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Over Sea, Under Sea - chapter 1

Della stood, turning to face her mother. She silently prayed that her sudden stand wouldn’t raise suspicion of her evening plans. Audrey had been sure to remind her that the scheduled events were not to be discussed nor reveled to anyone outside of their circle. Precautionary, to be sure. It truly wouldn’t have mattered either way, considering the fact that few people around the mahogany table had managed to muster a glance at Della throughout the entire evening so far, none-the-less turn to inspect her as she stood. “What is it darling?” her mother said, voice slightly giddy from the last several sips of wine. Her mother never drank, only on special occasions did she spare a sip, but her head never seemed to quite fathom how to manage the toxins in the drink. “Mother, I don’t feel very well. I think it best if I go to bed now, so I will be fresh and ready in the morning for breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. Wheelbright.” Della waited, arms folded behind her back, trying to look as innocent and tired as physically possible. She had practiced in the mirror before she left, as she was not good at lying and needed to be convincing. She fingered the lose threads on the back of her crimson gown idly, watching the expression on her mothers face. “ But darling, you’ll miss our nice evening stroll if you go.” Della’s eyes widened. She hadn’t counted on that. She had not been told of a walk! Then she remembered the importance of not looking startled, so she relaxed and said calmly, “Oh mamma, I do feel quite dreary leaving so swiftly from the company of family…when did you say we would walk?”. “Oh, um, eight, I think darling?”. Della paused, thinking of a polite way to refuse. “I am sorry mamma. I truly do not feel that I should come. I must get my rest. Especially because if I am to miss the company of my loved ones, I am surely not to miss the company of Mr. and Mrs. Wheelbright for breakfast. Oh, and do'nt forget Abigail Tompkins is comming for tea at mid day.” Her mother frowned. “ Well I do suppose that sleep is vital...” Della nodded convincingly while her mother pondered this sudden disappointment. “Well…off you go then. Don’t go dare try and go on deck! You must have your rest.” Della beamed. “Oh yes mamma. Strait to bed.” She pushed in her chair and curtsied to the table of chattering people. Few turned and nodded goodbye. Her shoes tapped across the hardwood floor, and the intricately designed glass door was opened and closed for her. Della smiled to the dark. She couldn’t help it. After all, the smile wouldn’t be noticed now that she was leaving. The grin swept across her face, as did relief, as she pulled a hand with fingers crossed from behind her back.


“Dinner. With the Hoppers.” Madison smiled coolly. The muscles in her face contracted as her father sat brooding over the thought of his darling angel going to the Hoppers quarters for dinner without him. He was a stubborn man, rarely trusting anyone and slightly overbearing to say the least. He removed the pipe from his mouth and nodded it slightly up and down torts the direction of his daughter. “There is that boy. Nathanial, that’s his name. How do I know he wont…” but Madison cut him off. “I am sure Mr. Nathanial will be on his best behavior tonight. In fact…” she paused, thinking of a good addition to the fact that would convincingly help her father approve the so called visit, “he is helping his mother cook!” Her father grimaced. “Doesn’t the woman have maids to do that type of dirty work? A man shouldn’t be in the kitchen, he should be asserting a position in the household!” Madison sighed. “Well I thought it was sweet! He is doing a good thing by his mother and no respectable young man would be so kind to help his dear mother if he was to be, rude and despicable to me.” “How are we to be sure he is respectable?” her father scoffed, inhaling a large puff of smoke from his pipe. He stared blankly at the china cabinet in the corner obviously lost in thought, as he usually was. Just as Madison was about to protest again, he spoke. “You can go. But don’t stay out too long, or I WILL send for you.” Madison nodded, keeping her perpetual form. Grabbing her coat she curtsied and left. She departed with the melancholy thoughts of her plans being uncovered hovering in her mind. “Don’t fret.” she told herself. “Those thoughts will leave when Nathanial and I meet up with the others.”


Aubrey sat on her cot, contemplating her night’s schedule. She would leave at dusk and return at midnight. The others would meet up with her on first deck, near the bar. She shifted on her cot, a quite uncomfortable mat, that lay elevated from the ground. “I would rather lay on the floor.” Aubrey thought as she looked out the window. The deck beside the small hole in the wall that was suppose to pass as a window (not that Aubrey complained, she liked even having a window) was one of the smaller decks, initially made for ship crew and personnel only. Aubrey, however, would wait till darkness fell and sneak onto the deck to watch the waves nearly every night. She personally thought the sea more beautiful in darkness, the water reflecting the only light left in the sky, the waves gently lapping at the sides of the ship, as if to say, “Let me come aboard your mighty vessel!“ Combing back her hair into a bun, she realized it was nearly dusk. Quickly, she arranged the sheets on her bed into a well practiced jumble. Stepping back she examined her work. “Looks just like me! Well, if I slept lopsided.” she thought. She was not at all nervous about leaving. Her parents had been informed she was sick, and the dummy was only a precaution. What she was worried about was Darrell. She had left so suddenly, and her heart ached for she longed to hold him again. “But tonight is not about Darrell.” Aubrey thought. Throwing on her robe, she lifted the hood, casting her face into the shadows. The door to the crew deck slid open, then shut. Aubrey smiled at her progress and speed. Rolling her shoulders, she moved her hood closer over her face. Then she slunk into the shadow and anticipated the coming events.





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