It was a regular day. The Master of the House was hosting an important event, no doubt looking for a wife given his family wanted him to marry a lady of good lineage and it was up to the servants to make sure the house was in good order and the grounds set to compliment the guests. Spring was always wonderful, right on the cusp of summer and Maisie loved how the flowers bloomed and the birds returned. She was a quiet woman, she had been with the family since she was a child, taken from one of the poor houses where she had escaped working in the factories. The Master's father had been kind and over the years she had blossomed into a kind individual who worked diligently.
[+blue "Ah! Yes, fix that vase there."] She smiled to one of the younger servants and helped them adjust a vase of flowers on one of the tables. It had to be perfect, this was the Master's reputation after all. Maisie wore her usual uniform, dull colours and her hair pinned together beneath a bonnet, no distraction from the guests and their beautiful outfits. The footman announced that guests were beginning to show up and Maisie nodded to him before stepping into the halls of the house. It was a beautiful house but Maisie always preferred the freedom of being in the grounds, whenever she could. The brunette watched as guests filed in and the men served drinks.
She was tasked with making sure no mess was left, that no guest was dissatisfied and that they had somewhere they could go in the shade. These events were always tasking, especially on the younger servants and she kept a close eye on them as they worked themselves hard. The Master was not a cruel man, not by any standard but in this society, there was a pecking order and they were at the bottom. Maisie avoided eye contact with any guests and cleared away some glasses, placing them in the kitchen for the cook to clear away with her assistant.
There was silence in the little room as Christian stared at the machine, utterly gobsmacked. It had worked, all of his readings were correct. Every single part of it, they had worked on this for years. He knew he could do it but now it was happening he didn't know what to do. His assistant, he would have to call her, she was going to be excited and he had always told her that when it had worked, he would let her choose where they visited first. He eyed over the disc in his hand, a remote of sorts that they simply had to touch to be transported. They could go anywhere, anytime. It was incredible. This would change everything.
He didn't want to tell anyone though, he wanted to savour this moment right then, maybe visit somewhere with his partner. She was his partner in this, not an assistant but she could make a great cup of coffee. He found his phone and dialled in her number, [+red "Hey! Hi! Okay, so don't be mad, I stayed up most of the night, I was working and I know you said to get some sleep but I knew we were close."] He explained, babbling slightly and the excitement was clear in his voice.
[+red "We did it. It worked, I tested it four times this morning, each time was a success, it bloody worked!"] He said, utterly flabbergasted by himself. [+red "You best start thinking about where you want to visit! We should do a small visit, right? You know, test the waters!"] Christian wasn't a real buff on history, he wasn't all that knowledgeable about time periods and what was expected of them and how to act but he was sure she was, she was clever and beautiful and for some reason she stuck around and helped him with this mammoth task. It had all paid off now, they could time travel.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Being the son of such wealthy man in these times was sometimes a hard burden to bear. It might that one constantly had to put on a show when it come to social events and Josiah was someone who much preferred to be himself around others. Over the years he had been taught how to properly greet guests into his home and once his parents were happy that he had mastered such responsibilities, he became master of the house and they moved out of the manor and moved into a cottage not too far away. He was of the age now that his prestige would be attracting families who would want him to marry their daughters to ensure a strong lineage between them and for any future grandchildren but until now, Josiah had not expressed an interest in that at all. He would much rather continue his work.
He was quite influential when it came to politics these days, working his way into the local parliament as an elected MP and he was hoping to use his influence to improve the conditions of those less fortunate than him. Some might have even referred to him a ‘social reformer’ but he much preferred to keep things far more modest.
This evening, he was entertaining guests at his large estate in hopes to gain support for his upcoming bill that would reduce working hours and increase inspections for the local workhouses and factories, but his parents were constantly on his back about finding himself a wife too. Truth be told, Josiah was already smitten with a woman; someone he had practically grown up with, but he was unsure how she felt about him, and he knew that society would make it hard for them to be together if he expressed his desire to her.
As the thought of her passed him by, he looked around the room and spotted her working. Maisie was beautiful and there were many times he found himself simply watching her with admiration. He smiled to himself and caught her eye momentarily and before he had the chance to wave to her, a guest caught his attention and stole it away and he was pulled into a dull conversation about the wonderful summer they had been having.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel would give almost anything to relive the past. Not her own past of course because her life was mostly boring up to this point, but the lives of those who were now lost to history. It was her passion entirely and she completely loved learning about how people used to live their lives. Perhaps that it why she had become so intrigued with the work one of her colleagues had been working on. Of course, at first, she did not think that time travel could ever be possible, and she was mostly fuelled by this fantasy belief that one day she might be able to experience those things she was passionate about. However, lately it was seeming like it was far more likely to become a reality and she could barely contain her excitement.
Laurel had been working late with Christian the night before and it was clear that he felt like they were really close and on to something. However, it was extremely late and she called it a night, hoping that he would get some sleep too but there was really no telling Christian to get any sleep really because he was as stubborn as her when it came to his work.
She was just coming out of a lecture when her phone rang, and she saw his name on the screen. She smiled to herself and picked it up. Laurel could only get in a hello before he started to speak over her, not even giving her the chance to tell him she was on her way with his favourite Starbucks order. Laurel stopped in her tracks when he claimed the machine worked and her lips parted a little in disbelief. [B I’ll be right there!”] She said and with that she put the phone down, placed it in her pocked and practically ran to his lab with the drinks in hand.
She was out of breath when she arrived, but she didn’t care about that so long as he wasn’t pulling her leg. [b “Please tell me you weren’t joking on the phone?!”]
Maisie was careful as she moved on the outskirts of the guests, servants were to be seen and not heard. Although she did admire how Josiah tried so valiantly to make life better for those beneath him. He was a different man, a rare one in these times. [b "Oi, a refill would be appreciated should you find the time in your busy schedule."] A man clicked his fingers and Maisie broke her look with Josiah to see one of the men snapping his fingers to one of the newer girls. She looked flustered and Maisie approached, taking the glass from the man who was glaring.
[b "I thought this household would be more well equipped to deal with a simple party. It's the reason my servants are kept in line with a belt."] He announced loudly and Maisie glanced to the girl, [+blue "Away down to the kitchen, check on the cook."] Maisie gave the girl an excuse to make herself scarce quietly and the girl scampered off. Maisie would check with her later and she just gave a polite smile to the man as she refilled his glass and handed it to him in silence.
Maisie gave a neat curtsy before backing off before the man could say anything further about the service. She moved some glasses and eyed the women in their pretty, bright dresses with their hair so immaculate. They were like fair swans, graceful and smiling as they each tried to draw Josiah's attention. She wasn't sure how she would work here when he did inevitably marry, it would be difficult but her duty always came first.
Christian was incredibly giddy. He was beside himself that their work had paid off after so long. He had doubted it so many times and he could tell Laurel was just as excited when she got off the phone. He chuckled and looked over the paperwork, starting to stuff it into a drawer with a lock. He didn't trust other people, people would do anything to get their hands on this sort of discovery and claim it for themselves and he wasn't taking any chances. This was his and Laurel's discovery.
Christian waited for an eternity for the woman to appear and when she did he smirked and stood up. [+red "I wasn't joking, we actually did it. Look, look at these records. Four times, we can go wherever we want."] He said to her as he pointed to the machine and then gestured to the disc. Christian grinned at her, proud of them both.
[+red "Where are we going? When are we going?"] He asked her, he had promised it would be her choice. He would go with her wherever she wanted. Wherever she chose would be phenomenal and it was a great way to spend time with her and he could claim it was in the name of their research. Laurel was the smartest and most wonderful woman he had ever met in his life and he didn't think he had a chance. Besides they were partners, it would make everything awkward if he was ever honest about wanting to take her out one night.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah was well versed in high society chat, but it certainly bored him, but he knew that he couldn’t really afford to snub anyone. However, when he heard the way that some of his guests spoke to the people who worked in his home, he had to excuse himself from the current conversation to ensure that there was no further agitation.
[b “Is there a problem here?”] He asked, approaching the man who had clicked his fingers at a member of his staff. When he heard the man explain the situation he frowned slightly. It was evident from the look on the man’s face that he expected him to chastise the woman who had been sent off into the kitchen, but he simply looked over to Maisie and smiled. [b “My staff are working extremely hard sir and there are a lot of guests her so I would appreciate it if you could show a little more patience. As for your advice on how I should keep my servants in line, I do not beat anyone. Slavery has been outlawed sir and there is a reason for that. I will not treat anyone that way.”]
He then made his way over to Maisie and placed her hand on her shoulder. [b “Good evening. Could you do me a favour and check on the girl for me? You know the cook doesn’t like me in her kitchen.”] He chuckled and offered her a warm smile.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was as giddy and Christian, and she looked at him with both anxiety and excitement. There was every chance that he was just pulling her leg, but she could tell that there was something about the way he sounded on the phone that told her he wasn’t joking. When he finally spoke, she smiled. [b “Four times?”] She looked towards the machine and then looked back to him and she couldn’t resist throwing her arms around him. [b “This is amazing!”] She exclaimed, kissing his cheek without even a second thought.
Laurel handed him his drink and she took a sip of her own and then opened a cupboard in the room. [b “Well…we need the appropriate clothes and I borrowed these from the history department. I figured around 1850s would be fun!”]
Maisie watched the exchange but was careful not to stare. Josiah always did surprise her that way, standing up for servants who were mistreated. She glanced to him when he placed a hand on her shoulder and she smiled to him. She gave a brief bow of her head and nodded, [+blue "Of course, sir. I'll see to it that food is sent up."] She assured him. Her smile was bright ad thankful for his assistance and she made her way down to the kitchen, spotting the girl from before sitting at the table, where the servants usually ate together and the cook had been kind enough to brew her some tea.
[b "She's helpin' me with peeling potatoes for tomorrow."] The cook said, a much older woman with kind eyes but a sharp tongue. The kitchen was her domain and everyone knew that. [+blue "Perfectly fine, the Master sent me down to check on the girl. Also, the guests are ready for their appetisers."] She smiled to the cook who tutted, [b "Alright, they'll be right out, send those men down here."] The cook snapped and Maisie nodded and looked to the young girl. She seemed content peeling potatoes and she had a natural liking to the kitchen, even cook didn't seem to mind her being there. She nodded and headed upstairs, speaking to the others as they filed downstairs and she approached Josiah.
[+blue "Sir, the meal is ready."] She said to him and gestured to the tables outside. It wasn't a full meal, more of some appetisers so guests could mingle but it was a good opportunity for guests to sit, maybe dance here and there. Maisie showed guests to the outside and it was a beautiful day. She fixed her bonnet, tucking a stray curl back into place and looked to the footman, [+blue "If anymore guests arrive, please see them through to the grounds."] She remarked with a nod to him. The footman agreed and went back to the main area of the home, watching for any late comers.
A kiss to the cheek left Christian somewhat stunned as he watched Laurel. She was amazing. He only came back to reality when he took the drink from her and he smiled a littlle. [+red "1850s? That's doable and not too far back. Oh- I have to wear this?"] He eyed the clothes in the cupboard, evidently she had been set on the Victorian era for a while and he eyed the shirts. He chuckled a little, taking a drink before setting it aside and going to the shower room adjacent to change. It was strange, a lot of frills and he eyed his hair, slicking it back.
He had seen some period shows, he didn't know if they were accurate and he headed back through, fiddling with the strange tie. [+red "Laurel, how do these things work?"] He said, flustered a little as he watched her. Then again, she probably had so many layers on in that dress... Although she did look absolutely breath taking. He paused a little to look over and then shook himself out of it. [+red "They all dress like this right, I'm not going to show up and be the only guy looking like some fine, aristocratic man?"] He said, striking a pose for effect as he smirked at her.
Christian eyed the disc and fiddled with some digits, setting up the time period correctly as he double checked. [+red "When you're ready, you just have to touch it."] He said with a smile.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] It didn’t matter how many times Josiah asked Maisie to call him by his name. They practically grew up together and it was a little awkward when she called him sir. It didn’t feel right but he knew that he would never drop the title when there were guests in the house. She would sometimes call him Josiah when they were alone but more often than not she would correct herself even though she didn’t need to.
[b “Thank you Maisie. I appreciate everything that you are doing.”] He nodded towards her and then returned to his conversation with a couple of business owners. It was an important conversation since they were discussing the impact of reduced working hours. Luckily, he had the support of some of them and that was really half of the battle. He only needed a few influential people on his side to make all of this work in his favour. Although it was more in the favour of the working class than his.
It wasn’t much longer before Maisie was back at his side letting him know that the meal was ready. [b “I appreciate it, thank you.”] He said before announcing to everyone that it was time to make their way outside. Today they were going to take advantage of the weather and the garden looked an absolute picture. It was really the perfect place during the height of summer.
Soon enough there was a mix of people sitting, talking and eating. There were plenty stood around drinking wine and some enjoying the weather. He called for everyone’s attention and when he had it close to silent, he made sure he spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. [b “I wanted to take just a moment of your time to thank you all for coming today. I appreciate your support and I hope you continue to enjoy the party!”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was rather amused by the look on Christian’s face. She thought he would look rather handsome in the clothes, but she would never say that aloud. Laurel smiled and nodded towards him. [b “I’m sure you will look just fine in it. This is far back enough that it’s exciting history, but not so far back that it would be super dangerous for out first time…plus getting hold of these clothes was considerably easier than getting hold of something else.”]
As soon as Laurel finished sipping her drink, she took her dress off the hanger and got herself dressed. There were many layers to it, but it was easy enough to put on. She chose a dress that didn’t require any help on this occasion and once she was dressed, she looked up towards Christian who was struggling with the tie. [b “Let me help you.”] She smiled and nodded. [b “You’ll fit right in. It’s better than we go dressed like this because it means we will have an easier time.”] She stood back and smiled. [b “You look great!”]
Laurel watched him punch a few numbers into the machine and Christian was clearly going to let her press the button that would transport them in time. [b “Let’s do this.”] She smiled nervously and reached out and touched the machine.
Maisie watched Josiah and smiled to herself. Josiah really was a marvel, he qas charismatic and everyone thought so highly of him, not just his family name but of him as a man. He was making leaps and bounds in society, a revolutionist if ever she had seen one, history would probably remember him as some pioneer for those who were unfortunate. She watched as he spoke to the guests with a wonderful air of welcoming about him.
Maisie watched the guests mingle and she glanced up when two more guests entered and she didn't recognise them. Of course, that wasn't to say much. There were a lot of people she didn't know here and it wasn't her place to know them. The only way she would ever come to know these people was if they employed her and Maisie had no inte times of leaving this house. Not ever, they had been kind to her and she knew other houses were not as kind and gentle as this place. Any servant that came here lived happily, with a paycheck and there were no beatings or sordid affairs going on. It was a second family.
Maisie smiled in greeting and showed Laurel and Christian to a free table, she supposed they knew Josiah quite well, or his family. They seemed a little strange, perhaps too much wine or scotch on the journey here and Maisie made sure their glasses were full before falling back into place. She couldn't shake the feeling that these people weren't from these parts, maybe they were foreigners. It wasn't her place to question it however, for all she knew these were distant relatives or possible business owners. A man and his qife, their clothing was a little ruffled but she supposed they were still well dressed.
Christian smiled to Laurel. It was mesmerising to see her so happy and excited with just a tinge of fear but he knew he had the calculations right and he let her fix his tie and he eyed the dress. It was nothing like modern day clothing or dresses. He hadn't quite seen anything like it before, it was judt odd. She pulled it off though and Christian was impressed. He watched her touch the disc and he smiled as he did the same. It was a lurching feeling, almost like motion sickness and when he opened his eyes he was before a house. It was a grand home, like an estate and there were carriages and such around. He stared in disbelief, it looked like something from a movie.
[b "Excuse me, pleasure to welcome you. If you would step through to the grounds and Master Josiah is entertaining there."] A footman said and Christian looked to Laurel, taking her arm and nodding. He wasn't sure what to say or do right then. He was afraid to speak in case he said something wrong or did something wrong. Both were equally strong possibilities.
[+red "What have we walked into?"] Christian said to Laurel, utterly bewildered as they were guided to a grand and colourful outdoors. It was beautiful, bit it looked like some sort of party or celebration. A kind young woman took them to a seat and Christian smiled at her but noticed she was dressed differently and she didn't linger to mix with anyone. [+red "Don't suppose you know what we've gotten ourselves into."]
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] From that moment on, the gathering became less about gaining support and business and more about enjoying the food and the music. It was nice to see people enjoy themselves and he hoped this marked the beginning of a summer full of reasons to celebrate.
[I “Josiah my darling what a wonderful party.”] His mother approached, eagerly kissing his cheeks and taking his hands in her own. [I “All the guests look very happy, but I couldn’t help but notice that there are not many ladies here without a husband. How do you expect to find yourself a wife if you are not around eligible women?”] The woman tutted and looked to his father who was following behind her. [I “Tell him dear.”]
[I “Ah leave the boy alone. He’s got time yet. Let him get elected once more and then he can focus on finding himself a wife.”] He pat his back and grinned.
[b “Thanks Dad.”] It was great having his parents here and it was good to see that they were proud of him because that’s all he truly wanted. [b “How are things? Are you missing the manor house?”]
[I “A little but having a smaller house to take care of suits us better these days.”] He smiled and took hold of his wife’s hand. [I “We’re hoping to go to the continent soon.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] As soon as Christian’s hand touched the machine, the odd sensation came over her. It was almost as though she was on a rollercoaster and the moment she found herself in front of a large manor house it felt like her equilibrium was off for a solid few minutes. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation as the nausea hit her but she was more than happy when she had come to the realisation that it had worked.
[b “We did it. We really did it.”] She said, her voice laced with excitement as she took in the sights before her. The grand home was clearly belonging to someone of importance, and it was clear she wouldn’t have to wonder for too long because they were being approached. Laurel nodded and allowed Christian to take her arm. It was a gentlemanly thing to do and she quite liked the feeling of her arm in his.
When they were escorted inside she looked around and before she knew it they were being seated and provided with wine and once they were alone Laurel’s eyes lit up.
[b “This is Josiah Roger’s home. He was the elected MP here in the 1850s. He did some great work to help improve the lives of the poor in London.”]
Maisie watched Josiah with his parents. They were good people too, they likely just wanted the best for him. Maisie didn't have family, she knew nothing about them, as far as she was aware she had just been left on the poorhouse steps as a baby and that had been her life since. Work in the factory when she was old enough and then Josiah's father had come and picked her for working in the house. It had been a teal blessing. She was younger than Josiah and they had grown up together, played like children and she had watched him mature into the Master of the House. He was marvellous, Maisie wasn't sure if he knew such a thing or not but in her eyes he would always be marvellous.
Maisie adored him, she always had ever since she was a teenager but she knew the class differences and she understood her place and Josiah's. It was not something that would ever happen, he was to marry a beautiful upper class woman who would give him amazing renown and raise his reputation. Maisie took her time and approached, [+blue "Excuse me, sir. I am so sorry to interrupt. You had two late guests, I saw them to a table. I was also wondering if I could gave a moment of your time, later on this evening regarding some issues."] She explained and nodded towards Christian and Laurel.
Of course, as the day went on, people left and Maisie made sure that everything and everyone was adequately neat and escorted out. There was only a handful of people left by the time the sun went down and Maisie was making sure that the ground were clean and glasses were put away. She wanted to talk to Josiah about the girl from earlier and possibly having her as an assistant in the kitchen.
Christian watched Laurel, perplexed. Josiah Rogers? He didn't know the name but it evidently meant a lot to her. An MP? This guy was a big shot, rising star most likely and he had obviously made history with his actions. Christian was impressed, more so at how Laurel knew so much honestly. He looked to Josiah and then to Laurel, [+red "This is great, these are actual people."] He said, this was an actual place. This wasn't some reenactment or show, it was real and the people here were living and breathing.
[+red "So you must know what happens to him then, right?"] He asked Laurel, he had to admit he was curious. She was the brains and beauty of the two, he knew that. He eyed the food before them and looked to Laurel. Probably safe to eat right? He took a sip of the wine, it didn't taste anything like modern day wine but it wasn't bad. He supposed this particular class of people were the fancy ones going by their airs and graces.
Christian watched Laurel, she seemed to be in her element and he cursed himself for not bringing a camera or something although it wasn't like he could use a camera slyly either. He wanted to capture how she looked right then and he glanced to Maisie who was watching Josiah and he raised an eyebrow at Laurel, giving her a nudge to point it out. [+red "I'm going to guess servants are lower class right?"]
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] It was interesting for Josiah to hear about his parents and their hopes for the future. He was glad that they were finally slowing down after working so hard to provide for him and make sure that he had everything that he needed to succeed in life. Of course they were both keen to see him marry but honestly it was hard for him to think about that when he was sure that there was a woman who already held the key to his heart.
Just as he thought about her, the woman appeared around the corner to let him know that he had two more guests. He glanced towards where she was gesturing, and he raised his brow. [b “I do not recognise them, but I will make sure that I greet them at some point.”] He smiled and then looked back toward her when she asked for some of his time later. [b “Of course you can. I hope that I can help you iron out these issues whatever they are.”]
He ensured that he mingled with the guests and said goodbye to those who left and went home. When there were only a handful of guests left, he decided to make his way over to the newcomers to introduce himself and find out who they were more out of intrigue. Of course, this was an open invitation, and many were welcome.
[b “Good afternoon. I do not recognise the two of you. Are you from out of town?”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was almost like a child in a sweet shop with how excited she was. It was amazing to observe the people of this time and see how they celebrated and socialised. Of course, she knew all of this for her study of the past but actually [I experiencing] it. She was in her happy place.
She glanced back to Christian when she heard his voice and she grinned towards. [b “This is incredible. Thank you so much for bringing me here.”] She nodded towards him and looked back at Josiah. [b “He goes on to be Prime Minister and he runs for two terms. He has a wonderful wife and two children, but he hasn’t married her yet. From what I can gather, he hasn’t even established a relationship with the woman yet.”] She looked back to Christian and confirmed her was right. [b “Yes, they are but Josiah works to try to and lessen the gap between them.”]
They enjoyed the party, observing the guests and when there were only a few people left Josiah made her way over to them. [b “Hello, Sir Rogers. Thank you so much for having us. We are from out-of-town but we couldn’t leave without coming to show our support for your bill.”]
Maisie made sure the house was clean, that it was presentable. It would mean less work in the morning and Maisie would be grateful for an easy day where it was simply the House and Master to watch over. No grand parties or guests to entertain. It was always much nicer because the servants weren't pressured. They could be more at leisure and Josiah was much more understanding. She was relieved Josiah would hear her out on her issue.
Maisie watched the Master as he approached the two guests and she shooed some of the staff to clear up. It was beginning to get cloudy, thunder rumbling overhead from somewhere. The footman was seeing the last of the guests out and Maisie went to prepare drinks for the evening. It was then that the footman returned, drenched with rain and Maisie watched him, [b "Please inform Master Rogers that the bridge towards town has flooded. Thankfully the guests have made it across."] He explained and Maisie looked to see Laurel and Christian. [+blue "Not all of them."] She murmured before approaching.
[+blue "I am terribly sorry, the bridge to town has been flooded, it seems bad weather is expected. Sir, I can set up the guest rooms for this evening."] She offered. Most of the servants were finishing their routines and Maisie still seemed bright and alert, as she always did when she was on duty.
Christian watched as people started to file out, they started to leave and thank the host in a good and orderly fashion. It was just weird, it would never happen in modern day. He looked up when Laurel spoke. Prime Minister? This guy was impressive and he tilted his head. He straightened up when Josiah approached and he stared at Laurel. She was a natural and he cleared his throat, [+red "A pleasure to meet you, Sir Rogers. Might I say what a wonderful home you have."] He said.
[+red "I'm Christian Fellwood and this is my-"] He looked to Laurel, scratching his head for a moment. She wasn't wearing a ring, so he couldn't couldn't wife and it would have felt awkward calling her his sister. [+red "An acquaintance of my brother. She is a huge fan of your work."] Christian couldn't tell if he was messing this up and he looked to Laurel.
Laurel was in her element, she knew how to speak and she was bright and presented herself as an intelligent woman. He wondered if she would have ever coped in a time like this. Women were just meant to be pretty and whilst Laurel was absolutely breathtaking, Christian knew she was intelligent too, he watched Laurel with soft eyes and then glanced to Josiah and then Maisie when she approached. [+red "Oh! Not to worry, we can risk it, I'm sure it will be perfectly fine."] He said. They hadn't come here in a carriage and Christian sort of wanted to stay and pick this man's brains about his ideas but he looked to Laurel.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah was more than happy to welcome new people into town and his home, so this was no different. He was surprised that the women spoke first of course, since many men had their women on a tight leash, not allowing them to speak unless it was to a benefit of theirs, but he did notice that the woman did not have a ring upon her finger which stood to reason that this man was not her husband. Strange for a woman of her age to be unmarried. Perhaps she was widowed. It was not uncommon. Of course, that was none of his business though.
When her company spoke, he glanced towards him with a smile. [b “Thank you. I am extremely proud of my home, so your compliments are welcomed. Christian it’s a pleasure…”] He extended his hand out to him and then glanced towards Laurel when she introduced herself, extending her the same courtesy. It was uncommon to have a woman admire his work because politics was not something that they were placed in, but it did not bother him.
When Maisie approached, he looked towards their final guests and although Christian said he would risk it, he simply would not allow that. [b “Absolutely not. I insist that you stay until the road is clear. It’s not worth risking it. Please follow me inside.”] He smiled warmly towards the guests and gestured for them to follow.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was rather impressed with the way Christian handled himself and considering they had not thought of a cover for being here he did well thinking of something on the spoke. Single women would often have an escort and they hadn’t planned on pretending they were man and wife. She blushed slightly when he revealed her as a fan and she met Josiah’s hand with her own.
[b “Laurel Blackwell, sir, thank you for your hospitality.”] When Maisie talked of the road, she knew that they ran into a bit of a problem. They couldn’t disappear without an explanation and Josiah was very insistent on the fact that they stay. [b “One night won’t hurt, will it? I’m sure it will be clear by morning.”]
Maisie nodded to the two newcomers, giving a neat curtsy as they headed inside and she made sure there were drinks and sent for the rooms to be made up. These guests weren't married so of course she wouldn't dare have them share a room. Once they were inside and the rain was thrashing down outside, she looked to Josiah, [+blue "Sir."] She drew his attention and waited for him to join her.
[+blue "I was hoping that you would perhaps consider letting Amellie become the assistant for the cook. She is a good worker but very sensitive and I believe Lord Guthram gave her quite the shock earlier."] Maisie explained. Their cook wasn't getting any younger and although she was a fierce older woman, she could use the help.
[+blue "I can pick up the extra work until you find another maid, of course, Sir."] She said to him, she knew everyone would pull together to make sure the home was looked after and presented in a decent fashion. It had been a hard day of work, she looked slightly disheveled from it all and before she could rest she would make sure Josiah and his guests were well supplied with food and drink, then she had to make sure her uniform was ready for tomorrow. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day.
Christian was amazed by Laurel's willingness to just roll with everything. It was hard to imagine that she didn't belong in this time. She seemed to perfectly fit in here and he watched her, doing his best not to slouch or give away that they didn't belong. They didn't really belong, he had to remember that and as he watched Laurel, he wondered why she loved these times so much. Sure, it was grand and on the cusp of great changes and watching history play out before their very eyes was wonderful but they had tk be careful not to change anything. Even the slightest thing could change the course of everything they knew.
They were staying the night then. Christian looked to Laurel and just nodded. It wasn't as if they had a choice, standing and following Josiah inside. Whilst Josiah was distracted by his head housemaid, looked to Laurel. [+red "Is it how you imagined it?"] He asked her quietly as he sat and watched her intently. It was a beautiful house, most houses like this in modern day became untouchable mountains, safe guarded by laws of the land and Christian never imagined stepping into one like this. One might wouldn't hurt.
[+red "We just have to be careful, alright?"] He said to her and glanced to Josiah and Maisie before looking back to Laurel. He knew she loved it here, he had never seen her so happy or content as she was right that moment.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Once he showed the guests into the house, he led the two into his sitting room while they waited for the rooms. Maisie ensured that they were provided with tea and Josiah left them alone for a moment to talk to the woman. He really didn’t mind providing rooms for them and he would be a wonderful host and he knew that Maisie would make sure the two were comfortable.
He smiled towards Maisie and nodded towards his guests as he followed the woman out of the room. He would always listen to anything she had to say. [b “What can I do for you Maisie?”] He asked before listening to her intensely. She was the expert when it came to those who worked in the house. She seemed to know everything about everyone, and she had a talent for picking out people’s strengths.
[b “Amellie didn’t deserve to be spoken to in that manner and I am sorry that she was upset by that. I think that would be a wonderful idea so long as the cook agrees. I know he doesn’t like people in her kitchen. As for the extra work, don’t you worry about that. I know of someone looking for a new place for one of their maids, so I’ll look into hiring her.
He smiled towards her and looked her over. [b “You should take the rest of the night off. You look exhausted.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel followed Josiah into the sitting room and when she was left alone with Christian, she couldn’t contain her excitement. [b “It’s more than I imagined. I love it here. Are we alright to stay? I just thought it would look suspicious if we just disappeared and we can’t risk someone see us…you know?”]
She nodded. Laurel fully understood how important it was to not mess with things too much. [b “We will only be here for one night. We can’t mess too much up from that surely?”] She allowed her head to rest on his shoulder and sighed. [b “This is why I love history so much. You brought me here and I will always appreciate that. You are amazing. Don’t let anyone exploit you for your discovery. It’s yours!”]
Maisie watched Josiah and she looked relieved when he agreed to her idea. [+blue "Thank you, Sir. I'll ask the cook her thoughts."] She said, a bright smile in place. She watched Josiah when he mentioned the night off and shook her head, [+blue "If it pleases, sir. I'd sooner give the rest of the girls and the butler the evening off, I'll make sure you and the guests are settled."] She said to Josiah with a smile. She didn't need some time off, she would be okay and she enjoyed the quieter times of the House.
Of course, she had to remember her place, especially now they had guests. They had to keep formality, although when things were quiet in the evenings it was always a little looser. Maisie would speak with the cook tomorrow before breakfast about Amellie. At least Josiah would consider another maid which meant a little less work around the house but Maisie was still head of the housemaids and Toby was the head Butler and head if the staff after Josiah. It was like a family and Maisie gave a curtsy to Josiah before going tk make some tea to warm the guests.
The cook had left rhe kitchen and so had Amellie. Maisie fixed up the tea and carried the tray up the steps, careful and as quietly as possible as she passed Toby. [+blue "Please let the others know they have the evening off, Toby. I'll see to Master Josiah and his guests."] The spare rooms were set up and Maisie set the tea down on the table. She moved to the outskirts of the room and clasped her hands. She made sure the windows were closed to keep the chill out and stifled a yawn.
Christian looked to Laurel and smiled, [+red "Well, I can't be mad at you when you're acting like that, can I?"] He remarked and supposed she was right. They couldn't change everything all that much in one night, as long as Josiah still accomplished all he was supposed to. He and Laurel were vaccinated and such so he supposed there was no risk of catching some horrible old time disease. He sighed out a little and watched Josiah and Maisie, he always thought servants were treated poorly in these times but this seemed different somehow.
He looked to Laurel, [+red "Alright, we can stay the night. Maybe have some breakfast then we get out of here, right? Maybe we can drop in on a visit a few years down the line."] He said with a smile towards her. He chuckled a little and glanced over when Maisie brought some tea in and he thanked her. He looked to Josiah, of course it was difficult not to tell the man everything he would become.
[+red "So if you don't mind me asking, Sir Rogers, what made you come up with all of your bills?"] He hoped it wasn't a rude question to ask and he wouldn't cause offence but he was curious as to why a man who had everything, wealth and renown at his fingertips, had become so compassionate about servants and their rights. It was strange to him, no one else seemed to really act like him in that regard. He figured if Josiah couldn't give a straight answer he could pick Laurel's brain about it ready.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] It always made Josiah smile when he saw Maisie happy and she always seemed to be happier when the staff were. It was obviously that they looked out for each other in that way and he respected that so much. Part of the reason for his campaigns was this woman and the people who spent their lives working here for them.
He sighed slightly when she said she would have preferred to give the time over her colleagues but he shouldn't have expected any less really. [B "Very well Maisie. But at least join us for some tea."] He smiled and left her with the offer before going to see his guests. They certainly looked slightly out of place here but they did say they were from out of town, the least he could do was offer them some comfort in hospitality.
[B "Please, call me Josiah."] He said as he took a seat opposite them. [B "I'm always rather open about my upbringing. I didn't have siblings but I grew up with some of the staff who now work in this house. When a staff member has a child they end up spending a lot of time in the home and so I made friends with many of them and growing up I couldn't quite understand why their lives were so different to mine. I didn't think it was fair then and I don't now."] His response was genuine and he reached out for the tea. [B "Tell me about yourselves. Where are you from? What do you do with your time?"]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel smiled warmly towards Christian. Honestly she couldn't really keep her eyes off him dressed in such a way and seeing how he was so produ of his achievement warmed her heart. She was proud of him too and when they got back home she had no doubt the two would go drinking together to celebrate in their own way.
[B "Thank you so much for this. I don't think you will ever know just how much this means to me. I would love to drop in a few years down the line. See how things change!"] Her words trailed off then as they were no longer alone and she made sure to thank Maisie for the tea and looked towards Josiah with so much admiration as he spoke. He was something she had studied throughly and to see him in the flesh was something she had never expected to be achievable. There was no denying that her fascination was written upon her face.
[B "We are from the Northern part of England. Christian is a very close friend of the family and he agreed to bring me here to attend your function."]
Maisie watched Josiah and just nodded. Of course, it seemed wildly inappropriate for her to join him for any sort of tea, especially in front of guests. Josiah was a forward thinker but that didn't mean that others were, no matter how much they claimed to be on his side. These were dangerous times and Josiah's opinions may well be the end of him. Maisie did take a seat though, watching the conversation and keeping quiet as she just listened. These people claimed to be big fans of his work, so surely a servant sitting with them wouldn't cause them any sort of offence.
The weather was fierce outside and she knew that the rooms had been well stocked with coal for the small burners in there and she hoped that would be adequate for them, although she was sure she could spare a few extra blankets if they needed them. A summer storm, no doubt and it would pass and hopefully tomorrow would be a lot brighter. The woman seemed to be incredibly advanced. She was a free thinker and speaker by the looks of it and Maisie envied that. Perhaps they did things differently in the northern parts of England.
[+blue "If you would like something stronger, I can bring you some scotch."] Maisie had caught the look on Christian's face at the tea and it was no hassle for her to get some scotch or wine. It did feel nice to be off of her feet at the very least. She looked to Josiah and gave him a quiet smile. The man was a marvel at entertaining and he did it so well.
Christian watched as Laurel spoke freely and he nodded to Maisie in thanks. He watched Josiah explain and cocked his head a little. He eyed Laurel when she answered the question for them and he was silently grateful because his geography was just as poor as his historical knowledge. [+red "It's a rare thing, if you don't mind me saying, that sort of compassion."] He said and looked to Laurel. He supposed it was a rare thing, at least. He didn't know for sure but most stories of servitude never seemed pleasant. He eyed the tea and Maisie spoke up, [+red "Oh, no. Please, it's perfectly fine, don't go out of your way."] Christian said and wondered if he had come across as rude to the woman.
[+red "Thank you for your hospitality, Sir Rogers. We very much appreciate it, we might have been stranded if we you had let us go out in that."] Christian said and smiled to Laurel. She was such a light in the room, it seemed. His eyes lingered for a moment before he looked away and cleared his throat.
[+red "It was a wonderful party."] Christian said, distracting himself from whatever thoughts had been going through his mind right then. He was unsure what the party had been celebrating exactly and he hoped it was nothing elaborate and they hadn't brought a gift, that would be rather awkward.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah couldn't imagine that his guests would have any issues with Maisie joining them based on the fact that they claimed to be supportive of his work. It would make sense for someone like him to make his staff feel comfortable rather than treat them like they are second class to him and while society would have it that way, in his home he would try to seperate that as much as possible.
Josiah smiled towards Christian and then Maisie. [B "Please do bring us two scotches Maisie. I could do with something a little stronger before bed."] He didn't like to order her around and he was always polite when he did make a request from her.
[B "Not a problem at all. I'm happy that you are both safe and I'm m glad you enjoyed the function. The main aim of it was to get as much support as possible for the upcoming bill and I think that was a success."]
He smiled and sipped his tea and glanced between the two strangers. It was hard to believe the two weren simply friends. He noticed the way he looked at Laurel and he could tell that there were feelings there. Perhaps that's what he looked like when he looked towards Maisie. He knew that his feelings were strong but he had no idea what he could really do about it since he doubted thay Maisie would ever feel the same way about him.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] As soon as Laurel heard Josiah call Maisie by her name and few things clicked into place for her. Knowing what she knew about his future wife and children just made her all the more excited to be here to see what things were like between them at this stage. It was obvious that there was no romantic relationship yet but she couldn't stop herself from smiling and watched how the two interacted more closely. She would tell Christian about them later when she had the chance.
[B "I must echo the gratitude. It is very kind of you to open up your home to strangers like us and if there is anything we can do to repay you please do let us know."] Laurel was trying to be reserved and act like a woman from the time but in reality it was very hard to sit there and nod along to men having a conversation and pretending like she didn't have an opinion on things or a voice. Besides, if they were only here for one night, what did it matter if she didn't fit perfectly into the Victorian woman's image.
[B "I think you will have a lot of success with your bill Sir Rogers. There were lots of positive words shared about it today."]
Maisie nodded to Josiah with a gentle smile, fixing the men up a scotch and she handed them over. Every time Josiah gave her orders, they never felt like commands, more like he was simply asking her a question like he would a friend. She never said no, she was always taught at a young age never to say no. She watched how Christian looked at Laurel and paused for a moment. She wasn't a foolish woman, she had seen marriages that were arranged, marriages that blossomed from love, all within these very walls too. The way Christian looked at Laurel was rather sweet.
Laurel seemed incredibly comfortable with Christian which seemed a little uncommon and Maisie grinned to herself before stepping back and giving a polite curtsy to Josiah and his guests before going to close the windows around the house. She looked over when it seemed conversation was steadily winding down and she approached, [+blue "Please, your rooms are upstairs."] She said to Christian and Laurel gently, looking to Josiah and assuring him he would see them to their rooms. Christian wanted to escort Laurel it seemed and Maisie took a moment for them to leave before looking to Josiah.
[+blue "Forgive me for asking, sir, did you enjoy your day?"] Perhaps he had finally found a match for himself at the party. His parents only wanted what was best for him, and Maisie wanted to know so she could be prepared for the man she had doted on for most of her life was going to get married or not. She needed time to prepare and she knew if he didn't get a wife soon his family may push for an arranged wife.
Christian nodded to Josiah, [+red "Again, thank you so much and I do hope your bills garner a lot in your favour."] He explained before thanking Maisie and trying some of the scotch. It was good, smooth and he was a little surprised but he supposed this was an upper class man he was drinking with. He drank, admiring the grandeur of Josiah's home and estate and Maisie seemed to understand they were tired and he smiled.
[+red "Please, I will escort."] He said, wanting to woman to have a break because he couldn't imagine how long the woman had been working but she didn't seem like she disliked it. He looked to Josiah, [+red "Thank you, again. Have a pleasant night."] He said to him before following Maisie's instructions and directions and he paused when they were out of earshot. They could leave now, before morning and it wouldn't raise much suspicion but seeing Laurel enjoying herself so much made him hesitate. He watched the woman and smiled.
[+red "You are a marvel."] He said to her. She had taken to this world like a duck to water, so easily and without any hassle. Christian had to admit the clothes weren't that comfortable and he figured these things were meant to be tailored. He took Laurel's hand and brought her hand to his lips, [+red "My lady."] He said with a chuckle and watched her for a moment, [+red "Maybe we can stay for an extra few days. It can't do any harm, right? You like it here."] He was enjoying it too of course and he rather enjoyed seeing her in this place and enjoying herself so much.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] He could tell that Christian preferred the scotch to the tea and he was glad that his guest was a lot more comfortable. After a little while it was obvious that it was getting late so Maisie would be showing the guests to their rooms. He smiled when Christian offered to escort Laurel, proving to him that he had deeper feelings for her as he suspected. Perhaps if the two had to stay longer than one night he could play matchmaker and dig deeper with their relationship.
He said goodnight to his guests and smiled towards Maisie who stayed behind for a moment. He was glad that she did as she loved spending any extra time with her.
[b “My day was useful, and I felt like I got a lot out of it, thank you. I wish that I had more time to spend with the people of this house, but I suppose I get that now.”] He smiled towards her. [b “Do you think you would entertain a day off with me soon? I am tired of dancing around my feelings for you Maisie. Of course, if you do not feel the same, I apologise for being so forward. I hope you might forget I said anything if that is the case.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was tired and she was glad that Christian offered to escort her so that they had time to talk alone for a moment before they would retire to their rooms. She thanked their host and Maisie for the tea and the company and followed Christian towards the stairs.
[b “Me?”] She questioned with a laugh. [b “I’m simply the first historian ever to travel back to a time period I have studied for years. This is everything to me!”] She blushed when he brought her hand to his lips and she couldn’t pull her eyes from him. [b “You are amazing Christian. Thank you for bringing me here.”]
When he suggested they could stay for a couple of days she was surprised. [b “Are you sure? I would love that but if you would prefer to go home then that’s okay too. What would we say to Josiah and Maisie about staying here?”]
Maisie looked to Josiah and smiled softly. He had enjoyed his day, which was nice to hear and Maosie had tried incredibly hard to make sure the day went as smoothly as possible for him. She lifted her gaze to him when he asked about taking her out on a day off and she chewed her lip. It wasn't that she didn't have feelings for him, she did and it was such a relief to hear that he had feelings for her. She wanted nothing more than to accept his invitation and fall into his arms but she couldn't.
[+blue "Please don't mistake what I am going to say as me not returning your feelings, Sir."] She explained, [+blue "I understand your feelings, I return them but we are from different worlds. You have a name to uphold, a house and estate. You are a man of renown, you cannot tarnish your name in such a manner, you would be cast out."] She explained to him with gentle eyes. It qas killing her to say these things to him, [+blue "Perhaps in another life we might have been together, but not this one."] She said to him and cleared her throats. She didn't want to cry in front of him, or to weep. She was head house maid and she knew that came with an expectation of strength. It broke her inside to speak like this with him.
Maisie felt as though her heart had broken, it was different to believe she couldn't have Josiah because of emotions but to know he wanted her to was heartbreaking. Her eyes averted, she couldn't bear to look at him, [+blue "I'm sorry, sir."] She apologised. If she had been born of higher standing, if she was a proper lady then it would have been no problem. But she was a servant, the fact she had made it to Head Maid at all was enough for her.
Christian chuckled some, [+red "You are in your element here, and im sure we can come up with an excuse. He seems a generous man."] Christian mused softly and smiled at her. [+red "We could say that we want to stay, to help his bills? You're intelligent and I'm sure I can fake it for a while."] He said with a laugh. He thought for a while. Maybe they could think up an excuse, Christian was sure Josiah would want the company and Laurel seemed intrigued.
He smiled to her, [+red "Seperate rooms, right. I'm just next door I'd you need anything alright?"] He murmured to her and he was glad his choices had made her happy. He watched her and then went into his room. It was massive it was huge actually with a hot fire in the corner. He shed his shirt and hung it up, this was strange. He looked out the window at the grounds and he figured that not having phones and emails constantly going wasn't such a bad thing. He smiled some to himself, it was nice and he could see the appeal but practicality told him there were also terrible diseases, poor doctor work. It was strange.
He eventually got into his bed, the sheets felt different. Everything felt foreign and different and strange to him and he hoped Laurel was coping a little better with all of this because he was having a nightmare trying to get comfortable. His mind was of how radiant the woman looked in this era, how happy and at peace.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] The moment that Josiah saw the look upon Maisie’s face, he regret asking her. He could tell what she was going to say before she even said it and he was already feeling rejected and even a little foolish for being so open with her. He wanted so badly to go back and keep his feelings to himself but that was impossible and now he would have to live with the consequences of his actions.
However, when she did speak, she made it clear that his feelings for her were returned and a glimmer of hope returned to him. The entire time he shook his head and by the time she was apologising he took a step forward and took her hand in his. [b “Maisie…there are no riches, no name, nothing that could ever stop me from wanting to be with you. I fight for equality in [I all] things. If I ignored my feelings for you because of our upbringings, I would be the biggest hypocrite alive…please, give me a chance.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel didn’t really know what to say to Christian. His genius had brought them here to this time to experience something that no one else in the world could say they had. She didn’t really know how she would ever thank him for this, and for him to suggest staying for a few more days meant the word to her because she really couldn’t bring herself to leave.
[b “Thank you Christian, for everything.”] She smiled towards him and turned towards her bedroom door, letting herself in. [b “Goodnight.”]
Everything inside the room was grand and she spent a good hour looking at every small detail of the room before she eventually retired to bed, shedding the dress and sleeping in her undergarments. She didn’t seem to have the same problems as Christian when it came to getting to sleep but she could honestly sleep anywhere when she was tired. That night she fell asleep with a smile on her face, unintentionally dreaming of Christian.
Maisie watched Josiah, she supported him in all things, she wanted to do this with him but she knew the sort of backlash it would get. Josiah would humiliate himself, he would risk everything and Maisie was a simple servant. He wasn't accepting her answer and she watched him, [+blue "Very well, sir."] She finally agreed and watched him. Part of her was overjoyed that finally they were doing this but the other was terrified for what it would mean for Josiah. If his patents found out, his peers...
Maisie gave him a curtsy and a smile, before leaving to sleep for the night. She closed her door and leaned against it for a moment, smiling to herself. She was excited, like a child almost. The man she had moved for so many years in secret, had feelings for her and Maisie could barely believe it herself. She slept easily that night.
She awoke early, washing and fixing her hair in place. She adjusted bun she neatly tucked her hair into and smoothed her uniform. She greeted each orion in the house with a smile as she went and prepared the table for Josiah and his guests for breakfast. She chatted with the cook for a moment about taking on the new girl and got that smoothed out fairly easily. Everything was spotless but there was a spring in her step.
Christian woke when the light poured in and he got up. For a second he forgot where they were. He washed up and dressed, doing his best to keep himself tidy. It was different for him, usually he looked scruffy and a little rough but like this he looked well kept and clean. He stepped out of the room and headed down, surprised to see the table set. He recognised the maid from last night, he couldn't recall her name but she greeted him with a polite smile. [+red "Ah, thank you."] He said as he took a seat.
When Laurel appeared he smiled brightly at her, [+red "Good morning."] He said to her and they waited for Josiah. Christian had a lan that might get them a little time here. He nodded to Josiah and greeted him when he appeared. [+red "I was thinking, perhaps we might intrude on you longer. Whilst my lovely charge here is a fan of your bills and your opinions, I am too. I believe I might be of some help. She can help you to appeal to the women and people, she has a way with words and I'm very keen to help you inspect the poorhouses and factories, I'm somewhat of a Doctor."] Not a complete lie, Christian had a lot of knowledge, enough in this day and age to make him a doctor no doubt.
[+red "We would like to help and of course we can pay you for our stay here, once we write home of course."] Christian explained and gave a smile to Laurel, she knew enough about Josiah from books but to actually experience history like this would be incredible and he wanted to help her achieve that. A few days wouldn't hurt them.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] The last thing Josiah wanted was to be pushy with Maisie but he always felt deep down that the woman had similar feelings for him and it didn’t make sense for them to ignore them anymore and he could only hope that she would give in to her feelings should she truly return them like he hoped. When she spoke, it was as though a lot of tension was being released from his shoulders and he felt like he could relax. A smile appeared on his lips and he brought her hand to his mouth so that he could place a delicate kiss upon it.
As soon as she left, they room Josiah couldn’t help but smile and he poured himself a nightcap before retiring to his room. Tomorrow he had some inspections to do, and he needed to check up on the family factory. Working conditions there were far better than any other factory in town and the pay was almost twice as much. He was trying to force change by offering employees better benefits so that his competitors might have to improve what they offered.
After a wonderful night sleep, Josiah readied himself for the day ahead and made his way downstairs for breakfast where his guests were already waiting for him. [b “Good morning everyone.”] He said with a smile, glancing towards Maisie before taking his seat. He looked up when Christian spoke, and he raised a brow. [b “That would be especially useful indeed. I have struggled to get a doctor who cares enough about those who cannot pay for their medical care. Would you be interested in exchanging your services for board? I would not take money from a guest!”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel slept better than she had in a long time but that was more due to the contentment she felt rather than the comfort of the room, although sleeping in a room with so much history was certainly comforting to the historian. The next morning, she awoke to the sun beaming through her window and the weather instantly put a smile upon her face. She got herself dressed and made her way downstairs to find Christian was already there.
[b “Good morning.”] She said, taking a seat next to him and then soon enough they were joined by Josiah. Laurel listened to Christian speak and was surprised that he had come up with an excuse to stay and it seemed Josiah was more than willing to take the help.
[b “That would be wonderful. I would definitely like to offer any support that I can.”] She said, smiling towards Christian with a new glow of excitement.
Maisie watched the proceedings. These guests seemed lovely and she made sure they had tea poured and breakfast was laid out in a respectable manner. [+blue "I am sure we have some spare clothes in the guest bedroom, I will be sure to lay them out for you both."] She said to them. She was sure they could make arrangements for clothing to be sent but Maisie knew there were some lovely gowns for the woman and probably some fitting suits for the gentleman. She looked to Laurel, [+blue "Please excuse me, ma'am if I speak freely for a moment but your hair is a rather beautiful colour."] She complimented the woman with a smile.
It wasn't often they got such tolerable guests, Josiah kept good company most of the time but every so often there would be the rougher man or stuck up woman. It was nice to see such polite people who were avid supporters of his cause. A doctor would be of great help and a woman who supported Josiah was sure to cause a stir. Maisie looked to Christian when he offered her a seat and she seemed confused by the prospect but sat down anyway, looking to Laurel, [+blue "It must be nice having a Doctor for a friend."] She tried to make conversation but it was obvious she wasn't very adept at this sort of thing, keeping her mannerisms and politeness in check.
[+blue "Perhaps, later on, I could shoe you the gowns we have and see if something suits, not that you don't look lovely as you are, ma'am."] She offered. It was looking to be a lovely day and Maisie supposed it would be much more relaxed than yesterday.
Christian nodded to Josiah, [+green "Well, that's a very fine offer and I'd be more than happy to help. Miss Blackwell here is a wonderful woman, I am sure she will prove incredibly useful at social events."] Laurel was beautiful and Christian was sure she could spread the word and charm many a man into agreeing with Josiah. He flashed her a smile and looked back to Josiah, then to Maisie. [+green "Oh, please. Join us."] He gestured and hoped he wasn't out of line for offering another man's servant a seat at the table but he felt for these working sorts who were on their feet constantly.
[+green "From what I have read, I have never been to the factories, the conditions are poor?"] He said and watched how Josiah looked at Maisie. He raised an eyebrow and smiled a little, [+green "Forgive me for being so forward,"] He lowered his voice and looked thoughtful. The two women seemed to be deep in conversation and he took a drink from the fine China in front of him. [+green "You've known the woman a while?"] He asked and nodded towards Maisie. He supposed if there was anything there then it would be impossible in this time.
Then again, Laurel had said he went on to become Prime Minister and did great things. Perhaps being with a servant girl wasn't the most outlandish thing. [+green "I'm sure you've felt rhe pressures of taking a wife, to safeguard the estate?"] Of course grand places like this were supposed to be kept in the family, and that was done through heirs.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah was very glad to be in company that didn’t treat Maisie like she was a second-class citizen. It was refreshing to have guests who genuinely seemed to share an interest and morals the same to him. It was clear that they most certainly would be useful to have around and he was glad that Christian was so willing to accept the offer and to help him with medical reports. He liked Christian even more when he offered for Maisie to join them at the table, only proving his acceptance of her even further.
He watched the ladies for a moment with a fondness before he turned his attention back to Christian. [b “Most of the conditions are very poor indeed, long working hours, poor sanitation, poor health care, poor welfare… Hopefully I can change some of that and having your assistance will certainly help me ascertain how bad they are and provide some evidence.”] He sipped his tea and then glanced towards Maisie when he mentioned the woman. [b “I’ve known her since we were kids. As for the pressure, I’ve certainly felt it but I have done a good job of putting that off for now.”] He smiled and looked towards Maisie again. [b “I hope to marry for love.”] He looked back towards Christian. [b “And what about yourself? Do you have a wife?”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel cast her eyes upon the food that Maisie laid out and she ensured that she thanked her for it. It was a feast, far too much for four people to eat but she figured this was how things were done when one had guests in their home.
[b “Thank you, that would be appreciated. It would certainly save us time from sending for some things to be sent over.”] Laurel smiled when the woman complimented her hair and she looked towards her. [b “I’ve never been very good at styling my hair. I must say yours in impeccable, you must teach me…of course if you have the time.”] She said, offering the woman a smile before she glanced towards Christian when he asked the woman to join them. It made her happy to see that he was beginning to settle in.
It wasn’t long before she and Maisie were in their own conversation and Josiah and Christian were chatting away too. [b “It most certainly is nice. He is a good friend indeed.”] Laurel looked towards Maisie and gave her complete attention to the woman. [b “That would be wonderful, thank you. Please, call me Laurel.”]
Maisie smiled to Laurel, the fact that this beautiful woman thought her hair was impeccable made Maisie incredibly happy. She watched her and nodded, looking towards Josiah. He was to go and visit the factory later that day and no doubt he was take Chridtian with him. She supposed she could dig out the gowns and clothing whilst the men were away and then she could make sure the cook had the meals ready. She could find the time for Josiah's guests. This woman seemed lovely.
She looked a little bewildered when Laurel asked for her to address her by her name. She couldn't manage it. Even with Josiah when they were in private, she couldn't. It was a slippery slope and she knew that if it became habit then it could lead to problems. Her eyes shifted to Josiah once more and nodded to Laurel, [+blue "I will try."] She said to her and realised breakfast was overwith. [+blue "I'll see to it that the gowns are laid out for you to look through."] She said to Laurel with a smile and she looked to Josiah and Christian, giving a very neat curtsy before she went to clear the plates. She shuffled them down below and then moved to find the gowns. There were a great many and she laid them out before one of the butlers laid out outfits for Christian.
Maisie made her way down the stairs and smoothed her uniform down. [+blue "I will make sure lunch is ready upon your return, sir."] She said to Josiah, [+blue "Have a nice day, sir."] She murmured quietly, a small smile towards him. She would take care of everything here, just as she always did. She looked over and saw the carriage had pulled up.
Christian watched Josiah. He seemed genuinely compassionate to those around him. Such a rare thing. Christian listened to the conditions of the factory. He had been expecting such a thing and he could imagine the Hell the workers went through. He smiled some when Josiah mentioned knowing Maisie since they were children. It was a sweet thought and Christian caught his look towards Maisie. For love, was it? He wanted to ask him but it would be rude wouldn't it? [+green "No, I believe I am in the same situation. To marry for love."] He said and glanced to Laurel who looked simply radiant as she spoke with Maisie.
[+green "Ah, well, I'll be glad to accompany you ti the factory."] He said as he watched Maisie clear up and he wondered if the woman knew how much she meant to Josiah. Then again, did Laurel know how much she meant to him? He smoothed his outfit and he stood. He looked to Laurel and when Maisie appeared he managed to slip off to Laurel. [+green "Will you be alright here?"] He asked her. He was a little concerned about leaving her alone in this place but he supposed this was as safe a place as any.
Christian heard the carriage pull up and he smiled to her, [+green "Don't go changing history."] He chuckled to her and he wanted to pull her close but knew in these times that was a bold move. He would be back. He gave her a wink before stepping out and into the carriage.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah was not blind and he was certainly not an ignorant man. It took all but a glance to see that Christian clearly had some feelings for the woman he had escorted but he did not wish to pry yet. It was not his business, and he did not know their circumstances. For all he knew there might have been circumstances at home that prevented them from being together. [b “Marrying for love is most certainly the only way to do things in order to find happiness. I hope that you find that.”] He said with a smile before the topic changed back to the factories. He nodded and decided that it was time to prepare for departure.
He quickly grabbed his coat and arranged for the carriage to pull up outside and went back into the room where they had been dining now that Maisie had returned. [b “That would be wonderful. Thank you Maisie. Please, do try to enjoy your day also, I would appreciate it if you would keep our guest company since she will be here alone. I know that you will take good care of her.”] He smiled towards her and very briefly brushed her hand with his, although it would not be something anyone would notice unless they were looking for it.
[b “Shall we be going Christian?”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel nodded and smiled towards the woman. It was clear that no one really asked her to be so informal with them so it wouldn’t surprise her if the woman found it difficult to do so. She just wanted her to know that she was here as a friendly face and she wasn’t about to go around barking orders at her. Maisie was Laurel’s equal in her eyes but she knew that in this time, that it was almost impossible for her to feel like an equal.
[b “Thank you. I would appreciate that.”] She smiled and watched the woman leave and before she knew it, Christian was at her side. [b “Of course I’ll be fine. I won’t leave the grounds. I promise.”] She smiled warmly towards him. [b “I’ll try not to. You make sure to do that same!”] She watched him leave with Josiah and once the carriage was on it’s way she let out a soft sigh. Hopefully he would be alright with Josiah.
Maisie glanced away when Josiah brushed his hand against hers and hid a smile, she did adore him but their status differences were so vast. She almost felt tremendous guilt for being so secretive because Josiah was a wonderful man with good intentions. She nodded to him, [+blue "Of course, I will see to it that everything is taken care of in your absence. Enjoy your day."] Sometimes she worried for him, there were so many who hated his ideals and his way of thinking. Each time he left, she worried something might happen. He was the same boy she had run the halls with as a child, that she had played hide and seek in the grounds with and got into mischief with. It had stopped so suddenly when they had been aware of their differences in station.
Maisie saw them off and then looked to Laurel, she was unsure what the other woman would want to do, [+blue "If there is anything I can do to make your stay more comfortable Ma- Laurel."] She corrected herself and gave her an apologetic glance, [+blue "Please just let me know, for you and your friend."] She explained and watched the woman for a moment. [+blue "You're very well educated, I was very fortunate that the master's father believed his servants should be able to read and write."] She explained as she gave an awkward smile. Socialising wasn't her best talent it seemed but she gestured Laurel to follow her to her room and she brandished a hand at the dresses.
[+blue "You seem like you would suit the emerald colours."] Maisie said. Such grand dresses were not to be worn by her and she watched the dresses. Beautiful sapphires, wonderful emeralds and rubies worth of material. She would look lovely in any of these. She looked to Laurel and smoothed down her plain uniform, [+blue "I am sure if there is anything else you need, I can send to the seamstress in town to send it here."] She assured. It was difficult for her to let go and relax and ease up around people.
Christian smiled at Laurel and nodded, giving a polite nod to Maisie as he followed Christian and got into the carriage. The journey was pleasant, very new and Christian had never been in a carriage before. He watched as the streets became busier and more crowded. The town was bustling and the rich rubbed shoulders with beggars. The looming factory looked intimidating and Christian glanced to Josiah. It was so foreign to him for factories like these. He had read about them in school, a long time ago.
The footman opened the doors for them and Christian thanked him. There was a smoky fog over the area and Christian stepped inside the factory. it was busy but he had to confess it was rather clean. He had expected a lot of dust and grime, the people didn't look miserable and he looked Josiah, [+green "I say sir, you certainly have outdone yourself."] He remarked. Of course, he could see that more windows and such would be helpful for ventilation and helping to increase air flow but Josiah was doing a wonderful job. Doctors were expensive in these times and he could hear the odd cough ripple through the factory.
[+green "This is outstanding. The cleanliness is the best I have ever seen."] He explained to him, looking over everything. Josiah must have been turning a good profit with this place, he supposed having consistent workers made for good work and having good wages meant that workers were happier. Christian eyed some of the workers, their clothes were dusty and such but for the most part they all looked well looked after.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] [b “Thank you Maisie.”] With that, Josiah led Christian to the carriage and the two were on their way. He was quite excited to have such experienced company, especially since he had struggled to get a doctor on side. Soon enough they arrived at the factory and he watched the look upon Christian’s face as they approach. He could only assume that he had been brought up in the countryside as it was clear that this was not something he saw often.
He climbed out of the carriage and stood next to Christian as he looked upon the factory. He led him inside and gave Christian the opportunity to look around. [b “Thank you.”] He said in response to the compliment, and he spent some time doing the rounds with him. By the end he was happy to have had the chance to speak to some of his staff.
[b “I’m glad to hear you say that. Is there anything you would recommend I do to make things better here?”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel watched the two head out of the door and with a soft sigh, she turned to look back at Maisie who was beginning to talk to her. She smiled when the woman corrected herself when addressing her by name. [b “I really appreciate that. I will be sure to let you know if anything was to come up.”] She sat down and looked up at the woman once more, glad that she seemed comfortable enough to talk to her.
[b “I was lucky. I’m glad that you were fortunate enough to find your way into such a family. I know that they are renowned for treating their staff well.”] With her gesture she rose from her chair and followed Maisie to look at some clothes for her stay. For a while the two looked through dresses. [b “They are all so beautiful. Thank you. I don’t think I will need anything else for now. I will certainly let you know if I need company into town. Tell me, what is it like living here?”
Maisie smiled to Laurel, glad she seemed pleased. She nodded to her, she would do whatever she could to make Josiah's guests feel welcome. [+blue "It's wonderful here. Before, I was in a workhouse, I was only a child. I never knew my parents. I grew up here and when I was a child I played with the Master. Of course we didn't understand our different status' back then."] She said. She knew it could have been so different fir her if she had been taken to a cruel house.
[+blue "I am very fortunate and I truly do believe Master Rogers is a visionary. He has always been so kind and wonderful to the staff here."] She said to her and watched her for a moment. She wanted to ask about Christian, perhaps the two were courting but wished to keep it quiet for now, she wasn't sure and it was not her place to ever ask such a thing.
[+blue "Were you raised in a city or the countryside?"] She asked, [+blue "You would love the grounds, the gardener works wonders and he is such a talented young man."] Maisie was babbling and she stilled herself. It was so unusual to have a friendly guest in the home. Usually they were cruel or wanted formalities kept and Maisie always obliged for Josiah's sake.
Christian eyed the workers over. He wasn't a qualified doctor but he knew enough to be considered as such in these times no doubt. [+green "Perhaps some more ventilation. The dust settling here can move to the chest, it causes coughs and congestion."] Christian said as he gestured for a worker to come forward and eyed him over. They weren't malnourished or overworked and they seemed in great spirits. This really was revolutionary for its time and Christian understood why Josiah would go on to become Prime Minister.
[+green "This is wonderful, really. I know Laurel will be completely aghast when she hears of this."] He chuckled a little, imagining her face and he looked to Josiah as they walked around and Chrisrjan pointed out some places ventilation could go, perhaps some basins of water for workers to clean up more frequently. [+green "Forgive me for being so forward, Mister Rogers, but your maid, you mentioned how she grew up in the house."] He remarked thoughtfully. [+green "She looks as though she is rather sweet on you."] He said, testing the waters.
Christian paused as he eyed the cleanliness of the place. It was clean and hygiene was very decent. Overall Christian thought the place was in good shape and given he time period there wasn't much more he could do for the place, Josiah had done so much and he pondered how many factories were following his lead.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah had already developed an amount of respect for Christian and any improvements he could recommend would be implemented immediately if they were possible. He listened intently and looked around the factor floor as he suggested ventilation and it baffled him that it wasn’t something he had thought of before.
[b “Of course! I can have windows fitted all across the factory walls. Thank you!”] He pulled out his notepad and began to jot things down, making sure he remembered to put this into action as soon as possible. [b “Laurel is a very educated woman for these times. She must have very liberal parents, perhaps supporters of mine?”] He said with amusement as they walked through the factory, making more notes as Christian pointed out key features that could be addressed as they moved through. Conversation then changed to Maisie and he could not keep the smile from his face.
[b” It is I who had taken a liking to Maisie. She does not approve of course. She sees class more than I do and in some respects that presents itself as a barrier to any kind of relationship forming but I hope to show her that things can be different… What of Miss Laurel? She is your charge, yet you seem to watch her with something more than responsibility.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Just being here was fascinating enough to Laurel, but to have a first-hand account, a real story to listen to, not just read, was like a dream come true. She listened intently and watched the woman as she spoke. She could see her face soften and the tone of her voice change slightly when Josiah became part of the conversation and she couldn’t help but smile at that.
[b “Status is not as important as one might think if you simply choose to forget about it.”] She said playfully, allowing Maisie the space to talk once more. [b “I was raised in the city, but my parents were of the same opinions as Master Rogers. They strived for equality and so I was fortunate enough to have received an education [I ‘fit for a man’].” Her tone was amused.
Maisie nodded to Laurel. The woman was enchanting, she knew higher born women were often educated but Laurel was much more educated in many ways. She was polite, she really did share the same ideals as Josiah and it was such a refreshing thing to bear witness to. [+blue "Some people do not forget though, some of them do not want to."] Maisie said quietly and gave a soft smile to her. An education fit for a man, how exciting! Maisie nodded, glad to have some company and she gestured to the grounds.
[+blue "I would be glad for some fresh air. I do hope that we will be seeing more of you, I understand you extended your stay but... If I might speak freely for a moment, we do not get many guests here that are so kind. The large events, for Master Rogers to find a wife... They are always so grand and full of colourful characters."] Maisie was being polite, as best she could be. She knew Josiah absolutely detested how servants were treated by guests but a lot of the staff refused to speak up, scared to tarnish the reputation of the house or themselves.
Maisie lead them out to the grounds and fixed her hair beneath her bonnet, looking over the flowers and she thought for a while, [+blue "Your friend, the sir, he is rather well educated also, the way he speaks and how he acts... And you are unmarried?"] Maisie hinted at. She felt at ease with Laurel around, it was much less formal and she was less afraid of offending the woman and out in the grounds it was like she could breathe.
Christian watched Josiah as he spoke and chuckled a little, [+green "I can understand. Suppose the woman, who is charming, believes she is ruining your reputation and perhaps bringing shame to you. Your ideals are wonderful, sir, but not everyone shares them. You have good support but there are those that would sooner see you in a jail cell."] Christian pointed out. It wasn't fair, nor was it right but there was little they could do about it right then. Josiah was a good enough man to decide himself what he wanted to do. Maisie would follow, Christian was sure.
[+green "Ah, well. Miss Laurel is complicated. She is... Out of reach?"] A woman like Laurel and a man like him wouldn't work. [+green "We are the same class but I'm not blind to her beauty and grace, her articulation, her education... Such a woman would be a fool to find herself with me."] He said with a smile. He liked Laurel but he was always so hesitant with her, afraid of ruining what they already had.
He smiled to Josiah, they had done well today and it was such an honour to get to know the man on a more personal level. He was something to be admired in that aspect. Despite his enemies and those that would sooner see him exiled or cast out in a jail cell, he remained strong in the face of them. He deserved some happiness for all of his efforts.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] It was nice having someone to talk to like this. Josiah had plenty of men in his life, all of whom he had professional relationships with. What he was lacking was a friend but Christian seemed so easy to talk to and he listened too!
[b “I could care less what anyone else ideals are. I care deeply for Maisie and I would sooner annoy a few high brows than miss a chance at being with her.”] He smiled and listened when it was his turn to talk about the woman in his life. He was surprised to learn that he felt that Laurel was out of reach to him. He frowned a little and shook his head. [b “I can see that she is a beautiful woman, but I do not see a single reason why you should consider her out of reach. I think that there is something there worth exploring and you might never know if you do not try.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel could see that the woman was struggling to decide what to do or how to accept a potential future with Josiah. She wanted to say so much but she knew that would be dangerous considering they were trying not to change history. When she agreed to accompany her to the grounds she stood and followed where she was being led.
[b “You can always speak freely with me. That I can promise you and I am confident that Christian would say the same thing. To me, you are our equal, although I know that might be hard for you to accept.”] She smiled towards her and glanced around at the beautiful scenery. There really was no place quite like England in the height of summer and it was evident that the same could be said in this time too.
Laurel raised her brow a little when Maisie spoke of Christian. She chuckled a little. [b “Yes I am unmarried. I’m not sure that Christian has any interest in me in that way.”]
Maisie watched the woman and smiled some. It was nice to think she could speak freely, Laurel must have come from a wonderful place and very open household. [+blue "Perhaps, I worry for the Master's safety. I believe in what he is doing, and I truly believe he is destined for wonderful things but I am scared for him. He makes so many enemies, what if they wish to see him imprisoned.. or worse."] She knew she was overthinking everything and it would likely never come to light but if Josiah went on to show the world exactly who he was and what he wanted then it was a target on his back.
Maisie smiled softly at her, [+blue "I think your friend simply adores you, but I suppose we all miss the signs sometimes."] She said to her with a gentle smile. She saw mo use in pushing them both, she could tell there was chemistry there and maybe she would give a gentle nudge now and then in the right direction but Maisie didn't want to overdo it.
[+blue "I have to say your company is very refreshing. Its not often the house has such open minded guests. The Master has his supporters but none are quite as kind as you and your friend."] She expressed. She drew in a breath and sighed out softly. [+blue "I ought to make sure that lunch is ready for the men's return. Is there anything you would like in particular, our cook is tather wonderful."] She explained.
Christian watched Josiah and nodded. He qas surprised quite frankly by the man. He was of high birth but sympathised so greatly with those less fortunate, so much so that he loved a woman of a different standing. He just nodded in understanding. [+green "Such is the way of life. We often want things beyond our reach, sir."] He remarked with a laugh. Quote the pair they made, both hesitant about their futures and the woman they adored. Maybe Christian was right and Laurel was not so out of his reach.
Christian glanced to the time and then to Josiah, [+green "I suppose the women will be wondering where we have gotten to. And please, Sir Rogers, do not feel you have to keep up any sort of formality around myself and Laurel."] He said to him. If he wanted to be less formal with Maisie then so be it, he wouldn't ever judge them.
He figured history would play out the way it was supposed to without their intervention and he was rooting for Maisie and Josiah. Josiah was a driven man and Maisie seemed so quiet and tender, they balanced one another out excellently. He grinned as they headed for the carriage.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] It wasn't very often that Josiah came across a modest man. He knew plenty that would believe Laurel was theirs and they were entitled to her but Christian seemed almost scared to approach Laurel. He nodded when he said it was about time to leave. He looked around at the workers and said goodbye to a few as they made their way back out to the carriage.
[B "Same goes for you Christian. You can call me Josiah. You don't have to address me as Sir Rogers."]
As soon as they got to the carriage he kept light conversation with Christian, talking about some of the changes he was planning when it came to the factories and he was happy that Christian seemed happy with the treatment of the worker. It was something he was very proud of.
Soon enough they were pulling up to the footpath that led to his home and they were climbing out. [B "Thank you for all your help today."]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel could completely understand why the woman was worried for Josiah. His work was quite revolutionary and this was a time when not many people liked change. However, she knew that he would overcome all of that in time.
[B "I admire you for that. However, you have to trust that there is going to be acceptance to his ways. This country is due a change."] She smiled when the conversation fled back to Christian. [B "He is a wonderful friend. We care for each other deeply in that respect."]
The two continued to walk and talk and time passed by. [B "I'm glad that you find our company enjoyable."] She said with and smile and looked up towards the sky as a way of figured out the time of day. [B "Nothing in particular. I'm sure we would enjoy anything the kitchen are able to wip up for us."]
Maisie nodded to Laurel and giggled slightly, [+blue "Our cook is wonderful, she's been with us for almost twenty years. She's been offered so many places but she rather enjoys this place."] Maisie said and excused herself as she heard the carriages coming up the pathway and the footman waited to greet. [+blue "Mrs Lovell, would you kindly prepare some luncheon for everyone."] She said to her and the cook gave a smile and she was already almost done.
Maisie came back upstairs and smiled to Josiah, [+blue "Mrs Lovell has prepared luncheon for you, Sir. And your guests."] She explained as she went to make sure the room was set up for them. She fixed some of the cutlery and the tea, nodding to a couple other of the Maids. [+blue "Please, I can manage here, why don't you both go into town and see if Mrs Lovell needs any ingredients brought back."] She said to them and the the girl giggled at the thought of an afternoon off. She knew Josiah wouldn't mind too much and she could handle any extra work.
Maisie watched Christian, Laurel and Josiah as she made sure they were seated and the butler began to bring up the trays of small sandwiches, fruits, cheeses and meats. Maisie helped where she could and looked to the others. [+blue "Anything else, sir?"]
Christian nodded to Josiah, trying to bear in mind that he was, [+green "I shall try and remember, but we shouldn't leave the women waiting."] He said as he got into the carriage and watched the less busier world go by him. It was strange not seeing busy cities and skyscrapers molesting the skies above. It was actually nice. He perked up when they got back to his estate and he nodded to the footman who opened the door and looked to see Laurel.
[+green "Kept out of trouble?"] He said as he approached. She looked fine and like she had enjoyed her time. He followed the footmans lead to the small dining room where the cook had put on a lovely spread for them. He took a seat and glanced to Maisie as she helped the butlers. He supposed he ought to have invited her sit again but he didn't want to overstep. [+green "Josiah showed me his factories, they are quite revolutionary by any man's standards."] He remarked to Laurel.
[+green "His workers are in good spirits and health, frankly the cleanest environments I've ever seen."] He expressed and he had to admit Josiah was truly ahead of the times with everything he was doing.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah was glad when the carriage pulled up at home. He was tired and hungry and he couldn't wait to see Maisie's beautiful face. He was glad that it didn't take long for the woman to greet them.
[B "That's wonderful. Thank you."] He nodded towards her and watched her head off again, likely checking to make sure that everything was in the right place for them.
He glanced over towards Christian and Laurel and smiled to himself, wondering how neither of them could see the chemistry he did. Maybe he could push them together somehow.
Once he was seated he listened to the compliments and thanked them and then turned to Maisie. [B "Perhaps you might join us so that Laurel can continue to enjoy your company?"] Although it was more for his benefit of course.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] [b "From what I can gather, most of the staff here have chosen to stay because of the working environment. It is unlike any other I have seen, that is for certain."] She smiled towards her and nodded when she asked to be excused and she simply spent her time alone exploring more of the grounds.
A part of her couldn't fully accept that she was really here and she wanted nothing more than to document her time here. If she was here for longer than a few days she might have even kept a diary so that the memories might be committed to paper.
Soon enough she head the carriage arrived and she greeted Josiah and Christian with a smile. [B "I most certainly did."]. She looked to him and read the expression on his face. He evidently had a good day and she was glad to know that. She followed them both into the dining room and once seated she was more than glad to hear all about their day. [B "It certainly sounds like fine work, although I wouldn't expect anything less of course."]
Laurel smiled and began to dig into the food. [B "Maisie has kindly shown me around the grounds today. She has been wonderful company."]
Maisie glanced up when Josiah offered her a seat and she looked hesitant for a moment but then she finally took a seat near Laurel, watching the conversation. It was very nice to feel included but Maisie knew her place was down below, in the servants quarters. She sighed softly and eyed the tea. She supposed a cup of tea wouldn't hurt and she just hoped none of the other servants grew suspicious but she was almost sure that half of them knew what was going on. It was pleasant enough, given they all doted on Josiah.
[+blue "It was a nice day, I thought it a shame if Miss-, I mean, laurel, was cooped up."] She murmured. [+blue "I do believe you have some local business owners coming for dinner, Sir."] She said to Josiah, local business owners who wanted in on the action most likely. Some were simple farmers and others were the those who owned factories. Josiah likely wanted to educate them and the dinners could always prove interesting, some welcomed change and others always pushed against it.
Maisie looked to Christian and then Laurel, it was remarkable how they didn't see their own chemistry. She remained relatively quiet, unsure of how to interact with everyone. This wasn't something she was good at, she was so afraid of saying the wrong thing or being ill-mannered. She chewed at her lip hesitantly and took a small drink of tea. The cook would likely put on a wonderful banquet for them all and she looked to Laurel, [+blue "I left those gowns on your bed, and the same for you."] She looked to Christian, [+blue "If either of you wish to change before dinner, that is."] She commented. It was clear she knew the routines like the back of her hand. At best in this world, she might hope to be a proper ladies maid, maybe if Josiah married one day.
Christian watched Josiah and Maisie and then looked to Laurel with a smirk, but he didn't say anything. He nodded to Maisie, he would want to change before dinner and he supposed that the business owners would be delightful. He looked to Laurel and pondered what sort of dress she would be wearing. She looked stunning in all of this attire. He leaned back and looked to Josiah, [+green "Perhaps, we should show these business owners just how human those workers are."] He remarked, slyly as he hatched a plan. He looked to Maisie and smiled.
[+green "Maisie here is very well mannered, it would serve well to have her join us at dinner?"] That way she would avoid any unpleasantness from guests and hopefully it would shut a few of them up once it was revealed that Maisie was a servant herself and had caused no harm by simply dining with them. [+green "Of course, if it makes you uncomfortable then I withdraw my suggestion. But I can assure you that Laurel will keep an excellent eye on you. I do believe women enjoy getting dressed up and looking nice."] He added with a chuckle and watched Maisie look like a rabbit in the headlights of an oncoming freight train.
Christian was unsure of how much the plan would work but perhaps on the more stubborn lot it might. These times were changing and people had to change with them or become ancient and decrepit in the process and be left behind.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah had almost forgotten that he had guests to dinner this evening but Maisie, as always, was there to rescue him with detailing his plans for him. She always knew exactly where he was meant to be and at what time and honestly, she was a Godsend because there were many times he might have forgotten what he was doing if it wasn’t for her. He nodded and smiled towards her, grateful for the reminder and looked towards Christian and Laurel. There were plenty of spare clothes lying around the place that it didn’t matter if the two didn’t have any luggage with them at all.
When it became clear that the two would want to change before dinner he looked towards Maisie with a smile. [b “Thank you for making our guests feel comfortable and thank you for arranging clothes for them. I have no doubt you probably have pleasant suit picked out for me for the evening too.”] He chuckled a little before glancing up towards Christian now that he was making a suggestion about the evening.
He was intrigued by what he meant about showing their guests how human the workers are. Of course he wanted to do that but he wasn’t quite sure how he would achieve that. Then Christian let everyone in on his idea and Josiah thought it was actually quite brilliant.
[b “It is up to you of course Maisie. I would love for you to join us at dinner this evening.”]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel hadn’t expected to feel so relieved that Christian was back in her company. Of course they were in a strange time and being with someone she knew offered her comfort but this was something else. Perhaps Maisie was right about their connection, or at least her feelings towards him. She would need to think more on that later.
It was moments like this when Laurel realised just how wonderful Christian was. He was so kind-hearted and his genius was beyond compare and when he brought up the idea about Maisie she was surprised. They were both being cautious about making sure they didn’t change history too much but he didn’t seem too concerned that his suggestions were making many changes.
[b “I would be more than happy to help you get ready for the evening should you decide to join us. I would enjoy more of your company and I am sure that you would be able to charm the guests yourself this evening.”] She smiled, hoping to give her a bit of encouragement.
Maisie looked to everyone as they spoke. She nodded finally after giving it some thought but she wasn't too sure that some people would be convinced but she was entirely sure that Josiah wouldn't allow any sort of harm or disrespect to come her way. [+blue "Very well."] She agreed finally and looked to Laurel, she supposed that she would take the woman's help because she honestly wasn't sure. She chewed her lip slightly, nervous at the suggestion.
[+blue "I suppose I should go and get ready. I'll see to it the staff are aware also, sir."] She said to Josiah as she got to her feet and gave them all a polite curtsy before heading down to the kitchens and explaining to the staff what was going on. They seemed excited by the prospect, at least. They wouldn't give up the gag for sure and she went upstairs, looking through what little amount of clothing she had. She did have a lovely dress and she changed into it before going to find Laurel, [+blue "I don't suppose you could help with fixing the hem?"] She asked her and smiled a little, feeling awkward out of her uniform and with her revealed, braided up and away from her face and kept together with some pins.
She had served enough to know what was expected of her at the dinner table. She smoothed down the emerald dress, adjusting the sleeves and unsure of if she looked well dressed enough for dinner. She wouldn't look nearly as grand as those around her no doubt but she was trying and she figured she would pass just fine. With any luck they wouldn't recognise her from previous visits to Josiah's home.
Christian smiled, glad his idea was received so openly and he hoped he wasn't upsetting or pressuring Maisie into something she didn't want to do but it would give a good opportunity for her to understand what it would mean to be with Josiah. He watched her lead and smirked to Josiah, [+green "Of course, we should get ready too."] He made his way up to the room and looked to Laurel, giving her a smile and dipping into the room. The things that had been laid out for him were rather extravagant and he supposed it was the norm but he hadn't the faintest idea of how to make it look proper.
After some amount of faffing and a butler coming and helping him, Christian was finally ready and he stepped outside and could hear guests arriving downstairs. He saw Maisie going in to see Laurel and smiled a little. She looked terrified and Laurel was the ideal person to set her at ease. He headed downstairs and was handed a scotch from a server and he murmured his thanks, he was going to need this to get through this. He looked to Josiah, [+green "They look a rather stuffy bunch for the most part."] He mumbled and hoped he hadn't put Maisie into a precarious situation.
Christian met with some of the men and shook their hands, [b "Still no wife for Sir Rodgers I see, he better get a move on otherwise all the eligible women will be snatched up."] One man chuckled in good nature and Christian just laughed a little, [+green "Oh, I'm sure he'll find the right woman."] Christian eased their concerns and no doubt some of the men here had rather eligible daughters. He was glad he had Laurel, he was sure if any of that talk came up he could claim he was with her or something similar.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] He was relieved that he hadn’t pushed the woman too much, but he was glad that she agreed to attend dinner, if not for any other reason besides the fact that he simply wanted to enjoy her company for as long as possible. Perhaps this evening would show her what their life could be like together if she took a chance on him and allowed him to court her.
He smiled towards her and she made her way from the table to get prepared for the evening and he bid goodbye to Laurel who wasn’t far behind. He couldn’t imagine how much effort women had to make to get ready with all their layers of dresses and corset ties and whatever else they had to contend with. Christian seemed to take the time to leave and get ready too. [b “I suppose that I should do the same.”] He said with a chuckle and made his way to his room to get ready while the dining room was changed around for their intimate dinner party.
Getting prepared for entertaining came easily to Josiah now and he was the first downstairs to greet the guests, but he was actually rather thankful that Christian was not far behind him, especially since the man seemed to have similar thoughts to him. He sipped on his scotch and chuckled when he heard Christian’s observations. [b “That, they are.”] He moved with Christian to greet them and of course the first topic that came up was his lack of a wife.
[b “As my friend Christian said, the right woman will come along. I will marry for love, not wealth or political reasons. Please, have a drink. We are just waiting for a couple more guests now.”] He was talking about the women of course.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was glad that Maisie decided to join them and soon after that they were all leaving the table to prepare themselves for the evening. Once they were upstairs, she shared a quick glance and a smile with Christian before making her way into her room. Maisie had laid out a wonderful selection of dresses and she spent some time pondering over which one she would choose. In the end she settled for a beautiful gown with beading and lace and a corset back. She hoped that Maisie would come in at some point as she could help her with the back.
She sat in front of the mirror and spend some time playing around with her hair, making it look pretty and she used some of the jewellery pieces on the dressing table to hold her hair in place. She was happy with the end product and by the time she had finished, Maisie was making her way into the room, and she looked towards the woman with a smile.
[b “Maisie, you look beautiful!”] She rose from where she sat and instantly went to help her with the hem of the dress. [b “Josiah will not be able to keep his eyes off you.”] She said with a chuckle, hoping that she wouldn’t mind the conversation. [b “There, you look perfect.”] She said standing back to inspect the dress. [b “Absolutely stunning. Would you mind helping me with the back of this dress? I believe we can make ourselves known at dinner then.”]
Maisie looked to Laurel and smiled a little, [+blue "You look much better than the women who usually come through here."] She said to her and nodded as she helped with the back of the dress. Laurel looked like a princess or duchess, she would be sure to turn heads that evening. [+blue "I'm sure Christian will like how you look."] She said to Laurel and smiled a little, it was nice being able to talk to another woman about men, it was different than speaking speaking other servants. She looked to the clock and drew in a deep breath, she was nervous about sitting with proper men, gentlemen and higher classes.
Maisie stepped out the room and stuck close to Laurel, so she wouldn't go adrift and become lost in the evening. She saw Christian and Josiah talking with the other men and she could feel butterflies swarm her stomach. She wasn't sure this was a good idea, she was a servant, what was she playing at? [b "And two more fine ladies to join us!"] A portly man said with a cheery smile as he nodded to the two women.
Maisie gave the man a polite smile, looking to Josiah. She approached and had to admit she felt somewhat useless not helping. [+blue "You look lovely, sir. Apologies I'm late, myself and Laurel needed a few extra minutes."] She said quietly to him. She was so used to needing to be on time and punctual, that she was afraid she had seemed rude. Josiah always looked so charming and wonderful.
Christian smiled some to Josiah, he hoped the man was right and that he got to marry a woman he loved. Thankfully it didn't seem like his parents were going to push it right now but what if they did? [b "My youngest daughter is unmarried, beautiful girl with a very obedient nature, she'd make a fine wife."] One man explained and Christian raised an eyebrow. Thankfully, their two women made an entrance and Christian's eyes were fixed on Laurel. She looked like something from a painting. She was beautiful and he reached out and took her hand, he didn't want any other man here putting a claim to her.
[+green "You look breathtaking."] Christian said quietly and looked to the other men who were staring at the women. [+green "I think I'll keep you at my side tonight."] He murmured and eyed her over. The way her hair was fixed, the way the dress hugged her body in just the right places. Christian had never wanted to kiss her more than right then and as he started to pluck up the courage, one of the butlers entered, [b "Dinner will be served shortly, if you would all like to make your way to the dining room."] He said and Christian gave a frustrated sigh.
He offered Laurel his arm and gave her a sheepish smile, [+green "You're going to love these men. Apparently, they're trying to marry their daughters off because they're pretty and 'obedient."] Christian chuckled quietly to Laurel.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] [B "Christian is a bachelor of course so he may be interested in a match."] He said, knowing that Christian would understand his jest.
Josiah was lost in conversation when the women arrived but when they did he stopped and turned to greet them. He couldn't believe how stunning Maisie looked and he instantly took her hands and brought them to his lips so that he could press a kiss upon them.
[B "You look beautiful."] He said with a smile and the men in his presence shared a glance and if he were looking he could tell that they were thinking Josiah had already found himself a wife and if Josiah had things his way, he would have.
[B "Don't worry about the timing you do not need to worry about any of that this evening. Just relax and enjoy yourself tonight."] He smiled and offered his arm to her. [B "May I escort you to the dining room My Lady?"] He grinned and as soon as he could he led her towards the room.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] [b "Many of the woman I saw at the event seemed very...uptight and they certainly care alot about their appearance. I'm not much for all that. When I'm home I very rarely wear beautiful dresses like this once but I suppose it is nice every now and then. You look like you belong in a different world in that dress, not amongst the servants."] She smiled towards the woman over her shoulder as she finished making sure her dress was suitable at the back. She mentioned Christian again and chuckled, still quite unsure about whether he did feel anything towards her.
Then they made their way downstairs and she could almost detect the nerves from Maisie. [B "Don't worry, just be yourself."] She smiled and when he entered the room she greeted the guests and Maisie went off towards Josiah and she made her way to Christian. There was something different about the way he was looking at her now and she found herself blushing slightly which wasn't like her at all.
[B "Thank you. You are going to keep me at your side are you?"] She smiled a little and could almost feel the tension between them but before either of them could say another word they were being told food would be served and he took her arm and they made their way towards the dining room.
[B "Is that so? Have you decided to stay to wed?"]
Maisie smiled to Josiah, doing her best to hide her blush as she took his arm and walked with him into the dining room, [+blue "You are too kind."] She said to him as she found a seat and one of the servers gave her a smile as wine was poured. Maisie looked around and thankfully she didn't seem to recognise any of the faces around them, some looked vaguely familiar and she looked to Josiah, perhaps taking his advice and enjoying the night was all she could do as she took a small drink of the wine.
[b "So, down to business then I suppose, Josiah."] One of the men started and a few men grumbled in agreement. [b "You understand that the costs of bettering the lowering class' working conditions would be quite great."] He explained and Maisie watched and listened carefully. She was not a business woman, nor was she outspoken like Laurel or Christian. She thanked one of the butlers as they laid out some soup and kept quiet for the most part as the men chatted amongst themselves about costs and benefits. It seemed strange to her that someone's life should be decided by cost.
[b "Josiah made a good point last we spoke, surely the cost is outweighed by the medical costs and deaths, you don't need to keep replacing bodies with working hands."] Another man chimed in thoughtfully and Maisie supposed the fact they were all sitting here and contemplating it was rather remarkable. These things usually started very well, but by the time the alcohol got served things always went downhill. Maisie was cautious as she sat by Josiah, [b "And who is this pretty flower?"] One man chided opposite her and Maisie looked to him, [+blue "Maisie, it's a pleasure to meet you, sir."] She introduced.
Christian cast Josiah a look and chuckled slightly, [+green "I might be spoken for."] He remarked and looked to Laurel as they headed into the Dining Room and he made sure his manners were impeccable. [+green "I think I'd rather chew my own arm off."] He whispered to her as he took a seat. No doubt these men had lovely daughters but none would quite fit for Christian, not when he had Laurel at his side looking enticing.
Christian watched the conversation, thoughtfully. It was true that in the long term better working conditions and bills to make sure that people were looked after, were beneficial but these men seemed reluctant to waste their money on those 'beneath' them. It was a strange thing to see and he glanced over when Maisie finally spoke up. [b "I believe we are in the presence of two unmarried and beautiful women, we ought to have brought our sons."] A blonde haired man chuckled, [b "Speak for yourself, Anderson! I'm not that old."] Anderson laughed and eyed Laurel and Maisie over like a dog slavering over a bone.
Christian bit his tongue and glanced to Laurel, [+green "I am sure the charming women here are able to speak for themselves and are far above being married off."]
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] Josiah knew all too well that Christian would likely end up with Laurel one day but perhaps being here together would help push the two together. It was beyond him that the two hadn't found their way to each other before now but he could hardly talk because Maisie was within his reach but felt a million miles away at times.
He was seated next to Maisie and thank the servers on behalf of his guests before taking a sip of wine. It didn't take long before everyone wanted to speak business but of course that was the purpose of the evening. He listening to the debate before chiming in with his own opinion.
[B "Short term, yes the cost is high but it far outweighs any eventuality when it comes to cost. But this isn't about cost. This is about humanity and ensure that everyone has access to a good quality of life no matter who they are or the background they have."] He smiled and they seemed to agree initially and then attention turned to Maisie.
[I "It's a pleasure to meet you. Unmarried I see. I myself am a widowed man. It can get awfully lonely if you are looking to marry."] He said with a smile while the other eyed up Laurel. Josiah didn't like the pass of course but he had no claim over the woman and he would never say anything of the sort.
He just looked towards Maisie and offered her a smile, letting her know that it was okay to speak her mind.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel chuckled at Christian's comment as she lowered herself into a seat next to him. Unless she was going crazy, tonight she could [I feel] that there was something between them. She listened to the comments that were being thrown around and she decided to remain quiet on the matter considering that women in this time were not supposed to be business savvy. Instead she observed and enjoyed the wine and occasionally glanced towards Christian, admiring him somewhat. Then the conversation turned to the women and it was clear they noticed they were both unmarried. She looked towards Christian who spoke up for them and she nodded.
[B "I choose who I marry. I am more than capable of taking care of myself and I don't need a marriage to stabilise me. I believe Maisie is of the same thought. One thing I feel strongly about is that we woman are not traded off as commodities."] She sipped her wine and looked towards the men. [B "I may never marry we shall see how that works out."]
Maisie smiled to Josiah and gazed at the man who spoke with her. [+blue "I'm very sorry to hear that you're a widow."] She said and looked to Laurel, grateful for her defence and just nodded, [+blue "I am thankful that you find me charming, sir, but Laurel is right. I am thankful that I I in a position to choose who I to marry, on love alone."] She remarked, being as polite as she could. She ate some of the soup and listened to the man.
[i "Ah, I see. Well, it seems I would have to win your heart then, my dear. Let the game commence."] He said and Maisie just nodded awkwardly. She wouldn't be playing any game with this man but she didn't wish to be impolite. She looked to Josiah, sympathising with how these events must be for him. [+blue "Is it like this with all your events where you're being matched up?"] She asked him quietly, so the others wouldn't hear. [+blue "Remind me to try and keep you busy at yhe next event."] She murmured. She couldn't imagine dealing with this on a weekly basis night after night.
[i "Or perhaps Josiah intends to have his way with you, first time I've seen him with a pretty lady at his side."] The man said and Maisie only shook her head. [+blue "Please sir, this is purely a good friendship."] She explained and the man chuckled a little.
Christian raised an eyebrow. People in these times were very keen to marry off to one another and he furrowed his brow at the man. He glanced to Laurel when she spoke up and she reminded him judt how strong of a woman she was. She wasn't afraid to speak up and with any luck that would rub off on Maisie. He smiled softly to her and watched the man, [+green "They're really going to get a fright at the end of this."] He said to Laurel withba small laugh and gazed at Josiah and Maisie. They made such a lovely couple, so we'll balanced.
Dinner was served and Christian was grateful it seemed to preoccupy the men. He could understand with Maisie was fond of Josiah, he acted much better than these men. [+green "After dinner, I'm not letting you out of my sight."] He said to her and grinned softly, he didn't trust these men. They seemed like hormonal driven apes and he was wary about letting her wander off unsupervised.
A butler brought out some scotch and Christian gladly took some in the hopes it would settle his nerves. He looked to Laurel and then to the others, [+green "Tha k you Josiah, for a wonderful dinner and of course thank your cook."] He said and eyed the other men.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] There was something within Josiah that felt very jealous and protective over Maisie the moment the man claimed he would attempt to win her heart. He wanted so badly to win it but he was unsure that he would ever get the chance. He simply had to wait and see if the woman could ever develop feelings for him.
He lowered his voice. [B "Yes, it's like this constantly. I would appreciate that."]
When the conversation returned, it even hurt a little when she mentioned that they were simply friends.
[B "Yet I still hold out hope that one day you may permit me to be more than that. Of course that is all your choice though Maisie. I have but myself to offer you."]
From that moment they ate dinner and enjoyed each other's company until the scotch was being delivered to all the men at the table at the end of dinner. [B "You are more than welcome Christian. Perhaps we should retire to another room so that the food can be cleared away."] He stood and everyone followed him into a more suitable room for entertaining guests after dinner.
[B "Christian seems rather close to Laurel this evening don't you think?"] He whispered towards Maisie.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] Laurel was glad when dinner was brought out since it seemed to reoccupy the men and their attention was no longer on the women. She observed the guests at the table and looked towards Christian when he spoke.
[B "Why is that? Are you worried about me? I can take care of myself you know."] She smiled and teased him a little. It was actually very attractive to see how protective he was over her.
After dinner she joined Christian in gratitude and followed them through into the drawing room where she was given another glass of wine. [B "I'm intrigued Christian, why are you so protective this evening? Are you just concerned that I'm going to go changing history by running off with someone or that I get stuck here or something?"]
Maisie looked to Josiah at his words, it wasn't that she didn't feel the same way, because she did but she was a servant. [+blue "I hope so too, sir."] She murmured to him softly and nodded at his mention of going to another room so the servants could clear up. Josiah was always considerate that way and she got to her feet, heading to the parlour room and listening to the conversations. She glanced to Josiah at his quiet word and she nodded.
[+blue "It's nice to see, they're a lovely couple and their emotions are both in place."] She remarked quietly. Christian was being protective over the other woman, noticeably so and hopefully that put the others off of chasing Laurel for the night, she wasn't sure she could handle any scuffles if a man did try to win over Laurel. She planned on staying close to Josiah, especially when it was revealed who she was to these men, some of them were bound to be annoyed by it.
[+blue "Do you mean what you say?"] She asked Josiah, quietly as the men spoke among themselves and she watched him. She met his eyes and thought for a moment. Right then it seemed like it didn't matter, class was simply an obstacle they could overcome but what if Josiah simply wanted the chase, or the forbidden fruit? The novelty would wear off and his life would be in ruins because of her.
[+green "Can't I want to keep a beautiful woman close to me?"] He asked her softly and smiled at her devilishly. If Laurel wanted to remain here, then he would stay with her but if she did find comfort in another then he was sure then he couldn't stay. She looked radiant and she didn't even seem to realise it himself. [+green "Don't make me confess everything here, in front of everyone."] He said with a smirk towards her and he supposed the scotch was making him a little bolder.
He looked towards Josiah and Maisie, pondering what they were talking about but then set his attention back to Laurel, [+green "I suppose these aren't the sort of parties where we can just slip away unnoticed."] He lamented quietly to her and he grinned a little before a man approached and started talking.
[i "My son is around your age, with a good career and of course my inheritance, I would be very obliged if you would meet with him, see how things go. You'd be a very well cared for woman."] He remarked to Laurel and Christian bit his cheek to stop himself saying something he would regret. Laurel could take care of herself, so she said and he took a drink from the glass of scotch.
[pic https://i.imgur.com/vZhc6wl.jpg] He smiled when she seemed to want the same as him, unless she was just appeasing him. Then he glanced towards Christian and Laurel with a smile before looking back at Maisie. [B "Let's hope that they both realise that soon. They seem perfect for each other."] He sipped his scotch. [B "Are you enjoying your wine?"] He moved closer to her, almost protectively, hoping that if he showed an interest in Maisie, his guests would back off and realise his affections for her.
[B "I meant every word."] He placed his glass down and took hers from her hand and then took both her hands in his. [B "I want to have the chance of being with you Maisie. I don't care about what is proper, I don't care about social status or wealth or who anyones parents are. I have strong feelings for you and I want nothing more than to see where this could go. I would marry you, take care of you but let you be your own woman...but for now I simply wish for one afternoon of your time to see how we might fit together."]
He smiled and forgot about anyone else in the room at that moment. He only wanted to know Maisie's reaction to his words.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/RbQVOBA.jpg]] [B "Beautiful?"] She chuckled a little. She wasn't really the kind of woman who regularly received compliments so she often struggled to accept them and she was especially surprised that the words were Christian's. Was he trying to flirt with her?
Then he asked her not to make him confess and thay simply added to her confusion. Even if it was improper, she wanted to slip away to try and figure out what he was getting at but they didn't have time to before one of the guests were approaching her. She would be polite though, nor wanting to offend Josiah's guests.
[B "I truly am flattered. However, I am not from around here and I'm not sure I'm ready to leave my family and friends behind for a man, especially one I have not met. Besides, Christian is my brother's friend and I'm sure he would report back if I were to accept an offer without his approval."]
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