~Chapter 15 - A Plan~
"Good Morning, Miss!" Digweed greeted, placing a tray of warm croissants on the dining table. Adela sat in her chair, eating everything she could get her hands on. Miss Heliotrope watched in obvious disdain at the girl's terrible manners, but she adored her too much to say anything at that precise moment.
"Morning Digweed!" Adela said, grinning as he buttered a croissant for her and placed it on her already full plate. She had taken a little of everything on offer- a sunny-side-up, a warm and buttered croissant, a small bowl of steaming hot mushroom soup, some French toast, a slice of cheese and a glass of milk and a little plate of warm cookies.
"My Goodness girl, how can you manage to eat all of that?" Benjamin commented, raising his eyebrows at her. She smiled at him and swallowed before replying.
"I have a lot to do today, so I'll need some energy. I think… I think I'm going to go to the village today." Adela told him, her eyes falling on the French doors at the end of the room which lead to the garden. "And I'm going to pick some flowers… may I please do that?"
Benjamin chewed on his French bread, deep in thought. "Very well Adela, I will come with you to the village. Firstly you must be appropriately dressed; Digweed will attend to finding a riding outfit for you. We shall leave at ten thirty." He told her, and then pushed his plate away and left the room.
Excitement fluttering in her stomach, Adela hurried to her room as soon as she had finished eating. Like Uncle Benjamin had said, there was a riding outfit lying on her chair, but she didn't change straight away and instead turned to her dressing table. Just where she had left them were two pieces of parchment, with a dip pen and some ink. Smiling to herself, she sat down and began to write.
Loveday De Noir
When I let you go I realised I had made the biggest mistake of my life…
Upon returning from the woods, Adela found Uncle Benjamin feeding a beautiful grey-white pony an apple, his eyebrows furrowed as his eyes re read the swirly writing on the paper he had been given. "Uncle Benjamin, what's wrong?" Adela asked sweetly, rushing forwards to stroke the pony's nose. She had never been allowed to go near the horses in London, as Miss Heliotrope would have had a heart attack.
Uncle Benjamin jumped slightly at her sudden arrival and stuffed the letter into his pocket, and shook his head. "Nothing, my girl. Now, we will be going to the village by horse, I trust you have ridden one before?" When she replied that she hadn't, he raised his eyebrows in disapproval. "Us Merryweathers are keen horse riders, Adela! Here, you may ride Periwinkle as she is very gentle."
Feeling slightly nervous, Adela placed her foot in the stirrup and pushed herself up onto the saddle, at first wondering whether she should ride side saddle but then deciding against it. Miss Heliotrope would not approve, but she was not there to tell her off.
The countryside was beautiful, with its sloping hills and sparkling dew. She could see a few people out in the fields in the distance, and the village up ahead. She was excited to get there, but had Periwinkle stay at a slow trot, so she could admire the view. They were on a muddy path now, and had to pass through what seemed like a little settlement- but it looked terrible. The houses were mostly covered with black cloth and pegged to the ground, and the wooden carts sold food which was not appealing at all. An old hag scuttled past, cursing the Merryweathers under her breath, whilst a few children dressed in rags with dirt on their cheeks huddled together, watching the two people go by with wide, scared eyes.
"Uncle, what is this?" Adela whispered, shrinking a little under everyone's unwelcoming gaze.
Uncle Benjamin looked shifty, and urged his horse to move a little faster. "They are the Travelling People. Some of them are related to the De Noir's which is why they hate us, and they used to cause trouble in the village."
"But why do they travel if they have family here?" Asked Adela, her curiosity getting the better of her. Benjamin frowned, and hesitated before answering.
"They travel because we banned them from living here. They do not belong, so they live in many places, and come here every few months. They're a nuisance really." He added, and hurried her along towards the village.
Adela could hear the hum of many voices as they drew closer. Little bungalows dotted a winding cobbled lane, which lead to the main square. Benjamin had told her that everyone would be there, as it was a market day. He was right, the streets were busy with people. They were carrying merchandise like jewelry and clothes, all handmade of course. In the main square, tables were set out and the residents became stallholders, making the most of the busyness by calling out what they were selling. The smell of fresh bread wafted past her nose, but her eyes had already been distracted by a table selling various books and a few diaries. She dismounted Periwinkle and left her with Benjamin's horse at a hay stack and hurried over to the stall. She picked up one of the leather diaries, feeling the smooth material. She undid the clasp and flipped through the empty pages, wondering whether Uncle Benjamin would allow her to buy it. Just as she was about to look up to find him, her eyes caught sight of one of the pages. In tiny, slanted writing, a sentence had been written. 'The Pure and the Misunderstood.' It read, sending shivers down her spine. It was an odd thing to find, so she put the book down and moved to the next stall.
"ello' there Missus! Would 'ya like a carving of yer' name?" A middle aged man held out a blank carved piece of wood, just the right size to fit on her door. After considering it for a moment she shook her head and said she was just looking, as the pastry stall had caught her attention. She hurried over, the smell bringing on pangs of hunger. There were fruit pies of apple, raspberry, ones topped with fresh strawberries and there were cooked pies too, with lamb, beef and chicken.
"Fancy a pie Miss?" A pretty woman greeted her this time, her blonde hair tied back in a pretty bun. "aven't seen you around, might I say. May I ask your name?" She said, cutting the apple pie into neat slices.
"Adela Merryweather." Adela said, tempted to buy one, even though she had stuffed her face at breakfast earlier.
"Oh!" The woman gasped, straightening up. "Lovely to meet you, Miss Merryweather! I sure didn't know that Mr Merryweather had children! Here, take a slice, free." She gabbled, handing Adela a delicate napkin.
"He is my Uncle, Miss." Adela corrected, refusing to take it free and handing over the few coins that she had brought along. Thanking the stallholder for her generous offer, Adela walked further into the crowds, the satisfying taste of warm apple pie on her tongue. She has to be here. She thought to herself, her eyes scanning the unfamiliar faces around her. Suddenly she spotted the woman she had been looking for. Her brown hair was plaited and decorated with little forget-me-nots, and her dress was intricate and very eye catching. Everyone was staring at her, but she had her eyes on someone else.
Benjamin Merryweather strode forwards, and bowed curtly. "Good morning, Miss De Noir." He said, and she greeted him in return. An awkward silence followed, with both looking at each other expectantly. "Well?" He finally said, and she looked at him blankly.
"Well what? You invited me here to apologise." Loveday replied, folding her arms. Benjamin looked insulted, and pulled out his letter.
"I did nothing of the sort! You told me to come here and that you were going to apologise." He retorted, unfolding the letter and waving it at her. Her eyes widened and she unfolded her letter, both written with the same handwriting. "Adela." They sighed simultaneously, and their eyes met.
There was so much hatred and no love left… You need to overpower them… with love. Loveday's own words to Adela ran through her head, and she decided to be the better person and get over her pride. "I shouldn't… I shouldn't have lied. I'm sorry." She managed to say, her voice only just audiable.
Benjamin was silent for a moment, his eyes taking in the beauty before him that he hadn't seen in years. "And I shouldn't have gotten angry, I'm sorry for that." He apologized, "You should have never run from me though!" Benjamin added quickly.
"You never looked for me!" Loveday cried, stepping forwards in angst.
"I looked for years." Benjamin sighed, and with that he turned and left, leaving Loveday gazing after him, her heart feeling thumping madly.
Adela sighed, she had almost done it! Watching the graceful woman glide away, she groaned inwardly and followed the brick wall to find her way back to the horses. Benjamin was already there, mounting his horse with a heartbroken expression he was trying to mask. Adela unhooked the rope from the hook and was just about to climb onto Periwinkle when something caught her eye. 5 words were carved into the cobble stone on the floor, just about readable. A shiver ran through her body as the words imprinted into her mind.
The Pure and the Misunderstood.
A/N: I'm so sorry for taking so long to update this story! I honestly completely forgot until I got an email about a review, (Adela) thankyou so much! :) And that's awesome, Adela's a lovely name!