Chapter-2 (Her First Season)
ROSE happened to be completely frazzled over the work that Mrs. Linda gave her for the afternoon. She had been working in the corn field near the orphanage. Her work was to sow the seeds of corn. The sun was blistering her back and she was only clad in a thin cotton gown. The corset did hurt her alot while she bent to sow the seeds in the damp soil. The sweat trickled down her brows and face. She was tired and hungry. But more of full basket of seeds remained for her to sow into the soil. It was quite tedious a work but she enjoyed the breeze until the sun came out and burned her skin completely. It hurt. She wasn’t in usual of being tired. But she was now.
She looked up at the sun with her eyes wincing a little. The burning yellow rays blasting through the clouds hadn’t had mercy on her today. Ironic it was she had wished for a bright morning for her birthday. She turned eighteen today. Her heart gave a saddened down leap. A gloomy shadow eclipsed her heart when she thought about Edward. It had been eight years since the castle burned to black ash. Mrs. Linda deliberately did not let her go to the mansion. Rose begged. Cried. Wailed. But she wasn’t allowed to go. But when she did go. Her eyes and mind could not forget the things that she saw. Only a week before there had been there a big bright mansion with a large pond and white happy ducks in it but then what she had seen later had all been nothing black cadaver of it. Frantic and confused and frightened to her core she reached the orphanage only to be told that the mansion had been burned overnight a week ago and nobody knew what happened to the Countess or her son Edward. But whispers floated around that the inmates were burned to death in it.
She had never been so burned in the heart too. The coals marred her soul with the news. The only person who had ever showed true affection had died and burnt to ashes. Good dies young. That is what sympathized a sad Mrs. Donald’s. And now two years back suddenly there had been chaos around the woods and she had wondered and walked towards the ruins to see that new owner of the land had started building new quarters there.
A sudden hurt, despise and hate spilled out of her heart into a possessive pull. It was Edward’s place. Her sweet Edward who always came into her dreams and soothed her hurt feet and wiped the cold tears of her cool dead cheeks. He always smiled so warmly and handsomely that her heart cried a million tears in memory of his warmth towards her. She could never forget his face. Nor how he looked at her not as a cheap poor thing but as a friend and a person that she was. He didn’t treat her like mud but came towards her with open arms and heart that only belonged to only love and care. Beautiful Edward died so young. Her heart called out for him always in the foggy nights that she walked around the orphanage because sleep wouldn’t come to her easily. She searched in the blithe darkness for his sweet face but all that she encountered was inky depths of darkness and cold.
Oh why oh why him that god took him away from her. The only person that she ever loved so deeply and still she did from the very hallow of her soul. She had though learned not to be a meek but speak her thoughts. She had surprised one day when Mrs. Linda tried to hit her. The thunder in her face was so apparent and confidence that Mrs. Linda backed away in paleness and shock. Since then she never ventured around Rose but cautiously in case she hit back hard. The confidence came from Edward. He made her learn it. She had observed how he stood so regally and fearlessly even though Mrs. Linda was alot older than him. She had seen in his eyes. The spark of dominance of thoughts and righteousness and how bowing down and cowering in fear would never make her learn to overcome it. Except if she rebelled against it and feel the power and taste of shock and fright that it brought in other people. The look on Mrs. Linda’s face that night gave her power to break her steel and bend her to Rose’s will brought in quench to her hurt that she faced in the elder’s hands.
Still though Mrs. Linda had the power only if Rose agreed to it. Since today she felt all gloomy and sick to heart to enjoy her birthday. It made her relent to sow the seeds here in the sun. Except that, tomorrow, Rose and three of her friends who turned eighteen too are now to be introduced to the society. Their first season in the ball hosted by the new owners of the mansion. The orphanage had the privilege to send few of the girls who came to age for the marriage market to be sent into society and make them find their own way since after. Rose was frightened by the idea. She did not. Not ever had the thought to leave the dear old orphanage of hers. Where she grew up and had been given the gift of education and knowledge of various things. Except that now she was to find a decent job in one of the London’s art galleria. There was this little cosy space for a library where history books were placed. Books written on the art and learning in depth about the travel and countries. Rose usually went there to read. She did devour the books in rapt attention and deliciousness that the other girls always complained about how she was a bore as she kept talking about complicated issues of politics and modern art. Only a few words coming out of her mouth that the girls would yawn and talk about frills and laces dismissing her interests rather coolly. She was amused nonetheless though but joined the fun about the local gossip and how the girls caught the attention of the soldiers coming down here to attend the balls from the war. She listened with a little mind how the soldiers were so handsome and how coyly did the girls enjoy the attention.
But Rose always wondered how one can ever think about being courted by a soldier. Their lives were at constant risk. Always. You cannot but live in the fear of them never returning after the war. The constant fear to live in. She would never want that. For the fear to lose the person you love. It was like living a thousand deaths than being free from the awful thoughts.
Though her heart wasn’t hers to rule. It had been already taken by a person who was dead already. She was not prepared for another of the heart aches. The utter loss. Not anymore. She was but excited to meet and greet new people. Going to a ball was a mesmerizing thought. She had wanted since long to look around the ball. Eat good food. Socialize among all levels of the society. See the upper class people and their clothing’s and gowns specially since she designed a few of those of her own. Since she really could take inspiration from the new materials of silk and lace. The old ones were bore to the girls. Now she was on the look out for cheap but good things. Like beads, pearls, sash, and shimmer for the dresses they would be wearing for their first season. Since first impression always mattered Rose had been working hard on the gowns more rapidly. She had still a lot of work piled up to finish. She shopped though for the materials from around the corner of the orphanage where such things were available in a quaint little shop. Although the old still lady was a snob to her, Rose too wasn’t any less. She sweet talked the lady into words of such charm and praise that the proud smiling woman finally relented and sold the things to her pretty cheaply. And that is what Rose called the power of saccharine words and praise. People were vulnerable to over the top appreciations of their work. Ones who are resistant to it might as well god’s of heaven.
Later that night Rose finally had the gowns finished. Oh she was never was this happy with her hard work before.
Bella tried out her gown and beamed happily at Rose.
“Oh, my, Rose. I can’t tell you in words how I love this dress.” She said so happily and gleefully.
Bella was this thin and delicate girl. She smiled always and had genial warmth in her light brown eyes and wide thin lips. It made Rose feel good. She had curly blonde hair and fair porcelain skin that glistened so beautifully. She looked really pretty in the long rose blush dress that reached down and hid her ankles. It was cinched tight at the waist and displayed her thin frame accordingly. It had half sleeves with shimmery blush lace. The red gloves gave her the complete look. Every girl was trying on the dress that Rose had sewed herself.
Tamara did not seem much impressed. She was tall and curvy and had an air of a diva. She had long cheekbones and smoky green eyes and blood of a fire spirited. She gets riled up easily but her heart was pure gold. She mostly towered over the girls. Well since she was five ten that is. Beth, Rose and Beth were all close to five three’s. Beth though never complained. She always was a shy kid and when she saw the blue long off shoulder dress. The happiness in her face informed Rose that she did the job pretty well on the cloth.
“Darling, Rose. Don’t you think the gown looks a little too plain.” Tamara observed her dress critically while looking in the mirror.
Rose’s eyes glided over the green plain silk dress and she wondered too.
“You are quite right actually there.” Rose got up the reclining chair.
It was missing a waist sash. Well, she just had the remedy for it. She moved towards her pink silk work bag where she kept all these small things. Beads. Pearls. Clips. Hair pinks. Rouges. She searched into and cried out.
“Here it is. The white stone green sash.” Rose said cheerily.
The little colourless stones were embroidered into the mess of silk. And gave the sash a glittery look.
With that Tamara’s eyes brightened and she smiled finally. She was dark haired and all a swan like beauty with a little sass accompanied. Anyone can be bluffed by the child like innocence of her round face but once you get into a conversation with her the cynicism truly can be found easily in her talk and manner. Many would be left confused after conversing with her. If she was insulting them or was actually being funny. One would never know though her thoughts.
Rose went and tied it around her waist and each girl gasped at the way the dress was brought out into such glimmer. The sash perfected the dress completely.
“Lord bless you my Rose. You are a born genius.” Tamara said in a mesmerised murmur while looking at the dress with glazed eyes in the mirror.
Rose beamed happily. She finally was satisfied with her work. All girls looked so happy with the dresses that it filled her heart with happiness. At least they wouldn’t look like the ‘shabby orphan girls’ that they were titled always. It rued with her heart each time anyone did call them that.
Tamara looked unhappy again. Beth gave a sigh.
“What is it now, Tamara?” She asked in a quite tone.
“My corset isn’t as tight.” She said ruefully, while her full red lips pursed into a sulk.
Bella’s eyes widened.
“Dear lord, how much tighter do you want it?” Bella asked in disbelief…..”It already is so constricting. You are going to faint while dancing during the ball.” Beth shook her head.
Tamara smiled mischievously.
“Oh, no.” She said deliberately slowly, while looking down at the cut of the gown appreciatively and in womanly vanity……”I won’t be the one to swoon but the men would though drool over my ample br*asts.” She said deliciously while grinning.
Beth and Bella gasped, blushed and they looked around in worry.
“My lord, Tamara! you have no shame talking like that so boldly. What if Mrs. Linda hears it.” Bella said in a whisper hiss.
Rose just shook her head.
Tamara gave her an airy look.
“Oh, please now. Talking about womanly parts to a woman that too, is not considered scandalous. And for heaven’s sake we are in our dorm room and it is the middle of the night. Mrs. Linda might as well be knocked off on her bed with mouth half open after having the routine of the bottle of wine.” She drawled bored in that husky voice of hers.
Rose chuckled and so did the girls.
“I swear she chugs down the bottle in a go minute as just like how the sailor does.” Rose replied while giggling.
The girls joined along with her in the mirth. Laughter filled the large room.
“I wonder if she is just as prim and proper as she is after being drunk like the geezer.” Bella wondered out loud.
That made the girls giggle even more.
“Or possibly she sneaks out of the orphanage in the night to have her own fun.” Tamara said in a delicious scandalous whisper.
That made the girls to gasp and their eyes rounded in disbelief.
“Now you are just lying.” Beth snorted but when Tamara shook her head in negative she gasped again…..”Oh dear lord me…” She started and laughed hard.
“I cannot imagine Mrs. Linda doing that.” Bella snorted.
“Imagining it makes it more hilarious and ridiculous.” Rose laughed.
“It is, isn’t it.” She agreed while giggling.
Rose couldn’t really replace the image of the stern glasses, a tight strict bun and straight bow posture of Mrs. Linda to a drunken floosy without laughing hard while actually imagining it. It was too funny. She cannot just imagine that……….
The Ball…….The people……..And The encounter……..
To be contd….
Sorry this is just a small part. It had been long overdue. Like half a year since I updated it. Oh wow. Hmm. So I wondered what to write next. I wrote this so so randomly while I broke off in the middle of the writing of bbcb. Can u imagine how my mind strays from one ff to another. I have a frivolous brain. Lols. Whatever.
Credit to: Blue