Index > Ongoing Stories > Kendra's Darkest Day
Kendra's Darkest Day
[A collaboration between the players of Kendra and Daniel Fortune, Jamie and Clara MacTavish, Miriam Hampton, Travis de Morte and Thomas Sharrington. This scene takes place the day after the incidents described in "Lord Henry Grey Can't Hang." Contains some upsetting content and mild bad language.]
Kendra opens her eyes. She is wrapped in blankets, in a warm, comfortable bed. It is not where she went to sleep. She remembers that now, curling up at the base of the willow tree on the green, warmed by six brandies and a Scotch. But it is December. She is lucky to be here.
Opening her eyes, she is hit by a thudding headache, and nausea threatens to overwhelm her. She sits up and struggles out of bed. As she opens the bedroom door she meets Daniel coming down the hall. He looks her up and down.
"Christ, you look awful," he said sharply. "Although it is no surprise. It is lucky Travis and I were passing and saw you lying on the green, or you would have frozen to death overnight."
Kendra looks away. She cannot answer him right now. She has no defence. She cannot even explain why she drank so much.
"I am sorry," she says faintly.
"Kendra, I do not understand what happened. Were you with Mr MacTavish? Did he not make sure you got home safely?"
Kendra half-smiled. "Evidently not, Daniel. His sister took him home. The sharp one, not Clara. But I am a grown woman. I am not his responsibility."
She remembers being rude to Eliza. Her whole chance of making a good impression on Jamie's parents seems to has slipped by in seconds, and there will be no second chance. Then of course there was Lord Grey... She closes her eyes. She was an embarrassment. She will have to apologise. Oh - when did it start to matter to her what other people thought of her?
She prepares for the day as slowly as possible. She writes letters to Lord Grey and Eliza MacTavish, apologising for her inexcusable behaviour of the previous day, but imagines they will not be inclined to forgive and forget. She also owes Mrs Hatch a new tea set. She wonders if she will even be permitted to enter the parlour. At this moment, she truly believes brandy will never cross her lips again.
Mrs Hatch is surprisingly kind about the whole incident. It is possible she does not realise that Kendra was dancing on the tea table when it up-ended, but Kendra is not going to enlighten her. She takes the offer of a cup of tea, and sits on the sofa, relieved by the peace and quiet.
When Jamie walks in, her heart lifts for a minute. She is unsurprised to see he looks as grim as she feels, pale with dark circles under his eyes. He laughs lightly when he sees her.
"Christ, Kendra, ye look terrible!"
"Thank you, Jamie," she says. "You do not look so wonderful yourself."
"Ye ken I dinna mean it like that," he smiles, sitting next to her. She looks at him.
"Did Eliza tell your parents about us?"
Jamie grimaces. "Aye. I had quite the bollocking from all of them. She took me back to Clara's house so I had to face them."
Kendra covered her face with her hands. "Oh! I cannot believe that is their first impression of me!"
"Eliza doesna ken who ye are," he says reassuringly. "They may not make the connection."
"I wrote a letter to her to apologise for what I said!" Kendra exclaims. "Unless you can intercept that letter..."
"Oh," Jamie's face falls. "Well. No. In that case, she knows." He grimaces.
Kendra wants to cry. Even while trying to put things right, she has managed to make them worse.
Jamie stands up and clears his throat. "I should go home and speak with my family. I will see ye later?"
"Yes, of course," she murmurs. "Goodbye, Jamie."
She is not alone for long before Miriam enters the parlour. Miriam is dressed in pink. She looks pretty, fresh and wholesome, and everything Kendra is not. Kendra smiles at her friend, who looks alarmed at Kendra's appearance.
"Kendra, you do not look well. Have you caught a cold?"
"No," Kendra grimaces. "I am afraid Jamie and I drank too much brandy last night, and I am suffering for it today." She looks down at her hands in her lap. "I fell asleep on the green under the willow tree. Travis and Daniel found me and carried me home. They are so very cross with me."
"Oh dear!" Miriam gasps.
"His sister Eliza walked in on us in the parlour while I was sitting on Jamie's lap," Kendra continues. "Jamie jumped up and tipped me onto the floor!" Her voice comes out as a wail as she hides her face with her hands again.
Miriam can hardly believe it.
"You were sitting on Mr MacTavish's lap, in the parlour, with Mrs Hatch here?" she says faintly.
"She was asleep," Kendra murmurs. It does not sound like much of a defence when she puts it into words.
Miriam sits down. "You were drunk in public?" she says sternly. Kendra feels the threat of tears and looks away.
"Oh please, Miriam, do not be cross with me too. I cannot bear it!"
Miriam sighs. "Kendra," she says gently. "You know I like Mr MacTavish very much. But I cannot help but think... he should not be so unguarded with you in public. Should he not take more care of your reputation?"
Kendra looks up, surprised. The idea that she still has a reputation worth saving is foreign to her.
"Oh. Perhaps," she says. "But is that his responsibility? We are not engaged. There is no understanding between us."
Miriam chooses her words carefully. "Even if your relationship is closer to friends than to spouses, should a friend not care for their friend and look out for their well-being?"
Kendra cannot look at Miriam. She focuses on her hands. "He says he loves me," she says.
To Miriam, this is the very least a gentleman can do. "Do you love him?" she asks.
Kendra smiles faintly. "I told him I did, so I suppose I must."
"Then an engagement is sure to follow in time," Miriam says certainly. She looked at Kendra. "If that is what you want?"
Kendra's gaze remains fixed on her fingernails. She drums them on her knee. "I... do not have a good experience with marriage, Miriam. I am not sure. It is frightening to imagine tying myself to someone forever." She means, someone young, who will not conveniently die in a few years before the marriage has time to go sour, but she does not think Miriam will receive the sentiment well. She forces out a laugh and looks up with a faint smile. "But this is a moot point. He has not asked me."
Miriam is about to reply when Clara limps in, still clearly suffering the ill-effects of her carriage accident. Kendra falls silent. She cannot look Clara in the eye. She is sure she must know of what happened yesterday too. Miriam greets her warmly and offers her the most comfortable seat. Kendra makes her excuses and hurries out. She needs fresh air and time to think about what Miriam has said. She believes Jamie loves her, and she thinks she loves him too, but it is true that they do not bring out the best in each other. Their behaviour has been damaging not only to themselves, but also to their friends and family. Kendra knows she must still tell Miriam about Lord Grey. She is not sure how to phrase that either.
As she returns to the parlour, she can hear Miriam and Clara talking about her.
"It is no wonder she looks so unwell if she spent the night sleeping in the open."
She knows they are concerned. She feels like she has lost control. But, checking her reflection in the mirror, she sees the fresh air has brought some colour back to her cheeks and she looks less cadaverous. It is a start. She prepares a smile and walks back into the parlour.
Clara stands up as Kendra walks in. "Oh Kendra, ye do not look well. Can I get ye something to eat?"
Nausea threatens to overwhelm Kendra at the prospect. She shakes her head.
"Some ginger perhaps?" Clara says kindly. "I will check the kitchen."
She limps out before Kendra can protest. Kendra settles back onto the chaise longue and takes a deep breath.
"Miriam... Lord Grey was here yesterday, looking for you."
Miriam blushes. "Oh... he was?"
"I am afraid we rather disgraced ourselves." Kendra resumes staring at her hands. She feels now she must know every line.
"You and Mr MacTavish were here?" Miriam says stiffly.
"Yes," Kendra says. "We were already very drunk. I... I am afraid I was dancing an Irish jig on the table, and I fell off and almost landed on him." She does not mention that she pinned him in the corner by the window, until he felt obliged to vault over the sofa back to escape her attentions. There has already been enough embarrassment for one afternoon, and from the expression on Miriam's face when Kendra glances up, she realises this snippet is quite enough.
"I have written to him to apologise," she adds, aware this is woefully inadequate.
Clara walks back in then, carrying a tray of tea and some ginger biscuits. The undeserved kindness makes Kendra feel a bit wobbly. She does not know why she feels so emotional. It is out of character and she does not know what to do with it.
"Thank you, Clara," she says with a weak smile, taking a biscuit. She takes a wary bite, and swallows. The ginger is surprisingly comforting.
She is beginning to feel a little better when her day worsens, as Mr de Morte walks in with Mr Sharrington. Mr Sharrington's face clearly displays his absolute distaste for present company. She wonders why he came - perhaps just to check his correspondence. She must remember not to mention his sister this time.
Travis positions himself near to Clara, smiling at her. It is like she is the only person in the room. Clara smiles back. It lights up her face. They are so clearly in love. Kendra wonders what it is like to be like that, so certain and unjaded. She has to look away, and finds herself looking at Mr Sharrington, who is standing stiffly by the fireplace, clearly wishing for an excuse to leave.
"Mr Sharrington, how is your sister?" The words come out before she can stop them. She bites the inside of her mouth, hard enough to draw blood. Travis looks at her, and she can tell he is still annoyed with her. His face is now clouded with disappointment.
Mr Sharrington barely glances at Kendra. "She is well, thank you," he says, his tone dismissive. Once again, Kendra feels the need to provoke him. She does not know why she cares, but his blatant disregard makes her crave a reaction from him, be it negative or positive. She is not used to men ignoring her, although it happens more often these days.
"You look tired, Kendra," Travis said evenly. "Perhaps you should go home and get some rest?"
"Yes," Kendra said, rising to her feet. "Perhaps I should." She walks to the door, past Mr Sharrington, at which point she is seized by a crazy impulse. She turns to him, standing far too close.
"Perhaps you would like to join me, Mr Sharrington?"
Clara gasps in shock and anger.
"Kendra!" Travis barks sharply.
Mr Sharrington just looks at her coldly. "Absolutely not," he says.
Kendra smiles. "Oh well. Worth asking. Who can blame you for saying no."
She hurries outside, down the steps, and into the alley that runs along the side of Mrs Hatch's house. It is lined with hydrangeas which immediately make her think of Jamie, and a sob catches in her throat. She sinks down against the wall, wondering what to do. She has made such a mess of everything. Tears sting her eyes. She does not want to cry, but Miriam's kindly meant words have hit home. She feels cheap, and ridiculous.
As she gets up to leave, she sees Lord Grey, making his way to the parlour. She knows he has seen her, hiding in the shrubbery. He does not look surprised. He gives her a haughty look and continues into the parlour.
She walks for a long time around the village, ignoring the cold. She hears some commotion in the street but by the time she returns to the parlour it is all over. Clara and Travis are talking together, their heads close together, Clara's eyes red-rimmed as if she has been crying. Travis's expression is grave. He barely looks at Kendra as she walks in. There is a letter for her from Lord Grey. She takes it and reads it. The words are harsh but not unfair. She has learned far too much today about how other people see her. The prospect of - how did Lord Grey put it - /tainting her friends by association/ was too painful.
It was time she did something about it.
She screws up Grey's letter and writes a bitter response. Clara and Travis are still talking in low voices, him doing his best to sound reassuring. Kendra cannot work out what has happened while she has been walking. Was she gone so long?
She starts another letter to Miriam. She keeps it short and to the point, an apology for her behaviour. Then she takes another sheet of paper and writes to Jamie. She still loves him but they are not good for each other. It is better to end it now before things get worse. She signs it and puts it in the box to be sent before she can change her mind.
Clara notices Kendra blot her eyes as she turns away from the writing desk.
"Oh Kendra!" she says, surprised to see her friend cry. She offers her a slightly damp handkerchief. "Here. It isna clean but it only has a few tears on it."
Kendra smiles faintly as she accepts it, unable to meet Clara's eye. "I am sorry," she said. "For what I said to Mr Sharrington. I did not mean it."
"I know," Clara said. She looked at Kendra, unsure why she is so upset. She looks so broken, all Clara can think to do is hug her. Kendra looks uncertain as Clara puts her arms around her. She cannot understand why Clara is being so kind. Of course she does not know the contents of the letter she has just written.
She gently pulls away from Clara. Travis has not said a word. He may not say it but she knows he is still angry.
"I should go," she says.
"Very well," Clara says, watching her with concern. "Goodnight, Kendra."
"Goodbye," Kendra says. She looks back at them once as she leaves.
She walks back towards Oakston, but she does not take the most direct route. She cannot believe she has ended it with Jamie by letter. It feels too cowardly, but she knows if she saw him she would lose her resolve. She does not want to end it because she loves him, but she cannot in all conscience say they are good for each other.
Before she knows it she is in the woods by the river, where she and Jamie once laughed over a perfectly good pair of his boots getting ruined in the mud. It seems like they had memories everywhere. She stands by the water's edge and watches the river flow by. It has rained steadily for the past few days and the water level is high. Her shoes sink into the mud. She feels cold water around her toes. It would be so easy to take a few steps forward and let the frigid river resolve everything. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath.
Firm hands on her shoulders make the decision for her. Without fuss or frenzy, she is pulled back up the bank, away from the water's edge. She knows who it is, of course, even before she turns around. Travis looks down at her, his hands still on her arms.
"You will ruin your gown," he says.
"Yes," she says. She suddenly feels very cold. "Will you walk me home?"
"Of course," Travis says. He takes her arm and leads her away.
|Posted 2 weeks ago|
|TrueWizard1507||((Aww I feel sad just reading this))|
|Posted 2 weeks ago|
((I'm going to have to perk her up a bit, she's depressing me too much at the moment.
Phone autocorrect just suggested brandy. Probably the answer! ;-) ))
|Posted 2 weeks ago|