Annica Sees- Chapter Six

Fiction By KatieSara // 3/23/2010

   Annica had not brought any black dresses with her, so she had to borrow one from her aunt to wear to Lady Breyne's funeral.
She thought a great deal during the service. She thought about the woman whose life had just ended...had it been a happy life? What had she been like? She thought of asking her aunt about it, but changed her mind. Lady Eldira had been mostly silent in the two days since the news of her friend's death.
Despite her dislike of him, Annica felt sorry for Lord Breyne. To lose a mother....she shuddered at the thought of it. She looked at him several times during the funeral; his face was like stone. Not a tear escaped it...none needed to. Grief was clear enough without tears. When she offered her sympathies, she hoped she sounded sincere. She was; she also felt bad for her demeaning thoughts about him. But of course she couldn't tell him that.

   The next day when Baron Alton came by for a short visit she asked him if he had known Lady Breyne. His reply was distant, he had known her "only as an acquaintance." He seemed preoccupied, but Annica herself was too preoccupied to wonder why. Her uncomfortable encounter with her own uncharitable thoughts coming from Alton's mouth made her wonder if she had thought of many people that way. She thought often about the Breyne family, about her aunt, and she missed her family. The first week or so of suitors, parties and the strain of spending time with her aunt had taken them off her mind, but now in the quiet she realized how much she wanted to see them again. Yes, all eight of them...her father, red-haired and spectacled; her mother, busier than the busiest bee; all of her siblings, from Edmund, her older brother to little Jack, who was just learning to walk. The thought of them made her ache for home. On top of it all, people were already whispering that it was no mere fever that had killed Lady Breyne; the plague was back, they said, and 'twas such that had claimed their neighbor. Annica didn't know what to make of this, but it made her entirely uncomfortable. Things had turned somber so suddenly here at the manor, the house was hushed, the atmosphere depressing. It didn't help that she was feeling guilty about her uncharitable disposition towards Lord Breyne. Annica just wanted to be back with her merry, if loud, family; especially if the plague had truly returned. These things together made for a pensive afternoon, until finally she gathered up her courage and approached Lady Eldira.

   "Aunt?" Eldira was standing at the window, her face mostly expressionless...but Annica though she could detect a hint of wistfulness in her eyes.
"Yes, child?" she replied, her gaze never moving from whatever distant spot they were fixed upon. Annica looked down, smoothed her skirts, looked up again.
"May I go home?"
The abruptness of her request caused her aunt to turn.
"Why, pray, do you wish to leave?" she asked, quietly.
"I...I miss my family, ma'am." Annica looked down again.
A pause, and then, "You may. I had intended to send you back early anyhow, because of...recent circumstances. Pack your things." A shadow of an expression Annica could not quite discern (could it be regret?) crossed Lady Eldira's face briefly. "I am sorry, Annica, if your stay has been unpleasant..."
She turned quickly back to the window and cleared her throat slightly. "Go and prepare for your journey."
A puzzled Annica said, "Yes, Aunt, and thank you," and quietly left. As she packed, she pondered over her aunt's remark, which had seemed so out of character. Perhaps death had caused her to question herself also.

   Later that day, Baron Alton stopped by to say his farewells. Annica welcomed him and they went into the medium-sized drawing room (the large drawing room was reserved for more important occasions, and the small one was always far too stuffy in the afternoons).
"We've been good friends, haven't we, Annica?" he said, looking intently at her. She couldn't quite explain it, but something about his tone of voice made a little town crier in the back of her mind begin to raise quiet alarm. She sat up a little straighter. "Yes, I suppose we have," she replied, careful not to sound too  warm. Why was she acting like this? It was just Alton. What could possibly happen?
Apparently, something could. "Have you ever thought of being, well...more than good friends?"
Annica blinked. "I thought...you don't mean to say...oh, I hope I didn't encourage anything. I didn't mean to...I...I really only want to be friends, Alton." She was so very confused and desperately hoped she hadn't led him on unconsciously. "That is, I... I thought you weren't interested in, well, marriage." She blushed self-consciously.
Alton merely chuckled. It didn't sound like his normal good-natured laugh. She tensed. "Who said anything about marriage?" he asked in a low voice, smiling in a manner meant to be charming. 

   At first Annica didn't quite understand what was happening. It just barely began to dawn on her, and without quite realizing what she was doing, she stood up and said, "I'm going to have to ask you to leave, sir," her face betraying little, but her voice just a bit tense. His smile became sickening. He stood up and whispered, "Oh, let's not be unfriendly. We've been good friends, haven't we?" This repetition of his earlier comment chilled her. Suddenly his hand was on the back of her neck, pulling her violently toward him, his other hand going for her waist. She half gasped, half screamed, and tried to shove him away. But he was stronger than she. Their faces were just an inch apart, she still struggling and trying to call for help, when bang! The doors flew open and there stood Lady Eldira, quite clearly shocked.

   Her entrance startled them. Annica took advantage of that small window of time to wrench herself out of his grasp and hurry to the other side of the room, panting slightly from her efforts.
"Well!" exclaimed her aunt. That seemed to be all she could think of to say. "Well!" she repeated.
Alton recovered himself quickly. He showed no signs of guilt, and merely said in his usual urbane manner, "I do believe I've been here long enough. You'll excuse me, ladies?" And with a smile and a slight bow, he was gone.
Aunt Eldira seemed to be still be at a loss for words, probably for the first time in her life. Annica couldn't think of anything to say either. The simplest course of action was to sit down and cry. So, she did.

Comments

I like this story :-D I also

I like this story :-D

I also like Ariela. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!!

Erin | Tue, 03/23/2010

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

What a good friend! I like

What a good friend! I like Ariela too. She seems very thoughtful and compassionate.  Good job! 

Teal | Wed, 03/24/2010

What a good friend! I like

What a good friend! I like Ariela too. She seems very thoughtful and compassionate.  Good job! 

Teal | Wed, 03/24/2010

This was a good chapter to

This was a good chapter to let us know a bit about what's happening to everyone in Annica's absence....but I must admit I'm still on pins and needles waiting for more of Annica with her suitors and aunt. I love the hilarious things that happen!

Heather | Mon, 03/29/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

...

Actually, I don't like Ariela as much.  She's a little too forgiving and maybe it would help if Annica knew those things.  I know that I would want to know.
As for Baron Daryn, have you ever thought that instead of changing his name you could change his title?
As much as her aunt (and that awful horse-toothed idiot) bugs me, I love this story.  It's funny and tense at the same time.

Bridget | Mon, 03/29/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Thanks guys! :) Bridget: I

Thanks guys! :)

Bridget: I have thought of that but I'm starting to think I might change his name to Elliot...not sure, though. And frankly, I'm kind of glad you don't like Ariela as much. If a character was perfect, or perfectly well-liked, then it would be a rather boring story. I think Annica should hear about the plague too (is that what you meant? or the prejudiced jerks?), but Ariela doesn't and I let her have her way. :)

KatieSara | Tue, 03/30/2010

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

...

I though that she ought to hear about both, but especially the plague.  I really do like this story though.

Bridget | Tue, 03/30/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

This is a great story:

This is a great story: lighthearted, but with more serious threads. :)

Anna | Wed, 03/31/2010

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

Bridget, how can anyone be

Bridget, how can anyone be too forgiving? (edit: I just realized you might have meant too forgiving to be realistic as a character, not too forgiving as a person. If so, I take the question back.)

No, Annica probably shouldn't be shielded so, but I like the kindness that made Ariela want to protect her friend. And I have to say that I really like Annica's aunt, controlling though she is. :D

I hope you post the next chapter soon!

Annabel | Sat, 04/03/2010

...

All right, no one can be too forgiving.  I was being pretty judgmental, because I could never be that forgiving.  Sorry.

Bridget | Sun, 04/04/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

No need to apologize! I

No need to apologize! I probably couldn't either.

Annabel | Mon, 04/05/2010

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