Clocks and Violet Eyes || Sansa Stark & Lillian Gr

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    Benjamin Crawford
    Name: Benjamin James Crawford

    Age: 31

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 205 lbs

    Personality: Benjamin is a kind, caring and compassionate individual. He is willful, clever and intelligent. He never ceases to help someone in need. He is brilliant in business and thrives on success, though he is a bit shy and takes quite some time to open up to people. He never likes to talk about his condition.

    History: Born as the first son of John and Claire-Marie, Benjamin was diagnosed with Becker's muscular dystrophy at the age of 15. He struggled to learn as a child and was often bullied by his peers, especially by his brother and father. His mother took great care of him and taught him how to properly read and write, as well as different methods of exercise to prolong his life. He is able to walk with a cane, thought it pains him excruciatingly after long periods of time.

    Likes and Dislikes: Music, kindness, charity, good business, clocks and watches // Intolerance, his brother and father, excessive noise, humiliation, smoking

    Family: John Crawford (father, 60), Claire-Marie Crawford (mother, 50), Samuel Crawford (brother, 28)
    Samuel Crawford
    Name: Samuel Joseph Crawford

    Age: 28

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Personality: Samuel shifts between two different personalities. One is his mask, the side he shows most people who don't know him very well. Charismatic, romantic, charming and polite. However, his true nature is much darker. He is cruel at heart and wants only for his own success, willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone for the sake of his own skin. He detests weakness and refuses to associate with the lower classes and races.

    History: Born as the second son, he was always under-preferenced as he would not inherit his father's wealth. That is, until his brother, Benjamin, was diagnosed with a physical disability. Since then, Samuel has been doing all he can to show his strength to his father and rise to the top, so he might one day pass up his wiser, calmer brother and become the sole inheritor of his family fortune.

    Likes and Dislikes: Riches, beautiful women, patriarchy, art, wine // Poor people, outspoken women, people who beat him, his brother, playing by the rules

    Family: John Crawford (father, 60), Claire-Marie Crawford (mother, 50), Benjamin Crawford (brother, 31)
    Claudette LeMay
    Name: Claudette Emilie LeMay

    Age: 26

    Height: 5'5"

    Weight: 125 lbs

    Personality: By nature, Claudette is the sort of person who will either love you with all her heart, or hate you with all her guts. She loves gossip and helping others, though the latter is a trait she developed on her own as her family is rather uncharitable and snooty. She has no idea how to become a generous person, but she tries, so most forgive her shortcomings. She is typically very happy and boisterous, though knows when to get serious.

    History: Born as the only daughter of a high lord, Claudette was doted on since birth. Her father worked to support their lavish lifestyle, so she rarely saw him and did not mourn him when he died from an accident after falling off a horse. She married a Count and makes a wealthy living as countess, though she refuses to have children until she is 30, convinced it will ruin her youthful body. She enjoys her position as a Countess at court. Benjamin is a dear friend of hers.

    Likes and Dislikes: Gossip, fashion, men, friendship, wealth // Rudeness, misunderstandings, her husband, bad fashion, rum

    Family: Count Frederick LeMay (husband, 36), Gerald Bellerose (brother, 21)


    Elisabeth Lane
    Name: Elisabeth Lane
    Age: 18
    Height: 5'7"
    Weight: 140 lbs
    Personality: Daring, confident, alluring, all words which might describe the young Elisabeth Lane. She has an air of intrigue about her which beckons strangers forward somewhat akin to a sirens murmur in their ear. She enjoys conversation and excels at being the life of a social event. When the day is said and done, the young woman likes to enjoy the private company of her closest companions.
    History: Elisabeth doesn't know much of her past, other than the fact that her parents died in a horrible fire. It certainly explained her excruciating fear of all things fire and flame. She is still scarred from the event, her back still a raw red, with only two ghostly sections clear. Where her father held her as they fled. At least, that's how it had been explained to her. She tries not to think about the misfortune, and finds herself lucky to be alive at all.
    She grew up knowing nothing but love. The market didn't call to her, like it did the rest of her family, but she still enjoyed strolling the square and examining wares from other lands across the seas. Someday, the girl hopes she can find a love as genuine as her aunt and uncles.

    - Edmond Lane (father) deceased
    - Lisette Lane (mother) deceased
    - Abel Lane (uncle)
    - Clarisse Lane (aunt)
    - Madeline Lane (cousin)

    Likes and Dislikes:
    + Foreign Goods and Trade
    + Music
    + Opera and Theater
    + Fashion
    + A Silver Ring (the last memento she has of her father)
    - Fire
    - "Drunken Idiots" (as she'd put it, men who fool around)
    - Deception
    - Ship Travel
    - Misfortune on Anyone
    Madeline Lane
    Name: Elisabeth Lane
    Age: 18
    Height: 5'7"
    Weight: 140 lbs
    Personality: Daring, confident, alluring, all words which might describe the young Elisabeth Lane. She has an air of intrigue about her which beckons strangers forward somewhat akin to a sirens murmur in their ear. She enjoys conversation and excels at being the life of a social event. When the day is said and done, the young woman likes to enjoy the private company of her closest companions.
    History: Elisabeth doesn't know much of her past, other than the fact that her parents died in a horrible fire. It certainly explained her excruciating fear of all things fire and flame. She is still scarred from the event, her back still a raw red, with only two ghostly sections clear. Where her father held her as they fled. At least, that's how it had been explained to her. She tries not to think about the misfortune, and finds herself lucky to be alive at all.
    She grew up knowing nothing but love. The market didn't call to her, like it did the rest of her family, but she still enjoyed strolling the square and examining wares from other lands across the seas. Someday, the girl hopes she can find a love as genuine as her aunt and uncles.

    - Edmond Lane (father) deceased
    - Lisette Lane (mother) deceased
    - Abel Lane (uncle)
    - Clarisse Lane (aunt)
    - Madeline Lane (cousin)

    Likes and Dislikes:
    + Foreign Goods and Trade
    + Music
    + Opera and Theater
    + Fashion
    + A Silver Ring (the last memento she has of her father)
    - Fire
    - "Drunken Idiots" (as she'd put it, men who fool around)
    - Deception
    - Ship Travel
    - Misfortune on Anyone
    Abel and Clarisse Lane
    Name: Abel Lane
    Age: 48
    Height: 5'11"
    Weight: 200 lbs
    Personality: The man is a charismatic face in the town market, his presence the most notable in any space. He has a distinguishable booming voice which attracts even the most nervous patrons. After the death of his younger brother, Abel's charm seemed less genuine, and more distant. However, he did not let this deter his business at the square. Abel does have a strong pull towards his work, but nothing would keep him from being a father to his daughter and niece, and a husband to his beloved wife.
    History: Abel was born no more than a single year before that of his brother, Edmond. They were born into a highly respected merchant family, dealing heavily in trade overseas in exotic goods from distant lands. As they grew, their talents became more apparent in the market. Where Edmond excelled in distant relations, Abel found comfort in the local markets of his hometown. It was there, at his family's shop, he met the love of his life, Clarisse. They were married within two years, and Madeline followed soon after.
    When Madeline was nearing her sixth birthday, tragedy struck the Lane family. In a massive fire which destroyed Edmond's home, the brother and his wife lost their lives. By some miracle, their infant daughter survived. Abel immediately took her in and treated her as his own. He keeps his suspicions about the fire's origin to himself, and does not talk about the event to anyone.

    - Clarisse (wife)
    - Madeline (daughter)
    - Elisabeth (niece)
    - Edmond (brother) deceased

    Likes and Dislikes:
    + Customer Service
    + Good Weather
    + Handcrafted Goods
    + Home (and staying there)
    + Beef Stew
    - Liars
    - Men (who try to pursue his daughters)
    - Travel
    - Criminals and Thieves
    - Speaking of the Fire

    Name: Clarisse Lane
    Age: 45
    Height: 5'6"
    Weight: 170 lbs
    Personality: Clarisse is the perfect match for her husband. Her upbeat air is a compliment to his confident personality. She's never caught without a smile on her face, and is always looking to brighten the mood whenever she can. Cheery would be an understatement.
    History: The woman comes from a simple background, a farming family on the outskirts of the city. She'd often come into town to maintain good business trade between local merchants and the aristocratic communities looking for fresh, quality, goods. At the age of nineteen, Clarisse met, and subsequently fell in love with Abel Lane. She left her large family behind to find her new place in the merchant community. They married two years later, and produced their only child together in quick succession.

    - Abel Lane (husband)
    - Madeline Lane (daughter)
    - Elisabeth Lane (niece)
    - several older brothers (Michael, Christian, and Peter) Grange

    Likes and Dislikes:
    + Cooking
    + Gardening
    + Silver Jewelry
    + Kindness
    + Goodwill
    - Rudeness
    - Rainy Weather
    - Travel
    - Being dirty
    - Being apart from her family for too long

  2. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméPast the dawn was the day, the sun having given the earth a gentle caress of her golden rays to wake the slumbering residents of the Paris streets. Twisting and weaving through cobbled alleys, through frosted windows and doorways, heat beckoned the rise with a kiss to the face. The dew had all but been whisked away by a gentle breeze brought in by the distant seas some hundred miles away. Speckled wisps of clouds speckled the sky, marking the day as all but perfect.

    Perfection, which only rose a gentle thrill in Elisabeth Lane's heart. The blood brought a blush to her face, a mark of her excitement. The parcel in her hand, marked with her family's address in beautiful black cursive, was stamped and signed by none other than the famously wealthy Lord Crafword and his sons.

    It was not addressed to her specifically, but her Uncle, Abel Lane. He was the only man in a household of four, the other three consisting of his lovely wife, daughter, and Elisabeth herself. As it were, most parcels and invitations were addressed in his name, seeing as they greeted the house as a whole, and he the head.

    There was only one thing on her mind.

    "Might I open it now...?" She mused to herself, biting gently on the tip of her thumb in contemplation. Elisabeth shook her head. Black locks of hair shimmered at her sides and settled around her face. She brushed them away just as quickly as the temptation to open the letter.

    Each year the Crawford family was known to throw a lavish ball. Dozens of different kinds of deserts, expensive wine, fully equipped orchestras and every other manner of exquisite delicacies to show off their wealth. It was every girl's dream to attend, even Elisabeth gawked and gossiped about the two handsome brothers. How could she not? They were fair, generous, and not to mention wealthy. Their name was dropped in every social circle in a hundred mile radius, if only to get a taste of the name on the tongue.

    There was Samuel, the younger of the two but appearances often said otherwise. He was tall, heads taller than most men. His brother Benjamin nearly matched in height, but wasn't often seen strolling around. Despite that, he still managed to hold a crowd of admiring ladies at his heel.

    The abrupt creak from the stairs behind her snapped Elisabeth out of her daydream and straight to attention. She threw the letter to the family's dining table and spun around. Madeline Lane yawned loudly and stretched her arms in the open air. She gave a slight wave of her hand and smiled politely.

    "Good morning." Madeline mumbled. "You look like you're up to no good, it isn't even noon."

    "Then it's high time you got of bed now, isn't it?" Elisabeth teased. She attempted to side step the conversation, hoping it wouldn't appear suspicious. "You were up late, I saw the light under your door. Did Papa find you a good book while he was away?"

    "Yes, he found a collection of works by Mister Arthur Conan Doyle. I've read some of his work, but it always takes time to travel here." Madeline raised her brow. She attempted to step on her toes to look past Elisabeth, who merely had to step to the side to block her gaze.

    "Mhmm." Elisabeth nodded. Madeline worked her way past Elisabeth and towards a small pantry, rummaging for something to eat in her morning daze. When she turned to speak up, she finally saw the letter on the table.

    "What's that?" She asked knowingly, a smile began to creep over her lips. "You're trying so desperately to hide it from me. Hand it over, let's open it!"

    "We shouldn't." Elisabeth interrupted her. "Papa will be angry if we open it, it could just be business. You know we aren't supposed to open his letters."

    "You, the voice of reason?" Madeline chuckled. "I thought I was the sensible one. Papa will understand. He has two girls, two unmarried girls for daughters. He will understand."

    Giggling like children, Madeline watched as Elisabeth pulled at the wax seal holding the letter closed. With delicate hands she pulled a simple white card from the envelope and held it out so they could both examine the cursive.

    "Dearest friend, Monsieur Abel Lane, we cordially invite you as well as your wife, Madame Clarisse, and your daughters, Mademoiselle Madeline, and Mademoiselle Elisabeth, to this years annual event..." Elisabeth mouthed the words, but never finished the entire invitation. She screamed with glee alongside her cousin and they gripped each others hands in excitement. They'd seen their names, they'd seen the card, she needed nothing more than to know those words were in clean writing.
    #2 Lillian Gray, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
    • Love Love x 1
  3. Benjamin Crawford: The Broken BoyMorning light threaded through the half-open tapestries, barely enough to pull him from slumber. The young lord stirred from his resting place and struggled to push himself upright, rubbing his face from another dreamless sleep that left him feeling haunted. He drew in a deep breath and released between his lips, eyeing the familiar room to which he was confined. The painted ceilings had lost their glamour, as most things in the world had done, commonplace for a man on the decline of his young and short life. But there was still beauty in the art. That much couldn't be denied. He turned his eyes away from the ceiling and glanced over to the cane resting by his nightstand, sleek and black with an ivory lion's head. Before he could reach out and grab it, a knock came at his door.

    "Lord Benjamin," came a familiar voice. "Might I enter your humble abode?"

    He couldn't help but grin. Claudette could always brighten the darkest of mornings. "Come in. I hope you have tea with you."

    "Of course!" The door was pushed open and a blonde head of curls bounced happily into the room, boisterous and joyful as ever. Claudette LeMay was Benjamin's dearest friend, and she never hesitated to assist him with whatever he needed regardless of the stigma of unmarried friendship. When they were children, they believed they were betrothed. But when fate was unkind to them, they decided that friendship suited them best, and never tested the lines since then. "I brought your favorite kind."

    "Thank you." Benjamin reached for the cup and took a deep sip of fresh Earl Grey, straight from England, the way he liked it. The giddy french woman moved about the room and opened the tapestries, exposing the beauty of Paris to Benjamin's vision. "How did you get in here?"

    "Your mother let me in. Told me to bring you your tea, and then help you pick out something for the ball tonight." Claudette finished her work by the windows and opened Benjamin's wardrobe, looking at him with a devious grin. "I'm going to find you a bride, Benjamin Crawford. That is my goal."

    "You think so?" He chuckled at her humor before taking another drink of tea. "I don't recall ever needing a bride before."

    "Who said anything about need?" Claudette pulled out a horrendous velvet suit of dark purple, one Benjamin didn't know he had, and held it out so she could examine it closer. "Good lord. I don't even know what to say about this."

    "I am not wearing that."

    "Of course you're not. I said I'd find you a bride, not a lunatic." The woman tossed the suit over her shoulder and continued rummaging through his clothes, pulling out this suit and that and asking for his opinion. Benjamin sat politely in his bed and nodded at each suggestion she made, all while sipping at his tea and gathering the rest he needed to prepare for a night of merriment.

    If truth be told, he wasn't ready.
    • Love Love x 1
  4. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméMadeline was beside herself with worry, dawdling over the smallest details on her feathered masquerade mask. She plucked at the tips, making sure they were both full and free from any stray bits. From behind, clad in nothing more than a white corset and her breeches, Elisabeth chuckled. Her dress lay casually over Madeline's bed, waiting to grace its owner in beauty.

    "Are you going to fuss over that mask all night? No one will even know who you are, you're so quiet cousin." Elisabeth wrapped herself around Madeline's shoulders and leaned in to place a peck on the girl's cheek. "You have to speak in order for men to notice you!"

    "Stop, you'll smear my makeup!" Madeline pushed Elisabeth away.

    The young woman with silky black hair sauntered away and dressed herself, all the while chuckling at her irritated cousin, watching as she continued to pick at seemingly nothing. Feathers, dust on her elegant gown, anything to occupy her hands to hide how nervous she was. It had taken days for the two to find anything appropriate to wear, having to tear through their wardrobes and call every tailor in town. Madeline was more worried about her appearance than Elisabeth, she was getting old, love was desperately on her mind. At the young age of twenty three, she ought to have been married.

    Elisabeth, on the other hand, simply wanted to have a good evening. Perhaps she'd catch a glimpse of the famous brothers, perhaps not. It was all in good fun among good company. She had years yet. Not many of course, but she intended to have an excellent time at the expense of the Crawford family.

    "Girls, come now, we'll be late! I have business to attend to, and I don't want to disappoint!" Abel yelled from the first floor.

    As quickly as they could, they were out the door and down the street. Clarisse and Abel were dressed simply in matching colors, not as interested in the gaudy atmosphere but more so in the business of the event. They trailed not far behind the giggling pair of sisters as they walked the short distance to the Crawford manor. Their masks were simple. White in color with a golden embellishment on either side which swirled beneath the eyes. Others emerged from their homes to join the endless parade of mysterious faces on the way to the yearly event. By the light of the moon, Elisabeth was able to make out some familiar faces. There was a rich couple from Germany, another French merchant with his son, and many others as the crowd grew before the front gates. Others were harder to distinguish behind the colorful masks.

    "What do you suppose we'll do first?" Elisabeth turned towards her cousin, masked behind a flowering Venetian style visage. Madeline gave a quiet whine of disapproval, she didn't have to say anything. "Ah, I see I'll be dancing alone then. Forever a wall poor girl." Madeline pushed Elisabeth playfully, a smile but worried smile on her face. It was easy to see her earlier excitement in her eyes, but her body froze with fear knowing she'd have to interact with anyone. The only comfort was knowing Elisabeth would be near to keep her calm.

    The walkway was lit with a hundred lights. Guards stood post to watch the incoming flow of guests, making sure no one uninvited walked among them. Even in the dark, the rich colors of the fauna made themselves known. Across the shoulders of the guests the lightest of sounds could be heard, a gentle symphony which hinted at the orchestra promised in the gallant invitation. Elisabeth swore she could already smell the food, but it was only her stomach, making her mouth water in anticipation.

    They waited, not so patiently in Elisabeth's case, until the doors were opened and they were allowed inside.
    • Love Love x 1
  5. Benjamin Crawford: The Broken Boy"Here. Let me." Claudette closed the distance between herself and the frustrated Benjamin, slapping his hands free from the sleek white tie that fought with him. Ben's hands were quite fumbly as of late but he'd never let anyone know, preferring to keep his decline private until it was too late and medical attention was necessary, Claudette always saw through the mask, though. She tied the cloth around his throat and looked up at him with worry.

    "Are you sure you can do this?" the duchess asked. "You don't have to. I'm sure there's a story we can weave as to why you're absent without blaming it on anything physical--"

    "No." The young lord was firm on the subject. "I must go. For my mother, if nothing else. She worries so much." He patted the tie once it was fixed and sighed, taking his cane in-hand. "Let's just get this over with. Besides, you're intent on finding me a bride at this ball, aren't you?"

    "I believe I did say that, yes." It remained clear to Benjamin that Claudette was worried about his health, but she knew better than to press the issue. She placed the top hat on his head and took a few steps backward. "You're ready. You look wonderful, Ben. You really do."

    "Thank you." He sighed and took a deep breath, pushing himself to his feet much slower than the average person. He'd been resting for days to collect the energy for this ball. He would not show the people that he was weak and unreliable when an event of such magnitude required him to be strong. "You can go, Claudy. Be with your husband. I'll see you at the ball."

    Claudette only nodded. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek before leaving, not offering him a glance backward as she closed the door.

    Benjamin couldn't help but move to the mirror. He examined his own reflection, seeing a handsome face that many loved accompanied with dapper attire fit for a lord at a masquerade. He picked up the gold-plated mask from the table and strapped it around his head, meeting eyes with the man in the mirror.

    "To battle, then."

    Samuel Crawford: The Rotten ChildFinally, the evening of the ball arrived. Samuel had been awaiting this day for months, ever since his lord father had thought of the idea in his stupid, senile head. This is my chance, Sam kept telling himself through the long time it took to come to this point. This is my chance to prove my worth to my father, and cut out that disease from my family name for good. He brushed off the vest of his elegant clothing and gave himself a mental pep talk, looking in the mirror just outside the ballroom.

    This is my gala. I will not accept anything less than perfection.

    Lord Crawford wanted one of his sons to carry on the tradition of introductory greetings. Benjamin was in no condition to stand for so long, or so Sam thought, so he decided to take up the job himself. Samuel had prepared an entire short speech to promote his bravado and reputation. This endeavor would go entirely as planned, setting his other aspirations in motion.

    Or it should have, had Benjamin Crawford not ripped the opportunity from him.

    When the doors were opened, Samuel stepped gracefully to the indoor balcony. Benjamin was already at the center. He smiled back at his younger brother before turning to the audience, which he had already hailed, standing with the little strength he was capable of mustering.

    "My friends," he said in a strong voice. "Family, neighbors, strangers. Welcome to the Crawford Estate. I am happy and proud to host such a wonderful group of individuals, and I look forward to chatting with you all this evening. May our servants be at your service, our food to your liking, and our company above the rest despite my notoriously silent reputation." The audience chuckled, and Benjamin raised a regal hand to signal the beginning of the party. "Let the ball begin."

    Applause thundered through the ballroom, followed by the removal of lids from the food and the brightening of the chandeliers. Cries and gasps of approval rained down upon Lord Benjamin.

    Samuel Crawford was furious.
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  6. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméHer tongue could see, and her eyes could taste, and every sense Elisabeth thought she knew was befuddled and overwhelmed by the elegance of the Crawford estate. Had the music sounded any sweeter she might have taken a bite out of thin air to embrace the sensual atmosphere for herself, and let it fill her stomach as well as her mind. However, being the proper lady she was, Elisabeth put aside such notions of eating thin air and instead accepted a glass of red wine from the nearest waiter, a lanky lad with dark plum colored eyes.

    He was plainly of a lower gypsy class, known for their tan skin and odd colored eyes. They were easy to spot, and easy to avoid as such. Decades of abuse put the gypsies far beneath even the beggars who inhabited the Paris streets. It was hard to hold any respect for a class which made their lives stealing and cheating from others, but Elisabeth couldn't help but feel pity. She couldn't explain the feeling, it was simply that no gypsy had ever done her wrong. There were many servants of the caste in attendance but none of them donned a mask. They all held platters in their hands hoping for a chance at an honest piece of coin at the end of the night, it was likely they were hired held by the Crawfords to manage the party.

    "Did you see him?" Madeline sighed like a lovesick schoolgirl. Her eyes clouded over, her hands clasped the other, and she sighed again.

    "See the Crawford brothers?" Elisabeth asked.

    "Yes, but him, Samuel!" Madeline hissed. She attempted to cover her mouth so the other women nearby wouldn't hear her gossiping. Although, it wasn't unlikely the other women were doing exactly the same. "Isn't he handsome? The dark hair, the jawline, his physique is just! I swear, he's right out of a novel. Prince Charming in the flesh."

    "He gets so much attention as it is. I bet his personality is awful, there has to be something wrong." Elisabeth giggled. "Look, he's already got a crowd of women around him wanting to dance. Good luck capturing his attention, cousin."

    "I'll have my way eventually! Perhaps if I just...oh I don't know." Madeline huffed. In a brazen attempt to have a chance with Samuel, she marched into the crowd and soon disappeared among the masses. Her mask blended with the others, and she turned into another head of hair Elisabeth couldn't determine from the next. The only notable feature left was the color of her shoes. Bright ruby red slippers, a shame no one else would look at her feet.

    Elisabeth stood alone in the center of a gossiping crowd, she felt out of place without a partner to talk to or dance with. She quietly shuffled to the back of the room and ascended the stairs, eyeing the balcony where the brothers stood moments ago. In her hand she stirred her cup of wine, and in her head she fantasized briefly about life as the Crawfords. They were far superior in class to any other family, in both wealth and power. She liked to imagine that every morning they had a full feast, and ended the day in the same manner. They probably had a different suit for each day of the month, made of a different material from a foreign and difficult to pronounce country. Such thoughts were of course, ridiculous.

    She scanned her eyes over the crowd, looking for any face she could deem familiar. It was easy to tell where Samuel was, in the middle of a dense crowd of women. Where was the other brother, Elisabeth asked herself. He didn't receive nearly as much attention, even being the eldest. When she turned her head to peer up the staircase, she found who she was looking for.

    "Oh, Lord Crawford, I didn't see you there, I was just-" Elisabeth stumbled over her words. Why had she gone up the stairs to begin with, she didn't know. She paused, and smiled. This time, she was more elegant, and managed to bow her head and curtsy with the wine in hand. She closed her eyes for all of a second, and opened them with a full view of the eldest Crawford son. "Lord Crawford, it's a pleasure to meet you."

    Her violet eyes were stuck there, pinned to the curious and silent brother.
    • Love Love x 1
  7. Benjamin Crawford: The Broken Boy"Lord Crawford?"

    The voice that summoned him was sweet enough, much sweeter than the songs that filled his ears. After standing for so long to make his introductory speech and listen to the orchestra strum away at their beautiful tunes, Benjamin's body had begun to ache from standing in one place for too long and he yearned to sit down. But of course, at a ball, it was so difficult to find a moment to sit when so many wanted his attention. He could not show weakness among the masses by asking for privacy. Benjamin refused to. So, he suffered the pain as he turned to face the woman's voice who called him from his current comrades, prepared to give polite conversation despite it all.

    Looking at Elisabeth Lane made him forget his soreness.

    Her face was beautiful and pale, high cheekbones and a soft complexion mixed with foreign features from some other land. Her chocolate hair was fashioned in the most flattering ways and her outfit ensemble was impressive, attractive to the eye. Her irises were a striking purple hue, like the gypsies he'd so often heard of but rarely seen, and her lips curled upwards in the sweetest of smiles.

    She was exquisite. Benjamin nearly forgot was he was standing, forgot he was a host and required to greet her as such.

    I'm going to find you a bride tonight, Benjamin. Wasn't that what Claudette had said?

    "I--forgive me, mademoiselle. Yes. Benjamin, you may call me. Benjamin Crawford." He took her hand in his gloved one, delicate and gentle as he very nature was, and kissed it lightly in greeting. He leaned on his cane rather heavily after he retracted. "You are so lovely I almost lost my words." He gestured his apology. Benjamin was always the most polite of men, and respected a woman's feelings above all else, but he was eager to know her.

    "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, miss...?"
    • Love Love x 1
  8. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-Aimé"Benjamin." Her painted lips let out a wisp of air as she whispered his name to herself.

    Elisabeth giggled at his compliment, her cheeks lit up with a blush partially hidden by her white mask, but a noticeable hue stained her pale skin. His lips grazed her hand, and she lit up a second time, diverting her eyes in honest pleasure. Something about the genuine nature of his mannerisms made her heart swell and her stomach flutter. It certainly wasn't the first time she'd been called lovely by a man, nor would it ever be the last. Elisabeth wasn't unaware of her beauty, her exotic looks turned many heads. Even now, donning a mask at the edge of a party, she could feel the eyes on her. She felt a bit like Cinderella. The unknown beauty at the ball, Prince Charming at her side and everyone wanted to know who she was.

    She'd nearly forgotten to speak up when he inquired as to what her name was. "My name is Elisabeth Lane. A pleasure indeed. I hardly believe I was able to steal your attention, what with so many interesting guests other than myself." Elisabeth curtsied again. Being humble was still within her nature, and the last thing she wanted to do was bother the Crawford family in any way.

    Perhaps her own family name would put a face to her misfortune. How seventeen long years ago she'd been found in the arms of her father, burned alive and gasping for breath. Perhaps Benjamin knew about the infamous fire, perhaps he didn't. Nevertheless, Elisabeth found herself wanting to be remembered by the gentleman, to be frozen in the fairy tale moment when the Prince meets the Princess for the first time. Benjamin was charming, dashing, and ever so handsome. There was a small chance, minute and astronomically rare, that Elisabeth might be lucky enough to get to know more about the sincere Benjamin Crawford. If she last a lasting impressing, Elisabeth mused to herself, then perhaps she might get to see him again and learn more than what rumors had to say.

    Little did she know that through beauty alone she'd all but smacked him upside the head and pounded the image of her violet eyes forever into his brain. A bit more violet than a forgotten glass slipper, but the impression would last.

    "My Aunt and Uncle are merchants, Abel and Clarisse." She explained. Elisabeth turned her head towards the crowd below them for a second, a faint smile still on her lips. Men and women danced in slow circles, the orchestra led them in song. Everyone still all looked the same. From up above, they had no names or recognizable faces, they were the background to a pleasant memory and nothing more.

    "I know it might sound foolish but I've dreamed of being able to spend just an evening here since I was a little girl. Thank you, Lo- Benjamin, for the magnificent time." Elisabeth stepped away towards the staircase with the intention of fleeing so the Lord could find some other company. She was too nervous to spend any more time in his presence and she was scared of saying something silly, or even saying nothing at all. Her stomach wouldn't settle and her cheeks wouldn't rid themselves of the rosy red blush Benjamin brought about. "I would very much hate to keep you here, I'm sure you have a hundred other guests to speak to. I fear you might find conversation with the daughter of a merchant to be less than entertaining, what with so many other noblemen around. Ah, and besides, there are at least a dozen other ladies who are likely waiting for their chance to dance with you."
    • Love Love x 1
  9. Benjamin Crawford: The Broken BoyBenjamin chuckled at her humility. She was gracious and kind, despite her ability to be otherwise. "Please, don't be surprised that I would spend a moment for you. I can never tell a lady no. One of my many weaknesses." His face flickered over with pain for a moment, but a simple adjust of his legs and cane made his expression return to a friendly smile.

    When he heard her name, however, the frown was eminent. He'd heard of the fire. Who hadn't? Benjamin remembered when his mother came rushing into breakfast in tears many years ago, telling her husband of the fire that killed an entire family, leaving only an infant alive by "God's great mercy." Benjamin believed it was mercy that saved the child indeed, but his father had disagreed. Lord Crawford was frantic at the news, but only because the building that burned was one he had invested in. He worried for his finances when lives were lost. It was then that Benjamin saw which parent he truly took after, and which one he would devote himself to.

    "I know it might sound foolish but I've dreamed of being able to spend just an evening here since I was a little girl," said Elisabeth, and Benjamin was lost in her eyes. Her wonder was infectious. Benjamin listened to her talk and replied accordingly until she straightened her back and turned to leave, saying words of goodbye as if he expected them. The young lord snapped to attention. She couldn't leave yet, not when he was growing so accustomed and affectionate to her company. It was far too early for Cinderella to leave the ball.

    "Wait!" he called, stumbling after her as he misstepped on one of the palace stairs. Thankfully no one noticed, and he jabbed his cane hard into the ground to keep himself from falling. A few seconds allowed him to regain his breath. He looked at her, hoping she wouldn't think him the crippled fool he was for having walked so gracelessly. She had the form and figure of a ballerina. He was certain that her dancing skills were wonderful, but Benjamin Crawford was cursed to only simple swaying.

    Still, it was something to offer. He chuckled awkwardly and held out an unsteady hand to her.

    "I'm a terrible dancer, Miss Lane. But it would be a sad night indeed if I did not ask, at the very least, to share this dance with you."
    • Love Love x 1
  10. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméElisabeth's immediate reaction was to extend her arms after watching the Lord stumble on his own two feet. The cane in his hand stabbed the marbled stairs hard in an attempt to balance him, and the lady awkwardly looked away. Of course she had heard stories of the man's apparent disabilities, and she was embarrassed that there was little she could do but hold out her arms like a mother reaching for a wobbling toddler.

    "It would have been rather presumptuous of me to simply assume you were free, but I'm glad you're so willing to dance with a woman of my status." Elisabeth again used a humble front to conceal the blush on her face.

    Madeline was going to be insanely jealous. The sisters would share stories about the night for days, perhaps weeks to come. How lucky Elisabeth had been to find the elder Crawford brother without a woman on his arm, no dance to interrupt. She'd simply found him, and from there it was a cherished memory to be made.

    "That being said, I would absolutely love to share a dance with you, Benjamin. Please."

    The dark haired beauty accepted his hand and slid her arm around his. Together, they descended the steps one at a time. She slowed her steps to accommodate his steady pace, listening to the clear sound of his cane tapping against the next flat step. Tap, descend, tap, descend, tap, and again. She peered at him from the corner of her eye, but the mask on her face kept her from being subtle in her examination. He looked tired, but pleased, his eyes told a long story that she had yet to unfold. There were many things Elisabeth already knew about Benjamin. For instance, he was the eldest of two, unmarried, and born from a powerful family. Those were the three most plain facts when it came to the Crawford son. But he was much more. From their brief interaction she had uncovered his kindness, his distinct taste in fashion which she enjoyed, and that he was a poor dancer. Three new facts to displace the three plain ones.

    When Elisabeth finally took her eyes off of Benjamin, there were a thousand more on herself. They'd only reached the bottom of the staircase and already groups of people had stopped their conversations to pay close attention to Elisabeth and Benjamin. She tensed up, her hands gripping Benjamin more fiercely than before.

    "I must say, we seemed to have drawn a bit of attention to ourselves." Elisabeth whispered quietly.
    • Love Love x 1
  11. Benjamin Crawford: The Broken BoyThe feel of a woman on his arm was the most completing one yet. He hadn't had many of those in his time. Women never wanted to spend much time with Benjamin, not genuine time at least, but he could confidently say that it was a wonderful change. Elisabeth Lane was stunningly beautiful and kindly considerate. She didn't rush him as he hobbled down the long staircase, nor did she complain about having taken so long to reach the bottom floor. She was warm, bright and happy to be at his side. Perhaps that would change when they started to dance, but Benjamin let the negative thoughts slide off his skin like rain. There was no time to think such a way anymore. Not with so little time left.

    When she spoke about the eyes upon them, Benjamin only chuckled. "Is that not to be expected? Forgive me, my lady, but I thought you knew what you were getting into." Keeping the conversation playful, the young lord handed his cane off to the nearest servant and thanked them for their help. This is going to hurt, he thought as he led Elisabeth to the center of the dance floor.

    It will be the sweetest pain.

    "Maestro," said Benjamin. "A waltz, if you would?"

    The conductor looked confused. He glanced to Benjamin's father. "Sir?"

    Before Lord Crawford could shake his head. a blonde-haired woman and her dancing partner stepped on the floor. "I'd like a dance too," said Lady Claudette. Benjamin nearly lost it with a sigh of relief. "My husband hasn't had too much to drink yet. I'm sure the good lord wouldn't deny his finest patron a dance with his wife?"

    It was a challenge to be sure, but Claudette was a bold woman. Benjamin didn't meet eyes with his father; his dearest friend had won his battle for him, and he wanted nothing more than a night to remember with the beautiful Lady Lane. He slipped one hand around her back and held her hand with his other. "You will forgive my clumsiness, won't you?" he whispered between them. "I will try my best for your sake."

    On the count of three, the waltz began.
    • Love Love x 1
  12. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-Aimé"Only if you can forgive mine." Elisabeth retorted, a smile on her lips which parted in a sweet giggle. She slipped her slender hand into Benjamin's and made a half step towards him. Being too close made her heart flutter nervously. After all, this was Benjamin Crawford and not some nameless face in the crowd she was about to waltz with.

    The symphony picked up anew with the counted tune of a slow waltz. Elisabeth smiled adoringly to her dance partner even as he struggled to keep in pace with the beat, his leg seemed to be the cause of his delay. The woman didn't mind though, pleased to be his sole companion for a few minutes. Maybe it was the handsome face smiling down on her, or perhaps it was the social status that appealed to her. Maybe it was a little bit of both that compelled her to stay in Benjamin's arms for just a second longer.

    As they slowly turned, lightly holding the other in their arms, Elisabeth caught the face of her cousin who was red with jealousy. The girls still shared a grin, despite Madeline's apparent disappointment at being left out of the Crawford's waltz.

    Elisabeth looked back to Benjamin and spoke to him in a hushed tone. "I understand your leg pains you..." She trailed off, attempting to find the right words so not to insult her companion. "We've had our dance, but I would be more than honored to keep you company a while longer, if it would please you."

    She still felt as if she'd said something wrong, wondering perhaps if it would have been best to keep quiet. It wasn't as if she didn't enjoy the time with him, gods no, she wanted to trail on forever in the slow lull of the waltz. But it was clear as day that her partner wouldn't be able to keep up forever. As she smiled in apology, she felt someone bump into her from behind and nearly knock her off balance. She gripped onto Benjamin to support herself and whirled her head around to find the culprit of the accident.

    Another popular face was in her midst, a new Crawford face. Samuel looked sheepishly down on them both and Elisabeth gripped harder to Benjamin. If everyone wasn't already watching, they certainly were now.
    #12 Lillian Gray, Dec 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
    • Love Love x 1
  13. Samuel Crawford: The Rotten Child
    And so, his plan was set in motion.

    "Oh, goodness. Forgive me, my lady, it seems that fate caused me to stumble into you like a fool." Samuel's words were breathless and friendly, and his charming smile was on at full force. He gently took hold of Elisabeth's elbow to steady her before letting go and resuming respectful boundaries. "I apologize for the intrusion. I seem to have interrupted the focus of our waltz's attention."

    "Samuel," said Benjamin coldly. "What a pleasure to see you."

    "And you, dear brother. By God, who is this lovely lady you have ensnared? I daresay, she is far too beautiful for the likes of you." Samuel laughed to indicate a loving joke, though it was clear to both brothers that he meant what he said. "You must be Elisabeth Lane. I have heard so much about you around town. I understand you are quite the hardworking lady."

    "She is," replied his brother. "If you'll forgive us, Samuel, we were just about to--"

    "Oh, of course! By all means. However, brother, I fear you are not yourself. You're exhausted. Perhaps you ought to rest your muscles, I worry so for your withering health." Samuel placed a hand on his older brother's back. "Come. I will help you to a--"

    Benjamin snatched Samuel's arm and held it tight. It was clear to him that his brother's arm muscles were much stronger than his legs, and the look in his eyes was laced with challenge and anger. "I can seat myself," said Benjamin, calmly but assertively. "Thank you for your help, but I'll suffice alone as I always have."

    A flash of rage crossed Samuel's face. For a single second in time, the two brothers stared at each other with the animosity of two lions fighting over a lamb. Samuel let a sly grin cover his features as a way to signal his victory in the minuscule interaction--every time the brother spoke, a competition was to be had--and he let go of Benjamin's arm. "As you wish," he conceded. "Until you are well, dear brother, I will offer your lady friend some wine and company." Samuel stepped away from the crippling Benjamin, whose legs were shaking and his arms reaching for the nearby chair. He had been struck by Samuel's invisible blow. The younger brother turned Elisabeth's attention with his wickedly handsome smile and offered his hand to her.

    "Shall we walk, my dear?"
    • Love Love x 1
  14. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméThe poor lamb's attention was so locked on her surprise that she failed to pick up on the subtle animosity in the air between the Crawford brothers. Annoyance and two brothers being playful, that was the most she read into the brief interaction. She took Samuel's concern for Benjamin as genuine, and not mockery as the younger had intended. So when Benjamin stormed off, a flicker of annoyance on his features, Elisabeth couldn't help but wonder if she had forced him to dance to the point of pain.

    Nevertheless, Samuel's wicked smile had captured her attention.

    Elisabeth had never dreamed of meeting not just one, but both of the brothers in a single night, all under the guise of a simple flowered mask. It put her in a spotlight. Not that she minded being the center of attention, but she wasn't entirely used to the feeling of a hundred eyes watching her every move. Even if they weren't looking her way, it was on their lips. They were all talking about the simple merchant's daughter who had stolen away Benjamin and Samuel with a snap of her finger.

    "If that is what you want, Lord Crawford." Elisabeth bowed her head humbly. "By the end of the night, I'm afraid everyone will remember how I never let either of you brothers out of my sight. My apologies, I really should be letting you both spend more time with your guests."

    Still, she followed loyally so as not to disappoint Samuel. Something about his demeanor beckoned her closer, yet it made her uneasy. It was as if she were walking closer and closer to the edge of a cliff, knowing there was some danger ahead yet Elisabeth was unable to step away. Either that, or she was walking straight into the lion's den without knowing it was even there at all. The brothers had already fought over her once. The longer Elisabeth stayed on the current path, the more fierce the feud would become.

    But all she knew was that her heart was racing and she wanted to live for one evening.

    "It was kind of you to offer me a drink, thank you." Elisabeth remained courteous as Samuel handed her a glass of rich red wine.
    • Love Love x 1
  15. Samuel Crawford: The Rotten Child
    Her manners were well-learned and executed with poise. Samuel was impressed to find such formality from a merchant's child. She didn't have much money to her name, nor was she of noble blood, but he hardly cared about those things. If she could act like nobility and play the part, she would be the perfect bride for him. Not to mention his brother's obvious fascination with her.

    "You are more than welcome. The wine is rich, some of the finest vintage from Germany. I expect you'll find it in good taste." Samuel clinked their glasses together lightly. "A toast to growing friendships and blossoming romance, for I'm sure the night will be filled with both."

    Delicately, the sly young lord took a sip from his glass. He knew how to impress this woman. She was clearly in over her head, unable to dream that her night would work out the way it had so far, and Samuel would take advantage of every opportunity to snare her. She would be an easy target. He offered her his arm again, which the lady politely took, and led her away from the wine offerings toward a balcony that overlooked the gardens.

    He did not miss the pained look of defeat in Benjamin's eyes from across the room.

    "Tell me," said Samuel, "have you seen the gardens of our estate? I would very much like to show you. A beauty such as yourself would look stunning among the spring flowers." That, at least, was true. "I love to sit in the gardens and write on days when I am troubled. The foliage is wonderful company."

    God, how he hated the small talk.
    • Love Love x 1
  16. Elisabeth Lane: Beauté Bien-AiméThe wine was indeed rich, and Elisabeth wasn't entirely sure if it had already begun to make her head spin or if it had been the dancing which made her dizzy. She took Samuel's arm with great pleasure as he led her to a nearby balcony. The garden was illuminated by small candles, giving a soft glow to the delicate flora. There was an abundance of roses in a variety of colors, accented by lilies and irises. Her favorite among them were the simple muguet, the lily of the valley. A gentle white bell shaped flower which sprung out in spires from the lush red of the roses, oh how she could soak in the beauty of the evening for hours.

    Sipping at the wine, she only turned to face the Lord when he spoke of her own beauty. Again, she heard compliments about her appearance from a Crawford Lord. Madeline was going to be outrageously jealous, the lavender eyed woman thought.

    "Please, Lord Crawford, I am nothing more than a merchant's daughter dressed in my finest rags. The company of Ladies from better families than myself are the true beauties. I could have sworn I saw a string of true Japanese pearls..." Elisabeth hid her smile with another sip of the wine. She was trying to hide how embarrassed, yet pleased, she felt being called beautiful again. Although it didn't hold the same weight as when Benjamin had said it first. He'd tripped over his own tongue in an attempt to find the right words, whereas Samuel let it slip out of his mouth so easily. Both left her swooning, both left her blushing.

    "Although, I have not had the pleasure of roaming the gardens. In fact, this is the first time I've been invited to your estate." Elisabeth admitted.

    Elisabeth carefully slid closer to Samuel, her head all but hovering over his skin. Dark locks of hair tumbled and pooled over his shoulder, and the young lady wondered if she wouldn't appreciate her subtle advance into his personal space. Deep inside her chest, her heart had swelled with all the adoration she'd received. Was this the beginning of romance, as Samuel had toasted?

    "I would be humbled if you would show me the garden." Elisabeth hinted at her desire to walk the grounds, hoping Samuel would oblige her.
    • Love Love x 1
  17. Samuel Crawford: The Rotten Child
    Samuel grinned at the closeness of this unappreciated beauty. She was falling into him just as he'd planned, as he'd always wanted since she walked in the room, and he couldn't help but think of how easy it was to snare poor women into his trap. He'd done it plenty of times before, but not with one of Benjamin's playthings. This would be much more fun.

    "Then by all means, my lady. Come." Instead of continuing to lead her by the arm, Samuel reached for her warm hand instead. He laced his fingers with hers and directed the fragile beauty out of the ballroom, and through opened glass-pane doors. The moonlight struck the gardens before them in the most picturesque fashion. The water of the fountain was sparkling, shining from the light of the stars. Flowers ornamented the tall brush with little puffs of color.

    [WIP ugh]
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