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The Beauty And The Tragedy Part Six
Chapter Six: March 9, 1857

Eva spent the next hour or so buying dresses she knew she didn’t need. But she had to make it perfectly clear that she had gone to shop for new gowns. When she left the shop, she suddenly understood the need for the first footman. Luckily, the distance between the dress shop and the carriage was not a long one. She was able to leave her purchases there and then go back to Eli’s shop, though she did stop and buy herself another mug of hot cocoa and also bought one to give to Eli. When she arrived back at his shop, he didn’t even flinch. He just continued to work and she didn’t mind it at first. She just stood there and watched for a second. She was close enough to hear him grunt a little when he brought his hammer down on the metal. When he finished he tossed the hammer aside and pushed his hair back, putting more black smudge all over his forehead. He saw her and jumped, “My god Eva! Weren’t you planning on saying something? How long have you been standing there?”

Eva burst out laughing as she handed him his mug, “Only a few minutes. I brought you some hot cocoa. It’s cold outside.”

“It’s not cold in here,” Eli panted, grabbing his coat and throwing it over his shoulder, “Let’s go outside for awhile.”

The two of them walked out of the shop and Eli took a few minutes to let the cold breeze cool him down. There was a little wooden bench in front of the shop and they sat down together, drinking their hot cocoa, “Thank you for the hot cocoa by the way. This was very kind of you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“So,” Eli paused momentarily to take a drink. He licked the chocolate off his upper lip and set the cup down in between them, “Tell me all about your glamorous life.”

Again, Eli had caught Eva off guard, though it was much easier to think of an answer this time around. Eva sipped her hot cocoa and let it sit in her mouth long enough to burn her tongue and burn her throat when she swallowed it, “Well it’s not as great as most people think. I would much rather live here than be up there separated from the world.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you actually lived here,” Eli said, shaking his head, “You would be here for one week and you would run home and beg your mother for forgiveness.”

Eva wrinkled her eyebrows and shook her head roughly, “Oh goodness no. Never. Being away from my mother would be a dream.”

“If I may ask, what has your mother done that’s so wrong?” Eli asked.

“She wants me to marry the first man I look at and have children and be a wife,” Eva explained, “She says it’s what a good woman does. She just stays home and cares for the children and cares for her husband and then gives him more children.”

Eli chuckled, “She treats being a grandmother like a business. As if there are rules. A married woman is property. Her husband has claimed ownership of her and her body. It seems cruel to me.”

“It is,” Eva replied.

“I couldn’t see myself treating my wife like property,” Eli continued, “It’s not right.”

A smile spread on Eva’s lips, “I hope if I do end up finding a man I want to marry, he has the same morals as you do.”

Eli stared at her and she was trapped in his gaze, not that she had any intention of trying to escape. Both of them had put their cups down without even realizing it. Neither one of them said a word. They just stared at each other, almost without blinking. Finally, as if Eli had snapped out of some kind of trance and he jumped off the bench, “I should be getting back to my work Ms. Weston. I do hope you return again soon. Thank you again for the hot cocoa.”

“Of course,” Eva waved to him and he rushed into his shop without saying anything more. Eva turned around on the bench and looked through the window. He had tied his apron back on and got right back into what he was doing only he was doing it faster now. Eva picked the cups up and got off the bench. She then went into a small bakery and bought herself a muffin even though she had just eaten one for breakfast. She sat at a table outside the bakery and watched people walking by. There were women holding a child’s hand and holding a baby in their free arm. She saw some people making deliveries to the grocer and the butcher. And she saw a few people strolling down the street in their wagons or on their horses. People were so friendly towards each other and it was a nice change of scenery. She dealt with people who were either begging for her hand in marriage or wanting to see her downfall. It was nice to see genuine smiles on people’s faces.

“Are you sure you don’t want a carriage?” the stable master, Henry was asking Benjamin the same question a dozen times as Benjamin prepared his horse. He wanted to visit Claire but he was tired of having to walk the rest of the way. He was hoping to just kind of walk around town with her and she could show him the things that Eva found so amazing about it.

“I’m perfectly fine Henry,” Benjamin said, patting the middle aged man’s shoulder, “I’ll be home in time for tea in case Emma asks.”

Henry nodded and Benjamin got onto his horse and rode off down the hill. He slowed down once he entered town and trotted down the street, observing the people that walked by. People were very friendly and very social. These were genuine smiles Benjamin was seeing. He didn’t see genuine smiles too often. It really was a fascinating sight. Eva’s sudden interest in this place started making a little bit of sense. He stopped in front of Mr. Hayward’s house and tied his horse up, keeping his face hidden underneath his hat so no one would see him. He went into the house and headed straight for Claire’s bedroom. When he saw the door was closed, it made him a little nervous. He fought the food that was trying to make its way back up as he lifted his hand and knocked on the door. He didn’t hear anyone behind the door so he slowly opened it, finding it completely empty.

“Claire is outside with Mr. Hayward’s little boy,” one of the girls said, pointing to the backdoor. Benjamin thanked her and went down the stairs, running into Joseph as he made his way towards the back door.

“Mr. Weston!” Joseph said, playfully punching him in the shoulder, “You have come in here two days in a row asking for Claire. You can’t come stealing her away like this! I know you favor her, mostly everyone does.”

Benjamin physically forced his food back down again as the horrible nausea began to roll in. The thought of being compared to the low lives that came in for Claire made him sick, “I won’t keep her for most of the evening like I normally have been Mr. Hayward.”

Joseph seemed hesitant and Benjamin resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he dug around in his pocket, “one hundred ninety pounds Mr. Hayward. This was a bit more than I offered yesterday.”

Joseph took the money from him and took a step back to allow Benjamin through, “Of course Mr. Weston. By all means.”

Benjamin went outside and Claire and Christopher alone in Joseph’s backyard. She was sitting on a blanket, stroking his hair while he played with his toy soldiers. Benjamin’s heart broke watching how she smiled so warmly at this child as if he was hers and that she would never have one of her own. Claire heard him come outside and she looked over her shoulder, this time unsurprised by his visit, “I expected you to come back. You’re making a habit of it.”

“Seeing you would be much easier if you lived closer,” Benjamin said, sitting down next to her on the blanket. Christopher looked up at him and blinked a few times but he had no real interest in Benjamin, “I’ve given Mr. Hayward your pay to come spend the rest of this morning with me.”

Claire took Christopher into her arms and got onto her feet, “Benjamin, I’m not sure spending this much time with you is a good idea.”

Benjamin followed Claire back inside and he went with her up the stairs into Christopher’s bedroom, “And why is that Claire? Because I don’t want to do the things that those other men do to you?”

Claire whipped her head around and glared at him while she put Christopher into his bed. She didn’t say anything at first as she tucked him in. She waited until she had closed his door behind her that she finally slapped Benjamin across the face, “You will not mention such things in front of that boy! And no, that’s not the reason Benjamin.”

“Well then what is the reason?” Benjamin asked, following Claire into her bedroom. She stopped at her doorway and sighed heavily, “Benjamin, you come here and you invite me to have tea with your family and you want to spend the morning with me…you want to do all these sweet things for me and it’s going to make me become attached to you.”

“And what’s wrong with that?”

“I don’t want to be attached to you in any way,” Claire said, “Not even as something as harmless as a friend. I’ve already been tainted but you don’t need to crash and burn with me.”

....I really love Eli. I'm just throwing that out there. smilies/icon_cool.gif ANYWAYS, yay! I posted twice in one night and stuff! Yay for....not being distracted? I don't know but this update is actually a bit longer than these last few ones. Awesome sauce

Rockstar_Angel17
Community Member
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