A/N: Hey, this is my first story I'm posting here, it's based on Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical "Hamilton", which I obviously have no rights to. The musical is based on history so I don't have any claim to that either... Basically I'm just writing about Angelica because she is too perfect and I love her. Hope you guys do too, enjoy!
Angelica and Eliza faced each other silently as they lay in the double bed, Eliza simply closing her giving in to the endless tears which tumbled down her cheeks and Angelica cupping her sister's hands in her own and occasionally placing a soft kiss on them. She used to comfort her sister like that when they were children if something ever upset her. Only then, you could always depend on Peggy crawling under the blanket and playing with Eliza's hair. Their absence of their sister seemed to leave a chill in the bed where once she would have warmed it. And, of course, when they were children it was never really a problem that Angelica couldn't solve. But she had no idea what to do now, when Alexander had shattered her sister's world by seeing another woman and telling the whole world about it.
The candlelight cast flickering ghosts over Eliza's face, and two circles reflecting the light appeared as Eliza finally opened her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear her vision and see her sister clearly in the dim light. She swallowed, before speaking for the first time since Angelica had arrived earlier that day.
A sad smile appeared on Angelica's face as she replied "You don't have to thank me. I should have been here sooner."
Eliza's eyes opened wide as she protested, "You're here two weeks after..." She trailed off, unable to say the words which had plagued her mind for weeks: Her husband had betrayed her and then chosen to save his reputation and sacrifice hers by publishing all the little details.
She sniffed, before continuing, "It's a miracle that you're here already – I bet my letter hasn't even reached London yet."
Angelica nodded. After a pause her smile faded and she asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"
Eliza closed her eyes once more. When she opened them they were filled with tears again, but also a new flame of determination. She whispered, "Okay."
Hours had passed, but the silver moon was still in the sky when Eliza fell quiet. Through all that time she had spoken of her anger, heartbreak and embarrassment and all along Angelica had held her hands and listened. Now, she pulled her sister's body to hers and hugged her tight. There were tears on Eliza's neck when she rested her cheek there, but Angelica had cried her own tears while she listened to her grief-struck sister mourning the death of her marriage so ignored the dampness, instead inhaling the familiar scent of soft skin. So long apart, yet still, as it always had been, the most comforting thing in the world to her was to have her sister at her side and be able to breathe her in. She knew Eliza felt the same, even more so since Peggy died a few years ago.
As the younger woman's fingers clung tightly to her older sister's nightdress, she sobbed, "What do I do now?"
Angelica felt a tear roll down her face as she pulled away and kissed Eliza's forehead. Her chin rested there as she murmured, "I don't know, Eliza." Silence for a moment. Then she drew back to look her sister directly in the eyes and continued, "But I'll be here for you, whatever you choose, for as long as you need me. Okay?"
Eliza smiled for the first time since she read her husband's article – only a little, but it was something. "Okay." As Angelica laid a hand on her cheek and brushed away a tear, Eliza whispered, "What did I do to get a sister like you?"
Angelica felt her chest expand with love as she replied, "You've been a sister like you."
A bubble of laughter escaped from Eliza, taking them both by surprise. "You're normally so witty you scare people away, I didn't know you could be so sweet," Eliza teased.
Playing along, Angelica answered, "Oh, please, you think I could've become Mrs Church with a sharp tongue? John might die if he heard me talking like I used to!"
Eliza smiled, but as another thought struck her it faded away. "Will John mind you staying here for a long time?"
Angelica almost rolled her eyes, but just held back. "My dear husband is so dull he's probably just excited to have some sort of change in his life. And considering the attention he pays me when I'm at home, I doubt he'll even notice I'm gone."
There was a long pause and Angelica worried that she'd said too much about her home life. She didn't exactly love her husband, but she didn't really regret her choices unless she received letters from America reminding her of the life she left behind.
"Angelica, are you happy in London?"
The question took Angelica by surprise and she blinked, opening her mouth to reply then realising she didn't know the real answer. She had a son, and good friends, but...
She was saved by a sputtering sound, as both candles burnt down to the bottom and went out, throwing them into near-darkness. Both women gasped in shock, before giving half-hearted laughs at their own fear. "I'll go and get some more candles."
"They're in the kitchen, the first cupboard on the left."
The cold stone tiles of the hallway chilled her as Angelica walked barefoot to the kitchen. But when she reached it, she found the door ajar, a soft glow creeping through the gap. She pushed the door open to see Alexander, hunched over the table with a candle illuminating the hollow circles of his eyes and the bottle of wine clutched in his hand, almost empty. He looked up at her and his empty face took on a bright new light as he smiled hopefully.
Her heart leaped when she heard the voice she adored say her name with such delight. Immediately she scolded herself internally, her grip on the candles tightening. She froze as he stood and almost fell down again, steadying himself on a chair, then stumbled to her. He searched her face, as she made sure to keep her expression neutral, unreadable.
"Angelica, I've missed you so much..." She looked down as he murmured to her softly, a slur in his words. He reached his hand slowly to hers as he continued, "No-one understands what I'm trying to do, but you... You've always understood..."
His hand had almost reached hers, and she stared at it as she remembered all that he had done:
Flirting with her the night they met when he knew she could never be with him, then moving straight on to her sister without a backwards glance; the flood of letters which teased and taunted her by trying to be cryptic and mysterious, but which were really just so stupidly complex that she couldn't tell if he felt the same way for her as she did for him; bringing another woman into her sister's bed when he was supposedly too busy to spend time with his family; and that morning, when she had arrived, that arrogant, ignorant, self-absorbed, stupid, stupid, stupid...
A few journalists waited at the gates of the Hamilton's home. Of course she was made to give her name, but she refused to say anything more. No sense in dragging her sister into the media yet again. She made her way up the short path and rapped her knuckles on the oak door three times. Inside, she was a tangle of nerves, but to all the world she looked the perfect lady, dignified and proper. Then the door swung open, and her mask almost fell away as her chest ached at the sight of the man she loved.
Alexander had bags under his eyes and a look of defeat on his face, yet when he saw her he smiled with sad relief. The first thing he said was, "You came for me."
His hope struck her, making her feel guilty somehow, though she knew he was the one in the wrong. "I – no, I –"
"Angelica, you don't know how hard this has been for me. I can't believe you're here, I've needed you so much..."
He trailed off as his sister-in-law broke eye contact and stared at something over his shoulder. She felt her heart break as she saw Eliza appear, a thin, pale shape in her nightdress with empty eyes and shaking hands.
She looked back at Alexander and clenched her fists, so full of every emotion imaginable. "I'm here for my sister, not you. You don't deserve any pity after all you've done."
His eyes clouded over, "But I thought –"
"You thought you meant more to me than my own sister? She will always come first, before anything else..." She swallowed before adding, "Even myself." Her hissed reply silenced him, and she shouldered her way past him to her sister. She heard some murmurs from the reporters, but ignored them, as she tried to ignore the feeling of Alexander's eyes burning into her back: it was too late for him to win her over. Even so, walking away from the love of her life, especially when just moments ago he had seemed like he truly cared for her, felt like with every step it was her own heart that her sharp little heels were stepping on.
His fingertips were just brushing hers when she quickly snatched her hand away and raised it to slap his face. In his drunken stupor he said nothing, only held his stinging cheek.
"You're wrong. I will never understand how any woman could seem a better option than Eliza. A hundred of the best women on this earth could not match her, in beauty or intelligence or kindness or anything at all."
He stared dumbfounded for a moment. Finally he stammered, "But...You love me?"
She closed her eyes for a heartbeat, and when she opened them she saw clearly for the first time in years. "No. I did, but now I see that you love yourself more than anything else, and that's why my sister is upstairs crying. Your ego was so big that you couldn't resist flirting with me to keep me longing for you, or having an affair with a girl who wanted you, and you're so obsessed with being adored that you humiliated your wife by telling people about how Eliza wasn't enough for you in some attempt to seem honest. So no, I don't love you, and I wish I never had. So now I'm going to get some candles and go back to my sister, who needs me because her husband broke her heart."
"No... This isn't right..." He didn't shout or argue, just muttered to himself, looking half crazed as the candlelight lit his eyes and he swayed on his feet.
Angelica shook her head in disgust. "Say what you like. You can't change the fact that I love my sister. Now I've just got to forget the intelligent, kind young man you once were, and convince her to do the same. We shouldn't waste our lives remembering someone who's dead. Goodbye, Alexander." She walked to the cupboard and retrieved two candles, stopping to light one using the flame from the nearly-finished candle on the table. She left the kitchen and approached the stairs, stopping just before ascending to turn around and say,
"You've made your choices. I hope it was all worth it."
She made her way upstairs and disappeared from his sight. She felt next to nothing. Only empty, broken, and, as always, unsatisfied.