Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Into Thornwood || Chapter One

By Becca

Some of you may know that when February 1st came around, the contest results were posted for the Five Enchanted Roses contest.

I checked the website after church that morning, and was a bit disappointed to see five names.. none which were mine.

But, I'm good now.

 I am very happy for all who did win, and I am still very proud that I finished my first story!

I decided a while ago that if I didn't make it in the contest, I still would like to share my story with all of you.

So, each week I'll be posting a few chapters of 'Into Thornwood'
and I'd love to hear what you think of it.

I actually have a cover I made for it too.

Chapter one

            A lovely young woman in a rose hued gown sat curled up on the window seat. Her eyes, wide with anticipation, flit over the pages in her book while her parted lips mouthed each word unconsciously. An auburn curl slipped from its careful arrangement and she carelessly brushed it away. Only then did her eyes leave the page and notice her brother watching.
             “Dax!” The book snapped shut and disappeared under an embroidered cushion, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I only meant to finish the chapter...have I been gone very long?”
          Dax slipped behind the curtain and sat beside her. “Long enough to have Caprice notice. I believe she’s found another handsome young man you must dance with, one of Andrew’s brothers.” 
           “Isn’t there an ugly young man to dance with?” She queried. “I’m sure he would be far more interesting. Even if he was a boring conversationalist I could entertain myself with counting the warts on his face.”
            “Cecile, you little imp!” His copper curls shook as he laughed.  “I thought you enjoyed dancing.”
            “I do, but the mindless chatter, coquettish smiles and strategic flattery that go along with it becomes tiresome.”
            Dax nodded, “I sympathize with you my dear sister, but tonight you must bear it; for Caprice’s sake.” He flipped opened her dance card and browsed the long list of names with a chuckle.
“Well, well, well, aren’t you the Belle of the Ball? Nearly every man here has his name on your card! You’re not just catching up on your reading; you’ve been hiding!”
             Cecile snatched the card out of his hand. “It’s not polite to read ladies’ dance cards.”
              “There are numerous rules of etiquette in the ballroom, but I think you just invented that one.”  He leaned closer and softly said. “Come now, Cecile, just for another hour or so.” Taking her hand in his, his green eyes twinkled. “Then you and I shall both go into hiding. If I have to force one more smile I believe my cheeks may start cramping.”
             Cecile giggled, her weary expression fading. Looking up at him, she squeezed his hand fondly and whispered. “Thank you.”
              Dax pulled back the curtain with a wink, “After you, my dear.”  
              Cecile took a deep breath and stepped into the bustling room. From the sweet notes of the orchestra, she knew this song was nearing its end. Half a dozen men on the dance floor each succeeded in catching her attention and she acknowledged them courteously. 
              “Ah! There she is- staring us down from the first landing.” Dax spoke over her shoulder, motioning to the lady on the staircase.  “I think father will start his speech soon, come along!” 
               The pair threaded through the growing crowd, as the waltz had ended and the gentlemen began securing partners for the next dance.  Cecile, glad for an excuse, feigned a regretful smile at the young men who approached her.  
               As they neared Caprice, she hissed, “Where have you been? Father is about to start!” Her icy blue eyes narrowed and she scowled at Cecile. “ You’ve been off reading your novel haven’t you?” 
              Cecile looked down at her shoes, a reply catching in her throat. 
              “Do you want to go and ruin this night for both of us? How am I to look if I cannot keep track of my own sister? It’s shameful the way you cower in the shadows, how do you expect to meet anyone? I met Andrew at my first dance you remember.” 
             Her words stung, but worse yet was the cruelty harbored behind such a beautiful face. She hid it well enough from her love-struck fiancĂ©; he will certainly wake to an unpleasant surprise in a few months. Caprice’s looks had always favored mother, with her dark tresses and ivory complexion; and though she was only twenty, it was like seeing a ghost. 
              “Are you even listening?” Caprice demanded. Of course, Cecile heard every word.
Dax laid a hand on Caprice’s arm, trying in vain to cease her rant. “Caprice, you’re being unreasonable. Cecile is not a child anymore-“
               Ignoring his plea, she shook him off- attention still fixed on her victim.
               “Look at yourself, you’re a disgrace! Can’t you stay presentable for a few hours?” Caprice roughly vanquished the wrinkles in Cecile’s skirt, grumbling as she tucked the stray locks back into place. “What would mother have said?” 
                Cecile’s lips whitened as they closed, her captive thoughts screaming inside. How would you know what mother would’ve said? You were such a spoiled brat, never heeding anything she did! 
           A tear slipped down her burning cheek as the memories came flooding back.  Mother did not care about the outward appearance; she saw people’s hearts-
            Gently, a touch wiped her tear away, bringing Cecile back to the present. 
            “Are you feeling alright, my little maiden?” 
             She looked up, quite relived to see her father’s concerned face. 
             “Yes,” She tried to smile. “I must be tired.” 
             He leaned over and kissed her forehead.
             “Is that all?”  
             Cecile nodded and looked at Caprice, who had forgotten all about her.  She was with Andrew now, acting like the angel he loved. 
               “Well then, I ought to commence with my little speech before the guests get restless.” Father stepped to the railing and his rich booming voice resonated through the ballroom. 
            “Dear friends, doubtless you know the intentions of this gathering.” The sea of faces below smiled, heads nodding. 
             “This ball is in honor of my eldest daughter Caprice and my future son-in-law Andrew Royer to celebrate their engagement. This persistent young man has been lurking about my house for a year; and finally he gathered his courage to ask for my daughter’s hand. I knew he wanted to ask me something, for no one in his right mind could have been so eager to talk about the weather.”
            Hearty laughter filled the chamber, none as jovial as father’s own. 
          “Needless to say, the arrangements have been made and two young people are very happy. The only thing missing in all of this is my precious wife and the children’s beloved mother, Jocelyn-“ At this his voice broke, sending a respectful hush over the party. His handkerchief appeared from a waistcoat pocket as he dabbed the tears away. 
             “I know that we all wish she was still here with us, she was a far more gracious hostess than I am. But I thank God that she has found rest in her true home, in heaven.  I pray that God would bless Andrew and Caprice with a full and happy life together. Thank you for joining us tonight, and of course you all are invited to the wedding.” He clapped his hands together and shouted “ Let the festivities commence!’’

           Cecile collapsed onto her bed; feet sore, head throbbing. Music swirled around in her mind. She had never danced so late into the night. So many people, so much noise- 
                  “Miss Cecile?”
                 A soft voice stirred her thoughts. Cecile rolled over to see her maid in the doorway.  “Oh Ettie, please help me out of this dress, I’m so tired.”  She stood as Ettie set to the buttons.
                  “Of course my lady. Did you have a nice evening?” 
                  Cecile sighed, “As nice as it could be. People came and ate, and then they danced nearly till dawn… Caprice seemed happy enough.” The fastenings came undone and she stepped out of the ball gown.  “I suppose I am glad, if only to know that soon Caprice will be off living in her own house, and we will be left in peace.” 
                  Ettie released the lacing of the corset. “Truly? Will you not miss your sister at all?” 
                  “ No, no I should not have said that, it was unkind and untrue. Yet, it is so painful when she is around.” Cecile slipped off her petticoats. “The face Caprice wears should not belong to her. It is so lovely and delicate but she uses it poorly, crumpling it up with all her grimaces and scowls. Years from now her one gift will betray her, showing plainly to anyone who looks the ugliness dwelling inside.“ Her words ceased a moment, surprised that she uttered those thoughts aloud. 
                  Etties’ round eyes crinkled as she smiled and she held out the nightgown.
                  “I knew you had more to say then you let on. I have not heard truer words spoken about Miss Caprice.” 
                Cecile pulled the soft fabric over her head and sat at the dressing table. Russet locks fell around her shoulders as Ettie loosed the hair combs, the pale face in the mirror watched quietly. A faint scattering of freckles across her nose was still painfully obvious to her. Their gaze met; her father’s green eyes looked back at her.  
                  “I used to wish-“ Cecile stopped, the realization dawning. “I still wish I looked like mother. I’m nothing like her, with father’s red hair and freckles.“
                 “Miss Cecile,” Ettie spoke softly. “You may not have her face, but you have her heart.”  With a final brush stroke she finished her task and stood by Cecile a moment.
                  “Will that be all, miss?” 
                  “Yes, Ettie,” She murmured.  
                  “Goodnight then.”
                  Cecile climbed into bed, and curled up under the downy blanket; heart aching.  A verse surfaced in the turmoil of her thoughts, 1 Peter 3:3-4. Years past she had put it to memory, now it came as clearly as the day Mother taught it to her.
                When adorning yourselves, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.

                “Heavenly Father,” She whispered. “I’m sorry for my jealousy and discontentment, please forgive me. I know I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, and true beauty comes from inside. Help me to be kind to Caprice and to love her as you do. In Your Son’s name I pray, amen.”


  1. Oh, I absolutely LOVE it!!! I have always been a fan of writers and a writer myself (though I never could be dedicated enough to right more than a few chapters). I love the time period and setting, and so far the plot as well. I look forward to reading more!!!

    1. Thanks Madison, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
      I think I'll be posting a chapter each Tuesday and Friday, so you won't have to wait long. :)

  2. Loving it!!!!! I'm so glad I'm getting to read your story :) I didn't win either, but I have plans for mine also. ( Did you read mine? )

    1. Thanks Keturah! I'm excited to put my story out there and have such encouraging feedback. I haven't read your's yet, but Beth told me about it.

  3. Ooooo, wonderful! I can't wait to read more! I love the way you wrote Caprice... I could hear the nastiness in her voice as I read. Poor Cecile.

    1. Thanks Abbey! Caprice was way to easy to write- I just thought of what I would say :(


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