Cecily’s Choice

Cecily headed for home in a cloudy haze of disappoinment. She saw now that even if she declared her love for Samuel, he might not respond in kind. After all, he hadn’t renewed his attentions to her since that day in the woods, though he sometimes looked on her with a sort of bitter longing – or was it plain hatred? She couldn’t tell. All she knew was that she loved him, and he appeared to love Josephine, and that was that.

He gave up on me long ago, she mused as she dragged her leaden feet into the house. From the living room, she could hear Arianna plunking away merrily on the piano, and the boys laughing as they sang, but she veered off into the study where she could be alone. It was comforting to be among all of her father’s worn books and his heavy desk of polished wood. She set a small blaze burning in the fireplace and settled down into a chair.

As she watched the fire flicker and dance, she began to feel some hope again. How did she know for sure that Samuel didn’t love her anymore? Maybe he still had those old feelings stored somewhere, like cherished heirlooms in a closet, and all he needed was for someone to open the door and dust them off.

It was to this very thought that Cecily was clinging when someone rang at the door. She remained in her chair, not in the mood to greet visitors. Through the closed door of the study, she heard Carol’s murmuring voice, then a man’s voice with a charming lilt. Cecily stopped breathing and gripped the seat of her chair, listening, waiting. If she was in no mood to greet visitors, she was in even less of a mood to greet James Haddaway. With any luck, Carol would think she was still out and send him away.

Unfortunately Carol’s hearing was too keen – ten years of working for the Braytons had trained her to notice all of their comings and goings – and she led James right to the study. Cecily had just enough time to jump up and busy herself with the fire, so she wouldn’t appear too idle or – worse yet – eager.

Cecily busies herself with the fire

“Hello, Cecily,” said James.

Cecily didn’t dare turn around just yet, even as she heard Carol quietly shut the door. She was alone with James. Why did that suddenly terrify her? Why was her heart beating so fast? Saying nothing, she poked absently at the logs in the fireplace, hoping that he might vanish, a figment of her boundless imagination, a cloud of mist dispersed by the wind.

But he didn’t vanish. Nor was he deterred by her pretending he didn’t exist. With slow, sure movements, he made his way towards her, causing her to turn suddenly when she realized he was right behind her.

The Look

The look in his eyes made Cecily want to crawl under the floorboards. But even as she stepped back instinctively, he continued moving forward, the fire in his eyes surpassing the blaze in the hearth. Cecily made ready to turn away if he tried to kiss her, but something in her kept her from running out of the room entirely – it was almost as if she had left herself and were merely observing from across the room, waiting to see what would happen next.

Instead of leaning forward to kiss her, however, he took her hands gingerly.

“You’re not wearing gloves this time,” he said, and the look on his face surprised Cecily – that self-assured smirk was evident, but something else was there, too – a kind of boyish embarrassment. She even fancied she saw him blush a little.

James holds Cecily’s hands

“I hope you don’t mind me calling on you,” he said, rubbing his thumb affectionately across the back of her hand. Cecily felt all the hairs on her neck bristle. “Dorothy said I had just missed you.”

“Yes,” Cecily managed to sputter. “I called on her this morning. To thank her for inviting me to the party.”

“She said you asked where I was.” His tone was low and measured, almost mesmerizing.

Cecily kept her tone light and indifferent. “I asked if you and Samuel were home.”

“Were you disappointed to find us gone?”

As James spoke these words, he lifted one of Cecily’s hands to his lips and turned it over so he could kiss the curve of her palm where it met her wrist. Feeling his warm breath on her skin was too much for Cecily, and she jerked away from his grasp.

“Don’t,” she said as he caught her errant hand. “Why are you doing this?” she pleaded, though she was asking herself as much as she was asking him.

Cecily pleads

James was unperturbed. “Because I love you, Cecily. How can I make it more obvious?” He leaned forward, his question not a question at all but an excuse to edge closer, to gaze on her more adoringly, to slide his hands up her arms —

For a long, luxurious moment, Cecily gave in. She let him wrap his arms around her, she leaned into his rough tweed overcoat, she let him press his cheek against her forehead – but it was only a moment. She pulled away completely this time, turning aside and putting a distance between them.

Something in her compelled her to tell him about her revelation that morning, to tell him that she loved Samuel and not him, but she felt so agitated she couldn’t speak, and they both stood in a bewildered silence.

Bewildered silence

The lull was broken by the sound of the door opening as Arianna barged in. “Oh,” she said, halting as soon as she saw James. “I was just going to ask Cecily to come to lunch. Carol has made a lovely stew…and we have fresh bread…” She looked from James to Cecily and back again. “James, you’re welcome to join us,” she said with a hesitant smile.

“No,” said James, brusquely at first, but then adding a polite, “Thank you.” He tossed a careless glance at Cecily before continuing. “I have some errands to run for my father. If you’ll excuse me.” With a deft, gentlemanly bow, he breezed out of the room.

“Well,” said Arianna. “Isn’t that just like a Haddaway.”

(continued on Page 4)

28 thoughts on “Cecily’s Choice

  1. You meant it when you said it was a long update! So let’s hope nothing goes wrong with James Haddaway. This is going to be my last comment for a while. By the next time I comment I might have a blog and a link to my name but it’ll be a while till I comment again.

  2. Wow! What a great and intense way to end the story! And what a surprise! I hope it works out for the better. I almost laughed when I looked at the page numbers and it said 5! You were serious when you said it was rahter long. Thank you for a very enjoyable update! I can’t wait to see what happens next!!

  3. Wow, that’s quite a change of ideas for one update!!
    But why can’t I help but thinking this is not the last change of hart for Cecily???

    Great update Jen, I love your story-telling abilities!

  4. I just read through the whole Brayton familily story, it’s great! Most blogs get boring in the end but I love this one! Keep up the good work! =)

  5. OOOooo *cry*. Thanks for writing such a lengthy update. I don’t think this part of the story could have been told in small snippets. I only hold out the hope that either….a. Samuel isn’t married yet. b. James isn’t as bad a rogue as he seems. or c. There is someone cecily has over looked all these years.

  6. A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!! I loved the long update! Go James! Maybe SAm will make a comeback but hopefully not.

  7. Is she just going for James because she can’t have Samuel?
    Hmmmm…sloppy seconds maybe?
    What of this Max guy?

    Well Jen once again another great post. Reads just like a romance novel :)

  8. I feel a little bad for Cecily. Then again, I’m still worried she’ll end up alone. But, like my freudian-slip typo indicated, that’s kind of silly of me (I wrote “silly” for “still”). ^^;
    I’m so hanging on-edge about these guys! It’s always so nice, reading the new entries around here. Yarr. :D

  9. Poor Cecily, making up her mind and then finding out that he doesn’t love her. Somehow i just don’t think she’ll be happy with James… But maybe I’m being pessimistic. I hope so anyway.

  10. Awwww! That was an amazing update… I feel for Cecily, but can’t help thinking that is the way it goes. Actions do have consequences, and I like how you built up to it. Good work, Jen. I forsee an interesting future of events…

  11. Wow!Great update!Hopefully,your next update will be just as long!It’s strange because at first I thought that James was so wonderful…and cute.I was rooting for him,but now I secretly hope that Samuel will realize that he only thought he loved Josephine,but really he has loved Cecily all along. :)

  12. What a great update. You (or Cecily) have surprised me more than once :D I’m curious if she will find true happiness with James, I hope so.

  13. You’re awesome Jen! I have to admit that I generally don’t like reading long sims blog updates (probably why I like to keep mine short), but yours are so riveting! I love your pictures too, there’s so much great detail. Cecily is so beautiful, I love her outfits, I hope she finds happiness soon.

  14. As always, thanks to everyone for the comments! I have a busy weekend ahead, so the next Brayton update is some ways off, but I am working on a Shanley one in the meantime (I’m hoping to post it tonight or tomorrow). Hope everyone has a HAPPY FRIDAY!

  15. WOW!! Excellent, excellent writing! I came upon the blog/entry after searching for some Edwardian Era dresses. WOW!

    The storyline is very compelling and now I’ll have to be reading the story that came before. But I feel like I could understand what was going on even without having read the backstory.

    Impressive writing!

    (Could I pester you to find out where you got some of your gorgeous dresses and men’s clothes?) :)

  16. Wonderful and amazing job as usual Jen!
    My onyl comment and wish is that Samuel and Cecily do defenitely not get together. Samuel has finally found happiness and can go off and live a perfectly happy life. I think Cecily should just forget about him. Now, she should only marry James if she still loves him…

  17. Tracy – Welcome, and thanks so much for your comment! Kay is right, I download most of my Victorian and Edwardian clothes from All About Style, which is a wonderful site. I don’t know what I would have done with Judie’s Titanic costume re-creations, because it’s hard to find good Edwardian era clothing out there (as I’m sure you’ve discovered). And if you haven’t already, you could take a look at my Timely Finds page, where I’ve listed links to period stuff I and others have found. And be sure to let me know if you find anything cool in your hunt for Edwardian clothes. :-)

    Vivi – Thanks for your comment! It’s interesting to see who everyone wants Cecily to end up with. Or who they don’t want her to end up with, for that matter. :-)

  18. OMG Jen that was the best update. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I just love long updates and i think you have had the longest updates then any sim blog I’ve seen. Now about Cecily, I think Samuel will leave Josefine at the alter when he realizes he loves Cecily. I don’t think James will accept her advances because he doesn’t want to be sloppy seconds and i think Josefine will take James if Samel leaves her for Cecily. I am really rooting for those two. Plus you described Samuel walking back home from proposing to Josefine as though he was not entirely happy with his decission and was kinda having seconds thoughts. But that might just be my imagination.
    I love this story and i so look forward to it’s updates. I truely believe you are having has much fun with this as we are reading it. I know it’s a lot of work to put it all together but you are truely writting a masterpiece with this story.
    Thank you thank you thank you Jen for all your hard work.
    I’m so loooking forward to more to your sims.

  19. You are truly great!!!!!!

    It took me forever to read this update but it was worth it!!!!!!

    I have downloaded the maid installer thing and it works perfectly!!!! But where did you get the cool clothes ceily wears!!!!!!

    THank you so much!!!!!!!!

    Jess PS: You are crazy to let down a girl like ceily, samual!!!!!!!

  20. Mary – Thanks, your comments are like masterpieces themselves! :-D Interesting prediction about how the story will go…hmmm… ;-)

    Jessic@ – WOO! I’m glad the Maid is working for you. I downloaded Cecily’s clothes from All About Style, which I recommend highly for clothing of any kind. Great stuff.