“This is a story, about how people can be affected by gossip, and how choosing to run away from a confrontation, can lead to sadness and misery” An old lady was telling a small group of young women. They were seated around her, anxious for her to begin relating.
“But it’s just fiction right?” I asked without hesitating.
“Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, you will have to decide whether to believe in it or not.” The old woman replied with a calm, monotone voice.
“It all started, when a baby girl, apparently named Mia, was brought to an orphanage in the middle of the night. She was found near the beach in a basket, wet and crying. The nuns at the orphanage raised her lovingly, and when she was 16, she departed in search for work.
She was a small girl, thin, with black hair of medium length. She always kept it tied back in a ponytail. Her eyes were brightly green, and she was always with a smile on her face.
She started working, in an aristocratic family’s house, as a kitchen helper. The pay was low, and there was always something to do, but she received food and shelter, things that were very important to her, so she was happy. She sometimes even donated a part of her pay, to the orphanage.
One day, while the maids were doing a thorough cleaning of the house, she was sent in the attic, to carry up there some old curtains. She suddenly gasped in surprise, dropping the curtain on the dusty floor of the attic. There it was, in front of her, the same portrait, at which she gazed with love and curiosity, for so many years at the orphanage. It was the same woman, engraved on her pendant. She was given the pendant by the nuns, when she was only 4 years old. They said she was carrying with her, the pendant, when she was first brought to the orphanage. She was grasping the pendant with all her might, in her little hand, not wanting to be separated from it. She always thought that woman was her mother, and whenever she was out in town, she would always search for her, in the crowd. But she never found her.
A couple of days later, she asked the older maids, if they knew who the woman was. They told her she was the deceased Mrs. Raymond.
“Poor soul, she died with her daughter on that damn ship. And her son remained all alone at only 6 years old, good thing that his grandma took charge of him.”
“Where does the son live now?” Asked Mia, with impatience, trying to control herself. Feelings of joy were swelling up inside of her. She was ready to burst with laughter, at the pleasant thought that she had a brother, and that she wasn’t all alone anymore.
“I don’t know for sure, I’m pretty sure they moved away, but I don’t know where exactly.” One of the maids answered.
“I see…” Mia answered a little disappointed.
The next weeks, she tried searching for her brother, but nobody knew where he was. All that she had found out was that he was named Tomas, their grandma had died, and that he was 22 years old.
One day, while she was out shopping for ingredients, some kids bumped into her and while falling, she clanged to the nearest support, which was a young man. Unfortunately, he was caught by surprise, and they both fell on the ground. When she came around, she was being held by the man, who looked a little puzzled.
“I’m so sorry…”Mia started to apologize vehemently, while her checks burned red. The man started laughing. Mia looked at him in surprise. What was so funny? She thought.
“It’s no problem, but do you think maybe, you could get up from on top of me?” The man asked still laughing. Mia then realized, she was still standing on him, and people were looking strangely at them. She quickly got up and arranged her skirt, looking into the ground, while her ears turned red.
“I’m sorry.” She mumbled again, after the man got up.
“Like I said, it’s okay.” The man answered, while looking at her, still with a smile on his face.
“Are you ok or did you get hurt?” He then asked, while the smile was slowly vanishing.
“I’m okay, thank you!” She said, while lifting her head, and looking at the man in front of her. He was a handsome man, although young, his eyes sparkled with intelligence. He had black hair, and equally black eyes. He was also tall, and beneath the clothes, you could tell he wasn’t very slim, but had a slightly muscular build.
“I’m sorry, I have to go now.” Mia said, remembering, that she still had to finish shopping.
“Wait a minute!” The man said, with a light panic in his voice. “Can you tell me your name?”
“My name? It’s Mia.” She said, looking a bit surprised.
“Ah, I see, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you.” He said, his tone shaking a little. “It’s just that for a minute…I thought you resembled someone I once knew.”
Mia smiled softly. “No problem. Can I know your name now too?” She asked, with an indecisive tone.
He smiled. “It’s Frederick, but you can call me Fred, I like it more.”
“Fred it is then. Nice to meet you.” Mia said, holding her hand out.
“My pleasure.” He said, while gently grabbing her hand, and laying a kiss on it. At that very moment, Mia felt a tremor, traveling down her spine, waking up all of her senses. It was a feeling of happiness and excitement, feelings, which were threatening to overflow, from every one of her pores. She gave a gibbering excuse, and rushed home. The feelings she had just experienced, were totally new to her. She didn’t know what it was, until later that week, when fate brought them back together.
There was a party that day, the only daughter of the family, was getting engaged. Servants were preparing fervently for the party, under the strict surveillance of the head servant. Mia was sent to get the rooms ready, for some of the guests, and to check if there isn’t anything missing, that would inconvenience them.
She was at the second floor, arranging flowers in a vase, when she heard the door open.
“Excuse me…” a deep voice started to say, but when she turned, he stopped, while hesitating. “Mia…right? What are you doing here?”The man said with a surprised voice.
“Mm, well…I work here.” She said, while giving an awkward smile. She was so happy to see him again, and at the same time embarrassed. All the time, since the first time they meet, she couldn’t get him out of her mind. She than knew on the spot, that she had fallen in love. And although the realization made her happy, she was also afraid, afraid of the unknown feelings, rising deep inside her, making her tremble. It was a ride, on an emotional roller coaster, of both joy and terror, at the realization of her sentiment.
“Are you a guest here?” She asked shyly.
“Yes…” he answered, still staring at her.
“That must be nice.” She said dreamily. “I will be one too, if I ever find him.” She mumbled to herself.
“You will be what?” Fred asked, as if woken up from a dream. “Who do you need to find?”
“I was just talking about my brother…” She said, with a mellow voice. “He’s a aristocrat.”
“Really?” Fred asked, with a genuine curiosity.”Can I ask what his name is?”
“It’s not that important…” She said. “I don’t even know where he is, right now.” She continued with a sad tone, while lowering her head. She felt like crying. Mia realized she forgot all about her brother, after she had meet Fred. Seeing her, tremble slightly, he approached her slowly.
“What’s the matter?” He asked when he was near her. They were sitting so close, that he could see her tears falling one by one, as she was trying to stop herself, from crying out loud.
“It’s nothing, I’m sorry…” She could barely reply. She turned, and wanted to walk away. They were to close, she could even feel his breath, and smell his cologne, and it was an intoxicating emotion. But before she could even take a step away from him, Fred grabbed her arm, and without realizing it, he pulled her to him, binding her in his embrace. They stood like that, without saying anything. They were enveloped, in the darkness of the night, while live, classical music, was heard from the party, downstairs. Mia was happy, more than ever before. She knew, they couldn’t stay like this forever, but she didn’t want to be the one, to break the silence. She could feel him now; he had his arms around her, holding her tight, refusing to let go. His breath was rhythmic, and she felt his chest moving beside her, synchronizing itself, with the hard beating of his heart. She felt she could die happy now, and that greater joy, wasn’t possible in this world. The music stopped. Her heart started beating, faster and faster, all her senses were sharpened. She felt one of his hand, moving slightly, from the back of her waist, while the band, started another song. He transferred the hand, over her tense back, then on the shoulder, touching it delicately. The hand then stopped at her face, caressing her cheeks. He slowly, raised her face with his hand, until their eyes met.
The next moment, was like magic. She let out, a light gasp of surprise, before she was engulfed by the pleasure, of feeling his lips closing down on hers, at first shyly, then with hunger for her, with a passion she had never seen, or felt before. While the hand near her face was caressing her hair, the other hand, was pulling her closer to him; as if he was afraid, she would escape him. It was heaven. She abandoned herself, to the fire she was feeling in her heart. She put her hands around him, and returned his kisses, with all the warmth, and courage, she could muster.
They stayed in this embrace, for an unknown period of time, neither wanted to let the other go, or to ruin the magic of the moment. After a while, voices were heard, in the hallway, they suddenly remembered where they were. They had to return, to reality. Fred then looked at her, closely, trying to engrave in his memory, every little detail of her being. She just stood there, still a little muzzy, trying to figure out, her feelings and thoughts.