The Extravagant Breakfast
by Lady Roquiesha


"Mmmmm...." Lucy murmured as she awoke. She sat up and soaked in her surroundings. She was not in her rusty, tawdry bed in her room above the Red Rat. In fact, the room was a far cry from the Red Rat. A faint sigh of relief sprang to her lips as she realized the situation. She sat up abruptly and yawned.

"This must be a dream," she thought as she rose to her feet.

The room was actually the study of the home of Dr. Henry Jekyll at 46 Harley Street. "I must have fallen asleep..." Lucy thought as she pieced together the events that led her to her current position. "I shouldn't be 'ere," she whispered audibly. She glanced up at the mantel. It was bare, save a single piece of parchment with a simple message written in a delicate hand:



23 October 1888



My dearest Henry,



I have given this much thought, and I believe that there is now only one solution. Your work has led you in a direction that I never predicted you would take, and the distance between us grows wider and wider each day. I thought I knew you, my dearest, but you are becoming a stranger. The love which I for so long believed was strong has weakened, but it has not died, Henry. It never will.

I do not believe that the man whose love was so pure and good a season ago will ever return to me completely. I shall cherish the memory of him forever, as I move on. I hope you understand, Henry. I will always love you. Please do not forget that.



Yours always,



Emma



Lucy felt a tear roll down her cheek, stinging in its descent. She immediately felt compassion for the author of this pitiful message...and yet, she felt a twinge of envy. A real romance...not a cheap, hurried night in a filthy room in the East End. Love...a love ended, she remembered, but love nonetheless. It was a word Lucy was not accustomed to.

"Good morning, miss," said a friendly voice behind her. Lucy whirled around to find herself face to face with Poole, Dr. Jekyll's butler. "Do you wish to freshen up before breakfast?"

"Yes, please," Lucy responded reluctantly, not used to such courtesy.

"Please follow me, miss." Poole led Lucy down a long, winding hallway to a large washroom complete with a porcelain basin, a sparkling white bathtub, a mirror, and a cherry-colored wooden cabinet.

"I have been given orders, Miss, to unlock this cabinet for you."

"Thank you," Lucy replied feebly. Poole retrieved a brass key from his pocket and proceeded to unlock the cabinet door. Lucy closed the washroom door as he exited. She headed over to the cabinet in curiosity. As her hand pulled open the door, she felt her breath catch in her chest. "What could possibly be in here of any interest to me?" she thought. All of sudden, she stared at the most beautiful light blue velvet gown that she had ever seen in such close proximity. She gasped in delight.

Lucy ran her fingers along the soft folds of the skirt. It was the most exquisite feeling in the world. In a flash, she had taken off her rumpled and dirty brown dress and thrown it on the floor. She hurriedly bathed, which was another luxury that she secretly wished that she had the time to savor. Unfortunately, she did not know how much time she had left in this fantastic dream of hers, and so not a minute was to be wasted. She slid the bodice over her ripped corset and made sure each hook was fastened just right. Then, she pulled the skirt on ever so delicately, in fear that this new costume of hers was to be returned to its rightful owner soon. She picked up a brush off of a shelf in the cabinet and quickly ran it through her dark chestnut curls.

Not wanting to waste another minute, Lucy abandoned the brush and her old dress in the washroom and tried to find her way back to the study. Before she could step any further, she was stopped in her tracks by Poole. "Miss Harris," Poole intoned cheerfully, "Dr. Jekyll wishes your presence in the dining room."

"Then, I suppose, Dr. Jekyll should not be kept waiting," Lucy giggled. She dutifully followed as Poole headed towards the vast dining room. "I could get used to this," Lucy thought as she looked at the majestic oil paintings that hung in the hallway.

"Here is the dining room, Miss," Poole said softly as he opened a giant door with a large brass knob. Lucy stepped into the room gracefully, somehow trying to alter her movement to match her surroundings. Instantly, she felt an invisible force enveloping her with a warm, familiar glow. She spun around. The dream suddenly became even wilder. Henry Jekyll, the kind, thoughtful doctor...the only man who had ever offered her friendship...Henry...stood before her. His dark smiling eyes met hers as he gently took her hands in his.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked. Lucy, in complete shock over the utter perfection of each moment of what seemed to be a beautiful dream, nodded. Henry smiled. "I'm sorry that I left so abruptly last night. I had a matter of some urgency that demanded my attention. However, by some miracle, it is completely resolved now. Please forgive me," he implored.

"There is nothing to forgive," Lucy said slowly, making sure that every word was as articulate and precise as each of Henry's had been.

"Good, then." He gently kissed both of Lucy's hands and led her to a seat at a table adorned with more dishes of food than Lucy had seen in her lifetime. Henry took a seat across from her in a very polite aristocratic fashion.

As Poole laid a china dish before her, Lucy looked up at Henry in awe. "How in one night did I go from a poor miserable gutter rat to a real lady?" she silently asked herself. Not finding an answer to this question in Henry's loving gaze, she silently prayed that this extravagant breakfast--and feeling of safety and warmth--would never end.

Lucy blushed. "I feel out of place," she admitted aloud.

Henry looked back at her, quizzically. "Why, dearest?" he inquired softly.

"I...I'm not a lady, Dr. Jekyll..."

"Henry." His placid expression did not flinch with his words.

"'Enry...I...I don't deserve such courtesy..." Lucy felt tears welling up in her eyes.

"Nonsense!" Henry interjected. "Stop this foolish talk. You deserve to be here as much as anyone."

Unable to stifle her tears any longer, Lucy began to cry. She dropped her fork on the table and covered her face with her hands. Within seconds, Lucy felt Henry's warm hands clasping her own, slowly pulling them away from her eyes. He leaned forward and kissed both eyes, tasting the salty tears that flowed from them.

"I love you, Lucy," he whispered.

Lucy opened her eyes in shock. "You do?" she replied in surprise.

"I do," he continued. "Marry me."

Lucy gasped in astonishment. Marry him? Surely this was a fanciful dream. What about the girl in the letter? "What about that letter on the mantel? That girl..."

Henry shook his head. "She and I were engaged to be married once...but we never truly loved each other. We mistook simple affection for love...and we both realized it just before it was too late. She is, I believe, about to be married to someone else. I'm sorry I didn't tell you about her." He frowned.

"Please don't apologize, 'Enry." Lucy clutched Henry's right hand tightly. "I love you, 'Enry. It would be an 'onor to be your wife, if you wouldn't be embarassed by me."

"Embarassed?" Henry responded, incredulous. "Why should I be embarassed of you?"

"Well," Lucy began, "I'm not exactly an upper class lady...at least, I'm not when I talk."

This provoked gentle laughter in Henry. "Don't be silly! I can fix that!" he said with a laugh. "I love you, Lucy. I wouldn't ask you to marry me if I were embarassed of you. Just say yes, please..." His dark eyes pleaded with hers, and she was helpless to resist.

"Yes," said Lucy, without hesitation. She threw her arms around Henry's neck, and they began to kiss.

"Excuse me, sir, madam, but I do believe your breakfast is going to get cold," Poole announced as he entered the room with dish of strawberries. Lucy and Henry laughed and they headed back to their seats.


To be continued...
(Please R/R! Thanks!)