Cecily’s Choice

The next morning she awoke later than usual, took a long hot bath, called Carol in to do her hair, and set out for Haddaway Hall again. She was certain she had seen Mr. Haddaway’s motorcar pull into their driveway down the road this morning, which meant that he and Samuel had returned from their business in Rivenberg.

This time the butler, Mr. Leverton, answered the door and fixed his dispassionate gaze upon her. Not wishing to delay any further, Cecily cut right to the chase.

“I’m looking for Samuel,” she said firmly. “Is he at home?”

The butler greets Cecily

Mr. Leverton’s face barely twitched – though it did twitch – as he announced in his mildly grandiose tone, “Master Samuel is not at home.” He didn’t offer to give Samuel a message, nor did he invite Cecily into the house, but simply stood there with the same expression of slight boredom, until Cecily finally thanked him and headed back towards Brayton Hill.

Cecily was dismayed, but she figured she had been mistaken in thinking the motorcar had been Mr. Haddaway’s. She knew James sometimes drove their second motorcar around town, so it could have been him. But then another possibility slithered into her head – perhaps Samuel was at home, but didn’t want to see her? It was certainly possible, especially if Dorothy had said anything about Cecily’s visit the day before.

As she mulled all of this over, she looked up and saw Samuel walking towards her on the pathway in front of Brayton Hill. He seemed to be lost in his own world, his step jaunty, his hands in the pockets of his trousers, and when Cecily called his name, he seemed surprised – and not unhappy – to see her.

“Why, Cecily!” he exclaimed. “Fancy meeting you here outside of your own home. Isn’t it a marvelous day? Good day for a drive, I should think!”

Cecily wasn’t sure how to react to all of this. She had never seen Samuel in such a mood of rampant joy, nor had he said this much to her since the time he bitterly insulted her father’s house. It caught her completely off guard.

“Yes, excellent driving weather,” she said, trying her best to stay calm and friendly. “Do you plan on going for a drive?”

“I thought I might take Josephine out for a picnic this afternoon,” he said. “What do you think?”

Samuel and Cecily

“I’m sure she would love it.” Cecily faltered a moment, then trudged onward. “And how is Josephine? Did you just come from Brynmor?”

“I did,” Samuel grinned. “And it was the best morning of my life. She said ‘yes’, if you can believe that! Though I think it was the ring that did it – Dad took me to the best jeweler in Rivenberg, and he said, ‘Son, if she doesn’t say yes to that, she’s the craziest girl in the county’.” He laughed, a genuinely happy laugh, and rattled on, “I would hope she marries me for me, and not the ring, you know, but of course she went wild over it, and her mother, too. I’ve never seen two women act so giddy.”

With each word that Samuel spoke, Cecily felt her hopes grow dimmer and dimmer, until they became a light that had been snuffed out, leaving only wisps of smoke. She tried to maintain a smile, not wanting to cast any shadow on his happiness, but after a moment she realized she had tears in her eyes, and he noticed it, too.

“Cecily…what’s the matter?” he asked, his exuberance draining away.

“Oh, Samuel!” Cecily wailed, as the poor young man tried to console her by patting her shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Samuel. I’m happy for you, I truly am.”

“You don’t look happy,” Samuel smiled, his face full of concern. “If I had a hankerchief I’d offer it to you. Will my sleeve do?”

A noisy motorcar stirred up the dust on the road as it passed by them. Someone shouted from the car, and Samuel waved to them. Cecily paid no attention, but dabbed at her eyes with her hand.

“I’m fine. I just…”

“Just what?”

“I just want to ask you…” She patted the edges of her eyes with her sleeve before continuing. “I wanted to ask you if you’ve ever loved me.”

Samuel’s eyes widened, then glazed over slightly, as if he were treading down some distant path in his mind. Running a hand through his hair, he let out a long sigh, and seemed to come to his destination.

“I did once. I think you know when that was.”

Cecily felt her chest heave with another sob, but she held it in check. “Was that it?” she asked. “Did you never feel anything for me again?”

Samuel stared at Cecily a long time, his face a mixture of compassion and confusion. “Cecily, we were great friends once, and I loved you then, but when you said you loved my brother…it cut me. I hated you for awhile after that, and then I just…moved on. And now I love Josephine. And I would like very much for you and I to be friends again. You know,” he said with a gentle smile, “We’re going to be cousins.”

Samuel explains

Cecily’s chest tightened, and the tears threatened to flow again, but she refused to become hysterical. Not right now, standing in the street, with people driving by. She had to get away from Samuel. She had to be alone.

“I don’t know what came over me,” she said, forcing a smile, though her face was stinging. “I guess I have some regrets about that day in the woods. But you’re right – it’s time to move on. Congratulations, Samuel.” She felt like embracing him, but didn’t dare in the middle of the street like that. Instead, she shook his hand, and gave it an affectionate squeeze.

“Will you be all right?” he asked.

She assured him that she would, and though he didn’t seem entirely convinced, he gave her shoulder another pat and continued his walk down the road to Haddaway Hall.

Cecily watched him until he was halfway home, then turned away from the street and walked briskly to the woods behind Brayton Hill. After several steps she broke into a run, not caring where she ended up, just relishing the feel of the air rushing past her, and the soft, grassy ground beneath her feet.

Cecily runs

It wasn’t long before she reached the edge of her father’s property, where a loose line of shrubs marked the boundaries before the land became cornfields. There she lay upon the grass among the drooping wildflowers and gazed up at the clouds wafting overhead.

She wanted to be alone so she could cry and think, but her tears seemed to have dried up, and her thoughts were too rambling to form any understandable shape. But after a time one rumpled dream seemed to float up from the murky depths, and it all started to make sense.

Samuel was no longer more real than James – they were both fantasies: she had loved them both when they didn’t love her, and they had loved her when she didn’t love them. It all seemed like some wicked joke life had played on her, and if that were the case, she would have the last laugh.

“Yes, that’s it,” she said, smiling to herself. “It’s just as I always thought: I’m going to marry James Haddaway.”

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.