Cecily’s Choice

Cecily was glad she had agreed to go to the De Groffs with Carol that evening – she was in dire need of a distraction from what continued to be something of a dilemma, despite her best efforts.

Until James had appeared in the doorway of the study that afternoon, she had been certain of her love for Samuel – but James had a way of disarming her, of making her feel all fluttery — though she couldn’t say she loved him. Being with him was like spinning around and around into dizzyness and then trying to walk — it made her feel clumsy and lightheaded.

She tried to explain this much to Carol as they rode in the motorcar the De Groffs had sent to fetch them, but both women were unused to riding in such a vehicle, and they gave each other startled looks at every bump in the road.

Cecily didn’t know what to expect at the De Groffs’ house. She had been so preoccupied with thoughts of the Haddaway boys that she hadn’t given it much thought. So it was with a pleasant sort of jolt that she entered the De Groff foyer and found it cozily familiar. The walls, the paintings, the furniture – everything was elegant, old-fashioned, and just a touch exotic. It reminded her of the old Brayton Hill, before her father had become obsessed with the idea of building something “modern”.

Mayhew descended the stair to meet them, and as he and Carol reunited happily, Cecily followed the maid into the dining room.

“Make yourself comfortable,” she said, her voice heavy with an accent Cecily couldn’t place. “Your hosts will be down shortly.” With that, she retreated to the kitchen, presumably to finish preparing the feast.

Cecily wandered around the dining room, entranced by the beautiful things it held. She saw at least one sculpture that took her breath away while shocking her at the same time –

Cecily looks at the sculpture

— and at least one painting that made her feel remotely wistful, as if she were dreaming about something wonderful and sad that happened a long time ago.

Cecily examines the painting

It made her suddenly want to paint, and she wished she could call for the motorcar and ride home to her canvas, but a voice jarred her from this vision, and she turned to see the face of her host, Max De Groff.

“Does it remind you of anyone?” he asked, and when she gave him a puzzled look, he nodded towards the painting.

Cecily wasn’t sure how to respond. Was it supposed to remind her of someone? She couldn’t really make out a face…

“It reminds me of my mother,” her host offered then, staring at the painting in the same wistful way that Cecily had been. He gave a chuckle, and said, “I don’t know why – I never saw her in all my life. Well, not with eyes that remember,” he added, chuckling again. His kind expression and warm laugh made Cecily feel at ease.

“I’ve only seen my mother in old photographs,” she said with a faint smile. She didn’t feel it necessary to say anything about her mother’s ghost, though she imagined that Mr. De Groff would be intrigued by it.

Max talks to Cecily

“I bet she was very beautiful,” he said, not leeringly, but with a polite sincerity.

Instead of blushing as she normally did when people – however indirectly – referred to her beauty, Cecily beamed almost proudly.

“She was,” she replied, then added, “Thank you, Mr. De Groff,” feeling that his courtesy should receive courtesy in kind.

“You may call me Max,” he said with a twinkling smile. Cecily returned the smile just as Carol and Mayhew entered the room.

“I see you’ve met old Max,” Mayhew said, sidling up to them. “Make sure you get a slab of the salmon before he eats the whole platter.”

Cecily raised her brows, shocked that Mayhew would be so insulting towards his employer and gracious host, but Max’s mirthful half-laugh diffused her astonishment. He turned back to her with a look of mock seriousness.

“If you will excuse me,” he said, tugging on his suitcoat. “I must go and toss my esteemed architect into the street.”

After more exchanges of this nature mingled with the kind of conversation one only hears among very good friends, the cheerful gathering settled down to dinner. It was then that Max’s sister, Elsie, finally joined them, and as she sat queenlike at the head of the table and surveyed her guests, a kind of hush fell over the room.

Dinner is served

Cecily became aware of the loud ticking of the grandfather clock as they waited for their food to be served. Max broke the silence to introduce Cecily to Elsie, and Elsie gave Cecily a cordial nod of her head, but after that, everyone was quiet again. Even Mayhew and Carol spoke only with their eyes, exchanging glances of longing while the maid served everyone a magnificent plate of salmon.

Carol and Mayhew exchange glances

After several minutes of nothing but the clock ticking and forks scraping along fine china, Cecily spoke up.

“Miss De Groff,” she ventured, “you and your brother keep such a beautiful house. It’s so…enchanting.” Cecily inwardly groaned at herself. She hadn’t planned on phrasing it that way and hoped Elsie wouldn’t take offense. She seemed like the type to take offense at almost anything.

“You don’t think it old-fashioned?” Elsie asked between bites of salmon. Cecily couldn’t help but feel this was a trick question.

“It’s old-fashioned in the best sense,” she responded cautiously. Elsie stopped chewing and stared at her. Cecily continued quickly, “I think everyone’s in such a rage to be modern and fashionable that they leave behind some things that are truly worthwhile.”

Cecily speaks up

Both Max and Elsie seemed to approve of this answer – Max by his good-natured smile, and Elsie by a slow nod of agreement, as though she were absorbing Cecily’s words syllable by syllable.

“Do you include your father in that bunch?” she asked then, not sounding malicious, but simply curious.

Cecily thought about that. “Sometimes. Our house is very comfortable, I must admit, but it does look a little odd, doesn’t it?” She didn’t know if she really felt that way or if she was just parroting what most of the townsfolk had been saying over the past year. She looked at Mayhew apologetically, and he shrugged, as if he understood.

Max released another one of his heartfelt laughs. “I suppose it’s a bit on the odd side, but that’s exactly what’s grand about it. That’s why I hired this lad here to design my new hotel. Of course it’s going to be old-fashioned as can be, but Mayhew understands that. What I want is someone with vision. Your father and Mayhew have that in spades.”

Someone like Mr. De Groff saying her father had “vision” made Cecily feel proud again, and she bestowed him with a grateful smile.

All in all, it was a pleasanter evening than Cecily had expected, with the added bonus of making her forget about the Haddaways for a good hour or two, and as she watched Carol and Mayhew bid each other farewell, she felt a contentment she hadn’t felt in ages. They seemed to be truly in love.

Carol and Mayhew embrace

Carol cried the whole way home, though Cecily was able to convince her that three weeks wasn’t really that long, and Mayhew would be home before she knew it. By the time they reached the front door of Brayton Hill, Carol was smiling, and Cecily went to bed that night with a renewed sense of purpose.

(continued on Page 5)

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.