Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Fiction Friday - Installment 1.9

It’s time for Fiction Friday! Sorry I missed the last two weeks - the end of the year busyness got me all caught up and I completely missed that it was Friday. 

So, how does Fiction Friday work? Well, kind of like those old Choose Your Own Adventure stories, but with a lot more room. Read the installment of the story below. At the end, you’ll find a question. You the reader will get to determine what happens next. Leave a comment. I’ll pick one at random.  You get to determine where the plot goes. So read, enjoy, and tell me what you want to happen next.  

Past Segments:  12345678

                Olivia forced a smile onto her face as she participated in the typical banal social chatter that accompanied parties such as these. She danced twice more, gaining nothing but a smile and a nod the one time she happened to pass John.  Thankfully, the dancing was quite short lived and the party broke up soon after.
                The occupants of the house moved to retire. Olivia made the walk across the great hall to the stairs take as long as she could. John was caught up in a business conversation with Lord Bromley and was apparently going to stay up for some time yet. With all the other ladies already ascending the stairs, Olivia had no choice but to follow them.
The next day found the ambling along the road, continuing their drive towards Birmingham. The confines of the coach were not private enough for her to lure John into continuing last night’s conversation. They stopped at a very nice posting inn for the night which excited Minnie to the point that she eagerly took Olivia’s hand and refused to let go for most of the evening.
“You’ll have to keep me from making a total cake of myself,” she said, gripping Olivia’s hand tightly.
“Have you never stayed in an inn before?”
The younger girl shook her head. “Never. Father has friends halfway between London and Cornwall. We stayed there on our way to London.”
Olivia glanced around the inn, trying to see it through Minnie’s eyes. It was obvious the girl found the wood planking and mix of characters exotic, but Olivia was at a loss to figure out why. It was probably because she knew that despite the better than average cleanliness and order of this inn, there was likely to be a rather uncomfortable bed waiting for her upstairs.
After dinner in the private dining room, she was pleased to find that the beds were much nicer than anticipated. She sighed. That meant Minnie was going to be vastly disappointed the next time she stayed in an inn.
The lost conversation ate at Olivia for the next two days. They saw several glorious sights and spent time in the coach reading to each other and chatting. Topics flowed easily one into the other. Olivia tried to share stories that she thought would help Minnie prepare for her season. John always sent her a secret, grateful smile when she managed it.
Olivia kept her eyes open for a chance to pursue his reasons for bringing her. She was amazed at how quickly her view of him had changed. Before he mentioned accompanying his sister on this trip he had simply been another man with whom her mother forced her to socialize. She thought him a bit full of himself when she’d dealt with him before. Now, after getting to know him and seeing his care of Minnie, she was beginning to rethink her opinion of him.
She stole a glance at him as the coach rolled through Birmingham’s high street. Was it possible he had seen her as something more while they were still in London? He said he had watched her before deciding to ask her to accompany his sister. What had he seen and, more importantly, had he liked it?
They reached his aunt’s friend’s house in mid-afternoon. They were shown immediately to their rooms to rest. Olivia didn’t feel the least bit tired. She took her pen and notepad and meandered out to the back gardens. She had several story ideas while traveling through the country and had not felt comfortable writing them down in the coach.
Crossing paths with John was an unexpected surprise.
“Oh, hello.” Anticipation filled her. This was the private moment she had been praying for. Now she had only to bring up the conversation without letting him know she’d been obsessing over it for days.
“You did not feel the need to rest?”
Olivia fell in step beside him and they wandered the garden paths, admiring the beautiful blooms. “We’ve taken such an easy pace on this trip that the traveling has not made me overtired.”
“I feel the same. Normally when I travel I get to my destination as quickly as possible. I’m afraid I’ve never taken the time to see the beauty in our country before. It was quite refreshing.” He glanced at the notepad in her hands. “Did you come out here to sketch?”
“No, write. I wanted to jot down a few things, memories of the trip so far.” She took a deep breath and dove into the conversational opening. “I was thinking back to our dance that first night. I don’t believe you ever finished that confession you said you had. Personal confession, if I recall correctly.”
He smiled. “And how long has that been bothering you?”
A gasp flew from her mouth before she could stop it. “Bothering me? Why I-“
“Do not bother, Miss Bedford, I shall tell you without embarrassing you further. You’ve been such a good sport and, indeed, a great help to Minnie. I felt the need to confess to you that I had an ulterior motive in inviting you on this trip.”
“You did?”
“Yes. You see my family had decided that it’s time for me to settle down. My mother has even decided who it should be.”
“She did?” Olivia mentally shook her head. She was a writer. Surely she could construct a more interesting sentence than that.
They walked in silence for a moment and finally curiosity won over pride and patience. “Who does she think you should marry?”
He looked over at her with a small smile. “You.”
“You. So I decided to bring you on this trip.”
She waited, breath held, to see if he was about to say that he found her as attractive as she was beginning to find him.
“I figured it would be the best way to prove to her that we wouldn’t suit at all.”

Okay, readers, is anyone going to give Alana a challenge on the story idea? Give me your ideas on how you think Olivia should respond to John’s statement. The options are endless.

Comments are now closed. Look for the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. Her defenses go up and she tries to act like she wasn't just hurt. She can remind him that he obviously knew she didn't even want to dance with him the day he asked her about the trip because she already knew he wasn't the man for her.

    Of course she must then leave with as much dignity as possible and not let on that her opinion of him had changed.