[identity profile] halfaustere.livejournal.com
April 12, 1962.

Robert's primary fear was that it wouldn't be perfect.

This as a fear, he thought as Colin's driver steered the old Mercedes limo toward the Fitzwilliam estate, was both surprisingly grounded and utterly ridiculous. Of course it wouldn't be perfect – nothing was perfect. Nothing except perhaps for Alice. His intent. He wanted everything for her to be perfect – that was why he was careful, too, to dress in a way that was impeccable without being overly formal. Careful to get a car that would make her smile. Careful to be sure, with Isabella's help, that the restaurant was perfect.

They did, in fact, rent the entire thing out. No one else would be there except for waiters and Robert and his hopeful lady love. The way it wouldn't be perfect, though, that would be if it didn't quite work. Alice had been reticent to accept.

And she might not like her gift.

"What're you so worried about?" the driver – Robert confessed, in secret, to Dawn that he'd forgotten the man's name and she'd laughed and hadn't told him – asked as he stopped the car, got out to help Robert with his door. "I mean, she loves you, right? She must love you for all this, sir."

Robert shook his head a little. "I'm not sure."

And he took off his hat – a different hat, a proper dress hat that was the same navy blue as the rest of his suit – and held it to his chest, and walked up to the door.

Pulling the bell wasn't nearly as terrifying this time as it had been before. )
[identity profile] halfaustere.livejournal.com
April 1, 1962

Outside the door of the Fitzwilliam Estate in Corsham, Robert Ellingsworth Capio (M.D.) was standing and staring at the pull of the bell. Staring, and thinking. Taking an assessment of what was going on.

Mentally talking to himself.

Inside, Charlie Fitzwilliam was chasing his younger sister Alice around the foyer. Robert didn't know that, but he did know he kept hearing screaming. It wasn't quite passing through the layer of thought currently taking up most of the space, though – if he'd realized they were Alice's screams, maybe he would have actually gotten the nerve to go indoors more quickly, in the very high off-chance she was in danger in her own home.

Danger would put off what he was about to do more. It wasn't like he wanted to put it off, either, not really – he wanted to make sure it was all right. He wanted to fix things. He wanted – he wanted Alice to be his, truth be told, and he needed to do this to make it right. )
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
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: (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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