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Her fighting spirit


Heather O`Roarke
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Somewhere, sometime.

 

Her golden red curls were gathered up haphazardly, a few locks escaping the hairdo and gracing her porcelain neck, and the rich cloth of her garments. Her green eyes were focused on the children chasing each other in the garden below, though in truth she was not really seeing them. The cold stone of the balcony was infecting her, radiating out to her heart and she ignored the person behind her succinctly.Yet he would not be ignored.

 

"What is next?" Jerkins demanded, in a low but urgent voice "You can't continue to ignore this problem. What is next?"

 

"He left me," the redhead whispered forlorn, gathering all her misery around her, feeling like she was drowning by her own doing "How can you expect anything of me now. He left me, despite all his promises, all his pretty words! How can I have the strength to carry this burden? Why don't you just leave me be?"

 

"You must,"Jerkins insisted, resisting his own inner urges that were not fitted to his station. How he wished to simply wrap her in his arms, hush her and tell her that everything would be alright, that he would forever hold her. That was as unlikely as anything else he ever dreamed about. "You must continue on and make plans for the future. There is the children to think of. Surely you would not send me out tomorrow without any orders."

 

There was no sound, but her white shoulders, revealed by her delicate green dress, shook slightly as the only sign of her emotions. He hoped for courage. He just couldn't see her like this. It was not like her. One hand reached out, but stopped just short of touching that shaking shoulder. Some borders could not be crossed.

 

"Pack them all up tomorrow," she told him hoarsely, without turning around "I don't know yet where we'll be moving, but I am not staying at this place that is completely of his making." He smiled behind her back, recognizing just a glimpse of her fighting spirit. Yet nothing Jerkins could possibly say would be appropriate.

 

"As you wish M'am" he merely replied, bowing his way out, leaving her standing her there so alone.

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Jerkins was likely to need haul somebody's arse over the coals --that anyone might manage their way onto the grounds, let alone the private balcony of Lady O'Roarke was not going to go down well with the head of security. But somehow Nicci had manage it, for it was her accented voice that now wafted though the air.

 

"Did 'he' make this place truly? Hmm, it looks far too stylish for, 'him'..." She could see the woman was grieving, an awkward moment for a visit, to be sure. But here she was, there was no sneaking back out the way she'd gotten in. So Nicci gathered up her puck and stepped forth from the shadows.

 

"Pity you should leave, I far prefer it when it's the man running off with tail between his legs." She sidled up to Heather, eyebrow rising with her goading statement. The pair had barely met, but Heather had had a large impact upon Nicolette, the Frenchwoman had taken Heather to be a role model of feminine success at Whitehall, and she did not want Heather to leave.

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  • 6 months later...

Heather swirled around to meet the owner of the voice. Her eyes were red rimmed though dry of tears, for now. Tears were never far away these days, hardly a day had gone by that she had not shed them. There was something painful in her throat, making it difficult to swallow.

 

Her first instinct was to defend him, yet she could not, not just society but she herself didn't think it apropriate. Where not all expectations now that she'd badmouth him, blame him for all her misery? She did, but then there was enough of an honest realist in her to blame herself even more. The redhead had been too much of a hot fire for him to handle, his hands now burned. Guilt gnawed at her insides.

 

"It is easy to judge," Heather spoke, her voice raw, grating on her own senses "but I do not think the situation will be helped by my continued presence here. Stewing in my anger or melancholy will not solve this."The redhead tried to think what advice she would give herself if the situation was reversed. Perhaps the same defiant message Nicolette gave her.

 

"A new place, a new life," she tried to optimistically suggest, even though she could not imagine it "will be far better than holding on to the old." She gave her companion a side ways glance "Do you not agree?"

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Yes Nicolette goaded the red head, who was reknown for her spirit, yet who seemed to find herself faltering at the pass. As Heather now spun to face her, Nicolette braced for an indignant retort (she had been rather presumptuous after all), but instead she saw red-rimmed eyes and a woman truly distraught. She took a half step closer, hand reaching, heart in her eyes, before halting herself. Heather did not need sadness and pity, she needed to re-find her strength. "I am not one to judge, what do I know of such things?" Nicci confessed.

 

Yet in a secret part of herself she understood abject loss, or at least what she had perceived as loss in her own life. It had been a long time ago now, and the scrapings in her foundations had been softened with mosses and lichens.

 

"Yes, a new life." she agreed softly, closing the gap between them, "but, a new life can be built atop the old?" she tried to catch Heathers gaze, and questioningly rose her eyebrows.

 

Heather did seemed determined though, though not in the direction Nicolette hoped, the heartbeat of Whitehall seemed firm that she would leave...Nicolette looked off into the shapeless future, "Where you might go, where you might start again, what would it be there?"

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Heather half laughed as Nicolette urged her to recall what her life had been like. Images, feelings, the hint of lips caressing her neck, a presence behind her. No. Never again. The redhead tried not the let it cut too deep.

 

"Where to go?" the redhead laughed in a low chuckle "Why, where can I go, indeed. Away fom this pleasure palace, away from the attention. I suspect there will be some place were we'll be left in peace." Heather nearly choked. The thought of having to face ex lovers was too much for now.

 

Quietly the lady continued "away from Chelsea. Perhaps something across the river.

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Nicolette blinked upon Heathers label of, "Pleasure palace?" her eyes slid around more speculatively as an idea spring to mind. "Mm...what will you do with it? Will it be 'spare'" The little French woman would gladly 'suffer' the sumptuous surroundings.

 

While Heather had sights set on south of the river (learning this placated Nicci, for she'd feared the Countess O'Roarke might set sail for Ireland).

 

"Yes, it is very peaceful south of the river I hear." her tune had changed slightly, now she was eyeing up Heather's estate. "You can visit London on your own terms."

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"No, not a spare. I'll sell it," Heather decided firmly, afraid she might otherwise think differently. God knew she probably needed the money to cover her debts.

 

"My brother Edmund might have liked to stay, but seeing as there now is nothing here for him to do, I fear he will have to make his own way." The redhead shrugged. She had gambled and lost, and now her brother was paying the price too, just like he had shared in her previous victories.

 

The redhead smiled melancholy as Nicolette meantioned how peaceful south of the river was. To Heather it merely was a place to hide amongst her own ilk, the theatre, the writers. Out of reach from court, or mostly so.

 

"London will come to me, Heather predicted, finding an inkling of her oride.

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Her vision of house sitting for the Countess moved further away...till she remembered Basildon's bottomless pit of money. A Pleasure Palace, that sounded just the thing to suit Louis ego. "You need a quick sale, discreetly done? My Cousin may help you out... although, la, times are hard, the talk of war it is hard on those in shipping." astutely she thought to suggest that Louis would not pay the premium price.

 

"Brother?" The brunette rose an eyebrow with the interest that came naturally a a singe woman. "How do you mean, 'there is nothing here now for him to do?" She tentatively asked, did Heather mean a lover, sport, or occupation? "Perhaps he underestimates the intrigues of London town?" Nicolette was mentally placing dibs on Edmund. If he was the male equivalent of his sister, he might outshine Leopold and Ranelagh.

 

A smile broke her face at Heather's claim, and she gave a happy laugh. "Oui, we will come to you, milady countess!"

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"The Earl of Basildon?" Heather briefly considered "He is a very dear dear friend. Perhaps I may." Though what his wife thought of some of the statues was any ones guess.

 

"Oh Edmund, he is a dear, but he is also a rogue, don't you know? He liked to be in the thick of things, as it were. Now that I am withdrawing, I do not think there will be so much to interest him. Unless.." she gave Nicolette a speculative look, humour returning ot her. Oh, aye, that would serve her brother well.

 

"And so it s hall be," Heather decided "I will buy my own artsy place South of the Thames and it will inspire people so much, they will come to visit an old jilted mistress like me."

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"You are hardly old." Nicci tutted, looking at Heather closer to try and guess what digits might be attached. "Look at me, I am 24, and I am not ready for a spinster yet." she gave a brief pout, oh there had been days when she'd feared that was all that now awaited her. "And you, you brighten the eyes of all you meet. I have seen this. I... Lady O'Roarke, I must confess, I have been studying your success. See even the red stockings I wear!"

 

A peek of ankle served as demonstration.

 

"Unless?" Nicolette grinned. They were both women, they knew this subject. Softly she admitted, "I would like to meet your Brother, maybe one day, at your new Art-Palace, you shall introduce me?"

 

A question did niggle in her mind still. So open was conversation, that she thought to ask it. "This 'jilted'? Who was this." In Nicolette's short time in London, she'd not seen nor learnt what had scarred the free spirits life.

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"Goodness girl," the redhead exclaimed upon seeing the dare devil red stockings "there are better examples to follow." A fellow libertine, now that was interesting. Louis, you sly fox, have you taught her as well?

 

"Then again, it is probably the most fun you'll ever have. I've dined with Earls, danced with Dukes and slept with Kings."

 

"I once tempted the Pope you know, when I brought him royal correspondence," Heather's eyes sparkled "He didn't succumb, but at least he was not the one to jilt me. And the Bishop of London, he still desires to marry me but that can never be."

 

Heather laughed briefly, humour returning to her, all of life's ironies. "It takes some getting used to, being jilted. I was usually the lady walking out of an affair. Countless lovers, my second husband, the Duke of Buckingham.. the King.." there was a brief pause, a sadness for yet another one having passed over.." The old King you understand, merry King Charles. A little less merry than I expected him to be though, and so I walked out on him too. Quite a temper he revealed, but even the ending was glorious in its passion."

 

Then there was Douglas. Heather wasn't entirely sure who had left whom. Too alike they had been, while a bigger contrast they couldn't make. She directed her thoughts elsewhere.

 

"Ah, but this new King of ours.." Heather sighed "he no longer desires to be my Prince." She shook her head sadly for she had wished it to be otherwise. Everything had changed upon James' ascension to the crown.

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Were there better examples to follow? "None more popular." Nicolette attested - and by Heathers admission there were many achievements on such a path she might one day gain. Nicci had dined with an Earl before, but that had been her Cousin, so did not really count. Marveling the French girl breathed "La, a Life Extraordinaire."

 

"It is better to be the lady leaving." Nicolette quietly agreed with brief reflection upon her last dead-end romance. Leo had deeply hurt her. "Is it loss of love that hurts, do you think, or.. something else? Is the remedy not to love again, or to love many more greatly?"

 

"The King was less merry?" Nicolette had kissed the King once, the treatise she'd written on it afterwards had filled three pages in her diary. The King had seemed a delightful and charming fellow in her impression, and so she was surprised to hear of a poor impression. "Maybe it is the war, maybe it is worrying him." she wildly speculated.

 

"New King?" Nicolette became confused here, and puzzled looked to Heather for answers.

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OOC: lol. don't forget this is not taking place in 1677 but is a vision of a future

 

"I don't know," Heather murmured upon the philosophical question "I like it not, regardless. I am weary to commit my heart again. It always leads to hurt. Nay, be content with pleasure and remain in control."

 

"What.. no I mean Charles, who pretended to be only interested in parties & mistresses, but really, he could be a cold schemer and... " Then the confusion of the French girl surprised her. "What new King? Mistress Vauquelin what rock have you been living under?" Heather laughed, and it had a bitter tinge "Why, it is a sadness Queen Karoline never could give King Charles II a child as so many Protestants had hoped. His brother James remained his heir, and now, through God's will he is our monarch."

 

The redhead sighed "It will not last long, despite I believe My Pr.. King James devoted to his duty. He is conservative in his views and thinks all owe him loyalty when he has not won their hearts and they just not stand for it. They fear the black Jesuits whispering in his ear, I am none too fond of them either. Even if they will not repress Protestants, they will enforce a much stricter moral that is not natural to London." It had turned James away from his libertine ways. She shook her golden red curls "No, they will not accept this willingly. Charles feared it, I know he did. He predicted his brother would not rule more than 4 years. Despite his good intentions, a year in now, James is making that prediction more than likely to come true."

 

Charles had that uncanny ability, to make accurate predictions of the future. Really, the man had a mastermind for politics, a trait Heather had always thought ever so boring.

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