Index > Ongoing Stories > Clara Meets Mrs de Morte
Clara Meets Mrs de Morte
[This story is the first in a backlog of sessions that took place in late December. This story takes place four days before ‘Kendra’s Darkest Day’, and is a collaboration between the players of Clara MacTavish, Travis de Morte and Constance de Morte]
It had been a little surprising to find out that Travis’s mother was in town. Clara was anxious to meet her, and make a good impression. She had found herself growing fonder of Travis with every meeting, but if they had any future together it was vital to impress the parents on either side. After tea with Travis and Miriam the day before, Travis promised to bring his mother to the parlour the next day to introduce her to everyone. His mother, by all accounts, was a lovely woman but Clara knew as well as anyone else that mothers want the best for their children. Even if their children are already fully grown.
That afternoon, Clara made her way to Tyrehampton. The short walk in the cool air was refreshing, and helped to settle her nerves a little. She had chosen her new green dress to wear instead of her normal dark red, which of course had nothing to do with the fact that Travis liked the colour green - she simply found that the colour was suitable for the season. Or at least, that was what she told Jamie. Clara looked up to Mrs Hatch’s for any sign of Travis, but saw instead an older woman stood in the doorway. Clara did not recognise the woman, she appeared to be new in town.
She entered the house and curtseyed civilly. “Good afternoon. Are ye alright?” Clara asked. The woman turned around and smiled politely. She had familiar features: wavy brown hair with a few streaks of grey, and striking blue eyes – like Travis.
“Oh dear, please excuse me. I should not be loitering in doorways.” She replied, smiling again. “I am just waiting for my son.”
Clara smiled back. “It is quite alright. Ye son?” she said.
“Me, Miss MacTavish.” A voice replied from behind her.
Clara turned around quickly, recognising the voice, and smiled widely. Travis walked into the hallway.
“Miss MacTavish,” he said, smiling, “May I present my mother, Mrs Constance de Morte?”
Clara looked back around to the woman, the resemblance suddenly obvious. Without realising, Clara had just met Travis’s mother. It was certainly an unusual feeling.
“It is a pleasure to meet ye, Mrs de Morte.” Clara said, smiling brightly.
“And you, Miss MacTavish.” She replied. There was a twinkle in her eye that suggested she had been told about Clara already.
“Well Travis, shall we take some tea?” Constance ushered to Travis, and she moved towards the parlour. “You will join us of course, Miss MacTavish?” she asked.
“Of course! I will join ye presently.” Clara replied. Constance entered the parlour, leaving Travis and Clara in the hallway. She looked at him, laughing quietly.
“I had no idea that was ye mother!” she whispered, surprised.
Travis chuckled quietly. “I hope it was not a shock for you?” Clara opened her mouth to reply, but they were interrupted.
“Travis! Stop flirting with the pretty girl in the hallway when your mother is in need of tea!” Constance called from the other room. Clara blushed, prompting Travis to laugh again.
“Do not mind her.” He said, squeezing her hand quickly before walking into the parlour. Clara walked over to the Chaise and sat down, avoiding eye contact with anyone as she was still a little red. Travis busied himself with the tea set, handing cups of tea to his mother and Clara. He decided to stand adjacent to Clara, next to the writing desk.
“So, Miss MacTavish,” Constance asked, “Have you lived in Tyrehampton for a long time?”
“I think it had been about three months now, Mrs de Morte.” Clara replied, taking a sip of hot tea.
“How nice. I hear you live with your brother, is that correct?”
“Aye, my brother Jamie.” She replied, smiling widely.
“Oh yes… I have heard rather a lot about him also.” Mrs de Morte stated, smirking.
Clara glanced at Travis. “Ye have? I trust it was all good?” Clara asked.
“Well, I have heard it all from young Kendra, so I daresay you can imagine the general sentiment.” She answered, smirking again. “Indeed, I am quite interested to meet this young gentleman for myself. If I was twenty years younger…” she added quietly.
A look of horror washed over Travis’s face. Clara giggled but quickly covered her mouth. “I am sure I can coax him out of the house one day, Mrs de Morte.” Clara said through her giggles.
“So, what is there to entertain the young folks of Tyrehampton then?” Constance asked, sipping her tea.
“Well, not much really. There are some lovely places for walks, the river is a personal favourite of mine.” Clara responded.
“How lovely. Fresh air is such a tonic.”
“Especially during the winter months. There is something pleasant about a walk in the snow.” Travis added, smiling at Clara. He knew how much she loved the snow, and they were both fervently waiting for it to arrive. “I heard that snow was predicted in the next few days, although I am not sure Shepherd Brimley knows what he is talking about.” He added.
Clara smiled back warmly. “I do hope so.” She said quietly. She gazed up at him, before suddenly remembering that they were not alone. Clara turned a little red and cleared her throat before looking back around to Constance, who was trying her best to hide a grin.
“I am told ye are from Sussex, Mrs de Morte. What is it like there?” Clara asked, still a little flushed.
“Oh, Sussex is very nice. We are not far from the sea so it can get quite cold during the winter months, but I like it.” Constance replied. “I will admit I am a little surprised Captain Fortune decided to settle in Derbyshire, so far from the sea!”
“It was to be nearer to Kendra, Mother, after she was widowed.” Travis said, subtly giving Clara a knowing look. Clara nodded in agreement, although she was fully aware why both Travis and Daniel Fortune were in Derbyshire, and it was not wholly because of Kendra.
Constance smiled. “That is understandable. Family is important.” She turned to Clara. “You have a large family, Miss MacTavish?”
“Aye, I have a brother as ye ken, and a twin sister. My parents live in Bath. The rest of my family are in Inverness.” Clara said, taking another sip of tea.
“That is so lovely,” Constance replied, beaming. “I am regrettably no longer in contact with my family. It is just Travis and I, but we are happy enough. Although I would like to see him more settled…”
Travis grimaced with embarrassment, causing Clara to laugh lightly.
“A nice house, a lovely wife, a couple of children…” Constance continued, smirking directly at Clara. “Maybe a ship of his own, or perhaps a more sensible career choice.”
Travis grimaced with embarrassment again. “Mother…” he groaned, trying to salvage any dignity he had left.
“Well Travis, you are 30 now. It is past time to be thinking of such things”
“I am sure any mother would wish the best for their children.” Clara interjected, bringing the attention back to her. She could tell that Travis was beyond mortified, and she wanted to at least try and help him.
Constance smiled at her. “Indeed, Miss MacTavish. I am sure your parents want the same for you.”
“Aye, they do. My mother thinks I am running out of time…” Clara replied, peering into her teacup awkwardly.
“How old are you, dear?” Constance asked, frowning at Clara.
“19, Mrs de Morte. I will be 20 in February.” She responded. “My mother was already married at my age, as was her mother.”
Constance smirked. “Oh yes. I was expecting Travis at 19, although looking back I don’t see what the rush was about. “
Travis laughed lightly. “Thank you, mother.”
It was at this point that one of the many new student arriving in Tyrehampton walked into the parlour, looking thoroughly confused. She waltzed in, making no introduction, and walked straight back out. Clara and Travis glanced at each other momentarily, the latter shrugging her shoulders in silent dismissal. There were plenty of confused students in town, the sight of them was not uncommon. Constance looked between Travis and Clara, bemused.
“Does that happen often in Tyrehampton? Constance asked, looking at Travis.
“Yes, unfortunately. There are plenty of wayward ladies in town.” He replied.
Constance thought for a moment. “Hmm. Travis, better make sure you pick one who is more down to earth. Nobody likes a flibbertigibbet.”
Travis smirked, and glanced at Clara momentarily. “Oh, I think I am a fairly reliable judge of character.”
Constance studied Clara, making no attempt to be subtle. Clara avoided eye contact with her, although her rosy blush was creeping back onto her face.
“Yes,” Constance eventually said. “I think you are, on the whole.”
“Anyway, what does your father do? I am told he works in Bath.” Constance inquired.
Clara smiled warmly. She was particularly fond of her parents. “My father is the private secretary to the Mayor of Bath.”
“Oh, how lovely!” Constance was impressed by her father’s profession, but also a little concerned that Mr MacTavish would not like his daughter being with a sailor. Travis was also very aware of this, prompting him to look down at the floorboards sadly. Clara smiled up at him, and he smiled back softly.
“Do you plan on returning to Bath? As your father has some influence, I imagine he could introduce you to a great many suitors!” Constance mused. Travis looked up at his mother sharply.
Clara blushed. “Oh, uh, I have no plans to return to Bath yet. My mother has introduced me to others in the past, but my sister Eliza has always been favoured over myself…” Clara looked away again. It seemed Eliza was still the better sister even when she wasn’t in town.
“Oh. And is she married?”
“No, not yet.” Clara smirked. “I was led to believe she was engaged on her last visit, but she never tells me anything so…” She trailed off, feeling inferior once more.
Travis noticed Clara’s expression, and immediately interjected. “Miss Eliza is Clara’s twin. They are alike in appearance, although Miss Eliza is not so charming to speak with.” He smirked down at Clara. “And I know which twin I think is prettier.” He whispered to her.
Clara blushed heavily, any hope of remaining inconspicuous going out of the window. She coughed badly, to try and mask her giggles.
“Yes well, sisters can be a trial as well as a joy. Travis, do get the young lady some water.” Travis walked into the kitchen and returned moments later with a glass of water, and handed it to Clara with a smirk. Her fingers brushed his for a moment and they both smiled.
Constance observed their interaction and smiled to herself. It was clear they were smitten.
“I should be heading back to Oakston. Miss MacTavish, it was so nice to meet you.”
“And ye, Mrs de Morte.” Clara replied, smiling widely.
“I will drive you back.” Travis said.
“Nonsense. I came all the way from Sussex, I daresay I can walk across the green.” Constance scoffed. Travis grinned at his mother, silently thanking her. She curtseyed, smiling knowingly, and left the parlour.
They both waited a few moments before turning to one another, both smiling widely.
“I hope that was not too embarrassing?” Travis asked, smirking.
“No, not at all! Ye mother is lovely.” Clara replied.
Travis smiled warmly. “She is. I think she likes you.”
“I think you would know if she did not.” Travis mused, the smile on his face relaxing soon after. “Although…”
Clara’s smile faded. “Although what?”
Travis hesitated. “What my mother said about your father having influence in Bath… she is right.” He looked down at the floorboards. “I have no money and I work as a smuggler. If I ever meet your father, I cannot imagine he will like what he sees.”
Clara looked up at him sincerely. “My father has /always/ encouraged my siblings and I to marry for love. That’s what he did, and he says he’s all the better for it. Money isna everything, Travis.”
“I know…” he replied quietly, “But there are so many wealthy gentlemen in town, and here I am sleeping in a hammock in my friend’s overcrowded house.”
“I havena noticed the wealthy gentlemen, because they aren’t /you/. And, perhaps a hammock is comfortable...?” Clara said, smirking. She brought a hand up to his cheek and stroked it gently with her thumb, smiling at him. He smiled back warmly.
“Miss MacTavish, never let anyone convince you that a hammock is comfortable.” He said, laughing heartedly with her.
She smiled back up at him again, narrowing her eyes. “Ye mother led me to believe that she had already been told about me. I’m curious to know what she was told.”
“Well,” Travis said, grinning. “I told her that I had met a young lady who was kind, funny and sweet, and she immediately wanted to buy herself a new wedding hat! Kendra /may/ have filled her in on a few other details over Christmas dinner.” He added, smirking.
Clara could not help but smile blushingly. She took a small step closer to him, her eyes flickering over his lips momentarily. “And what would those other details be, I wonder…” she asked quietly.
Travis smirked again. “Well, I would not like to speculate, but she might have mentioned something like this.”
He took a step closer and kissed her, wrapping one arm around her neat waist and bringing another to her cheek. Clara ran her fingers through his hair, causing him to kiss her a little less gently. Clearly, mistletoe wasn’t needed anymore. A few moments passed before Travis pulled away reluctantly, after hearing Mrs Hatch stir from her snooze.
Travis looked down at her longingly, his arms still wrapped around her waist. “I should be heading home.” He said quietly.
“Of course,” Clara replied, breathless. “Ye mother will be wondering where ye’ve got to.” She smirked.
“Oh, I imagine she will be waiting up for me.” He answered, smirking back.
Clara laughed lightly. “She’ll no doubt ask what ye’ve been up to.”
He pulled a face, and grinned. “I might not give her the full details”
“Probably for the best.” Clara said, laughing again.
“Goodnight Clara. Sleep well.”
Travis bowed and walked towards the doorway, smiling to himself.
“I love you.” She whispered to him, as he turned around the corner. He did not hear her.
|Posted 2 weeks ago|