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The Beginning

By Kisses on the Steps

Adventure / Romance

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Her slumber concluded abruptly as Armand jerked and almost fell halfway out the carriage window. She stretched and groaned," What really is so interesting out there?" Sitting up she glanced out the window and sharply in took breath at the new sight entering her vision. A colossal mansion reflected off the pool in front with captivating and picturesque illusions of stars. A scene like that would take the breath out of any passerby. "Is that mine?"

Armand turned and beamed, "How does it feel sister, to be married to the richest man in England?"

"I don't know what to say," she answered, still refusing to part with her gaze on the ever approaching manor. The front drive was surrounded by well-trimmed bushes and flowers from what Marguerite could see through the darkness. All the lights in Blakeney Manor brilliantly illuminated every room in the house, showing off the grand display of chandeliers, fine curtains and plush furniture to show off to the new lady of the house.

"They must have gotten my message that I was coming," she whispered to her brother. A half a dozen men were already waiting outside to attend to the weary travelers. Marguerite tried to strain to see a familiar figure in vain as not one silhouette massively dominated over the others. The nervous, giddy feelings she felt on leaving her brother's house to finally join Percy at Blakeney Manor all came back terribly fast at his absence upon her arrival. The regrets of their fight and the things she said to him, her passionate lover, probably pained her almost as much as it did him. She was ready to fall into his arms and plead for forgiveness, and then he would show her how much he loved her through kind words of reconciliation and passionate kisses. She wanted someone to love her like Percy had during their courtship.

"Lady Blakeney?" Marguerite glanced down at the courtier reaching for her hand and took it, imagining it was Percy Blakeney, the most dashing, charming, and handsome gentleman she had ever met. She smiled, seeing his droopy eyes that would often blaze with passion, and stepped down from the carriage, watching the light shine onto his blessed face, outlining his carved jaw line and prominent cheekbones, wanting to kiss the roundness in his cheeks whenever he smiled. When the servant tugged his hand away, the illusion ended and she was left, dazed from the lack of Percy's presence that this house bore.

"Don't worry Marguerite," Armand assured, "Sir Percy has to be waiting inside. Do you think he would ever be caught participating in physical labor?"

"He hunts during the seasons," Marguerite defended. Percy may be somewhat lazy, but she didn't like Armand making fun of him, even though he was never offended by such comments. "He is surely mad at me Armand. His not coming to greet us is a sure sign of his grudge."

"Do not assume that of Percy. I know he loves you."

"He still has the right to be bitter."

"Let us go in and see. If he is indignant, humble yourself and he will forgive you. Sir Percy-"

"Lady Blakeney!" Both turned and beheld a middle aged woman in plain clothing. Marguerite would have thought her comely, in exception of the scowl on her face. "I am your personal maid, and have stayed up waiting for you to arrive."

"What about Sir Percy?"

The woman scoffed, "Your husband is gone, and will not be back for who knows how long." Marguerite was tempted to climb back into the carriage with Armand and travel back to Paris.

"Percy isn't here." She turned to Armand and whimpered.

"Marguerite, you're strong. Percy won't be gone long. Besides, you'll be with me. If he doesn't arrive in the next few days, we'll sit down and have a talk about how to treat my little maman," he whispered with a smile. "Go. We'll survive without him for a few more days. Like we did in Paris."

"I don't know what I would do without you my little Papa." She took his hand and climbed up the steps together. "I thought you were tired maid? Aren't you coming," Marguerite asked with a quizzical brow to the irritable woman, now eye level to her. The maid scowled even more and humphed as they waited for her. She sped to the house, leaving behind the siblings in the dust.

"If we are to survive in this land of luxury, we must hurry on," Armand laughed and helped quicken her pace with a rhythmic beat to their synchronized footfalls. They had been practicing this art since they were little orphans in the streets. Soon enough, they were a few feet behind her disgruntled maid.

"This," she sighed, "is Blakeney Manor," and opened the grand oak doors. Any praises Marguerite might have exclaimed to Armand were suppressed by the feeling of discomfort caused by her grumpy maid. "Tours will be held in the morning," she explained as she guided Marguerite away to her rooms and left Armand waiting for a butler to take him to his. "Your rooms. Four in all. Come inside and I will help you get undressed." Every word was said with impatience and vehemence, giving Marguerite an uncomfortable feeling that she was to dress and undress her every night.

"I am not in anything too hard to get out of tonight. Just go to bed."

"Very well mistress."

"Wait, you know my name, yet I not yours."

"Dorothea." The woman slightly bowed and molded into the dark shadows of that side of the house.

They were beautiful rooms, though empty of anything she really cared about, namely Percy, who could have filled that side of the empty bed that was covered in moonlight, if only he would come back.

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