After a sleepless night, Juliana rose from bed just as sunlight breached the edge of the horizon and dressed with the help of her maid, Maria. She gathered a drawing book and pencils and then slipped downstairs and outside without Mrs. Reed taking notice of her. She glanced back once at the door and then lifted her skirts and ran for the road as quickly as her legs would carry her.

She had lain awake all night, staring upwards at her ceiling shrouded in darkness, only able to close her eyes for a few minutes before kicking about in a desperate attempt to get comfortable. James had told her once that he traveled to 'escape'. Even as the second son, there were too many standards to live up to, too many expectations placed upon his shoulders, and traveling allowed him to dodge those chains.

Fortunately for Juliana, her father never held her to any standards and never wanted anything for her that she did not want for herself. Once upon a time, her grandmother had chided him for letting her "grow wild" and Juliana found that she liked the idea. Wild; like the flowers in the field.

James suspected that their father's method of rearing them, of allowing them to just "be" as they were, stemmed from their mother's death. This, he said, applied especially to Juliana, who their mother had died giving birth to. She could do no wrong.

Juliana liked the way the ground, supple after the rain that had come in the night, gave a little under her every step. The air was thick with the scent of damp earth and every breath of it offered her renewal as she kept moving, determined not to slow down or stop.

John would take her and hide her away behind the lavish, oak-paneled walls of his home like some fragile bauble that might break if handled. He would do all he could to make her part of his life and, with no intentions toward cruelty, he'd impose on her the expectations their father had failed to hold her to. Perhaps she was an ingrate to think of him in this fashion. He never did anything with the intention of causing her harm. However, the fact of the matter was that he never seemed to consider what she wanted. He never even asked.

She finally understood James.

Juliana only stopped running when she reached an oak tree set out in the middle of a pasture far away from the road. One of the land tenants brought his sheep there to graze in the late morning, but she was alone for the time and she grateful for it as she fell to her knees at the base of the tree.

It could be an adventure, she told herself. To live somewhere else, to do away with all of the familiarity and replace it with newness and intrigue—how many chances in life would she have like this?

If only the idea weren't so terrifying.

Henry Fairchild had decided to quit the Fairchild's large family estate, Sutherland Park, when Juliana was just ten years old. By that time, James had left for school and John was married, leaving just him and his daughter in the cavernously large and lonely manor. A cottage, he realized, would suit the pair of them very nicely and the family house was promptly transferred to John as a wedding gift.

With her formative years spent at the cottage, it felt like the only true home Juliana had ever had. In fact, she could only vaguely remember Sutherland Park and nor had she seen it since leaving, as she and her father had never traveled so far to visit John. Her father had suffered an injury in his youth that had left him rather lame and travel had become increasingly difficult for him as the years passed.

Then, with her heart sinking a little more every time she thought of her father, she wondered how she could ever continue to live at the cottage without him.

Perhaps going with John would not be so bad.

Taking a breath she looked to the drawing book in her lap and opened it. The pages were littered with sketches of the flowers in the garden, trees, birds, and her favorite mare as well as many very rough attempts at recapturing the images of the servants, Mrs. Rush, and her father.

Her father's portrait was the only one she had managed to complete, as the servants had work to do at all time elsewhere while her father could remain still for as long as she pleased. It gave her some pleasure to look at now. She had been unhappy with it originally, but now, even though it was not the most accurate of portrayals, it did have something of a resemblance to him. Perhaps not so much in the features, she could concede, but there was something familiar about the tip of his head as he read from a book in his lap.

Taking her pencil up, Juliana began to gently darken the lines around his features, retracing them to preserve the drawing.

Her father was a man who relished new experiences and adventure. He wouldn't have stood for the idea of her whiling her time away in the cottage, mourning him and wasting her youth.

* * *

"I would like Juliana to come to Devonshire with me."

"Very well."

John turned quickly to face his brother, his lips drawn into a frown and his brows knitted together as he considered the other man. "Pardon?"

James chuckled as he looked to his brother. "Did you think I would argue with you?" he asked. "Juliana and I both assumed that you would come to that particular conclusion and who am I to argue with you? Even if I had somewhere to take her, I doubt you would consent to it."

"You could remain here…"

"I could. However, I think it would be best for Juliana to leave this place."

John's frown deepened as he moved away from the window to stand behind the armchair that his brother faced. He was lounging comfortably with a book in his lap and a small glass of whiskey in one hand—exactly as John had found him earlier that morning when he had come in to inquire after Juliana. "Why?"

James gestured around the room with his glass. "This place… Father died here, John. I believe that when we first arrived Juliana had holed herself away in his bedroom and had been doing so for several days. Any place but this should be better for her, I think."

"So you are not going to fight me about this?" John leaned into the armchair, propping his forearms atop the arched back. "After all, you two are much closer. I would think that she would be happier if you chose to stay here with her."

"Happier perhaps but still here." James looked to the glass in his hand and swirled the whiskey around gently. "Besides, I could do little for her."

John did his best to hide his displeasure with his brother. He knew that Juliana favored him and he could not entirely blame her for that. Over the years James had made an effort to be a brother to Juliana and the two were very alike on many levels, being very similar in temperament and sharing the same interests and opinions. On the other hand, John was nothing like his brother or his sister and finding a common ground with either one of them was next to impossible.

However, it was Juliana's hero-worship of James that made his refusal all the more heart-wrenching. No, John was not an excessively emotional person. Yes, he thought that Juliana could be at the very least melodramatic when the mood struck her. But it was a fairly simple truth: James was selfish.

Of course John wanted Juliana to live with him whether James was willing to settle or not. She needed good influences in her life. She needed to be around women who could set an example for her. But James' reasoning—that getting away from the house would do her nerves good—was flimsy at best. Eventually she would get beyond everything that had happened at the cottage, it would only take a little bit of time.

No, as always James was sidestepping responsibility. He loved Juliana, John couldn't doubt that, but he, as always, loved himself first.

"Very well, it is settled," John said.

"Would you like me to tell her?"

"No. I think I will do that myself."

James watched as his brother pursed his lips slightly in disapproval and raised an eyebrow over his glass. "I know that look," he said humorously. "What is it?"

"Nothing." John turned to the door and crossed the room in a few, smooth strides.

"John."

The man glanced backwards with one hand resting on the doorknob. "What?"

James hesitated a moment and then took a breath. "Juliana will be herself. No matter what you or anyone else tells her to be, she will always be herself. Do not try to change that. I want her happy."

"Then we want the same thing, brother."

"Forgive me, but I doubt it."

John nodded and pulled open the door. Once out in the hallway, he called for Mrs. Rush. "Where is Juliana? I need to speak with her."

"I don't know, sir. She's been gone since before you two were awake."

"Alone?" John howled incredulously.

It was then that James appeared at the door, slouching lazily into the frame. He waggled a finger at his brother as he lifted his glass to his lips. "She will be herself, John. Mrs. Rush, get my coat, would you?"

John lifted a dismissive hand. "Ignore him and get my coat. I will find her. Finish your drink, James."

* * *

Juliana looked up when she heard the approaching beats of a horse's step and grimaced when she saw who it was. Pulling her drawing book to her chest and gathering her pencils in hand, she stood to meet her brother as John slowed his horse to a stop in front of her.

"Good morning," she greeted.

"Where is your horse?"

"You have her. I walked."

With only a nod of acknowledgement, he dismounted. He gathered the reins in one hand and then motioned her ahead of him with the other. "Go."

Juliana bowed her head and scurried in front of him and with a gentle tug on the reins, he followed.

An awkward, heavy silence settled over them and Juliana wondered if she should take some comfort in the familiarity of it. She had never felt as comfortable speaking with John as she had with her father or James, as he was much harder to read and his disapproval of was much easier to earn. This, of course, made her think of how it would be to travel all the way to Devonshire with him and the thought was nearly unbearable.

Of course they were going to Devonshire. She could tell by the grim set of his lips that he wanted to say something, but was hesitant to approach it. If he simply wanted to speak of the weather or even of their father, there would be no such hesitation to his words.

"When do we depart?"

"Depart where?"

Juliana looked to him, having slowed her pace so that they were walking abreast of one another. "To Devonshire?"

John appeared genuinely taken aback by this. "How did you know?"

She shrugged and hugged her drawing book closer to her front. "A guess."

He hesitated at this and was careful to keep his eyes directed away from her as he thought over his answer. "I… I suppose whenever you are ready. I would like to go before the end of the month, but I understand if you would like a little more time here."

"What will happen to the cottage?"

"Father left it to James so that he will always have a place to go between his travels. We will keep on the servants and continue to rent the surrounding land to the tenants that have already settled here, also upon Father's request."

"Good."

John frowned slightly at his sister, raising an eyebrow.

The girl smiled. "I like the tenants. They have always been very kind to me and I am glad that Father considered them in his will."

John nodded and, feeling another awkward silence looming over them, he hastily began, "I think you will like Devonshire."

"I am sure I will."

She seemed to be determined to look anywhere but directly at him and John felt a pang of both sadness and guilt. "Juliana?"

"Yes?"

"If you do not want to go, we can make other arrangements. We have family in London who would be glad to accept you into their home for some time, I believe—you have always managed to find favor with our relatives. Perhaps you would prefer that."

Juliana felt a pang of guilt and began to shake her head long before he could finish his sentence. "Forgive me if I do not seem excited. I am looking forward to seeing Devonshire again. I'm sorry if I made you think that I was anything but."

John nodded, obviously comforted by this, and Juliana reached out to take his free hand, curling her fingers between his.

* * *

"This is the address I'll be staying at in London for the next month. I expect a letter every week."

"Of course."

"I love you, Ana."

"I love you too, James."

"Juliana?"

The girl turned quickly away from the window to look to John, who was seated across from her in the carriage. "Yes?"

"Are you well?"

"Very. I was just thinking."

John nodded and Juliana turned back to the carriage window. As the vehicle charged down the road, it rocked from side to side in a steady rhythm, disturbed only by the occasional bump or dip in the path. It was monotonous and the conversation had been strained for some time. It was daunting to realize that they were not yet halfway to Devonshire, but she tried hard not to think of that. Instead, she took another deep breath and told herself again that this would be an adventure.

"Mary is eager to see you again, I know."

Juliana looked to her brother and nodded. "And I look forward to seeing her again. We have not seen each other since your wedding, I believe."

"I have made a good many changes to Sutherland Park in the years since you have been there, but I think you will like. We have expanded the gardens and the library."

"Oh, good."

"I purchased a new piano forte just two months ago. Perhaps you will play for us sometime? I know that Mary only plays to humor me and takes no real joy from it. She prefers her needlework."

Juliana smiled. "That would be no trouble at all."

John nodded and could not help but feel rather pleased by the ease of the conversation now. Perhaps this would not be so difficult. "I have some friends who will be arriving in a few weeks to stay for the summer. You will never be wanting for company."

"Wonderful."

"You will make a lovely addition to our party, I think."

She smiled again even as a new anxiety began to brew within her. She would embarrass him. She knew it then. She may have been a gentleman's daughter, but she knew that she was nothing like what one would expect a girl of her breeding to be.

An adventure, sh


For clarification, the italics with quotes around them are from a conversation that has happened in the past, i.e Juliana reflecting on her and James' good-byes.

Whew, it's been a long time since I've updated, hasn't it? And you're all probably wondering why this isn't an update on Willa: The Conclusion. Truth be told I've been in the grip of a serious bout of depression (I'm bipolar--it happens) and I'm actually kind of excited to have even gotten this bit out. Hopefully Part 2 of the Conclusion will be up very soon and hopefully I'll be out of this funk even sooner. Anyways, thanks for hanging tight.

Heads up. This is going to be a good bit more social commentary-y than Willa. Now, don't misunderstand me: romance will still be a major feature, but it won't only be romance in the context of our main pair's interactions, but also some talk on the concept of what romance was in that time. This might end up kind of historical-fact heavy, but as always I will try to footnote everything in the Author Notes following every chapter to explain.

Now for some shameless self-promotion:

Please read and review Alpha's Dance and please read "Shields", my newest experiment (which will focus a good bit more on humor than any of the actual genres I have listed below it).


And now for something completely different!!

(Please note that this will not appear in any of the subsequent chapters. This is just what our main dude's thoughts will be regarding Juliana. He's the reserved, quiet type, so this isn't anything he'll ever actually SAY. It's just between him, us, and the internet. And of course it is in italics to denote thought.)

She staggered in through the doorway, laughing loudly and leaning into her cousin for balance. She was muddy from the knees down and her curls, which had fallen free from the pins assigned to restrain them, were now hanging around her shoulders and clinging to her long, slender neck. Her whole countenance, from her cheeks to her eyes, glowed brightly from both the cold of the rain and unrestrained happiness. Her shawl hung sloppily from her arms, dripping water onto the floor. One of the maids rushed to retrieve it as John began to scold Geoff for not having brought her home sooner.

It was then, amidst the confusion of servants trying to retrieve their dripping garments, that I finally caught her eye and she smiled.

She was, quite easily, the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.)

Now, as always, please, please, please drop me a review here.