Splendid (Redone)

Fiction By Madeline // 9/30/2012

Hey guys! I wrote a story called Splendid at the beginning of the summer. I re-did it. Enjoy, and please let me know your thoughts! Feel free to compare, and let me know which you like best.

(P.S. RR people--chapter to come soon!)
---------------

Her eyes were like almonds, so full and dark that he often got lost in them. He wondered—if she allowed him in, what would he find inside? He savored the succulent flesh inside of a nut; he imagined knowing her would taste sweeter.

So he called her Almond Eyes, and every time he did she admonished him with a laugh. Once she touched his arm, playfully, and her skin seared right through the flannel of his shirt and melted against his. It was the best feeling in the world.

And the night when the stars were the brightest, when he snuck off with one of the horse blankets and met her, and they lay on the midnight grass, that’s when he knew he loved her. When she rolled over and whispered his name. A thief in the night she was, and the thief stole his heart.

His eyes were like skies, a cool drink to savor. Once, when she was very young, her nanny took she and Essie to a spring, where they dipped their toes in the water and caught minnows in their plump fists. They were only three, and Essie got the flu a year later and passed, but she remembered that day. She remembered the carefree laughs, the drips of water that clung to her pale skin. It was worth it, a thousand times over, the slap she received from her mother for dirtying her dress.

He was like that.

She called him Blue Eyes, and he didn’t mind in the least. Once, after she called him that, he stole a kiss from her when he shouldn’t have. They were walking her chestnut mare, and he leaned over and pressed his chapped lips to hers. She made a big show of her anger—called him a dog, said she never wanted to speak to him again. But her insides fluttered in pleasure and she’d never felt half so beautiful as in that moment.

They made up the night the stars were brightest. He brought a scratchy wool blanket and she two warm rolls. She gave him hers. They stared up at the skies and whispered promises to one another, promises each of them fully intended to keep.

He woke her at dawn with a hand on her cheek. She was so perfect, lying splayed out on the blanket like that, arms drawn around herself, dress slipping down a shoulder. Her skin was the gorgeous color of the moon. He was mesmerized by it.

She went back to the palace, and he the stables, because that’s where they belonged. But his mind harbored plans. They would escape, take bits of cheese and maybe some grapes, if they were lucky; steal out into the night and never look back.

There would be dangers. He knew that. But he was willing to face them for her. For the girl with moon skin, soft locks the color of dried cornhusks, hands gentle and kind as they raked through her horse’s mane, body rigid and stubborn when she rode, heels digging into the brown flank, eyes dead set on a point in the distance.

She told him to meet her under the maple tree. She brought a lunch with her, basket swinging lazily at her side. He paid no heed to the food, just her, just her. And she was so selfish she didn’t offer it to him. She dropped the basket and ran to him, threw her arms around his tall, lean frame, breathed into his neck.

He was perfect. There would never be another like him. And that’s why she didn’t want to let go. Because she’d have to eventually. Here he was: a good, plain, strong man. But her mother would never see. She’d have him killed. And she—she would spend her life in misery. She was so selfish.

“Oh, Charlie,” She breathed. “I think I love you.”

He went rigid in her arms, enough to worry her. She pulled back from their embrace, which was much too amorous for her tastes, but she wanted that feeling all the sudden. She wanted to be brave with him. No matter what that entailed.

“Oh, Elizabeth,” He said in her ear, leaning in once more. “I love you, too.”

Sweet relief washed over her, so happy, so joyous that she kissed him. She went against every grain of doubt, every flaw, every conscious worry and she kissed him for real this time. Her body, every nerve, it was buzzing. Every atom. Every cell.

She loved him. He loved her.

He felt guilty, admittedly, for taking his sixpence every week. It came from the Queen, and he knew going behind his Lady’s back, with her daughter no less, was fiscally and morally wrong. God would look down at him. And his day of judgment would come. He only hoped his love would be enough.

The day she ran to him, tears streaming down her cheeks, dress half-buttoned, was the day he knew it was going to end. She crumbled to the ground halfway there, sobbing uncontrollably, shoulders shaking.

“Come, let’s go to the tree,” He whispered in her ear, helping her up.

She took his hand and allowed him to lead her, farther and farther from the palace. But a wall bordered the lot, a wall so tall and long there was no way of escape. So, in a sense, they were trapped. Burdened.

Over.

“Charlie,” She whispered. “Oh, Charlie. It’s happened. They’ve found someone for me to wed in a month’s time.”

He felt…numb. Where was the anger, the declaration that They Must Run? And then he knew he’d been expecting this. He couldn’t end her life like that. Running would end it. Her life, that was.

She deserved rosy-cheeked children, a warm fire, food to fill bellies. Their future together loomed ahead, uncertain. If they had babies, they would surely be sickly. Elizabeth, gorgeous Elizabeth’s curves, her beauty, would melt away until she was sallow-cheeked and paper-thin. Her happiness would slowly erode.

He couldn’t do it.

“You listen,” He told her, grabbing her cheeks. “I love you. I love you more than the sun loves the moon, than a bee loves nectar, more than the trees love the rain. I love you. Stay. Stay here for me, and wed the man. He will be good to you. Your life…” His voice cracked, and he looked to the horizon, slowly blinking back tears. “It must go on. It must not end. Not by my hand.”

“Charlie, no!” She cried. “I’ll be miserable. I’ll hate myself. We have to try.”

He shook his head, grabbed her shaking one between his hands, kissed her forehead long and hard. “I said no. I love you.”

She whimpered. “I love you more.”

“But I love you most.”

And that’s when she knew they were done. He was going to let her go. She felt a ripping deep inside, tearing it’s way out of her chest, to a silent, anguished scream. This feeling was heartbreak.

She loathed it.

“Please,” She begged, a last resort. “I’ll do anything.”

“I’ve made up my mind,” He said firmly. “I’ll leave the palace at dawn. I’ll get out of here and…rebuild my life.”

She was miniscule. She was small. She was nothing.

She was stupid.

“I have to talk to mother,” She whispered manically.

“Wait—no! Elizabeth!” He cried.

But she was running. She had to try. She had to try. She had to try.

He might have followed her; she didn’t know. She burst in the palace doors a thousand years later and charged toward the Throne Room. Her mother was in it, rest assured, in a good mood no less, sipping wine from a delicate goblet.

“Daughter, why dost thou look so distressed?” Her mother purred.

“I…I need thou to help me,” She replied, sinking to her knees. She bowed over until the crown of her head touched the floor. Begging.

“Rise at once! I will not have you bow to me. You are a princess!”

She’d angered her mother. Slowly, she stood, blinking back tears, holding a fistful of her tattered skirts in each hands.

Fistfuls of minnows. A slap.

She should have known.

Slowly, she poured out the whole story of her romance with Charlie. The kisses, the quiet nights spent lying under the stars with him, the way his eyes shined. The maple tree. Their embraces. The fierceness of their love.

Her mother. She was foaming at the mouth.

“How dare he!” She exclaimed, leaping to her feet. “How dare he touch you, talk to you, kiss you! He will be hung. At noon tomorrow. Made an example of.”

Nothing. There weren’t words.

She felt herself die.

It’s an odd sensation, that. A crumbling sort of feeling, starting on the outside and working toward your center. It tears your heart, rendering it useless. And then you’re empty. A shell without words. Nothing.

“No,” She protested weakly. “No.”

“Move aside. I must alert the officials. I bet he’s trying to escape.”

No! She’d ruined it for him. He’d been so close to freedom.

“You can’t!” She wailed, throwing herself at her mother. “I love him! I’m…I’m going to have his son.” The lie left her lips before she could stop it, flowing so easily it almost sounded true--even to her own ears.

Her mother froze. Turned around.

"What did you say?"

"I said..." She straightened her back, placed her hands on her very empty stomach. "I said that I am having his son."

Her mother's lower lip trembled. "How could you?"

She lowered her eyes. "We're in love. I want to marry him." But the fight was leaving her. She just wanted this to be over. In any way.

Her mother chuckled darkly. "And you think this....this putrid baby is going to change anything? Do you think that changes my mind about him? No, Elizabeth; it makes things far worse."

"I don't care. I'm having it."

“Then you shall be sentenced as well.”

Relief.

“Okay,” She murmured, almost robotically. “Okay.”

They took him to the square at eleven on the morn. His eyes bugged in surprise when they herded her onto the platform as well. She shook her head at him.

“I’m so sorry, Charlie. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Elizabeth! What are you doing?”

She decided not to tell him of her lie. “Mother was angry with me.”

“Surely you can—”

She took his hand. “I don’t want to.”

One moment they were on earth, the next rising into the clouds. The sweetest sensation came over him.

She was there, too. Beautiful. An angel. Holding his hand.

“Oh, Charlie,” She breathed.

And he waited for the judgment. But there was none.

Not here.

Now her eyes are like the stars. The ones that glittered above them on so many nights. They wink at him. They dance with him. They lock with his in a never-ending kiss.

He once imagined that knowing her might be sweeter than the succulent flesh of an almond. He was wrong.

It’s so much more than that. It’s splendid.

Comments

:)

Okay, I think what they did together was wrong because they weren't married yet. But in general, as I think I've said before, I tend to stay away from the romantic stories. And I am only commenting because I want to let you know how I feel about this story. I know you worked hard on this. I can tell. So that's why I've decided to comment. So, here it is: Wow, this is beautifully and expertly written. You ended it so well. This is a great improvement to your first draft. This doesn't seem that much longer than the 1st but you managed to help us know the two main characters more. I loved this writing. I did some chores before I could finally type this in...yet I'm still stunned on how well-written this was. And you have no idea how powerful the last sentence,"It's Splendid" was.

Lucy Anne | Sun, 09/30/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aggghhh, that was so much

Aggghhh, that was so much better than the last one! So sad and sweet. It doesn't help my emotions that I also watched Titanic for the first time today, and this reminded me of it in a lot of ways. The one thing that bothered me was that no mother, no matter what, would sentence their child to death willingly. But otherwise, this was written in such a lovely, almost dreamlike way. Great job.

E | Sun, 09/30/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Wow, you really did work hard

Wow, you really did work hard on this! I like the beginning; and you've definitely improved since the last one. And the ending is just wraps up the story really well.

Maddi | Mon, 10/01/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

:)

Ditto to Lucy Anne: I don't like what they did... but you wrote this very, very well. I'll say it again... very very well - because it was really well done.

I did notice two things - one may have been for style and the other ruins style:
"she and Essie" you wrote, which grammatically should be a her instead of a she (and technically she should be after Essie). But stylistically it works.
The other thing was when she said "okay" - it kind of broke the feel of the story.

Well done.

Kyleigh | Mon, 10/01/2012

You have a good writing style

You have a good writing style that causes people to want to keep reading. Keep strengthening that skill.

You might want to avoid switching characters so quickly. It gets slightly confusing. However, you still managed to do the switches quite well. I just wouldn't use that tactic very often.

Finally, I might avoid having your protagonists' sin justified. Some people will take offense and others might even hate your protagonists and desire their doom.

Again, you have a great story-telling style. Keep it up!

Benjamin | Mon, 10/01/2012

“D’ye know what Calvary was? What? What? What? It was damnation; and he took it lovingly.”
~John Duncan

Thank you

Thank you all!

Lucy--Thanks. :) Well, she wasn't really pregnant, if that's what you mean. It was a lie she told her mother. I probably should have made that clearer. (And maybe that was clear...but if so I'm not sure what they might have done wrong). I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you thought it was better! :)

Erin--Thank you!! :D Titanic is good but sad. I've seen parts of it. And yes, I agree. I need to edit and add more conversation. I kind of rushed through the last third once again. (Ahhhh!! hehe) I hope to edit it soon.

Maddi--Thanks so much! :o)

Kyleigh--It was for style. Thank you for pointing that out. :) And thank you for your comment!!

Benjamin--Thanks! I appreciate it.

Due to the comments, I'm afraid I may have not been very clear with the fact that she lied to her mother about being pregnant. If that is so, please let me know and I'll be sure and make that clearer! And if I'm mistaken, I'm not sure exactly what they did wrong, but you are welcome to interpret the story in any way. That's one of the best parts of reading! :)

Thank you all!
-Homey :D

Madeline | Mon, 10/01/2012

   When I read the part where

   When I read the part where she says that she will have his child, I thought that I might of skipped something. I am glad that I am wrong, and please add something that makes it clear that she is lying. I think that that is what Lucy Anne found objection to, also kissing. Lucy Anne, please correct me if I am wrong.

Arthur | Mon, 10/01/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

:)

Arthur: You are correct. I had an problem with them sleeping together and kissing before marriage. :)

Homey: I knew that she was lying. :)

Lucy Anne | Mon, 10/01/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay, well. :) That's fine. I

Okay, well. :) That's fine. I don't find it wrong myself, but I certainly don't mind if some do. Thanks again for your comment!

Madeline | Mon, 10/01/2012

Oh, just to clarify, Homey, I

Oh, just to clarify, Homey, I didn't think that what they did was wrong. But that's just me :) I get the feeling that we have pretty similar view points on that sort of thing, lol. I still like it sooo much better than the first one!

E | Mon, 10/01/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

I believe that yeah,

I believe that yeah, basically kissing and sexual intimacy is wrong before marriage. :)

And I didn't know that she was lying either. I also said to myself when I read that she was having his son "gee, am I missing something here?"

But I don't think its wrong to write something about it; it happens in the real world, but I think that reading a lot of it would seriously damage your mind. :)

Maddi | Tue, 10/02/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Yeah, I don't think I could

Yeah, I don't think I could stand to read a straight-on romance novel. Too sappy. However, I don't mind short romances such as this, or when romance is incorporated into a novel about a broader topic :)
Also, I read all of your comments in an Australian accent. It's pretty awesome, just to let you know. Lol.

E | Tue, 10/02/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Okay, I fixed a couple things, so it should be clearer now.

Okay, I fixed a couple things, so it should be clearer now.

Erin--LOL! Yeah, I think we do. :) Thanks!

If I was reading this myself and wasn't the writer, and she was pregnant I definitely would have thought: Not her brightest moment!! (the character's) LOL. :P But I don't believe that's unforgivable at all. :)

Maddi--That's good! Stick strong to your beliefs. They're so important. :)

I agree with both you. A full-on, all the time romance novel has a way of making you feel kind of, "Yuck. Doesn't their life have any other meaning??" LOL! I think it should just be a factor in a story, and not the whole story. Not all the time. :)

Madeline | Tue, 10/02/2012

WOW!!

LOVE IT!!! Really well writen and LOVE the romance. It was very well done all through. It was Splendid ;)

Kassady | Tue, 10/02/2012

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

:D

Erin- Mm. But I love reading beautiful romances that are Christian. There are a few that I just finished: Pearl Maiden. and Lysbeth. Very sweet.

Homey- Thanks! I read what you'd edited; and in a way it was so much,much better. :)

P.S. What's Aussie about my comments?! :D

Maddi | Wed, 10/03/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Maddi--you have to check out

Maddi--you have to check out the Love Comes Softly series. (!!!) It's by Janette Oke and it's awesome! It's a Christian Pioneer sort-of-love story. It's really, really good. There's several of the books, plus a few great movies. :) (Just as Kass--she's seen a couple). :D

Madeline | Wed, 10/03/2012

Thanks! I heard about the

Thanks! I heard about the movies and books a couple (quite a coulple) of years ago, but haven't bothered to chase up them up :) When I was younger I read Who's New at the Zoo by Janette Oke; and really enjoyed it. Of course, that was when I was 8. ;)

Maddi | Wed, 10/03/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Nothing's Aussie about your

Nothing's Aussie about your comments. You just said that you were Australian before, so now I read all of your comments in an Aussie accent. Lol :P

E | Wed, 10/03/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Haha, lol. I sometimes have

Haha, lol. I sometimes have to get used to new words on here...for instance, before AP, I had no idea what ditto meant, other then a little song. :D

Maddi | Wed, 10/03/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Do you even have an accent?

Maddi:

   You'll have to get used to it, that's just what us Americans think of when we think Australian.

HomeschoolGirl:

   Even though I don't like what happened in the story, I have to say that your writing itself is wonderful. Keep it up.

Arthur | Thu, 10/04/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

Arthur: How am I supposed to

Arthur: How am I supposed to know if I have an accent?? I met an American girl who came for a visit here, and she said we did. And so did she! :P

Maddi | Thu, 10/04/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Arthur--Thanks very much! :)

Arthur--Thanks very much! :)

Maddi--LOL! I'm not 100 percent sure what an Australian accent even sounds like. We have an Australian friend who lives here, and she had family visit her last summer, and they had one. Sort of. I'm not good with accents.

What does an American accent sound like? I can only imagine. LOL! I love accents, though. :o)

Madeline | Thu, 10/04/2012

Haha, exactly, Maddi. I don't

Haha, exactly, Maddi. I don't think of myself as having an accent-so it's interesting to think of other countries saying Americans have American accents xD

E | Thu, 10/04/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

The writing style is

The writing style is definitely better than the first one. And I liked the first one, so. :) It's engaging, poetic but not overboard, smooth, beautiful. The resolution/ending seemed a bit rushed, though. After the scene with her mother, I mean. Or maybe that's just because I've got rush out the door so I read it fast? But anyway, great, great job!

Anna | Fri, 10/19/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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