Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The End

It is funny how we picture our lives are going to be when we grow up. As children we see ourselves falling in love, getting married, having children and during all these dreams we see smiles on our faces as if in life we will always be happy. I pictured Kelby and I sitting in a little flat, with a fire roaring, he would be sitting in a chair and I would be by his knee. I never pictured my life like this.

My dearest,

I have ordered us a simple state room on the Northern Star Liner it leaves from Liverpool on Monday. We will sail to New York as man and wife and no one can stop us. I promise. Meet me at the Euston station for the 6:15 train to Liverpool. I will be waiting to take you into my arms and away from all things long ago.

All my Love,


I had never imagined I would be engaged to one man nearly twenty years my elder and being forced to run away with the man I loved. I had also never imagined love would cause so many nervous knots to form under my belly button.

It had been a week since I had heard from Kelby but the plan was in motion I could feel it. I looked the letter once again then folded it up and slipped it into my white cotton glove. For the last week in August I felt a slight chill or maybe I just shivered from the excitement. Either way I had to act confident and brave of I was ever going to pull this off.

“Name?” the ticket master asked.

“Fiona James,” I was happy to say without hesitation.

“Well Mrs. James,” he said noticing the little tin ring with a piece of glass in it. This was the ring that had replaced Lord Welford’s gold band with the large ruby. “Here is your ticket.”

“Thank you,” I said softly blushing at the fact he called me Mrs. James.

I looked down and read.

August 25, 1919

Euston to Liverpool

I took a deep breath. It was all beginning.

“Have a good trip,” after that he didn’t pay me any attention.

I walked directly to platform three as directed. I had expected and hoped Kelby would be there with his arms crossed, acting as if he was mad at me that I was running late. But he wasn’t there at all. I sat down my small suit case which held two delicately pressed dresses and my porcelain doll Camilla Jane and decided to wait.

I didn’t know what time it was when I left the house. I was so nervous the whole night I hardly slept a minute, when the first but of sun came into my room I quietly got out of bed tip toed down the stairs and snuck out of Laurel and Parker’s house. I walked briskly down to Kensington High Street before I called a cab, hoping I hadn’t woke any one up, least of all Hilde, Laurel’s new pup. My heart pounded with the thought Kelby and I would be half way to Liverpool before they notices I was gone. This journey could not have been better planed as Laurel and Parker had been out late at Lord Chamberlin’s ball and they would sleep till noon. I told Laurel I hadn’t been feeling well, she said it was just nerves but thought it best for me to rest as much as possible.

“Lord Welford would want a bright and chipper bride,” she would say with a good laugh.

Laurel, my older sister by four years, was so different than me sometimes I felt I barely knew her. She took after mother in both actions and looks. Having stark black hair with emerald eyes and perfectly defined cheek bones. She had become Mrs. Parker Welford almost two years and would be the next inheritor of the Lordship title and Norse Castle. Laurel used to not care about riches or having fine jewels and minks to wear but that was before Ethan died. Now society teas, grand balls, and theater going were all she thought about. I guess I give my sister too little credit before the war, before our father’s poverty was known Laurel had always felt entitled to the best in life and I never did. I would miss her I told myself.

Maybe in a few years Kelby and I could return to England. We would show mother and father how well we were and she would accept us into the family. Surely by then Lord Welford would find somebody else to love and marry and he would be happier with her than he would ever be with me. Then somehow we would be a family again, a little patched together but a family none the less. It was a nice little dream but I didn’t tell Kelby about it. Kelby dreamed of a life in Americas and never thought of coming back. He claimed we would make a new life and a new family for ourselves. It would be a family that accepted all the parts of us, they wouldn’t try to push us apart and they certainly wouldn’t make us marry people we didn’t love.

“Who needs these old sticklers, it’s a new era, a new world, and we are going to embrace it,” he said to me the night he proposed.

The station clock chimed in the six o’clock hour. Fifteen minutes before the train would leave and Kelby still wasn’t there. I took the note from its hiding spot and read it once again to give myself a little reassurance. Then fiddled with my ring in a nervous habit realizing how much time had passed.

I hear Kelby’s voice “That ruby would have fetched a fair price.”

“I know,” I say to Kelby even though he’s not really her.

I would have always felt guilty about stealing a ring from a man I never intended on marrying. I shouldn’t have taken it in the first place, I tell myself. Mother would have been raving mad had I not accepted Lord Welford’s ring. Of course what would she say when she finds it lying on my pillow. I took a big break I couldn’t care right then about mother’s reaction. Mother didn’t care about me when she promised me to Lord Welford when she knew I was in love with Kelby.

The looming sense of time hung over me, and I began to worry Kelby might not show up.

He had to show up I couldn’t travel to America by myself. It was his idea. He promised we would have a new life. I would no longer be the penniless daughter of a once fine gentleman bound to marry Lord Welford. He would no longer be the Lord Welford cook’s son with two shillings to his name. Kelby said in America, they didn’t have a stupid caste system that held people in their places, he said in America people could be anything they wanted to be. No one cared who you were only what you made of yourself. He had to come it was his stupid dream. My whole body could feel I was holding back tears. I was nervous now that Kelby wouldn’t come. I would have to return home and I would have to marry Lord Welford.

“He is probably buying you flowers,” I told myself to keep calm.

“Can I take your luggage, Lady?” a porter asked.

He looked as if he was twelve and had an eager smile with some rosiness in his cheeks.

“No thanks,” I whisper.

“I promise to put in on the right train, where you heading?”

“I’m not quite sure.” To be honest I thought of returning home.

“Well where you want to go?”

“Just away,” I said shortly hoping he would leave me alone.

“Any par-tic-lar direction,” he stumbled over the word particular trying to sound genteel but his accent was sure to slip out.

“Marcus, stop bothering that young lady and go help Timothy on platform five,” an older man shouted.

“Yeah, Yeah Mr. Gibbs.” I handed the boy a five pence then he slipped away.

“Sorry about that,” the conductor said walking up to me.

“It’s all right. Is there another train to Liverpool today?”

“None that would get you on time to switch at Stafford to catch Monday’s boat.”He said it so clearly as if he could read my thoughts. “Do you need to exchange your ticket?” he asked.

“Not yet,” I said hoping that Kelby would show up in time.

Have a good trip Miss,” he said and tipped his hat once again to say goodbye.

The station was full of people all who had passed by me unnoticeably except for those two. The boy must have been confused by my new dress thinking he could get a good tip out of me but really I had no more than a few shillings in my purse. Nothing of sustaining wealth, I thought. But I could not get over the fact how much the boy looked like Kelby with those deep ocean blue eyes, scruffy brown hair and that eager smile. And the fact he had the same name as my older brother left me with a pain in my heart. I wish I could have said goodbye to Marcus, he will think I have just abandoned him.

Poor Marcus once a brave and adventurous solider protecting his homeland from the German Huns, is now left to spend his days pacing Southerton Green. I remember the day he returned from war his eyes that had once glittered had now faded, he didn’t smile or dream of adventure, and he barely spoke two words. In fact the only time I saw him at peace was when I played the soft lullaby mother had long ago taught me.

It was all due to that war. It was the reason our lives had changed. There was once a time Laurel was happy to have a daisy necklace instead of pearls. And there was once a time Marcus wouldn’t have stopped talking about exploring the deep forests of Africa but now no words came out. Kelby had promised to take me away from all the pain but I didn’t want to leave the good memories behind too. I would have to come back I told myself, to tell Marcus I love him, to climb the trees of the back woods once again and to hold on to what was good about this world.

“ALL ABOARD!”The conductor yelled.

He wasn’t coming. I could feel it now. My heart sank. How could he leave me to do this on my own. I looked back at the ticket counter was it too late for me to exchange my ticket, walk back into Laurel and Parker’s house, and hope no one had noticed. I looked forward down the platform to the engine of the train had already started to blow some steam. Could I really marry Lord Welford? Could I really go all the way to New York City by myself? Could I start a new life? I didn’t know how to answer these questions.


“Kelby where could you be? Why did you not come? I can’t leave knowing you are here.”

“You must,” another voice inside my head said pushing me a long. “You have to go for him and for you.”

“You need to get on the train Miss,” the older man the boy called Mr. Gibbs said as he saw me standing there in frozen thoughts.

“He didn’t come,” I mumbled to him “He promised me he would come.”

My whole body shook.

“I am sorry Miss but you need to get on the train.”

“He didn’t come,” I said more violently in my head than out loud.

“I am sorry Miss,” he pushed my luggage into my hand.

I look back one more time at the ticket counter and the doors beyond that. Nothing but pure nerves is telling me to return home. My heart and my mind were telling me to run far away.


I heard that and something snapped, I hold on tightly to my luggage and take off down the platform. I weave my way in and out of the people until I find the car I belong in. Throw my luggage up on the train and the conductor takes my hand to help me into the car.

“Glad you made it,” the conductor said through his walrus like mustache.

“Me too,” I said slightly relieved and slightly sick.

As I sit down in my seat my tears mix with the soft laugh I am trying to hold in. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. There was no turning back I said to myself. There was no plan from this moment on, I was going to do it all on my own, all by gut instinct. As far as I could tell not having a plan was the way things should be.

I had planned to marry Kelby. Mother had planned for me to marry Lord Welford. Marcus had planned to explore Africa and Laurel had planned to be happily married to Ethan. From the looks of it if one made plans one had to change plans. Not having plans meant nothing had to change. It meant no heart ache or loneliness. It meant only freedom. And for the first time in my life I felt completely free.

It is funny how we picture our lives are going to be when we grow up. As children we see ourselves falling in love, getting married, having children and during all these dreams we see smiles on our faces as if in life we will always be happy. I pictured Kelby and I sitting in a little flat, with a fire roaring, he would be sitting in a chair and I would be by his knee. I never pictured my life like this.

1 comment:

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Blaire can write. You tell a lovely story with a brilliant pace and great skill.