questions when he used the printing press for private use.

Having found his coworker in a somewhat harmless state of inebriation, Nicky was able to get a large quantity of pamphlets that boldly advertised for the rally he would be leading in the town square this coming Saturday, the topic of which many would find almost blasphemous. The papers were still warm in his hands, the smell of ink fresh as he turned the corner onto the busy market street to head back to his less desirable side of town when he walked straight into another person. The sudden collision made him start, sending the papers he had been clutching protectively to flutter around himself and the other, raining down around them like the usual downpour of the English sky.

Despite his compelling desire to save his wayward papers from the puddles in the cobblestone that they were all settling into, he couldn't help but reach for the dropped coin purse of the woman he had run into, an apology on his lips as he straightened up and placed the purse into her gloved hands.

“Nicky!” Before his brain could comprehend what was happening, a dainty figure had launched herself at him, gentle arms wrapping around his neck as the scent of an almost painfully familiar perfume washed over him. Despite his better judgment, Nicky couldn’t help but wrap his arms around the thin waist, his hands on the small of her back to hold her close for just a moment…

“Bella…” His voice was soft, no louder than a whisper against the fragrant locks of her dark hair but as quickly as the embrace had begun, it was ended as Arabella took a deliberate step back, quickly composing herself back into the picture of perfection that she always was in public.

“You owe me no apologies I can only imagine how much effort you've had to put into your magnificent affair. I only hope your mother is letting you at least have some say as to the proceedings.” He did his best to offer her his most genuine smile, even as the feelings he had tried so hard to push away tugged painfully at his heart.

He also couldn't overlook the fact that, as always, his childhood friend was dressed in her absolute best. Not only was her beauty distracting but it also made him suddenly very aware of his own appearance. It had been too long since he had been to the barber, and his hair was in an almost permanent state of disarray. His clothing was worn, bought second hand they were a few seasons behind in the current fashion and obviously not tailored for him. He was a disgusting frog standing before a beautiful princess and the shame he couldn't wish away almost made him want to disappear into the crowd the bustled around them, hoping that Arabella would forget she ever saw him.

Every rational voice in his head told him to politely excuse himself, to walk away and leave her be. He was not worthy to stand before this beautiful picture of grace and perfection, but as always he was selfish. He knew that no matter what he should do, he wouldn’t be able to walk away, not that easily.

“I assume you’re out shopping on official wedding business, but is there any chance I could steal a portion of your valuable time to treat you to coffee at the cafe around the corner?” He tried to keep his tone steady, even as his heart thudded anxiously against his chest as he readied himself for Arabella to decline his offer.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:38 pm

Arabella looked at the man before her, someone that had grown from boy to adult before her very eyes, but as he was by her side for the majority of the time she didn't notice it was happening until it was far too late. Nicholas looked more different still from the mental image she kept in her head, one of a few years back when he was still a regular part of her life.

Staring at him now, standing a safe distance away from her, Arabella was reminded of the first time she had seen him after he left his life of comfort, his family, and most specifically her. A few months after, when Nicholas had sent her his first letter, their first contact, she had responded as soon as possible wanting to meet him, desperate to see her best friend once more.

They had met at a quiet cafe, much like the one he was suggesting they head to now. She didn't remember quite how she had maneuvered her way out of a chaperone, but she was very much alone when she saw him for the first time. Three months hadn't been enough time to erase the years of love she had experienced, both friendly and romantic.

Nicholas had been thinner than she remembered, not nearly as well dressed and already seemed far older than she thought possible. Tears had immediately sprung to her eyes and she had covered her mouth with a gloved hand as he quietly, almost pleadingly, told her not to cry. She had swallowed her tears then, manged to make herself grateful for the few hours with him, and then cried the entire way home and most of the evening.

Nowadays, seeing him disheveled hardly pained her as much as it had the first time, but still, his appearance served as a gentle reminder of the life he had chosen over her. She knew, of course, that it was only a product of his hard work and passion, but always found it difficult at first glance to be happy for him.

"I am never too busy for you, Nicky," Arabella said with a new warmth in her voice. He didn't offer her his arm and she didn't take it, and so they walked to the cafe next to one another but not touching.

"You are going to laugh at me, but I'm supposed to be chaperoning my future sister-in-law. I left her to go meet a male friend of hers at the cafe," she laughed. "Me, a chaperone! I feel like I was just the one running away from mine to try to spend time with you."

Arabella had realized the potentially painful direction she was taking her statement, but had powered through to the end with the breeziness of someone who had moved on with her life. And indeed, she had, for the most part. Still, looking down at her glinting engagement ring, she couldn't help but feel that as much as she wanted to truly talk with her friend, they perhaps should not be alone in such a public setting.

"I suppose I should find her, though. Hopefully we won't be interrupting anything," Arabella winked, and with that she felt like her old self again. "You'll love Charlotte, she's an absolute dear."

Arabella motioned for Nicholas to follow her as a kind server pointed the well-dressed young woman in the correct direction. She only paused briefly at a woman sitting with delicately webbed hands, sucked in a breath, and continued on the path, refusing to look at Nicky.

"Arabella!" A voice called, and Charlotte waved from her table. Out of the corner of her eye, Arabella saw a familiar male figure walking calmly but quickly away, and knew that later she would have to tell Thomas of their success. She sat down next to her friend, and Nicholas did the same.

"Charlotte, this is my friend Nicholas. We grew up together," She kept the introduction short, knowing that the girl was just young enough to probably not know the full extent of their exact relationship, as Thomas had. Rumors traveled through society quickly, but they did not always fall on young ears.

"Pleased to meet you," Charlotte extended her hand, and Arabella watched for a knowing flicker in her eyes, but none came. "Charlotte is Thomas' sister, and now a dear friend of mine," Arabella continued, as if she hadn't already told Nicholas who she was.

"Best of friends," Charlotte praised, stirring her coffee and taking a sip. Arabella stiffened at her words, aware of the presence of her the truest best friend she had ever known sitting beside her, but thankfully the waiter came at that moment.

"Just a coffee, please." Arabella said, reaching for her coin purse. "And I'll pay for theirs as well." She didn't hesitate or think at the words.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Oliver

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2016-05-22
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:25 am

“I am never too busy for you, Nicky,” Nicholas let out the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding as the beautiful young lady before him accepted his invitation. He didn’t know when things had changed so drastically, when interacting with the one person he loved so dearly had become strenuous, the anxiety of saying the wrong thing making him speak with caution. There was a time, not so very long ago when the pair could speak freely, as freely as any two peoples ever could. He never had to guard his words or think carefully about what he could say out loud around his Bella… But he knew that she wasn’t his anymore, and propriety was now a factor that controlled the way they could speak to each other.

As they turned to head towards the cafe, it took all of his strength to keep himself from reaching for her hand, the memory of the feeling of her dainty fingers laced with his as they strolled through the expanse of land that made up both of their families properties, or the pride of having the honor of being her escort when in public and the comforting pressure of her hand on his arm as they hurried down busy streets in the city.

Arabellas’ next words made him smile, even as the last words stung, he was able to keep his composure, flashing her a mischievous smile.

“Seeing as how she is currently off with her male companion, it would seem that you're doing about as well at chaperoning as yours had however long ago.” Unable to let his thoughts move anywhere closer to the times they had been left unchaperoned in their youth, he managed to brighten his smile at Bellas wink and follow her closely behind as they were shown to the proper table.

The servers disapproving once over of his appearance would have added to his already non existent self confidence if he hadn’t caught that familiar gleam in his friends emerald eyes as she regarded a woman seated at a table that they were led passed. To Nicholas, and everyone else, the woman appeared perfectly normal, but he knew Arabella well enough to know when she was seeing something the rest of them couldn't. Once upon a time, she would have gladly explained what she had seen, but ever since she had decided to lock that wondrous part of herself away, it was the quick intake of breath and the obvious attempt to pretend like she hadn’t seen anything that he recognised.

He tried to catch Arabellas eye but the young lady was not being subtle about avoiding his gaze and before he could ask her about it, they were being summoned by an even younger lady to her beautifully laid table in what was obviously the most luxurious spot in the charming cafe, leaving him with no option but to let the sighting go unmentioned which was obviously the way his friend wanted it.

“The pleasure is all mine, Miss. Charlotte.” Nicholas responded smoothly, giving the young ladys hand a soft kiss before taking his seat, his manors and grace not matching his disheveled appearance. There wasn’t much he could do about the way he currently looked, but for Arabellas sake, he did his best to give off the air of being the gentleman that he was raised to be.

When the waiter came to take their order and his friend reached for her coin purse without thought, Nickys stomach clenched uncomfortably. Of course she assumed he had no money, if it was anyone other than his Bella he would have been insulted at the gesture, though he knew that she only meant the best.

“A coffee for me as well, and I will be paying.” He gave the waiter a smile as he placed a hand on Arabellas, stilling her movement of pulling out her purse any further.

“And some blueberry scones as well, please.” He requested, remembering that those had always been a favorite of his friends. Using the hand that wasn’t still holding Bellas still, he pulled his pocket book from his waistcoat and pulled the proper amount of money out, being careful not to show any of the rest of the party just how little there was left in his wallet after paying the waiter.

“So, tell me Charlotte, has Bella shown you her extensive porcelain doll collection yet, she is very passionate about them.” Nicholas tried to fight the grin that was beginning to tug at his lips as he brought up the collection of dolls that Arabella had been completely obsessed with for about three months before deciding that the dolls were useless and boring and not nearly as exciting as the wonderful creatures that she was able to play with outdoors.

Without the conscious intention, his hand still remained where it laid gently on Arabellas even though the waiter had already gone and the order had been paid for, his attention focused on Charlotte as he teased his friend playfully.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:02 pm

Arabella watched with a smile as Nicky greeted Charlotte as any gentleman would, more pleased than she should have been to see that his manners were not forgotten despite the life he lived now. The person he was now was someone she had grown used to, but it still comforted her to know some parts of the one she loved still remained.

Suddenly she felt Nicholas' hand on hers, stopping her movement, and Arabella watched with guarded eyes as he handed the waiter small bills and ordered more for them. Charlotte visibly brightened at the gesture, and Arabella knew she wouldn't be able to protest. Still, she hated to imagine what the cost was to him, as opposed to her cushy life of her father handing her more money than she could spend whenever she left on a shopping trip.

Arabella turned her head briefly to check where the woman she had seen earlier was, and with relief saw that she was some distance away. Seemingly engrossed in a book, the woman looked up at the exact wrong moment, making eye contact with the young woman and startling her into returning back to her present company.

Charlotte laughed with eyes wide open, and her innocent joy was contagious to her friend. Arabella smiled again, softly this time, specifically reminded of life at Charlotte's age. True, society had a lot to offer when one came of age, but there was something to be said about easiness of the times before that.

"Oh, Arabella, I insist that you show me these precious dolls when we return," Charlotte joined Nicholas in his teasing, knowing for a fact that the 21 year old had not likely played with dolls in years, even if she wasn't aware of her exact history with them as Nicholas was.

"Aren't you two amusing," Arabella began, thanking the waiter as he brought two more coffees and the plate of scones. It wasn't until she reached for one of the pastries that she realized Nicky's hand had never left hers, and her movement drew everyone's attention to the fact, not just her own.

His hand retreated too hastily, and Charlotte's eyes widened. She tactfully chose to take a sip of her coffee rather than comment, and although thankful, Arabella knew her well enough to know that a serious blunder had been made here. Rarely did Charlotte ever not say something, acting as an even chattier version of Arabella herself.

Biting her tongue for a moment, chastising herself for the contact that subconsciously must have been so familiar, so comforting that she hadn't noticed, Arabella worked quickly to move past what had occurred. In the grand scheme of things this was not a big deal, especially since Arabella knew it had meant nothing, but Charlotte was not aware of any of this.

"The dolls were better than your constant..." Arabella trailed off, fully prepared to launch into a story of some childhood memory to detract from the current situation, when the woman she had seen earlier began approaching their table. Earlier she had only been able to see her webbed hands, now Arabella could see a very light scaled pattern decorating her entire skin.

"Ma'am...?" Charlotte questioned the woman, who was now standing at their table, looking at Arabella. Charlotte didn't seem too concerned, merely curious, placing the scone she had just picked up onto her napkin. Meanwhile, Arabella's hands clenched tightly in her lap, and she refused to look up.

"Terribly sorry to interrupt, I was a dear friend of your mother's, Arabella Bishop." The woman said kindly, but the girl she named could only imagine darker undertones in her voice.

A few moments passed, and it wasn't until Charlotte kicked her under the table did Arabella finally look up. Her face as one of confusion, purely puzzled by her social friend's strange demeanor, and so Arabella swallowed and finally turned to their guest.

"I don't believe we've met," She said through thin lips. "If you'll excuse us, our party is not particularly wanting company right now." The words were a quick dismissal, and the woman did indeed walk away, seemingly satisfied with what she had happened despite the rudeness she encountered.

"Arabella!" Charlotte exclaimed, once the woman was out of earshot. "What on earth was that? That woman is probably going to write your mother that you behaved so unkindly to her, goodness, why did you do that?" Rarely did she see this side of Arabella, the one that was serious and abrupt, and she didn't quite like it in comparison to her fun-loving future sister in law.

Arabella floundered for a moment in her fear, and then found her footing after a quick sip of coffee. "Lottie, she was no friend of my mother's. There was a huge disagreement years ago, do you remember, Nicholas?"

Throwing the question to her friend, every part of her knew that he would back her up without a question. And he definitely knew what had happened, even if he hadn't been able to see what she had. When they were younger, with a quick whisper from her, he'd often been the one to steer her away when something like this happened, but now there was no one who knew what she faced and Arabella had learned to manage for herself.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Oliver

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2016-05-22
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:42 pm

Nicholas pulled his hand away so hastily that it brought even more attention to what could have been considered a minor thing, his cheeks burning with a soft pink hue that only Bellas presence could conjure. He knew that his friend would see the gesture as improper, and he couldn’t help but agree. The touch had been so familiar, so comforting that he hadn’t paid any mind to what it may mean to anyone else.


The interruption would have been welcome had it not been the woman that had so obviously bothered his friend upon entering the cafe. To his eyes, as well as the others around him, he knew that this woman stood out no more than Arabella or her future sister in law did in the polite company of the cafe. In fact, to others, he was sure that his less than posh exterior was what stood out more than this very normal looking woman that now stood over their table. Though the look on his friends face explained everything, and even though he couldn't see the woman for what she really was, he knew that there was more to her than meets the eye.


The exchange between Arabella and the mystery woman was cold and brief, his friend quickly dismissing the stranger to Charlotte's apparent horror.


"Lottie, she was no friend of my mother's. There was a huge disagreement years ago, do you remember, Nicholas?"


It was only a brief second that Nicholas remained stiff and still after the interaction between not only Bella and the woman but his friend and her fiance's sister. But he recovered quickly, falling easily into his role beside Arabella, as the one who would defend what she saw or find some sort of rational explanation when she could not.


“Ah, ghastly woman.” he scoffed, making a face of disapproval after the retreating woman.


“Still as bold as she was back then I see, how dare she approach you and claim herself a friend of your mothers. After everything she said, I can hardly believe it. Some will stop at nothing for attention.” Nicholas did his best haughty aristocratic impression, frowning solemnly as he turned back to the present company.


Charlotte seemed slightly more comfortable now, her tension easing as Nicholas and Arabella shared a look of disgust at the womans audacity. And as quickly as the young girls disapproval had appeared, it was soon altogether gone as her eye caught something behind the two seated across from her. Nicholas hardly had to wonder what it was that had caught her attention as the rosy hue colored her cheeks and she quietly cleared her throat.


“If you will both excuse me for just a moment, I need to powder my nose.” Charlotte made eye contact with Arabella and Nicholas had to refrain from smiling at the girls lack of subtlety. Remaining silent as the young woman rose from the table and headed in the wrong direction of the womans facilities, Nicholas finally dared to make eye contact with his friend for the first time since they had sat down.


“Bella... “ He started but quickly stopped, unsure of what to say. Would he apologize for keeping his hand on hers? Would he ask about the woman that his friend so clearly didn't want to talk about, would he make useless small talk with his dear friend that he used to be able to speak so freely with.


“Are you okay…” Was all he could get out as emotions that he wished he could control crashed over him, the need to reach for Arabellas hand and give it a reassuring squeeze so overwhelming that he had to hold his own hands together in his lap, squeezing his fingers together tightly.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:15 pm

“Still as bold as she was back then I see, how dare she approach you and claim herself a friend of your mothers. After everything she said, I can hardly believe it. Some will stop at nothing for attention.” Nicholas' words were firm and completely a lie, but Arabella looked to him and nodded in agreement as if this imaginary conflict had indeed happened years ago when they were best friends. It felt for a moment as if they were on the same team again.

Charlotte rolled her eyes at the woman's supposed rudeness, something she would only do in the company of friends, and Arabella breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Drama and conflicts in high society were something the younger girl understood well, and to see her immediately accept what was said and be satisfied with the reasoning, Arabella was able to continue in normalcy, even though she still felt on edge.

"Good riddance, I think she left the cafe entirely," Charlotte said, looking around for the offensive woman, hoping to soothe her future sister-in-law's worries. Struck immediately by the desperate hope to tell the caring girl before her what had actually happened, Arabella reminded herself once more that she had shut off that part of herself from everyone, trying so hard for that to include even herself, even if she could never truly escape it.

Arabella glanced as well, relieved to find that Charlotte's words did seem to be true, and looked back to the girl at the exact moment her eyes widened and a faint blush colored her cheeks.

Panicked for a moment, only to see the male friend from earlier inside, who Charlotte must have told to leave but secretly hoped would stay, Arabella hardly heard Charlotte's excuse and waved the girl away knowingly, watching as she turned left rather than right once in the cafe and took a seat at a table.

"I'm so glad that's the same boy from earlier, otherwise I might actually need to speak to Charlotte about the appropriate number of secret romances," Arabella tried to joke, but Nicholas was having none of it, ever concerned for her.

"Bella... “ His voice was soft, and Arabella closed her eyes. She was 16 again, standing in front of the boy she thought she loved as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and kissed her softly on the lips for the first time, whispering the same name he used for her then as he did just now.

Broken from her memory at his question, Arabella opened her eyes to see his hands clenched together in his lap, and noted that her hands were in the same place, as if the mere force of holding them together would return everything to normal.

She and Nicholas didn't meet often, but never had it been this hard since their first meeting after he left. Arabella surmised that it must have been the appearance of the woman, and in a quieter, smaller part of her mind wondered if it was the closeness of her wedding that was making her wish for her former best friend.

"I'll be all right," she said quietly, "She wasn't close to the worst I have seen." With those words, in a rush the silence Arabella had held for years, since even before Nicholas had left his family, was broken. "She seemed to be satisfied with the confirmation that I could indeed...see her? Something flickered in her eyes. It was strange," Quickly, tumbling out of her lips now, her confession felt entirely too right.

"Thomas doesn't know," Arabella said, truly unable to stop now. "I think he notices though, that something is off. I want to tell him so badly...but, well, if I'm not even allowed to say I was diagnosed with hysteria when I was 17, I doubt this would be acceptable."

Arabella now remembered that she had never actually told Nicholas what had happened with all the doctors she had visited as a teenager, as her parents had strictly forbidden it. It seemed like such a silly thing to keep from him now, especially considering what he knew.

"Still, I can't help but feel that I am lying to him..." Arabella trailed off, troubled, but then remembered her company and wanted to take everything back.

"I'm so sorry, Nicholas, I'm sure you do not want to hear any of this. Charles told me you weren't even sure if you would come to the wedding," Arabella finally released her hands from their tight grip, reaching to brush a single tear that had fallen on her cheek.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Oliver

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2016-05-22
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:33 pm

Nicholas was silent for a long moment after Arabella finished speaking, his gaze cast down at his clenched hands that he gripped ever tighter as his jaw tightened while trying to process her words.


Hysteria, so that's what it was. The made up diagnosis that was only given to stifle a beautiful young womans irreplaceable mind. Anger flooded him as red hot as it had when Arabella had returned from her time away, coming back and doing everything she could to pretend that what she saw wasn’t real, that who she was, was somehow wrong or broken. He had pleaded with her then as he wanted to plead with her now, he wanted to slam his hands down on the delicately set table and yell for the entire cafe to hear that she shouldn't hide who she is, that she should see how amazing she was, that she should see herself how he saw her.


He wanted to proclaim as loudly to her as he could to a crowd that she should be the one in charge of her own future, that she should decide who she did or didn't tell about her gifts. Though , as quickly as his anger had come, it vanished when he finally looked up to see her brush a tear away quickly.


“Oh, Bella.” He moved to take her hand, or to brush her tears away but stilled himself, letting his hands fall back into his lap, though this time without anger.


“Never apologize to me, there is never anything you would need to apologize to me for.” He was both unable and unwilling to keep the love from his voice as he offered his oldest friend a genuine smile.


“I know that you think of it as lying, and I know that your gentle nature makes it seems wrong… I suppose you just need to trust in your affection for him, and his for you and take solace in the fact that he would love you all the same because of it.” He stopped himself before adding ‘As I do.’


Taking a deep breath, he was able to smile with more surety than before, finally comfortable enough to reach for her hand to give it a quick reassuring squeeze before taking a sip of his previously ignored coffee to add some normalness to the interaction.


“And Charlie is a wretch, truly. I had only said that I wasn’t sure about my work schedule, and…” The excuse sounded feeble even to his own ears and he sighed, offering his friend an honest shrug and an embarrassed smile.


“Or rather, I just didn’t know if it was… proper.” He admitted honestly, daring to meet her gaze for the first time since such troubling topics had been brought up.


“But if you want me there… I hope I do not need to do more than to say I will be there to convince you. I truly am so happy for you, Bella.” His smile was still genuine if not still colored with the shade of sadness.


“Though I admittedly do not pity you the family dinners to come with Thomas and your father at the same table, I imagine it’s something like watching two stubborn bulls headbutt each other just with impeccable manners.” He offered her a lighthearted wink before taking another sip of coffee. It didn’t matter how much he wanted to be filled with anger at her confession, Arabella wasn’t a weak woman and even if she believed that her family decided her future, he knew that she had made the decision to ignore that other part of herself and time with her being as slim as it was, he refused to spend their interaction with her in tears.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:27 am

Arabella was able to offer Nicholas a small smile as he gently squeezed her hand. The gesture was nothing but one of comfort, and meant more to her than any the reassuring words he spoke. Yes, those were all kind and helpful, but the physical contact made them ring all the more true, and Arabella felt that she could finally look to her friend again.

Wanting to meet his eyes, she realized that it was now his turn to avoid her gaze as he fumbled around the subject of her wedding. Really, she shouldn't had brought it up, but now that it was out there between them, there was no undoing it.

The mention of propriety, the idea that seemed to influence every single one of their actions and conflicts was what made him finally look back, and this time Arabella met his stare without hesitation. She'd developed a knack for reading him from years of practice, and now she could see a slight tinge of sadness in his eyes. Rather than worrying her further, that small flicker of emotion she saw echoed what she felt in the moment, and that itself was consoling.

"Of course I want you there, Nicky," the nickname fell off her lips out of old habit, and contributed to her cause of convincing him of that truth. He said he would come, but she so wanted him to know that she needed him there.

There was a time when he would have done anything for her after her first please, but they had both grown since then. Still, she felt there wasn't much he wouldn't do for her now, no matter how much she would refuse to take advantage of that.

"I tell you, what wouldn't be proper would be my oldest friend not being there," she said firmly, taking a sip of her now-cool coffee as if that settled the matter. And seemingly, it did, as Nicholas spoke of dinners with the future combined family.

Arabella couldn't help but laugh. The exact scene Nicholas was describing was one she was quite accustomed to, her fiance sitting across from her and her father at the head of the table, both masking an unmovable opinion in thick politeness and half-hearted compromises.

"You and I both know Thomas is no match for my father," Arabella said. "I do appreciate his effort, though." Her shining engagement ring had twisted slightly, and she centered it once more on her finger. Truly, it was the most expensive thing that was entirely her own. Thomas had told her that she deserved the best, not because it was what she had always had, but because she was the best thing to happen to him.

"But enough about me, I receive entirely too much attention." she said abruptly, looking up from her hand and back to the cafe. Charlotte was still very much enthralled with her company, and so Arabella continued. "Tell me, Nicholas, what have you been up to, or at the very least, how are you? I do hope you're not getting yourself into too much trouble. Your letters are always so vague," she gently accused.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Oliver

avatar

Posts : 24
Join date : 2016-05-22
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:50 pm

Nicholas couldn't help the smile that brightened his face as Arabella made it very clear in her polite way that he was most certainly expected to be at her wedding. Even if it was as a guest and not as the groom, the feeling of once again being needed by his Bella was more than enough to warm his heart. He even tried his hardest to maintain his smile as his gaze followed her adjustment of her stunning engagement ring so that it sat perfectly atop her dainty hand, shimmering in the soft cafe light as a reminder of why he was not the one who deserved to marry her.


“Trouble?” He managed a laugh as he pulled his gaze from the astounding ring to the young lady’s face once more.


“What is it you think I do, Bella? I know being a journalist isn’t the most dignified of professions, though I can hardly say it makes me a criminal.” Had he been having this conversation with anyone else, his words would be filled with passionate conviction, though with Arabella they were merely teasing and light in an attempt to ease any worry she may feel about his new life.


“I was in fact preparing for a gathering before someone so rudely bumped into me and made me drop all my pamphlets in the mud.” He gave her a quirky smile before continuing.


“I happen to be leading a campaign at present to fight for women to acquire the vote, along with other basic human rights that our government seems inclined to deprive them of.” He had to stop himself from offering an invitation for his friend to attend Saturday's rally. As much as he wanted to share that aspect of his life with his love, he knew that a political protest was no place for Arabella, that’s part of why he had left in the first place wasn’t it?


“But I’m sure all of that is very dull in comparison to your magnificent wedding plans.” He still maintained his smile though it had lost some of its brilliance as his gaze found itself falling upon his coffee mug once more.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Casey
Admin
avatar

Posts : 25
Join date : 2016-05-16
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:01 pm

Arabella's lips parted into a smile at Nicholas' laugh, a sound so happy that she couldn't help but react. It wasn't something she heard often anymore, so she had learned to recognize its significance quickly, tucking away the memory in the back of her mind.

His tone was joking, and he didn't know it, but he was absolutely riveting tp her when he spoke of what he did. After all, this was the reason he had left everything he had known in the first place. Even if she could never quite understand it, Arabella had always admired the love and passion he held for this outside life, when all she had ever been able to do was summon the same love and passion for him.

She quickly waved him off, again taking the attention away from her and her upcoming wedding. She was oh so excited to marry her Thomas, without a doubt, but here in this moment for just a little longer she wanted to talk to her friend as if nothing were going to change any more than it already had.

"Oh, please, my wedding will be everything you expect and nothing more. I'm sure you lead the far more exciting life, with these campaigns and the writing and...well, one hears things" Arabella trailed off, waving a hand around as if that explained everything.

"I'm sure it's nothing, but I saw the paper about the police involved in something that sounded similar to what you're doing a few weeks ago...of course, I don't actually know anything, I'm probably mistaken." Arabella spoke quickly, unsure of what she was saying even after she had said it.

"Did you ever start that novel?" She asked suddenly, changing the topic if only to return back to her obliviousness. Arabella wanted to know everything about Nicholas and his life, but couldn't stand the thought of him facing any danger or her making him uncomfortable with her incessant questions that danced around the idea.

"You always spoke of wanting to write one," Arabella continued, adding context to her question that would've been better asked earlier.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://labelleepoque.forumotion.com
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: An Afternoon Outing   

Back to top Go down
 
An Afternoon Outing
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Afternoon at the Lake (private)
» A Quick Outing (Kotone)
» Aelita and Ulrich
» Afternoon Freakout(Job/ Jin & Rei)
» A Nice Afternoon at Work (Mega then Open)

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
La Belle Epoque :: London, England :: Marketplace-
Jump to: