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Realistic or Modern The Bronze Locket

Sub Genres
Adventure, Historical, Romance, Slice of Life


Junior Member
After the passing of her father, Adalaide Lovelocke is left alone as the head of her estate. Though she has a capable staff, Adalaide finds herself feeling isolated and a little overwhelmed. But, through the sea of rakes, greedy cousins and high-society drama, a mysterious new neighbor might just be able to help her navigate.

Adalaide sighed heavily, pulling at the silk ribbon under her chin until it unfurled, then removed the hat as it fell off her head. She checked her hair in the hall mirror, then turned to her head butler as he closed the front door.
"How was your trip into town, my lady?" He took her hat and gloves as she peeled them off her hands.
"It was fine, Charles, thank you. Though the linen draper tried to convince me that I'm still wearing last spring's fashion." the abigail hurried to open the door to her office as the pair came down the hall. Charles and the maid bowed as Adalaide sat down behind the solid oak desk.
"My lady, can I get you something? Afternoon tea?"
"Yes, Agnes, please." The maid curtsied and left the room.
"There are two gentleman callers for you, today, my lady." Charles informed her. "One is in the drawing room as we speak."

(You're all set to go BoneBrain!)


Junior Member
(Thank you! :) )

Hugh Montgomery found himself to be most intrigued by his new neighbor. The news had spread over town of the passing of Adalaide Lovelocke's father, the local pub, "The Twisted Rose" had been abuzz with chatter over the affairs of the now alone mistress to the estate. Hugh had found himself the center of attention as his lands bordered her estate. Many of the local gentlemen had urged him to check upon the poor woman.

It took very little persuasion as Hugh was the curious sort, and so he found himself standing in the drawing room of the Lovelockes estate admiring the view of his very own manor as seen in the distance from one of the windows. The head butler had poured him a glass of brandy and informed him that the Miss. Lovelocke had taken to town, but should be returning shortly. Hugh seated himself on a rather comfortable chaise and brushed back a lock of his dark brown hair. The brandy tasted warm on his tongue and he enjoyed the taste, letting the liquid sit there before swallowing.

His gaze moved over the greenery of the estate, and down to the gardens that lined the walls of the house. It was quite a pleasant place, he thought to himself. He could imagine now the sounds of the birds calling to one another in the morning as the residents enjoyed their breakfast. His dear old aunt would have requested them to be shot, but Hugh found he rather enjoyed the morning songs of birds. His thoughts were interrupted as he heard the sound of voices down the hall.


Junior Member
Adelaide's eyes widened, and she stood from the desk.

"What? Oh, Charles, why didn't you tell me!" She opened the top left drawer and pulled out crystalline perfume bottle. Adelaide dabbed it on her wrists and collarbone, peony and lavender. It was something of her own creation, a gift of her favorite scents from her father. LoveLocke Ladies Wear was after all her family's business, they made everything from dresses to baubles. Shutting it back, she hurriedly left the study and bustled down the hall. "How long has he been waiting?"

"Not fifteen minutes, my lady." the butler replied in a calm voice. Adelaide stopped again before the hall mirror, quickly adjusting her bodice and fussing with her dark blonde curls. placing a hand on the door to the drawing room and swinging it open in one smooth motion. Adalaide entered the room, grabbed her lavender skirts and dipped into a curtsy. The bronze locket on the choker 'round her neck glinted in the soft afternoon light falling in through the windows.

"Forgive my tardiness, good sir," She apologized, then straightened. "I am Adelaide Lovelocke, and I am so pleased to welcome you to my home." Taking a few steps forward, she delicately held her hand out for a proper greeting. Her olive eyes swept over the guest, taking him in. He hadn't been at the funeral. Long, brown hair, well kept, clear eyes, and a sharp suit. Obviously well made, but not grandiose. He has wealth, but no need to flaunt it. A proper gentleman's attitude.

She gave him her best smile. "I don't believe we've yet made an acquaintance."


Junior Member
Hugh had risen to his feet and placed his drink down, at the sound of the voices and waited a few moments before the door opened to reveal a rather striking woman. She immediately dipped into a curtsy and he inclined his head in greeting noting how her curls moved against her shoulders as she moved. She then reached forward and he took her hand in his. Her fingers felt so small against his, when he lowered his head to brush a kiss upon her knuckles he noticed how much taller he was than her. He lingered there a moment longer taking in the pleasant scent of her. A fragrant summers day, he thought to himself as he straightened.

"It is a pleasure Miss. Lovelocke. I am Hugh Montgomery, your neighbour to the west there." He gestured out the drawing room window to his manor in the distance. "I've recently taken up residence there, my Aunt Lydia has gifted me the estate. I thought it proper to call upon my neighbour and make myself known." He flashed her a smile and waited for her to direct him if he should sit or not. His smile did falter however when he remembered his true reason of visiting.

"I also have come to offer my condolences. The news of your loss has been felt deeply by the town. I've also come to offer my assistance should you need it. I am but a short ride away." He said softly. His deep blue eyes had drifted down to the carpets as he had done his best to approach the matter with as much of a delicate tone as he could.


Junior Member
Adelaide smiled as they pulled away from each other, though the warmth of his hand lingered on hers. His hand had folded over hers almost perfectly. She had to tilt her head up to look him in the eyes, which were a brilliant blue. His kindness and gentle nature struck her. Adelaide had the sense that he was telling the truth. Something she found men rarely did now that she was alone. She gestured for him to sit, and replied.

"Thank you, Mr. Montgomery. I appreciate your offer and your sentiment, truly." She smoothed her skirts and continued "Oh, I remember miss Lydia Montgomery! She was always speaking her mind to my father when she came for tea--I quite like to think I learned how to gossip from her." She laughed softly, brushing her hair back over her shoulder. Before Adelaide could sit, however, a commotion erupted in the hallway. From the other side of the doors, she could hear Charles's voice in a panic.

"Sir, please, the lady is in a meeting--" the doors to the drawing room burst open, and another man strode in, her butler looking frazzled behind him. Adelaide felt her stomach drop. Edward Redstone, her father's former ward. He looked furious. Her hand went immediately to her neck, feeling a familiar ache flair up behind the silk choker.

"Addy! How dare you take another man here!" Crossing the room in a few quick strides, he grabbed her wrist with his thick fingers, and Adelaide felt her face redden, then pale. She pulled at his grip, vainly, fear flashing across her features as she struggled to maintain composed.

"Mr. Redstone, this is entirely inappropriate!"


Junior Member
Adelaide spoke fondly of Aunt Lydia and Hugh felt a twinkle of respect for the woman across from him. He sat and enjoyed the idea of Aunt Lydia prattling away at her father. She was a rather brash woman, who always spoke her mind. It was not often that another would like Aunt Lydia. While she was an abrupt old woman, he did adore her. Just as Hugh was reaching for his brandy to take another sip he heard the commotion from outside the room. He rose to his feet just as a man charged through the door. He could tell the man was all but on fire from rage and immediately Hugh moved his hand to his side instinctively for the sword at his side.

He let out a small breath of impatience when there was in fact no weapon there, his time in the regimen had left him with some poor habits. Hugh could see the anxiety of Miss. Lovelocke and he found himself stepping towards her. His eyes took in the image of Mr. Redstone wrenching the poor woman around like she were a doll. Instinct and breeding took over and Hugh found himself wedged quite nicely between the two of them. His large calloused hand around Mr.Redstones wrist.
"Mr. Redstone is it?" He said quite pleasantly considering the situation. His fingers squeezed tightly around the mans arm, he didn't pull or force Redstone, however he knew his grip would leave a bruise. "I don't believe we've met. However it seems that if you go around treating women like this, I find myself quite happy we've never crossed paths. Remember your place sir, or I shall shall help you find it."

With Miss. Lovelocke attached neatly to his side, Hugh could feel her fear as her body stood taught, attempting to get away from the man. He did his best to make sure that if Redstone lashed out Hugh would be the one to take the blow.


Junior Member
Adelaide found Mr. Montgomery's broad back before her, suddenly, and Edward's grip on her wrist released. Breathing shakily, one hand still clutching her throat, her free hand grasped the back of his coat, and she leaned her forehead into him, just slightly. The young woman bit back a sob and tried to blink the tears from her eyes, never more grateful for a perfect stranger than in that moment.

Edward bellowed and twisted his wrist out of Hugh's grasp. "My place?? How dare you! This is my home, and that is my betrothed!" He stepped back, laying a hand on the hilt of a dagger in his belt. "What will people think of you, sir? Alone with the woman promised to me?" His eyes glinted, anger apparent in every inch of his frame. Charles quickly left the room.

Adelaide felt anger bubble up inside of her. Edward, of all people, calling Mr. Montgomery a rake! Pushing her hand flat against Hugh's back, she stepped away from him. Her rage and fear mixed, causing tears to fall from her eyes. Even as her voice shook, Adelaide reprimanded him.

"Edward Biron Redstone! I was NEVER yours, and you have disgraced my father's name by behaving so violently." He took a step towards her, but was blocked by Mr. Montgomery. Adelaide began to shake, but held firm. "Get out of my house, Edward! Don't you dare come back!" The man swore, and raised his hand to strike her. Now away from the shield of Montgomery's shoulders, Adelaide flinched, turning her head in preparation for the blow. Her hand tightened around her neck, the old scar now throbbing with her quickened pulse.


Junior Member
The tension in the room was palpable, Hugh could feel the rage emanating from Redstone. Behind him he felt the Adelaide grasp the back of his coat tightly, and noted the lean of her against him. Even now he could smell the sweet scent she had put on. There was something about the floral aroma that seemed to soothe Hugh. The man had ripped from his grasp and spat words back at him. Hugh kept his eyes trained on the Edwards hands, his muscled bunched ready to deflect an attack from his dagger. Hugh kept his hands neatly at his side.

"Well now..." Hugh began. But his words fell away when Miss. Lovelocke pressed her hand to his back. He kept his eyes trained on the irate man but thoroughly enjoyed the tongue lashing she sent towards Edward. He liked a woman with a fire in her soul, Adelaide has stepped out from behind him. Hugh let himself be distracted for a moment, and his gaze slid over to the spark of a lady who was ordering Redstone out of the house and to never return. Hugh caught the motion of Edwards lifting his hand to slap the woman, Hugh did his best to intervene but his distraction had left him not as prepared as she should have. He lurched forward and his ears caught the sound of the slap of hand against cheek, just as Hugh barrelled into the man.

Edward found himself slammed into the wall, Hugh's hand tight around his cravat that circled Edwards neck. Hugh's hands bunched up the material and choked the man. In a practiced motion Hugh had Redstones dagger out of its sheath and falling to the carpet.
"I do believe Miss. Lovelocke has requested you leave." Hugh told him between clenched teeth, there was a controlled rage behind his blue eyes. His brows knit and he did his best to not let old regimen lessons leave Edward a mangled man. Hugh pulled Edward roughly away from the wall and noticed the butler that had also entered the room, the old man had the door propped open and seemed to look expectantly at Hugh. Hugh understood the message and without another word he marched the flailing man out the door and down the hall to the large entrance door.

Hugh had Edward out the door and in the fresh air with a few rough motions. Hugh widened his stance and folded his arms over his chest, waiting to see if the man would try him again.


Junior Member
Outside the front door the younger butler and sturdy stable hand stood ready. They took Edward from Hugh, dogs flanking them as they began to march him off the estate. Charles turned as the front doors swung shut. The greying butler appraised the young man before him for a moment longer before giving Hugh a deep, formal, bow.

"I cannot thank you enough, master Montgomery. The ward has been a sore upon this household for some time. I am indebted to you for protecting our lady." He stood and began to lead Hugh back to the drawing room.

Adelaide couldn't breathe. The blow Edward landed on her had sent her stumbling back against the mantle. Once the men had left the room, she managed to sit onto the chaise. Pain bloomed across her cheek and her chest tightened until it was painful to breathe. Memories, memories, memories---suddenly they were flooding through her.

Running through the manor, Edward calling for her. She'd lost him, bested him at hide-and-seek again. Until she felt the pressure around her throat.

Adelaide couldn't breathe. She frantically tore the silk ribbon from her throat and dropped the necklace. The bronze glittered gently from the rug by her feet. Her hands were shaking. It was no use, she still couldn't breathe. The riged, pink scar across her neck was in full view now, but she didn't care. She barely registered Anges kneeling beside her until she felt the damp of a cold cloth being pressed onto her forehead.

"Easy, my lady. Easy. You're alright now." The woman soothed. Her tears began to dry, and she shakily croaked out.

"W-where is Mr. Montgomery? Is he hurt?"


Junior Member
"Thank you for the assistance as well sir." Hugh said he returned the bow to the butler and found himself wondering why Miss. Lovelocke father had kept the brute around. He chose not to voice his thoughts but instead followed the man down the hall and back to the drawing room. The butler Charles ushered him inside the room just as Miss. Lovelocke asked to the wellbeing of Hugh.

"I am here." He said gently, moving closer to the two ladies. He spotted his half full brandy on the table next to the chaise and he plucked it up and pushed the glass into Adelaide's hands. "I do believe it might do you some good to take a healthy drink of this, Miss. Lovelocke." He turned and noticed the decanter of brandy and another glass sitting on an bar cart near the door. Hugh took it upon himself to pour himself a drink as well, once he was done he returned and took a seat across from her in a lush chair. As he sat his eyes took in the damage. There was a red welt on her cheek, and the helpful maid seemed to be dabbing gently at her forehead with a cool cloth. His eyes traveled lower and he took in the sight of a pink scar that marred across her throat. Sympathy welled up inside of him and he found himself expelling a breath silently cursing Redstone, how dare he make such a woman look as frightened as she was.

"You would do better to put a cold compress on the cheek." He advised the maid kindly. "We can halt some of the swelling that way." He took a sip of his brandy and caught the eyes of Miss. Lovelock. "I do hope you can forgive me for not being able to stop the blow." He adjusted in his seat and bushed back some of the hair that had fallen loose to his forehead. His hair was shaggy and reached almost to his chin, but he kept it neatly tucked and arranged. He scratched his square jaw noting he needed to shave before he spoke again. "Are you going to be alright Miss. Lovelocke?"


Junior Member
Agnes nodded and moved the towel to her lady's cheek. Adelaide drank the brandy obediently, then coughed as she inhaled too soon. Once the fit had passed, she straightened and turned in her chair to face him, cradling the glass between her fingers.

"Kind sir, please forgive me for all that ugliness. Your first visit to my estate has gone so awry." She lowered her gaze to the floor, and squeaked when she realized that her choker was not concealing the mark on her neck. Quickly, she scooped up the necklace and handed the glass to the maid as she fixed it back properly. Adelaide felt a bright blush crawl up her neck and over her features. "Goodness, I really have forgotten myself! Truly, I cannot apologise enough." She smoothed over her skirts and sipped the brandy again, and after a moment was able to meet his eyes once more.

Adelaide smiled smally, though it was a real smile. She felt herself relax simply by being near Mr. Montgomery. "Thank you, Mr. Montgomery. I think my dogs and the boys can handle him from now on. Though, I do hope your offer for other assistance still stands?" She tilted her head, slightly, noticing how the orange glow of the afternoon light gave Hugh a sort of halo. My guardian angel. She thought wistfully. "I'm supping with cousins tonight, if you'd like to stay for dinner? I do understand if the invitation is too abrupt."


Junior Member
Hugh moved his hand to wave away her apologies and was about to speak when she let out a small noise of distress. He kept quiet as she adjusted her choker back onto her neck effectively hiding away the torn and now healed skin. He will filled with curiosity but knew better than to ask a question like that after such a commotion, especially after only having just met her. He wondered if perhaps he could wheedle the tale out of her another time. He supposed perhaps she might not want to discuss something so traumatic and so decided to act as though nothing had happened.

"It truly was no problem at all." He assured her. "And yes. Should you need anything I am happy to help as best I can." He finished his drink and considered her invitation to dinner. He found himself nodding, he needed little prompting to have to stay a bit longer. "I would be most honoured to dine with you this eve. Should I return to my manor for proper dinner attire or shall this do?" He gestured to his riding clothes, and dark jacket. His boots had small flecks of mud on them from the days ride.


Junior Member
She breathed an internal sigh of relief. Part of her wished not for him to go quite yet. Appraising him, she replied. "Well, my cousins can be a bit stuffy about dress and such, so perhaps it's best if you'd return in the proper dress." Adelaide let her eyes wander over him again, and remarked once more to herself that he really was quite a striking man. Fearing she'd stared too long, Adelaide stood, rosey blush finding its way back to her cheeks as she looked away.

"Why don't you return within the hour? That will give us a little time before they arrive. I need to dress more properly, myself. Can't show up to dinner in a plain dress, now can I?" She held her hand out to help him up with a bright smile, hoping her little jest brightened the mood.


Junior Member
Hugh listened to Adelaide, and he nodded understanding, sometimes family was hard to please, and he was not about to put Miss. Lovelocke into an awkward position. He watched as suddenly a blush moved over her face, it amused him to see how flustered she looked. He wondered what thoughts must have occurred to cause that reaction.

He chuckled at her joke and took her hand, he felt her strength as she brought him to his feet. He looked down at her and grinned, she looked better. While the welt on her cheek was certainly noticeable, her smile lit up her face. He realized then that he was still holding her hand, he coughed and let her go.
"I..." He hesitated. "Will see you very soon then." His hand lifted to adjust his jacket, he then bowed to her and took his leave. Charles opened the front door and the two men bowed to each other before Hugh left. He found his horse at the stables and thanked the boys that took care of his steed. The horse was a lively grey stallion. Hugh had lovingly named the beast Hellfire, the horse nickered in greeting and Hugh took a moment to pat the neck of his friend.

The ride to his estate took no more then ten minutes. He followed the dirt road that carriages took and enjoyed the view of the river that wound its way through both plots of land. If one were to follow the river for another few hours they would find themselves at a most picturesque lake. Hugh had camped at that lake many times as a boy, along with his brothers and father. Hugh reached the main road to his house, and saw his new home. Aunt Lydia had told him it was called 'Westwood'. He thought it a rather literal name. What surprised him was seeing a familiar carriage parked along the side of house. His brow furrowed and he encouraged Hellfire to move a little faster until he was at the front entrance to Westwood.

Hugh was met by two eager stable boys and he passed on the reigns and gave the horse one quick farewell pat before moving past the large double oak entrance doors and into his home. White marble lined the floors and columns of the entry hall. A set of stairs leading up to the sleeping quarters was to his left, but Hugh turned to the right, and entered a door which held the study. He could hear the twinkle of a piano and walked up to see his eldest brother Duncan sitting on the stool. Duncan stopped his tune as soon as he saw Hugh and raised to his feet.
"My dearest brother!" He half shouted, lifting his arms in greeting. Hugh laughed as he was encased in a friendly hug and stepped back to look at his brother.
"What brings you here Duncan?" He asked.
"Does an older brother need a reason to look in on his youngest brother?" Duncan returned. "Come we must drink!" He moved excitedly to the well stocked cabinet.
"Duncan, I actually have plans that I must be seeing to. I will drink with you when I return back here later this evening." Hugh said. He was was already tugging at his neck loosening the cravat.
"What on earth would you be doing? You just got here, you could not possibly have plans already." Duncan looked at Hugh suspiciously.
"I've been invited to sup at our neighbour down the road. She is a Miss. Lovelocke, recently she lost her father, I visited today to pay my respects and to introduce myself." Hugh explained. He decided to hold off explaining what had happened with Redstone, as Hugh was not one to show up late to a summons, he felt it would take too much time.
"Well I simply must join you. I too would like to meet our neighbour. It would be rude of me not to join." Duncan decided.

He slung his arm over Hugh's shoulders and ignored the loud audible sigh from his youngest brother. Hugh in his 27 years had learned that once Duncan had made up his mind it was not to be changed. Deciding it would be easier to just apologize for the extra guest than it would be to talk Duncan out of it he resigned himself to his brothers company.
"Get changed then." Hugh told him as they made their way up the stairs. "I'll meet you down here when I'm ready." The men were flanked by the butlers of the house and once they were in their rooms, they were helped in getting changed and ready for supper.

They met at the bottom of the stairs looking quite fine indeed. Both men had gone for tan pants with a dark coat. Their neckties were done in intricate knots that halted just under their chins. Duncan wore a fine hat and made an overly dramatic flourishing bow to his brother.
"Come!" He announced. "We mustn't be late. We shall take my carriage." Hugh just sighed and followed Duncan out into the evening night.

They arrived back at the Lovelocke estate rather quickly with two of Duncan's finest mares pulling the ornate gold and black carriage. During the ride Hugh had taken it upon himself to inform his brother of the event pertaining to the Mr. Redstone. Duncan was appropriately aghast and congratulated Hugh on diffusing what could have been a compromising event. Hugh warned Duncan of the event and Duncan half heartedly agreed. They were grumbling to the other as they walked up to the front doors of the Lovelocke's.


Junior Member
The Lovelocke estate was in a bustle as soon as Mr. Montgomery departed. The maids cleaned and prepared the dining room; the cooks began the meal. Pheasant and pork, served with an array of greens and soups. The polished wooden walls sung with life, fresh flowers placed in the vases throughout, the windows opened so the cool night air breezed through.

Adelaide retreated to her room, her faithful Borzois at her side. Tatiana and Oberon, her only constant companions. She pondered for a long while about how to decorate her face to conceal the bruise. She grinned a little, and decided to be somewhat devilish. Why not dress up? It was so rare that she had company. Applying a concealer to her face, she blended the bruise in so it matched her skin tone. Then she emphasized her cheeks with just a touch of blush, and even outlined her eyes with a little bit of gold. She dabbed at her lips with a dark rouge. Adelaide let down her hair, loosened the curls and swept them over her shoulder, putting half up in a neat bun on the back of her head with golden hair combs her father had brought back from the East. They glittered just so in the candlelight.

Next: the dress. She picked a lovely maroon satin gown, empire waisted, embroidered on the hem and sleeves with golden thread and a layer of patterned tulle over top. Golden floral, of course. She added a pair of simple golden studs for earrings. Adelaide changed the black silk band on her choker for a white one with lace details, and layered a long golden chain holding her father's signet ring over top. She slipped her feet into the matching shoes, and grabbed her lace hand fan from her vanity drawer. She dabbed her perfume on again, and went down to check on the preparations.

The dining room had been set, and the cooks were going to be ready to serve at eight sharp. The dogs rushed to the door as Adelaide was checking the floral arrangements. They barked and whined as Charles opened the door and announced the visitors.

"The young master Montgomery returns, with a guest." Adelaide felt her heart flutter, but calmed herself and entered gracefully. She offered a gracious smile, and dipped into a curtsy. Her heart began to race, somewhere between nervous and hopeful.

"Welcome back, Mr. Montgomery. Thank you for graciously joining us this evening." She straightened and offered her hand to the gentlemen. "Who accompanies you this evening?"


Junior Member
The sound of barking dogs had Hugh's ears perking. He gave Charles a familiar smile and entered with his brother. Hugh gaze found Adelaide and he felt his breath catch. She looks absolutely stunning, she had been clever with powders upon her face and had done a fine job of concealing the nasty mark. She her dress was the colour of roses, and the gold details had her illuminated. However the thing that truly had caught his breath was her smile. He knew then that her smile was worth all the gold in the world.

His thoughts were interrupted when his brother nudged him, reminding him to bow in return. Hugh remembered his place and after his bow he put his hand on Duncan's shoulder.
"Miss. Lovelocke, my brother Duncan Montgomery. I found him at my house when I returned to change."
"And I just had to come and visit my brothers new neighbours. Please do forgive my intrusion." Duncan flashed his most charming smile and moved to greet Adelaide with a kiss to her hand.

A dog was pressing his nose into Hugh's hand and he let the animal sniff for a moment before moving his hand down the dogs head in a smooth motion.
"Thank you again." Hugh said turning his attention to Adelaide. "I do hope that the addition of my brother is not too much trouble? Duncan, once his mind is made up, cannot be stopped." He gave the dog another stroke when he was nudged again, he noticed the other dog in the hall. "These are yours?" He asked gesturing to the dog next to him.
"You have a fine home here, Miss. Lovelocke." Duncan cut in. His hands were clasped behind his back and he looked around the entry hall impressed.


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Adelaide snapped her fan open to hide her smirk upon seeing Hugh so shellshocked. Lowering it after a moment, Adelaide smiled at the men, and waved away Duncan's apology. His brother is handsome, too! She thought, pleasantly surprised. Though I do think Hugh is more to my liking...

"Nonsense, Mr. Montgomery. It's been too long since I've had company, it is a delight to have you here." She motioned for Charles to get another table setting ready. "Your brother is such a gentleman, I'm glad to have another such man in my house." Adelaide noticed Oberon prodding Hugh for attention, and giggled. She motioned for Tatiana, and the dog trotted down the hall, sitting down by her side. "Why, yes, they are. My most loyal companions. The black one there is Oberon, and the little white thing is Tatiana." She stroked Tati's soft head and felt her tail wag against the hem of her dress. "My father had them raised from pups as my own personal guard. Rather makes me feel like a princess." She laughed.

When Duncan complimented her estate, she blushed slightly, and gave him another small curtsey. "Why, thank you! I've only made a few changes since father passed, but I'm pleased to know our home is keeping it's looks." As they chatted idly, Adelaide found her gaze slipping every so often to Hugh, though she was sure to look away when she noticed. There was a heavy knock at the door, and a maid opened it.

Lionel and Elizabeth Brooke stepped through. Lionel was a tall, broad man who had spent his former years as a fighter. He had thinning, mousy brown hair and a large mustache that was beginning to grey. His face was warm and cheerful, a broad smile gracing his features. Elizabeth was dressed in a cream gown with flowers embroidered along the hem and sleeves, she had white-blonde hair piled upon her head in a bun, and an arcing nose, with large hazel eyes.

"Adelaide, darling! It's so nice to finally see you out of black." Elizabeth swept forward and embraced her cousin, which Adelaide returned with a laugh.

"Oh, Liza, it is so nice to dress in color again! I am so glad to see you." Lionel handed off his hat to the young butler and went to shake hands with Duncan.

"Hello, hello, good sirs! I'm glad to see my dear Addy with some suiters at last. I am Lionel Brooke. It's good to meet you both."


Junior Member
Hugh felt a wave of relief move through him at how easily Adelaide had taken the addition of Duncan in stride. His shoulders relaxed and he pet Oberon one last time before grinning.
"The king and queen of the fairies." He regarded the two dogs for a moment and nodded. "It suits them."
"She does look like a princess does she not, Hugh?" Duncan said remarking on Adelaide. Hugh's gaze lifted and his eyes met Miss. Lovelocke's before she looked away from him.
"She does." Hugh agreed in a soft tone. The brothers moved then, and settled one on either side of her as Adelaide spoke of the house. There was a start contrast between her and the men. Both brothers stood quite tall, with broad shoulders and long brown hair. However when it came to their facial features they proved to be quite different. Hugh had always felt that Duncan had gotten all the looks, with a narrow nose and a winning smile. His eyes always seemed to be alight with some sore of mischief. Hugh on the other hand was all sharp angles, his nose had clearly been broken a few times and there was a small scar over his upper lip. Hugh's charm shone through with gentle eyes and soft spoken tone.

Before Duncan could offer his condolences, there was a knock at the door. A couple entered with kind faces, they stepped into the room and immediately the two women went to embrace one another and chat. Hugh and Duncan kept back, when the man introduced himself as Lionel, Duncan reached forward and gave the gentlemen a few enthusiastic pumps of a handshake.
"Well met sir! I am Duncan and this is my brother Hugh. We've taken up residence in Westwood and had to call upon Miss. Lovelocke to introduce ourselves." There was a pause from Duncan and then he thoughtfully added. "I was not aware that the madam was in the market for suitors." His brow lifted and a slow and easy smile spread over his lips.

Hugh did his best not react to his brothers antics. Duncan had always found his way around women easily. He had left quite a few broken hearts in the towns they stayed during their military times.
"Shall we lounge until it is time for dinner?" Hugh asked.
"Yes I do believe I could use a drink." Duncan said. "Lionel? Would you like something as well?"


Junior Member
"Yes, lets! If I remember the drawing room is this way."

"Yes, indeed! A drink sounds wonderful."

Elizabeth linked arms with Adelaide, and the women lead the charge into the room. Elizabeth released her, and the women snapped open their fans to talk. "My my, Addy, you have been busy! Those men are gorgeous." the other woman teased, and Adelaide blushed.

"Liza, stop! They're my neighbors, just come by to introduce themselves, like gentlemen." They closed their fans as the men sat, and Elizabeth gave her a knowing look. She stood by her husband, and Adelaide retrieved the brandy from a shelf.

"I've got brandy here, though if you would prefer something else Charles can fetch it from the cellar."

Lionel sat across from the Montgomerys. He patted his wife's arm, and laughed heartily. "Why, of course she is! I know that Adelaide is as capable a woman as any, but she can't well run the estate by herself forever." Lionel's eyes were serious, though his smile remained easy. "Miss, Montgomery was a fine woman, good stock, good money. A proposal from the likes of you boys would be welcomed, I'm sure."

Adelaide felt her cheeks burn, and she turned sharply to face her cousin, placing a hand on her hip.

"Lionel! I very well think I can handle my own affairs, thank you very much." She huffed, raising a brow at him and pursing her painted lips. Lionel laughed and rubbed the back of his neck almost sheepishly. He spoke again, Elizabeth's hand coming to rest on his shoulder.

"I know, Addy, I know. But I can't stand to see you all alone in this house. Besides, these seem like fine men. I doubt they'd break your heart like last time."


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Hugh and Duncan settled in their respective chairs, Hugh had a flash of the irate Redstone in the room earlier and breathed a sigh of relief that the man had not bothered to try and come back.

"Brandy sounds lovely." Hugh said directing his attention to Adelaide. "My brother will have the same. Thank you Miss. Lovelocke." He said before Duncan could speak. Lionel carried on and Hugh found himself looking down at his feet at the mention of marriage again, he did his best to keep still and not give any outward sort of reaction. He had only met the woman a few hours previous for heavens sake, it frustrated him a little that part of him liked the idea, however it was not in his nature to rush into things. Hugh was a man that liked to take his time, like sipping a fine port, if it was something that interested him he took it slow and easy. It pleased him to hear Adelaide defend herself.

"I've only known the Lady of the house for a short few moments, but I agree wholeheartedly that she is a capable woman." Hugh spoke gently but with a no nonsense sort of edge to his voice.
"A broken heart?" Duncan said sounding excited at the prospect of an interesting tale. "We'll that is simply most awful my dear. I assure you my brother and I are not the type to leave a woman in tears." Hugh gave Duncan a small nudge with his knee and shot his brother a look.
"I'm sure Miss. Lovelocke doesn't want to regale us." Hugh told him.
"You're right! We simply have not had enough to drink to delve into that conversation. We shall circle back to that later." He promised shooting a wink towards Adelaide. "Let me change the topic then to a most fabulous idea I just had. Hugh simply must throw a ball at Westwoods. To celebrate his new home. It would be a wonderful way to meet the town all at once!" Duncan made a unique flourish with his hands and Hugh took in a resigned breath.
"I have not a clue on how to host such an event brother." Hugh said.
"Hark brother, this is where we are most fortunate indeed. I am positive women of fine breeding, such as yourselves..." Duncan gestured to Elizabeth and Adelaide. "Would have plenty of knowledge to help us throw a most wonderful party. Would you honour us with your assistance?" He asked.


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Elizabeth gasped. "A party?? Oh, that's divine!" She perched on the arm of the sofa, Lionel's arm circling her waist to keep her steady. LIza snapped her fan open as Adelaide poured drinks. "I would be most delighted to help you, Mr. Montgomery! I am known for such things back at Eastborrow." Adelaide settled on the bench before the fireplace after she'd finished serving. She swirled the brandy round her glass for a moment before taking a small sip. Too late did she catch Elizabeth's cunning grin.

"You know, we'll save scheduling the band, too! My dearest cousin is a fabulous singer! She even writes and composes little tunes, too. Isn't that right Charles?" Hearing this, Adelaide burst into a coughing fit, having choked on the next sip of her drink. The dutiful butler had been standing by the open doors to the hall, and he smiled smally.

"My lady is unmatched around these parts, I assure you." Though he quickly resumed his stoic look as Adelaide shot him a glare. She placed a hand over her choker gently, feeling her face redden considerably.

"Please, please! I am no great talent." She opened her fan to hide her face, casting her eyes away from the others. Lionel laughed heartily, and turned his shining eyes to their guests. God. I haven't sung since father passed. What if I made a fool of myself?

"Duncan, my good man, you've got some head on your shoulders. We'd love to help you! It's been too long since we've had a bit of fun 'round here. And longer still since we've heard Addy sing." He winked at the men, and turned to the young woman. "C'mon, little bird! Give these gentlemen a preview of your performance."


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Hugh and Duncan both quietly thanks Adelaide for their drinks, Hugh watched Adelaide's maroon skirts swish past him and he had the mental image of reaching out to take the fabric between his fingers. Instead he took a healthy sip and felt the burn of brandy down his throat. He half payed attention as Elizabeth went on to Duncan about the party goings, but as soon as it was announced that Adelaide was gifted with a melody did his attention snap back to reality. To her.

She was clearly unprepared, the subtle flush of her cheeks and the way her hand clutched at her throat in a way that Hugh was beginning to recognize as a nervous gesture.
"All help is greatly appreciated!" Duncan said to Lionel and Elizabeth. "We shall certainly throw a party that shan't be forgotten." Duncan let out an encouraging noise at the idea of Adelaide singing and he jumped to his feet. "Should you need accompaniment Miss. Lovelocke I am able to pluck out a tune or two on the piano forte." He moved towards her and then past her to the small piano that was tucked away into the corner of the room next to the fireplace. With great flourish he pushed back his coat tails and seated himself on the piano stool. His fingers put a happy little tune to life for a brief moment before he turned to look at Adelaide expectantly.

Hugh found himself rising to his feet and taking position a bit closer to Miss. Lovelocke. He gave her a small smile, "It would be a pleasure to hear you sing." He told her.


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Adelaide was as red as a flame and flustered, but as Hugh smiled down at her she felt her nerves calm. She took the hand he offered to help her up, and unconsciously gave a small squeeze before letting go. She left her fan and her drink on the coffee table and went to stand by the piano. Sweeping her hair back over her shoulders, she gently leaned over Duncan.

"Alright, alright! I see I can't back out of it now." She plucked a folder off the bookshelf next to the instrument, and gently rifled through it. "But we might as well do this correctly." She stopped on a certain piece, lithe fingers sliding down the page as she looked it over. I sang this for father the night he... She blinked rapidly for a moment, then picked out the music. It was his favorite of mine, and I wrote it with joy. Adelaide placed the music before Duncan, and gave him a moment to look it over. Once he motioned that he was ready, Adelaide faced her guests.

She closed her eyes and laced her fingers together before her breast, beginning to sing as the piano played.

"I feel nervous in a way that can't be named
I dreamt last night of a sign that read, "the end of love"
And I remember thinking
Even in my dreaming it was a good line for a song..."

(Here's the link! F+TM is like my favorite singer, and I think her songs are pretty timeless.) :)


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Hugh watched the two prepare the tune, he could still feel the warmth of her hand in his. He busied himself with finishing his drink. He thought about sitting but decided against it. He could see her better from where he stood now.

Duncan peered over the the notes on the page. His finger followed the bars and he made a few humming noises before nodding and setting his fingers to ivory. He began the tune and smiled when the sweet voice of Adelaide filled the room. Hugh watched her with ardent admiration. He thought it a wonderful thing for her to have found and practiced such a gift. Her voice brought to mind images of vacations filled with laughter, lovers stealing looks and nights under the stars. The thought made him smile.

The song ended far too soon for his liking, and soon the room was filled with applause for the two performers. Duncan stood and also clapped a few times, there was a bright smile over his face and he looked genuinely exhilarated.
"You absolutely must sing at the party. I will not take no for an answer Miss. Lovelocke." Duncan told her. As he spoke a maid entered the room and gave a quick curtsy before announcing that dinner was ready. As the group readied themselves to move on Hugh took the opportunity to offer Adelaide his arm so that he might walk her to the dining room.
"You sang quite beautifully." He told her softly. "I do hope you will sing at the party, and at other occasions."

(I listened to that song on repeat while writing. It was so beautiful!!)


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Adelaide seemed to snap out of a trance when her audience began to clap. She was overcome with emotion, but managed to smile and curtsey smally. She blushed heavily at Duncan's comment, and laughed.

"Then I must accept, Mr. Montgomery." When Hugh offered his arm, she gladly took it, brushing a little closer to his side than necessary. Adelaide centered herself, and blushed again at his praise. She brushed a lock of hair away from her face with her free hand and responded just as softly. "If it was you who asked, I could hardly refuse." Soon, almost too soon, they arrived at the dining room and everyone took their seats. Adelaide was still a little uncomfortable at the head of the table. During the first course the group chatted idly about party preparations, but as the first course arrived, Elizabeth gasped.

"Oh! I have the most delightful story about your aunt." She laughed to herself and gave Adelaide another sly smile. "Dear Miss Lydia, she was a spitfire as I'm sure you well know. Well," She burst into another fit of giggles before continuing. "Well, when uncle Harold announced that Adyy wasn't going to debut, well, she threw a teacup at his head!" Adelaide also began to giggle, the memory surfacing like warm honey.

"Oh, goodness, that's right! It was one he brought back from the Far East, too!! Oh, he was shellshocked at the lashing she gave him. She almost threw one herself, but," Elizabeth cut in

"Uncle Harold wouldn't hear it! LIttle Addy was too precious to give away." She teased "That's why she didn't have her first real suitor until she was nearly seventeen, you know! Oh, Miss Lydia was fuming. She never really let it go." Elizabeth gasped again "Oh! Remember that time she snuck a boy into our teatime to try and match you up?" Lionel was chuckling, now too, as the maid poured him a second glass of wine.

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