The First Two(ish) Pages of my Book
BEFORE YOU READ!
Just note this is still what I consider a draft. There is quite a few wording/grammar mistakes and probably some spelling. I would really appreciate feedback and some supporters of my book. I am passionate about it and feel I can go far with telling my story. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way. Enjoy.
The glistening moon illuminated through the gaps of the grey clouds. Walking through the London streets would make any woman walking alone fear for any passing noise behind her shoulder.
It was late October 1839. Queen Victoria reigned and Britain was the world’s most powerful nation. The economy was growing every day along with people’s living standards. Even the smallest improvements were still improvements nonetheless.
In the centre of London lied an orphanage that stirred curiosity around people all over the country. It was not a regular orphanage where any child could claim a home. Only a few were selected and invited to stay until whatever age they wished. Members of the public would always attempt to look through the shielded windows. Yet, no one was brave enough to take a step inside the open gate.
Of course, Sophia Cole thought it was ridiculous people were afraid. She never understood why people were so critical of her home. Out of the corner of her eye she could see people flinching and gossiping. The whispers would always emerge whenever she and Jack would enter a shop, bar or anywhere with members of the public present.
Sophia and her life long friend Jack Green were on their way home from spending an evening at the theatre. It was a gift from his mother and father for his birthday so he could watch the opera.
Everyone at the orphanage was envious of Jack, they saw him more as royalty. Not for being rich, he was far from it. From not only having one parent still alive but both. Both his parents ran the orphanage, and Sophia assumed when they both passed he would be the one to continue their legacy.
A strand of brunette hair uncurled in the centre of Sophia’s face, and it tickled the edge of her nose. Soon another fell down her cheek and over her eyes. She gathered them up in a huff and attempted to shove them under her circular sunhat.
Jack noticed her struggle and began laughing under his breath. “It would seem you have pulled out more hair than you started with.”
Her cheeks flushed as she pulled down the front of her hat to shield her embarrassment. She looped her arm around Jack’s elbow and tilted her button nose to the sky. “Haven’t you heard that lose hair is quite popular amongst young ladies.” she said it as a matter-of-fact, rather than a question.
He stuck out this glossy black cane and began turning it clockwise ahead of him. “I am not exactly inclined with the mysterious ways of fashion.” He dropped his cane back down to support his limp. It was something he’d always had to put up with, Sophia hadn’t seen him without the assistance of a cane. This one in particular was her favourite, she had brought it for him for his birthday. The handle was moulded into the shape of an angel’s wings. At first, she was worried she would offend him with the gift but he looked genuinely enthused upon opening it. His exact words were, “It will feel like I am holding a mighty staff rather than walking with a blunt stick.”
They continued up the road together having their usual back and forth. When they turned into their street the same chill trickled down Sophia’s spine. Although there are many homeless and desperate people in need of housing throughout London alone
Sophia smiled thinking back on the fresh memory. Her grin soon faded when her tall black boot splashed in a large brown puddle. Spots of brown dropped on the bottom of her dress and she stopped in place to examine the damage. “Oh dear,” she sighed.
“You aren’t having much luck today, are you?” Jack stopped ahead of her and punched his free hand into his blazer pocket.
“It could have been far worse, I am just thankful I didn’t fall in the puddle.”
He mirrored her playful smile. “Although I am committed to being a true gentleman whenever a lady is in need. I cannot promise I would not laugh a little if you were to fall over.”
She stormed up to his side and swatted his shoulder. “That would tarnish your true gentleman image, Mr Green.” She laced her arm back around his elbow and they continued to walk side by side. Suddenly, Jack stopped in his place and clutched his free hand over his heart. He began panting heavily with a sudden flood of sweat trickling over his strong shaped face.
Sophia rushed to his aid and cupped her white gloved hand over his sweating cheek. “Jack? What is it?”
With his eyes firmly closed, when he tried to take a breath through his nose he shook. He forced the most transparent smile Sophia had ever encountered. “Just a little stomach pain.” He smacked his cane against the floor and straightened up his back. As much as he tried to act natural he was failing miserably. “I just require a good night’s rest, is all.” He slowly walked with a heavier limp.
Sophia couldn’t bring herself to take a step forward, as she watched her best friend struggle to lift his heels. Her lips were parted as her mouth was gaping. She fought back the tears stinging behind her eyes, not because she was upset but because she was frightened. She had never witness Jack endure something like that before. Was this a new occurrence? He didn’t seem too surprised by the whole ordeal, he seemed to have his own routine to breath through it. “How long has he been suffering?” she said under her breath.
She then picked up the bottom of her skirt and caught up to him. She didn’t want him being alone if he were to fall.
They arrived back to the orphanage, and Jack seemed to somewhat recover from his close-fall. Sophia struggled to hold her head higher than the ground. Her mouth was frozen in a pout as she continued to reply Jack’s fall in her mind.
They stepped inside and Jack took Sophia’s coat for her and hung it up on the wrack for their small amount of servants to put away. He stepped back in front of her but she couldn’t bring herself to meet his gaze. She could feel a grey cloud hovering over them as they stood in silence. She feared if she spoke tears that she fought so hard to fight back would spill.
He reached out his hand and cradled her right cheek. She jolted up with crystal eyes. She was always insecure of the right side of her face. For it was covered in scars that she could not remember the origin of them. They were deep and knew they would never leave, it was a tattoo of a past she couldn’t remember.
“What happened to the smile I adore?”
She opened her mouth to speak but the words wouldn’t come out. She closed her eyes and pushed his hand away gently. She dropped her head because she couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eyes. She knew he was hurt; so was she. “Jack…”
“What happened?” a bold voice called from the silver spiral staircase.
Jack and Sophia looked up to Cassandra running down the stairs. Her golden hair was pinned just about her neck and her nightgown was hanging off one shoulder. Her stunningly unnaturally beautiful face looked stressed and determined.
She stopped in front of Jack and slapped her hands on his cheeks. “What happened?” she said in a quieter yet harsher tone. Her thin eyebrows were knitted together causing a rare crease in her smooth skin.