Only His Love

A story from the point of view of Blanche Ingram

Disclaimer: Jane Eyre isn't mine. Surprise Surprise. Do you really think that Charlotte Bronte would trouble herself writing fanfiction when she's already so busy being...dead?

Author's Note: I wrote this for a book report...I always thought Blanche was an interesting character. Aren't snobs FUN?!

***

Mr. Rochester has every reason in the world to be in love with me.

I've let my natural charms flourish when in his presence; I laugh delightedly at each joke he makes, rather I find it humorous or not, and behave far more coquettishly when near him than any of the other gentlemen.

Then again, any of the other gentlemen would surely adore me by now.

Oh, Mr. Rochester gives the perfect impression of being enamored. He even went so far as to pantomime our marriage during a game of charades. Towards me, he is never cross or harsh as he is with the others, and he never ceases to flash me a smile, which seems quite an out-of-character contortion of the face considering his countenance.

But when he thinks my attention has wavered from him, he constantly sneaks glances at that governess. I haven't the faintest idea why he could be the least bit interested in her. She is plain, perhaps even homely, and certainly not of a high class society as I am. Rather, she appears to be timid and quiet, and yet he seems to have developed some strange attraction toward her. While he hardly speaks of her, when he does, those dark eyes that slightly frighten me (though not enough to cause me to lose interest in him and his vast fortune) seem to sparkle a bit.

Those eyes don't seem the type that should sparkle, and yet they do.

The idea that he could have the slightest bit of affection towards that mouse of a girl is simply ludicrous. Why would a man of his fine stature lower himself to that meek, unattractive thing?

Perhaps it is because she shows such affection to that little French brat, Adèle, a feat that even Mr. Rochester himself has not accomplished. And yet he does not seem the type to care if a woman loves a poor orphan child; while he is, I suppose, amiable enough, he is rather wry, and doesn't seem the compassionate sort. I honestly do not know why he has even kept the girl for so long. It is all very likely that she is the illegitimate child of himself and some former mistress, but he seems not the type to take mercy on the unlucky offspring.

I study my reflection in the mirror as I muse over these things, lightly tracing the lines of my face with my fingertips.

I am all too aware that I am beautiful, and have never pretended otherwise. What good is modesty, anyhow? It can get you nowhere.

My skin is a flawless café au lait, smooth as the porcelain face belonging to a little girl's doll. Ebony ringlets dance their way down my shoulders, a waterfall of midnight sky; my eyes are a rich chocolate brown. The clothes encircling my shapely figure are the very best: purchased in the most elite boutiques in France, chosen with care.

I then glance at Miss Eyre, sitting quietly in the corner and speaking tenderly to the little girl. She absently plays with one of the child's ringlets, affection glowing in the air around her.

The governess is certainly unlovely; not the least bit handsome. Her hair is a plain, dull shade of brown, as are her eyes, and she's a bit too thin, as though she was deprived of good meals as a child and has yet to make up for the loss of food. Fashion seems an alien thing to her, from where she sits in her plain brown frock, and I suppose it is all quite reasonable. After all, she is only a governess, and is therefore not fit to dress like a woman of importance.

There is nothing truly revolting about her, but nor does she possess any extravagant features. She is plain, and only plain, so plain that it seems the word may have very well been invented for her description.

No, I decide at once, There is no need even comparing her to myself.

Still, I cannot look away.

I suppose she is good, though goodness has never meant a thing to me. Yes, she must certainly be good, the way that she smiles at that little brat as though she were the sweetest of angels.

Mr. Rochester doesn't seem one to appreciate goodness in a person. Men, I have learned from past experiences, often don't appreciate the soul of a woman. As long as she is charming and beautiful, and sparkles like a diamond on his arm at social occasions, she has served her purpose and can be asked to do nothing more.

I have known for quite sometime now that I will be able to fulfill these duties of the wife, and perfectly. For years, I have shaped the personality of Blanche Ingram so she excels at all of these things.

And still, I suppose I am not good.

The door to the parlor swings open, and Mr. Rochester enters, possessing the dark and brooding air that never seems to leave him, even when he smiles and laughs. Miss Eyre looks up from Adèle at once, and a strange glimmer dances in her eyes as she watches the master of the household. He looks briefly in her direction, and at once her gaze falls from him, cheeks now flushing a brilliant scarlet.

Mr. Rochester's eyes are dancing as well: sparkling in that way that I cannot stand to watch.

And all at once I know.

He does prefer her to me.

Perhaps he even loves her, and the reason is so dreadfully simple as to why that it almost embarrasses me that I did not realize it sooner.

I want his riches, his mansions, his wealth.

She wants only his love, and he only hers in return.

And, ironically enough, love is the only thing that I cannot give.