||Perfectly Reckless Part One
True love is hard to find, special one, one of a kind. I know because it appeared to me on a strange day when I met you. –Anonymous
The book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thing. It’s full of charts and facts and figures. And instructions for dancing. But I, I love it when you read to me. And you, you can read me anything. –Peter Gabriel “Book of Love”
Been to Hell and back but an angel was looking through. It was you. Yeah, you. It’s all because of you. –Celine Dion “The Reason”
Chapter One: April 10, 1860
Every day you have to remind yourself that you’re blessed for everything you have in life. Your health, your security, the roof over your head and the food in your belly. But there are days when it feels like those things simply aren’t enough. There was a bit of envy for the lower class people. Yes, of course they were poor and they would probably hate to hear it all from privileged people. But even though they didn’t have security and sometimes didn’t have food or shelter or health, they had each other to lean on. In the upper class, it was a bit competitive, a fight to the top. It was the only way for some people to stay in the upper class but it was difficult to know the genuine ones from the liars. And when the hard times come, sometimes a friend means much more than anything else. But sometimes you could only rely on yourself.
Amelia Sheffield was somehow lucky to avoid that loneliness though. She didn’t have any siblings but she did have Genevieve Darrington. Amelia’s father had taken in Genevieve after she was born since her mother, who was a friend of his had died in childbirth and her father was already passed before she was even born. People started assuming they were related by blood because of how close they were so somehow, it all managed to work out. Genevieve’s parents had owned a little bookshop in town and had apparently lived above it before Genevieve was born. Once she was eighteen, Amelia’s father handed it over to her and she lived in that little room above the bookshop. Amelia hated being away from Genevieve but understood it.
They were both starting a new life. Amelia had recently become engaged to an old childhood friend after hearing her father’s constant worries and complaints. He was a young man from Denmark, Edvard JØrgensen. He seemed to have genuine feelings for Amelia and it made her father happy so she agreed, though she hadn’t made any plans for the wedding yet. She hated to say she was disappointed to see him at the table with her father eating breakfast when she came into the dining room to join them.
“Oh, Edvard,” she said, smiling at him and looking at her father with raised eyebrows, “I wasn’t expecting you.”
“I thought I would surprise you,” he replied, “Are you not happy to see me?”
“Of course I’m happy to see you,” Amelia smiled and sat down at the table across from him, sitting as close to her father as she could, “I was most certainly surprised, Edvard.”
After that, they ate in silence. Amelia chewed slowly to avoid more conversation, though it seemed Edvard had nothing to say. Amelia’s father was the one to break the silence, “Amelia, I spoke to Chester Knighton yesterday. He tells me his son is in need of a tutor. I told him I would ask you.”
“And Mr. Knighton was alright with a woman tutoring his son?” Amelia muttered.
“He is,” he replied with a frown, “His son is rather rambunctious.”
“Oh how lovely,” Amelia resisted the urge to roll her eyes in front of her father and she set her fork down onto her empty plate, “I’m so lucky to have such an opportunity, Father. Thank you.”
It was a short trip to Chester Knighton’s manor and it was luckily peaceful since Edvard hadn’t accompanied her. The coachman, Leon was kind though and made small talk until they arrived. He smiled as he helped her out of the carriage.
“Good luck, Miss Sheffield,” Leon said, “It will be alright don’t worry.”
“Let’s hope you’re right,” Amelia chuckled, giving Leon a pat on the shoulder, “Thank you.”
Leon nodded and Amelia took a deep breath before heading up the stairs to the front door. She knocked on the door and it opened. The footman smiled and bowed a little before stepping aside to let her in, “Mr. Knighton has been expecting you, Miss Sheffield.”
“I hope I didn’t make him wait too long,” Amelia said, following the footman into the house. The footman shut the door and he gestured to the grand staircase. The two of them walked up the stairs and they turned right.
“Oh, not too long,” he replied. He stopped in front of an open door. He poked his head in. He pointed to Amelia as he spoke, “Mr. Knighton, she’s here to see you.”
Chester didn’t say anything but the footman opened the door all the way and gave Amelia the ok to go in. Amelia entered the study where Chester Knighton was waiting at his desk. His son, Ezra was sitting beside him and Amelia stopped at the door and the footman closed it behind her.
“Good afternoon, sir,” Amelia said, “I hear your son needs a tutor.”
“Father!” Ezra said, “She’s a woman.”
“It seems my services are not needed,” Amelia snapped, her eyes darting in Ezra’s direction, “He already knows what a woman looks like.”
“Are you just going to let her speak to me like that?!” Ezra shouted.
“I’ll let you two sort this out amongst yourselves,” Chester said as he slowly got out of his chair, “Thank you for agreeing to this, Amelia.”
“You’re very welcome, Mr. Knighton,” Amelia curtsied and Chester left her alone with his son. She approached the desk cautiously, as if Ezra was a wild animal. Amelia sighed and took off her hat, “Alright then, Ezra. Let’s begin.”
“I don’t need you to tutor me, Miss Sheffield,” Ezra grumbled, crossing his arms, “I know plenty.”
“Are you saying that because you actually believe that or because I’m a woman, which you so cleverly pointed out,” Amelia chuckled as she came around the desk and stood behind Ezra, patting his shoulders, “You can’t live off your charm forever, especially considering you don’t even have that.”
“You can’t talk to me like that!” Ezra exclaimed.
“There is no one here to stop me,” Amelia said, “Now, let’s begin shall we?”
No one ever knew that Genevieve owned this bookshop. She led everyone to believe she was just a helper and the owners were always conveniently away when someone stopped by. She was alone most of the time anyway and had a lot of time to read the books on her shelves, which she did often. She never had a chance to miss Amelia because she stopped by all the time and more often than not left with a new book. Another one she noticed coming all the time was a young man, a lawyer named Warren Renninger. She didn’t know anything about him other than his name and profession. They exchanged smiles and polite greetings but nothing more. He browsed while she excused herself. Today was no different. She left into the farther corners of her shop to organize books, take old ones out and put new ones in. She turned to look at Warren over her shoulder and he already had a book in his hands, reading the first few pages. She was standing up on her toes to get to the books that were higher up but was barely paying attention to her task. She never really noticed how handsome he was. Genevieve started to stumble and made the mistake of grabbing onto the shelf for support. She went down anyway and the shelf along with all the books in it went down with her. Warren didn’t see the fall but he definitely heard it. He jumped and quickly set the book down when he saw Genevieve stuck underneath the heavy wooden shelf.
“My goodness are you alright?” he asked as he bent down to grab the shelf. He grunted as he lifted it up. He put it back in its original place against the wall and got down on one knee to pick the books up off her body.
“I’m fine,” Genevieve chuckled, “I’m more embarrassed than anything. I was trying to organize my books but I do believe I have made it worse.”
Warren laughed with her as he helped her back onto her feet. He looked down at the mess surrounding the two of them, “I could help you put them all back if you’d like. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else here to help you.”
“Oh no, no I’m fine by myself,” Genevieve said, “Don’t you worry about me. I’ve cleaned up much larger messes, believe me.”
“So this isn’t the first time you’ve caused a bookshelf to fall on you?” Warren replied. Genevieve giggled, her cheeks burning red and she turned away, biting her nails.
“Well it is the first time but I’ve experienced much worse than this,” Genevieve said, “But thank you for the offer.”
“You’re welcome,” Warren gave her a nod as he started for the door, “I must be going now. I’ll see you again soon I hope.”
“Of course!” Genevieve called after him. He gave her a wave before he walked out the door and she waved her fingers back at him with a big grin. Once he was gone she was left alone with her books all over the floor. She grumbled to herself, not even sure where to start picking all of this up, “You’ve made a fool of yourself, haven’t you?”
They called it many things. Consumption, the white plague, phthisis. It had numerous names and none of them made it any more pleasant. It killed a majority of the time. It claimed many people including Leland Boyd and many of the servants in his household. Everyone believed that his wife, Mina Boyd was the only one to survive the sickness. But she would have preferred to die with her husband. She had loved him dearly and had only been married to him a short amount of time. They were only married for a year when he became ill and she sat there every day and watched him wither away. When Leland died, it felt like a part of her was buried in the ground with him. That was barely a few months ago. Or was it weeks? Mina wasn’t even sure what day it was anymore. She had been numb for quite some time following Leland’s death. It felt like years since she saw the light of day, felt the cool breeze on her face. She had missed being alive.
Mina returned home from town, her first day back in town since Leland died. Everyone was happy to see her and offered their condolences for the loss of her husband. She enjoyed being out and socializing with people again but she was glad to finally be home. The coachman helped her out of the carriage but before she could thank him, they heard something coming from next door. The man who once lived there had died and the house had been empty for months. Who was this strange man parading around the front yard?
“Who is that?” Mina asked, squinting to get a better look, “Is-is that man walking around in a suit of armor? Wyatt, do you know who that man is?”
“Oh, I believe that is uh, oh what is his name?” Wyatt frowned, tapping his chin, “Christian Sullivan’s son. I can’t remember his name at the moment but he moved into that house a few weeks ago.”
“Well, why is he wearing that armor?” Mina inquired, “That’s a bit strange.”
“From what I have heard, he’s a bit uh, eccentric,” Wyatt replied. Mina raised her eyebrow and chuckled.
“Another word for strange,” she said, crossing her arms, “But he seems harmless. Come, let’s get inside. It looks like it might rain again.”
It started raining as soon as Mina stepped inside the manor. She looked outside to check on the young man and he looked like he was headed inside his own home. Mina closed her curtains and the moment she did, she heard a crash. Despite protests from her servants, she went outside anyway to investigate. The man had fallen into the mud and was having difficulty getting back up. She lifted her dress and started running across her yard into his to assist him.
“Sir, are you alright?” she asked as she got closer to him. The man hadn’t moved from his stomach and she bent over, tapping her fingernail against his armor, “Mr. Sullivan?”
Mina grabbed onto his shoulders with the intention of rolling him onto his back but he did it himself which caused her to slip on the mud and land on top of him. She grunted and stared into his light brown eyes.
“I think I should be asking you the same thing,” he replied and he started to laugh. He got up, lifting her back onto her feet with ease. She looked down at her dress caked in mud. He looked at his filthy hands and offered Mina a smile as he took her hand anyway, “It’s a pleasure to finally be able to meet you, milady.”
“And you as well,” Mina replied, letting him kiss her hand, “Your father was Christian Sullivan, was it not? You are his son?”
“I am,” he said, “My name is Vincent. And you are?”
“Mina. Mina Boyd.”
Vincent nodded and smiled until his eye caught the wedding ring on her finger. She had never taken it off. She may have been able to move on and leave her house for the first time in a long time but she didn’t have the heart to remove her ring yet. She would almost feel lost without it. Vincent had only arrived a few weeks ago and hadn’t heard of Leland’s passing. He cleared his throat and took a few steps back, “We should both get inside. We’re absolutely soaked.”
Mina looked down at herself and started laughing at how unkempt she was, “I do believe you’re right, Vincent. I hope you’ll take off that armor once you’re inside and get into something comfortable.”
“I will, don’t worry your pretty head,” Vincent said, “I’ll see you soon, Mina.”
“I hope so,” Mina said. The two of them waved before going back inside. Mina’s lady’s maid, Emma Dearborn ran right up to her and was drying her off frantically, appalled by the mud all over her dress.
“Oh Mina, look at you,” Emma said, “You’re shivering. Come on, sit here in front of the fire.”
Emma tried sitting Mina in Leland’s chair but Mina wiggled out of Emma’s grip and dropped to the floor in front of the fireplace, holding out her hands to get dried off and warmed up. She had only just met Vincent but she still hoped that he was doing the same. After taking care of someone for so long, she was too used to worrying about people.
Yayyyyy first chapter! I usually don't like how my first chapters come out and let's be honest this one is actually no different. However, it will get better from here hahahah!
· Sun Oct 12, 2014 @ 06:46am · 0 Comments