It was a smoky, warm afternoon In Liverpool. No one was paying any attention to what Angelique was doing so she had taken her ball to play in the garden.
The Collins estate had extensive grounds with many lovely gardens. The little girl's favorite was a small, particularly pretty one with an ornamental pond. In spring it was covered in flowers.
She walked dreamily through the gardens, throwing her ball and catching it. When she reached the small garden she unlatched the gate and went in. No one would bother her there.
Angie threw her ball and caught it several times, throwing it a bit higher every time. On the third throw she threw it higher than she meant to. To her dismay… the ball sailed past her fingers and fell with a soft plop in the lake.
She cried out in dismay, tears sliding down her cheeks. It was only a leather ball… but ass the daughter of a servant she got very few toys... and that one was her favorite. If she had been able to swim she would have jumped in to get it… but she had never learned.
Angie sat down on the side on the pond, putting her head on her arms and continuing to sob.
"Don't cry…" said a voice behind her. She looked up, face still streaked with tears. Behind her was a boy the same age as her. He had dark hair, pale skin and the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. He was wearing fine clothing… and even at six years of age had the air of confidence that came from being born to privilege.
She couldn't help staring at him for a moment. "I… lost my ball… in the pond… and I can't swim" she said when she found her voice again.
To her surprise he started to undo his jacket, tossing it on the ground. Then he started to remove him shoes.
"You don't have to…" she said quickly. But the next moment he had jumped into the pond. An anxious minute later he resurfaced, holding her ball. Her face lit up when she saw he had her ball.
"Thank you so much!" she said as he climbed out of the water.
"Anything to help a lady in distress…" he said with a smile, looking rather pleased with himself. She smiled, blushing slightly.
"What is your name?" he asked, looking at her. He remembered seeing her around but he didn't know who she was.
"I'm Angelique. Angelique Bouchard" she said shyly, peeking at him under her lashes. "You must be a Collins…"
He took her hand and placed the ball in her palm, curling her fingers around it. "My name is Barnabas Collins…"
The salty smell of the ocean was in the air as the Collins family and their servants made their way down to the docks. As always they were noisy and bustling with people.
The dark haired, blue eyed little girl peered around curiously as they walked through the crowd, not letting go of her mother's hand. By contrast the dark haired boy seemed completely at ease.
Angelique watched Barnabas as he walked onto the ship that would take them to their new lives in America. He turned to look at her with a smile before disappearing out of sight.
"Angelique… how many times to I have to tell you not to stare at him? Remember your place" chided her mother as she saw where her daughter was looking.
She knew the friendship between them… and the infatuation that she seemed to have with him would do her daughter no good. She had known servants who had gotten too involved with their masters. It never ended well for the servant.
However she comforted herself with the face her daughter was just a child. That by the time Angelique was old enough for these feelings to be dangerous she would have surely forgotten all about the Collins boy.