Author: Justice Bana PM
Eva has been used by men all her life. She thrives in the world of cards and gambling in 19th century England, and can't seem to find her way out. When one man goes to far, she will do anything to get away but her scandalous past never seems to leave her.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 8 - Words: 11,663 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 07-04-05 - Published: 02-20-05 - id: 1840045
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Pratt left immediately after he won that card game. He gathered Eva, refusing to speak to her at all. Eva was heartbroken that she did not see Geoffrey until the next week.
At the sound of the doorbell, Eva jumped up from her chair excitedly. Each time a visitor came, she expected her Geoffrey to be there, ready to whisk her away in marriage. However, the three visitors that had called upon them that week were not Geoffrey. Still, Eva rushed to the door, peeking her head out from behind Reeves.
At the door, she was pleasantly surprised to see Geoffrey. He was dressed rather formally in a black suit with a long tail and a matching top hat. Eva was so happy to see him that she disregarded Reeves' presence there.
"Geoffrey!" she exclaimed, bounding out from behind Reeves. His eyes drifted her way and he bowed courteously.
"Mademoiselle," was all he said to address her. His voice was formal, not at all personal. Eva frowned her small lips and set them in a grim line. Something was not right.
Geoffrey turned his attention toward Reeves. "Could you please tell Monsieur Hemingway that I have called on him for an urgent matter."
Reeves nodded, and took Eva's arm. Once they were out of the room, he spoke to her quietly. "It's best if you are not left alone with him. I have already told you mademoiselle, he is trouble." Eva said nothing as she was led away. Her mind was brewing with possible reasons for Geoffrey's visit. She assumed it had something to do with the business Geoffrey had been attaining to.
Reeves led Geoffrey into Pratt's office. Once the butler was out of sight, Eva scurried forward and began to listen to their conversation through the door.
"You've tried relentlessly to gain back your father's title," Geoffrey said smugly.
"It's my rightful title and I will bring this case to the courts if you do not allow me my due."
"I would not act so quickly, Monsieur," Geoffrey said. His tone was somewhat spiteful and it disturbed her.
"What have you done?" Pratt replied harshly. Eva heard the shuffling of a chair, the sound of Pratt abruptly standing up.
"Your ward," Geoffrey began to pace the room, the heels of his shoes clicking against the wooden floor. "Your precious little Eva," he said once again. "Do you have plans of marrying her off?"
Eva's heart began to pound at the sound of marriage. Geoffrey had really come for her! She moved closer, eager to hear the next words from her sweet Geoffrey's mouth.
"You could never have her," Pratt spat angrily.
"Ah, but who else would want her…now."
"What have you done?" The anger in Pratt's voice had faded. He now sounded worried.
"Your sweet, innocent Eva is not what she seems. She is no longer innocent. Who would want a wife that was not a virgin?"
Eva gasped as she heard Geoffrey reveal their intimate secret. There was a crash from the inside as something fell. Pratt had rashly knocked the lantern off his desk in his rage.
"What do you propose?" he said through gritted teeth. He was doing all he could to restrain himself.
"I propose," Geoffrey said, unfazed by Pratt's fit, "that you hand over Eva. I will marry your sweet ward and my father shall keep his title. I will also be entitled to half your fortune, of course."
In the room, Pratt was fuming. "Where is the little wench?" he cried. Eva heard him departing from the room. She hid herself in the dark corner, and Pratt did not see her. For a moment, she let a tear slide down her face. Geoffrey had betrayed her. He had turned Pratt against her. After the solitary tear and dripped from her cheek, she wiped away the wetness. That's when something inside her snapped.
Before she could sort out her thoughts, Eva opened the door to see Geoffrey reclining in Pratt's armchair. Eva's nostril's flared at the sight and she strode forward.
"You!" she accused him through gritted teeth. Now, tears were forming in her eyes once more. This time, however, they were caused by such an intense fury that she could not think straight.
"Eva," Geoffrey said with a lazy grin. "Lovely to see you."
"You scum!" she screamed. "You…you used me! How could you?"
Geoffrey stood up, as if respecting the presence of a lady in the room. This action only enraged Eva the more. "You can't tell me you didn't have fun, can you?" he said stepping closer. He wrapped his arm around Eva's neck and began to play with her hair on the opposite side. Eva almost forgot her rage as she felt his arm around her. "Besides," he added, "We'll be married now. Isn't that what you wanted?"
Eva finally found the courage to push him away. "You used me to get to Pratt's money and humiliate him," she said. As another tear slid down her face, she brought her hand up, ready to slap him. Geoffrey caught her wrist and pulled her away, causing her to fall onto the couch.
"You're a woman and you'd better learn to heed to her husband," he warned her. Eva trembled as she straightened her ruffled skirt. She had never seen this side of Geoffrey before and it scared her.
Unfortunately, Geoffrey made the mistake of speaking those words in the presence of Pratt. When the younger man saw him standing in the doorway, he looked surprised. Geoffrey quickly regained his composure though.
"Are you ready to agree on terms?" he asked. Pratt shook his head, like a bull ready to strike its target.
"Get out of my house!" he roared. Geoffrey fell back against the desk, shocked by Pratt's rage. Pratt rushed forward, ready to strike at the Beauxmoines boy. However, Geoffrey dodged his punch and stood by the doorway.
"This is not over," he declared. "And your lovely ward will never have the chance to marry. I can ruin you." With that, Geoffrey turned around and left the room. Pratt turned his gaze to Eva and she cowered against the couch desperately.
"Leave my home," he said calmly. "I will not put up with this in my house."
"But Pratt…" she tried to protest. Pratt's composure scared her. It was like he could snap at any moment.
"Eva, I'm being very lenient. Go." When Eva did not move, she found Pratt in front of her in an instant. His long, lean fingers wrapped around her throat. She gasped for air. "Get out of here!" he growled. Eva whimpered, but stood up after he removed his hand. After gathering her skirt, she rushed from the room without looking back.
She did not have time to grab any of her belongings. Eva remembered Reeves' story about her mother and how she had gone insane. She could not stand to think what Pratt could do to her. She ran out of the house and slammed the door behind her.
When Eva arrived at the front gate, she slumped over and began to cry. She cried for her naiveté and for her childish love. She cried for her lost life and her desolate situation.
Finally, a voice brought her out of her wallowing. The butler cleared his throat.
"Reeves?" she asked, embarrassed that he found her in such a state.
"I'm sorry about your situation," Reeves said softly, comfortingly. He offered his hand for her, and she took it gratefully, picking herself up. "Mademoiselle," he addressed her, "I wish I could do more for you, but take this, please."
Eva looked at the small velvet purse he had extended. She took it in her hand and felt the weight of coins.
"I couldn't," she began, but Reeves placed his large hand in front of her.
"You must," he said, "You will need it soon." He then pulled out a wooden box and handed it to her. Eva slid the top
off and looked inside. There was a deck of cards, neatly laid there. "Just a token to remember your beginnings," he said. And with a wink, he turned around and headed back toward the Hemingway Estate - the place Eva had formerly called home.
Eva sat alone on a boat bound for Wilmington, England. The stares she received from the other passengers embarrassed her greatly. A woman was never meant to travel alone. She sat in the back of the boat, in a low class seat. No tears escaped her. She promised herself she had cried for the last time. She would be strong now. She would go to Wilmington and find work, leaving her life with Pratt behind.
When the boat finally docked, Eva was the last to leave it. She was not allowed to depart in front of the other, more respectable women. Eva only had her small coin purse to carry as she made her way through the familiar town. Her only problem was finding work. And that proved to be a rather large problem.