Early on Monday morning Hazel had got dressed for school and had flung her bag over her shoulder. She stepped out the front door of the tavern, into the unpleasant weather that covered the sky. Richard smiled as he saw Hazel leave the tavern. "Hey."
"Hello." Hazel replied, she could see that Richard's flat cap and jacket were soaked by the rain. Hazel chose to stay underneath the small shelter from the tavern that she was receiving.
"Your father has agreed with me that you shouldn't be going to school today." Hazel looked confused. She lifted her hand, pointing towards the tavern and wondering when they had spoken.
"My father... agreed that I shouldn't be going to school today?"
"Yes." Richard smiled. "Instead you will be helping me with my work as the new doctor in this village. Just for the week." Hazel sighed and then followed Richard back to his work house. She didn't hate anything more than missing school.
As Richard pushed open his new door Hazel was keen to find out how they had improved the little house. As she stepped in she shook the water off her jack and gazed at the sight in front of her. Richard was sorting out papers and bottles and working whilst Hazel slowly walked around the small front room in amazement. "We have now got four rooms on the ground floor, enough space for my work and for the home needs. Then upstairs there is a bedroom for Cedric and myself, a spare room," He turned to look a Hazel, then back to his work. "and a bathroom."
"You've done an excellent job, especially in the two days."
"It is all furnished and somewhere that I can now call home." Hazel looked up at the ceiling.
"You fixed that hole then."
"Yeah." Richard mused. "All done and fixed." He sorted the rest of his papers out and then turned to Hazel. "Let's start the day."
As they quickly made their way down the road to try and get out of the rain Hazel asked, "So what are we actually going to do?"
"Well the surgery isn't open yet for people to come in so we are going to make some rounds. I have got a list of people that I need to see urgently, people who will need pills regularly and haven't being receiving them recently. I thought we would start off with a friend of yours." Hazel was confused, she hadn't a clue about who Richard was on about.
Richard stopped in front of the door and knocked. "Terry?" Richard nodded. "But he wouldn't..." The door opened and Terry smiled to see Hazel's face.
"Hello Mr Webber, I'm the new doctor in the village and I'm here to examine your legs."
"Yes, come in. Make yourself at home." Terry invited them in and closed the door behind him.
Richard set his equipment up on the small coffee table and when Terry managed to sit back down in his seat the doctor started his treatment. "Hazel dear, would you mind making me a cuppa?" She shook her head and then headed to the kitchen. Terry had had the kitchen wall knocked down so the living room now merged with the kitchen, it was easier for him with his bad legs, and it meant he didn't have to bother with any doors. It also made the downstairs feel much bigger and when the fire had spread throughout the house it became very cosy.
"Would you care for a cup of tea, doctor?"
"No, no thank you."
"Well just make one then Hazel, unless you would like one."
"I'm fine thank you Terry." Hazel was still amazed that Terry was actually seeing a doctor about his legs, he had always moaned about it was no use. The doctor that had left recently had left for a good reason and if God had wanted Terry to get his legs looked at then it would have happened. She wondered what had changed in the world that had had an effect on Terry to get his legs sorted out. "I thought you said you wouldn't bother with a doctor, Terry? You said the next doctor would be young and inexperienced." Richard looked up at Terry and smiled, Terry exchanged an awkward smile.
"Take no notice of her, doctor."
The doctor finished off his work and then Hazel and Richard carried on to the next appointment in the village. They spent all day walking around, visiting households and tending to people's health. That night they went back to Richard's house and Richard threw his briefcase down on the front desk, it would soon be the office desk in the reception area for the new surgery. Richard laid back on the desk surface and let a large yawn. "Good days work then I presume, doctor." Hazel laughed.
"Would you like to stay for a cup of tea?" Hazel thought about it, she took her pocket watch out and looked at the time. "Or something stronger?"
"No, I shouldn't. Thank you anyway Richard however I need to get back to the tavern, my father is expecting me to serve tonight."
"Okay. Same again tomorrow, I will wait for you outside to get straight down to business." Hazel smiled and then walked to the front door. "Make sure you get at least one hour of rest for your leg before you go to bed tonight." She grunted to herself. Hazel didn't believe her father will let her have an hour, especially as she had had a few days in bed.
As Hazel stepped through the door of the tavern she was immediately called to serve behind the bar. "I'm making a few changes to the tavern, Hazel." She looked up at her father with surprise. "Now all waitresses will wear a plain black dress with the white apron, to give a sense of tidiness and neatness in the tavern. You will also be required to tie your hair up from now on, much more hygienic. I am also thinking of buying a grand card betting table. It should introduce some more customers." Hazel sighed, she didn't know why her father was making these improvements, it was fine the way it was. Hazel was handed her new uniform and her apron and hurried up to her room to get changed.
As she looked in the mirror at her reflection she turned to the side and smoothed the dress. She was always conscious about her weight and how she looked, but she was a beautiful girl at eighteen and did not need to worry about her body shape. She turned back and tied her hair up, one of the new rules which she disliked, but she found out she looked pretty nice in the new outfit. However except for the apron, it made her look like a slave, and in some aspects she was. Her hair draped down her back in large thick curls. She made her way back downstairs.
She served behind the bar all night, many of the men came into that night to ease the hellish time they suffered from an early Monday morning. Hazel finished at eleven o'clock and then went straight to bed, she was too tied after a day with the doctor to give her leg a rest. She thought it would get enough rest through the night, so she didn't bother.
Next morning Hazel got out of bed and changed into her black dress she now had to wear when serving in the bar. She had taken a liking to it when she could wear it just by itself. It was a short dress, went just above Hazel knees, and then had buttons from her waist to her neck. It had a small curvy collar and long sleeves which finished at Hazel's wrists. She grabbed her bag and placed her journal, ink and scribe in it, just in case she had a spare time in the day.
Richard was walking down the street with his brother as Hazel left the tavern. She had quickly changed into her trousers and shirt because she had realised that the dress wasn't really appropriate for her work today. Richard stopped as he approached Hazel, he finished his conversation with his brother and then turned to Hazel. "Ready for another day?" However Hazel was looking at Cedric, he seemed to not care about Hazel anymore, he didn't smile at her as he walked past, he wasn't even looking at her. When she realised that Cedric was not interested she quickly turned back to Richard.
"Yeah." She gave an awkward smile. "Where are we off to first?"
"Terry. I need to see him daily to give him his tablets and redo his bandages on his legs."
They started of the day was fairly easy. They did not have to walk too far as all the patients were housed in the nice part of the village, the town square part of it. However when it became around six o'clock the doctor looked at his list and he saw that the next woman lived over the bridge and into the poorer side of the village. They slowly made their way over to the other side, across the uneven streets and down some narrow alleyways. They finally reached the designated house.
Richard knocked on the door and soon they were both invited warmly in. The woman was middle aged and was quite plump. Her hair was mad like a wicked witch but her smile was sweet. She sat the down in the living room and then the doctor carried out some customary questions.
After everything had been sorted out Richard had got done to actually examining Mrs Bell's arm. It had popped out of its socket apparently, it certainly looked that way to Hazel. As Richard was busy Hazel stood up and looked around the well decorated room, it was full of family possessions. Nothing worth valuable in a shop or at a market however priceless to the deer loved ones. Hazel walked over to the mantel piece and stared at her reflection at the mirror and then down at the small photo frames that stood perfectly on the wood. Photographs were rare and these were not of the best of quality but Hazel could see the magic they held. There was one photo which held a group of men. They were all dressed in fur coats and had fur hats. They were all smiling and looked like they were proud. All of the men held staffs in their right hand and at the top of the staff was the head of a snake. Some men covered it in their hand, they hid it from view however many showed off their symbolic staff. "Husband?" The doctor and Mrs Bell both looked up at Hazel. Mrs Bell's head dropped and slowly nodded.
"Yes." She answered again. "He had just joined the army for protection." Hazel smiled and then turned away. However her eye caught something shining in the corner of the room. It was the same staff that was in the photograph, stood right there in the corner of this little house. Hazel quickly turned to Mrs Bell and smiled.
The rest of the house was mainly the same as the living room. All cramped with possessions and belongings. As they were leaving there was a sweet girl whom came running down the hallway up to her mother. Mrs Bell swept her up in her good arm and gave her a huge kiss on her cheek. She then held the door out to Hazel and Richard and thanked them for their visit.
They made their way make to the surgery. On the walk home Richard asked Hazel how she was coping with the thought of marriage, and how she was coming closer to the greatest day in her life. Or so people believed. Hazel was having another meeting with Harry this coming Thursday, and then so on up until the marriage when Hazel would be living with Harry.
As they entered the surgery it didn't seem warmer than outside so Hazel and Richard made their way to the living room, at the back of the house. Richard lit the fire and then joined Hazel on the settee. Hazel lifted her legs onto the seat and rested her head on Richard's shoulder. She gazed into the fire flames and remembered the afternoon when she entered that little house on fire, at her own risk. She asked, "Have you ever felt trapped in your life, Richard?" He sighed turned to his left and poured out two cups of brandy. He handed one to Hazel and then stared down at his own, slowly swirling the liquid that lay inside. "Two years before I left for University with my brother... our mother died. She died in a fire." He took a pause and matched Hazel's gaze into the flames of the fire. "It was one day when my brother and I were walking home, we saw our house alight with fire. I started running towards it, I helped with the water, trying to put the flames out. It didn't work." He lifted the glass cup to his mouth and swallowed the whole drink. "While I was helping I hadn't realised that Cedric had attempted to get into the house. As he was doing so the fire caught his leg and he fell to the floor in pain... After the fire was put out there was no sign of my mother and I was left with Cedric to take care of, and help him to heal his injury. That was the moment that I felt the most alone and the most trapped. My life had been planned out for me. I would have to take my brother, raise him into his teenagers whilst trying to make something else of my life." Hazel stopped for a moment.
"Cedric had the same injury as I did?"
"Yes. That is why he held you so firm that day, he knew exactly what you were going through because he had lived through it." Hazel took her cup and let the liquid flow through her body. "But you know, my life soon got better when I went to University, Cedric was older I was enjoying studying. So will your life, it will take a corner and it will turn out to be for the better."
"Yeah tell me when and that would help a lot." Richard laughed. Hazel stood up, took the glass out of Richard's hand and poured them both another glass. As she sat down the door to the living room opened. Cedric popped his head around the doorway. He was surprised to see Hazel at his house so late.
"Err, I'm going out. I'll be back quite late."
"Are you going out with Eva again?"
"Yes, not that it is any of your business." He closed the door.
Richard turned to Hazel. "I know Eva is your friend, but I don't like her." Hazel turned away.
"I don't have friends anymore. Not since the news came out." Hazel spotted a newspaper on the floor, by the settee. She bent down and picked it up. As she flicked through it, she stopped at the fourth page and gazed upon her name. "See. It's everywhere. No way of escaping its grasp." Richard leant over to her lap where the newspaper was. He ripped the page out of the paper and squished it up in his hands. Hazel saw the strength he was putting in to it. He then threw it into the fire. Hazel sighed. "It doesn't help." There was a pause between them. "Why doesn't Cedric talk to me anymore?"
"He is very busy with school work, and he helps me out sometimes here in the surgery. He has being doing a lot of work recently."
Suddenly the door opened again. "Sorry Richard, the show has been cancelled and it has started to rain outside, do you mind if we come in to get warm?" Richard looked at Hazel but she was just starring at the carpet.
"Sure." Cedric and Eva made their way in. Hazel stood up and politely excused herself. "Well it is getting late, I better be heading back to..." Richard stopped her by nipping to sleeve of her shirt.
"No. Stay, for a little while." He ordered. She looked at him with pleading eyes but she gave in and slumped herself in the armchair as Cedric and Eva had sat down together on the settee. "We have just added to the fire so it should be nice and warm." Hazel smiled.
The time in the warm living room was very awkward. Cedric and Eva were sat close to each other, hands entwined. Hazel looked up at the clock that hung in the room, it was only a few minutes past eight and she didn't particularly want to go back to the tavern to then only serve all night. However that then meant she had to spend more time in the room. "So Hazel, I haven't seen you at school for a while." Hazel looked over to Richard, she wanted to make sure he would defend her, Eva was the type of person who wouldn't believe much without evidence, and when she was in a mood, she could really jump down your neck.
"I've been helped the doctor with some of his work."
"Yes." Richard turned to Eva. "After Hazel's brave rescue last Friday she has been having a bit of trouble with her leg, I wanted to make sure she was coping alright." Richard turned back to Hazel and smiled.
"Cedric told me that you were just fussing about it and seeking for more attention." Eva smiled at herself, she was proud of her performance and she wouldn't stop there. Richard gave Cedric a cold look, he was disgraced at his little brother. "However I suppose from your star appearance in the local newspaper, you must have become attention seeking and it probably wasn't your fault, you were never the cleverest in the class. I was always beating your marks, in all the exams." Hazel knew that was not true, and she wanted to prove that it wasn't true.
"Really, Eva? You know I don't remember it like that. Yes if you are kind enough to recall, the English exam just gone, I got a mark of 92%, you got... oh what was it? 86%. In fact all of the English exams I have achieved a higher percentage than you, and in most other exams as well." Richard was beaming with delight, he turned and poured himself another glass which he consumed in two seconds.
Hazel then also made her way over to the small end table to pour herself a glass. Eva was frustrated and trying to convince Cedric that he should stand up for her. "I don't know why Harry picked you to be his wife, he mustn't be thinking straight. You out of all the girls in this village would make the worst Lady of Cathshone. You wouldn't have the slightest idea of how to run a village." Hazel placed her glass back down on the table and starred at Eva.
"I think I have a bit more knowledge than you, and if you like I could mention your name to Harry this Thursday if you like, I could try and persuade him to change his mind." She smiled and then turned to Richard. "Thank you doctor for the drink it was very pleasant, but now I need to get back to my horrid father."
"I'll show you out."
Hazel and Richard left the room. When they got to the door Richard held Hazel back. She turned to him, he looked worried and concerned. Richard looked Hazel deep in the eye. "I know that hurt you and I just want you to know that you're not alone in this." Hazel looked out in to the street, it was raining, and felt cold outside. Hazel didn't want anyone to help her, she was perfectly capable of coping on her own. However Richard took hold of Hazel's chin and turned her face to him. "I have only known you for just over a week and I already adore you, you can tell me anything you know that, right?" Hazel hugged Richard and whispered in his ear,
"Richard, you don't know the half of it." Hazel ran into the street, as quick as she could towards the tavern to reach shelter.
Early Wednesday morning Hazel woke again and met Richard out in the square. They started their work day off with Terry, once again, and then made their way around the large village.
Throughout the day Richard tried to persuade Hazel to tell him more of her upcoming wedding but she also overlooked the question and swiftly moved onto a different subject. She had another meeting with Harry the next day, she was sick of it all. Her father had been counting on her nearly every night to help out in the tavern, she wasn't going to school anymore because of Richard needed help and she didn't hate anything more than missing out of school. She was planning on heading up to the capital to try and take her exams, however with this event with Harry she didn't think she would have time to and with so much she had missed she didn't feel like it was worthwhile. She would rather wait another year and be sure she would pass than to try and to fail.
Wednesday evening Hazel was up in the village square, as she was passing the town hall she walked up to the notice board and took a look. There was a range of different things; helping out at the bakery, would someone take care of my three children whilst I go get drunk, visit from the President a week on Friday. The list trailed on, Hazel didn't pay much attention until a certain name popped out to her. 'Professor J. Hughes will be visiting the neighbouring town for a book signing event. It is to be held at the main library on Saturday, three o'clock.' Hazel's heart started racing. Professor Hughes was a distant friend of Hazel's they had spent a few days working together in the capital when Hazel spent her week holiday up there. He was working on a mystery case at the time, hunting down a great heirloom that one of his employees was interested in. He had written a few books, Hazel had bought them all and admired them dearly. He had encouraged her with her work and told her that in late years to come some of her stuff could be even publishable. At the time Hazel thought the Professor was a gentlemen and his compliment was only to make their friendship grow stronger. She hadn't shown anyone her work and had little hope for it. She hadn't stayed in touch with the Professor therefore she had no one close to her whom would encourage her work.
As she made her way back to the tavern she smiled to herself. She knew she needed to start living more. She needed friends on the outside so when the time came and she would be copped up in that mansion she would not be blocked off from the outside world completely. She had already made plans with herself that when the time came when she would have to move in with Harry she would try and make as many excuses as she could to have trips to her father, make sure he was coping alright without her, and then persuade Harry to let her travel to the capital alone. It would be easier because she knew they had multiple automobiles and it would be very safe in the capital for her to go herself, it would grant her the time alone she needed. With all this in her mind she still felt disappointed that she had started to plan her life out. She didn't think it would be so dull that she would have to work hard to enjoy herself, but if she needed to then she would work to the very last hour to make sure she had a good life. A half decent one at least.
Thursday morning to woke up and she heard her father's calls from down below. She got up and quickly got dressed and faced her father in the kitchen. "What?" He turned around to her, he didn't look good. She hadn't noticed but he must have been overly drunk the night before.
"There is a dress waiting for you at that... shop again. You need to apologise and tell the Doctor you will have to leave his companionship at three o'clock. You need to go to the train station pick up the dress, come back get your hair done at the salon and then come back her to get dressed." She groaned at all the preparation she had to go through just because of a visit to the mansion. Harry had visited the tavern before, he knew what she looked like when she was not disguised as a doll.
"Do I have to..."
"Shut up and get my breakfast ready." She made her way over to the cupboard and started preparing the food.
The day grew longer and longer for Hazel. She tried as hard as she could to act a little interested in Richard's work but failed quite badly. Around half one they had finished with the patients for the day and had returned to the surgery. Richard had a series of interviews in the morning and was getting all the applications ready. Hazel jumped up onto the desk and swung her legs back are forth. "You might as well just go home, we're finished up on the visits all I need to do is sort out some documents."
"Well," Hazel said, standing up from the table. "have fun, and don't miss me too much." Richard gave a short burst of laughter. He turned to wish her good look tonight with Harry but when he did the door was closing and Hazel had gone. He hoped that she wasn't suffering too much inside her mind, but that was the one place he couldn't be. As much as he wanted to be.
Hazel pushed the door open and saw her father sat at the table reading a letter he had received and smoking his pipe. She wafted her hand in front of her to clear some of the smoke. "I thought we had agreed you wouldn't do that in here."
"Yeah well, you're not the boss, are you?" She didn't appreciate her father, it was the first time that marriage and moving in with Harry actually looked a better chance of life.
Tom purged into his waistcoat pocket and pulled out his late grandfather's pocket watch. He clicked the top open and stared at the tiny clock face. He mumbled some numbers to himself, his eyes making their way around the clock until he reached the large hand. He clicked it shut and slid it back in his pocket. "It's only quarter to two, what are you doing back so early? You needn't go and fetch your dress for another hour or so."
"The doctor had finished for the day so sent me away."
"You had annoyed him, have you?"
"No! We were finished that's all." Tom gave a grunt and a large ball of smoke rose to the ceiling.
Hazel started walking to the stepladder when her father interrupted her, yet again. "Letter came for you." He tapped two of his chubby fingers on the pile of envelopes that lay on the table. She stopped and picked them up. The first one was addressed to Tom and so she flung it back down on the table. The next was a letter to Cedric which obviously hadn't been forwarded to his new address, she placed it at the back of the pile but in between two of her fingers so she would keep it and give it to him herself. She didn't want her father to know; also she had been trying to think of a reason of why to talk to Cedric. He didn't visit the tavern and as she wasn't going to school she didn't see him there either.
The next letter was for Hazel, she flipped it around and saw the emblem was from the old band she used to play for, the King William Orchestra. She was immediately excited when she saw the emblem and placed that letter with the one for Cedric. The new few pieces of paper were just a few advertisements, Hazel wasn't bothered and put them on the table.
She grabbed her bag and put the letters in the flung it over her head so it rested nicely on her shoulder. "Where are you going?" Her father asked.
"To go pick up my dress."
"You don't need to go do that until three."
"Well I don't want to get caught up in the school rush with my perfectly new dress now, would I?"
"You'll be pushed for time, it leaves in a few minutes."
"I'll be fine, normally waits in the station for five minutes anyway." She walked towards the door. Just as she was leaving her eye caught the headline of the newspaper, which was balanced on the corner of the table. She picked it up and held it above her head whilst walking out the door. "Mind if I take this?" Before Tom could refuse she had closed the door and was heading out.
When she reached the train station she jumped up through the door and made her way along the corridor, searching for any empty cabin. She soon reached one and sat herself down. She placed her bag above and then ripped open her letter. She was fascinated about the content it held.
Dear Miss Hazel Marston,
I am pleased to announce that after the terrible disaster which occurred a few years back, and forced our King William Orchestra to close; now we have the chance to start over once again. We will be meeting at the town hall of Middleton at 6 o'clock on Friday. Please bring your instrument if you still have kept it, however if not please do still turn up, some can be borrowed from the local music industry which I managed to get my hands on. Other arrangements will be sorted out on the day. It is a chance to all gather together again and it will be nice to see how all have you have grown. It will also be a lot of fun, I assure you all remember my classic entertainment that I use to provide the Orchestra with, I'm I therefore assume that you all have the common sense to not refuse a brilliant offer like this.
Yours Sincerely, Mr Smith
Hazel closed the letter with a smile across my face. She knew the exact place her old violin was however she did not know what state it was in. Hazel hadn't played it for a while and it probably was cocooned in a thick layer of dust but that wouldn't stop her going.
She placed the letter deep into her pocket, she hoped that when she started living with Harry that the Orchestra would not be crossed off with all the things she would have to give up, if they were getting back together.
Hazel grabbed the newspaper form her side and extended it open. The train gave a chuff and it started slowly moving along the track. She quickly looked over some of the main articles and the weekly gossip about her village as the train entered the forest which separated the large village from the rest of the world.