The Overture

For the next two days, Cecily prepared and perfected her plan, considered all of the possible complications, and laid the necessary foundations for success. Around the house, she talked of feeling pent-up and wanting to get out, and mentioned a few friends who lived across town that she had thought about visiting. She asked Carol about her latest letter from Mayhew, which stated he would be gone for at least another week, and urged her into wistful reminiscences of their romantic encounters (though Carol refrained from going into too much detail). And while Carol was busy with her many chores around the house, Cecily went through her room – carefully and thoroughly — until she found the one object she sought: a dull brass key etched with the number “201”.

Cecily searches

As Cecily tucked the key in the folds of her dress and hurried off to her bedroom, she felt a mixture of exhiliration and guilt. She had never taken anything from anyone, and though she fully intended to return the key and didn’t think it would be missed, the fact that she had to sneak around at all made her feel a bit wretched. But her vision of James proposing was so much more compelling — her future happiness hinged upon it! It must happen, and if she had to borrow Carol’s key and Mayhew’s hotel rooms for a little while in order to make it happen, then that’s what she would do.

It was another fine summer day when James returned from his business in Rivenberg. Having anticipated his arrival, Cecily had sent a letter – not frilly or perfumed, but businesslike so as not to arouse suspicion – and asked him to meet her that evening outside Jolliff’s Café. A half hour before the appointed time, she told Carol she was walking downtown to meet friends and would get a ride back from them, and with the key resting safely in her pocket, set out down the street, the sunset blazing orange behind her.

Most people were in their houses at that hour, eating a late supper or playing cards, though a few strolled by, nodding courteously as they passed. Cecily was glad she didn’t go out much, as everyone she encountered was a stranger to her and therefore posed no threat to her plan. When she reached Jolliff’s Café, she saw James sitting on a bench outside of it, reading a paper in what little light the streetlamps and deepening dusk afforded.

James reads the paper

With a madly clamoring heart, Cecily sat down on the bench next to James and pretended to adjust her gloves. Spying her out of the corner of his eye, James smiled and started to fold up his paper.

“No,” Cecily whispered, feeling a strange excitement in being so furtive. “Wait until I’m in the Granville, then follow me. Room 201.”

James stretched out his paper again with a snap. “What?” he asked incredulously, keeping his voice low. “I don’t understand.”

Cecily leaned over and fidgeted with the buckle of her shoe. “You wanted us to be alone, didn’t you?”

James sputtered. “Yes, but…I don’t…Cecily, it’s a hotel! You know what kinds of things go on in hotels, don’t you?”

Yes, utterly romantic things, thought Cecily as she continued to fuss with her shoe. But the answer she gave James was more pragmatic. “I know what goes on in this hotel. Room 201 is Mayhew’s, and I have Carol’s key. I thought we could borrow his drawing room for a little while, that’s all.”

“Aren’t you worried?” he asked. “Your reputation…if anyone saw us…” Cecily glanced past the edge of the newspaper and saw his face reddening. “You can trust me not to tarnish your honor, of course,” he added, sparing her a quick glance, “but people will talk, and you know how that goes.”


“Oh, James, don’t be so old-fashioned!” Cecily said, surprising herself. “We’re not doing anything wrong, are we?” As the words came out she realized she was echoing his exact phrase from a few days before, when she had been the reluctant party.

“No…” James replied, though he didn’t sound entirely convinced. “Well, if it’s only for awhile.” He turned a page and pretended to continue reading. Cecily noticed the corners of the paper trembling just slightly and smiled to herself. Despite his protestations, it seemed he was just as thrilled at the prospect of being alone as she was. Her own excitement flaring, she rose from the bench and made her way discreetly towards the alley, where she knew there was a back door to the Granville Hotel.

(to be continued…)

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!