|Dances With Ghosts
Author: MidnightWren PM
Jessamine, never let herself believe that Robert had loved her. She was convenient for him. But that never stopped her from loving him. Crap at summaries, please give this a goRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Robert S. - Words: 3,343 - Published: 12-31-11 - id: 7695682
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN- BTW music used in this is
Shall We Dance- King And I
Break It To Me Gently- Brenda Lee
Love Was Wrong- Duffy
Wouldn't Change A Thing- 7th Heaven
I Still Believe- Miss Saigon
I Don't Know How To Love Him- Jesus Christ Superstar
Life Goes On- 7th Heaven
(This is what happens when I scroll the Matthew Brodrick tag on Tumblr and listen to my Ipod at 2 in the morning)
Jessamine Gregory never once let herself believe that Robert had loved her. In their two brief times with each other she knew it hadn't been true love. The former had been the passion of being
Young without a care in the world. She was a young maid, he the visiting friend. An attractive face in smart clothes, who stood out from the boorish men who often stayed in her master's home.
We've just been introduced,
I do not know you well,
But when the music started
Something drew me to your side.
The orchestra lilted out a waltz, and Jessamine swayed by the tall windows. Her lady twirled around the dance floor, her gown catching the light of the chandelier. She smiled and for a moment saw herself on that floor, in the arms of some man.
"Do you dance?" Swiveling herself she saw a young man with a boyish face.
"Oh no sir." She said and smiled,
"But you seem to know what to do." He said, his accent was American, not the normal Northampton English accents that were around her for most of her life.
" I've had much time observing my lady." She nodded toward the girl clearly enjoying herself on the ballroom floor.
"So you do dance." He told her with a small smirk on his face. Sighing she nodded
"Yes I guess I do." With that he held out a hand, covered in a pristine white glove
"Shall we dance?" He asked
Shall we dance?
On a bright cloud of music shall we fly?
Shall we dance?
Shall we then say "Goodnight and mean "Goodbye"?
When the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together
With are arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?
On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen,
Shall we dance?
"Wouldn't you rather dance with one of the ladies, sir?" Jessamine asked, this man may have been American but surely he hadn't mistaken her for a guest. Her dress may be nicer than some maids but
it was still plain.
"I see that you have the anatomical structure of a woman, why shouldn't I dance with you?"
"Wouldn't you rather dance with a woman of your colouring?" She asked him, knowing of the race structure in his country.
"I do not see a reason to." He said. And finally she took his hand.
"I must warn you Sir, I have not had much practice."
"Neither have I."
The music flowed across the room. Jessamine felt her heart fluttering in her chest.
"My name is Robert Shaw, and you are?"
"Jessamine Gregory, Mr. Shaw."
"Jessamine, that is an interesting voice, a little English but with something else." Robert said
"Until I was twelve I was raised in the Leeward Islands, a colony."
"That is in the Caribbean?" Robert asked her
"Yes Mr. Shaw."
"I'm sure it's as beautiful as you." Robert said and her mocha coloured face burned red.
Around them fellow dancers caught sight of the off beat couple.
"How long will you stay in England?" Jessamine asked Robert.
"At least four months, my family wants me to stay with the Phillips, I believe that you work for them?"
"What exactly do you do?"
"I am a maid as well as a companion to the Lady Mira." Jessamine told him.
"How long have you worked for them?"
"Since I was nine."
"That is very young, "
"My family needed money, and the Phillips needed a young companion for their daughter." Jessamine explained. Robert nodded. " Will you be staying at the estate?"
"I shall." He responded and Jessamine's heart leaped.
" I will look forward to having you here, Mr. Shaw.
" I am glad, you look forward to my stay. " The music stopped and a few couples walked off the floor. Catching sight of a fellow maid motioning for her to join in the cleaning of the dinning hall Jessamine let go of Roberts hand.
" I'm sorry Mr. Shaw but i must leave."
"Very well. I shall see you at a later time?"
"Yes Mr. Shaw." With that Jessamine began to walk away
" And Jessamine?" Robert called
"Its Robert." He gave her a boyish grin and Jessamine's face grew hot. She gave him a slight nod, before hurrying away.
It was not a great love affair, they were not Lancelot and Guinevere. They were both soon young, and the passion that two young people felt was not uncommon. He never proclaimed love for her, nor she him. But that did not mean she never loved him.
He was her first love. He stole her first kiss .Nearly sixth months after she first danced with him, Jessamine watched his coach, disappear down the road.
"I'm so glad I met you."
He spoke those words only an hour before he left, leaving her with the taste of him on her lips and her eyes burning with tears.
Break it... to me gently
Let me down... the easy way
Make me feel... you still love me
if it's just... just for one more day
Jessamine looked out at the men in blue marching down the road. The Phillips had moved to America when news of war came to England. Lord Phillips considered himself a progressive man and joined the groups of abolitionists in their new town.
" Jessamine, we have another guest tonight." Lucille, Jessamine's longtime fellow maid and friend told her " I believe you know him." She continued " That American who you were friend with, Shaw?" She questioned pondering the name
" Robert?" She breathed. Thoughts drifting back to the time they spent.
" Yes, that's the man. He's a Colonel now. In charge of a black regiment. Lucille said giving her smile.
"Yes, Jessamine." Lucille laughed " You always did like a man in uniform." The girl gave her a smirk and Jessamine glared. " You should get ready, want to look your best for Robert." Lucile stated drawing out his name. Hearing the door close Jessamine sat down on her bed.
She knew not to let herself become giddy, he was a wealthy man, a wealthy attractive white man. It had been nearly eight years, why should he even remember her? By now he should be married to an attractive, rich, educated women. But still her heart skipped a beat.
In the world of fantasies in her mind, he would have waited for her, she would see him, and it all would be like a Jane Austen novel. Shaking the fantasies from her mind, she dressed for the dinner
I know it's wrong
Hanging on too long
And I know it's wrong
Hanging on too long
And I need to move on
I'm hanging on too long
" Robert I believe you met Jessamine when you were in England, what a couple of dancers you were, created quite a chatter." Lady Phillips chided. Jessamine looked up from the floor, catching his eyes.
"Yes, I remember her."
" Course we better not let Annie know, wife or not women are jealous. " Lord Phillips added.
Jessamine nearly choked. She knew he would be married by now, knew that she shouldn't let childish fantasies become a hope, She looked to Robert who gave an uncomfortable smile.
When dinner was finished Jessamine joined the guests in the large hall, where one of the guests began to play the piano.
" Let us not worry about war, tonight we are at peace in this house." The group of guests applauded for Lord Phillips, and he offered his hand to his wife. Mira took the arm of another guest and the pair soon moved around the room, waltzing to the music.
"This is quite a familiar sight, is it not?" Jessamine looked up to see that Robert had joined her by the doorway."
"It is Mr. Shaw."
"Thought I told you to call me Robert, he gave her another boyish grin.
" I thought that as our relationship has changed it would be improper." Her words came out colder then she planned.
" We never had a proper relationship." Robert told her " We were both young, and we do strange things when we are young."
" So I was strange?"
"No, that's not what I meant." He said, he looked like he wanted to say something, but couldn't find the words.
" You never wrote, just left me." Jessamine nearly hissed. Feeling the anger and pain rise from the pit was buried in her for so long.
"I'm sorry" He said " Truly and deeply sorry." Jessamine turned her gaze, toward him. And for the first time that night truly looked at him. He had aged from the from she first saw him, adapted a stronger, more grown up look. She last saw him a young man. He was now an adult.
"I cannot forgive, at this moment." Jessamine whispered. And Robert nodded.
"I still would hate to let you stand here like an old maid. " He offered a hand.
"Would your wife be upset Mr. Shaw?"
"Men dance with other women all the time." He looked at her in that way that made her forget about what he had done, made her forget that he was a married man, " Shall we dance? "
Jessamine once again took his hand and let him guide her to the floor.
"You've improved Jessamine." Robert said and she laughed,
"I've had practice."
"No, strange as it seems there's not many suitors for a poor negro girl
"Well, they do not know what they're missing." Robert said. And in a few words so easily platonic, she tried to stop herself from falling back in love with him.
And so it started again, his training camp was close to the Phillips home and she joined Lady Phillips and Mira on daily trips to it in order to volunteer. More often then not, she found herself stopping work in order to catch sight of him. In uniform, every bit as dashing as Mr. Darcy. In those days she spent the nights wondering why she had been cursed with the adoration she had for him. And why she couldn't love another man, one unmarried, her own race and social class. Because as idealistic and progressive as Robert was in the end she was just the poor, uneducated Negro maid. The Cinderella before the ball, and he was forever the Prince, living just out of her grasp. During those nights she made up stories. That Robert had written to her after he had left. And said he loved her, that they were happy. In the morning she wanted to bury her face into the pillow and burrow her way to those dreamland days.
Should I bring him down?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love,
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?
In the reality that she lived, she vowed to maintain a distance from him, in order to keep herself from falling. But Robert always a friendly man did not allow it. It was open with her. In his infrequent downtime they took walks. She talked of her home in the Leeward Islands, of its bright colours and, crystal clear ocean. He told her of Harvard, of the battles he faced. But he didn't speak of his wife. Perhaps he felt ashamed, or guilty. He spoke of his want to have his men face battle, and not be used as mules for labour. As the days went on she continued the pattern, continued the walks. And on one day he spoke of leaving. Of battles that they were needed in. it had happened so fast. He was leaving, possibly never to be seen again.
"I'm sorry I will leave you again." He told her.
"You must do what you must," he nodded sadly.
"I want you to take this Jessamine." He pulled out a plain silver cross, from his jacket
pocket. "It was my grandfathers, I trust you to take care of it."
"I shall Robert." He then did something she didn't expect. His wool clad arms wrapped around her, and instinctively she returned the embrace. Memories of England eight years ago came to mind, and caused her to hold him tighter. When his grip loosened she reluctantly let go. His hands still held her waist, and for the second time that day he surprised her. It happened so quickly.
He kissed her, straight on the mouth. It wasn't like a passionate embrace they had shared years before but merely a peck. She stood still for a moment shocked; the tingle of his kiss ran through her. And before he could move from his state of shock, she raised her self up and returned the favor. This time it was no peck. If her heart hadn't been grieving for his fast approaching departure she would have thought herself back in England, a young woman in the embrace of a first love. When they finaly broke, the look on Roberts face was not one of pure joy. A sob nearly broke from her mouth. Quickly untangling herself from him she turned away.
"I'm sorry Robert." She choked out, feeling the tears burn her coffee coloured eyes. Squeezing the orbs shut she realized some tears leaked out.
"I am at fault as well Jessamine." Robert finally said. She heard him walk up to her, and a leather clad hand took her arm. Turning her toward him Robert gave a sad smile. "I have not been a loyal husband, these past few months. I knew that I should stay far from you, but. "He stopped "Old feelings don't die easily. "
Swallowing and wiping a tear away Jessamine looked him in the eyes. "I am not I wanton women."
"Now you must leave, and not return to me."
"Jessamine" Robert began
"No." Jessamine cut him off "If I am close to you again I will become…" she couldn't find a correct word, laughing a bit she shook her head "I am quite crazy for you Robert. If I could choose any future, it would be our past. "
Loving You is all thats ever on my mind
Loving You if u could just give me a sign, cause I can't go on
She stopped and smiled at the confused look on his face " But that clearly is not what God wants for me, he has chosen your future, you have a wife do not forget how precious that is."
"Take this." She took out an old handkerchief. " It was my mothers, an old tradition is for a solider to carry a memento from a friend."
Lover was the correct word
Robert took the lace edged cloth and placed it in the inner pocket of his coat.
With that he walked away to the field where his ranks of men began to gather. Jessamine stood once more watching him leave. Eventhough she had told him not to return, the back of her mind prayed that he would. He had to survive
I still believe
You will return
I know you will
Against all odds
I still believe
I know as long as I can keep believing
Love cannot die
You will return...you will return
The hot sun glared down on Jessamine as she sat in the shade of a tree. The air was still, when a sudden cry broke the silence. Jumping to her feet, she ran to the house to find Lady Phillips crying. Looking to her husband he spoke words that nearly sent her to the ground
"Col Shaw was killed."
Her chest tightened, she couldn't breathe.
"Pardon me sir." She said and quickly made her way out of the home. Running around the back she sank to the ground. Bile rose in her throat and she vomited on the ground. Coughing she drew her knees to her chest and leaned her forehead on them. She wept. For Robert, fo his widow, his parents. For all those men killed in their prime, for those southern boys who believed that keeping a race in chains was a cause worth dying for. And finally for herself, she could never mourn for Robert. In so many ways she would want to be Annie, she could mourn her whole life. But Jessamine would never be able to show her grief.
Jessamine was ironically glad that Robert had never said he loved her, hearing those words would have just made the pain worse. The Phillips decided to move back to England, hearing of Roberts's death had shaken Lady Phillips to her core.
"It was all just blank faces until now." She told Jessamine as she helped her pack. "Before we go let us pay respects to his family." Mira told her parents one day and they agreed. Jessamine felt anxiety overcome her as the thought of seeing them came to mind. So they traveled to his home. While their Jessamine kept her distance and tried not to look at his wife. She wanted to apologize to Annie about what had happened but this woman had lost her love, it would just be cruel to let her know a lowly maid had known the feel of his kiss. As the Phillips prepared to leave she walked up to the young widow,
"I am deeply sorry Ma'am." She told her " I.. I was a friend of his."
"Thank you, Jessamine. Annie replied, making Jessamine arch her brows in confusion
"Robert spoke of you as a close friend." Annie told her sadly. Jessamine nodded a thank you before following the Phillips out. Annie stood sadly in the hall. Remembering the conversation that had plagued her for years.
" Have you ever been in love before?" She asked him early in their courtship.
"A few years ago, I was in England. There was this girl. And I had a relationship with her. The worst thing is I fear part of me will always be attached to her."
She found herself in the ballroom one night. She started to hum and soon her body moved into formation of a waltz. Arms raised to where a handsome man should be she moved around the floor. And for a brief moment she saw him. There dancing with her. It was then that Jessamine realized that she was dancing with a ghost for years. Robert had been a ghost, of old love even when he still walked the earth. Jessamine then knew she had to do what should have been done years ago. She needed to put Robert in her past. For he was the past and you could never go back to it. The past is behind us, all we have is the future and how we use it.
And I, with all those tears that I cry,
I know I'm livin' a lie,
I never want to say goodbye
AN- Hate love? Hate me for being a killjoy of Robert/Annie.? By the ay I'm just basing this from, how Shaw did have a deep friendship with a schoolteacher, during the war. Anyway don't own Glory yada yada yada . Now i must go and finally watch Ferris Buellers Day Off. Happy New Year!