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Chapter 9

I was dead tired when I got back to my room and I fell right to sleep. I slept so deeply that when I finally opened my eyes I felt so perfectly comfortable that I was afraid to move. I just stared at the ceiling, marveling on how truly good I felt.

I looked around my room and saw the clothes I had worn last night crumpled on the floor, I groaned and buried my head in my pillow. Tristan...

After a few minutes I managed to pull myself together, it was easier this time since I had gone through losing him once already, I had made my peace with the idea and now I had even more to hope for in his return. He was coming back for me, he said he couldn't live without me! He loved me! I mean he didn't go right out and say it but I knew that it was true, everything he said and the way he acted all pointed to it! He would come back, and when he did…

I smiled to myself and got up, I straightened my clothing from last night so it didn't arouse suspicion and then waited for my maid to come in with my bath as she usually did.

When she finally came I preceded like I did every other day, I didn't want any one to think something was wrong or different. I even went out to the park later on, just to keep up with my usual routine. Being alone in the park was nice, I brought a hat with a veil so it was harder for people to recognize me and I had some time to think.

Now that Tristan was gone, my life could easily slip back into the way it was before. I wouldn't be the same, of course, but my life could go back to the same endless cycle of parties but I didn't want that. Now that I had a taste of the real life I didn't want to let it go, I couldn't let it go. I would fight tooth and nail to keep in now that I finally found out it existed, besides it was the one thing that linked me to Tristan now that he was gone.

It was amazing how things had changed between our first and second good byes, now that I knew he loved me and was coming back for me I could breathe easier. I don't have to worry about him marrying some one else; I didn't have that feeling of uncertainty, uncertainty is the worst feeling known to man- well to me it is. Because there is no closure, no relief, no pain but no joy either, just and endless space of blinding light keeping you from making sense of what is going on and you end up thinking of all the horrible things that could be happening. But knowing he is mine makes the possibility of him getting hurt seem even worse. It still makes my heart ache to think about him gone but somehow it isn't as horrible as it seemed before. I love him so much, is that safe? I think to myself and then shrug it off. It doesn't really matter because there is nothing I can do about it now- I love him. I don't really know how it happened, I didn't plan on it or even really hope for it- it was weird just all of the sudden I realized I was falling for him and it was way too late to stop.

And so the day passed slowly but I didn't mind, not really, I was quickly learning the talent of thinking and daydreaming while making people believe I am paying attention and interested in what they are saying. This is something I always had trouble doing before, no out of courtesy but I never was able to concentrated while I was surrounded by meaningless babble but now that I had so much to think about it was imperative that I learned. It was very satisfying to me to be able to make plans in the midst of a party, and the funny part was that no one seemed to notice that I was off in my own world. What does that tell you about the intelligence level at most of these parties? Pretty sad, right? Anyway, I started using all my time planning daring escapes and ideas on how to make a living in the "real world" so that Tristan and I could be together.

The thing on the forefront of my mind at the moment was my evenings, I hoped to able to visit Vermillion Street each night but if I was to do that I would need some other way of getting money. I wasn't that I didn't have any but I was also hoping to able to escape my parents and my present life so I would need money to do that, I didn't want to start my new life by begging my parents for it. I wanted a new life that no one but me could take responsibility or credit for. If all when well I would run away and marry Tristan and live with him but I didn't know when he was coming back, it could be years and I didn't want to stay here for that long- I knew he would find a way to see me again no matter where I went, he was crazy like that.

My first thought was to be a maid but if I kept my disguise of Dare then I couldn't because there weren't any male maids. I could be a stable boy but I didn't know if I would be strong enough and I was hoping for something that paid better than that. I started to get worried but then I decided I would just relax and look around for jobs for a week or two then decide what I wanted to do. I didn't have to rush anything- this was my life I was talking about, I could take time to plan it out perfectly.

That night I took my time getting down to Vermillion Street, I kept my eyes alert as I looked around me trying to find something to inspire me, something that would be a perfect job for me. As I go closer and closer I started to loose hope, it seemed that every young boy I saw was a stable boy or apprentice to some shop and I knew that wouldn't work for me because all the shops where open all day and I could only work at night.

I shook my head; maybe I cold find some print shop that would let me work at night. I could copy documents and stuff which I'm sure they would need help with since there didn't seem to be many people in the poorer section of the city who were literate. I started looking around for some type of print shop when I heard a loud laughing and singing, I followed the noise and came to a pub overflowing with people. I wormed my way closer, trying to figure out had attracted all the people and a small group of gypsies on a raised stage-like area by the bar; they were sing, dancing, and playing music. Everyone loved it and was dancing and singing along, then an idea popped into my head- I could do this! I mean I didn't know all the dances they were doing but I could learn couldn't I?

I know how to sing, and I can play the flute; for once I was thankful to my mother for making me take all those music lessons! I watched some more and began to think; if I learned some of these songs then I could put on a show like this in taverns and pubs, there was only one problem- I couldn't sing like a boy. I would need to find a new disguise, maybe a wig and some cheap clothes would be all I needed. And I could learn to play the guitar, I laughed to myself, I'm sure one of my followers could teach me.

I left the pub happily and wandered around looking for a clothing store. I bought a few dresses; I made sure they were bright and slightly worn. I also bought some very cheap jewelry and scarves; I would model my disguise after the gypsy girls I had seen. Whenever someone gave me a strange look for buying girls clothing, because I was in my Dare disguise, I told them it was for my sister or sweetheart.

After I go everything I thought I would need I wandered around hoping to hear more music, I've always had a good memory so I'll be able to learn the songs I hear quickly. I stop in various taverns, and I'm dead tired as I walk home but I'm happy.

The next morning I wake up later than usually but no one seems to mind, as soon as I have eaten breakfast I go up to my room and begin to write down all the lyrics from the songs I heard last night, just so that I don't forget parts of them as time goes by.

Then I have to greet all the guests that come because today is our "open house" day, which basically means we're home all afternoon and anyone who wants can come visit us, well me. But I'm not dreading it as much today because I can start my search for someone who can play guitar. I smile to myself; I don't think Tristan would particularly like my newest plans but he's no here now, is he? Funny how picturing the angry look on his face made me a million times more determined to do this…

I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of my suitors know how to play the guitar, the difficult part was choosing one to teach me; I ended up insisting that they all play for me and then I choose the one who I thought played best as my teacher. My mother was so excited to see me interested in my suitors that she sent out one of our servants to buy me my own guitar right away. Fate was finally smiling down on my and everything was falling into place, maybe everything would turn out as I had dreamt it would! I did feel a little bad for the suitors I was using to get there but I wasn't going to change- if they were stupid enough to fawn over me like they did then they deserved whatever sadness they would feel when I disappeared. Is that cruel? I don't know but then again…do I really care?

My guitar lessons were simple yet challenging; the chords and notes were easy to remember but actually placing your fingers where they belonged was a lot harder and soon my fingers were sore and blistered. I kept at it though, practicing by myself when ever I had time; I also started talking to my maid and some of the other servants trying to learn all the songs they knew.

I was surprised that I never thought to talk to any of the servants before; it was almost like I didn't notice they were even here before. But I really enjoyed talking to them and soon I knew all their names, they are all nice people- well most of them are- and have lots of interesting stories and songs to share with me if I listen. I feel so happy to have them as friends; it's like a breath of fresh air, part of the real world in my own house. Why didn't I ever think of talking to them before? I had been so busy pitying myself that I never realized I was surrounded by real people in my own house. What other good things do I have that I have looked over all this time?
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