Here’s the second chapter of The Story. I don’t know what to call it. It’s my unnamed story.
I shook my hips a bit as the delicate silk slid down my body. Thom didn’t bother turning around. It wasn’t something he’d never seen before. We stood there for a few long moments staring at one another.
A loud pounding on the door dragged me back to reality, “Are you dressed?”
“Good, come downstairs.”
Sighing heavily, I tried to choke back the sob that wanted to escape, “On my way down, mother.”
Thom silently laced up the dress for me. As his rough hands brushed against my soft skin, the tears slid down my cheeks. I had to do something to quash my parents plans.
When he finished I vacated the room quickly. I couldn’t look at him.
I took a seat nearest my father. His newspaper was in hand, and he sipped his tea. I glanced at the paper and saw the front page “Young lady found in alley. No suspects found.”
I snatched the paper out of my fathers hands and read the article.
“Excuse me, Anne!” he sputtered.
“Sorry, father. Did you see this?” I waved the paper in the air.
“Yes, another woman was found dead,” he said very nonchalantly.
“Do you have to be so heartless about it? A woman is dead!”
“That’s what happens when young ladies don’t listen to their parents and don’t get married,” he muttered, narrowing his eyes at me.
“I really doubt that someone is targeting unmarried young women,” I rolled my eyes.
He grabbed the paper back from me and continued reading. Nobody seemed to care. Nobody realized that there was some crazed killer out there looking for women, and there were two women in the house.
“Charles will be here shortly,” mother piped up as she sipped at her tea.
“You were serious about him coming for supper?” I asked, looking at her in disgust.
“Why don’t you set him up with Elizabeth? Elizabeth wants married off,” I grumbled while dumping sugar into my tea.
“Elizabeth has plenty of suitors and is ready for marriage. We don’t need to interfere,” my father added, not even looking from his reading.
“I can find a husband of my own.”
“Yes, and we’ve seen the men you are attracting. Not suitable for a lady of your standing,” mother said between sips.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked angrily.
“The men you attract are well below our station. We simply cannot have you marrying someone who does not deserve you,” she said.
I heard Elizabeth snicker and sneak a peek at Thom, who stood forlornly in the corner.
“You’ll have to forgive me for not caring about money. When I marry it will be for love and it will be to someone I want to spend my life with. It won’t be to someone who has the biggest purse or fanciest house,” I slammed my tea-cup on the table, stood, and stormed out of the room.
As I walked down the hallway I could hear my parents talking about me. I had to do something fast.
“Anne, that’s no way to get them to listen to you.”
“Thom, I don’t want to talk about that now,” I said, slipping out of the dress.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
I pulled my curled hair up into a ponytail and dug around in my closet for the forbidden items. Once I found the trousers, I slipped them on.
“They’re going to catch you.”
“They haven’t yet,” I muttered, pulling black riding boots on.
“Why do you do this?” he asked.
“Because, I need to get away. This is the only way I can.”
“By dressing like a man?”
“Thom, stop. I’m lectured enough by my parents, I don’t need to hear it from you as well.”
“What do you plan to do today?”
“I’m going to look for the killer,” I stated flatly.
“I’m sorry, but what?”
“I’m going to find that killer. Obviously nobody is trying that hard, so I will.”
“Have you gone completely insane?” he asked, standing in the doorway.
“No,” I said ducking under his arm.
I stood at the top of the stairs and listened for any sound. They were still in the dining room. I went to the opposite end of the hall and down the servants stairs. I slipped out the kitchen door and to our modest stables.
“Shh, Lewis,” I whispered to my large, black horse.
He stomped his hooves as I saddled him.
“You’re not going alone,” Thom said, saddling the chestnut horse in the stable next to Lewis.
“Fine, just keep up,” I mounted the horse and steered him to the alley.
We rode through the streets at a trot, I had no idea what I was looking for. I didn’t even know what the killer looked like. I was caught off guard when a pair of hands reached up and pulled me off Lewis.
“Hey!” I shouted in surprise.
I scratched and smacked at the air trying to make contact with whoever had me.
“Who are you?” A rough mans voice demanded.
“Let me go!” I screeched.
The hands grabbed the collar of my shirt and yanked me to my feet. I had never been handled so roughly or treated so terribly. The person slammed me against a light post and I found myself staring into the brown eyes of Inspector John Kentington.
“Lady Anne?” he asked releasing me.
“Inspector,” I said brusquely.
“Why are you dressed like a man?” he asked eyeing the pants.
“That is none of your concern. Why are you being so rough with people?”
“There is a killer roaming the streets,” he said.
“Yes, I know this.”
“And you’re out at this time of nigh?” he looked to Thom, “And you didn’t stop her?”
“She didn’t give me much choice,” Thom whispered.
“Do your parents know you’re out here?” John asked.
“No,” I said coldly.
“Go home, Anne.”
“John?” I asked, my voice softening.
“Thanks for not being the killer,” I mumbled, mounting Lewis.
“Just go home.”
He walked down the street, keeping to the shadows. I could barely make out his tall, muscular form as he turned down a darkened alley.
“What was that about?” Thom asked, stopping the chestnut next to me.
“We used to know each other. A long time ago,” I muttered, nudging Lewis on in the opposite direction of my house.
“We’re not going back, are we?”
“Of course not.”
There was a murderer out there and Johns approach of attacking strange people on horses was not going to work.