This story was originally posted on Twilighted, under my pen name Emm. Thank you to my wonderful beta, VJGM...who offered a ton of help during this story.
I was inspired by a few things while writing this story. First & foremost, the children's poem about the Spanish Influenza that reads:
I had a little bird, and its name was Enza.
I opened a window, and in flew Enza.
I was also inspired by the Nightworld series written by L....or at least her concept of soulmates.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Ownership belongs to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer.
The rain pelted against the leaded glass in the window of his mother's parlor. Edward Masen sighed, and leaned his forehead against the cool glass. At this moment, he should have been rooting for the Cubs. However, Mother Nature had not deemed it necessary to answer his pleas for fair weather. As if she was listening to his lamentation, a bolt of lightening split the sky.
"Edward," his mother's soft voice drifted into his thoughts. Edward lifted his head from the glass, and turned toward his mother, who was gliding towards him.
He was feeling slightly out of sorts, and blamed it on the fact that he wasn't at the baseball game. The gloomy weather did nothing for his mood, and his mother had begged him to be the perfect gentleman when her friends were over that afternoon for tea. All in all, Edward didn't truly mind. The Chicago Suffragettes were all entertaining ladies, and he believed in the cause that they fought for.
These women had more merit to their opinions than most of the girls his own age. Those girls were all busy pretending they were mature Gibson girls and experienced flirts. These days, they all wore their hair shorn short and bold lipstick on their lips. Often, they would hide behind the school, stealing puffs of cigarettes from men passing by.
Call him old fashioned, but while Edward could accept the slightly shorter hemlines; the ones that just passed their knees were slightly indecent. On the other side of the spectrum, were those who envisioned themselves debutants and wore ridiculous hobble skirts. Mary Ellen Jafferty, a girl a year older than him, had fallen down her family staircase and broke her neck wearing such a garment. Although these days, a threat much worse than a silly hobble skirt threatened Chicago.
A line from the children's rhyme flickered through his heavy head – I opened the window and in flew Enza.
"Edward dear, may I introduce you to our newest member?" Elizabeth Masen smiled at her son, her green eyes twinkling with humor.
Edward ran his hand through his reddish hair that so matched hers. He smiled crookedly at her, and she nodded her head, pleased.
"Of course, Mother," he turned his attention to the two women standing a little behind Elizabeth. "How do you do? It's always a pleasure to meet a friend of my mother's. I'm Edward."
The older of the two women, gracefully held out her hand to him, and he dutifully kissed the knuckles. "A pleasure, indeed. My name is Caroline Lindon." Her tones were clipped, and Edward heard in them a bit of New York.
She was a handsome woman – and once might have been beautiful. Her graying black hair was pulled back into an elaborate twist, and was covered with an ornate hat. Caroline's waist was unnaturally slim hinting at an old fashioned corset. And the style of her dress was a few years out of date, but even Edward could tell that it was newly and richly made. "And this is my daughter, Arabella. She will be joining your school in a week or so."
Edward bowed to the younger lady, and his green eyes widened in shock. It wasn't that she was beautiful to the standards that many considered to be beautiful. Rather, she was hauntingly pretty. Her hair was a rich sable, and her chocolate eyes were wide. Her skin was pale, her body slim.
"Go-good day, Miss Lindon," Edward stuttered, blushing slightly. It suddenly felt too warm in his mother's parlor. He cleared his throat in part to excuse his stutter.
"Hello, Mr. Masen. I've heard such lovely things about your family," Arabella smiled, revealing perfect teeth. She too blushed, and Edward thought he had never seen a lovelier sight. "Please call me Arabella, and I shall call you Edward."
"Well Edward, I will be over in the dining room speaking about this weekend's rally. Why don't you show Miss Lindon the piano? My son plays beautifully," Elizabeth murmured to Caroline as they walked through the door way. The two women seemed pleased that their offspring would be able to have a polite conversation.
Edward tugged at the collar of his shirt, suddenly feeling warm. Why did they expect him to entertain the girl? If not for the rain he wouldn't have even been at home today.
Arabella appeared to be close to him in age, maybe a year younger. In another year or so, she would marry.
Not him of course, he was much too young for marriage and didn't even need to think of such a thing for another six to seven years. He hadn't even started to sow most of his wild oats yet. Unlike most of his friends, Edward actually cared about his education and wanted to be a lawyer like his father.
Arabella coughed, her face still flushed as she smiled shyly at him. "So, Edward, what are your thoughts on the women's movement?"
"That's a bold question," he chuckled. "Didn't your mother teach you that you should always start a conversation with a stranger in regards to the delightful weather?"
"Well, we both know that's a lie!" She laughed just as a boom of thunder shook the house. She sat down at the piano bench, and smoothed her hands over her hair.
She wasn't radically dressed, but her hair was bobbed in the popular style. He was pleased to see that her skirt only reached mid-ankle, and revealed a pretty pair of lace up boots. Her eyes were filled with humor. And Edward couldn't help but notice that she was intelligent.
"Do you play?" Edward asked, unable to draw his eyes away from hers. She wasn't wild like some of the girls he knew, but she was bold and spoke her mind. He wasn't sure whether or not he liked that about her. And usually, he could read people pretty well, however she was a closed book, except for what her eyes revealed.
Arabella tilted her head, and narrowed her eyes at him. "Oh, but you're cheating. You still haven't answered my question."
"Of course I think women deserve the right to vote," he said. "My father has always treated my mother as his equal, and it disgusts me to think that there are men who feel women are inferior to them."
She looked surprised, and Edward knew then that while she believed in the movement, her mother only played at it.
"Do you think I'm your equal?"
"Yes," Edward answered simply, and then stared pointedly at the piano.
Arabella followed his gaze and laughed, as her fingers danced across the keyboard. "And yes, I play." Her laughter turned to a cough, and Edward hurried to get her some lemonade.
"Your Edward brings out a strange reaction in my Bella. Usually, she's pretty quiet," Caroline murmured to Elizabeth.
Edward's mother watched as her son left the dining room with a glass of lemonade and aided the girl in abating her cough. She smiled as his fingers joined Arabella's on the keyboard and he played the melody to the song.