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Author Topic: Ambrose Valley Kingdom - Chapter 6 up 7/26  (Read 4773 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2007, 11:20:52 am »

It's been awhile. I've had awful writer's block these past few months, but I'm back with my newest installment. As always, I hope you enjoy reading and I would love to hear your comments!

The Greyson Family

Lucy Greyson pulled her hair back tightly and greeted the still darkness of the very early morning with a smile. It had been exactly one year since her husband David had died, and she was finally able to put aside her mourning habit. Her smile faltered as she reflected on the past eleven years of her life. But those distressing thoughts were brushed aside with the shrill cry of a hungry toddler.

“Hello my darling little boy,” she murmured into her son’s hair as she lifted him from his cradle. The little boy sighed in contentment as he rested his chubby fingers against his mother’s chest, fascinated with the gentle, rhythmic pulsing of her heart.

The serene picture was broken with the loud clamoring of two little girls rushing into the room. “Mama! Hannah pulled my hair!” Elizabeth cried, her lower lip jutting out into a childish pout. Her eyes welled with sticky tears.

“No I did not!” Hannah exclaimed, trying to look innocent, but the knowing smirk plastered on her face said otherwise. Lucy raised her eyebrow at the young girl, who sighed and rolled her eyes. “Okay, maybe I did. Sorry Lizzy,” she relented momentarily.

“Are your chores finished?” Lucy asked abruptly and sternly, inwardly grinning at her girls’ downcast eyes, knowing that they hadn’t even been awake long enough to begin the chores.

"Well, no,” the girls muttered in unison and stalked from the room to start the chores they had hoped to abandon that morning.

Lucy sighed and turned a tired smile to her little boy, welling with hope and pride for his future. But the buds of her wishful thinking were trampled as the sound of the heavy wooden knocker pounding against the door reverberated through the house. Lucy put the toddler back in his crib and walked downstairs to await the caller. She certainly wasn't rich, but she still had the luxury of a fully staffed house – a luxury that wouldn't last very long if the bakery's sales continued to drop.

The elderly woman walked into the room, her head held high, but her steps unsteady and timid. Lucy turned to greet her caller. “Mrs. Greyson!” she exclaimed, her eyes brightening with genuine joy at the woman's presence.

Claire Greyson's aged brown eyes crinkled at the corners as her lips unraveled into a smile. “My dear, Lucy. I came as soon as I could, but it's just so hard to get these old bones moving. But I'm here now, and I'll help with the children while you run the bakery. It must be so hard for you now that our David is gone, but don't worry dear, I'm here now.”

Lucy allowed her lips to curl, allowed herself to smile, but shadows filled her eyes at the mention of David's name. Things were difficult now that he was gone, but they had been unbearable when he was alive. She turned away from her mother-in-law and called over her shoulder as she left the room, “It's getting late. I have to open the bakery. Please look after the children.”

Lucy walked into the bakery and was greeted by her rather harried looking cook. “Ma'am, I just finished the customary twelve loaves, but I've run out of supplies for the cookies! And if the customers don't get their cookies, they'll be so very angry at me.” The plump, middle-aged woman wrung her wrists in her nervous fury. Her cobalt eyes were wide with anxiety and her mousy hair gray hair was in a mild state of disarray.

Lucy smiled patiently and took the woman's shaking hands between her own. “Don't fret, Winnie. I'll open the store now and begin setting up. I'll see to any customers while you purchase the supplies. If anyone wants cookies, they'll just have to wait.” Winnie grinned, relieved and assured. She took the banknotes that Lucy offered and hurried to the store.

“Wait for those marvelous cookies?” a gruff voice questioned from a shadowed corner as the door shut behind the apprehensive cook.

Lucy felt the blood drain from her face as she turned to view the source of the voice. She inhaled deeply, trying to settle her quaking nerves and said in a perfectly even, unwavering tone, “Sir, I would ask you to please remove yourself from the shadows. If you're here for money, I regret to inform you that we have very little, but if you're determined to take it, please do it quickly before my cook returns and suffers an attack on her nerves. She's the only thing keeping my business afloat, and I really can't afford to lose her because of a scoundrel like yourself.”

In the dimness of the early morning light, Lucy could hardly make out the shadowy form steadily making its way toward her. Lucy's pulse leaped at the base of her throat and her breath quickened in a panicked fury.

“I am merely here to taste your famous cookies,” the stranger said, his voice a low, haunting rasp tinged with the smile he wore.

Lucy narrowed her eyes suspiciously and questioned, “How did you get in here? And why were you hiding in the corner?”

“Simple questions with simple answers,” he stated as he stepped into the light. His black hair was unfashionably long, cascading in gentle waves over his ears. And his eyes – the bluest of sapphires – were piercing as he pinned Lucy under an intense gaze that she couldn't tear her eyes away from. Her heart continued to beat erratically, but she couldn't be sure that it was mere danger she felt. “But, before I answer them, let me first introduce myself. Lord Lucien Masters at your service. Now, as to your first question – I merely walked inside through the unlocked door. You really should be more careful about locking it. Any blackguard could waltz right in here and take all of your valuables. And to the second question – I fear the answer is much more shameful. I fear I've found myself in a financial bind and was hoping to charm your cook into letting me have a free taste of your cookies.”

“Well, sir, as you can see, there are no cookies, nor will there be for quite some time, so unless you plan on purchasing some bread, I must ask you to leave,” Lucy said and began to turn from the man.

Lucien glided forward, and standing dangerously close, he put his arm out and stopped Lucy's retreat. “But my dear Mrs. Grayson. That is your name, isn't it? I fear you're forgetting one thing. I am your social better, and because of this, you may not ask me to leave.”

Lucy's eyes widened and she gasped, “How did you know my name?”

Lucien chuckled and replied, “It's not exactly secretive information. You own a bakery. I was searching for one. The Hertwick's pointed me in your direction.”

Lucy blushed. “Of course,” she replied. “How silly of me.” She glanced up and her eyes met Lucien's. The intensity was still there, but hidden deep in those fathomless orbs was a weariness that Lucy wouldn't have guessed about him. He was not the cocky aristocrat she had pegged him for.

Lucien broke into an assured smile, as if he had sensed Lucy's insight. “I suppose if I won't be tasting any cookies, I should depart. Thank you, Mrs. Grayson. It has been a pleasure.” Lucy thought his voice was tinted with mockery, but before she could form a response, Lucien had disappeared through the front door. A tiny smile sprang unwillingly to her lips. He had been one interesting character. It was a shame their paths would probably never meet again.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2007, 09:39:59 am by ashaw814 » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2007, 11:29:41 pm »

The Greyson Family

“Well, Lucien. Is she the woman I hired you to find?” Andrew Debbington asked, his thin lips curling into a sneer.

Lucien nodded, maintaining a stony facade, refusing to let the rigid mask slip. “Yes. Lucy Greyson. She has Rutherford's facial features, and she hasn't changed much since childhood.” He gazed down at the small portraiture he held between his fingers. It depicted a girl of around seven or eight with distant, forlorn eyes. He would never forget those eyes.

“I suppose I'll no longer be needing your services, then,” Debbington replied, a grin slithering into place. “You'll receive your compensation after I marry the chit.”

Lucien felt the blood drain from his face, and his eyes widened only a fraction, before he nonchalantly inquired, “You intend to marry her? Isn't she illegitimate?”

Debbington raised an eyebrow, “Not that it's any of your business, but yes. I intend to escort her to the king's ball. She'll fall for my charm, and we'll be married within the month. My coffers are depleted and I need a new source of income. Rutherford's brat, no matter her legitimacy or gender, is receiving all of his wealth, as stipulated by his will. So we will marry, and you, of course, wouldn't tell a soul about this little conversation, or you will find yourself without the much-needed 10,000 pounds I'm paying you.”

Lucien nodded his acquiescence and removed himself from the room. He took a hackney to his two-story townhouse and walked through the front door, muttering to himself, “I'd never planned to get married.”

“To whom may I send my congratulations?” Lucien's butler, Curruthers, questioned with the glimmer of a smile hiding beneath his stoic features.

Lucien looked in shock to his butler, but his expression quickly changed to one of delight. “Curruthers, would you care to meet me in the study?” he asked.

Curruthers inclined his head in affirmation. “Of course, my lord. And I'll send Roger in to bring you some brandy.”

“Make that two, my friend. You'll need some, as well, before we're finished,” Lucien called over his shoulder with a grin.

Curruthers entered the study and took a seat beside Lucien. “So who is this woman who has stolen my masters' heart?” he asked.

Lucien shook his head and replied, “Not my heart. My honor. Her name is Mrs. Lucy Greyson. She's a widow who owns a bakery, and the illegitimate daughter and only child of Lord Horace Rutherford. She is to receive all of his estates and wealth.”

“Well, that's wonderful, my lord!” Curruthers interrupted. “I know how hard you've been working to replenish the funds, but marrying her will just speed up the process.”

Lucien laughed bitterly and replied, “You've not let me finish. I'm not marrying her for her money. But  that is what Lord Debbington intends to do. He learned about Mrs. Greyson from his dying father, whose last wish was that his dear friend Rutherford's daughter would be found and receive her inheritance. Debbington hired me to find her, and I did. But I didn't know he was going to marry her. I know him well. He belongs to my club. He's a cheat and cards and cruel with women. Mrs. Greyson is a decent woman. So I'm going to get to her first, and marry her before Debbington can.”

All happiness drained from the butler's face and he cleared his throat awkwardly. “Well, sir,” he began. “What are you waiting for? If Debbington is half as cruel as you say he is, he'll already have set his plan in motion. I suggest you begin wooing the woman immediately.”

An hour later, Lucien nonchalantly sauntered into the bakery, an aloof grin plastered on his face. “Are those cookies ready?” he asked Lucy who found it impossible to hide her surprise.

“I thought I scared you away earlier,” she said, trying to keep her voice even while she haughtily raised an eyebrow.

Lucien put a hand over his heart, feigning hurt, “My lady, do you think me such a coward that a few words could scare me away from a beautiful woman?”

Lucy felt the heat seeping into her cheeks as they flushed red, but she managed to maintain enough composure to ask, “My Lord. What is the meaning behind your flattery?”

Lucien's throaty chuckle reverberated through the room, causing Lucy's heart to beat erratically. “I have no hidden agenda. I was merely captivated and bespelled this morning. I was compelled to return ask to escort you to the king's ball.”

The blood drained from Lucy's face. She didn't know how to dance, and she would surely make a fool of herself in front of this dangerous and enchanting nobleman. “I – I – I don't have anyone to look after my children,” she stammered.

“Don't be silly, child,” Claire called from the bottom of the stairs, her hands on her hips. “I'll look after the little ones. It's about time you start enjoying yourself.”

“Then it's settled,” Lucien said winking. “I'll be here for you around eight.” And as quickly as he arrived he was gone, leaving Lucy to worry about how she would ever survive that night.

The following morning Lucien received a summons to the Debbington estate. He strolled into the lavish manor, completely at ease, and was sent to await Lord Debbington in the study.

“What do you think you're about?” Debbington growled as he stomped into the room ten minutes later.

“What are you referring to?” Lucien responded with a smirk.

“You know exactly what I'm referring to. Greyson and her money will be mine. I don't know what you were thinking asking her to the ball, but I will charm her away from you. And after we're married, I'll see to it that you're never heard from again!” Andrew shouted, his usually aesthetically pleasing features twisting and distorting into a monster-like countenance.

Lucien sighed petulantly, “So I suppose that means I won't be receiving my 10,000 pounds? I really rather needed that money. I guess that means I'll just have to marry Mrs. Greyson myself.”

Debbington turned red with anger. “Get. Out.” he managed to force between his gritted teeth. Lucien just laughed as he walked away. This was proving to be an interesting week.

I'm the one who likes Gardenia.
I'm the one who likes to make love on the floor

1st place: Cirque du Freak(tie) 2nd place: Movie Star, Next Fairy Queen

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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2007, 09:22:15 pm »


I love this story.  And this part is really intriguing.  I love this kind of thing.

One little thing though.
"Claire Greyson's aged blue eyes crinkled at the corners as her lips unraveled into a smile."
But in the picture above her eyes look brown.  Just something that caught my attention and made me pause for a second.

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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2007, 09:39:29 am »

Woops! I suppose I should fix that, shouldn't I? I'll get right on it. And I'm glad you're enjoying!

I'm the one who likes Gardenia.
I'm the one who likes to make love on the floor

1st place: Cirque du Freak(tie) 2nd place: Movie Star, Next Fairy Queen

RIP Daddy 1/16/08
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