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Bay James' Discovers an Opinion

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Baleigh "Lizzie," I said surprised to see my friend back on my couch. I had gone to try to find her after she'd been gone a while, but hadn't been able to. I had stopped by Mrs. Hatch's and talked with some people there, but other than that I had not done much that day.
Lizzie didn't look me in the eye as she told me a quiet hello and that was the moment that I knew something had happened.
"Lizzie," I said keeping my voice calm. "What happened?"
"Oh, Bay, I didn't mean to say it, it slipped out, I swear!" She cried out as she looked all over the room making eye contact with everything in there except for me.
"Lizzie, what did you say? Who did you talk to?"
"I went to Mrs. Hatch's house, and there were people in the parlor."
"Who was there?"
She thinks for a moment, "A Mr. MacTavish and a Lady Fortune, I believe."
I smiled at that, they had been some of the first people I had met when moving to town, so they were a familiar sound to hear about, even if I didn't entirely trust either one of them.
"What did you tell them?"
"I might have let it slip that you are to inherit fifty thousand pounds."
I felt the color drain from my face as I sat down on the chaise lounge in my house to look at my friend. Had I heard her right.
"You did what?"
"I'm so sorry, Bay, I don't know why I said it." I knew she was sorry and I knew that I wouldn't be mad at her for long, but I still felt betrayed.
"Why would you do that?" I asked feeling tears well up in my eyes. I had kept my fortune a secret, I wanted people to like me for me, not because I had a wad of cash lying around.
"I'm so sorry, but they promised not to tell anyone."
I scoffed. "I wouldn't be so sure about that. Everything gets around at some point."
She gave me a wry smile. "They seemed nice, but after I left the room I heard something."
What did you hear?"
"Well, I went upstairs to explore the rest of the house and when I got to a room I could hear their voices as clear as day."
I nodded, I had heard people upstairs before too, sound traveled in that home like crazy. She swallowed before continuing. "Naturally they started talking about your fortune, but Mr. MacTavish said that you had more money than sense and Lady Fortune said that she'd pegged you as a wrong one from the start." She took a breath before continuing. "They then basically said that all of the reading you do is supposed to make you smarter, but that it basically isn't working. That's just paraphrased though, so I might have gotten parts of it wrong."
"They think I'm a fool," I said quietly before looking out the window. A layer of snow was still on the ground and I stared at it while tears formed in my eyes.
"They're obviously terrible people!" she cried out. "You are not a fool, you're the smartest woman I know."
"Don't be rude," I said with a small smile. "I suppose they deserve to think that way of me." I then proceeded to tell her how I had told them that they were obviously in love and that they needed to get married and how awkward it had made everything that day. My face was flushed by the time I finished from the embarrassment I still felt.
"Oh, Bay, you made a mistake, surely they can't think ill of you for that," she said soothingly. "Besides, you've always said it how you've seen it, and if they were acting that much in love in front of you then maybe they deserve someone telling them about it."
"I don't think that's quite how it works, Lizzie," I said softly. "At least now I know that people only liked me in Bath because of my fortune."
"Just because they don't know how great you are, doesn't mean that you are a fool, or stupid, or anything else," she said walking over to me and holding my hand. "They are the ones who are fools for judging you before they have really gotten to know you."
I gave her a nod even though I didn't believe it myself. I wondered how long it would take before others knew about my financial situation. I shuddered at the thought.
"I think I need to get some fresh air," I said standing up again and walking out of the house before she could say anything.
When I got away from the house and was on the path from Oakston to Tyrehampton I let the tears fall out of my eyes. I had never felt so powerless before. I was mad at Lizzie, mad at Lady Fortune and Mr. MacTavish, but mostly I was mad at myself.
Why did I have to say things? I usually didn't blurt things out that day when I had been with them had been completely out of sorts for me, but they couldn't realize that they had no way of knowing what I was really like. Still, I couldn't help but think that about how I knew what they thought of me. Maybe that was for the best though.
I eventually found my way back to Mrs. Hatch's and was outside when I heard Lady Fortune's voice again. I walked past the parlor room and sat down at the piano before I started playing and drowned their voices out, I was not ready to see people yet.
I heard them leave and then I went back into the parlor, but when I went outside I saw a man who was standing outside, I asked him if we wanted to come inside and we had a very brief conversation. I introduced myself to him but I did not catch his name. I then went back inside and sat on the couch where I looked at the book I had in my hands. Maybe reading did make me silly, but I was not going to stop doing it. No matter what others thought of me.
Posted 1 week ago

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