1 Prologue

After Everything Falls

-- July, 1923 --

The tick tock from the clock echoed on the mahogany walls breaking by intervals the silence.

At the windows, the sun started to get on a golden hue, the sunset approaching with darkness behind.

The clock sound was interrupted only by the momentary steps from the butler moving by the side, and the click from the teacups when put back into its plate.

A pair of green eyes watched with no attention to the outside view, hiding tumultuous thoughts and memories. Only interrupting time from time to get a biscuit from the tray to eat at a slow pace while sipping from the cup in her hand.

In front, a mature man read an economics book, not really integrating its words into his mind, just making time, waiting for the female to speak.

When the clock sounded the seven bells for the change of hour, she got back into her senses, like someone who awakes from a faraway dream, turning her gaze towards the man in front she put down her teacup, motioning to stop the butler from refilling it with more peppermint tea.

Seeing that, the man signaled the butler to take the tea set and biscuits and get out from the room. With barely a sound from his shoes over the carpet and the rolling from the tea cart before him, he went out and closed the heavy door to enclose the room into private.

— I know that you been trying to be as patient as possible with me, and I really thank you for not pressing me to speak about all that has happened, well almost since the beginning of my life here with you, father, even if it was eating you away not knowing what has been with me– started to say Charlotte with a small voice.

— I guess you are ready to talk about them now –responded Edward Rochester now putting aside the book and focusing entirely on her, – I didn't want to press you, I shall know you had your own reasons to keep so much to yourself all this time, but, in regards to the trust I thought we had between each other, I can't say it didn't bother or hurt me to found you the way I did –, taking a small breath he continued –. I'm just concerned about your wellbeing.

— I know, father, I really thank you, and regret not letting you know about anything, I should have know better how to judge you, and not think of you like everyone else from the family –, containing her emotions, she sighed – I was just too young, well, more that I am now, and thought I have know already everything and all about the world and life, but I think in the end I didn't really know that much.

— Do you want to start?

— Yes, – clearing her throat she readjusted herself on the couch. – Well, although you would think you knew all, I would like to recap from when I first came here. I still remember that day.

"The day I got out from the orphanage and set foot for the first time here, I believed it would be the best of my life, at my eight years, everything seemed so bright, so happy, so full of surprises that I didn't pay much attention to the people I was getting to be now. Well, it cannot be blamed on someone so young and so ignorant of the world outside a country orphanage.

" I should say that I'm really glad you were the one to adopt me, I do not know what would have been of me if it was anyone else but you, I certainly would no be here, nor be the me that I am now, be it for better or worse.

" The day I came into the family property was amazing on its own. I got a room all to myself, and new clothes most beautiful that I could ever imagine existed in the world.

"When I got to get presented to my new father, those honey eyes made my child's heart beat at ease, I saw that they were kind and fond of me, even when he just got to know me, and he was really young, that was such a surprise.

"With just eight years old, to me, it was like getting the best prize of the world. Not about the riches I was getting to know, but about a young caring adoptive father.

With the first hug I got from him, my child's heart for the first time knew what it was to have someone to rely on, to trust, I just knew it, that I was safe with my new family.

The next year I spent it refining my writing and reading, with a private tutor, appointed by the Grandmother, being her the second head of the family, she decided to get me in shape to be a complete lady of society who would not bring shame. And thus, I got too to learn manners, and the appropriate way to conduct myself.

But, thanks to my new father, I got to learn so much more outside a fancy mansion full of glittering objects and knew about how the world shines from the leaves after the rain, and the sun over a stream.

That time, it was such a puzzling day. I was awaken really early in the morning, and helped to get dressed with really easy clothes, for a moment I thought I was getting to do house chores, or tend to cattle like back in the orphanage, which I would not have had any issue about; but to my surprise, I met with my father carrying a fishing rod, a basket and a straw hat he put on to me.

The shouts from Grandmother inside trying to catch up to us while preventing herself from running, to stop me from going with Father was really funny, and then he took my hand and with a mischievous grin he told me "Run".

We didn't stop until the stream was visible for us, and then extended a checkered blanket where we lay down our things. He taught me how to use the rod to catch some fish and left them there to enjoy the place while waiting for a poor victim to be caught.

Once very week, we would scape, and enjoy a free day, while I learned more about life in the nature. Even when I was a girl raised in the countryside, I knew about living in a humble way, working to get the bread, but not about how to live directly on nature, so while the Grandmother tried to make me the Lady, by the side my father was teaching me how to keep on the ground.

. . . . .

That first two years was kind of bliss, not noticing anything but all I was learning, if I have not been so young and so naïve, may I have seen the real gaze behind the strict eyes of the Grandmother, or the veiled whispers from the Aunt and Cousins when they came to pay a visit.

There was a time when Lucille, got near my study desk, to say on an ambiguous voice "Yes, yes, learn all that you can, little thing, who knows if you will even be able to get to learn after you go to the Academy".

And so, by the end of winter, of my ninth year of life, I started to get more tutoring so by the next year, I could be able to go to school with my cousins. And with that, my father started to get more, and more busy. I guess the family made him pay for all those runaways to the stream every week.

My student life started with excitement but transformed to a first nightmare.

The family's children were all two years older than me at least, and they attended the Saint Catherine Academy, which had two separate complex, divided by a park, for girls and boys, so they didn't cross paths while learning how to be successful members of the upper society.

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