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

“You think you’re going to drag me down?” Benjamin finally said after a long silence. He started laughing and pulled Claire into a hug, “You’re not going to drag me down. It is possible to be your friend Claire without the risk of crashing and burning.”

“Your step-mother expects us to-”

“My step-mother expects a lot of things,” Benjamin said, “I don’t expect anything from you but your friendship.”

Claire stared at him, opening and closing her mouth and grabbing the collar on Benjamin’s coat. She was trying to say something but she was forcing herself from speaking. She finally let go of his collar and smoothed it down, “Right. Well, let me change my dress and then we can do whatever you want.”

“Take your time,” Benjamin said and Claire turned and headed for her bedroom. She came back out a few minutes later in velvet plum colored dress. As she stepped out, she was placing a little hat on her head with fishnets hanging over her green eyes. She looped her arm through his and led him down the stairs.

“Where are we going today?” Claire asked.

“You’re leading the way today,” Benjamin replied, “I thought you could show me around town today.”

“Oh,” Claire thought for a minute and then pointed ahead of them, “There’s basically just shops here. There’s the blacksmith shop over there. And that’s Eli Kenward, the owner.”

“You two know each other?”

“Everyone knows everyone here,” Claire said. As the two of them walked past Eli’s shop, Claire smiled and waved. She continued through town, introducing Benjamin to almost every shopkeeper. The baker, Laurence and his wife Mildred offered him a free pie to bring home to his family. He would’ve taken it but he knew it was a bit more difficult for these people to make a living so he paid for it. After Claire introduced Benjamin to everyone else in town, they started heading back to the Hayward house, “Benjamin, I know you’re used to lunches with more than one course but would a simple one course lunch be acceptable?”

“I can only assume you’re asking me to stay for lunch,” Benjamin chuckled and Claire’s cheeks turned pink and she hid her face in his arm, “Yes that’s what I meant.”

“I would like that very much Claire,” he said, holding up the pie he’d purchased, “We can eat this. I can’t carry this and ride home anyway. Emma and Father can do without.”

Eva finished her muffin and headed back for the carriage to make it home for lunch. The footman smiled when he saw her coming and hurried to open the door, “I hope you enjoyed your morning Miss Weston.”

“It was Noah,” she said as she took his hand and climbed into the carriage, “I had a productive morning. I purchased some new dresses and had the most delicious muffin in the world.”

“How lovely Miss Weston,” he said. After that, there was silence and Eva was alone again. Only this time she had to go back up that hill back home. When she arrived back home, Noah helped her take some dresses into the house while Oscar the groom took the horses by the reins and led them away to the stables.

“Eva! You’re just in time for lunch,” Emma said, taking the dresses out of Eva’s hands and handing them to all to Noah and directed him upstairs to Eva’s bedroom, “Mother! Don’t force him to carry those all on his own!”

“Oh don’t worry about it,” Emma said, “You can show me those dresses later. It’s time for lunch. By the way, did you see Benjamin while you were in town?”

“I didn’t see him,” Eva said, “He hasn’t returned home yet?”

“I can only assume he is having lunch with Claire,” Emma chuckled, “She must be something special if he tries to visit her any chance he can.”

Eva and Emma sat down with Robert at the table while their other footman, Jack came and served them their meals, giving them the soup they had eaten for dinner last night.

“So how was dress shopping?” Robert asked distantly as he picked up his soup spoon, “Did you find any you liked?”

“I found a few,” Eva said, “It was a nice morning.”

Robert nodded and ate some of his soup. Eva picked up her soup spoon but couldn’t bring herself to eat it just yet, “Mother, I want to ask you something about my future marriage.”

“Oh?” Emma said, “What about it?”

“How awful would it be if I didn’t marry someone in our class?” she asked, “What if I decided I wanted to marry a man in middle class?”

Emma blinked a few times and then started laughing, “Oh no Eva. That is out of the question. Don’t ask such silly questions.”

“Would it really be such a bad thing?” Eva said, “I mean, should we judge a person based on how much money they have? What if you really loved that person?”

“Do you think that matters?” Emma asked with a chuckle, “You need to marry and give us grandchildren before you become too old. We won’t live forever you know.”

“But Mother, I would find it difficult to lie with a man I’m not in love with,” Eva said, “And what if the person you fell for-”

“What are you trying to tell us Eva?” Robert piped in. Eva had his attention now and he had dropped his spoon into his soup, “Is there a man in town you have your eye on?”

Eva never realized how intimidating Robert was until now. His blue eyes were wide and he had tossed his napkin onto the table and was on his feet with clenched fists. Eva looked at Emma who was staring at Robert in shock. Emma had never seen him like this either. Eva finally dipped her spoon into her soup and shook her head, “No. It was just…just a thought. Forget I ever said anything.”

Ah, here we are again. I think I'll update my other story tomorrow. I just have to remember what I was doing hahaha! Whoops.
Anyways, nothing too interesting here today. Just a little filler I guess wink but it should do for now right?

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