A/N: Hello, beautiful reviewers! I decided to take a stab at Angelique/Barnabas' relationship before he and Josette were ever lovers, so hopefully you'll enjoy:)
CH 1: Barnabas Collins
I never felt like a beautiful girl, yet I knew I wasn't ugly. I suppose that I'm 'quite lovely' just as the stable boy tells me time and time again, yet in spite of all this I find myself loathing my reflection and everything about myself that chills my very soul just to gaze upon my wicked countenance.
In order for this to make sense one must come to the realization that my mother was a witch, and a very frightening one at that. She abandoned me at the age of nine and left me to fend for myself in Martinique; a poor young creature without a cent to my name nor a home to abide in. As luck would have it, I was discovered in the streets by a beautiful girl named Josette DuPres, truly the kindest and most gentle soul that I had ever had the honor to meet. This girl lived with her father and her aunt in the largest home in the city and were terribly rich, thus fueling my fears of the respected aristocrats.
Unfortunately my fears weren't to be scorned, fore Count Andre DuPres was rather dismissive of my appearance in the very beginning. With little Josette's persistence, however, Andre opened his arms to my arrival and granted me the position of his daughter's very own servant. At first I was frightened of such a prospect, yet over the months my fear soon turned into that of absolute euphoria.
Josette and I became fast friends and, before I knew it, I found myself longing to be her sister - her equal. Despite the fact that the dark-haired beauty never once treated me as her inferior, I always felt as if I were her shadow and a nuisance that could never be swept under the rug.
By Josette's 16th birthday she began to receive bountiful gentleman callers at the doorstep each and every day, yet none of them seemed to satiate her desires. Long ago she had confided in me that she longed for the typical tall, dark and handsome type with a tremendous bout of mystery and charisma, so now I anxiously wait alongside her for this dream man to come to life.
It wasn't until now, two long years later, that I was truly surprised to find that my mistress wasn't the slightest bit discouraged by all this. I was currently sitting with her Aunt Natalie out on the large wrap-around porch out front, my gaze following her large and striking one with unmasked surprise as a gentleman suddenly stepped up the front stoop and bestowed us with a deep and gracious bow.
"My dear ladies," he had greeted warmly, "I give you nothing but my highest and utmost respect. The question at hand that rests is if I might be allowed to call upon your charming niece, Countess DuPres?"
Giving a pleased gasp Natalie leapt up and to her feet before clasping her hands over her heart in what appeared to be a euphoric bout of pure jubilation. "Yes, you may, kind sir! All I ask is that you give me a moment to go and fetch her...and that you give me your name."
The dark-haired man smiled, then, his cheeks crinkling amidst a youthful motion of amusement as he nodded in appreciation. "Of course, how silly of me" he chided. "I am Barnabas Collins, son of Joshua and Naomi Collins. You've heard of them, I'm sure?"
"Oh, yes, indeed I have!" Natalie revealed, her cheeks flushing with excitement. "Now that I know you come from a respectable family I will have Josette down here in mere moments...please excuse me, Mr. Collins!"
I followed her ecstatic figure to as far as my line of vision would allow, my skin prickling once I felt as if I were being shot in place by two red-hot pokers. Upon further inspection, however, I soon came to discover that the sensation was coming from Barnabas' eyes, my gaze locking with his before I raised a hand to my cheek and forced myself to look away.
"Why do you tremble so?" he asked, the smooth velvet of his voice causing me to shudder. "Surely you are not afraid of me?"
Not wanting to appear weak before such a gentleman I returned sharply, "I may be a fool, Mr. Collins, yet weak I most certainly am not! Does the land you come from not find it rude to stare at a woman?"
"Oh...well I am sorry" Barnabas confessed, suddenly frowning in embarrassment. "I hadn't meant to stare, my dear...surely you can forgive me for wanting to gaze upon something so radiant and beautiful as yourself? You're like a rose - so flushing and exuberant with a fresh and blushing beauty...what is your name?"
"Yet roses have thorns" I returned coldly, not being one to be so easily moved by means of flattery. "My name is Angelique Bouchard...and I have never been called beautiful before, thus making your poetic nonsense completely and utterly faulty. If no one has seen this 'beauty' in me before, you must be trying to humor me and I don't appreciate it in the slightest."
Barnabas gave a humorless laugh. "Child, you must be living in a dream world. Have you not gazed upon your reflection in the mirror as of late? You are beautiful...honestly and truly beautiful."
I trembled then, tears of unshed pain and woe forming along my lashes as, for the very first time in my life I truly did feel beautiful. It was then that I wanted to tell that gorgeous man that I adored him and that I desired to keep him all to myself, yet Natalie and dear Josette came out onto the porch at that very moment and I instantly knew that I'd lost him. After all, everyone falls captive to Josette's charm the moment they lay their eyes upon her radiant beauty and flawless figure and manner.
As I stood there taking in the scene like a mute fool it was then that I felt my first bout of jealousy toward my beloved childhood friend, the thin dividend between good and evil melting away within my soul like the sands of time...
A/N: Review and you shall receive. ;0)