|The Last Note
Author: SpiderFingers PM
The setting: A frigid ocean. The time: 1912. The people: The wealthy and the ambitious. The Titanic is about to set sail.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Tragedy - Chapters: 16 - Words: 28,618 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 01-30-13 - Published: 08-17-12 - id: 3051139
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
James walked along one of the upper floor hallways several days later. His situation, while still not particularly desirable, was now bearable.
But he'd managed to amuse himself regardless. The girl from the first meal had been present at every one since, though she looked more and more bored at each one. He couldn't help looking at her every so often, she intrigued him for some reason, that bored expression was not usually seen on a girl of her status. He'd made some discreet inquiries and found out her name: Abigail Pierce.
For all the airs she put on in accordance to her family, she seemed remarkably weary of the whole thing. The forced smile and arrogance disappeared smoothly into a disinterested expression when her mother turned away. The only way he recognized it was because he often found it manifesting on his own face around his parents.
Hence the fact that she intrigued him.
He passed the lounge and continued on, up to the deck. He went to the railing and leaned on it, gazing into the water.
"Well, if it isn't the avid gazer." Startled, James turned to see Abigail standing behind him, arms crossed, a stern look on her face. The loose strands from the elegant updo beneath her hat blew in the wind, which also made her long dress ruffle around her legs.
Unsure of what to say, James gave a small bow to her, taking off his hat. When he straightened, she gave a sarcastic smile.
"Not so insolent when there isn't a stage between us." She remarked. He grinned at her.
"I don't believe we're been properly introduced. My name is James Albany. I believe your name is Abigail Pierce."
She showed no sign of recognition of his name, surprising him. Most people, once hearing his name, would immediately begin ingratiating themselves to him. But she didn't.
"How nice." She said. "Why do you stare?" She sauntered over to the railing and leaned her back against it, still watching him carefully.
James shrugged. "You intrigue me."
Abigail showed no reaction to this statement, surprising him once again. Most girls would slap him and walk away. Clearly there was more to this one than at first glance.
"You didn't answer my question." She said expressionlessly.
James side-glanced at her stony face. "I watch you to find out about you. Like I said, you intrigue me. That is all, I assure you."
"Well, I would have you stop. It is rather disconcerting." She said stiffly.
"I'll think about it. In the meanwhile, I'd like to find out more about you through words rather than eyes. Won't you sit down with me?" He offered her his arm.
Her eyes flashed angrily. "Are you being so bold as to ask me to accompany you? That is most inappropriate."
James screwed up his eyes in mock thought. "Yes, I guess I am."
"I shall have you know something. You are just a musician. You are so far below me, I don't even see you when I look down. You are being paid to be here like a lowly servant, while I am a paying passenger on this ship. If you continue to annoy me, I will complain, and you shall have no job."
James opened his arms, encompassing the ship and the sea. "If I have no job, I am still stuck on this boat. There is nowhere for me to go. I will become a passenger just like yourself, and then we'll see what class differences exist."
"We'll see about that. Good day, sir." Abigail walked away, doing her best to be graceful, but anger made her steps sharp and quick.
She hated people who made her unsure of herself. Those people who had the arrogance to talk back to her. Oh, if her father had heard that conversation, he would have that impudent musician off this boat faster than he could blink.
I shall complain. She thought furiously as she walked in the direction of the beautiful cabin she occupied.
As she walked, she saw several people in uniform. Each tipped their hats to her as she passed, making her feel slightly better. She stopped one of them.
He stopped walking, glancing up from the paper in his hand. He inclined his head politely at her. "Yes, Miss. Pierce. How may I help you?"
"Could you please tell me who is in charge of the band who plays during the mealtimes?"
He looked surprised. "That would be me. Is something the matter?"
"Yes, actually. Something is. I would like to register a complaint against one of the musicians, the cellist, if you please. He has been very impudent and bold with me and I would like something to be done about it."
"The cellist, you say?"
"Yes, sir. He introduced himself as James Albany."
"Of course. Something will be done immediately." She missed the anger that showed though his calm demeanor and thanked him, walking off.
Mr. Albany disregarded what he'd been about to do and went straight to the dining room to have a word with his nephew.
He walked to the door and opened it into the small hallway. He walked into the first room and startled Jimmy out of what he was writing at the desk.
"Can I help you?" He asked, confused.
"Is James in this room?"
"No, sir. He's in the next room."
He didn't show his surprised that James hadn't insisted on the single room. He apologized for intruding and walked out, knocking on the next door.
"Come in." Came Thomas' voice.
He opened the door and found Thomas reading on his bed and James tuning his instrument as if he'd been there the whole time.
Ignoring Thomas, Mr. Albany turned to his nephew. "I just received a very interesting complaint."
"Did you?" James asked without looking up. He was trying to conceal the triumphant grin threatening to spread across his face and failing miserably. He'd come straight back here, having expected this.
Thomas stared, open-mouthed, at James. How could he speak to their employer in such a way?
"From a certain Miss. Pierce. She claims you have been bold and impudent with her. Is that correct?"
"The girl must be imagining things." James said. "I haven't done anything."
His uncle lost his patience. "Now hear this Mr. James Albany," His voice shook with barely concealed anger. "I will not have you bring shame upon the Albany family, or drag it through the mud in any way. You have caused embarrassment to me and to the entire family name. If I find that you have done such a thing again, I may be forced to do something far more drastic than a simple talking-to."
"And what would that be?"
"Your mother will get involved and believe me, you do not want your mother involved with something concerning the dignity of the family name. Is that clear?"
James stood up in open mockery. "Of course, Uncle. I know as well as you do how eager you must be to speak with your sister-in-law. Please, go right ahead."
His uncle glared at him in unconcealed contempt. "This will not happen again." He warned, then exited the room.
James sat again with a sort of disgust, picking up his cello once again.
"He is your uncle?" Thomas' voice broke his concentration again. He gave a wry smile.
"Yes. That wonderful man is my dear uncle, my fathers brother." He spat. "I hate the air that man breaths. I consider him an embarrassment to the family just as much as he considers me."
Thomas knew he should nod and leave it at that, but he couldn't help but ask, "And this Miss. Pierce?"
James glanced at him. "That is none of your concern."
Thomas had overstepped his boundaries. "Of course." The two went back to ignoring each other as if the interruption had never occurred.
If James was being honest with himself, Miss. Pierce more than intrigued him. He truly did want to talk with her; it would be extremely refreshing.
You're just a musician…
I'm just a musician. He mused, rolling the words around in his head. He liked it much better than, "You're the wealthy James Albany?"
She had no idea who he was, and he liked that. A lot.
It was so different for him to be seen through his music rather than his name. Now, if he could just get her to respect him through his music…
Abigail returned to her cabin and shut the door. Thank goodness she had one to herself. She required her own space.
She opened the closet door and propped it with a book to stay that way. Her eyes passed over the rows of beautiful dresses and fell on the mirror on the inside of the open door. She stepped back, examining her reflection.
She was a pretty girl, though right now, two bright patches of fading anger colored her cheeks. Her brown eyes were warm and complimented her dark brown hair, currently up in swirls of curls and pins under a tasteful hat. She took the had off and removed each pin carefully, allowing her hair to fall about, fast her shoulders and down her back.
Smiling at the renewed comfort, she bent down and picked up the book, allowing the door of the closet to swing shut.
She settled in a comfortable armchair, ready for some quiet time to herself before supper began in an hour.
She hadn't read more than a few sentences when she looked up, eyes confused. She looked at the door, sure she'd heard music coming from behind it. It was very clear and it seemed to be coming from down the hall.
Abigail shut her book and twisted her hair into a simple bun to go into the hallway. She opened her door and stepped out, almost running into the person sitting there.
Her mouth dropped open. At eye level was the rather young-looking violinist, playing his violin with a very disgruntled look on his face. And next to him…
Her eyes narrowed at the person the violinist was accompanying, it's low tone matching the violins high harmonies.
Abigail shook her head, stepping back inside her cabin and slamming the door in their faces.
The high music stopped abruptly.
"Brilliant plan, Mr. Albany." Came the violinist's voice over the continuing cello music. "It looks like she really fell head over heels for you."
Apparently James was ignoring him for the cello continued to play. Abigail heard a snort of disgust and footsteps growing fainter as the violinist stormed away. The low sound of cello strings continued.
Abigail decided to ignore it and maybe he'd go away. She settled back in her chair and picked up her book, but she couldn't concentrate. The music grated on her ears, disturbing her.
She huffed a sigh, slamming her book closed once again and opening the door.
James didn't even notice the door opening. His attention was focused on the music coming from his experienced fingers. His eyes were closed and he swayed with the rhythm of the tune.
As she watched, Abigail noticed a softening of his features. The perpetually angry expression was gone and he looked relaxed. Clearly, this was what he loved.
She cleared her throat after a few moments of music and his eyes flew open, his cheeks turning slightly pink. But he recovered quickly.
"So the beauty captivated you, didn't it?" The insolent grin was back, all traces of what had been there in its place a moment ago gone.
She didn't dignify this with a response, simply turning on her heel and slamming the door shut a second time, but still not missing the grin widening on his face.
James placed the instrument carefully in its case lying beside him, standing up and leaving the hallway back to his own room. He had to get ready for supper.
But he would suggest they play that song tonight.