Thank you for checking my little crappy masterpiece! So I was drunk one night - isn't that how all good stories start? - and that's how I got this idea. That didn't sound good. Okay anyways, please follow, favorite and review if you like! Hope you enjoy!
I didn't want to leave the home I had grown to hate and that is as true as it is odd.
Twenty - one years I had secluded myself, raised by governess, who were under qualified but a treat for Father, and influenced by the high society my father always threw parties for. The only thing I knew about the outside world came from newspaper articles and story books.
I was the daughter of a magnate, who had his names painted in gold across train cars, buildings and factories, and that was what I believed I would die being. The name Cornwall was the only legacy I would ever leave in this world. It's not what I was keen to, I wanted more like all do, but solitude was so routine since Mother's death, I knew nothing else and feared anything than that.
So when I was summoned to Father's quarters, I was hesitant.
We hadn't spoken since last month, considering he was down west overseeing his tar company and occupying the time of show girls. Or any woman that would give him the attention. Sin doesn't matter down there I once read, since God abandoned it a long time ago.
I suspected why he wanted to speak to me and prepared my argument as I wandered down corridor after corridor to his office. I had seven older, half - siblings, all who were Father's pride and joy, but mostly pride.
There was Leviticus Jr. who was Father's dog, handling paperwork and all duties that bored him. Lindsey, the second oldest, erected his own company selling cane sugar and coffee beans while his wife designed naughty lingerie for the bland housewife. Marigold wed the governor of California several summers ago, occasionally writing to us to express her love for the ocean. Mildred traveled across seas to Poland, or somewhere to embrace other cultures or some sort of charity scheme, I forgot. Francis was campaigning for mayor of a small city in New York, while his brother Malcolm offered him and the people legal service. Jane was attending seminars at a female only college, to broaden her salt sized mind.
Then there was me, the youngest, save Adele, who did not share their prosperity and was defiling the Cornwall name.
Father was humiliated and didn't restrict himself from telling me.
I spared all the time I could to face him, from the quick fire interrogations and insults and yet there I was, standing outside his door while his screams reflected off the wall.
"I will not be robbed again, by this bastard criminal!"
Reaching the door my jaw constricted.
"I am paying you and your men good money to apprehend him, why is it taking so long?" I heard Father inquire while hauling books from his table to the floor.
"Rest assure, sir, Van der Linde isn't as devious and concealed as he once was," a foreign voice persuaded. "There's been mutable sighting of his followers in _."
As the tension calmed, their words became quieter and unrecognizable. My interest forced me closer to the door and yet it was too late. A man, dressed in taupe suit and an over sized hat, emerged, pushing past me like I wasn't even there. He worked with a determination, like something at hand and I assumed with Father, that was money.
"Amelia, my daughter," called Father and my eyes shifted to him, sitting at his desk with a hand out towards a chair. "Sit with me."
"He seems nice," I said with a low laugh he didn't share. I took the chair across from him and drew in the sight of his office. I hadn't been in it for years. A chandelier illuminated the room, for the bay windows shades were drawn, leaving the room feel ominous. Rosewood bookshelves lined the west wall, while a fireplace stood unlit by the doorway and medieval paintings faced me. In the heart of it all was Father's desk, carved with initials on both sides and blanketed by maps and papers scattered on top.
"It's been a while since we talked," he started.
"Has it?" I said with eyes still on my black flats.
"Jane is attending classes in Berthlem over the summer," he said.
"And you want me to come with?" I asked, though I knew the answer.
His chair cried as he reclined farther back, while steadily shaking his head. "No actually, I have something else for you. I've already wasted enough money on your schooling that you refused to finish."
I shifted uncomfortably to the memory.
"My businesses have been expanding down south, I've been doing a great deal of traveling down in those parts and I think it might be beneficial if you and Adele were to stay in the city of Saint Denis for the summer," he pressed. "There's a vast range of culture down there that is worth experience."
The mentioning of Adele made me tremble.
Adele was a mistake, Father's failure to temptation and a bastard child to a French foreigner Father hired as my governess. Some called her my sister, but she wasn't.
"I don't think so," I sighed.
"You're into that feminists or women suffrage, aren't you?" he questioned.
I was educated, for the most part, and had read about feminism, religion, ethics, and politics and yet I had never experienced it first hand. Talking about it was a foreign language to me.
"I don't really know," I whispered.
"Well Saint Denis has it fair share of them. Damaged women. Waste a time I think, but maybe favorable for you," Father insisted. "I know since your Mother's death -"
The color drained from my face and my mouth dried to the mentioning. It had been nine years, but the smell of gunpowder still lingered in my nose. The sight of my mother's body, lolling in a pool of crimson blood and her eyes - that shared the same green as mine - were wide open followed me into my dreams.
"Amelia," he said, his tone escalating to retrieve me from my thoughts, "you must move on. Constant's chose her own faith. And you must accept that to start living your own life. If I had mourned for as long as you did -"
"I wish I had mourned as long as you had," I breathed and his brow furrowed like caterpillars. "I wish I had pretended it hurt for a week and married my daughter's governess I was obviously having an affair with a week after that."
I flushed red from my fumes, as I scrambled from my chair and pardoned myself. The fleeting stare he gave me was blank. There's nothing but a tense silence as I reached the door, that he broke through before I could go.
"It's Adele, Amelia, I'm worried for. Her mother, I know how you feel about her, but her pox are festering. She won't survive." Father's charisma could make even the deaf admire him. "I have seen the distraught you've handle, I don't want my other daughter to struggle the way. Adele is only a child, a little girl, no matter what you think she is. I don't want her leaving for the city alone.
"Saint Denis has everything to keep you occupied. Theaters, restaurants, lovely country north of it and a waterfront, all the things you love to read about. I'll make my way down to see you two on occasion." He pursued me enough and yet he couldn't stop. "I need you to grow, Amelia, from a weeping, self - pitying girl to a promising woman. Books cannot be your whole life. Neither can the imprisonment you force upon yourself."
Father's words made my chest drop inside and my body sting.
While I hated Adele, I hated the grief that I had succumbed too far more. I hated knowing my voice and will to live had died with her. The only memory I knew of her now came from the day she died. And more than that, I hated Father and his belittling approach and relentless judgement. It was something I often hope would end one day, but there was never one in sight. Maybe this was my chance, to spare another person from that grief and heartache, or to spare myself from anymore criticism.
"And….we'll come back….in the fall, right?" I whispered through a dry throat.
"Of course," he assured.
There was nothing left to say. Father had always influenced my faith, so I breathed out a resisting, "Alright."