Chapter 30

A/N: Thanks for voting everyone! It was horrendously close but in the end the result (51.85%) was that Estelle should be pregnant!

Given that I got feedback from a number of hopeless romantics I’ve changed the original plan slightly, hoping to appease them, so it won’t be apparent straight away.

Screenshot-138Charles Landgraab had a rather odd case of insomnia, occurring only every seven days or so.

The best physicians in the country were mystified by its manifestation. In the end, he had decided that it was simply easier to make his peace with his condition.

Screenshot-41Undoubtedly, his insomnia came in handy at times when his restless craving for knowledge got the better of him. On any other night, he would have been sitting quietly, nose already buried halfway through a novel…

However, on this particular evening he was able to get very little reading done.

Screenshot-63Only a few hours had passed since midnight when a disgruntled manservant knocked on the door, announcing the arrival of a guest.

“Well?” Charles had asked. “Who is it?”

Screenshot-3“I’m afraid I don’t know, my Lord. It is a young lady, golden hair, thin, wearing very plain clothing.”

The footman sniffed in distaste at that. The man had always been comically rigid and snobbish, surpassing his employers in both respects.

“Should I send her away?”

Screenshot-59“No.”

Charles set his book aside. Only one woman in his limited social circle could possibly fit that description.

“Bring her in.”

Screenshot-2The servants eyes widened a fraction, but to his credit, he replaced his surprise with an abiding smile so quickly that Charles almost doubted its existence.

“Yes, my Lord.”

Screenshot-12The footman quickly returned with Estelle at his heels. Charles’ eyes widened as he caught sight of her dishevelled appearance. Her face was a ghostly white, her hair a tangled mess and there were vivid dark circles below her eyes.

She looked ready to collapse at any moment.

Screenshot-15“I—I’m so sorry to intrude on you at this untimely hour.

After writing so many times, I became familiar with this address and I

Screenshot-18“Do not worry about that now.”

Charles motioned for her to sit in the armchair by the warm fireplace. The servant re-entered the room and offered some tea, which was gratefully accepted.

“Take your time with that, why don’t you?”

Screenshot-39Estelle could barely keep the cup steady as she raised it to her lips. She apologised again and took a few shuddering breaths.

“I apologise if I seem rather shaken, but I received some rather shocking news earlier this week. You see… my has father died.”

Screenshot-27Charles blinked.

“I… see. I’m sorry there is nothing I can do to ease your pain, other than offer you my sincere and deepest condolences, Miss Murphy.”

Screenshot-89“I thank you, truly… but that is not the sole reason for my sorry state.”

Estelle’s voice grew tight, as if forcing herself to speak.

“II don’t know how else to say this, so I’m just going to speak plainly.”

Screenshot-33And she proceeded to enlighten Charles as to all the shocking developments that had transpired so recently. She began with her mother’s obscure origins, her childhood in domestic service and then later concluding with Mr.  Cressingham’s rather queer revelation.

Screenshot-22“How odd, that your father did not inform you of your legitimacy…

But then, they do say that blood is thicker than water, do they not? Maybe that is why we battle our own with more energy and gusto than we would ever expend on strangers.”

Screenshot-44He turned his attention to the other man in the room who was hiding his shock rather less discretely.

“Leave us.” He commanded quietly. “I would talk to my guest alone.”

“As you wish, my Lord.”

Screenshot-45Estelle had difficultly keeping her features unruffled as she watched the man leave. She knew a servant’s penchant for spreading gossip faster than wildfire. No doubt that particular lot of information would be the talk of all the pub common rooms by tomorrow morning, known to ten noble Houses by midday, all of them by nightfall.

Screenshot-121“You have been through quite an ordeal tonight, but at least you’re safe.” Charles said. “You will stay here, for the night, at the very least.”

Estelle’s mouth dropped  in utter mortification. “No! I should never have come here in the first place! I couldn’t possibly—!”

Screenshot-57Charles considered her thoughtfully.

“May I be frank with you, Miss Murphy? I think it would be in your best interest to stay here at least until this news is more widespread within the ton.”

Screenshot-85“As it stands, the only ones who know of your turn of fortunes now are you, myself and, I imagine, the rather aggrieved former heir to the Venture fortune.”

A silence fell upon them and stretched.

Screenshot-132Estelle felt dizzy when the startling implications of those words hit her.

“You think some kind of ill would befall me should I leave? He would not dare do something so drastic.”  Least of all to his own relative.

“I daresay your faith in mankind is greater than mine.”

Screenshot-120“What do you mean?” Estelle demanded with a frown. “Are you saying this… this Lord or other would resort to such underhanded tactics to win back a bit of property?”

Screenshot-136Charles’ meditative silence persisted.

Estelle shook her head.

“I-I refuse to believe it. A man of his stature wouldn’t risk doing something so illegal!”

Screenshot-60Charles sighed and leaned back in his chair.

“I have been acquainted with the man for many years, Miss Murphy. I do not mean to sound ungracious, but please believe me when I say I can assure you that the man takes full advantage of his position.”

Screenshot-110“But I don’t understand!”

Frustration was mounting under Estelle’s skin.

“I’ve done nothing to make an enemy out of him. Don’t you think it would be quite unreasonable of him?”

Screenshot-129But, as she really thought about it wondered if Charles might be right. This man had, no doubt, spent most of his life worming his way into his great-uncle’s good graces to secure himself as the man’s heir.

Then, after all those years, he had been cheated out of his inheritance by an unknown. The fact that she was a woman and a lowly governess would no doubt be the icing on the metaphorical cake.

Screenshot-139“I do not care to be impolite, Estelle,” Charles continued quietly, “But surely you must realise the realities of class, given your prior fortunes.

And as I’ve said, Irving Linwood is not a genteel man.”

screenshot-14_zpsaa45439bEstelle froze.

Irving… Linwood…?

Screenshot-93Was she still breathing? She couldn’t be sure. Her chest was slowly expanding up and down, but she felt so disjointed from her body that she wasn’t certain it was aptly performing its vital functions.

Her blood suddenly felt like it had been replaced with icy water, circulating through her system with an indescribable dread.

Screenshot-102Could the world really be so cruel?

Was that man truly her father’s closest male relative?

Screenshot-104Suddenly the air was too great a burden on Estelle’s shoulders. At any moment, she thought she might cry. She was no longer concerned with appearing strong and independent.

All she wanted to do was release the backing well that was mounting inside her chest.

Screenshot-66Estelle was more than capable of taking care of herself; she could trudge through mental adversaries, head held high for days before her shoulders drooped even in the slightest.

But her mind was so dispersed right then that she needed to be cared for.

Her veins ached and crooned for it.

Screenshot-83“Forgive me.”

Charles lowered his eyes abruptly.

“I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

Screenshot-53But Estelle was not frightened. She was not afraid.

There was not a single trace of fear in her body.

But she felt so cold.

Screenshot-81“I’m only saying this because…”

For a moment Charles looked rather hesitant, his lips folding in as if trying to fortify his next sentence.

“… I’m… concerned for you.”

Screenshot-87It was one of those rare moments when Charles’ wariness was completely visible. There was a knowing look in his eyes that told Estelle that he had witnessed his sort of unethical behaviour many times before. He knew better than anyone what incensed members of the ton were capable of.

It would not sensible to doubt him on this; he was clearly trying to help.

Screenshot-126“Please believe me when I say it is no imposition on us for you to stay here. In truth, I am not entirely convinced that you are in the best of health.”

The Landgraab heir flashed one of his disarming white smiles.

“So, you see, you really must stay, if only to ease my conscience!”

Screenshot-90With his fair, angelic coloration and pensive, amiable expressions Charles formed a rather sweet picture. Maybe it was wrong to feel this way after only knowing this man for mere months, but the tangled heaps of Estelle’s mind prayed for a saviour.

“I… I thank you for your kindness, Charles.”

Screenshot-23“It is really no trouble at all.” He assured kindly. “I’ll have a room prepared for you.”

Estelle nodded again in thanks.

Screenshot-50The fire was burning low and Estelle shifted closer to it for warmth. She was just beginning to realise how cold she actually was after the long journey to Charles’ manor. The walk from the port had been farther than she had expected.

But it was a relief to be here: warm and looked after.

Screenshot-101_zps9d850004Estelle made to reach for the teacup for again, but her head begin to spin. Her eyelids trembled and began to fail her.

She wavered as the world darkened.

Distantly, she thought she heard Charles’ voice, as though muffled through silk, calling out her name in frantic tones.

Screenshot-98_zps964e3ddbBarely conscious, her mind pricked at that, fighting to stay awake for a moment, helplessly reaching as she fell foward into something solid, but warm. Every fibre of her being yearned to collapse and sleep until all the pieces of her mind waded back into their respective slots.

Screenshot-97 It was simply too much to stay awake.

Charles’ voice faded into nothing.

He held onto her nevertheless.

A/N: An update! At last! Also, I just realised that this blog is over one year old – crazy!

Also, just some shameless advertising: if you want something else to read in between Suitor updates I’ve began working on my other Sims story which can be found if you CLICK HERE.

Thanks for reading, as usual!

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15 responses to “Chapter 30

  • LilyParker

    Sweet, adorable Charles makes a wonderful savior. I can’t believe Linwood, that horrid man, is related to Estelle’s father! What a flashback to have when you’re pregnant and seriously stressed out. No wonder Estelle lost it.

    How convenient that Estelle is staying at Vaughn’s best friend’s house! 😉

    What a close vote! Thanks for trying to appease everyone. In the end, my dear Becki, it is your story, and you may tell it as you please. I’ve enjoyed every word of it and leave it in your very capable hands. 😀

    • Becki

      Oh Lily, you have no idea how convenient 😉 And yes, I couldn’t well end Suitor without dear Charles making an appearance! He’s my catalyst.

      I know, I know, but I’ve been in a situation where I’ve loved a story and then, out of nowhere, the ending/direction completely pulls the carpet from under me and not in a good way (*cough* Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn *cough*)! It’s horrible!

  • Vinna

    Agreed with the above comment! ^
    That was a damn close vote, but I’m sure that you will make all of us happy. You’re such a good writer! 😀

  • vampireXheart

    I’m glad that you tried to appease both factions of your readers. I’m sure no matter what way it happened, you would have written it beautifully anyway.

    And the other commenters always take the words right out of my mouth when it comes to leaving feedback or comments :p

    Great chapter. I can definitely understand why she would be feeling so frazzled with everything going on. It really is getting exciting though. Can’t wait for the next chapter 🙂

    • Becki

      I’m glad it’s all nice and understandable; for a moment I was worried Estelle was becoming the Queen of fainting…!

      As for the ending… I’ll do my best! I’m still considering it.

  • hellohannah2

    I’ve been sitting here for I-don’t-know-how-many hours reading this, chapter after chapter, curled up with a hot water bottle and I’ve finally caught up. I kind of wish I hadn’t. Now I’m going to have to actually wait for an update, and i don’t think my little heart can handle that… Your story is just.. omg. It’s one of those stories that makes every other writer insanely jealous, i mean, I was pleased my my OWN story before I read this and now…. ugh. Seriously, you do not have half the amount of viewers that you should. I linked this to my log so more people can see this because it’s just so damn addictive. SO EXCITED for 31 xoxoxoxooxo

    • Becki

      Wow, thanks so much for your feedback – I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve it all, but I’m so glad you’re enjoying Suitor so far! Hehe, I also know the pain of waiting for updates… I’ll try to be vigilante! I’m starting 31 right now, although it’ll no doubt go through about 1 million revisions before I’m satisfied!

      Thanks so much for the link! I’m really, truly flattered by your words! (And I hope I eventually managed to revise your opinion of Vaughn? He’s my favourite).

  • marsar2

    No need for you to appease anyone, your story is great whichever ending you have prepared for it :D.

    Charles is such a dear, I love him!

    So, I have several theories going on in my mind, but for once I’ll hold my peace ;).

    Oh, by the way, the last pic but one was simply gorgeous <3.

    • Becki

      Me? Prepared? Ha! I’m so indecisive, it’ll probably change before the day is out!

      Eeeeeeek – that’s ominous! I wonder as to your (usually spot-on) theories! Hopefully the next chapter will not disappoint.

  • Tiff

    I hate the look on the Butler’s face. It just screams that he will tell the very next person he sees. Estelle looks so bad but I can’t blame her 😦 At least she has someone to turn to during this horrible time in her life. I can’t believe Irving is related to her, and knowing he tried to have his way with her is 100000000000x’s worse. I can’t wait until Vaughn shows up and they can get their little happily ever after lol.

  • parabee27

    Omg, so this is the first time I’ve ever commented, and I LOVE ALL of your sites! I’ve ready every chapter of The Suitor, The Theroux Legacy, and The Curse of The Red Thread! For now, I’m basically commenting from most of the chapters… Ish?

    Mkay, so first of all in the previous chapters, Vaughn you really needa’ reconsider marrying Miss Venture… *Sighs* you shoulda’ dug deeper and found out who she really was. P.S. : I just can’t wait until she’s like… Really showing typa’ pregnant!

    Now, for commenting on this chapter, I’m glad Charles caught her. I hope in the next chapter, you’ll do something like one of those parties n’ all and she shows up as Lady Venture. Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait, but I’m super excited to see how Vaughn reacts to everything in the future! *squeals* Can’t wait!!!

    • Becki

      Wow, so I’ve earned your first comment? I’m so happy! Also, I’m glad you like my other Sims story/legacy. Although it may not seem like it, I am trying to update them all somewhat regularly!

      I have so much planned, and I don’t really want to give anything away… so I’ll just end by saying thanks so much for reading – your comment made me smile! It’s really, really nice to know how people feel about my story!

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