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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 10:23 pm 
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
Okay, Gerald and I are currently writing this. I'm posting what we have so far.

***

All legalese applies...DW is a kind a benevolent God among mortalsyadddayaada...

Grab your nearest longnecked friend and enjoy...

C&C (Comments and Criticism) always welcome...You can post it here, send me a PM, or an email...

Flames will be filed in the round folder...

***

The Sextant Chronicles
By
Gerald and Mythos

***

Part 1

Jennifer Billingsworth closed her eyes and winced as the horrible strains from her mother's harpsicord wafted into her room. The chords echoed around in her skull and grated on already harried nerves. It would be one thing if her mother could play the damned thing. She took a breath and tried to relax as the aroma from the lavender filled her head. It wasn't easy. She smiled slighty at the lavender. She never allowed any of the servants to get her the bouquet. It was something she'd always done for herself. Her mother hit a bad chord that bounced along the polished marble halls and came to rest behind Billie's eyes. Her mother loved to play for her suitors. Come to think of it, she loved to play for Billie's suitors as well. And she liked to play for the Parson. And she liked to play for her horrible friends. And she liked to play with herself. Billie winced at the pun and shook her head. She opened her eyes and looked at herself in the mirror. An ornate mirror had been set into a frame above a small table she used as a dressing table. She thought she was pretty enough, certainly not a stunning beauty, like her friend Penny, but nothing to sneeze at either. Billie smirked as she picked up her ivory handled brush and began to brush her long, black hair. She liked her hair and kept it well. Her mother usually commented that her daughter's best feature was her hair and spent much money to keep it so. Her mother enjoyed it when her daughter took an interest in something feminine. Which didn't happen very often.

She looked into the mirror as the door opened behind her. More horrid music began to push its way into the room again. A young girl entered, a yellow dress overflowing in her grasp, and quickly shut the door behind her. She grimaced at the slam of the door and blew out a breath. The girl quickly snapped into a smile as she made her way to Billie's bed, where she lay out the dress. Billie regarded the thing. It didn't look bad, as far as ball gowns went. Certainly not as hideous as previous gowns had been, but still...she didn't know the material, even as much as her mother forced her tutors to tell her about such things. Ball gowns, court gowns, dresses for this, gowns for that. Billie huffed and turned back to the mirror.

"Want to make bets that Admiral Chesterfield will keep the mistress away from the harpsicord tonight?" the girl began to smooth out the dress, her hands playing out expertly on the material.

Billie raised an eye in the mirror at the girl. She smirked as she continued to smooth out the dress, her triangle grin and blue eyes belying her station in the household. Billie tried to ignore the obvious jibe. She failed and stifled a giggle.

"Here," the girl gently plucked the brush from Billie's hands and began to brush. "Honestly ma'am, if you don't want to attend the ball tonight, just say so."

Billie huffed as a melancholic look washed over her face.

"It's not that easy," Billie sighed. "Oh Joyce, I wish we could just run away from here. Not forever, but perhaps long enough for my mother to grow up."

"You know as well as I do how long that would take."

Billie nodded slightly. Joyce Brown had been childhood friends with the only child of the Billingsworth house and, given the difference in their class, actually had very little trouble in becoming Billie's handmaiden. Billie had originally been hesitant about ordering her friend around, but Joyce had understood her place in the "scheme of things", as her mother had put it, and had been an unflinchingly loyal handmaid. Billie still refused to call her a servant though. More like a helper. Especially with all the damned dresses. Joyce reached to the dresser and retrieved a yellow silk ribbon.

"I've heard that Admiral Chesterfield's son will be there," Joyce said as she weaved the ribbon into Billie's hair. "That should prove interesting."

"Do you listen to everything the other servants say?"

"Sure," Joyce said. "I don't always believe them, but I do always listen."

Billie chuckled.

"I don't think it will make much difference either way," Billie sniffed. "Penny is going to be there too, you know-"

Billie looked into the mirror as Joyce slowed her weaving of the ribbon in Billie's hair.

"Now, I know what you think of Penny-" Billie began.

Joyce sniffed and continued.

"No ma'am, I don't think I've ever honestly told you what I think of Penelope Worthington," Joyce sniffed again. "And, to keep being your servant, I don't think I ever shall."

"Oh Joyce," Billie reached up and grabbed her friend's hand. "Please do tell me. Your opinion is important."

"Penny," Joyce couldn't meet Billie's gaze. "She's a social butterfly, for one thing. And I think the only reason she doesn't want to marry is because it would give her an excuse to socialize more."

"Joyce, I don't want to go to these things-"

"No!" Joyce pleaded. "You don't want to marry because there's honestly not a man good enough for you. She doesn't want to marry because she thinks playing with emotions is a good pasttime."

"She does scheme, I'll admit," Billie lowered her head. "But...I also have to say that Penny was there when father left."

A few seconds of silence passed as more squeeling strains from the harpiscord rolled up.

"I was there as well," Joyce said quietly.

Billie looked up and softened. She got up and turned to her long time friend.

"Of course you were," Billie gave Joyce a kiss on her cheek. "And you are the only person I can count as a real friend. Never forget that."

A tear began in Joyce's eye as she nodded.

"Now...let's see if I can squeeze into this horrid dress..." Billie smiled as they turned to the bed. "Why does my mother insist I wear yellow all the time?"

***

_________________
Reader of It's Walky! since May 17, 2002
Member of the IW! community since around October / November 2002
Survivor of the Great Keenspot Forum Crash (Febuary 2003)
Father of IW! Fanfiction


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