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 The Belle of Ellenton

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cindergirl6
PENCIL PUSHER (26-50 posts)
PENCIL PUSHER (26-50 posts)
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Posts : 47
Age : 34
Join date : 2011-08-11
Location : Central Florida

PostSubject: The Belle of Ellenton   Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:48 pm


The music began to play and Eva and Jesse began, advancing diagonally toward each other four steps. As the dance commanded she curtsied and Jesse bowed before both retreated back to their places. Alfred and Kiernan then immediately did the same steps as called for by the leader of the band, who shouted out each step loudly from the platform.
Each step called out seemed to bring Eva to Jesse and Kiernan to Albert.
Why do we even pick our partners? Eva angrily thought. Is this some cruel joke the fates plague upon me?
She felt her legs weaken and heart beat quicken as his penetrating gaze met hers…burning through her with every do-si-do and march that brought them together.
Eva felt as if she were going to faint. It was like her corset was constricting her, making it impossible to breath. She needed air, she needed to get away…from him.
Before the music ended she took her leave of the dance. “Please excuse me,” she said to Alfred. “I’m sorry, I don’t feel well…I need air. I’ll just be on the balcony.”
“Do you want me to accompany you?”
“No, please.” She forced herself to smile, feeling Jesse’s eyes on her. “I’m fine…I’ll just be a moment.”
Alfred nodded and Eva walked as quickly as she could away from the crowd, trying not to appear to desperate to escape.
Jesse watched her leave, but continued with the dance, obliging Kiernan until it was finished. He then excused himself politely and seeing that Alfred was distracted by a group of soldiers who commanded his attention, slipped out the double doors Eva had.
Though he did not hear what she told Alfred he knew where to find her. Through all the problems that plagued them, she was still Eva Caroline the girl he grew up with. And being that same girl, when something upset her and she needed a place to hide she would go to the balcony extended from her father’s study; the one that overlooked her mother’s private gardens.
Jesse was careful to not be discovered as he ascended the stairs of the East Wing. He followed the long hallway to it’s end and opened the door of Arthur Scott’s study. The glass double doors were open letting the cool December air enter the room along with the unique scent that was hers alone. She smelled of lilac’s and champagne, the fragrance lingering in the room serving as an ethereal reminder of her presence. There he saw her, right where he knew she would be, standing on the balcony bathed in the light of the moon which caused the sliver trim of her dress to shimmer like diamonds.
Eva knew he was behind her before he even made his presence known. She knew by the way his boots met with the floor the familiar thump, much like that of her heart as it hammered within her chest when he entered a room. He always seemed to have that effect on her. She felt so confused and unsure in that moment. It was only right that she asked him to leave. It was unseemly for a young woman to be alone with a man. But this was not just any man to her. This was Jesse, the one she truly loved. But their love was taboo in their world. She was to marry a Southern heir and he was leaving to fight a war that ironically preserved the class system that forbade their love.
Jesse quietly came to her side, standing at the stone railing and staring stoically toward her mother’s garden.
“Did you come here to escape the crowd or your husband-to-be?” He broke the silence.
Eva turned to him with her hands on her hips. “Why did you come tonight, Jesse? I know it wasn’t just to inform how horrible of a friend I’ve been to Jennifer. Was it just to say goodbye? Perhaps you seek an apology for my engagement to Alfred., is that it?
“No.”
“Did you come here just to torment me? Because I for one, am not in the mood to go back and forth with you this evening.”
Jesse sighed aloud and forced himself to relax. “I didn’t come to torment you.” He looked up and as she stood before him, sharp green eyes locked on his, hands on her hips and her eyebrow raised as she unwittingly beckoned him to continue explaining his presence. She was breathtaking, he thought, even in anger she captured his fascination.
“I just wanted to be sure that you were okay. It’s not like you to leave during a party…especially one of your own.”
Her hands dropped to her sides and her gaze softened as if she realized that he hadn’t come to her sanctuary to spar. “You know me pretty well, don’t you?”
He smiled, that dashing grin of his that threatened to melt the ice she had placed around her heart.
“I think I know you better than I know myself.”
She shook her head, not wanting his charm to claim her defenses. Eva loved him and wanted nothing more than to fall into his arms in that moment. But she knew that their love was impractical and could never be. She had to let him go even if it meant she might never see him again.
“It was you Jesse,” she sighed and lifted her hand to her cheek. “I needed to escape you. But you just won’t let me be will you?”
“I did try.” He flashed his captivating smile again as he slowly moved closer to her.
Eva took a deep breath and retreated back, her waist coming into contact with the stone railing of the balcony, not allowing her the escape she so desperately sought.
So she did the only thing she knew he could not resist, she played upon his chivalry, the very essence of who his father raised him to be. “Jesse, I can’t do this tonight…please, just leave me be.”
“I can‘t,” he said firmly. The vehemence of his tone made her heart beat quicken. “Not until I say what I came to say. Then I promise I will leave and never bother you again…I just need to get it off my chest before I go. Eva, I‘m afraid that if I don‘t…and Jesu, what if I never see you again?”
She knew that she should deny him. For in her heart she knew what he was going to say. It seemed that she couldn’t muster the strength to ask him to leave again. In truth, she wanted him there. She wanted him like never before. Her heart screamed it. But her mind, her every thought seemed not to be as sure as her heart.
From the time when they were kids, Eva and Jesse had always been drawn to one another. It was much like the attraction you get with magnets. Two people from completely different worlds brought together by Ellenton’s determination to give every child, no matter their background, an equal opportunity at education. As kids they never saw money as a barrier to friendship and when they were teenagers it seemed nothing in the world could stop their budding love.
Then tragedy struck their little world. Just three years ago, when Eva turned sixteen, her mother succumbed to fever. At that tender age Eva found herself thrust into responsibilities as the new woman of the house. Her father hurriedly hired tutors to complete her schooling. However, this schooling was different than that of her best friend Jenny. This was aptly dubbed Finishing School, teaching important things such as knitting, etiquette and all other aspects to make Eva a proper bride for a wealthy heir.
It was just last winter when she was betrothed to Alfred and in turn she was commanded to take her place in society. It was no longer proper for her to gallivant with those beneath her status. It was never her choice to turn her back on Jenny and especially not Jesse.
Her little world had been swiftly shattered. She soon learned that life of a Southern heiress was not as glamorous as it seemed before. Life was brutal and this was not a perfect world. She was to marry someone she loathed, Jesse was going off to war and she wanted nothing more than to disappear, to never exist in such a hateful world.
“Would it help if I were to apologize for my actions earlier.”
“It certainly does help to hear it. But…I know your words were not unprovoked.”
“I didn’t come to rehash what happened before.”
Her eyes flashed a peculiar color so green that it might match an emerald. “Then why did you come here, Jesse?”
As soon as she asked the question she turned from him. Was it fear? No. She could never fear Jesse. It was life and its boundaries that held her. Like the cold grip of Death, it held her in its grasp pushing her down into the darkness of a gold-rimmed coffin that stood in her future.
Eva began to gasp uneasily, unable to catch her breath in her lungs. The walls were closing in on her. Air, I need air!
She leaned over the balcony and turned her face upward to look at the clear night sky.
“I need you to look at me Eva. I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to answer truthfully with your eyes on me.”
She sighed and turned toward him slowly lifting her gaze to his. For a moment she forgot her need to breath. Looking up at him, was breathing…it was living. Gradually, she began to relax and her breaths came deep and even.
“Do you love Alfred?”
“Is that you’re question then? You can’t go to war without knowing that?”
“Just answer the question, Eva.”
“I don’t think it is anyone’s business to know…”
“Do you love him, yes or no?” Jesse asked tonelessly.
“I’m going to marry him.”
“That’s not what I asked you?”
“But it is my honest answer.”
“Then you don’t love him?”
“What do you want to hear, Jesse? I am to marry him and that is all that need be said. There is no way out for me…I must do as my father wishes.”
“What about your wishes, Eva?” He took a step toward her and reached out to place a hand on each of her cheeks. “What do you want for yourself?”
She closed her eyes, causing the tears to fall down her cheeks. No one had ever bothered to ask her what she wanted. It was a fact she had come to know at a very young age. She had been born to privilege, a gift she had never taken for granted. But she had also been born a girl, which meant that she could have no say or opinion on the life chosen for her to lead. Such thoughts were considered indecent and below her station. In hearing Jesse ask her what it was that she wanted, she was taken aback, unsure how to react.
Jesse smoothed her tears away with his thumbs.
“Tell me,” he whispered softly, “what is the desire of your own heart?”
“I…” She tried to pull away from him. “I have to marry Alfred. It‘s simply what must be.”
“That is your father talking…not you…I’ll ask you one more time…”
“And what does it matter what I truly want…my life was decided the day I was born a girl. I have to marry Alfred.”
“Marry me.” He uttered the words before he could stop himself. It was not a question, but a statement. A true, honest and heart felt statement. He couldn’t bare to go off to war and allow someone else to possess her for she was his. She was always meant to be his, of that he had no doubt. What kind of God could create a love so pure and then deny them the right to be together?
His jaw clenched in frustration as he looked into her eyes. The tears that formed there causing his heart to break for her. She loved him, he knew it was so.
“Marry me,” he said again.
Eva shook her head and tried to turn from him. “Please don’t ask of me what I cannot give you. It isn’t the way of things.”
Jesse held her softly within his grasp but refuse to allow her to turn away from him. “I am the fifth son of a potato farmer with hardly an inheritance to speak of. I could never offer you the comforts and promise of riches that he can. But I can promise you that not a day will pass in our marriage that you will not know that I love you. I can offer you that simply…my love…it’s all I have to give.”
She stood before him seemingly in shock, though she knew she wasn‘t. She already knew he loved her, had always known. But hearing him say it, standing before her now, finally stating aloud what they both had never said, somehow took her aback. Why couldn‘t he say it before? She wondered if he had, would that have changed anything. Why now, why this moment before he was leaving and she was to be married to another? No, it was simply too late.
“Breath, my belle.”
Eva closed her eyes and inhaled quickly. She hadn’t realized that she was holding her breath.
“Does your heart beat quicken when he places his hand on your cheek? Like this.” Jesse reached out and placed his hand on her cheek.
A tear escaped through her shut eyelids and he gently smoothed it away with his thumb.
“Do you find yourself unable to sleep, your ribs aching because you are thinking so much about him?…Missing him, longing for his touch. Does his kiss upon your soft-inviting lips leave imagination and want of what is to come from those kisses. Where can his touch lead?”
“Jesse…”
“Does he tell you that you are beautiful everyday? Because you are and you deserve to be told these things.”
“Jesse…”
“Just answer me.”
“No…okay? No, he doesn’t say those things. He doesn’t love me, he loves the idea of me. He is cruel…is that what you want to know? And his touch is not like yours…not soft, not…loving. With his kisses he only seeks to possess. Are you happy to know this now. I don’t love him, I…I loathe the very thought of him.”
“You deserve better. Eva, I would worship you…love you as you were meant to be loved. I would place you upon a pedestal…”
“I don’t want to be placed upon a pedestal! Don’t you see? I want only…Jesu, it’s you. I have always wanted what I could never have and that is you, Jesse.”
“But you can have me, my belle.”
“And what can we do, Jesse. Run away? Marry in secret?”
“Yes,” he answered matter-of-factly.
Her mind seemed to race in a thousand different directions. Marry in secret without her fathers blessing? It was an absurd notion. She loved her father, he was a good man despite the fact that he forced an unwanted marriage upon her. She knew that he only doing so because he wanted to be sure she would be provided for. He was only doing what he thought best.
“And then what, Jesse? You are to join the war in a few days. What shall I do then? I will be without my father…no protection…left to fend for myself…No! I can’t Jesse.”
“You won’t be alone and you know that. You have my family and Jenny.”
“You ask me to walk away from the only life I have ever known.”
“I am asking you to give up nothing…only, embrace what it is your heart is telling you.”
“You ask the impossible. Happiness was meant for others, Jesse. People like Tom and Jennifer…you. Not me. I have a duty as my fathers daughter.”
“Your father loves you, Eva. He only wants the best for you…but sometimes people are blind to the evils of others. He see’s security for you…but he doesn’t see Alfred for the man he truly is. Tell him, Eva. Open his eyes to your heart.”
“How can I do so, if I myself cannot see.”
“You and I were meant to be together…of that I am certain.”
“But you are leaving…this war isn’t what they said at first. It has already lasted long past the time we all thought. I have seen the poor soldiers that are brought to our hospital each day. I have seen flesh mangled and burned…Jesse, people are dying every day…why, your own father has died…and Tristan’s father and brother. It may no longer be my place to say this but, I can’t bare to lose you. To think of you being shot or even killed, I…”
He cupped her cheeks in his hands again and brought his face close to hers. “Give me a reason to come home, Eva. For if I knew that you were here waiting on me no bullet could stop me from returning to you.”
“That isn’t for you to decide, Jesse.”
“You would have me die, then?”
“Oh really Jesse, don’t be so melodramatic. You know that is not what I meant.”
Then he grinned and she knew he jested with her.
“You really are a devil, aren’t you. I find nothing funny. You shouldn’t tease about such things. To suggest that I would not care if something terrible happened to you…”
“Eva.”
“Well I just don’t know why you would even joke about…”
“Eva.”
He felt that he was losing her and his heart beat quickened as he held her face in his hands. He couldn’t lose her now, not again.
Eva paused from her rant as his fingers caressed the softness of her check.
“I love you, Eva.” He sighed and brought his face close to hers. “Whether you choose me or not I know you can’t deny it in your heart that you love me in return.” Slowly he brought his lips down to hers and tenderly kissed her.
Eva muttered a protest but it fell upon deaf ears. When she felt his lips touch her own it seemed all her fears began to melt away. He pulled her closer into his embrace and she welcomed his kiss, matching it with equal intensity.
Jesse finally pulled away, both of them stood panting, chest heaving as they tried to catch their breath.
“Don‘t ask me to walk away again…”
“Jesse.”
“Eva.” He took a deep breath and his eyes locked so intensely upon hers that she thought she felt her knees go weak. “I cannot leave knowing that you will be his wife. The thought of him touching you…it breaks my heart and sickens my very soul. Marry me, for I find it impossible to turn from you.”
Eva almost cried aloud as she fell into his arms kissing him again.
“Say the words.”
“I…”
“Say the words…admit it to yourself that what we have is true.”
“Jesse,” she said as she looked into his eyes, “I love you.”
He drew her close. “Marry me then.”
“Jesu, we must be crazy.”
“Maybe so, but life is not worth living if you refuse to take chances. Marry me…tonight.”
“Yes,” she said quickly, shutting her eyes as if she expecting the stars to fall from the sky upon them.
She bit her lip as he pulled back to look at her. “Yes,” she answered again, but this time taking her time with it. She opened her eyes to see that he was still looking down at her, his blue eyes gleaming triumphantly as he did so.
He smiled and kissed her once more. “Gather some things, do so discreetly. It will not be long before someone comes to check on you. When they do, fain illness and that should excuse you well enough from the party. My horse is in the stables. I will see that she is saddled and ready to go. When you have your things gathered, I want you to ride to Shady Creek. Can you do that?”
Eva nodded. “What about you?”
“I will go back down to the party so that no one is suspicious. Then fetch Reverend Caleb and meet you at Shady Creek.”
“This is absurd, Jesse. My father will kill us both, for sure.”
“Then I will die a happy man.”
Eva lightly hit his shoulder. “Don’t jest about such things.”
He smiled. “I’ll see you later then?”
She nodded. “At Shady Creek.”
“I love you.” He kissed her quickly and then climbed over the balcony railing and slipped down the side of the house into the rose garden.
Eva kissed her hand and threw it up to wave as he slipped into the darkness around the corner of the house. “And I love you.” She whispered into the dark of the night knowing he could no longer hear her.
She went to her room and began gathering some necessity’s; her comb, toiletries, and two extra dresses.
It wasn’t long before someone knocked on her door, as Jesse had told her they would.
Eva quickly laid down on her bed, still fully dressed when Kiernan peeked her head into the room.
“Eva are you in here?”
“Yes, I’m here,” she answered softly. “Come in.”
Kiernan came to the bed and sat down next to where her head lay upon the pillow. “I was worried about you. Albert said you were not feeling well.”
“I am feeling poorly, Kiernan. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to the party. Please, if would, take my place as hostess. See that the guest have a good time.”
“Of course, I will.”
Eva gently grasp her cousin’s hand in hers. “Promise me something, Kiernan.”
“Anything for you dear Eva.”
“When you marry, let it be a man of your choosing.”
Kiernan frowned. “I shall marry who my father thinks best, Eva.”
“Marry, the one your heart picks.”
Kiernan smiled naively. “I hope that it is someone like Alfred. Gracious Eva, you are so lucky. He is very handsome and a true gentleman.”
Eva sighed. “Oh Kiernan, don’t let others govern your heart.”
“Okay Eva. I promise, to not let others control my heart.” The young girl giggled. “Unless, it is someone like your Alfred.”
Eva let out an exasperated sigh. “Goodnight Kiernan…enjoy the party.”
Kiernan skipped out of the room and Eva sprang up as soon as the door shut. She finished gathering her things and took the servants stairs down into the kitchen that was below the east wing of the house. The slaves used the back door to exit the house so that they could go about their duties and rarely be seen. The back door of the kitchen opened up to a path that went straight to the stables. Eva took one last deep breath and ran out into the night, unsure if she would ever set foot in her home again.
* * *

Note from the Author: I am in need of a reader to assist with the proof-reading a editing process of this series. It is a Four Part family saga about the Bryants of Georgia, it takes place during the Civil War. I consider it a Christian Romantic Adventure. Book Two: The Belle of Ellenton is the story of Eva Caroline Scott the daughter of a rich plantation owner, and Jesse Bryant, the twin brother of Jenny Bryant who is Eva's best friend a the MC of Part One. If interested please e-mail me or send a private message. I would be happy to exchange readings. G-d Bless!

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PostSubject: Reply   Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:48 pm

You definitely have different interests in stories from me. You are putting in some good effort however. Keep at it.

This section however has one MAJOR fault. You kept switching PoV (Point of View). This is NOT the thing to do. You need to sit back and figure out to use Eva or Jesse, then tell the story from ONLY that view. If you want to switch PoV, you need a break. Alternating chapters is one option. Within the chapter, do something like --
~^~^~ ^~^~^ ~^~^~
to let the reader know that somethign in the narrative has occurred.

That is really my only complaint. It was not my type of story, so I did not get into it. Still, I did try to check it for you. Could not find anything else to gripe about, so GOOD JOB! I wish you well.
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