The Overture

As the brilliant blue sky relaxed into twilight, Cecily Brayton sat in her father’s study, her eyes closed, her mind fixed happily on the success of her tea party. Despite a few alarming moments, it had gone off better than she could have hoped, and she felt with some certainty that James Haddaway now perched in the palm of her hand.

And I’m in the palm of his, she thought dreamily, remembering how masterfully he had wrapped her up in his arms and kissed her. Compared to Samuel’s kiss – the only other kiss she had experienced in her young life – well, there really was no comparison. Samuel was like a violin playing some sweet but simple tune, while James was the whole orchestra, soaring and blasting in a heart-swelling crescendo.

It was unfortunate that Carol had interrupted the glorious music to serve her special yellow cake with nutty frosting, and Cecily made a point of telling her so later, but it had been a lovely interlude all the same. When she and James parted, he murmured, “See you soon,” and never had those words thrilled her with such rich promise. Even now, her whole being tingled with the memory of it.

Cecily thinks about James

The clanging of the doorbell roused Cecily from her blissful state. Could he have meant this soon? she wondered, springing from her chair.

“I’ve got it!” she shouted into the hallway. After a quick glance into the mirror to make she sure she looked presentable, Cecily opened the door.

“Good evening, miss,” said James, leaning casually towards her. “I was wondering if I might have a word or two with you.” The corners of his mouth curled up. “Shall we take a stroll? The night air is quite…invigorating.” He motioned theatrically to indicate the general outdoors, and Cecily laughed.

“I don’t dare,” she said. “We’re having supper soon, and they’ll wonder where I’ve gone. Would you like to come in?”

A look of mild disappointment darkened his face for an instant, but he smiled valiantly and stepped into the foyer. Cecily wanted to lead him into the study and shut the door behind them, but she was afraid of where that might lead and who might barge in on them. Instead she gestured towards the settee in the foyer, and they sat there for awhile, quietly basking.

“I have to go away for awhile,” James said suddenly, and the words were so contrary to Cecily’s mood that she didn’t comprehend them at first.

The bad news

“It’s only for a day or two,” James added quickly. “My father and I are going to Rivenberg on some business.”

As the news sank in, Cecily’s heart skipped a beat. She remembered that Samuel had gone to Rivenberg just last week and returned with an engagement ring for Josephine.

“What kind of business?” she asked, her hopes rising.

James shrugged. “Oh, you know. Business. It’s rather dull, but since I’m expected to follow in my father’s footsteps, I’m stuck. My future’s fixed.” He smiled to show he didn’t mind it so much.

Cecily clung to the word ‘future’. She couldn’t help but imagine that he included her in his future, that their kiss in the garden had sealed both their fates, and that his trip to Rivenberg was a pleasant yielding to that fate. In a matter of seconds she envisioned his proposal, her euphoric acceptance, the gala wedding, the honeymoon in Europe, their children running through the splendor of Haddaway Hall…

Cecily’s muses

James continued, not seeming to notice that Cecily had slipped into a distant reverie. “I should like to see you as soon as I get back. I mean, I have to,” he said with an intense urgency, and Cecily felt his hand skim across her back, almost tickling, as he drew her close.

Cecily came down from the clouds blushing furiously. “James, someone might see us,” she whispered, but she made no effort to pull away.

“I don’t care if the whole world sees. We’re not doing anything wrong, are we?” As if to defy his words, his other hand crept towards her leg, and even through the layers of her gown, Cecily felt the warmth of his touch. With her heart pounding like mad, she placed her hand on his and turned her radiance towards him.

“It’s not wrong, but…we shouldn’t do this here,” she said, smiling apologetically. “We have to wait till we’re alone.”

“But we’re never alone,” James sighed. “There’s always somebody here, or at home – people everywhere. A man can hardly think what he means to say before someone intrudes.”

They cuddle

James punctuated his last words with a meaningful gaze, and Cecily felt her heart racing at full gallop.

“Say it now, then,” she breathed, and he leaned forward either to speak or kiss her when the floorboards creaked above them, boyish voices echoed upstairs, and Cecily’s brothers came bounding down.

James and Cecily pulled away from each other just in time.

“Hullo, Cecily!” Arthur called out. He glanced indifferently at James before addressing his sister again. “Is it time for supper yet? My stomach’s roaring.”

As Cecily shrugged, Arianna breezed out from the kitchen, bringing all of the cooking smells with her. Both Arthur and Frederick groaned hungrily. “Time to eat,” she said, but before she could even finish, the boys were halfway to the dining room. Upon noticing James, Arianna quirked a brow, then smiled. “Are you going to join us this time, Mr. Haddaway?” she goaded in her gentle tone.

James stood up quickly. “No, thank you, Mrs. Brayton. My family is expecting me.” With his usual abrupt bow, he made his way towards the door. Cecily gave Arianna an apologetic look before following him outside.

“I’ll see you soon?” she called out. James turned around, smiling, his face illuminated by the porchlights.

“As soon as I return,” he said with a careless air. “Good night!”

James leaves

As Cecily watched him go, she felt her heart float upward into the starlit sky. Already a scheme was shaping itself in her mind…she was determined that the next time she saw James, they were going to be as alone as possible, and nothing was going to keep him from saying exactly what was on his mind…

(continued on Page 2)

13 thoughts on “The Overture

  1. It looks as if I wasn’t the only one up really late. I’ve been busy trying to write some stories of my own. Interesting update. It’s about time for Cecily to be a little more outgoing! Loved this story and I just forgot what else I was going to say. I must be getting tired. Soon I’ll finally have a link to my page so hopefully I can get that done soon.

  2. Wow Jen,

    nice cliffhanger you have written there, makes me verry curious about what could possibly happen next, like isn’t that poor girl ever going to get what she wants??
    Please, keep writing, you have us all in suspense!!

  3. You know, I was just thinking… how is “Geneva” in “Mt. Geneva” pronounced? Gen-EE-vah? Or Gen-EV-ah? A conundrum. *nod*
    I’m…. really worried about Cecily. ^^; I’m just hoping she doesn’t do anything too silly. I get the feeling that maybe James is trying to take advantage of her. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t trust the Haddawaymeister. *shrug* Here’s to hoping she ends up okay!
    And if she doesn’t– well, there’s always Arthur (or is Frederick the older one? From a skimming of the archive, I think it’s Arthur, but I’m not 100% sure…). I hope he turns into a teenager, soon. For an heir, he seems pretty boring. Like… moldy cheese?!
    Er, yeah, I should be off to bed. >_>;

  4. Cliffhanger indeed! I too am getting a little worried about Cecily. I feel like she is being rash and doesn’t realize how it could affect her in the future. I’m also, like Blu, feeling like James is just trying to take advantage of her. I hope the next update comes soon so we can see what happens at the hotel. What a riveting plot you have set up for us all Jen. :) I hope you are enjoying it as much as we all are.

  5. I like James, I admit I didn’t like him before, I thought he was coming on pretty strong with Cecily. I hope everything works out with them :) Love the update!

  6. Those crazy kids! What will they do next?

    I don’t think that James is good enough for our lovely Cecily, Samuel all the way! :D

  7. loveee itt!!!!!, those Arthur and Frederick sure now when is time to be with their sister rite, i feel bad for cecily. and i think james is not the rite choice for her. o and i just posted the first installment of my first story :-D

  8. Hssss! Hsssss! James is a Romance Sim! Poor Cecily! :(
    I still vote for Max. He’s a good chap! And what with his sister being so, uh, gregarious and all, there’d be plenty of family intrigue! :D

  9. How sad! I loved Samuel for her but I can’t see a way for him to get back in the picture! I suppose I’ll have to get used to James, although I always thought her attachment to him was childish and silly and he seems quite the player. I don’t trust him a bit! I could come to like James but only if he proves himself honorable. And Cecily needs to find a good reason for loving him. She was certain that she loved Samuel only a few…days?…weeks? ago, and (to me) it is clear that she is only taking James as a second-best. I don’t care if James is a better kisser, if he’s not her heart’s first choice then he’s not right for her!
    Great stories as always and I like the new saying! :)

  10. Cecily is setting herself up for…. Very interesting. Let’s see if James can really control himself. Again…thanks!

  11. Awesome update as usual Jen, and poor Cecily. I think that she and James hsould be together if she truly loves him, but Ihope they’re not ToGeThEr together in the hotel room. Cecily will hopefully not do anything silly and I hope for the best with these “crazy kids”! :D

  12. Hi Jen. Wow Cecily is being very gutsy. I’m glad James is trying to be the level headed one but doesn’t that girl know he is suppose to propose in front of her and her father???
    Oh i feel you’re going to take a few turns with this story or maybe i’m just jumping the gun. Great update, i’m always eagerly waiting the next one.
    HAve a happy 4th of July weekend and hopefully you’ll update before next Tuesday.
    Happy Simming!