Home of a mother, wife, writer

Story a Day September: Day 11 – “Held My Heart”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to focus on the setting of a story. So, I thought about using the house where In the Moonlight takes place. But, instead of using the actual story for it, this is some back story. Like way, way back story. As in, about 150 years before In the Moonlight takes place, but it kind of ties into the current story as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The wood on the stairs creaked as I stepped on the third one. How did I always forget about that one step? It could give everything away.

I stilled, waiting to see if any sounds came from down in the kitchen. I don’t know what I expected to hear. Every night when I ventured through here it was the same. Darkness except for the dimmed lantern I carried. Quiet other than the wind outside, and the crickets as they chirped. I could still smell the smoke from the fire cook had put out after dinner. Otherwise the place felt deserted.

That was fine. It was good, even. It was best for no one to see me coming through here. Why would the master of the house’s daughter be sneaking into the servants’ quarters? Not for any good reasons as far as anyone else in my life was concerned.

My night shift brushed over the wood of the stairs, and I felt it catch on a rough edge. it pulled and snagged, and I was sure everyone would hear the hem rip. My heart pounded fast and hard, my breath coming in little gasps as I waited to be discovered here where Father would say I had no right to be.

I lifted the hem of my shift with one hand and continued up the stairs. I couldn’t wait any longer to come up here. It had been a misery staying away, but I knew we couldn’t be caught. Only disaster could come of this liaison to be discovered.

I was engaged to be wed in just a few weeks’ time. Father did not care that I had no love for the man. That I loved another. It wouldn’t matter to him even if I could tell him the name of the one who held my heart.

I paused on the second floor landing. Not even a whisper of a sound. no, that wasn’t right. I could hear the soft snores of one of the maids behind the door to my left. I muffled a snicker behind my hand. Charlotte told me how loud her mother slept, and that was their room. Was she in there or had she already gone up to the next floor?

I listened at the door, but all I could hear was that snoring. So, I started up the rest of the stairs. “Charlotte,” I whispered as I stepped into the first room past the last of the stairs. I saw the blanket laying out on the floor. So, she’d made it up here before me. But, where was she?

I took another step into the room and saw a shadow shift away from the others. “Charlotte,” I said, grinning as she came into view. “Lord, I have missed you.”

She returned my grin. “You just saw me at dinner, Josephine.”

“That is not the same,” I said, reaching up to stroke her face. We had to be different when there were others around.

Then, her lips pressed to mine, and I didn’t worry about anything but being with her.

 

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