Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise, I just use their creations to have my wicked way with them. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story would be nothing without my amazing beta-team, Jadsmama and Ladysharkey1.
A little bonus chapter to make up for last week's fail.
Letter: 1. a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organization and usually transmitted by mail. 2. a symbol or character that is conventionally used in writing and printing to represent a speech sound and that is part of an alphabet. 3. a piece of printing type bearing such a symbol or character. 4. a particular style of type. 5. such types collectively.
New York, the eleventh of October, 1915.
My darling Johannes,
As you may have realized by now, I did not come to meet you at the docks like we had agreed. Do not worry, I am unharmed, and our plan hasn't been detected. However, over the past couple of days, as I have searched my conscience, I have found that as much as it pains me to admit it, I find myself unable to put my own needs and desires above those of my family. They depend on me and I find I cannot betray the trust and responsibility they have placed on my shoulders.
I wish you could see me now to know how truly sorry I am for the pain I know these words will cause, even though I know you will probably find my apologies hard to believe at this time. However, I hope that in time you may come to see my predicament for what it truly was and know the pain and difficulty that accompanied my decision. It was not one that was taken lightly or with an amount of regret I am sure to feel until the day I draw my final breath.
I never thought I would have to be this cruel. Please believe me that had I known then what I know now, I would never have promised myself to you or even sought you out the way I did at the Stanley's garden soiree. I would have never let it go on like this or allowed us both to entertain the hope of finally being together. But then again, they say that hindsight is always perfectly clear. In truth, my family is ruined. Thanks to my brother's reckless and ignorant speculation in the stock market, we are only a hair's breath away from bankruptcy and shame.
You asked me once if I could resign myself to being poor or even living the life of the common man if that meant that I would get to spend the rest of my days with you. My answer, both then and today, are a wholehearted and profound 'yes'. I love you, even in spite of what you may think of me right now. I love you and I will always love you, until the day I draw my final breath. I do, but I cannot just look at my own selfish desires and hopes. I have my family to think of now. Their futures all depend on the man I have promised myself to and because of that, I feel I cannot renege on my promise. I have to marry Henry. I have to.
I know full well what kind of man I am about to marry and what sort of life I will lead with him. It was once my greatest fear–as you well know–but as of late it has been eclipsed by another. You saw the wretched state my dear mama was in the last time we met. She is now so frail and brittle that I fear that if she should fall, she would break into a thousand pieces. Still she bears her exile with fortitude and dignity, though I know that in her heart she pines for the comfort and security of her life in the old country. If my family would perish into the fire of financial ruin, she would lose not only the house but also the few remainders of our old life. She has lost so much already, suffered so much. I am afraid this last shock will break her completely and I fear she would not survive long if that were to happen.
I love you Johannes, with my whole heart and soul and everything in between, but I cannot stand by and let her die so brokenhearted, knowing it was within my grasp to safe her, nor can I commit an act that will surely be the death of her even if that means I have to sacrifice my own happiness to make it happen.
I hope that in time you will find love again and with a woman more deserving of you than I have been. Be happy, Johannes, and do not think of what may have been but focus on what you can become. You are an amazing artist and I think that, in this land, your star will shine brighter than any other in the sky.
There is only one thing I wish to ask of you, selfish, despicable creature though it makes me. Please forgive me–if not now, then maybe in time–and know that I will cherish every moment I was allowed to spend with you. Know that though my life may belong to someone else by now, my heart will forever be yours and yours alone.