Hello anyone who is reading this chapter. Thanks to R. E. Musekamp it is sort of improved version of my previous one.

1819, Dec 27

A very happy period for people of England, with the defeat of Napoleon, post Christmas spirit was almost overwhelming, children were still stuffing their mouth with delicious plum pudding. But there was a certain gloom among the young gentlemen and ladies sitting on the rocks of Liverpool. Now one may wonder the reason of such unhappiness was a death.

The reason for this gloom was the future duchess of Liverpool or to be more precise, the duke's upcoming dreaded nuptials. The previous duke (now dead due to age) owed a lot of debts to the Earl of Blessington,his second cousin who wanted the return of his loans by offering his only daughter to get married to the son of deceased duke.

The attention of the brooding messy brown haired youth shifted as a auburn haired petite lady came. Her emerald eyes filled with hurt,kindness,sorrow and understanding. Their eyes met and his heart suffered a painful squeeze with a desperate longing to take her slight frame in his strong muscular arms and hide her from the society's cruelness.

"Oh, James! in the name of God don't look at me like that, it makes me feel terrible about myself. I fell in love with a man who is going to marry another woman," The lady cried.

"Here take this handkerchief, dry yours tear Serena, it breaks my heart to see you break down," James replied with heavy heart putting his silk handkerchief in her shaking outstretched hands. Their fingers touched and james pulled away his hand from refraining himself to hold her. Others pretended to not notice. Serena swiped her freckled cheek quietly and sat near her female companion. Minerva, her childhood friend comforted her immediately. Gilian offered her muted pity.

While Carson and Toby felt utterly helpless for unable to help the young lovebirds. A soft disapproving tut tut came behind them. They all raised their eyes to see a matronly elder woman with hands on her hips. "What is this, my Lord?"she said good naturedly. "You are beating yourself up for a wench."

"She is not a wench Mrs Lambert,she is the daughter of the earl of Blessington,a proper well-breeding lady"ever the gentle person Carson chided softly. "Hmph" pouted Mrs Lambert, "any off-spring of that vicious earl can never be proper."

"Hear hear", said Toby who doesn't belongs to novelty but having a wealthy merchant as father enabled him to go Cambridge where the gentlemen all befriended.

"I miss Benedict" sighed James. At the mention of the above name Minerva blushed prettily. Gilian gave her a knowing look. Serena offered a little smile. "We all do James we all do"replied Carson.

"Any idea when he is coming back?"asked Toby. They all ignored it. "As much as you two used to wreck the house and gave me back pain not to mention headache i too miss that lad." sniffed Mrs Lambert.

James gave her a apologetic grin that tugged Serena heart and rose. "It seems waste of time to sulking for a silly rich wench. Let's go play say Serena? Do you think can managed to not loose before five minutes?" asked James. "Hey, I am the champion at playing checkers" she stamped her feet. "Whatever you say you are just a sour loser." They went back to the manor bickering among themselves. Others shaking their head good naturedly.

At night when James lied on the bed the merry afternoon fade away and the impending doom of marriage hover on his head. He was getting his wedding license tomorrow. Sighing he fell into sleep remembering his non-troubled,carefree past.

1799, Feb 12

"Let's see what is for my little prince, shall we?" laughed the Duke of Liverpool at the skipping excited boy with messy brown locks and over eager hazel eyes. The stable boy brought a brilliant white pony into their vision. Little James declared his love for his father and ran with all his energy to the nervous pony. Chuckling softly the duchess chided, "You shouldn't have brought him a pony, My lord. He is barely past 5 summers." "Ah my lady, our boy must get the best of everything. After all he is our only son" boomed his voice.

1807, April 26

After getting the basic education from his tutor, young James got settled at Eton college. Where he befriended the mischievous Benedict King, son of the Earl of Barrymore. They were keen to break every possible rules, their tutor kept yanking their own hair out of frustrations. But many person enjoyed their pranks. They both were smart too. Benedict father was cruel to him because he was his second son. He gave all his attention to Benedict's elder brother and basically ignored Benedict. So he got close to the parents of James whenever they visited. They also began to adore him as their own son.

Toby Towers get used to bullied because he doesn't belonged to novelty. They took him under their wings and they all became friends despite Toby's difference from them. James and Benedict grew handsome. Infact Benedict became so devilishly handsome that lady birds at the road began giggling and simpering whenever he went. His stylish black lock and smothered grey eyes became popular among ladies. He was a flirt too. Toby on the other hand remain short and sturdy. But he was always unwavering loyal to his friends.

1812, Sept 20

James dad used his influence to get Toby into Cambridge. Benedict's rift with his father grew more pronounced and he practically began to live with James. They met a quiet and shy lad named Carson Wildsmith, son of a viscount who also joined their friend group. He was most mature among them. He was also rather poetic. They used to go to the Four Horse Club where they bribed coachmen to give them the reins of vehicles. Then they used to drive them at break neck speed along very poor British roads. They were adventurous, reckless, young and carefree. James and Benedict became as close as twins.

During that period whenever they came Liverpool for christmas break or holidays they had the pleasure of teasing an cute and uptight lady Miss Serena Honeywood. She was the daughter of a knight serving for James's father. Since the mansion was as big as a castle the Duke of Liverpool allowed some of his trustworthy employees to stay with them. Miss Serena used to heartily disapproved of James and Benedict's rather immature behaviour.

She was always in the company of her childhood friend Minerva Tucker, the resident flirt. James acted more immature than ever in front of Serena in attempt to impress her. But the poor boy's attempt always backfired as the lovely Serena openly condemned him. Only she could manage to inflate his ego by a few chosen words. But she was genuinely liked by everybody. Somewhere along that time Miss Gilian Darkin arrived at Liverpool as ward of the Duke. She was only 13 at that time. Despite the age difference she, Serena and Minerva grew rather close.

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