Chapter 37

Screenshot-119Estelle didn’t give herself time to even think. She didn’t want to think. It bothered her to think and it bothered her that she didn’t want to think. She shoved all thoughts aside except one and continued walking. I have to leave.

Now.

Screenshot-112In the middle of her worry a door opened quietly. Estelle knew she hadn’t made any noise but as Charles entered the room his head turned toward her. She could see the curve of a cheek in the wan light and tousled hair. His eyes, attuned to the darkness, suggested he had been awake for some time.

“You should be sleeping, Miss Murphy.”

Screenshot-120The Count strode through the shadows toward her. Suddenly he stopped short; over here, Estelle realised, there was enough light to make out distinctive features.

He frowned briefly. “… are you alright?”

Screenshot-46Estelle let her eyes rise to Charles and nodded, speaking hoarsely. “I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine. You look sick.”

“It’s nothing. It’s just… It’s just a fever. That’s it. It’ll go away soon.”

Charles moved forward with outstretched fingers. “A fever? Are you sure you shouldn’t—“

Screenshot-80Estelle jerked her face away from Charles’ hand. Something rolled over in her stomach and she couldn’t help thinking: What would he think if he knew what I have done?

“Don’t touch me, please don’t— I’m fine. Really…”

Screenshot-113Charles regarded her silently. A part of Estelle wished Charles would ask again, just so she could finally say what was wrong, maybe even talk about it. Paradoxically she was relieved when he didn’t.

“I don’t often take the time to chastise others,” he began eventually, “But there are two things that I would like to say.”

Screenshot-62“The first is that you were half-dead when you came here and you have clearly not recovered as of yet. I know that I cannot force you to stay but you are clearly are unwell; surely you comprehend that it is as inappropriate as it is cruel to worry others by needlessly putting yourself in danger.”

Screenshot-111“I suspect that you’ve regained your memory of recent events,” The Count concluded and Estelle flushed, her shame ignited. “Why else the midnight flight? Do you remember what we discussed the night you arrived here?”

“Um, just bits and pieces,” She admitted, carefully.

“But you do remember.”

Screenshot-45“And Vaughn still doesn’t know.” Charles appeared deeply dismayed by the news; a thousand ‘whys’ resounded in the pitch of his voice.

“Do you really think that’s fair?”

Screenshot-16“I know, Estelle. About the child.”

It struck her like a physical blow. Estelle knew she should show some outward reaction, but she couldn’t. She just stood there, helpless, wishing she had something to chase away the dull fear that was rising in her throat.

Screenshot-46He knows. About me. About Vaughn. About… everything. One breath and then another turned into a frustrated sob and she couldn’t stop shaking, couldn’t stop thinking—

Charles waited, watching her carefully. “It’s not too late, you know. You can still talk to Vaughn about this…”

Screenshot-37No,” Estelle choked out, “I can’t— I just can’t

Because to speak to Vaughn would mean that she would have to get near Vaughn again, and that was dangerous – the previous night – no, their entire acquaintance – attested to that.

screenshot-124_zps61e53bc6He’d raise a rakish brow and mutter something appropriately devastating that would niggle in her head until she was left with the half-attempted thought on how it could still work between them. Vaughn lied and manipulated her. And now she was doing the same: lying so he wouldn’t do something disastrous.

Screenshot-67“Maybe that’s for the best,” Charles conceded sadly. “Strictly between you and I Earl Afonsine is a domineering man, and is forever threatening Vaughn with disinheritance if he does anything even remotely against his wishes.

It would take a lot for him to sever those familial ties.”

Screenshot-101“Estelle, I know this must be difficult to hear but you will have to make some important decisions and soon. Arrangements can be made; these situations are not complicated, simply tedious. In fact, within the ton they are far more commonplace than you think.

Of course, I cannot force you to stay here, but I believe it would be in your best interest to do so.”

Screenshot-84“I have not been idle these past weeks. I have been tallying a number of contacts – influential people who can be persuaded to see the injustice of your situation – and some who may be willing to support your entrance in society. I have two options, which, if you accept either, would be more than enough to ensure your safety…

… but I’m afraid you might not like what I have in mind.”

Screenshot-87The Count swallowed, gauging, before continuing:

“We’ll need the backing of a particularly influential family to support you. Only they can make arrangements for a birth in complete secrecy and find you employment thereafter.”

Screenshot-17“In these circumstances, Countess Afonsine would be your greatest ally.”

As it sank in with icy teeth, Estelle heard herself gasp: “What?

“The Afonsine’s hold considerable sway within the ton,” Charles explained. “I also caution you, many will not take action without strong inducement. The Countess is very family-orientated and will easily persuade the Earl to adopt his grandchild.”

Screenshot-2“Much like Vaughn, his mother can be very persuasive.”

Mother. The word touched something in Estelle so cold that it froze on the point of impact.

“Once it is agreed that the child will be given into her custody, I believe you will find the Afonsine’s most sympathetic to your cause. I know for a fact that they will be both generous and gracious.”

Screenshot-76“Then there’s the other option…” Charles’ approach the to next topic was considerably more reticent.

“It relates to the clause in Lord Venture’s will… the one that requires you to marry.”

Screenshot-38Estelle immediately spun round to face the Count, scandalised. “What are you saying, Charles? It’s ludicrous to even think— no respectable gentleman would ever agree to such a thing. No promise of wealth will convince a man to take on a-a—

And in any case, I will not degrade myself to deceive anyone in such a way!”

Screenshot-135“I disagree. You do yourself an injustice. You are not low-born by any means, Estelle – your father was a respectable gentleman from an established family. The Venture family is also a wealthy one, which is always looked on favourably. Fiscal considerations influence on marriages more than you would believe. I doubt there’s a man in the ton who would not benefit from such an arrangement.”

Screenshot-62Estelle could hardly speak, she couldn’t words with emotion choking through her. “Just… just what are you proposing?”

“A proposal.”

Screenshot-30“Think about it: through marriage you would have your rightful inheritance, a powerful name and the independence that comes with it. You could keep your child, if you so wished – a child which would one day inherit the Venture Estates. It would have a life of privilege.”

Screenshot-10A life of privilege. A life of privilege, not like me. Not alone and afraid, not growing up alone because it’ll have me

Estelle was suddenly keenly aware of how much Charles had done for her. With the shock of recent events, she had forgotten just how much he had gone out of his way to help her.  He was offering her a way out – a new life – even knowing her shame. She wanted choices, she needed them, and control over her life.

Now, if she wanted to, she could have them. And a life with him…

screenshot-14_zpsaa45439b—unbidden, his words reached her through the darkness, feral and frightening.

You are dirt.

You belong in the gutter.

You should feel honoured that I want to fuck you.

screenshot-384_zps080834e5Next, her own father’s words.

You are nobody.

Nothing. A motherless gypsy foundling. 

Screenshot-65What Charles was offering her—

“Estelle…” His eyes were immeasurably sad.

—it was far more than she deserved.

Screenshot-116“Estelle, you’re crying.

And she couldn’t stop it when everything came crashing down on her – frustrated tears blurred her vision and she couldn’t stop them. Everything felt so out of control; she felt hot, cold and nauseated all at the same time. as a helpless, pointless hurt was bruising up inside of her.

Screenshot-11“I don’t know what to do—”

Even as the words left her mouth, Estelle was horrified. She wished for nothing more than to stop the display of weakness, but her hands shook too much to cover her traitorous mouth. I’m worthless. 

“I don’t know w-what I should do, Charles.”

Screenshot-10I can’t go anywhere like this— not if I faint every second. I can’t stand this. What am I supposed to do?  She hated the fact that there was nothing –absolutely nothing – she could do.

And Vaughn will be here… everyday, he’ll be—

Screenshot-41I’m stuck here, Estelle thought bleakly,  And I’m not good enough, even if… I’m not good enough.

The hours stretched on, ticking away into silence.


A/N: The first update in foreverrrrr. Better late than never though, amirite?

If anyone is still out there, please let me know your thoughts. I need inspiration, so please give any suggestions.
Thanks for reading! x
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20 responses to “Chapter 37

  • LilyParker

    I’m ALWAYS excited to see an update from you even though it’s been a while. I just want to shake some sense into Estelle. She HAS to tell Vaughn about the baby! If she marries Charles, she’ll never forgive herself because Vaughn will be crushed and his decades-old friendship with Charles will suffer, too. Charles seems all too willing to offer only two options — one that’s unthinkable (Vaughn’s mother) and himself as Estelle’s knight in shining armor. I know Charles has a good heart and wants to protect Estelle, but he’s always had a thing for her, too. Just how altruistic is he really being?

    Anyway, I love how Charles looks with his hair messed up. Makes him all the more adorable.

    As for plot suggestions, the mere hint that Charles might propose to Estelle might be enough for Vaughn to get Estelle alone and make her start talking. It’s too out of left field not to get Vaughn wondering why that suddenly seems like a viable option to either Charles or Estelle. She’s been Vaughn’s girl all along, even though it’s been a rough road between them. And Charles is supposed to be his best friend. That’s against the guy code. Surely they had that even back then. 😉

    • Becki

      I always love to see your comments, Lily – they’re guaranteed to make me smile! Looks like you’re thoroughly Team Vaughn 😂 But Charles isn’t as altruistic as he seems to be.

      Loving your suggestions, but writing the big reveal is going to be so hard! It has to be handled very delicately. I need to be perfect!

  • Violincat

    I have missed this story too much! Thanks for bringing it back!
    I really don’t know what to think about Charles’s proposal. On the one hand, he has been really kind to Estelle. But on the other hand, he has feelings for her, and that might be making him biased in terms of what to do in this situation. Then again, he knows she has intense feelings for Vaughn- he should realize it wouldn’t be right to put any of the three of them into this situation.
    Excited to see what choice Estelle will make.

    • Becki

      Happy you’re still around to enjoy 🙂 And no worries – it’s not going anywhere until it’s finished. Especially when we’re so close to the end! I hope you’ll enjoy the next chapter ~ I’m just trying to decide how to finish it off. Shouldn’t be too much longer!

  • Kimberly

    I’m still here! I have been waiting for this story to continue for what feels like forever! I can’t help it, I just need Vaughn and Estelle together! Charles’ offer makes a lot of sense for her current situation and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she actually accepted his proposal but there’s NO WAY Vaughn would let their marriage go through. Like Lily Parker said; Estelle has always been Vaughn’s girl. No IF’s ANd’s or BUT’s. From the moment he saw her…

    • Becki

      It kinda HAS been forever – which is definitely my fault. But fear not! I have 3/4 of the next chapter done AND I’ve written the epilogue, so I have an idea of what’s going to happen. I hope the next chapter is worth the wait…

  • Laura

    Hello there! 🙂 So, I just started reading your story a few days ago and got to this chapter last night…just wanted to say that you are an incredible writer and story-teller! I love all of the photos of your sims to go with it – they’re always so expressive and set up so well to go with the story. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I’m one of your readers and am looking forward to your next chapter. 🙂

    • Becki

      Thanks Laura. I appreciate the positive feedback – I do try 🙂 Next chapter will be coming up soonish. Just polishing off the last section. Hope you enjoy it!

  • phyrcracker93

    Hello! I don’t know if I ever commented on your blog, but I’ve been reading your story for a while, and I really enjoy it. All of your sims are so pretty!

    Anyway! I nominated your blog for the Sunshine Blogger Award! I hope that’s okay!

    https://theleelegacy.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/sunshine-blogger-award-yay/

    • Becki

      Okay? It’s amazing! Thank you, this is much appreciated! I hope you continue to enjoy my stories 😀 I’ve had a couple of people mention they don’t comment but I recognise your names from somewhere! Don’t be shy, comment all you like if you wish!

  • cynanyx

    Hi! I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I really enjoy reading what you write! Just so you know, I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. You can find the post here:

    https://deliriumanddaisies.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/the-sunshine-blogger-award-for-real/

    You don’t have to answer any of my questions, and you can completely ignore my post if you want to. It’s perfectly fine with me. I just thought you should know!

    • Becki

      Hello! Thanks so much! I really appreciate that you’ve considered me for this 😁 It’s great to know these little stories of mine are enjoyed. Of course, I will be posting a response I just really need to catch up on my Sims stories so I can recommend some of my favourites.

      And please, feel free to comment in the future – I love hearing from you guys!

  • quackermole

    Just read this… SO GOOD! AGH! Vaughn is so damn good looking XD
    Charles is such a sweetie! He would be the perfect best friend, but Vaughn and Estelle all the way!

  • Kate

    I looked forward to finally commenting under the very last chapter of the story and I must say once I noticed it’s not the end of The Suitor I felt genuinely relieved – now I can anticipate every new part impatiently as your crazy follower ;P

    I really enjoy the affair of Estelle and Vaughn! The story is so captivating, it reads well, the characters are not deprived of their inner lives which makes them realistic. Vaughn is so interesting and alluring with all his darkness… and his heart still full of love and concern for the one(s) he loves. And I hope Estelle will find strength and bravery to fight for her dreams and desires!

    I simply cannnot picture the main protagonists letting go of their affair. Even if they perceived their last night together as a ‘goodbye’, after confessing their true feelings for each other there’s no other way but to fight for their love! They tried to go separate ways too many times and I’m sure their night of passion and truth must have changed a lot. Of course since it’s Victorian England things can’t be easy and they will spend plenty of time thinking but in the end I feel that Vaughn should visit his fiancee and talk to her in private. I think he would be all melancholic and absent and he would simply ask her if she wants to marry him. He’d share some of his inglorious past with her. She’s still very young and a fine match for many better men but the choice is hers.
    Then if you opt for a happy ending the very shocked Marielle, having discovered what a man Vaughn truly is, would agree to break their engagement.
    The best thing would be if we could leave everybody unhurt but with Charles’s proposal, despite his knowledge of who’s father of Estelle’s child, the guys’ friendship simply cannot have a bright future ahead.
    Maybe after his breakup with Miss Harrington Vaughn would go outside to feel some sunshine on his face when he overhears the gossips that Lord Landgraab is courting the mysterious Lady Venture, the same woman his father wanted him to marry. He decides to congratulate his friend but when he reaches the estate he finds Charles with Estelle (let’s say at the lunch table). Then there’s time for super drama of course ;P
    After that Estelle would tell him she hasn’t accepted yet because she’s so confused. That’s when Vaughn can finally tell her he’s not engaged anymore and they would come up with this wonderful idea to get married.

    But this is only how I see it and it would probably lead to the end of the story so if you want to excruciate us longer with more drama and doubts ignore me completely :’D
    Whatever your choice is it’s definitely the best possible since – to be perfectly honest – it’s of course your story and the longer we can live this great adventure with you, the happier we’ll be!

    • Becki

      Hi Kate! I’m so, SO happy you enjoy The Suitor XD You’re completely right, of course: Victorian era does complicate things! I’m always wary of writing everyone too ‘contemporary’ in their attitude. I love your suggestions by the way – I may have to incorporate one or two…!

      Thankfully, in my long hiatus I actually wrote the ‘epilogue’ to Suitor, so I DO know where everyone ends up at this point. It’s just the getting there in the meantime I’m struggling with, haha. I’m pretty much almost done with the next chapter ~ so sit tight. I really hope you enjoy it!

  • Mikayla

    I can’t wait until the next update!!

  • magpie14031983

    OMG!!!!!! I just read this all in the space of 8 hours (I had to take breaks for food and other necessities lol) and now it’s finished!!!!! Damn you, cruel Fate!

    I absolutely adore historical romance novels (or “bodice rippers” as I’ve heard them refered as. I started reading them when I was 11 (I ran out of Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High OK lol) so I consider myself a bit of a connosuer (did I spell that correctly? It looks wrong!?!). And all I can say is: WOW! This is such an amazing story and I hope to Hell (since you have a stallion called Lucifer in the story lol) that you’re going to be updating it sometime soon!

    I also just finished reading what there is of The Curse of the Red Thread (but I think I forgot to comment) so I can’t wait for updates for them all!!!

    • Becki

      Hi ~ I’m so glad you enjoyed Suitor XD I admire your staying power! It’s great to have a positive review from a true connoisseur, haha.

      FYI I definitely have not abandoned my little baby – I’m just sloooooow when it comes to updating. The next chapter has mostly been written for a while but I’m constantly re-editing it. I always find something I’m not happy about; with the story being so advanced I can’t stand to let the standard slip. I’m actually hoping to continue it this weekend.

      I know Curse of the Red Thread is different and I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

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