babyjosephine: (Son)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
April 19, 1984, less than a month before Fabian was born.

Past her birthday by a week. The weather was fair. Cool. A hint of rain on the horizon. But there was always a hint of rain on the horizon in the north, and living here for so long, even with two dozen holidays behind her, she had grown used to it. Not tolerant. Just used to it. She hated being north, in fact. Up until the past eight months, she had hated everything about everything.

Alice’s parents had died the previous August, one right after the other. It wasn’t surprising that her father went; his health suddenly failed and never seemed to right itself. And his wife, well, she was so in need of his presence that to be without him was an impossibility. Everyone knew that. Everyone who met them knew that. You didn’t have to hear anyone gush. It just felt that way. That they belonged together.

So it was no surprise that they left the world together.

The surprise was that Alice was bringing a new person into it. )
randolf: (Default)
[personal profile] randolf
19 August, 1983

The manor had never been so silent. Not since the family left for South Africa some two-hundred years earlier. It stood empty, then, collecting dust and mildew for eighty years. A stone castle, a sign of wealth instead of family. Then the oldest boy came back and knocked the whole thing over, built it back up again. Then some hundred more years passed, full of noise.

And now even the birds seemed to be hiding. On a hot August day, there were once children running through the fountain and charging wildly through the gardens and pastures and forests. But on this hot August day, the manor was cold and austere and empty. The help had been dismissed but they didn’t go home. They were waiting quietly in the lower levels, leaning on the tables, hutches, counters. Every so often, someone would shift and let out a breath of stale air in the stifling kitchen. Someone would cross their chest and someone would quietly pray.

Sam, Margaret’s son—and poor Margaret, who had passed just years earlier—shook his head. He was getting on in years, too, and his white hair was tangled with sweat, but he wouldn’t go home today. He’d been with this family for his entire life. And now, he knew, the end was coming, creeping silently in through the front doors, between cracked windowpanes and under the wainscoting, slowly choking the life out of the house. Its time had come again. It would collect dust and mildew once more.

'You phoned Charlie...' )
babyjosephine: (Default)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
6 April, 2002, about two days after Robert crossed.

I should be used to disappointment.

There was one small problem. Alice wanted to die.

Wanting to die wasn’t the problem. It was that she couldn’t. Physically, she could try. But what would happen if she did? She had an eighteen-year-old, promiscuous son to chase—and if she crossed over, if she did what Robert did, where would she fit? Robert had crossed over to get away from her, from earth. She would be a burden.

She could go to her parents. Her mother wouldn’t like it. Her father might be upset. Fabian would be happy he didn’t have to listen to her nag, at least. As a mother, that was all she became good for—ignoring. Even Robert ignored her when she told him not to go—don’t go. Don’t leave us here.

I should be used to disappointment. She picked up the pieces of a coffee mug, one that had hit the kitchen floor and shattered into shards and dust at her bare feet. Her fingers were shaking too violently to pick them up, but she tried, and cut herself in the process. She could barely get the tap to work. The rivulet of blood broke free and dripped down her hand, splattering quietly at the bottom of the sink. Alice wiped her eyes with her left wrist and turned the water on so violently that it hit the sink’s surface and sprayed her.

And every minute of this was killing her. )
babyjosephine: (Default)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
After this. Winter 1961.

Coming home without her nylons wouldn’t have been noticeable if her hair hadn’t been down and a bow tie hadn’t been in her hand. It also wouldn’t have been noticeable had Alice not been grinning like a sugar-charged child as she skipped out of the car and let herself inside the house.

Her mother was awake, of course, and sitting next to her sleeping father. Isabella’s hand was playing with Randolf’s hair as she read a book under the light of a dim lamp, her legs crossed, one foot gently shaking. For a moment, Alice thought about sneaking straight up to her room, but by now, Isabella would know that Alice was inside, and it was the driver’s job to follow her and prove it.

“Mrs. Fitzwilliam,” he said, knocking on the door frame. Isabella glanced up as Randolf started in his sleep, snorting loudly as Alice giggled and stepped from under the driver’s arm.

“Hi, Mummy!” she chirped, skipping into the room to plant a kiss on her mother’s cheek.

“Thank you, Martin, that will be all. Tell Vivien I said hello!”

The aforementioned Martin nodded his cap. )
babyjosephine: (Default)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
Late 1961

It wasn't that she hadn't been invited. It was that she hadn't been planning to go until Mallory and Vi begged her. And the both Mallory and Vi had to work and couldn't make it in time and neither were interested in fashionably late entrances. They wanted to stare at Robert for the full duration. They also wanted Alice to stare at Robert for the full duration because it had been almost three years since they first encountered him and in those three years, Alice had heard of nothing but him. He was almost a mythological creature, really. A name instead of an actual person. She had almost stopped believing he existed.

Her mother hired a driver to take her up to Manchester. Randolf was due at another function with the company and her parents couldn't attend. This would be the first time Alice was going anywhere completely alone without any connections at all, except her name and her family. But her name and her family was somehow relevant to every party. She didn't feel overwhelmed, just nervous. She wasn't interested in being the center of attention.

Dressed in a dark green cocktail dress, with dark green, almost black gloves to match, she looked like the center of attention, in any case. Their family's driver gave her dark red hair a kiss as he helped her out.

"What time do you want me back?" he asked. "I told your mum I'd have you home by midnight."

"Then, um, I don't think I'll be staying long. Two hours, tops."

Their driver nodded and gave her a little salute. "Enjoy yourself, Miss Alice."

"I will!" she called, her heels clicking on the pavement as she entered the elegant hotel and sought out the ballroom.
babyjosephine: (Default)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
August of 1961

Another sticky hot day in a summer heatwave that was growing tiresome as it failed to lift by the end of August. It most likely couldn’t lift at all, owing to the fact that there was just so much of it—so much heat and humidity and so little proper air that the three girls by the lake were too hot to actually jump in the water. They were lounging in bikinis on a floating pier, yellow sun umbrellas offering no shade at all.

“We should go inside,” murmured a blonde one, her elbow over her eyes.

“Shh,” hissed the second, whose hair was brunette. “I’m dreaming.”

“About what?” asked the third, a redhead.

The brunette giggled.

“Tell us!” murmured the blonde.

“Tenner says it’s about your doctor,” muttered the redhead.

The blonde sighed. “Robert.

“Who else would I dream about?”

“All you two do is talk about him.”

“Al, if you’d stayed in training and gone to work with us, you’d know what we were talking about!”

Alice, whose skin was turning a shade of pink that would soon be as red as her hair... )
babyjosephine: (Teenaged)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
Summer of 1960.

“Well, what am I to do?” Alice asked, swinging her feet beneath her so that her heels bounced off the cabinets below. The kitchen counter was no place for sitting, but Margaret was out for the afternoon. “And I don’t understand her fix with me absolutely not being in the wedding.”

“She hasn’t got a fix, Alice,” Scott muttered around an apple. It was caught between his teeth as he used both hands to search for a knife.

“She’s not letting me, though. It’s not as though you have a dozen sisters. There’s no rule for how many bridesmaids you have. Mum and Dad had loads of people in their wedding!”

“She wants to keep it small, Alice. Plenty of groom-sisters don’t make it into weddings.”

“That isn’t fair for any of us.” Alice looked out the window at the bright day and let her heel bang more resolutely against the wood cabinet. “I’m afraid I can’t like Winifred anymore.”

Scott looked up, knife in hand, though he hardly looked dangerous with an apple in his mouth. “What?”

'She’s a domineering psychopath.' )
littlejazzbaby: (Default)
[personal profile] littlejazzbaby
Most likely spring-ish 1928. When Isabella was at the Pearl Theater in Chicago.

It was late, too late. The final show of the evening was long over and the joint had turned into its usual late-night speakeasy, turning the clientele from a mixture of young men and pretty women in their Sunday best, to older men in expensive suits with guns under their jackets and false respect that threatened to crack.

The band was no longer playing. The band was no longer here—or maybe they were downstairs with a few stragglers. The lights were even more dim and the smell of smoke had lifted. The heavy, velvet curtains shielded the stage from the rest of the hall, and on the beaten, wood floor sat three female dancers with clips in their hair, the only sign that this place ever saw the likes of vaudeville and that the massive French Baroque theatre itself wasn’t a façade.

All three ladies were playing poker with a deck of worn-out playing cards. )
yourclaire: (updo)
[personal profile] yourclaire
14 February, 1983

The worse part, for Jack, had been asking for help. He'd planned ahead on what to say to Ruth and Charlie, but he approached Charlie first with it, as Charlie intimidated him less. Charlie had agreed, and Jack found himself sneaking around late on a weeknight with a couple that had no intention of selling him drugs, for once in his life.

It succeeded.

Jack didn't know what was really appropriate for a Valentine's Day with a girl like Claire, and he'd certainly never celebrated one before, with anyone else. So he hoped he'd done enough. There was a card he'd made in his car and hidden there for a week, enough flowers to (hopefully) make her happy, and if he'd fucked up somehow, there was always dinner.

Anyway, Claire wasn’t exactly in the best mood. )
yourclaire: (adage)
[personal profile] yourclaire
4 December, 1982

Jack eyed his hair in the mirror. Was this the first or second date? Did it matter? Girls like Claire liked to count things, didn't they? Hopefully fish and chips would be all right.

He parked in front of her house and craned his neck up to look at the windows. Was she watching from one? Waiting for him? Something about Claire was enchanting, and he almost didn't feel stupid standing outside.

Almost. He knocked, and waited.

Claire had, indeed, been waiting. But not by her window. Of course she had been watching from behind the lacy curtains until a pair of headlights slowed, but once their light was cut, she hopped away from the window and ran down the stairs.

And waited for the knock. )
yourclaire: (ruffled)
[personal profile] yourclaire
3 December, 1982

Well, he came, at least. A bit later than I expected, but he had a bit of trouble finding the house. He said he bribed a taxi driver and I told him I would pay him back, but he wouldn’t tell me the amount, said it wasn’t necessary. I have a feeling it probably was.

Taxis were irrelevant, anyway. Jack picked me up in his absolutely atrocious car and we went out for ice cream. I picked ice cream because it is guaranteed to be wholesome, especially in December when we would likely be the only ones in the shoppe.

Well, we weren’t exactly alone, but it was intimate enough for all eyes to most likely be on us, just out of boredom. )
yourclaire: (ballet)
[personal profile] yourclaire
Because I can/want to.

27 November, 1982


It was securing a spot in the company that led them to the Ritz for dinner. Claire and her family, all of them dressed in white. It was late November, the air outside was cold, but the air inside the expensive hotel and even more expensive restaurant was warm. They had already ordered, were now waiting for the food that would hopefully come soon.

Patrick was fidgeting with his suit and Louise was staring longingly out the window after a boyfriend who was probably with another girl. Every few minutes she would make a sad, pathetic mewling sound and kick her chair with the heel of her shoe.

How silly, Claire thought, to be so obsessed with someone. )
yourclaire: (adage)
[personal profile] yourclaire
Autumn of 1980.

“Have you ever kissed anyone?”

Claire looked at Avery. Her legs were resting on the small shelf behind her bed, one foot wiggling in time to an invisible song as she put down the book she had been reading to address her best friend’s question with rapt attention and a thorough answer.

“Just my family,” she said, rolling onto her stomach. Her hips ground into the book’s spine and she winced. After a careful extraction, she settled more comfortably in front of Avery and let her ankles lock together.

“That doesn’t count,” Avery said. “I mean like, y’know, a kiss kiss. Because at my school everyone’s always snogging in the halls.”

Claire made a face. )
babyjosephine: (Poor little rich girl)
[personal profile] babyjosephine
12 April, 1947. Alice Fitzwilliam's seventh birthday.

Charlie would be home from school very soon. Home from school for the weekend because it was Alice’s seventh birthday and Mummy made him come home.

Alice was bouncing about the house in her tap shoes, clicking noisily through every hall and every door. Her friends were going to arrive in an hour, and Isabella was putting off dressing her daughter for the occasion until she had calmed down, or at least was presented with birthday-related obstacles, such as cake and presents. Any premature stain would cause unneeded stress.

As she clamored down the stairs into the servants’ hall, their housekeeper, Margaret, peered out of the kitchen. “What on earth are you doing, Miss Alice?” she asked, always soft but strict, as she had raised several boys of her own, most of whom worked on the property.

“Nothing! May I see my cake?” she asked, trying to sneak past Margaret into the kitchen, but Margaret gently took her shoulders and turned her away.

“Why don’t you go put on a show for the boys whilst you wait, hm?”

“Mummy says I can’t wear my shoes out of doors anymore—” Someone called her name and Alice squeaked. “I bet that’s Charlie come home!” She raced down the hall, sliding on the floors and giving Margaret several heart attacks (“Child’s going to split her skull.”) until she was upstairs again.

Upstairs, but hardly safe. )

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