"Did you see the way Cedric Lovelace was looking at you? He was practically devouring you with his eyes." Violetta squealed.
Violetta had invaded her room at a God forsaken time in the morning in order to give her every detail of the night before. Scarlette was only half-listening as she stared out the window at the bright morning. She wished she was still in bed or worse somewhere out there having an adventure.
She had barely gotten any sleep because of him. She hoped he was happy with himself.
She yawned and nodded at all the right times. Her mind kept wandering away to thoughts of Adrian. There was no escape from his rakish grin and his bedroom eyes. He had been so mysterious. She didn't even know what he really looked like. It was like one of those novels she had read in secret.
"Oh, I can't believe you didn't notice the way Trystan Everson was making a rake out of himself over you. He was flattering you like there was no tomorrow and you just stood there staring out the window like you are now." Violetta scolded, she came and sat next to her in the hopes of getting her attention.
"What has gotten into you, sister?" Violetta asked, worriedly.
Violetta rose, dusted herself off and sighed. "When you're ready to talk to me, I'll be in my room. I really wish you weren't so troublesome all the time, our time would be so much more pleasant."
Scarlette let her leave.
She was free to think of the other night. It had been so exciting. So exhilarating. She hadn't felt more alive than in that moment that Adrian had kissed her. Scarlette felt reckless and stifled, all of a sudden. It was like he had awakened something within her that refused to be dormant again.
She craved adventure all the more.
She wanted a chance to explore the world. Not even her favourite stories about the pirate Thief could make her sit still. She needed to get out of here and escape the cage her father had built. It hardly seemed possible but Adrian had managed to heighten her longing to be free.
A servant knocked at the door and gently swung the door open.
"M-ma'am, me lord wants ya d-down in the visitin' room. H-he wants ya to be wearin' somethin' p-pretty. " He stuttered. The boy who looked barely seven years of age seemed uncomfortable. He shifted from foot to foot, glancing everywhere except at her face.
She smiled apologetically at him knowing that he was new. The other messenger boys were never this nervous anymore. He looked up from his feet briefly and managed to show his teeth a little, in an awkward crooked smile at her.
The boy flinched at her approach though as if fearing a beating. She knew how that felt, to always be on edge. Scarlette felt sorry for the poor soul. She pressed a gold coin firmly into the palm of his hand, sharing another smile. Scarlette hoped it would brighten up his days here just a little bit.
"Michael, ma'am. Michael Smith but me friends call me Mick." He gazed at the gold coin in his hand with complete shock. Scarlette knew he had never seen that much money in his entire life. She hoped he'd spend it on something silly and could act like the child he was.
"Please tell my lord that I'll be with him right away and then you can have the day off. I hope you have a pleasant day, Mick." She tapped him on the nose playfully. His gaze was still affixed upon the gold coin. Mick looked at her for the first time.
He beamed up at her and then dashed off happily.
There was not a single soul to be seen. All was quiet. The large ceilings of her father's town house made structure seem all the more cold and empty. It would seem that many of the servants were still asleep from yesterday's ball. Scarlette couldn't believe her luck. She had to seize her chance.
This was her one window of opportunity.
She tossed her large brown cloak upon her shoulders and gathered as many jewels and coins as she could to barter should she need anything. She rolled them into the secret pocket of her skirt which she had once created to sneak books into her home. Her deep blue skirts swallowed the treasures hungrily. Scarlette had never been more grateful for her ingenuity in her large skirts.
She peeked out the door, checking for any movement before bolting towards the stairwell. Scarlette swore in a most unladylike fashion at the noise her slippers made against the floor. She pulled them off as quick as she could, hopping along the way. She was sure she would've looked quite strange at that moment.
She couldn't stay in this place and be forced into a loveless marriage, not even for her father and her sister. Her feet whispering against the marble stairwell, she felt like she was flying. Scarlette knew how close she was to freedom.
Her father's booming voice made her pause. "Would you like a drink, my old friend? Brandy, perhaps."
She didn't bother to check who it was. She knew it was odd for her father to accept any callers at this time in the morning, especially after her mother had died and drink had been her father's major vice. Scarlette shook her head, she had to keep moving.
She ignored her curiosity and crept slowly past. Scarlette could feel her heart beating tightly against her chest. She didn't like the thought of her father catching her running away. She shuddered as she thought of what he would do to her. She held her breath as her father laughed violently.
She didn't know what she'd do but once she got free of the house. She knew. She just knew she could find a crew to join and explore the world. She didn't care if she had to scrub decks for her entire journey, it'd be worth it.
She sneaked closer to the kitchens, tiptoeing towards the beautiful smell of freshly baked bread. The kitchens were always alive, no matter the time of day. She hoped no one would notice her if she exited through the servant's entrance.
Beth's voice echoed down the hall. "...that poor girl. I know, she's rich and all but I wouldn't want to be under that brute. Did you hear how..." Scarlette slowed. Could they have been talking about her? She stayed just out of sight.
"Any louder? Someone could hear. We don't want the master getting all pissy because we decided to talk about the truth for once." Another voice interrupted. Scarlette leaned in closer as began whispering. She could barely hear what they were saying.
She glanced back momentarily, assuring herself that her father was too preoccupied to come looking for her. She had to get moving. She took a deep breath. She would be willing to beg every single one of them to not tell her father. Surely, they'd understand her need to leave?
"Beth! Get to work station, you lazy mutt." A strong voice hollered. Scarlette jumped a little, placing a hand over her beating heart.
"Alright. Alright. No need to snap my head off." Beth sighed audibly. The sound of chairs scraping against kitchen tiles echoed loudly. "I swear that chef is a real pain in the-"
"Eavesdropping isn't a very lady-like pursuit, my lady." A smooth silken voice whispered into her ear. She froze for a moment but relaxed as she recognised the man behind her. His voice had deepened but it was in every way familiar. Scarlette could smell his fresh clean scent of mint and the spicy foreign air. She didn't need to turn around to know who he was.
Scarlette relaxed and smiled secretly to herself.
"I would hardly classify as a lady would I, sir?" Scarlette replied, her smile evident in her voice. She couldn't help but smile, there was something about him that always made her feel happy even as she worried her father would find out she was gone and come looking.
"That's for certain, my lady. The Scarlette Granville I knew would never let herself become a lady." He chuckled. Scarlette could feel his hot breath against her ear, he was so close. It distracted her from all else.
"Never? My natural grace and beauty could hardly be disregarded, sir. "
"Oh contraire that's exactly why you could never be a lady, you are too alive for sewing."
She couldn't control herself any longer. All her worries went with the wind. She spun around and threw her arms around him, hugging him as tightly as was humanly possible. She could feel his arms wrap around her, it surprised her how strong his arms felt around her waist.
"William Hawthorne how I've missed you! I thought you were still in India having your grand adventure with your father. You couldn't fathom how boring it has been without you. You dolt! You left me and lived my dream with your father. Oh, who cares I missed you." She gushed unable to stop the stream of words from her mouth. Scarlette blushed a bright pink at what she'd said, unravelling her arms from around Will.
He had been her best friend ever since she could remember especially since his father, Theodore Hawthorne used to spend so much time at her home. It had been inevitable that they would grow up together and explore the world as children.
Scarlette could remember the fateful day Will had gotten new coat that had made him look so grown up. He had been showing it off all day. In the afternoon while they were exploring the lake near her country estate, she slipped and fell in. As soon as Will saw her struggling in the water, he had jumped into a lake without hesitation, coat and all. They became true friend from that day on.
As a child she could often be found playfully ordering him about and even though he was four years her senior, he would oblige Scarlette's every whim. It all cameto and end four years ago when Mr Hawthorne set up enterprises in India and brought his sixteen year old son along to see the world. Will wrote to her every month of his adventures but a couple of months ago his letters had stopped arriving. Scarlette hadn't a clue why until now.
"I missed you too, Scarlette."Will said, his voice surprised.
Scarlette got a chance to study her friend. He was the same old Will. His familiar hazel eyes were more green than brown in this light, brilliant against his chestnut hair. His skin stretched over his strong cheekbones and almost cruel lips. It was strange noticing the differences. Will seemed more confident now. He seemed more powerful. Stronger.
"Will, I need to-"
"Scarlette!" Her father bellowed. She jumped.
Scarlette instinctively looked down the empty hall in the direction of the visiting room. Her father didn't seem to be looking this way. She had to leave before her father found her, the adrenaline started pumping through her veins. She tossed Will a look before grabbing his hand and running through the kitchen. They dodged the busy kitchen hands and servants as they bustled along with their business.
She had never been gladder they were spending their spring in their London town house. It wouldn't be too much trouble to find the nearest dock then her grand adventure would finally begin. Scarlette hoped Violetta wouldn't miss her too dearly, in hindsight she realised she ought to have written a note for her sister but it was too late for that.
She glanced around the corner. The streets were bustling with people once she got across that short cobble path she would be free. "What do you think you're doing, Scarlette?" Will's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Will, you can't stop me. I need this. I don't want to marry Cedric or Trystan or whoever father wants me to. I'm not ready. Please, don't stop me Will." She pleaded. She held her hand in his, looking up into his eyes.
"I wasn't planning on stopping you, far from it. I know how stubborn you are. I plan on escorting you, who knows what trouble a young lady could get up to in London."Will's eyes had that glint of trouble they got when he was up to something. She couldn't believe she had her dearest friend back and he was willing to help her run away.
"Oh thank you, Will! I am forever in your debt." She whispered enthusiastically.
"I intend to collect."Will gave her a playful wink, taking her hand in his and taking the first steps into their grand adventure.
A/N: First of all, sorry if this chapter wasn't like the last one. I'm getting back into the grooOOoove. I'll get the mojo back. And in addition I've got exams, so that's why it's particularly short and a little rushed. I just wanted you to have your chapter and chew through some boring background to set up the story. I'm sorry again.
I wasn't sure if I should pursue this story. To be completely honest I wrote this a while back and was curious as to how people would take it. When the beautiful Lidi Millegar and gorgeous dpulsk reviewed I really recaptured that spark I felt when I first started writing this. Big magical any-flavour-you-want icecreams for both of them!
I cannot thank you more for reviewing. Reviews are one of the main sources of my motivation, along with inspiration but that doesn't last too long. Keep the reviews up and I'll keep the story alive! Hope you like the update. I need at least 2 reviews per chapter before I publish the next one, so any creepers who want to see what happens next please review!