It had taken a day to arrive to Surrey, from their country home in Yorkshire. However, no time was wasted in lounging. The next morning the carriage was drawn to take Jessica to officially meet her soon to be husband. Mounting regret and tension filled the carriage as it approached Sir Williams’ mannor. Although Jessica was to be betrothed, her mother, Mary Nomad, had all but to lose if the wedding was not to occur. The swirling notion of the golden fallen leaves screamed THOMAS as Jessica laid her feet to the floor. Staring up at the manor made Jessica imagine her life as the lady of the household – but only for a split second. So consumed in thought she couldn’t recall taking a step. Yet her mother was now knocking gracefully on the wide, mahogany, arched door.
“Good Morning, Lady Nomad, I shall announce you to Sir William who is sitting peacefully in his study. Would you kindly wait for Sir in the front room.” The house-maiden said as she curtesied gracefully.
“Oh thank you, we shall and could you please let him know that Jessica has accompanied me on this trip.” She replied with an uncomfortable expression.
The maiden scurried away as Jessica and Mary both made their way to the front room. The mannor was exquisite with art work decorating every inch of the walls. A mural dedicated to his late wife that died from the flu four years earlier. Walking into the room, Jessica felt overwhelmed by the beauty of the windows that stretched all around, effortlessly. The view of the gardens was unimaginable, it was littered with an array of flowers and a greenhouse that was well looked after. Strangly there was a small tree house cluttering one of the big oak trees. The room was furnished with three, long red thrones, a fire place and a white fur rug. Although it was undeniably fit for a queen, Jessica could not imagine being comfortable in this mannor. She was a simple girl that lived in a home slightly bigger than a cottage and was not in the slightest impressed by materialistic objects.
“Now Jessica, I will not have you humiliate your father and I. You will respectfully answer when spoken too.” She demanded, in a nervous fidget.
“Yes mother.” She obediently replied. Although internally screaming, she had the realisation that this was her fate.
“Lady Nomad!” Sir William voice shook the ladies out of their conversation.
The ladies curtsied and moved close to him with their hands laid in mid air.
“Sir William, meet my daughter, Jessica.” She spoke proudly.
“Ahh, Jessica, I was not expecting you today, I thought I had a private audience with your mother.” He said with a slight annoyance lacing his tone.
“I have prepared everything for the wedding and thought it was best if you meet. After all the wedding is in five days.” Lady Mary replied unconvincingly.
“Very well, you must all join me for lunch. The guest room is at your disposal, lunch will be served soon.” He replied with a smirk.
Lunch was served in the modest dining room; consisting of six chairs and a small round table. However, the feast prepared, was far from modest. A spread of duck, chicken and lamb were accompanied with endless potatoes and honey glazed vegetables. The drink menu was simply water or orange juice as Sir Williams had a deep hatred for alcohol.
The conversation was of no interest to Jessica and so found herself drifting in thought. Unknown to her, there was more to this arrangement than could ever be expected.
“So, Mary; how is everything at home. How is your husband?” He smirked as he laid his hand on her thigh.
“My husband is great, he is not the same man I once described him to be. His business does not require him to travel as often as he use too.” She replied nervously as she moved his hand.
“Can I request a private audience with you to discuss finer details of the wedding.” He replied unconvinced.
“Yes you may, Jessica dear, continue eating we will be leaving very soon.” She said with her glare fixated on Sir Williams.
They made their way to the library which was on the east wing of the house. It was secluded and guarded with two long, uninviting doors.
“Mary, why would you bring your daughter when I haven’t had the pleasure of your company in what feels like eternity.” Sir Williams asked with a puzzled expression.
“Sir Williams, I regret what we have done and I will not allow you to continue this, whilst you are interested in marrying my daughter. I love my husband and refuse to take part in this adulatory any longer.” She confidently replied.
“I have an interest in your daughter but I yarn for you. If you want me to marry your daughter, you will continue this until I have released you. Otherwise I will denounce your title in society by telling your husband that you have had relations with another. I will ensure that your daughter is exiled from high society and thus will never marry a man of status. Would you really want to return to the life of a simple house- maiden? ” he retorted heartlessly.