So this is a new story for me. I am also going to try and write longer chapters than I did for my previous two stories. I would love it if you review and tell me what you think! This first chapter is especially dedicated to Lily Swan who has inspired me to write longer chapters, with her own wonderful and endless chapters.
I, Lillian Granger, at thirteen years old, walked nervously around the streets of Chicago, sure that I would lose myself in the terrifying maze of streets that made up the city. Although I was thirteen, I was slight for my age, due to a poor diet and my elfin-like nose gave me a child-like quality. I'm sure that my wide innocent eyes and the way I jumped at every bustling sound only added to that illusion. The streets were busy and I was just one of many people. I wrapped my coat around myself tightly. The coat was too big for me. The sleeves were rolled up slightly and I could have wrapped it around my tiny waist twice. This was because it belonged to my sister, who at sixteen already exhibited a much more womanly figure than I did. I sidestepped to miss a puddle and walked into someone.
"Sorr-" I began to say, but the person had already pushed me out of their way and was carrying on their journey.
I focused my eyes downwards, but soon returned my attention to what was in front of my eyes, as I didn't want a repetition of that incident. My hat helped to shield my alert grey eyes from the people that walked pass me. Not that any of them seemed interested im my prescence. In fact, most just seemed to see right through me. However, despite feeling overwhelmed by vastness of the city, it interested me greatly. It was far different from any place I had lived in before.
My father Matthew Granger, had been in the British Army and as a result my family had moved around a lot. I hadn't minded the constant moving and leaving people behind. I didn't usually make friends anyway, as I found it hard to socialise outside my family. I had David, my fourteen year old brother and I had my sister Mariah. For me that was enough company.
But my father's career in the army was now over. We had left England amid rumours of scandal. At first I didn't know exactly what my father had done to deserve a dishonourable discharge. I had soon discovered from my parent's hushed conversations, that it was more of a case of what my father hadn't done. He had refused to shoot a deserter. For that the army had kicked him out, despite his last twenty years of dedication and loyalty.
After the lost of my father's job, it was decided that we would leave for America for a new start. The land of new beginnings and promise. When I had first arrived in Chicago and I had seen the smog that clung to the city, I had thought it strange that such a name would be given to such a place. It certainly didn't look like the land of promises. I had also at first, been scared by the sounds of the different machines that seemed to occupy every building I walked past. My father had explained to me that I had no reason to be scared. The machines were a sign of progress.
We have a little apartment on the corner of nearby street. It is small but it is in better condition than most people have. I love it. After living in army quarters ever since I had been born, I loved the freedom it presented me with.
There was one thing I did miss about England though and that was the greenery. There didn't seem to be much of it about the inner city and I wasn't allowed to go further astray than that. I had been in Chicago two weeks now and we had all begun to settle in.
My father now had a job as a clerk for some rich merchant. I don't think my father enjoyed it. Yet he also seemed to brighten up whenever I came to deliver his lunch. That was the reason why I was out in the streets right now. I had just delivered my father his lunch and now I was walking home.
I wondered what the rest of my family were doing right now. My brother should be at school, but I had my doubts that David actually went. Even as a baby my brother had a knack for mischief. The only thing that changed as he grew older was the size of his misdoings.
My sister would probably be pricking her finger on a sewing needle for the seventh time as she worked as a apprentice to the local seamstress. She had always been a perfectionist, so the job was perfect for her. Apparently, I looked a lot like her. I didn't see it though. True we had the same grey eyes and the same coloured hair, but to me, my sister was beautiful and I was plain.
I also knew that at this very moment my mother would be dusting and cleaning the apartment from the top to bottom. My mother was very house-proud and this apartment was the first place we could really call our own and as a result my mother's house cleaning regime had seemed to step up a gear. As I was the youngest daughter, it was expected of me to help my mother clean the house. I didn't mind. I liked listening to my mother sing as we worked. My mother's knowledge of childhood lullabies was unmatched.
Realising how long I was taking, I quickened my pace, not wanting a scolding from my mother if I was late home. I was just rounding a corner when it happened. Someone snatched my hat off the top of my head. I made a vain attempt to grab at my hat as the person removed it. I missed. My hat now gone, the wind was free to whip at my hair and a couple of strands escaped my bun. I took a deep steadying breath and turned to look at the perpetrators, hoping that it was just my brother and his friends playing some childish prank. Of course, it wasn't.
Stood in front of me, stood three boys. The oldest, who also seemed to be the leader, had to be at least sixteen years old. The two other boys both had to be about a year younger than their leader. It was the oldest who had taken my hat. He had it in his hands and he was twirling it around. He had a lazy grin on his face. I sighed nervously. My brother had always fought my battles for me. If someone ever threatened me, teased me or bullied me, he would sort it out. But my brother wasn't here with me now. I was alone.
"Lost something?" the one who had my hat asked. I trembled with indignation. The boy knew damn well what he had done and now he was making a joke about it. I didn't voice my feelings though, knowing it would only provoke more taunting.
"I think she's lost her hat, Tom" one of the younger boys said. My gaze turned to him as he spoke. I recoginized the boy faintly. I screwed my face up in concentration as I tried to remember who he was.
"Recognise me do you?" the boy added, as he saw the expression on my face.
"Robert Danver" I stated as I finally recognised the boy. He was 'suppose' to be one of David's friends!
"You got it. And your Davey's little sister, Lillian Granger" Robert replied. I winced at his use of my brother's nickname.
"Lillian. Now that's a pretty name" the older boy called Tom said. I didn't like the way he talked to me. He made me feel as though I was just an object and not in fact a living breathing person.
"I'll help you find your hat. But you've got to do something first" Tom said, a wicked grin on his face.
"What's that?" I questioned, my naivety meaning that I didn't know better than to ask that question.
"The price is going to be pretty high. It will be a kiss" Tom said. I paled at his answer. What had I ever done to deserve this? I shifted anxiously on the spot. People passed by us, but they didn't even glance our way. Nobody even cared.
"Please just give me back my hat" I pleaded.
"A kiss first" replied Tom and he started to approach me. I took a step back.
"I'll tell my brother" I threatened. All three boys laughed in return.
"I think we can handle your brother" Robert said. Realising that I wasn't going to get my hat back any time soon and that I certainly wasn't going to kiss Tom, I began to pick my skirt up, getting ready to run. But then help came out of no where.
"Leave her alone" a voice commanded. I turned to look at who had spoken. I could tell that it was a boy who had said those words. He was standing in plain view, yet because of the angle of the sun, I had to shield my eyes and as a result I was unable to see him. The boys seemed to be having the same problem, not that it bothered them much.
"What's it to you? Stay out of our business, if you know what's good for you" Tom retorted to the figure.
"Than I guess I don't know what's good for me" the boy said, as he stepped forward and out of the sun, allowing me for the first time to see who my saviour was. Not that it mattered, I still didn't recognise him. The other boys seemed to though. They all groaned.
"Edward!" muttered Robert. The boy called Edward walked forward, allowing me to examine him closer. He had bronze coloured hair and he looked to be fifteen. Although Tom seemed to be older than him, the new boy was taller than him by more than a couple of inches. Edward looked at me for a second and gave me an encouraging smile, before returning his gaze to the boys. This boy Edward, was outnumbered and Tom was older than him, but it didn't seem to faze Edward. He walked to Tom snatching my hat from the boy's hands. He walked to my side and wordlessly handed me back my hat. I placed it firmly back on my head, never once breaking my gaze from Tom.
"I suggest you stay away from her" Edward said. His tone was low and harsh. This instruction seemed to anger Tom.
"Well there's three of us and one of you" Tom muttered darkly and he and his two friends began to approach us. I saw Edward tense.
"I'll fight too" I stuttered to the approaching boys. I didn't know Edward, but I didn't want to see him hurt, not because of me. Tom and his friends seemed to find my words funny. They stopped their approach and began to laugh.
"Really now?" said Tom, as a dangerous grin flashed across his face. Edward moved to stand in front of me. He seemed ready to use his body to sheild me from any potential harm.
"I distinctly remember the last confrontation we had Tom. I also remember distinctly who won and it wasn't you" Edward said. The grin on Tom's face disappeared at this remark and a frown took it's place.
"Forget this. It's too much hassle. She's not even that pretty" Tom said after he had spent a moment thinking. I frowned at his last words, knowing the truth his words held. Out the corner of my eye, I saw Edward's fists ball up at Tom's last words.
"See you around, Lillian" Robert sneered at me.
"You won't" stated Edward. Robert just shrugged his shoulders as if to say: 'If you say so'.
Tom took one last look at me before he turned to leave. His friends shortly followed. Edward continued to glare at their backs until they had turned around a corner. He then turned to face me.
"Thank you" I whispered to him, barely trusting myself to speak any louder.
"Are you alright?" he questioned, seeming to ignore my thank you. His eyes seemed to examine me for any sign of a physical injury.
"I'm fine. You got to me before they could do anything" I replied.
"Thank you, Edward" I said again. Edward smiled at me indulgently.
"I heard you the first time" he said. I blushed. Edward smiled even wider at the red spots in my cheeks.
"Well, you already seem to know my name, but I'll introduce myself properly anyway. I'm Edward Anthony Masen. A pleasure to make your acquaintance" he said and he held out his hand to me.
"I'm Lillian Harriet Granger. It's nice to meet you" I replied as I placed my hand in his. After we shook, he pulled back up. It was only then, that I realised that he had to lean down in order to shake my hand.
"Well, Lillian. I know that they're gone now, but I would think it would be best if I walked you home. Where do you live?" he asked.
"Maple Grove, but I don't want to make you-" I began to say, but Edward broke in.
"You're not making me do anything, Lillian" he said kindly and with those words he gently placed his hand in between my shoulderblades and began to steer me back into the crowds and towards the direction of my home. Once the crowds had thinned out a bit, Edward was able to walk beside me. I think he was use to walking faster than this but Edward slowed down for me as he realised I took shorter strides than him.
"You seemed to know one of them" commented Edward, looking down at me.
"Robert. He's supposed to be my brother's friend" I replied, wringing the folds of skirt with my hands, still feeling uneasy after what had just happened.
"I would certainly say suppose to be. Your brother should look after you better" Edward said, frowning a bit.
"It's not his fault. David is the best brother I could ask for" I said, defending my brother. My tone was hard and adamant. Edward chuckled at the determined look on my face.
"I meant no offense. I'm sorry if I caused you any" he said.
"I'm sorry too. I spoke too harshly" I said apologizing for my behaviour. My gaze dropped to the floor as I felt a wave of shame wash over me,
"No. You just stood up for your brother" Edward said, excusing my behaviour with his a wave of his hand. Just a second after he had spoken, he gently took me by my arm and pulled me into an alcove on the side of the street, keeping me out of the way as a man dashed up the street at a break-neck speed. He was soon followed by two police officers. Edward and I watched them go pass before we continued on our way.
"What part of England are you from?" Edward asked. Of course that started my family history.
"From all over, we have never really settled down in one place for long. My father was in the army so we often moved from base to base" I answered.
"Your father is no longer in the army?" questioned Edward
"No. He left it. After twenty years of being in the army, he wanted to make a permanent home for us" I said, hoping Edward wouldn't notice my lie. I had never been any good at lying and the rare times that I did lie, I was always immediately caught out. I couldn't tell him about my father's dismissal though. It was a family secret. I wasn't even suppose to know it.
"So you came to America" stated Edward, a smile playing on his lips. I merely nodded in reply.
"How did your father like the army?" Edward asked. I could tell by his tone that there was more to his question. I turned to study his face. There was an odd shining in his eyes. It was the look I had often seen on many a new recruit.
"You want to join the army?" I questioned, though I thought I already knew the answer to my question.
"Eventually perhaps" Edward said nonchantly.
"You deserve better than the army" I replied. I had personally seen what the army was like. I knew about the bribery and blackmail that went on behind closed doors. I knew how the army treated good men. The same way they had treated my father.
"You don't like the army?" Edward asked. I could tell my response had interested him. I averted my gaze, feeling nervous. I had said too much. How could I explain to him my reasons without revealing my father's secret?
"So we're back to being shy" Edward said. I turned to look at him. I could tell that he did not mean the words maliciously.
"It's just..." I trailed off, unable to think of a reasonable excuse.
"You don't have to explain it to me" Edward said. I smiled gratefully at him. Silence fell for a while and I could hear our footsteps sounding out against the street. Edward's footsteps were so much louder than my own.
"Will you be staying in Chicago, now that your father is no longer in the army?" Edward asked. For some reason he looked oddly disappointed by the possibility that I might leave.
"No. We're staying" I replied. A grin spread across his face. He stopped in the middle of the street and I paused too. Luckily, we were near my house and the streets here, were nearly deserted now that we were away from the main one.
"So Lillian, need a friend to help you survive the big, dark, bad city" asked Edward. I laughed at his description of Chicago.
"That would be nice" I replied, knowing that it indeed would be. Edward seemed a genuine person. After my father's run-in with the army, I knew that genuine people were rare in life.
"Friends it is" Edward said in turn, grinning at me. I met his gaze and grinned back.
That was my first encounter with Edward Anthony Masen. It was the start of a new beginning for me.