BEFORE

The ebony night swarmed around me as I edged my way across the dewy grass, the stifling silence making a seemingly simple journey to the chauffeurs cottage all the more jeopardous. I could not be found here. Leaden down by old bags containing the few precious possessions I deemed worthy enough to take with me.

The inviting light of Tom's cottage loomed ever closer with every step, my breath quickening in excitement. Now that I had finally admitted the inevitable that I was utterly and unconditionally in love with him, I just wanted to start making our new life together, away from the stifling rules and suffocating expectations. I wouldn't admit it before, but all of it, the expectation to just marry and never have any ambitions? It was smothering me, maybe not at first. The excitement of dazzling parties and stunning dresses transfixed me, but then I learnt of the outside world.

The struggle just to get small morsels of food for large families, the injustice of the working system, 3rd class getting locked like rats upon a sinking ship? Tell me who decides this? That some people can breeze through life without a care, while others struggle to get simple necessities.

It was Tom, who helped me understand. That we don't just have to stand by and watch people be treated like scum. He may be wild, passionate, impulsive and bloody stubborn, but he is my revolutionary, and he will not be parted from each other.

AFTER

I couldn't do it. They came after me like beasts in the night, hunting after prey. Knowing what to say to lure me back, my fear of disapproval, of disappointment, of being an outcast.

Now he thinks I've left him, as if he were some kind of pawn in a game to get back at mummy and daddy for ignoring me. Yet he must understand, I couldn't do that to him. I can't abandon anyone, neither my family nor Tom.

I'm back for one thing and one thing only. To gain my parents approval. Make them understand the wonderful man he truly is, not just some foul lowly chaffeur who stole away their daughter in the middle of the night, but the spirited, vibrant, remarkable man that I have decided to spend my life with. Either way, whether I gain their approval or not, I shall have tackled it with my full ability, and that is the most important thing Tom has taught me.