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ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄʜᴏᴄᴏʟᴀᴛᴇ

By kshahidx

+Watch
Replies: 31 / 67 days ago

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[center [size27 [Homemade+Apple Blood & Chocolate]]
[font times [I A conversation between strangers]]]
[center [font times [size13 [b X] is on his way back to Junestown, Colarado to meet up with a group of old colleagues. [b Y] is en route with her mother and fiancé to Junestown as well to set up and start a new life as her fiancé’s father has left his oil drilling business to him in his will. After a mistake with [b X]’s ticket, he ends up in the upper-class cabin where he happens upon [b Y]. After a slight derailment, the train is set to stop for the night in order for repairs to be made. Despite those who try to get in their way, [b X] and [b Y] begin to have a conversation about love, life, and their futures.]]
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[center [size27 [Homemade+Apple what i ask of you]]]]
[size13 [font times [I [b • [#a94063 Okay so]]], in my head this is kind of like titanic but on a train. I don’t expect this to really be a long rp as I want everything to happen in the course of them waiting for repairs. Im imagine most posts start on the train before the passengers are directed toward a boarding house. This rp is set around 19th century so it will be a period piece. The overall story of course are people from two different classes who find they share some similar interest. Along with that they begin to develop a sense of romance and companionship their life is lacking; though come the end of the rp one must decide which route they choose to take.
[I [b • [#a94063 Real pictures]]], make sure they match the theme of the roleplay.
[I [b • [#a94063 400 words minimum]]], and [b PLEASE PUSH THE STORY FORWARD]. Your post shouldn't be 2/3 responding to dialogue. I want to know who your character is, be creative.
[I [b • [#a94063 Must be 21+]]], this is honestly more so for my comfort, it has nothing to do with maturity. There will be gore, violence, intimacy, cursing, etc. I am willing to accept 18+ if you're absolutely interested.
[I [b • [#a94063 [u Active in plot discussion]]]], Just because it's my idea, doesn't mean everything is on my shoulders. I want someone who is excited and offers ideas that will make the rp exciting.
[I [b • [#a94063 Post no later than 7 days]]], I understand this is a crazy time, people have work and families. I myself work 40 hour wks, but I also have no life so I'm able to juggle the kajillion rps I have no problem. All I ask is that you don't join if you've already got a lot on your plate. I have a good amount of stagnant and slow moving rps and I hate to see an idea die. But if anything, always let me know - I have bad memory so sometimes I won't respond, but rest assured I've seen it.
[I [b • [#a94063 Finally]]], I will be playing multiple characters, that doesn't mean you have to. Please do not do so if you cannot handle the load.
[I [b • [#a94063 Hopefully]]]: I have still held your interest, if so send me a message!]
Michael groaned, using his hands to lift himself up then. With one of his eyes still a bit swollen shut, it took a while for his vision to really focus in the dimly lit room. It had to be late in the evening. He’d come to a slow stand, knowing this would only aggravates his injuries, but he figured eventually he would have to be up and moving. He would grow bored of simply laying in the bed. His hand reached for the curtain to pull it back, seeing an empty bed. That was the least of his concerns though as he was becoming more aware of his situation. The smell of tobacco burning was what he noticed first. He looked over his shoulder, toward a corner where he could make out through the haze of smoke a figure.

He swallowed thickly, making his way back toward the edge of the bed. While he knew that in his normal circumstance he could possibly take Louis should it come to blows, being threatened at this moment was definitely intimidating.
“I can assure you that there is nothing between Eth – Mrs. Rosebush and I. You should know she is not that type of woman.” That seemed to irritate Louis, who came to a stand, the sound of the tip of the cigar burning sinister and loud as he took another puff. “It was all just a misunderstanding. As you know there was quite a lot of commotion on the train during the hijacking.”

His hand had balled up in his lap as Louis stood before him then.
“I assume you were probably caught up in the attack on your way to Ethel,” he said, as it had only been the two of them and her father in the car when train began to experience issues.
“You’re right. It seemed unfortunately though you got caught up on the bad end?” Michael closed his eyes, memories of the attack flashing. His hand reached up to press gently against his temple. “I just thought I would make it clear. I’ve already arranged to have Ethel moved to her room with her mother. And the nurses will be keeping an eye out for you. Can’t have you wandering around.”
“Sounds like a good idea, I’m sure Ethel worries for her mother.” Though he knew that Louis was doing everything he could to keep the both of them apart. “You’re a great fiancé, a nice guy.” He said with little enthusiasm.
“I am, so much so that I’ve already set up board for you. Once everything is checked out we will be put up at the local boarding house.” Michael knew that meant Louis would know where he was supposed to be.
“You didn’t have to do that, but thank you.”
“It’s all I can do. I figured a man like you would have nowhere to go. Knowing Ethel she would be too concern with how such a poor man would manage.” He put the ash out of the cigar in the cup of water beside his bed. “Well, I should let you get some rest.” He said in a strained voice. Michael didn’t relax until he saw the door close.
michael / kshahidx / 3d ago
It was short lived. But Ethel had enjoyed the few seconds she had to pretend that she was someone else that wasn't Ethel Josephine Rosebush. Soon to be Mrs. Perkins. That horrid name still haunted her. But she would pay no mind to it now that she was still in Michael's presence.


He had told her not to explain. But she was a bit worried about what was to happen. Ethel was the type to worry. Not in great lengths and it also depended on the situation and person, but she would still worry nonetheless. Even more so now that she had made what she deemed to be a good friend.

His words made her heart rejoice and if she had not been in some pain or known that it would be wrong, she would've made her way over to hug him with gratitude. Yet the last words had somehow dimmed her happiness. Her wedding. Yes, her wedding to Louis. "O-of course I would invite you!" She felt ill at the thought. Her wedding to Louis was something she did not look forward to at all. But she had no other choice. "You could be one of my bridesmaids." She joked before shaking her head. " You can be my photographer." She said with a bittersweet feeling.

As painful as it was, Erhel got up and once again made her way to Michael. Her hand extended over as she brushed his hair back and out of his face gently. A comforting feeling washed over her as he asked her for a promise. But what could she ever ask for? "To always be with me… as my good friend." The corners of her lips curved into a smile. Though he had suddenly closed his eyes. Had he drifted off to sleep? Or had he slipped into a deep slumber? Whatever it was, Ethel couldn't help but chuckle.

"Such a silly man." She said before bending over and kissing his forehead. "Sleep well, Michael." She whispered into his ear softly before straightening up. Her eyes then shifted to the door at the feel of a presence. The nurse raises an eyebrow at her. Ethel knew she had done wrong in her eyes. But she had not cared. For Ethel knew that her heart was content. And Michael had been the cause of it…

After a few moments, Ethel had dressed herself in a simple white, loose, cotton dress. Her hair was once again pulled back into a simple braid and she had applied a bit of makeup to hide away the bruising and soon to be scars. She took one glance at herself in the mirror before she had left the room with the nurse. Following closely behind she had suddenly arrived at her fianceé's room. Louis had instantly turned to greet her with a grin. The grin that only made her skin crawl with anxiety.

"Here she is, Mr. Perkins." The nurse said before leaving. Ethel approached Louis hesitantly before he had grabbed her and pulled her closer.

"I've been worried about you, my love." He said aloud as if for the nurse to hear him.

"I apologize to have kept you waiting, my dear." The words scathed her tongue. Ethel then suddenly felt as his grip on her arms tightened.

"I heard you were placed with the stranger from the cart. Something about believing you were his fianceé? How dreadful, wasn't it?x"

It was far from dreadful. But Ethel was afraid to even mention anything pertaining to how lovely it had been to be with Michael, even if it had been for a mere few moments.

"Very…" shenlied through her teeth as Louis had suddenly loosened his grip on her.

"The conductor said that we will be stranded here until further notice. They will be calling upon some people to help us find our way back. I suppose you could say we are trapped here. Therefore I have already arranged for our rooms to be close by. Mine being across from yours. Your mother is down the hall." Louis turned his back to her. "I also arranged to make sure Mr. Sullivan will not be able to bother you. He will have his own room as well."

Well at least Louis had been a bit calm about the whole misunderstanding. Yet Ethel could still feel the slight tension that only made her wonder if all of this was for the best.

"Thank you." The words rolled off her tongue as Louis turned to face her. He then loomed over her with that sickening grin. Like a shadow engulfing the sunny horizon.

"For what, my love?"

"For… handling things adequately." Though she felt as Louis' eyes trailed down her body for a moment. It was not a pleasant feeling. His hand extended to her and grasped her chin, pulling it up so that she could look at him.

"You can thank me after the marriage." His hand slithered around her waist and pulled her closer. "On our first night as man and wife."

Ethel managed to keep herself calm. Trying her best to keep the contents of her stomach stable. She tried her best to smile. "Yes, my love."

Louis then let her go and Ethel had backed away towards the door. "Shall I see you at supper?"

Louis gave her a nod. "I expect so." He said with authority. Ethel nodded and closed the door behind her. Tonight… This night was surely going to be a bad one. It was a non-stop feeling.
----

A couple of hours had passed and Ethel had had her supper with Louis. The uncomfortable silence between the two made her anxiety peak. The other passengers, the ones who had survived and were able to move around, ate their supper quietly. The somber atmosphere in the room was something to be expected after the loss of many lives, yet alone their precious belongings. Ethel wasn't one to care about material things, yet alone did she have to worry about replacing them due to her financial status. But that didn't mean she hadn't felt bad about those who didn't have the means to replace a penny's worth. Hence there was Michael. And then there was the mere fact that her father's body had yet to be found.

Ethel watched as Louis had risen from his chair and made his way out of the room. He had seemed headed to the upper quarders of the inn. Her eyes trailed down to her barely touched food. She was not hungry… but she knew she needed to eat if she wanted to get strong again. And yet…

Ethel got up from the table, grabbing her plate of food and followed behind Louis quietly. The man light up a cigar he had hidden in his pockets and made his way to Michael's room.

Once Louis was inside, the door closed behind him. Ethel quietly approached the door and pressed her ear again the wood. There was along period of silence, which made Ethel a bit anxious. Pulling her skirt up a bit, she got down on her knees and placed the plate on the side of her, while she leaned into the door and peeked through the keyhole. Her eyes settled upon the sleeping Michael and Louis who sat quietly in an armchair. Smoking his cigar, his eyes glued to Michael.

A few moments later, Ethel noticed Michael move, calling out to her.

"Ethel?" Louis questioned as he tapped the ashes off of the tip of his cigar. "What would a man like you be doing calling out to my foanceé?" Louis took another smoke from the cigar. "Is there something between you two? Or are you simply trying to go after her? I should warn you right now that if you cannot have her. She is already spoken for, Mr. Sullivan. And I do not appreciate you making others believe that the two of you are together."
It was hard for Michael not to show for a moment a look of irritation at the woman as she had come to disturb which would’ve been a completely nice moment between eh two. Staring up at Ethel was nearly like staring up at an angel. Having her face turned from him to speak to the woman was a bit of a growing annoyance.
“I’m not,” Michael grumbled playfully to get a reaction out of Ethel though he knew that she wouldn’t react in front of the nurse and give her more reason to further peer at them with her judgmental gaze. She hesitated but finally gave a curt nod at Ethel’s request and left, being sure this time to keep the door opened even if just partially. While it was painful, Michael ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth to keep himself from smirking.
“It seems Mrs. Sullivan was short lived.” It was fun while it lasted. This was what he liked about Ethel, her ability to have fun and joke around. Girls were too serious, pushing always for the life of a married woman and while he did one day think he would get married; wasn’t the idea of love supposed to be messy and chaotic? Unpredictable even, he thought as he looked at Ethel. She looked great to him, though her hair slightly misplaced and no makeup. His eyes couldn’t help but look toward the clenched sheet. He’d seen her in less and more of her than one would believe.

Ethel’s outburst needed no explanation, hell he was positive even her mother wouldn’t be pleased at knowing her daughter was sharing a room with who was all but a stranger to the Rosebush family. just two days ago they had met and somewhat become used to one another, a tolerance that couldn’t be avoided. Who was she to come in and derail their lives and what Ethel’s future entailed. Thinking of her mother, his stomach turned. It was best she not know the trouble he was in. if she found out, she would collapse alone from hearing his injuries. And there was no way he would allow her to make a trip by herself after what happened with those robbers.

He closed his eyes then, bits and pieces from the darkened car playing over in his head. He wasn’t sure if the intention truly was to kill him or to disfigure him so that he wished he died. Either way, he was happy to be alive and in the presence of Ethel even if for a short while.
“You don’t have to explain,” he told her with a smile. Though he was worried if she feared a vocal lashing or something worse. Though Louis certainly couldn’t be fool enough to lay hands on Ethel. He was no fool to the lengths an abusive man could go through when it came to testing a woman’s will. It made him shudder to think about how he would act once they were married.

Michael’s fingertips brushed against the ends of Ethel’s, demanding just a last bit of contact before she got back into bed. He readjusted himself, drawing the covers up to help with the draft from the open door. He turned his had to meet her eyes and smiled.
“I would very much like that. You know, a great way to introduce me forever into your life is inviting me to your wedding.” Surely if he was there it wouldn’t seem as odd for them to see each other on normal occasion. Though he knew that would never fly letters seemed like the best bet if they weren’t intercepted and some part of him did want to cherish any conversation he had with her.
“Plenty of pictures,” he promised. He was moved by her suggestion, though the idea of parting was unfavorable. “Well if you do that then I will owe you one promise. Any promise, outside of the one we already made.” He did hope that Ethel would be able to keep that promise, to do whatever made her happy.

He was in and out of sleep due to the head injury. By the time he had woke up, lunch was being served, or was it dinner? He turned to ask Ethel, though a curtain had been drawn between them. Had they moved her already?
“Ethel?”
michael / kshahidx / 14d ago
Ethel’s eyes glanced down at her hands that were once again locked in his. The tingling feelings that she’d felt before once again resurfaced. She tried to recall a moment in time where she had ever felt this kind of sensation. A time where Louis might’ve ever given her heart a flutter. Yet nothing had come to mind and it only frustrated her. If this was going just a taste of what she could feel with someone she was slightly attracted to in some shape or form, then it only meant that she was going to have a great loss in experience if she married Louis. That is… unless he ever made her feel like this later on in their marriage. But that felt like it was too far fetched.

Her eyes glanced up at him as he spoke. Mrs. Sullivan? The name didn’t sound too awful as Mrs. Perkins. In fact, anything sounded better than being permanently attached to a man who truly didn’t seem to care about her unless they were in public. A man who truly made sure that she barely knew him well. Instead, Micahel had seemed to open up to her easily the first night they’d met. He’d shared some of his hopes and some of his dreams. Not to mention he was quite attentive to her own thoughts, what she liked…

Ethel felt a rush through her body, an impulse at the back of her mind wanting to do something that would’ve been terribly stupid. But she couldn’t keep her eyes that had now focused on the curves of his lips. She had to remind herself that it wasn’t lady-like. But all she could recall was the feeling of her body pressed up against his, the way he smelled. The way he-- Her eyes shifted over to the woman who suddenly walked into the room. Ethel instantly straightened her back up and looked away in shame. If it hadn’t been for the nurse, would she have caved into the growing curiosity of knowing this stranger?

“Yes, there was a mistake. However, I didn’t mind the company of a fellow friend.” Ethel flashed a small smile at the woman, glancing at Michael from the corner of her eye as he spoke. She then looked back at the nurse. Another room… to know about Louis. Honestly, Ethel would have cared less if the damned man was alive or had sailed off to heaven’s gates; if he truly was even going to make it there. Yet she knew that for Michael’s sake and her own she had to make damn sure that she would play along nicely.

“Please let him know that I will see him shortly. I need to rest for a bit more.. And also fix myself up since I look horrid.” Ethel glanced down at the sheet that she had still clung tightly to cover herself. Her eyes then shifted back to her. “Tell Mr. Perkins that I am happy to know that he is alive and well.” She lied as the nurse smiled brightly.

“I will be sure to tell him that you are doing well. And so is your friend.” Her eyes shifted over to Michael with a kind smile.

Ethel’s face paled instantly. “Oh no!” She suddenly bursted out. The nurse then narrowed her eyes at her. “I-I mean… I’d rather tell him the good news myself. As a surprise… Since my mother is not well and my father is… well gone for now. Therefore, I’d like to deliver the good news myself to him. If that is alright with you, Miss?”

The nurse nodded before looking over to Michael. “I will see to it that they change you to a more suitable room. And that the doctor will take a look at your wounds.” With that the woman left the room.

Ethel instantly turned to look at Michael. “I apologize for that, but if Louis hears that I am in here with you… things might not go well.” She sighed softly before letting his hand go. Ethel then got up from his bed and slipped back into hers. Her eyes never leaving his. “I was wondering if… maybe… when all this chaos is over, if we could maybe still keep in contact? I would love to hear about your endeavors in chasing your dreams. And I would fancy a couple of letters with pictures in them… once you get a new camera.” She glanced down at her hands. “I might be able to get you one when all of this is over. Possibly as a parting gift?”
Michael looked down at their hands. While it had seemed normal and very intentional, he knew just by holding her hand, that signified something greater than a friendship. Yet, much the same as the first day on the train, he found it hard to let her hands go.
“Maybe the bump to the head is affecting me,” he joked back. Still, he realized that Ethel hadn’t taken her hands from him. Was she bang polite? Or, did she enjoy the warmth and sense of comfort that their touch brought?

Michael was surprised that she hadn’t heard news about Louis, though suspected with the confusion of him being thought to be her fiancé, or husband, it made sense as to why she wasn’t given news on him. He wondered then why Ethel hadn’t firstly thought to check on Louis. She could have just had him kicked out of the room. Shouldn’t he have been the one she was most concerned with being okay? Not Michael, some man she barely even knew. Though, after their night together, they had come to consider themselves something of friends. Maybe it was more of a passing friendship, to which they just seemed to click. Who was to say whether they would carry this bond out whenever they reached their destination? That was if and when they arrived in Junestown.

Michael sighed, he was quite disappointed that plans had been derailed and his camera stolen, but Ethel was right; he was alive. She was alive and safe.
“No,” he said all too quickly. He took her hands again. “I mean, unless you want to. I think I might like the idea of you playing Mrs. Sullivan,” he teased her. Though, it seemed that their little act wouldn’t last for long. The nurse from earlier soon entered to find the two sitting awfully close. She ducked her head, a small smile of apology on her face as though interrupting something intimate . . . something she came to find was a moment shared not with her husband.

“It seems there has been a mistake with the rooms. We were misinformed by our emergency team about your marital status.” Michael didn’t want Ethel to come off as some kind of salacious minx.
“I was just explaining that to Ms. Rosebush. I may have rambled something to the young man who saved my life. Truly embarrassing,” he said with a small smile. He looked toward Ethel.
“It will take some time for us to arrange another room, but Ms. Rosebush I am happy to inform you that your actual fiancé Mr. Perkins is doing fine. Hardly a scratch on him. He was hoping to see you if you’re feeling well.”
michael / kshahidx / 17d ago
As soon as Ethel had noticed that Michael had awakened, she had frozen in place. No, she hadn’t meant to be this close up to him. Especially now that it did look rather suspicious and odd. Though thankfully she had moved away in time as he had sat up abruptly. “Be careful, Michael, you’re hurt!” She said a bit too late. She could already see the pain in his eyes. The way he arched forward. She was thoroughly impressed that he’d yet to shed a tear. Though she wasn’t sure if it was because he was in pain beyond recognition or simply dumb.

Her heart, however, had sunk after taking note of his following words. “Your camera was stolen?” Her head tilted to the side. “Michael, at least you’re alive.” She tried to remind him. Her hands had been taken by him. The simple gesture had sent a slight shiver down her spine. But Ethel couldn’t help keeping her eyes locked on his, even if she felt her cheeks already flushed. “Michael, are you becoming delirious?” She asked in a form of a joke. Since he had taken her hands effortlessly without even knowing her that well.

His question, though, had struck her heart like a lightning bolt. She averted her eyes to hide the worry and sadness that hid behind them. Instead, Ethel formed a fake smile over her lips in an attempt to keep her thoughts and feelings at the back of her mind. For his sake and hers. “My mother is recuperating, I’ve yet to hear news about Louis. However, my father is still missing. I’m not quite sure where that will lead to as of yet…”

Not that she didn’t want to already admit to herself that her father was more than likely dead… But that was another thought that would be restrained for her sake and sanity. Ethel removed one of her hands from his grasp and brushed her fingers gently around the swallowed black and blue below his eye, her eyes following where she traced her finger. “But I am simply delighted to know that at least you’re alright.” She retrieved her hand before clearing her throat. “We were placed in this same room together. I hope you do not mind. A woman came in earlier to verify if we were stable. I found out that they believe you’re my husband.” She giggled softly. “However, I did not know how to have the decency to tell her otherwise. Afterall, they might’ve made a big deal out of it. And maybe they would have done their utmost to conceal me from you. Hence I wouldn’t have been able to be here when you woke.”

Ethel then got up from the bed, pulling her other hand from his grasp. “I will tell them… eventually.” She smiled. “Unless you wish for me to tell them right now?”
When Michael awoke, it took a while for his eyes to focus. Not to mention the ringing in his ears was quite distracting. All he could feel besides pain was this light feathery touch, fingers going through his hair. He blinked a few times, groaning then as his eyes became accustomed to the light and he could finally get some of his vision back. Though, everything still seemed kind of hazy. Eventually he focused on a face though and a familiar voice that overshadowed the ringing. He groaned, wanting to smile but finding that was very painful. He felt like he’d been tossed out of a moving car.

“Ethel?” He questioned din a low voice, his throat dry and scratchy. His immediate reaction was to jerk to a sitting position and yet that immediately sent a burst of pain through him. “What’s going on Where am –” Michael furrowed his brow then, laying back against the pillows. Everything was starting to come back to him then, the flood of memories a nightmarish set of images that he never wanted to have to see again. Yet, he couldn’t shake them away.

“The train,” he whispered. Right, the ambush after the train had come to a halt due to maintenance issues. Though, he wondered if perhaps that had been something done on purpose by one of the robbers. They had to have been on the train the whole time he figured. Michael thought about those steel grey eyes from the man that had attacked him. It felt like so many, but after the initial crash, Michael couldn’t be sure just how many attackers there were.

All he could remember was the retreating figures after they had taken to kicking I’m in the ribs, leaving him to bleed out and more than likely hoping he would die. It was a pretty brutal attack, one that seemed personally motivated. Michael couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt him for any reason. Perhaps it was out of leisure? Michael wouldn’t doubt if some of the women on the train had found themselves victims in other ways and the man beat just for the hell of it.

He groaned, closing his eyes tight. “They took my camera,” he said. He tried not to cry, but it was clear by his expression that this was killing him. It had been only a moment shortly after that he took Ethel’s hands. He’d finally come to assess how hurt she was.
“I’m glad you’re alright. What about your parents . . . Louis?” He knew that this would definitely cause a delay in their trip, for how long Michael wasn’t sure. The only thig that helped him deal with this was knowing that Ethel was alive.
michael / kshahidx / 18d ago
“Husband?” she muttered softly under her breath. No, Michael was nowhere near being her husband. But as the man continued to speak, Ethel reached up and grasped his hand. “Please… mister… Just find Michael…” she said softly and soon she had hazed out into darkness.

The man stared down at the now pale, unconscious, young woman. “We need help!” He called out to the others as one finally rushed off. The man gently lifted Ethel’s body from the floor, his eyes then noticing the impalement. Luckily it had lifted with her and thus had not made any other rips through her body. Yet the man knew that she had little to barely anytime to bleed out if he had removed it. The man quickly ripped off the sleeve from his jacket and wrapped it around her enter and exit wound, securing the metal railing in place in her body. He then lifted her and carried her off with the aid of another attendee. His eyes had soon caught sight of an unconscious male.

The man quickly motioned his helper about the male and gently passed Ethel off to another attendee. He then proceeded to approach Michael. Pressing the tips of his two fingers upon Michael’s wrist. There was a faint pulse, but it was something. He quickly reached up to make sure of his breathing, and though it was faint, it was evident. “We have another survivor here!” he called out as he then picked Michael up…

----

Everything was calm and quiet. Ethel could feel the warm sea breeze brush against her skin. The salty air leaving a heavenly scent behind. The water droplets that were carried by the wind prickled against the skin, leaving small trails of goosebumps. It was a moment of happiness. One she had long forgotten about. It was the last time she could ever see the open view of the aquatic horizon. The unchartered territories that could not be claimed by man. The sea of secrets.

Ethel dug her toes into the sand; something her mother had scolded her for since it wasn’t proper. Yet she could still recall the faint sense of freedom she had felt. And then she closed her eyes, taking in a new familiar scent. A musky scent. The sound of open roaring waters. Her eyes then opened to notice the large waterfall that descended from the mountaintops. The Shyleaf’s that decorated the mountain side, growing amongst some rocks causing it to partially drape over the water. Her attention was then drawn to the striking blue-purple petals with the yellow stripe in the middle. One of her favorite flowers, the Irises. And alongside them grew the water mint, her other favorite flower.

A peaceful scenery indeed. Yet Ethel had not felt right, something was wrong. Very wrong…


[i “Miss Rosebush…”]
Ethel glanced behind her, between the trees. The shadows that played in the dark, with the help of the moonlight, made Ethel’s stomach turn.

[i “Miss Rosebush…”]

The shadows called out again, now with a glowing glare. Ethel could feel her heart stop with fear, her eyes flickered over to the waterfall that had now become more violent. Her eyes shifted back to the shadow figure that approached her. It’s hand extended out to her. Unmoving, the shadow remained silent with his hand out to her. Waiting for her response; whether acceptance or rejection. Her quivering hand then grasped it. The warmth of his hand had brought a sense of calmness to her soul. Her eyes trailed up it’s arm and to the faceless shadow. A smile then on it’s face that caused Ethel to smile in return. The shadow then faded into a familiar silhouette. Michael...

[i “Ethel!”] she heard Louis scream out in anger.

--

Ethel’s eyes shot open. Staring straight at the white curtains that drapped over the roof of the bed. The smell of irises in the air caused her eyes to wander around the room. The small vase of irises that decorate the room by her bedside upon the nightstand. It brought a sense of comfort, yet she could still feel the adrenaline of fear taking a toll on her heart. Her eyes then noticed another bed beside her, on the other side of the nightstand. Ontop, the familiar male from her dreams. Her eyes danced over the wounds and swelling of his face. Was… was he still alive? “Michael.” she spoke in a hoarse voice. A sense of relief washed over her, and a smile formed on her lips when she had noticed him breathing.

Ethel attempted to get up, only to have the sharp painful reminder of her freshly tended wounds. Her body was simply covered by the blanket, nothing underneath apart from the wound dressings, and what had seemed to be some trousers. A night gown that had been cut was placed over her. Ethel glanced at the wound on the side of her stomach. Another on her arm. At least she was alive… but what about her mother? Her father… and… Louis? Sadness washed over her at the thought. She only hoped that they were alright. Her eyes then drifted back to Michael, at least he was still alive…

Pushing herself gently out of the bed, Ethel wrapped the blankets around her body and slowly made her way to Michael. Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, Ethel reached over and gently stroked his cheeks with her fingers. “Michael…” She called out in a soft voice, a mere whisper. “I--”

The sudden sound of the door opening made Ethel jump in her skin, her eyes then shifting to the woman who then entered the room. “Ms. Rosebush! You’re awake!” She announced with happiness. Though her eyes then shifted down to the male, “Is your fianceé alright?”

Fianceé? Louis? She hadn’t heard from him since the prior night… Well the prior night of the accident. Ethel still wasn’t too sure what time or day it was. “I am not sure…” She said softly, though the woman then closed the door behind her as if to keep a secret.

“Usually we do not allow for men and women who are not yet married to reside in one bedroom… But I made the exception since I knew you would’ve wanted to know about your fianceé first thing when you would wake.” The woman winked at her.

Ethel smiled. It was a nice gesture, yet she had not seen Louis sti--- oh. Ethel’s smile faded, her eyes then shifting down to Michael. Had they thought that he was her fianceé? They must’ve confused the notion of her worrying about him with him being her fianceé. “Oh, um… thank you. It is a very kind gesture… but this is…” Would it even matter right now? “This is nice how it is right now, thank you.”

The woman smiled and nodded. Ethel then took a deep breath. “Have you heard or seen my mother and father?”

The woman’s smile faded. Her gaze then shifted away. “I’m afraid that your mother is still unconscious… Your father, though, we’ve yet to collect his body… we’ve yet to have found him.”

Ethel’s breath stuck in her throat, a burning feeling began to bubble in her stomach. She swallowed hard. “I…. Thank you for the information. Let me know when my mother wakes…”

“Of course, ma’am.” She bowed her head before leaving the room. Leaving behind an empty feeling.

“I guess it’s just you and me for now, Mr. Sullivan… Michael...” She spoke softly. Her eyes then shifted back to him as she removed her hand from his face and simply combed out his hair gently. She leaned in closer to his face and whispered, "I will make sure to keep you safe... with what I can. [i Mr. Rosebush...]" She joked half heartedly.
“Ethel!” Michael announced as he came to a stand to help dry her off, though the look from her father made him take a step back. He blushed, knowing he was making their friendship much more difficult and not intentionally did he mean to disrespect her. that was a problem to be figured out on its own as Michael looked toward the billowing and large amount of smoke that could be seen leaving a trail. He rushed toward the window, trying and failing to get a good sense of exactly what was going on. Was there a malfunction or was it simply just a case of overheating. He wasn’t sure whether to worry, but had a tight grip on the booth when the train shifted once more. This time it was much more violent and he felt himself being thrown back. Before Michael could even come to a stand he felt that sharp stop. There was glass breaking and the sounds of the passengers screaming then. Michael looked dup to find a group of men who were rushing through the cars, empty bags being stuffed with whatever they could get their grubby hands on. This wasn’t just a simple malfunction; this had to be an ambush.

There was disorientation then as Michael came to a stumble trying to break through the overturned tables to get to Ethel. Though he was soon stopped by someone yanking his collar. Michael turned to face a young man with a bandana covering the lower part of his face. He had steel grey eyes and despite not seeing his mouth, Michael feared it was a devilish grin.

“Look at this pretty boy,” he said with a chuckle as he threw Michael to the ground. He watched as the man soon began to rifle through his belongings. His worse fear: having his camera stolen. This was playing out before him as he watched as the man took that and the few bills Michael still had left over.

“Please!” he announced as he came to a shaking stand. The money meant nothing, but that camera was everything. For years he worked to scrape up enough to get one. Who was he without that? The man had pistol-whipped Michael then. He screamed out at the pain, his vision beginning to double at that point.
“Should I go easy on the little sissy?” Michael heard, the voice echoing in his ears. He tried to look around for help, but all he saw were blurred figures. His eyes caught sight of a familiar color though, Ethel’s dress. “Maybe you’re not a sissy at all,” he said as he watched Michael’s wandering eyes.
“Ethel,” Michael slurred. There was blood in his mouth, the bitter taste of copper making him want to gag.
“Leave it to me,” a voice said. Michael couldn’t really point it out, everything seeming to run in slow motion at that point. All he could make out was the first that had been pointed toward him, a ring with an emblem he couldn’t make out. Then darkness.

“Over here!” One of the train attendees called out. He heard the sound of a woman screaming for help, what he found were other bodies in the upper-class area. Most unconscious and not looking too good. The older gentleman with silver hair reached down toward Ethel. She was in bad shape.
“Just take it easy ma’am. Is your husband’s name Michael? Don’t worry we’ll find him.” He assured her. the train had come to a complete stop and there was no way they were getting it on track soon. Right now, the most important thing was getting any survivors off the train to get their wounds taken care of. “You guys check on the others! I’ll get her in the car with the other woman survivors. Last name Rosebush,” he said. “Her mother should be on the same car.”
michael / kshahidx / 29d ago
“Good morning Et – Ms. Rosebush, Michael quickly corrected himself with a smirk soon after.


Ethel knew that Michael was playing along with the little game that she had started. It was the best for the both of them given that her father had clearly noticed the sudden difference between them. Something that sadly Louis had noticed as well. Or maybe they were only assuming that Ethel was interested in Mr. Sullivan; in a more than a friend type of manner. Ethel was indeed interested in Michael, but far from anything more than a simple friendship, maybe even an acquaintance.

Even then, Ethel couldn't help but agree with Michael, it had been a rather beautiful night and she had enjoyed his somewhat wholesome company. Despite the drink that had given her a headache the following morning, she had also found herself wishing she had some more right now. With all the food that was placed in front of them, Ethel was far from hungry. A drink would've been more appropriate to calm the nerves, maybe even some lavender.

Ethel's eyes caught on to Michael as he flickered over to her and the smile that followed after. She had returned the smile with her eyes now cast down to the small flower embroidery on the dress. She traced it gently with her finger and listened intently.

Michael was truly someone special. A kind heart that didn't seem to know no hate. At least that's what she could only assume about a man she knew so little about. But her thoughts were interrupted by her father's scoff of disapproval. Clearly he had taken Michael's words as an offence.

"You mean to say that you would not care about a reputation being respected." Her father began to huff out. Though the ambient in the cart had changed with the rumbling. The utensils had begun to vibrate their way off of the tables. The teapot had then suddenly toppled over and spilled on Ethel's dress. The hot liquid had quickly seeped through the fabrics as she had jolted up from her seat, her father aiding her.

"I'm fine, Father." She spoke as she dried herself off with a towel.

"What's the meaning of this?!" Her father huffed. Though Ethel's eyes shifted out to the trail of smoke that showed behind the window. Had something exploded?

Harry suddenly felt as the train rumbled, the sound of her mother screaming in the other cart made her father quickly rush out the door.

Ethel looked to Michael, "Something bad is happeni---" Before Ethel was even able to finish her sentence, she felt as her body had suddenly launched forward crashing against the floor along with the food cart as the train suddenly braked. Ethel could hear the screeching sound of the metal breaks attempting to stop the train and the sounds of people screaming. Porcelain and glass shattering around. Ethel covered her head with her arms feeling as things crashed around her. And suddenly a loud metallic sound clashing echoed along with the train jerking to a full stop that cause chaos within the cart, flying items everywhere. Feeling as the cart soon began to twist and turn and suddenly she felt her body levatate as the train cart toppled to it's side, causing for her body to crash against the window. And then...everything was silent….

Sounds of people screaming and groaning caused Ethel to come to. Her vision was a blurr, she felt in a slight daze. The bitter taste of blood lingered in her mouth. Her eyes focused on a group of men with their faces covered. One man who had removed his mask quitly begsn to stuff the bag with what had seemed to be silver and paperwork, possinly deeds. The man laughed, his smile caught her eye as his gold tooth gleamed. Ethel's fingers jerked involuntarily, catching their attention.

"Such a beautiful young girl. Too bad we can't take her."

"Why not? She would be a nice treat."

"Boss told us not to." She heard the man explain before approaching her. Though she felt her heart race as he chuckled and stared down at her, Ethel couldn't move her body even if she wanted to.


Her eyes shifted over to search for Michael, Louis, her father...mother… anyone. But her attention was brought back to the man who pushed her face a bit to look at him with his foot.

"See you on the otherside, princess." He grinned and soon she felt the heel of the man's boot crash against her face causing the darkness to slipp around her once again.

Moments later, Ethel had woken up again with the taste of blood in her mouth, this time she felt the pain that surged through her body had been on a greater scale. "M...Mi… Mr. Sullivan?" She called out hoarsely. Her eyes flickered open to the now empty cart, chaos still evident inside. Ethel's eyes shifted down to the pain on her side. What seemed to be a small metallic frame from the window had impaled her. Luckily not fatally… or at least she hoped not.

Ethel gently pushed herself up, wincing and whinning at the pain. Yet she had managed to sit up and support herself against the wall--- roof of the train. "Mr. Sullivan…" she called out softly, her eyes shifting over and around at the mess. "M-michael!" She called out a bit more. "Anyone!" She cried out now with more pain. Ethel held on to her side, attempting to take out the metal, yet her hand jerked back suddenly at the shock of pain. No,it was a bad idea. Too painful and... Maybe she'd bleed to death. At least the bleeding wasn't so bad with the metal still stuck inside of her... "Anyone?" She called out now with a bit less hope. Her eyes now swollen up with tears. This... This was all just unreal... Though the sudden sound of something caught her attention. Her eyes now shifting to notice Michael. "Michael! Please... Please tell me you're alright!"
Michael waited for a couple of minutes, enjoying the breeze outside. He figured they should stagger their entries in the case someone else was up. seeing them both up would definitely cause room for rumor. Brushing his hands through his hair, Michael finally entered into the dark car of the train. He took his time, enjoying the peace and stillness of the night. Though he wasn’t alone for long as he came across Louis sitting and enjoying a rolled cigarette in the booth. His stomach twisted some. Had he seen Ethel enter?
“Michael,” Louis said, his voice even and flat. “You too seem to be a night owl.”
“Just, needed some fresh air.” He said with a shrug, his hands now in the pockets of his pants.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” He asked him as he opened a small cartridge to present more rolled cigarettes. Michael was worried, and some part of him feared what Louis would say or do if he decided to not take him up on his offer. Though there was also a curious part of him that wondered just who Louis’s was. Ethel made him sound as though he wasn’t that great of a guy and yet her parents loved him. Perhaps he was just that good of an actor. Michael sat opposite of him then, reaching out to take the smoke. He was handed a box of matches and after one swift move, it burned bright.

Michael took a drag from the cigarette, watching as Louis stared at him through the haze of smoke.
“I don’t suppose you bumped into Ethel while you were out there getting [I fresh air].” Michael knew that Louis was looking for a rection out of him. Perhaps he figured he could catch Michael in a lie. Though, he had nothing to be ashamed of. All he had with Ethel were words and a few shared glances. Though, he thought then about how she felt pressed against him, the way her hair tickled his chin. He shifted in his seat then and took another drag of the cigarette.
“I actually did meet her out there. I suggested she get back in. As you know, it’s not safe for a woman like her to be wandering the car at night.”
“It seems we share the same thought. As her fiancé, I want nothing but for her to be safe.”
“Well with you around, I’m sure she won’t have any problems.” Michael put the cigarette out then before coming to a stand.
“Have a goodnight.”
“You as well, Mr. Sullivan.”

Michael was glad to be back in his own sleeping car. He still felt like he had Louis’ eyes on him. Was he just finding aa reason not to like him though? The thought plagued him until his mind became worn out and eventually he fell asleep. Michael woke the next morning, eager to have his own private quarters which made washing up and getting dressed easy. He soon made his way out, only seeing Ethel’s father and Louis. Breakfast was soon being served which Michael was eager for. Though it would be a lie if he didn’t admit to himself he longed to see Ethel.

“Good morning Et – Ms. Rosebush, Michael quickly corrected himself with a smirk soon after. “It was definitely a beautiful night.” He was right for not elaborating, fearing her father would put two and two together. From the sound of the conversation Louis hadn’t mentioned seeing Michael last night as well. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, knowing it wasn’t his place to interrupt Ethel being lectured by her father. he wasn’t sure he could accept living in a world where everyone told you what you could and couldn’t do.

The food was placed before them then, but Michael was interrupted from buttering his toast by Harry’s question. His eyes flickered over to Ethel, who was dressed in much more clothing than the night prior. A part of him managed to refuse in smiling.
“Well,” he started, trying to choose his words carefully. “I guess I wouldn’t really mind. Though I suspect, my fiancé wouldn’t have been alone in the first place. I would think, it’s something we would enjoy together – being able to have that small moment of an intimate gathering under the starlit sky.” Michael shrugged halfheartedly, ducking his head then. He could tell her father was about to say something before there was a jarring shake to the train. He quickly grabbed the fork that had clattered to the ground. That’s when there was another shake to the train.

Michael frowned. Something wasn’t right.
michael / kshahidx / 42d ago
Ethel could've sworn that Michael had been gazing at her. As if wanting something more from her. Maybe she was being delusional and seeing things that truly weren't there. Maybe he had just been staring at her because he was still in shock of her own actions; actions that were far from lady-like. And yet she still couldn't help but feel as if the feeling had somewhat been mutual; her staring at him because he was quite a man to admire. And even the feeling of his hand on her hip was something that stuck in her head, on her skin... She pushed the thought into the far back of her head where everything else that was truly inappropriate remained locked away.

Somehow his words had caused sadness in her heart. Yet Ethel knew it was for the best. And yet she had somehow hoped that he would've come up with some silly excuse for her to spend a bit more time with him. Time that might've created a big uproar if found out; especially now that her bones felt warm within her skin. Her eyes shifted up to look at his once more, as if to memorize what they looked like. A smile then formed on her lips as she

She could feel his thumb brush against her skin. A comforting yet ticklish feeling, a feeling that vanished a bit too quickly. But she knew it was for the best. Ethel patted his hand gently and stepped back, slowly slipping her hand from his; wishing that the feeling would linger a bit more on her skin. As she had finally parted herself from him, she made her way out of the cart and back to the sleeping cart. Though Ethel had suddenly felt a hand grip on hers gently, startled her eyes shifted back to see who it had been; longing that it had been Michael who had maybe changed his mind. She was disappointed, though, to have seen that Louis had actually been the one to have caught her attention. She gave him a small smile. “Louis, what are you doing up at this hour?”

“I should be asking you the same, Ethel.” He spoke softly before letting go of her hand and smiled at her. “I woke up and noticed that you were no longer in your bed with your mother. But I did not want to make a big deal out of the whole situation so I decided to find you myself. Though I grew worried when I could not find you anywhere on this train, I sent out one of the workers to find you.”

So he had been the reason why she had almost gotten caught talking with Michael. Ethel took a deep breath and chuckled softly. “I am sorry, Louis, I did not mean to scare you.” She could feel his hand caress her face. Examining it for a moment with suspicion. Ethel could feel her heart wishing to rise out of her chest. “What is wrong?”

“You seem… different.” he said softly before glancing down at her gown. She closed her eyes as she could feel his eyes gliding down her body, a feeling that caused her to feel disgusted.

“Why is your gown ripped, Ethel?” he spoke softly before looking back at her. Ethel’s eyes shot open and stared at him. What could she give as an excuse? That she was drunk and accidentally caught it on the railing? “When I got out of bed I accidentally got the fabric caught on the metal parts of the train. I didn’t notice until I went outside to look at the scenery. That is when I realized my indecency and I decided to come back to bed.”

There was a long pause before Louis laughed and nodded. “You truly are clumsy, Ethel. You must guard yourself, especially on the train where there are foul men with ill desires.” He leaned down, causing for Ethel to press her back against the door. Louis then placed a hand against the door to lean against it, to trap her in place. His fingers traced along the lace that decorated the collar of her gown and then down the seams of if that ran down her chest and hips. “You never know what could happen with a beautiful young maiden as yourself, alone in this whole train. [i Anything] could happen.” He spoke softly, causing chills to run up her spine. Ethel swallowed hard, her stomach turning with fear. Had that been a form of threat or was he simply trying to prove a point? “Do you understand, Ehtel?” His eyes then met with hers. A slight cold stare in his eyes caused Ethel to instantly nod her head quietly. Her eyes now taking notice of the grin on his lips. “Good. Now go to bed.”

He didn’t have to tell Ethel twice. The woman quickly reached behind her and pulled open the door and slid away from Louis. Taking in a breath because she hadn’t even noticed she had stopped breathing. She scurried her way back into the bed, pulling the covers over her body, her eyes now staring straight at the underneath of the bed above her and her mother; who was still sound asleep beside her. All Ethel could reply now was the harrowing grin that Louis had given her, yet alone his words. Maybe she truly needed to keep her distance from others… not for her parents sake… but something told her that Louis was far beyond what her parents were… There was just something about him that didn’t settle with her, now more than ever… With that thought, Ethel drifted off to sleep.

As the morning rose, Ethel had done her daily routine with her mother. A routine that involved brushing her hair, making it into a nice pinned up braid as usual. She would wash her face, and brush her teeth. Suddenly Ethel would feel like she couldn’t breathe when her mother would tighten the corset and tie it in place. Ethel then was dressed in one of the finest blue laced, white silk gowns that her mother had given her, and tied up her black leather boots that never seemed to change; even when it was against her mother’s desires. She felt as her mother finished applying powder to her face, with a slight pink blush upon her cheeks and rose colored lip stain. Perfume. All done while her mother would always sing a song that was followed by a hollow prayer with the rosary. A prayer that usually involved asking for wealth, health and stability for her whole family. And after her mother was done With that she was done.

“I would like to know what happened to your nightgown last night.” Her mother spoke as Ethel then turned to look at her mother.

“I accidentally tore it while trying to look outside.” Ethel abbreviated as her mother hummed.

“You know it’s not appropriate to wander alone on the train, Ethel. Please do not do it again. You could get hurt.” Her mother scolded. Ethel sighed softly, she knew it all too well. Especially now that her fianceé thought badly of her. Thankfully not of Michael. Ethel gave her mother a reassuring nod before leaving the cart and entering the maincart where her father sat drinking his coffee and smoking his cigar. Ethel walked over to her father and pressed her lips to his cheek gently. “Good morning father.” Her eyes then drifted to the young man she had spoken to the previous night. She gave him a small smile. “Good morning Mr. Sullivan.” she said in a sweet voice before taking a seat across Michael. “Have a good night’s rest? It was a nice and refreshing night. Don’t you think?”

Harry looked over at the two with a smirk. “Yes it was.” her father said before looking at her. “I heard that you went for a midnight stroll, care to have any explanation as to why you were wandering around alone?”

“I felt a bit restless… so I decided to look at the stars…” Ethel spoke softly before looking at her father. “I did not think it would cause a big commotion.”

“You are right, you did not think.” her father said in a husky voice. “Had you ever thought about it before, you would’ve known how this would take an affect on Louis’ view on you? It would create a mess of things.”

Ethel nodded and lowered her gaze to the floor. Not that Louis already hadn’t found out about her wandering tendencies. “Yes, father…”

“Mr. Sullivan,” her father began as he looked over at the young man. “How would you have felt if you found out your fianceé found entertainment in wandering around the train amongst strangers while in nothing but a nightgown? Wouldn’t you also feel offended? Betrayed.”
Michael could tell that he had offended Ethel or maybe he had said the wrong thing. “Ethel I didn’t –” She had already came to a stand and was making it very clear that their conversation was over. Though her moment of seriousness was ruined by the sound of the ripped fabric. Her laugh was infectious, though there was a sad twinge to it and h figured it had something to do with their little talk. Michael’s cheeks turned red as he quickly realized he had been staring which was quite inappropriate. “Right, out of hand.” He said with a small smile as he stood up. He saw the brief flash of light before he was taken by Ethel and pressed against the side of the train. He looked over toward the sound of a male. Thy were quiet then, nothing but the sounds of their breathing and the insects in the passing trees before finally the man left. Michael’s chest rose and fell quickly as he was coming down from that shock of adrenaline.

He then looked down to Ethel who was pressed against him then. Had anyone seen the two together in such a manner, it wouldn’t fare well for either of them and especially not a young lady who was engaged. He could smell her perfume then, the soft strands of her blonde hair tickling his chest as they were blown by the wind. His hand was on her hip then and thought crossed his mind to caress her cheek. She looked so delicate, he couldn’t imagine a man like Louis with her. Suddenly, their eyes met and he now could see in the moonlight the red tint on Ethel’s cheeks. He wished she hadn’t pulled away.

Michael cleared his throat then, his hand reaching up to scratch the back of his neck in an attempt to not just stand there and look like an idiot.
“Yes, looks like we should get in before he comes back.” He said, honestly, he could stay all night with her. though, what would happen should her mother wake up in the middle of the night? Michael looked toward Ethel’s hand, the one he had wanted to hold since their first meeting. He took it, his thumb grazing over the back of her hand gently. “I promise,” he said to her. “Friends. You should go first.” He needed just a little more fresh air before heading inside.

Though, how was he ever going to sleep now?
michael / kshahidx / 51d ago
Ethel chuckled. Her father would have never permitted her to be alone with Louis, he'd much less allow her alone with Michael. Even more so if he knew of him being part of the lower class. Well that would be a disgrace to the family! At least in her parents eyes, to Ethel it wasn't something that really mattered. Everyone wore the same skin, different color. They were all humans.

"I am sure I could sneak us a session one day. If we are ever able to keep in touch."

Michael's words had seemed to echo in her head and it caused her slight pain of heart. No, she didn't believe it for an instant. But she had to, for the sake of her future life; whatever it was. "I am hoping that one day I will wake up and be happy, regardless of what comes of it." She admitted softly. Taking the last sip from the flask before handing it back to Michael. She could feel the warmth in her bones. Maybe she had one too many… Her eyes traveled down to his hand which connected to hers. Her eyes drifted up to him with curious eyes. It was a nice feeling, his hand upon hers. A much different feeling from Louis' hands; which sometimes felt more like a demanding grip than an unconscious holding of hands. Ethel's fingers brushed over his gently, as if giving him a hint that she was comfortable with it.

Though Michael's words were sweet, there was something about it that made Ethel feel unsteady. Perhaps it was the mere fact that she knew deep down inside that she couldn't keep such a promise. That if she even dared to go against her parents Will she would surely be… they wouldn't go that far, would they?

“Michael, I cannot promise anything of those sorts." She admitted and let out a small sigh as his hand was taken from hers. She was enjoying the small moment. But as usual it was short lived. Ethel shook her head. "I am not tired. Nor do I need any beauty sleep. There is no such thing." She said a bit roughly before attempting to get up. Though as Ethel got up, she heard a slight sound of fabric ripping. Her eyes glanced down and noticed the new rip at the end of her night gown. The rip had seemed to slip right up to where her femur was. Ethel couldn't help but laugh. Yes, this was exactly the kind of luck she had in life and this was exactly how it would possibly end. Ethel pinched the fabrics together and looked to Michael. "Well Michael, I think you are right. We should go get some rest before things get out of hand." She smiled. Though her attention was caught by a slight light that came form from behind the window curtain on the cart door. Ethel quickly pulled Michael up and pushed him gently behind the wall of the door and pressed herself against him to hide as well.

"Anyone out here?" A man called out. Peering into the room as he held up a lantern to light up the room. Though the man simply shrugged before closing the door and leaving the cart.

Ethel took a deep breath. If she hadn't been sober before she was surely sober now. Her eyes then looked up to Michael. "I think you should head out first." Were her words before she had noticed that she could feel his body clearly upon hers, to which she instantly blushed and moved back abruptly. "O-or I should." She spoke softly before looking away. "I will try to keep my promise… from before. If you promise to do the same?" She held out her hand to him. "Friends?"
He thought about how Ethel had looked at him when he suggested there were just some things you had to get used to while being poor: the taste of cheap liquor, cold nights, sometimes an empty belly for the day. She could apply that to her own life as well. Though her life was glamourous and luxurious, he was sure there were things that she would just have to get used to; like her controlling parents or a marriage to a man she obviously had no interest in. Michael figured he would keep that to himself, but figured Ethel herself had to draw the same comparison. She was a very smart girl and he could tell that for some thoughts she had, they required a conversation only with herself which he imagined made her quite introspective.

Michael watched as Ethel struggled with whether to be honest and not only with Michael. But also with herself. He could see that she was trying to find an excuse or a way to explain why Louis was perfect to marry or why she could learn to like him, maybe even love him. Still, she parted her lips and for a moment there was only silence. Maybe it was the liquid courage, or the comfort of confessing these thoughts to a stranger that allowed her to tell the truth. Though as he held this secret confession, he wondered if he was still considered a stranger to Ethel. Surely after the train ride they would part and maybe once in a while they would cross paths briefly. Though who should she be then? Is it possible she would have lost this curious and playful person she was now to becoming the wife of a successful oil man. That was a whole different personality in itself.

“Well if your father would ever permit such a thing, I would have no qualms about it being just us two.” Michael said. In fact, he actually quite liked the idea better, it seemed more intimate.

“Adapt,” Michael repeated. It was a sad way to speak about one’s future. Michael always thought happiness was something that in some sense just fell in your lap, you could search for it sure, but it shouldn’t be that much hard work. It seemed to him that Ethel in some way was trying to obtain the impossible. “Do you really believe that? That you’ll one day wake up as Mrs. Perkins and you’ll look over and just be happy?” He could feel the last of the liquid in the flask, taking a sip then before handing it over to Ethel. He made sure to hold her hand sin his at that point, feeling how cold they were, though she suspected her palms warm as the liquor was making its way through her body.

“Whatever happens after this train ride, I do want you to promise me that you will try to do what makes [I you] happy.” Michael could tell he was starting to get tired, or maybe he was trying to find an excuse to end their little get together as he knew that a little bit of liquid courage would have him saying or doing other things.
“We should be getting to bed,” he said. “wouldn’t want you to not get any beauty sleep.” He realized their hands like earlier were still connected and quickly removed his grasp.
michael / kshahidx / 52d ago

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