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Cunning and Calculated


He stood there in silence. With no emotion. The fire he had when he walked into the room was no more. You could tell he was thinking about what I said. I belong to no one. Andrew and I both know it’s true, I don’t belong in his world. I don’t belong with those people at the party. I belong with my own people; I belong with my community.

I pushed Andrew away from me; I walked back to the party. I heard Andrew’s fist hit the wall. Pictures on the wall shook a bit then Andrew walked out of the room. Everyone had no idea what had just happened.

“Everyone is welcome to stay for a few more days here at the castle.”
Lady Louise O’Connor sipping on wine,“Yes, thank you, Ms. Edwards. I’m afraid I can’t. I have things I must attend too.”

Matthew smiles at me, “I can stay for a few more days. I’m not due back at the fort till Monday.”

The rest of the guest spoke whatever or not they can stay at the castle. A few ladies in waiting waited to go home for the rest of the weekend to spend with their families. Matthew kept eye contact with me during dinner. But Matthew wasn’t the only one that kept their eyes on me. Andrew made sure I knew his eyes were on me. The whole thing made me blush. I couldn’t help but to blush. Matthew was very handsome, nothing like the men in my community. I never had so much attention on me at once.

Another lady in waiting beside me, “It looks like you could use fresh air Esmeralda.”
“Yes I think that will help.”
Matthew stood up, “Join me in the rose garden.”
“Yes thank you.”

Andrew stood the same time as Matthew. Matthew and I walked into the garden. I know Andrew could see us together. I didn’t care if he could or not. Matthew might be my only chance of leaving here soon as possible. I want to go back to my community. Especially since my older brother Concan*, Riley and Caitriona* came to the castle to tell me about Jamie. I must go back to see my younger brother before anything happens to him. He needs a new treatment. Maybe Matthew can help me pay for a new treatment for Jamie, if we are married. If Matthew and Andrew went to the same college that means Matthew has money like Andrew.

“You must be the second born.”
Matthew smiled, “No I’m the firstborn in my family. My sister was the second born; she would always act like she was. When she was alive, before the Scarlet fever took her away.”
“Why are you in the military? Mostly the second born is in the military.” I questioned him.
“I wanted to make a name for myself. It has been always my sister and I. How many brothers and sisters do you have Esmeralda?”

I don’t what Matthew to know right away now that I’m a gypsy and I come from a poor family. It doesn’t help that my family has nothing for him to offer him to marry me. If he would know that, it will ruin my chance of having him fall in love with me and pay for my escape and for my brother’s treatment. I must get out of this place and back to my family.

“I don’t want to talk about that right now. Tell me more about your military career?”
“No I feel like I have been talking about myself too much. You will start to think I am vain.”
i lightly smiled at Matthew, “No. I would never think you vain”

I smiled, I love hearing his exciting adventure. Seeing new places and people. It makes me homesick for my family and my community. I wish I could go back and travel. I hate staying in one place for too long.

Matthew slowly came closer to my face. He kissed me softly on the cheek. I couldn’t help but blush. I thought Matthew would kiss me or force me to kiss him like Andrew. Matthew just softly kissed me as soft as a feather. Or if I was glass about to break.

“I hope you didn’t mind.”
“No not at all.”

Matthew bent down to pick up a yellow rose and gave it to me. I could feel eyes watching us. It felt like daggers in my back. In my heart I knew it probably is Andrew. Andrew will not take my chance away from me to get out of here and away from him.

“This is for you.”
I blushed and putting a strand of hair behind my ear out of nervousness, “Thank you, Matthew you are so sweet and kind.”
“This is embarrassing to say but... I feel like I’ve known you my whole life but this is the first time we have met.”

He said it in a soft and gentle manner, before, I could respond to Matthew. One of the younger ladies in waiting came outside. She looked like she was trying to get our attention.

“Lady Esmeralda and Matthew!”
“Yes Briana?”
“Ms. Edwards cut her cake, won’t you two join the rest of the party.”

“Matthew we can finish our conversation tomorrow.”

I smiled at Matthew, he nodded his head. We went back inside the castle. Everyone sat around eat their piece of cake and drinking tea. I wonder where is Andrew. I looked around the room, looking for Andrew. He was nowhere to be seen, I didn’t think too much of it. I could only think of Matthew and his gentle words he spoke when we were in the garden.

My plan must be working, Matthew is falling for me. In a few days time I know he’ll ask for my hand in marriage. Then I can get away from this place. I can go back to my community and my family.

Andrew’s POV

Matthew and I both stood up when the other maid beside Esmeralda told her she needed some fresh air. My heart jumped, just hearing something wrong with Esmeralda. Seeing Matthew and Esmeralda walk into the garden fills my heart with jealousy and anger. I excused myself to everyone at the party.

I ran my hands through my hair causing it to be tousled, completely frustrated at myself. How come I can't get that stupid girl out of my mind?! Look at what she has done to me, I’ve never acted with way before. She’s making me go insane.

I had to get away from doing something to Esmeralda in front of everyone. Pacing back-and-forth in my office, I heard a knock on the door. The maids and butlers are helping with the party today. Mother and I don’t inspecting anyone else to come to the party. We sent a footman* to travel to the nearest town’s post office. Very few people sent my mother a letter saying they can’t make it. I wonder who it could be.

I opened the door. I saw a young Postman* wearing light grayish blue uniform with a panniers* that was slung across his shoulder. One hand holding a letter with my name of it.

“Sorry to come here in this late hour, this a special letter that was sent to you.”
“Thank you.”

The young man gave me the letter then bowed and turn to another gentleman on horseback. The Postmen road off on horseback.

I wonder who would sent me a letter in this late hour?


**( Footman- Wealthy businessmen and members of the gentry were able to afford a “footman”, who would travel to the post office twice per week. This footman would bring outgoing mail to the post office and ask if anything had arrived for his employer. It is interesting to note that these footmen often acted as postmen for the wider community; bringing mail back to those who lived within “the sphere of influence” of their employers.)

**( Postman & panniers - The Royal Mail, which was Ireland’s postal provider at the time, entered the county twice per week. Postmen in the 1700s often traveled by horseback; carrying mail bags in panniers (basket containers) that were slung across the horse’s shoulders and saddle. During those times, postmen were often called “Post Boys”, despite the fact that they were fully-grown men. Because of the fact that they rode by horseback, Post Boys had to be careful, as the weight of their mail bags were not allowed to exceed that of which the horse could physically manage.)
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