Authors: Rachel Brant
Copyright 2016 by Rachel Brant - All rights reserved.
In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.
Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.
Title of Story
By: Rachel Brant
“Please, come for me Amelia”, said Ellen. She is such a charming beauty. In her blue skirt and gray blouse torn from the side of her underarm, she is rushing to see the Duke, who is coming to visit our Brackcliffe village. Ellen, along with other girls of the village wants to steal a glance of the Duke after he has come from Edinburgh after 12 years.
“I don’t want to indulge in these stupid games”, I tried to lie to Ellen, “You all can go take a sigh at Edward”. Deep inside my heart, I know that I am dying for just one look of this charming Duke. Just as I realize Ellen is not so honest to go alone, she must have called some other girls as well, as see Isabella, Eliza, Theodosia, Lucy, and Anna coming.
Oh! My God! Now I would have to accompany them. I cannot even make an excuse to Ellen now. Why, in Heaven’s name, did she not tell me beforehand? I would have thought of a better justification.
I just hate the company of these girls who roam around Brackcliffe all day in such offensive attire. They are nothing but the laughing stock of all the boys in the village.
“Come Amelia. Get ready fast”, winks Lucy and seems pretty excited.
“She does not want to go. Tell Amelia. What is your excuse for today?” Ellen smirks at me.
“Can you all please go and let me prepare lunch? Father will be here any time. He could not even eat the breakfast today because I could not prepare it as I was out to fetch water.” My heart is pounding from inside as I try to make an apologetic excuse. I just want to go and melt in the arms of Edward right away. Still, I have to maintain civility.
“Just stop blabbing and come fast. He will be here any time. You can come back in 10 minutes and cook whatever on Earth you want.” Theodosia scolds me and I have to give in.
I take out my best corset that Mrs. Smith had given me and wear it with the skirt I am already wearing.
“Please help me with the dress Ellen.”
She tucks my corset so tightly that both my breasts come bulging out.
“Stop it for God’s sake. What are you doing? Please loosen it. I cannot even breathe.”
“O please, Amelia. Do not be a spoilsport. Out of all the garbage you have, now if you have got something good to wear; at least wear it properly!” she says while fastening the repoussé button on the top left of my corset. “Let him admire at least one of us. You are no less than a personification of true beauty. Stop underestimating yourself.”
I can hear the giggling of girls at my back.
People have come out of their houses to greet the Duke. I can see some small bags in the hands of men and women. Maybe they have got their crop of the season for the Duke. The girls are dressed in their best attire to impress him. Even the parents seem to be okay with the prospect that they can exhibit their daughters in front of the most eligible bachelor of the town. As we have heard, he is a fair, charming and educated man. After completing his studies from Edinburgh, he must be thinking really high of himself. Why would he even look at me albeit my friends perceive the epitome of beauty in me? How does it matter when I do not have the best clothes to wear? He has not even given me a glance since childhood when he used to play with the rich boys of the village.
I don’t know why but I cannot stand the attention of the David. He admires me since we were 8 years old. But, my heart has always longed for Edward, even when he was not here. I felt like waiting for him throughout my life. I could never give in to the advances of David. He has money, but I have my dignity. I have saved myself for this man in all 22 years of my life. Now that he has arrived, I can feel the freshness in the London air. But, would he even look at me? He has not taken any notice of me even once in all these years.
“Oh! My God! What is my father doing here?” I come out to reality as I see him. I have to rush for home. He will kill me if he sees me here.
“Loftus! Where have you been buddy? The Duke has come to the town. Wait here to greet him.” I hear Uncle Walter talking to my father.
I steal my eyes from him and leave. He should not see me. Else, this is going to be the last day of my life.
“Oh Lord! Why did you do this to me? At least, you could have let me see him once. How can you be so cruel?” I cannot stop murmuring to myself on my way home when I see a swarm of royalties coming towards me. “Are they all with Edward?”
Even my jaw dropped as something just fell from the buckboard wooden wagon, and got crushed under the large spoke wagon wheels. The driver immediately stopped the barouche and one servant walking along it, approached the wheels to pick up the carcasses.
“What the hell is wrong with you people? Could you not keep my mother’s gift properly in the car?” Someone from the carriage came out and thrashed his servants. I just cannot take my eyes off this gentleman in beaver pelt hat. The elaborate cravat of his white shirt under the brown coat looked so gentlemanly. His waist looked like that of a wasp when he bent to pick up the remains of that glass souvenir.
“The mother had given this gift for the village chief and you fool drive so recklessly.” Even when I was bowed in the honor of this gentleman whom I suspect to be Edward, I could see his black leather laced knee length shoes.
“Only a rich brat from London could afford this.” I can hardly whisper in the presence of so many royalties.
He comes forward to sit back in his wagon when he turned to see me. I was expecting a rude remark from his eyes when he signaled his short height servant something. The man turned at me and whispered something to the man in the coat.
“Am I standing on the wrong path? Have I done something wrong? Have I …” The stout man interrupts my thoughts and said, “Sir Edward is calling you. Come fast you villager and be respectful!”
“Are you the prince of Brackcliffe?” I want to snap back at the creep but held myself to greet the Duke.
I go to the promenade and pay salutation to the duke with my head bowed, “You’re welcome to Brackcliffe, your highness!” I was not wearing a hat to rise in his respect; I smirked at the tubby servant. He insinuates me to kowtow to Edward…oops! The Duke. Else, he would behead me.
I was about to kneel down when surprisingly I feel a touch of hands on both my shoulders and smell a sweet lavender perfume surrounding me.
“What are you doing lady? You don’t need to do this. You are such a mesmerizing beauty. Whom do you belong to?”
I cannot believe my senses when I look up and see Edward holding me. I have to look away and come out of the comfort of this discomforting touch. “God take me away from this land or never let this man leave me.”
“I am Amelia Beverly, daughter of Loftus and Sarah Beverly. My father is a rice peasant of the village.” I can barely manage to introduce myself.
I can sense his eyes digging deep inside my soul when he said, “You don’t have to shy from me. Please look up.” I could not believe this is the same man who was scolding his thoughtless servants just a few seconds ago. “Are you married?”
“Did he just say that?”
“No.” I cannot control my smile.
“I have seen you for the first time in this village. Are you new here?” he asks taking off his hands from my shoulders.
“Please hold me again.” His touch feels so warm. “God forbid the entire world vanishes and I wish I could hug him till the end of my life.”
“No Sir. I was born in this village. We never happened to talk.”
“Oh! My Goodness! How could I miss such a beautiful lady in the village? Do you know me?” When I look up, I can see him taking a glance at my breasts and all the servants giggling briefly.
It is highly embarrassing because I knew it inside that I am going to be the laughing stock of the village in the next few hours, especially if my father finds out what happened, he will not allow me to leave the house again.
I briefly shook my head.”
“I am the Duke of Brackcliffe. I want to talk to you but allow me to leave, Lady.” He said gesturing at his servant to prepare the carriage.
He rode his barouche and left and stood in the dust that left behind.
“Is he really gone?” I can still feel his sensuous touch on my shoulders and the aroma of his perfume.
“Does education really change someone this much?” For the first time in my life, someone called my Lady. The honor that the Duke gave me has made me want him even more badly. “Is he feeling the same the way I am feeling?” After all, he admired my beauty explicitly.
“No, Amelia. Just rein your fantasies. Just look at your family and look at his. The difference is such a small word to convey the sea of disparity.”
I must not think of him again. “And what if father and Ellen find out about this encounter of mine?” I must cook up something to avoid their stark eyes. Ellen will judge in just a few seconds what I am feeling.
The wait and patience have finally paid today. I finally met him face to face. But, I could not believe that he is so courteous. Yes, he scolded his staff very badly but he talked to me equally sweetly.
Stop thinking Amelia and concentrate on cooking. Even the villagers must have met him by now. Father will be home any moment and will definitely thrash me for not cooking anything till now.
It was not easy explaining my first encounter with the Duke to Ellen and I bumped into Edward again. “How does he do that? How does he manage to shock, or rather surprise me every time? How does he look so engulfing every time?”
Today also, he is wearing nothing less than those expensive clothing like his father does. I could feel the soft creamy texture of his velvet coat when he jostled me and I almost fell in his arms. His warm breath was against my mouth and I could not help but close my eyes. The ecstatic feeling became, even more, intense when he did not release me for some seconds and I continued breathing his breath though my heart felt like it had stopped.
“Oh, please Edward! Please touch your sculpted lips on mine and never let me go! I just want to be in your arms forever.” Just when I could not resist myself, I felt the voice of buckles on his coat clinking. I come back to reality and open my eyes. His eyes are engraved into mine and I can see my reflection in his eyes. He suddenly apologized for touching me for so long.
“I am sorry Lady. I hope you are not hurt.”
“Hurt! Are you kidding me? This was the best moment of my life till now.” I could not stop grinning from inside. “Not at all Sir, I am absolutely fine. Oh, I spoiled your clothes. I am so sorry.”
“No, no, Lady. It’s Ok. Do not worry about my clothes. Where are you going by the way in such a hurry? You name is Amelia, if I am not wrong?”
“Yes, Sir, I am Amelia.”
“Your name is as beautiful as you are.”
I flushed at the thought of looking ‘beautiful’ in the eyes of Edward. “How does he do that? He always makes me blush in front of him”
“What do you do Amelia? Are you studying?”
“Yes, Sir, I am studying but not from any institution. My mother teaches me a few things. Besides, I also work as a governess for Mrs. Smith’s 4-year-old boy.”
“Is that the same Mrs. Smith who lives in the Donwell cottage?”
“Yes. Do you know her?”
“Of course, she is my paternal aunt. And her son Patrick is so naughty. How do you handle him?”
“He is a darling to me. He is not that naughty with me when I shower him with my love. Oh, no! Did I just say something inappropriate? I could see the gleam in the eyes of Edward as I said ‘love’.
“I should leave now. Mrs. Smith must be waiting for me.” Inside I know that she has two more servants to help her but I cannot stand here with Edward for long. Anybody from the streets may notice and complain about me.
“Listen, Amelia. Can I call you by your name?”
“As you please, Sir.”
“If I call you Amelia, you also have to call me by my name. It’s Edward. I hope you remember.”
I would rather close my eyes forever than forgetting your name.
“Yes, I do Sir. But, how can I call you by your name. It’s inappropriate.”
“You are an educated girl Amelia. Do not talk like this. You can call me Edward. And I insist you do that.” His tone commanded an order.
“Alright, Sir, by the way, I am fondly called Amy. I hope you did not feel offended by any act of mine.”
“Why would I feel upset? You are a nice girl. Will you accompany me for the ball tomorrow night at my place? I hope you know dancing?” His words popped out of his mouth like he threw a small fur ball at me and I could not but stay amazed at his daring offer.
“Don’t worry. You will be fine there. I will take care of everything else. Nobody will say anything annoying to you. After all, you will be my guest. You will be taken care of well. My parents and my family are really nice”
“Of course, they are. But, you are Royalty Sir, I mean Edward. And I am just a…”
“Do not ever say anything like that Amelia. You are an accomplished woman and I do not like people who underestimate themselves.” I can see an unreadable expression in his eyes. I cannot sense what he was thinking but his words fell onto my ears like music.
“I will have to ask my parents.” I can just manage to say this.
“Sure, you do. I will send a dress and a carriage for you.” He said. “I would take a leave now Amelia. See you tomorrow at the ball.”
I could not stop fantasizing a ball dance in the arms of Edward. But, what would I tell my parents at home? I have practiced a few rough steps with Ellen and Isabella but I have never danced in a real ball.
“Have I really grown that young to be asked for a ball? Does he like me or am I just another girl for him to have some momentary pleasure? I would not be able to bear the heartbreak if he leaves me shattered after he is done. I must talk to Ellen about this.”