after-the-letter

So during Summer and Autumn 1795 Napoleon is constantly writing to Joseph letter after letter asking his brother to help him to overcome Désirèe’s family resistance to their marriage. Joseph does nothing (or virtually nothing). Then Napoleon meets Josephine and you know the rest.

In Egypt, when he believes she’s cheating on him and writes to Joseph, he asks his brother to search a country house for staying there after his return and to help him with the divorce (it must be said, however, that he also wrote letters in which asked him to treat Josephine kindly). Joseph does nothing (or virtually nothing). Then Napoleon returns and there’s a reconciliation.

In case anyone didn’t know…

The Reunion ll Venny & War

War smiled as he approached the tree, seeing his sister. He hand’t seen her in far too long and it had begun to bother him much more than he would have liked. 

Rushing up to her he wrapped his arms around her and spun her happily. “Hello little one. How have you been? Did Death decide he didn’t want to face my wrath?”

You know? I think that years later there was (or almost) another big storm in the sky of CHB.

After Piper and Jason received the letter from Leo ’Hey, I’m alive’ Jason, inadvertently, formed an electrical storm in the sky. Suddenly the weather had changed and everyone had noticed. 

At first all the campers thought it was Zeus and his mood swings but was Percy the one who realized that, though Jason seemed calm and stoic when he read the letter of Valdez, it was him who had formed that great scandal in the sky and the thing was getting really ugly with clouds threatening the area, so Percy didn’t hesitate to shout: ’Hey Jason, wake up!’

And Jason came out of his trance at the same time that a big thunder fell somewhere not far from the camp, making a great noise and scaring the vast majority of the demigods.

They knew that Jason was strong but had never taken dimension of his powers until they saw it, even though it was something he didn’t intend.

And Jason just apologizes before retiring to be alone because he really did not want to cause a disaster in the sky and even less to scare anyone.

And it was that moment where all noticed what were able the powers of the Roman son of Zeus.

Because Jason looked an imposing presence, but with a friendly and nonthreatening personality, but of course appearances can be deceiving.

Brick!club 11/23/13 Les Miserables 4.5.5 Cosette After the Letter

Aw Cosette you make even giddy romantic interludes seem pretty awesome. Also pretty funny, with the whole “EW THAT OFFICER” stuff. Pffft, poor Theodule. I STILL DON’T HATE HIM, HUGO, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME I mean you can but “ existing, walking"  is not an especially loathable act. Unless you’re in Cosette’s mood, which is cracking me up. HOW DARE OTHER MEN EXIST AND IN THAT GENERAL VICINITY SHE IS TRYING TO HAVE A  ~MOOD~.

I am less awesomed by the apparent fact of Cosette’s education never ever mentioning love, ever. Like, okay, nuns, they’re not gonna dwell on romance, but…there are other kinds of love? Which, I thought that was actually kinda important to Christianity? I WAS NOT RAISED WITH THAT FAITH AND ALL but really, isn’t that…kind of a Point, there? The whole Love each other as I have Loved You thing? Is this something being lost in translation, where the French has different words for spiritual and romantic love and it would be clear there that the nuns taught her the first one? I don’t know but IT SEEMS ODD. Also, super-sad and not promising for Cosette’s general education. An education should have SOMETHING about human love, it has been part of the motivation for A LOT OF HUMAN EVENTS. Did they,like, learn nothing but math and physics and handwriting in the convent?

Also, darn it, your kid being happy shouldn’t even hypothetically terrify you. That’s just sad,  I am getting seriously depressed about Valjean’s obvious trauma over here.

Make him feel needed and important every time you talk. That is something I forgot to do. Make sure you appreciate his art when he shows it to you. It takes a lot out of him to open up to you about those things. Never, ever, let him see you smile when he’s angry. He’ll only think that you’re laughing at him. Even when you think he’s adorable when he gets angry, just don’t smile. But if there’s one thing I should ask of you, make sure he’s taken care of.
—  to the girl after me.

Bruce writes Clark letters after his death. They’re not a coping mechanism or anything. He’s just really pissed.

“Dear Superman,

YOU JUST HAD TO GO AND DIE YOU FUCKING PREPPY PIECE OF SHIT. YOU COULD’VE STOPPED THE ENCHANTRESS IN THREE SECONDS, BUT NO. YOU HAD TO GRAB A KRYPTONITE SPEAR AND STAB DOOMSDAY IN THE HEART. THE KRYPTONIAN EQUIVALENT OF TAKING A PIN OUT OF A GRENADE, EATING IT RAW AND GIVING SOMEONE A FUCKING BEAR HUG. THEY LET OUT HARLEY!!! AND DEADSHOT!!! TO FIGHT THE ENCHANTRESS!!! HARLEY!!! DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TOOK TO GET HER *INTO* BELLE REVE IN THE FIRST PLACE? AND DEADSHOT? DO YOU KNOW HOW DANGEROUS THESE SHITPRICKS ARE?? CHATO SANTANA BURNED A KITTY OUT OF A TREE YOU KRYPTONIAN FART RECEPTACLE. I’VE BEEN WORKING WITH ZATANNA FOUR NIGHTS A WEEK TO GET YOUR ALIEN ASS BACK ALIVE SO YOU CAN BE THE FIRST PERSON I KILL.

- Love Bruce shit fuck no i meant From Batman Alfred don’t write that last part”

Ulfarr had written the letter. Several times. He knew he should approach Berrod not so formally but at the same time he didn’t want to just barge into the mansion when he wasn’t welcome. He also didn’t want somebody else to do this for him. Ulfarr screwed up. He had no clue on the specifics, but he intended to fix it. On his own. Though he’d ended up going into the manse to deliver it and passed it onto Cailean. Hopefully it got to it’s destination.


Berrod,

I’m very sorry for how disrespectful I am towards you and the company. It’s not something I had ever intended to be. My emotions always got the better of me. I apologize. I will over and over again. I’d even get on my knees and beg forgiveness. Even though it really means nothing at all. Except for how I lack in pride. Apologies rarely mean anything is more what I mean. It is an attempted band aid on a wound that is not so easily fixed. In my opinion at least. That’s why I want to be better. I have for a long time. I’m finally on the road proper. Cured from that “sickness”. I can do right as best I can now. 

Mikha and Zailin say I should come back and convince you to hire me again. I don’t know if I should. Agents isn’t my family. It isn’t my home. It’s a workplace I realize that now and I’m far from adequate. I misunderstand things, I’m not smart at all, I’m too noisy, too immature and rough. I don’t know when to shut up. Don’t know how to say things right. Probably going on far too much in this letter already.

I only ask that you consider taking me back on behalf of Zailin, Mikha and Gentle. For Charakha too. I need to help him especially. It’s only for them I do better. They’re my family. I wish to spend time with them as much as I can. Do what I can for them whenever possible. Though it’s up to you if this reason is good enough to take me back. I know I have no proof to show that I am worth anything let alone your time. 

Ulfarr

@berrodtherapscallion

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Goodreads rating: 4.11/5 stars 

Personal rating: 4/5 stars


Synopsis:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


Personal review:
I never thought i would give this book 4 stars, but yet here we are…

Honestly, for a good 100 pages i really hated the main character. She sounded childish and basically created all of her problems on her own.
But then somthing changed. I couldn’t help smiling at silly things the characters did and i rushed to know what happened in the end, which left me with a major book hangover.

As i said, the main character needed to grow on me. Lara Jean is 16 years old, but at some moments i thought she was closer to 6. I did like the bond she had with her older sister Margo and all the fights with her younger sister Kitty.

The story gets more intense towards the end and i couldn’t help but wonder how everything would get wrapped up in the end, something i didn’t expectwhen starting this book.

I did really enjoy the writing style. It’s fast paced, very descriptive and nice dialogue. Han wrote a cute, heart-warming novel.


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Stab me with your inconsistencies of love, just so I can feel something…

What’s the difference between silence & a war song? Why does your heartbeat sound different at 3 am?

It longs for things in the dreams that hide behind my closed eyes.. You are an idea, always beautiful in theory but far beyond my grasp.

I cut the heads off every letter that looked like you, and was still left with an alphabet full enough to spell I love you. We’ve been dancing with Autumn on the precipice of laughter, the clouds almost forgot what its like to collect leaves. I threw all my dimes into the ocean and asked about you, but the ripples have yet to make it home

I threw rocks at the thunderstorms you caused in my heart, tsunami tides washed me away from the shores we once stood on together.. I sent you letter after letter, praying my words made it to your heart only to find my mailbox empty,.. Day after day, after day. So love, please do not pretend that you missed me. I have long awaited your response only to be surrounded by silence. Love, please don’t convince the wind to try to comfort me in your place,.. Even if it whispers “I love you,” it’s not, nor will it ever be… your voice.

When darkness leaves, your name will hold no merit. The boiling of blood to humanize spirits that have been reciting hymns sweeter than the downfall of that initial break. I’ve sowed happiness to cut the veil beneath your tongue, but I’ve been caught in the mud hanging off my ribs, and you can’t squeeze traction across tears.

- We lived up to every cliche that meant love..

Collaboration between @allwordsunspok3n (normal font) and @teacup12 (Italics)

It Must Be Fate

Masterlist

Pairing: Isaac x Reader

Summary: You spend a night out with Lydia and meet a handsome stranger. The next day you get hired at your dream company, to only find out the guy you had a fling with is the CEO.


Rejection letter after another, and another. Finding a job in the city was beginning to feel like a never ending uphill battle. You decided to quit the law firm you were currently working at, due to feeling like everything you could learn, you had. Naturally your parents argued against that move, but it was done.

You weren’t going to lie this was a big step, one that your parents begged multiple times for you to reconsider and to think about creating a secure, stable future for yourself. However this was you doing exactly that, you didn’t want a future where the constant mood was unhappiness, you wanted one that provided excitement, and at times was unpredictable in the best way.

The kitchen bench was covered with resumes, application forms, information on companies, just about anything that would assist you in getting that dream job. Scrolling through Google one name caught your eye, “Lahey Law Firm”. This was the most well established law firm in the city, it was right at the top of the chain, working here would be the ultimate dream.

Deciding to take the chance, you grabbed the phone and dialed the number. Three beeps went before a lady’s voice was heard.

“Lahey Law Firm, Lauren speaking. How may I assist you?”.

“Ah yes, I was looking through the website and noticed that the firm was looking for lawyers-”.

Lauren cut you off, “All applicants must send their resume in via email. If successful you will get a phone call for a face to face interview”.

Feeling a bit intimidated just by a voice, you bit the inside of your lip. “Thank you”, was all that you managed to say before the line went dead.

“It was nice talking to you too”, mumbling under your breath, to no-one in particular. Clicking the email address that was down below, you quickly wrote a small message before providing a link to your resume. The mouse hovered over the send button, the fear of another rejection was creeping it’s way in.

The jingle of keys opening the lock, you swirled the chair around, Lydia’s strawberry blonde hair was the first thing you saw. You had given her a spare key to the apartment just in case of emergencies, she used the key little for emergencies and more for just casual visits.

“Maybe you should just move in here, considering you’re here all the time” you told Lydia, who took the seat beside you.

“I don’t think Stiles would be too happy if I did that.” she smiled at you, which you of course returned. “So what’s this I hear about you quitting?”.

Breathing out a exasperated sigh, this was your mother’s doing. “Let me guess, my dear old mother told you in hopes that you will convince me to go back, and be miserable at a job that has already taught me everything I could possible learn.”

Lydia stood up, and poured herself a glass of water. “Actually I came by to have a girls night out, so we can celebrate”.

Rising a eyebrow at her, “Celebrate what?”.

She pointed to the laptop, grinning wide. “Lahey Law Firm is the best one in the city, and we both know you will definitely get the job. They would be idiots to not hire you.”

“As much as I love your optimism, I haven’t even sent my resume”. Her grin turned into a smirk, with just one click from Lydia you saw the following words appear on the screen.

Your message has been sent

Eyes went wide and you quickly jumped from the chair, “Lydia!” you shouted at the girl who was now heading towards your bedroom.

“You’ll thank me later”, she called out from the bedroom. Coming back within minutes, holding up a little black dress. “Get dressed, we’re going to go have some well deserved fun”.

Throwing the dress in your direction, you caught it before doing as you were told. There was no point arguing with Lydia, she always got her way in the end.

Getting into the cab, the driver was instructed by Lydia to take the both of you to the new hotspot bar/restaurant that had just recently opened up. Taking only 20 minutes to get there, you followed Lydia’s lead.

Walking in, the place was stunning. It was fancy, decorated well from head to toe. People were laughing, having a good time with a bunch of work colleagues or friends. The atmosphere was relaxed and inviting.

“Come on, there’s a table just up ahead”, Lydia removed her coat before sitting down, you did the same and scanned what the menu had to offer.

“I’m going to go order a drink, do you want anything?”, putting the menu down and getting up.

“No, I’m good. Water is fine for me”.

Walking to the bar, you waved the bartender over who saw but paid no effort to move. Doing the same thing again, still nothing. “Are you serious? What does a girl got to do to get a drink”, sighing in annoyance.

A man that was sitting on the stool, waved his hand and the guy immediately came. Mouth open, this was outrageous and quite unfair. “This lovely lady would like a drink”, he spoke turning to you. Breath got caught in your throat, and he certainly did make it hard for you to look away.

The guy behind the bar cleared his throat, “Are you going to order or not?” he asked, with a clear indication that you were taking too long.

“I’ll have a glass of white wine, please”. The bartender, which his name tag identified him as Caleb, finally handed you, your drink.

“You’re a wine type of girl”, the guy whose name was still a mystery spoke for the second time.

“And you’re a whiskey type of guy”. He titled his head, “Oh I’m sorry I thought we were just pointing out the obvious, if you’ll excuse me I have a friend that I need to get back too”.

Shooting one last glance his way, you made your way back to the table. When you got there Lydia had just put down her phone, lifting her head she had a apologetic expression. “Don’t tell me you have to go? We barely even started our girls night”, you told her disappointed.

“I know, I know. Stiles needs me back at home, some emergency apparently. We’ll reschedule you have my word”. Blowing a kiss goodbye in your direction, you watched as Lydia made her way through the crowd and out the front door.

Looking at the time it was still way too early, and apart of you didn’t feel like going home, at least not yet. Taking a sip of wine, the bar where you were before seemed even more tempting now. Marching back, you quickly grabbed the last vacant seat and put your glass down.

“I thought you had a friend to get back too?”.

Swirling around, the guy that you were chatting to early was still here. “Not that it’s any of your business, but she had to leave unexpectedly”.

He half-smiled, and emptied the last of his drink into his mouth. Waving Caleb over, “Another whiskey my good man, and the lady will have another glass of white”. He didn’t even give you a chance to protest, because another glass was sitting right in front of you.

Sliding it back on over to the fine gentlemen. “I don’t want another drink, maybe next time ask”.

He faintly chuckled, amused at your reaction for reasons beyond you. “Any other women would have said thank you”.

Scoffing at his response, “Hate to break it to you, but I’m not like those other women”.

Finishing your drink, you grabbed the sliver purse that matched your outfit and stood up from the stool.

“I’ve noticed, do you even know who I am?” he curiously asked, stopping you from leaving.

Leaning against the bar, you took a good look. He had brown hair, deep brown eyes and a charm about him that screamed he had money, along with power. Not only was he wearing a very expensive watch, but his suit was squeaky clean, which implied he was some sort of businessman.

“Am I suppose to know who you are?”.

He stood from his seat, and that’s when you realized that he was tall. Placing money on the bar, he leaned down towards you. “No, just wondering. Want to get out of here?”.

“Is this the part where the cute guy at the bar takes the lonely girl up to a hotel, they flirt a little, have more drinks, sleep together and then don’t call each other the next day?”.

Straightening up, he inched closer to your ear, “Unless you got a problem with that, I don’t see what the big deal is”.

Heart was beating quite fast. Usually when these things happened, you would gladly turn away and not look back. However this handsome stranger was one that apparently your body didn’t want to walk away from.

“Let’s go, before I change my mind”. You said, the guy took your hand and exited out the place. Of course he was one of those, who had their own private driver waiting for them. The driver kindly opened the door, and you shot him a small smile. The car ride was silent, but not awkward or uncomfortable.

Pulling up to what you only imagined was a 5 star hotel, the two of you walked into the massive foyer and into the elevator. “I just realized I don’t even know your name?”, you spoke.

“It’s Isaac”. He said without even looking at you.

“Y/N, don’t I get a last name Isaac?”. No answer was giving, other then Isaac pressing his lips to yours.

“Did anyone ever tell you that you ask too many questions Y/N?”, he said in between a pause.

“No, I think your the first”, cheekily adding. The elevator stopped at level 4, walking out it wasn’t far until Isaac opened room number 7 with the key card he got from his pocket.

The room was nice, it was what you expected a lavish hotel like this to have. “Do you want a drink?” Isaac asked, opening up the small fridge.

Taking off your coat, dropping the purse and stepping out of your shoes, this was only going to be a one night stand. There was no need for anything other than that.

Grabbing his shirt collar and colliding lips, he was taken back by your bold move, but quickly recovered and his hands found your waist. Legs hitting the base of the bed, you fell on it with Isaac on top.

“So I’m guessing we’re skipping the chit-chat”, he stated, removing his shirt as he did so.

Not bothering to reply, Issac revealed what was hiding underneath that white shirt and it didn’t disappoint. Running your hand up his chest, his mouth started to leave kisses on your neck. Hands were roaming each other bodies, and not even knowing how or when, it was your turn to be shirtless. Isaac had discarded your dress, leaving you in nothing but your black lace undergarments.

“So you really don’t know who I am?” he asked once again

Pulling him away slightly, you gave him a puzzled look. “That’s the second time you asked me that question, why is me knowing who you are so important to you?”.

“It’s not”, was all that he said before working his way down. Breath got quicker, when you felt your panties being removed, and his head wasted no time going in between your legs. His tongue was bringing you all sorts of pleasure, you pulled on his hair, gasping out a moan.

When he finished using his tongue, two of his fingers continued the job. Sliding in and out, and curling up hitting the right spots causing your walls to tighten, begging for release. Issac sensed that you were close and stopped.

“Well that was just rude”, you exclaimed.

He laughed, removing his own boxers. You got the first glimpse at his throbbing member, who was standing up tall and proud. “I’ll make it up to you, love”, he smirked. Using protection, that he got from the bedside drawer, he wrapped up his member before positioning himself at your center.

“Just so you know, I’m going to be the best one night stand you’ve ever had”, he seemed highly confident about that, his tone radiated cockiness.

“Not if you keep talking, your not going to be”.

Without no warning, he slammed into you, the wave of pleasure building up again but this time for the both of you. Pumping vigorously in and out, you gripped his shoulders and arched your back.

You were close, and by the look of Isaac who had pure bliss written across his face, he was close too. He hit your sweet spot over and over again, and the both of you cried out in sheer pleasure due to your own individual release. Heavy panting, the smell of sex in the air, the high was slowly coming down.

Isaac rolled over and laid next to you. Seeing no point in staying, you got up and slipped your dress back on. “Leaving already?”, he spoke.

Putting on the last shoe, you turned to the half naked man. “They call them one night stands for a reason”, you replied.

Isaac rested his weight on his arms, watching as you took your coat. “If I don’t get your last name, how about a phone number?”.

Smiling at his attempt, you went over and pecked his lips. “How about if it’s meant to be, we’ll run into each other again”.

“I don’t believe in fate”, he told you. Which you responded with, “Neither do I Issac”.

Making your way out of the hotel room, into the elevator and pass the foyer. You stood at the curb, when Isaac’s driver came up to you. “I have been informed to take you home”. Opening the door, you looked up and saw a faint shadow at a window and part of you assumed it was Isaac. Thanking the driver you got in.

Arriving home, the minute you stepped foot in the door the ringing of the phone went off. It was nearing close to 6 in the morning, who one earth would call this early?.

“Hello”, you answered going around the counter to pull yourself some coffee.

“This is Lauren from Lahey Law Firm, congratulations you are one of the few lucky ones who have secured a face to face interview. Your appointment is at 9:30, please don’t be late”.

Hanging up the phone, you started to freak out. Mentally checking things off in your head, the first thing you needed was a shower, followed by looking presentable for the interview. The shower took longer than anticipated, after drying and styling your hair which you opted for a wavy loose curl look. You then moved onto clothes, throwing each item onto the bed, nothing seemed right for a work interview. Eventually you settled on a pencil skirt and a classic white short sleeve top, accompanied by a black jacket.

The clock read 7:30, hurrying to collect your bag, you grabbed a quick nut bar, locked the front door and hailed a cab. Rushing through the glass doors of the building, you just made it in the elevator and made your way up to Lahey Law Firm.

Stepping out, several people were around here no doubt for the same interview. Walking up to the reception desk, the women behind it was roughly the same age as you and didn’t even bother to look up.

“Hi, I’m here for a job interview” you polite said.

“Have a seat in the waiting room”, she said pointing to the chairs behind you.

Doing as she instructed, you took a seat and scanned the other individuals. One was beyond nervous, he kept fidgeting with his clothes. Another looked relaxed, while the rest were in their own little world, waiting to be called.

“Y/N, Y/L/N”, a women stood in the middle holding a clipboard. You got up and followed her to a big office door. “Step on in”.

Bracing yourself, this was your moment. Pushing open the doors, a man’s back was turned to you. He was wearing a black suit, that fitted him right down to the smallest detail. Something about him felt familiar though, as you were standing in the room trying to think of whether or not you had seen him before.

He turned around and your whole world froze, throat went dry and body was numb.

“I guess fate is real after all”, he said, smirking towards you.

Shifting uncomfortably, out of all the people in this city somehow you managed to sleep with the CEO of Lahey Law Firm…..what had you gotten yourself into.

i really hope i can make some friends at college this year.

@randomabiling​ - this drabble is for you, and I think you’ve opened a Pandora’s box of angst drabbles. So beware. 

In my future Downton headcanon, Mary is the one that Cora confides in about her illness, Sybbie finding out soon afterward after the discovery of a letter. This drabble is a piece from near the beginning of Mary’s involvement.


She wished she’d driven. Sitting here next to Mama, the silence only broken by the pittering of the icy rain on the windshield, Mary wished for not the first time today that she had driven and not the chauffeur. The car wasn’t their own when he was in it; words that she wanted desperately to say aloud could not be said with him driving them from the hospital, the car dipping over frosted holes in the pavement.

The movement had them swaying against one another in the back seat. Mama’s coat, the color of tea clouded over with cream, brushed against Mary’s. It was a simple touch, a familiar one which neither moved away from, their shoulders acknowledging the bond that neither, yet somehow both, took for granted. The bond that wouldn’t be named aloud. But it made Mary wish she’d driven. Perhaps if she had driven, perhaps if they were truly alone, one of them would say something aloud. There was so much to be said now. So much to be said that it felt impossible to say anything at all.

At best a year. Likelier to be less. Especially now that it’s … spread.

With a deep breath, Mary pushed out the echo of Dr Harris from her chest, and focused instead on the feeling of Mama beside her, the smell of her jasmine perfume, the quiet way she sat, her hands palm up upon her lap. Outside she looked so calm; Mary knew it about her mother, the quiet way she took things in, her voice only rising above a soft purr a handful of times in all of Mary’s life. But her hands, Mama’s lily-white hands, were bare. Her gloves had been forgotten, the weight of news she may have already suspected lying there in the softness of her palms. Her seeming carelessness really nothing more than what Mary knew to be distraction, and fear.   

The sight of her hands drew up a knot inside of Mary’s throat, a knot she forced down with a dreadful twist of her mouth, her neck craning her face away from her mother, toward the icy rain, watching it streak unhappily along the glass of the car she wish she’d driven.

“It’s almost three now. Your father will wonder where we’ve been.”

Mary nodded, but did not turn back to Mama. 

“Yes,” she managed, and she unclipped and clipped the snap of her clutch. “He will wonder.”

Mama did not answer straight away, the tinkling of ice growing heavier as the car gained speed, bringing them closer and closer home again. Mary looked down into her lap, and raising her brows, she shook her head.

“And I suppose you will tell him.”

“Not yet.” 

The words stuck, her mama’s adamance digging itself into Mary’s stomach. And then the tremble afterward, the quiet way her mother continued on, tied Mary’s knot tighter. 

“ … I must think of how.”

And again, dumbly, Mary nodded; and she glanced upward at the driver. Ahead, the wipers threw the rain across and away from the windshield. Beside her, Mama sat quietly, the chauffeur even more so. She watched the road and the trees and the gray light move around them, and then, before she knew it, the sights grew more familiar. Downton was in the near-distance, and time was slipping away from her already much too quickly.

“If you’d like me to be there,” she said lowly between them, her words carried on a deep breath. “When you tell … Papa.” She couldn’t bring her eyes to her mother, not as she said these things to her. Not as the doctor’s prognosis began to beat its way through her, coursing through her veins.

Mama shifted softly in return, dipping her chin. Mary saw Mama curl her fingers around themselves as if she’d just realized her hands were cold.

“Thank you, Mary,” she whispered. “For coming with me. You didn’t have to, and I’m grateful.” When Mary sensed her mother’s gaze fall on her, she forced herself to peer up at her, forced herself to look at her, and at last her eyes obeyed.

Mama, with her fur-trimmed hat, her dangling pearls, her pink cheeks from the winter cold. Mama, with the fine lines around her eyes and mouth, the three or four small places silver had begun to weave its way into her dark hair. Mama, with her fearless mouth, her unwavering chin, but her pale, watering eyes. Oh, Mama. When Mary finally looked at her, she saw her as if she were new. And for the first time since Mary was so very small, she believed her mama was the most beautiful woman in all the world.

But she shook the sentiment away. She tucked it away, until later. And she looked away from her, trying to forget what she looked like for just a moment. 

“No need to thank me,” she said as flatly as she could bear. It was raining harder now against the window. “I told you I would, Mama. So there’s no need.”