The Taverner Chronicles: Prolouge, Three

Fiction By Marlene E. Schuler // 1/20/2012

I think she honestly didn't see me at first. Gianna was about to open her mouth to warn her of my presence as she came down the hill to meet her, but was stopped when Millie let out a cry of surprise.

 

'Edward! What... on earth!'

 

'No time to explain you see, kind of in a tough spot!' I shouted back, trying to concentrate again on the task at hand.

 

It suddenly became harder to navigate the loose bridge. A wild realization that I was in no fit condition to be running and jumping in the rain ran through my mind, but I couldn't turn back now, not while I was so close. Those three missing boards had to be crossed, so I took a gamble and jumped.

 

It wouldn't have been so hard if I hadn't landed awkwardly and nearly fallen of the bridge altogether, at least not with Millie watching. But I don't think she noticed; I think she was just glad that I made it. I hadn't thought of what a blessing solid ground is until my feet touched it again after that perilous journey over that bridge, so I whispered a quick prayer of thanksgiving as I faced the sisters.

 

'Come on, you're soaked through!' Millie said, handing me the umbrella she had been using to keep dry.

 

I gladly followed her up the hill and towards the Taverner Manor, keeping close so that she and Gianna would be able to benefit from the umbrella. It wasn't long before we were mounting the front stairs and I was marveling at the overall grandeur of the building. It was enormous. The entire front was covered in sculpted marble, a commonplace sight for such grand houses as these. It was almost impossible to think that such a beautiful building was a few minute's walk from my own home. I fancied, as a child, that our two families – the Taverners and the Rawlings- had once been intimately connected, but any trace of that was forever lost, and hence I had rarely seen the manor, much less the inside of it.

 

Once inside, I was chilled, for there was no fire in the foyer's hearth.

 

'Quickly, take your wet coat off! The fire's in the parlor, and we can't drip in there!' cried Gianna, ripping off her wrapper and scarf and throwing them onto a disheveled coat rack.

Millie rolled her eyes as her sister dashed off towards one of the doors that adjoined the foyer. She turned to me with a mature air and held out her hand.

 

'Your coat, Mr. Rawlings.'

 

'Oh yes, thank you, ma'am.' I replied, slipping my coat off and handing it decorously to her. I think she sensed the sarcasm in my voice, for her face saddened a little as she hung my coat.

 

'This way.'

 

With that, she led me into the parlor, which I later found out to be the heart and soul of the Taverner family. Gianna had already taken the largest chair next to the blazing fire, causing Millie to exclaim,

 

'Gi, you know that's the warmest spot in the house. Mr. Rawlings needs to get warmed up as much as you do.'

 

But Gianna look so comfortable as she was, wrapped in a multitude of blankets and snuggled happily in the chair that I didn't have the heart to dispel her. Before either of the sisters could say anything more, I sat down by the fire place promptly and look up at Millie.

 

'That's fine, leave her. I'll take this spot, it'll be far warmer!'

 

The looks on the girls faces were so comical that I would have started to laugh if I hadn't realized my embarrassing position; I had put my hand right into the ash bucket, and now my hand was covered in a cakey layer of soot.

 

'Ah. What a quandary.' I said, looking down at my unfortunate hand.

 

Millie burst out laughing. Gianna looked at her in surprise, and even I had to take a second glance. I assumed from Gianna's expression that her older sister did not find many things so humorous as to laugh heartily, and was glad that I was the cause of her merriment, though it was rather inconvenient. Gianna got up.

 

'Look Edward, sorry about your hand. I'll get something to clean it.'

 

As she disappeared from sight, Millie sat down with a sigh.

 

'Sorry Mr.-'

 

'-Edward is fine, thank you.' I interjected, trying to break down her formality. She looked at me oddly for a moment, then continued.

 

'...Edward, then. Sorry about the mess... but it was so funny.'

 

'I can only imagine. It's not every fellow who will barge soaked into your house, then stick his hand into soot.'

 

She did something then that I will never forget. She smiled at me... for the first time. I couldn't understand why she didn't smile more often; it made her face look so lovely that I was embarrassed to look at her long. Her eyes lit up like a bright candle in the dark, and I saw that she had dimples -dimples- in her cheeks. I decided, from that moment on, that I would do anything possible to see that smile as often as I could... even everyday. Not knowing what else to do, I looked at the fire and racked my brains to try and find something to say. But try as I might, the only thing that kept returning to my mind was that smile. If I looked at her again, I knew that I would be doomed think of it for days, so I refrained from doing so.

 

'Er... the weather was nice, before it started to rain, eh?' I said, after what seemed centuries of silence.

 

'It was. I think I saw a glimmer of sunlight earlier.'

 

I had planned for days what I was going to say to her, how I was going to craftily fox the answer of why she was at my father's grave out of her in just a few short questions, but somehow, all those strategies left my mind as I tried to remember them. Another age of silence followed.

 

But then, Gianna ran into the room with tears falling down her cheeks. Millie leapt up immediately and opened her arms to her sister, who nearly fell into her embrace. I could hardly discern what she was saying at first, but when her sobbing began to subside, a clear sentence came out.

 

'Millie... Alex is dying. Dying. And Edward can't do anything, he was... oh, Millie!'

 

Tears chocked her voice, and then, she nearly shouted when she saw me.

 

'I forgot he was here! Oh Millie, I've ruined everything!'

 

I couldn't believe what I had heard. Alex? Edward? She couldn't have said my name... no, she meant my father. And his brother who had died as a boy in 1893.

 

Comments

 ooh the plot thickens...

 ooh the plot thickens... :)

 "'Ah. What a quandary.' " hahaha I like that word.

Renee | Fri, 01/20/2012

Oh!

So very enjoyable! Please write further. :)

Sarah | Sat, 01/21/2012

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
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Write more!

 I like Gianna. Nice name too.

Kathleen | Mon, 01/23/2012

 This is so much fun. I love

 This is so much fun. I love the whole way you've introduced this.

Anna | Tue, 01/24/2012

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

Ooh

Just reading through this for the first time, but I thought I'd point out that the dog was mentioned in prologue, two and now has disappeared.

a | Sat, 04/28/2012

Yeah. I remembered that after

Yeah. I remembered that after I was done. When the serial is finished, I'm going to go back through and fix all the problems. ;) Thanks for mentioning it, though! :D

Marlene E. Schuler | Sat, 04/28/2012

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