The Friendly Rivalry


Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread
Original poster
Invitation Status
Posting Speed
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Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. Male
  2. Female
  3. Primarily Prefer Female
I enjoy Fantasy, Scifi, Romance, Magical, Modern and much more. I probably can't list them all! If there is something you want to try and it isn't listed here, just ask. I rarely say no!

The english country side was always lovely during the summer, the lush fields and full trees all a series of bright and dark greens. Even in the heavy rain the nature was beautiful and welcoming, which was one of the many reasons why Esther was currently traveling in the less than welcoming weather to her sister's home. The main reason was to escape her parents, mostly her mother, who have been pushing her to find a man and get married. They have been especially harsh since her younger sister of two years, Elizabeth, had married before her.

It had been four years since her sister had been married and the woman had had two lovely children during that time, so it was quite a surprise that her sister would invite her to come live with her family to get away from their pushy parents. She wasn't one to say no to a chance to escape though and gladly packed her bags and left with no words but a simple note telling them where she was going to be. She could just picture her parents now, her father smiling to himself while her mother worried herself into a state of sever stress. Esther didn't feel guilty though, her mother had been pushing her buttons to much and even had the gull to invite men over to the house without even telling her.

A smile drifted to the 24 year-old's lips as the mansion of her sister's came into view, the carriage rocking less as they got closer to the home. She glanced out the window as the carriage pulled up to the front door and nearly laughed as she say her lovely sister, standing in the doorway with a baby in her arms and a three year old standing at her feet. She watched as some butlers in coats ran out in the rain as the carriage driver opened her door with an umbrella at hand. She stepped from the carriage and made her way quickly into the cover of the house, not wanting to make the driver be in the rain any longer than needed. Before she could even remove her cape she felt her sister wrap an arm around her, the other holding the little baby.

"Oh Esther! I'm so glad you could come, you must have been going insane with mother being so pushy. I feel so guilty that I married first, mother wouldn't be treating you so meanly if I had been able to avoid falling in love." She said in her sweet voice that had tamed many a man's heart.

"Don't feel that way Elizabeth, I am in no position to tell you went to fall in love. I am happy for you all the same. Besides, your wedding distracted mother for a few months anyway so you saved me for a bit in the end. Now where is Brandon? I have to thank him for taking me in as well." She said as she glanced past her sister and removed her cape.

"He was riding with a friend today and I pray they found a warm dry place. He won't be home for a bit though if this storm stays like this. Anyway, let us get you settled, he will be home sooner or later." She said as she adjusted the baby in her arms and grabbed the young toddler by the hand.

Esther could only smile as she followed after her younger sister into the large mansion, a trail of servants following behind them with her luggage. She hoped that Brandon would be alright with his friend, it would be terrible if the man caught a cold of any sort.
What began as a joyous trot through the English countryside with a friend quickly turned in to a race for shelter as the heavens opened up and let loose a great deluge. Brandon and Jonathon had both pushed their horses to their fullest, barely escaping the pouring rain. They had ended up at a gentleman's dining club, much to Brandon's chagrin. But any place would do in order to keep warm.

As the hours wore on, Jonathon continued to consume wine, slowly becoming more and more inebriated. When the rain had finally ceased, Jonathon had required Brandon's help to leave the dining club. Jonathon was in no condition to ride his horse back to Brandon's mansion, so they decided to take a carriage. Jonathon promptly fell asleep as the carriage began it's bumpy journey towards Brandon's mansion. Brandon roused Jonathon as the carriage drew nearer the mansion.

"Wake up! We are almost home"

"What? Where?"

"We came back to my mansion, you can stay in one of the guest rooms for the night."

"You're a good friend."

"I know. Now get out."

The men laughed as they exited the carriage, quietly making their way towards the front entrance.
The rest of the day went by simply with Esther and her sister unpacking her clothing, the little three year old son named Benjamin eagerly waning to help by pulling things out of trunks randomly and making the girls laugh. They quickly finished and spent the rest of the time before dinner chatting happily with ther children over tea, keeping them busy and playing with them as the sister's caught up. As evening fell dinner was almost ready and the sound of a carriage pulling up could be heard from inside the drawing room.

"Oh! Brandon must have come home in a carriage, at least he was able to stay mostly dry. Come! Let's go greet him Esther!" Elizabeth said excitedly as she lifted the baby girl into her arms, her soon trotting out into the hall excitedly to greet his father.

Esther got up as well and wandered into the hall just as Elizabeth opened the door. She smiled a bit as she saw Brandon walk in but felt her smile falter a bit as the other man walked in behind him. She walked over slowly as her sister hugged her husband happily, standing behind them as she waited for her chance to step in.

"Oh Brandon, I'm so glad you're home. I was so worried about you in this weather. Also, As I'm sure you can see, Esther has arrived." She said excitedly as she turned to Esther, also taking notice of her husband's friend. "Jonathan? Oh you look terrible, I hope the weather didn't hit you to hard."

"Hello Brandon, I hope you have been well." Esther said to the man as she moved forward to hug her brother-in-law as Elizabeth worried over Jonathan.
"Very well indeed, Esther. It is lovely to see you again," Brandon said as he embraced his sister-in-law, a large smile on his face. "And how have you been?"

As soon as Brandon had let go of his sister-in-law, Benjamin ran up to his father, and Brandon picked him up and gave him a big hug. "My sweet young son, I hope you didn't miss me too terribly."
While Brandon was greeting his sister-in-law and son, Jonathan was being fussed over by Elizabeth.

"Elizabeth, I'm a bit sick from drink. Is there a wash basin with which I might wash my face?" Jonathan asked. His face felt as though it was on fire, and his stomach was beginning to give him fits. Normally he would not consume that much wine, but he had not seen Brandon for several months and they had not properly celebrated his own twenty-sixth birthday. It felt a little strange to have drank so much, as that is often reserved for folk much younger than he. Jonathan finally decided to look around the entranceway. There stood an attractive woman who appeared as though she did not fancy seeing Jonathan here at all, but that did not deter him. He smiled in here direction.

"And who might that lovely lady be?" Jonathan asked Elizabeth.

"I have been as well as any woman can when she is in my situation. Thank you for letting me live here for awhile, with mother acting the way she was I was certain I would go insane." She said as she smiled widely at her bother-in-law while he held onto his happy son, the young boy chattering away to his father, his words needing a little bit of work though he was getting there.

Elizabeth shook her head as she adjusted the young baby in her arms, patting Jonathan on the shoulder as she guided him further into the enteryway. She smiled a little when he asked about her sister and was more than happy to introduce him, though Esther was unaware her sister was as determined as their mother to get the woman married, she was just doing it in a less noticeable way.

"This is my dear elder sister Esther." Elizabeth said as she walked over to her sibling and husband. "Esther, this is Jonathan, Brandon's close friend. He is a very nice gentleman and good dancer, or so I've been told."

"It is a pleasure." Esther said with a small curtsy to the man before her, smiling simply at the man. She could tell he was a bit drunk but she made no comment on it, the two men had just been out riding after all so it seemed natural that a drink or two would be shared. He didn't seem to terrible though it looked like he did not hold his drink well, hopefully he was not like some of the men back home, but she had little hope for that.

Once they were introduced Elizabeth jumped in once more and started to guide Jonathan towards the stairs.

"Now, let's get you cleaned up at bit. We don't want you feeling ill during supper after all. Now come on! Up the stairs with you dear!" She rushed him up the steps, making Esther smile along with Brandon at Elizabeth's motherly ways."
As Esther curtsied, Jonathan reached for her hand, pulled it towards himself and gently kissed her hand. "The pleasure is all mine, miss."

Before he could continue speaking with Esther, Elizabeth had already started guiding Jonathan upstairs. Going up the steps was a bit of a bother as the world around Jonathan was starting to spin, but he managed to stay on his feet with Elizabeth's aid. Elizabeth led him to a room with a wash basin in it, and Jonathan quickly splashed some water on his face. The coolness of the water had a sobering effect on Jonathan. The pain in his temples was starting to ease, but it was still present. The world was no longer spinning around him.

"Elizabeth, your sister is quite beautiful. I wish to become better acquainted with her."
A small tint of pink came to her cheeks as he kissed her hand but unlike other girls who would of flutter their eyelashes in a flirtaious fashion she just smiled and nodded at him slightly before her sister rushed the drunken man up the stairs. She then turned to her bother-in-law and chuckled a bit.

"Not to seem rude Brandon but your friend doesnt' seem to hold his alcohol quite well..." She said plainl with a small smile, her hands folding behind her back as she looked up at him with a curious glance. "Somthing tells me you weren't out riding the whole time you were gone now were you?" She teased a bit before slipping into a laugh.

Upstairs Elizabeth helped Jonathan while she held the baby in her arms, an excited giggle slipping past her lips as he expressed an interest in her sister.

"Oh I was hoping you would! I must warn you Jonathan, she isn't like most girl. She stubborn as a muel and even then a muel would be easier to get to than her! Don't think bad of her, Esther is such a lovely woman and I can only blame the horrid men that have tried to court her before for turning her so mean. Anyway, just be polite and watch what you say and you should at least get on her good side...Oh~ I'm so excited I could scream!" She bubbled loudly as she went over to the door. "Now, sober up a bit and I'll move us into the drawing room for some tea. See you down there in a bit!" She said before leaving the man to finish sobering up.
"Of course not," Brandon laughed along with his sister-in-law. He picked up his son, tussled his hair, and gave him a kiss on the forehead. "He usually doesn't drink a lot of alcohol, however, he recently turned twenty-six and we had not properly celebrated together, so he may have had a bit too much wine while we were waiting for the storm to pass," Brandon explained. He made his way towards the drawing room where he could sit down and have a polite conversation with his sister-in-law, who he hadn't spoken to for some time.

Jonathan couldn't help but smile at the way Elizabeth described her sister. She seemed like a lovely woman, someone he would like to get to know better, and it sounded as though he would have to put extra effort in to courting her, something which he enjoyed. He splashed some more water on his face, finally starting to feel sober enough to hold a conversation. Quickly drying his face, he made his way towards the drawing room.
"I see, well I suppose that is a good enough reason to drink, though he should have had a bit more control, he nearly feel down the stairs a moment ago." She said, her tone plain once again as she jabbed at him a bit.

She followed her brother-in-law to the drawing room and sat with him for a bit, chatting and catching up for the time they had not seen each other. After a moment or two Elizabeth joined them, sitting on the loveseat next to her husband. It seemed that this Jonathan was still sobering up when her sister came down and Esther found herself wanting to roll her eyes. Men..They never knew when to stop. It seemed that he would be no different that the others instead this time he would only be older. When he finally joined them a maid had brought in the tea and Elizabeth was quick to start playing matchmaker, though Esther was still unaware...

"Jonathan, you look so much better after a washing to your face. Just take a seat near Esther, we were catching up about the city and such. Now continue Esther, What have mother and father been up too?" She said as she started to pour cups of tea.

"Well," She began slowly as she smiled at her sister. "Mother has started a tea club to pass the time, all they do is gossip and sip at expensive tea. However, I've notice that all the women that she had invited all have elder for mother's close friends who have daughters only. It's just another plot to find me a husband. As for father, he's invested in a fleet of trade ships, they's brought in quite a bit of money for him." She replied as she accepted a cup from her sister.
Brandon smiled at his wife as she came in and sat down beside him. He tried asking her if Jonathan would be sober enough to join them, but before he could get the question out of his mouth Jonathan had walked in to the room. It was good to see him feeling better. Brandon nodded at him, and he gestured towards the seat that Elizabeth had told Jonathan to take.

"Thank you Elizabeth," Jonathan smiled. She was a kind woman, and he was glad that Brandon had met her. "I must apologize for my earlier behaviour. I do not often drink, and if I offended you at showing up her inebriated, I am truly sorry."

Jonathan took the seat that was offered to him, and he smiled sheepishly at Esther. By the looks of it, Elizabeth was trying to play matchmaker between him and Esther. Taking a sip of tea, he sat listening to Esther talk, admiring her. "Your mother is plotting to find you a husband? And she hasn't succeeded yet, with such a beautiful woman as you? It must be my lucky day," Jonathan said jokingly, hoping that he had not come off as too forward.
Elizabeth waved at Jonathan's apology and just shook her head a bit.

"It is no problem Jonathan, I know that you rarely drink and you had reason to as well, you just had your brithday a while ago if I am correct." She said as she poured a cup of tea and held it out to him kindly.

Esther glanced at him out of the corner of at him as he spoke, looking at him plainly as he flirted with her. It seemed that no matter where she went she was going to have problems with men. At least it was only one man instead of the four or five her mother would invite over all at once. She smiled at him politely as she turned ot face him a bit.

"I suppose you could say I'm hard to impress." She retorted in return.

What she said was the truth as well, she would not settle for just anything, just like she wouldn't settle for any man. She could tell that he was interested in her but if he wanted more than just polite smiles and nods he would need to step up his game, showing up drunk and flirting with her would not cut it.

"Well then I shall have to try hard to impress you," Jonathan responded, smiling. This was going to be quite fun. He thought for several moments about how to proceed, as flirting was not getting him very far. He was skilled at dancing, only this did not seem like either the right time or place for dancing. It suddenly occurred to him that he should invite her to a ball. He had no one to go with, and he hadn't planned on attending the ball if he was unable to find a lovely lady to go with.

"Esther, I have a proposal for you. If you shall accompany me to a ball this coming Saturday, I promise to do my very best at impressing you," Jonathan offered, realizing that he was being very straightforward, knowing that he had only just met her, but not letting those things get in his way.
Esther blinked a bit in surprise at Jonathan's invitation to a ball, not really knowing how to respond to it. Luckily, Elizabeth knew exactly what to say.

"Oh that is a wonderful idea Jonathan! You should go Esther, you'll have such a nice time and if you're being escorted by Jonathan then you won't have to be worried about being approached by strangers." She said with a smile, the one that usually pressured Esther into giving in.

Esther thought for a moment longer. She could use a nice evening at a ball to help her relax, more than once she had been pressured into awkward dances with complete strangers while her mother watcher her like a hawk. Her sister was right as well, if she was escorted then she would only have to dance with one man instead of many. On top of that, if she said no then she would never hear the end of it from her sister, she was almost as bad as their mother.

"Alright, I'll accompany you on Saturday. Though I must warn you, you'll have your work cut out for you." She said smoothly to Jonathan, her sister smiling widely as she watched at there little win there.
Jonathan was ecstatic. She had agreed to accompany him to the ball, which had made his day. The next several days would be spent preparing an exciting evening out for Esther. He would need to find out some more information about her before then, and what better way to do that than having a whole day to spend with her and her sister before that? Sipping the remnants of his tea, he excused himself, "I do apologize, but it is rather late, and my head is beginning to ache. I greatly appreciate you allowing me to stay here overnight while I recuperate."

As he turned to leave, he bowed to Esther and Elizabeth, bidding them a good night.
Esther watched quietly as Jonathan excused himself, her sister smiling and wishing the man goodnight. Once he was gone Elizabeth turned to her sister and smiled widely at her before standing up as well.

"Well I should put the children to bed, the baby is sleeping on my shoulder and Benjamin as about to fall asleep on the couch. Brandon, have a maid clean up the tea before you come to bed. As for you Esther, rest up. If I know you you haven't brought anything to wear to a ball, we'll head into the village to find you something. Goodnight~" She said as she picked up her son in her other arm and walked off and up the stairs to the nursery.

Esther could only shake her head and smile before looking to Brandon for a moment.

"She hasn't lived with me for four years as she still know me too well. I don't know how she does it." She joked before she set her tea down. "Well, I'm getting tired so I shall head to bed as well...I'll see you in the morning Brandon." She said as she wished her bother-in-law goodnight before heading up the stairs and into her own room.
Jonathan woke the next morning, not quite certain where he was, his head pounding. The night before came back to him in a rush, and he smiled, looking forward to what the day would bring. He dressed quickly, and made his way out of the guest room and in to the hall. Laughter drifted upstairs. Jonathan followed the laughter, it grew louder as he worked his way downstairs. Brendan was playing with his two children, both of whom were laughing. It was a joyous sight, and Jonathan couldn't help but chuckle at the children enjoying themselves. They looked adorable. Moments later Brendan noticed him standing there, "Good morning Jonathan, I trust you slept well?"

"As well as could be! Thank you for the bed, Brendan, I truly appreciate you letting me stay the night."
Esther awoke rather comfortable and content, the first time she had not been shaken away by her mother to come down for another day of meetings and tea times. She sat up in her bed and looked toward her window for a moment before a gentle knocking came to her door, her sister peaking her head inside with a smile on her face.

"Good morning~ I came in to help you get dressed, like we did when we were younger." She said happily as she trotted toward the bed and joined Esther upon it. Esther just shook her head and laughed at her younger sister as she slipped from the covered and walked over to her wardrobe.

"Well then help me dress dear sister, so that we may grace high society properly." She joked, using a snooty tone that would be similar to their mother's. Elizabeth just laughed along with her and started to help her sister dress, making her were a white and pale yellow dress.

Elizabeth even did Esther's hair, putting most of it into a bun but letting a few strangs of hair hang into her face in curls. Esther just went along with it, not minding that she was being a bit spoiled by her little sister. Once she was ready the girls made their way down the stairs to join the others. Elizabeth was the first to greet them happily.

"Good morning~ I hope you slept well Jonathan." She said, Esther standing there quietly with a small smile.
"Yes, quite well, thank you," Jonathan replied. Jonathan stood up from the chair he was sitting in, and gave both women a bow. "And I trust that you both slept well?"

He was still wearing the clothes that he had had on yesterday, a little bit worried that Esther would notice and judge him. At least there was no foul odor coming from him. He caught himself staring at Esther, the drink had clouded his memories from the night before, and he finally noticed how beautiful she looked. "Esther, your hair looks exquisite this morning."
"I slept quite well, thank you for asking." said Esther curtsied to him quietly along with her sister, Elizabeth running over to Brandon to take the baby and cuddle with her sweetly. Esther smiled a little as he complimented her hair but before she could comment on it her sister jumped in to do it for her, like she did when they were younger.

"I did it this morning, I haven't had a chance to do that since I was married. We're also heading into town today to do a bit of shopping. I also was going to show Esther the town as well, maybe even go out for tea. You wouldn't mind watching the children would you Brandon? I can take Benjamin into town if I must, but I would really love to catch up with Esther as well." She said as she held onto her baby gently and pet her young sons head, the boy clinging to her skirt for a moment before troting over to Ester.

Esther just smiled at young Benjamin while Elizabeth spoke with her husband, taking his hand and petting his head gently before she glanced up at Jonathan.

"Thank you for the compliment, you also seem much better this morning. Will you be leaving now or will you spend more time with Brandon this afternoon?
"It's alright, I can take care of the kids today. You go ahead and see to your sister," Brandon responded, kissing his wife on the cheek. He was looking forward to spending some time with his children.

"You're welcome. And knowing Brandon, he might require some assistance at taking care of the young ones, so I shall offer my services to him," Jonathan joked. "If he agrees, then I shall stay here, and hopefully see you once more today before I must depart for my own home." He smiled at her. He knew he had some things that he absolutely must get done at home, but he would need to talk to Brandon to find out a little bit more about Esther, so that he could better prepare for the ball. A feeling of nervousness hit him in the stomach, he didn't remember the last time that had ever happened to him when only talking to a lady.