Title: First Impressions (Part Two)
Chapter 7: Off to Gresham's House
Disclaimer: This story is for entertainment purposes only. I do not own anything but my VERY wild imagination.
Author's Note: I have been updating quite a few of my fanfictions! You should go look :)
"I told you we should have waited for your letter to get here! This is worse than scandalizing her Ladyship Jane!" Jane smiled to her sister, that one look telling her that was her plan in the first place. "If you didn't want to come Jane, you should have just said so." Her sister's cross tone made Jane take a second look at her.
"And I could say the same of you." Before the conversation could continue a maid walked into the foyer.
"Her Ladyship has your rooms ready for you now if you'd like I can show you the way." Jane and Cassandra picked their bags up and moved after her. The anticipation of what was to come was weighing on Jane once again.
Later that evening once the pair was settled a maid came back. "I am looking for Miss Jane please ma'am." Jane smiled at her and stepped forward.
"I am Jane." The maid curtsied again and motioned for her to follow. Through the long, dark corridors of the home they went and finally the maid stopped and opened one side of a large double door and there in a grand library stood Mr. Wisley himself holding a single flower with a truly happy expression upon his face to which she was compelled to oblige.
"Mr. Wisley." She curtsied to him which he returned with a quick bow.
"I thought I might leave the boring polite conversation of dining with my aunt to tomorrow night and interest you in a quiet dinner here." He motioned to a table beside him set for two. "I wasn't aware that you were bringing your sister as well, otherwise I would have prepared another setting." Jane smiled.
"That was very thoughtful of you sir. I'm sure she won't mind a night in some quiet reflection. After all isn't that what proper society ladies are supposed to do?" He laughed aloud at her joke, something he had never done before but she was pleased with his reaction. He seemed different somehow than the last time they'd spoken near the river after her failed... She had sworn she wouldn't think of it so instead she instructed herself to think on the task at hand, finding out Mr. Wisley's wonderful news. As he pulled out her chair and they sat he gave her a moment to settle in before he began to speak.
"I trust your time in London was pleasant." The poor man, he couldn't help that he was bringing back so many unwanted memories.
"Yes sir, it was. Mrs. Ratcliffe and I have become very close in these past months." He nodded his approval at the match.
"Indeed I could see you both getting along quite well together." Jane nodded and as their course was brought in they lapsed into a companionable silence. "So, my news. I know you are dying to hear it." Jane looked up and smiled brightly at him.
"Yes, I am. What is so wonderful you thought you needed to bring me all the way out to see you in person?" Her tone was teasing but he caught the serious undertone to her voice.
"I thought a break might be nice, I wanted you to see..." He broke off for a moment and then continued. "I went to visit your parents again while you were away." Jane's interest was no longer simply piqued she was becoming suspicious.
"And, I have decided to employ two more household members in your home. Mainly for the outside work. That way you and your sister may devote more time to... how was it you put it? Things that proper ladies in society should be doing." He smiled fondly at her and it was then that she recognized that look. "I want to make things easier for you Jane and for your family, I know how much they mean to you. I want you to accept my token of friendship and be as happy as your mother was." Inside Jane was boiling. The audacity to treat her and her family as a charity case... and then he continued. "Jane, please. I only wanted to help. I have told you, and shown you what I have to offer. I have much changed since our discussion by the creek and I wanted to show you. You told me, in kinder words, that I bored you. I want to show you that I too can be interesting. I want you to know that you and I can have things in common. Won't you just give me that small chance as your friend Jane? Your friendship these past months has meant so much to me. I had hoped you would award me the same favor." When he was finished she sighed.
"Indeed Mr. Wisley. Thank you on behalf of my family. Your token of friendship is much appreciated by my mother I am sure." He smiled a half smile but nodded all the same.
"All I ask is your friendship Jane. If you decide you want something else from me, then I will be here." Jane nodded solemnly and they finished their dinner mostly in silence filled only with idle conversation before Jane retired back to her room, ready to tell Cassandra all.
"He couldn't possibly think that just because a certain someone is now re-engaged that I would just fall at his feet could he? How dare he insult me this way! I don't understand why it keeps playing out like this." Cassandra only smiled at her sister.
"He told you, it is simply a token of friendship and nothing more. Though he may mean more behind it, you have accepted his friendship and I think that right now he is simply looking for the same thing as you sister." Jane scoffed and turned sharply on her heel to face her sister.
"And what, pray tell might that be?"