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Fic: ConneXions - Part Five (5/6) PG

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  • Diana
    Title: ConneXions - Part Five Author: Diana Rating: PG Short Summary: In which it seems certain our heroes will be overcome. Archive: Anyone who wants it, just
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2001
      Title: ConneXions - Part Five
      Author: Diana
      Rating: PG
      Short Summary: In which it seems certain our heroes will be overcome.
      Archive: Anyone who wants it, just let me know.
      Disclaimer: The X-men are not mine. Not even vaguely. I don't even want
      them. They're in my head and that's bad enough. I'm not making any money
      out of this, just doing it in the hopes that Scott, Ororo and the rest will
      shut the hell up.

      WORDCOUNT: 1750


      'Dear Miss Rouge,

      'I had thought to contain myself, to act with propriety and decorum, however
      I discover now that such is impossible - nay, abhorrent - at present. I can
      no more prevent myself from writing this letter than I can hold back the
      turning tide.'

      Marie had read no further at the breakfast table, folding the pages with her
      countenance outwardly undisturbed, though inside her confusion knew no
      bounds. She had not even looked at the last page, to that final line that
      would tell her who was writing such an unstoppable letter, and consequently
      she had had little of consequence to say at breakfast, her thoughts all
      aflutter as they skipped between thoughts of first one, then the other,
      possible suitor. That had not mattered, however, as breakfast had been a
      silent, divided affair, with none of the participants showing any joy in the

      Now, however, tucked away in a secluded corner of the gardens of Greymalkin
      House, she unfolded the letter to continue her perusal with a fluttering

      'I should not wish to restrain my feelings in any event,' the letter
      continued. 'They are everything natural and right. And so I must be
      allowed to convey my ardent admiration, an admiration which has been
      building since the first moment I beheld you. You were an angel, it seemed,
      everything good and pure, lighting up the ballroom. I was incapable of
      seeing any other.'

      Marie felt her lips curve into a satisfied smile. The ballroom. It was Mr
      Toynbee, then. And she felt a surge of almost exultation. A Marquis, and
      in love with her. But then a pause, a realisation. He did now know about
      her family. She read on.

      'Our evening together two nights past was an exercise in delight. With
      every moment I was convinced further that you were the most perfect creature
      placed upon God's earth. I had not intended Mrs Creed to convey my interest
      as she did. However, I am glad now that she did, that I might with this
      letter sooth your fears.

      'My dearest Marie, if I may be so bold, it would not matter to me were your
      father the meanest man in the country, of no name or fortune. You are all
      the fortune I desire, and more than I am worthy of.

      'But now I am being far too bold, with no indication of whether my
      attentions are desired or detested. Should I receive no reply, I shall
      assume the latter is the case, and remove myself from your company forever,
      for to be so near, and yet denied, would be the worst of torture.

      'However, I hope, I pray, that I will receive an answer, and that I may
      continue to be,

      'Yours faithfully,

      'Mortimer Toynbee'

      The turmoil that filled Marie's heart can be imagined. In agitation, she
      stood from her bench and set off across the lawn, full of energy. She first
      folded the letter, then unfolded it again and paused to reread a section,
      then began once more to walk. She turned here and there, not quite seeing
      where she went. Could it really be so? No, surely not. He was so
      charming, so elegant, so intelligent and witty, and a Marquis above all. He
      did not truly know about her father. He believed him merely a minor
      gentleman, beneath his station. Not a banker. When he knew the truth he
      would flee her, just as Mr Randall had.

      But oh, could she not hope? Just for a little while?

      Further consideration was cut short, however, by the interruption of Miss
      Munroe, in high spirits and begging Marie to come for a walk in the park, it
      was such a lovely day. Trying to calm herself, Marie smiled, and accepted.

      Scott and Jean came as well, walking sedately and silently together, and
      leaving Marie and Ororo to walk arm in arm, in the manner of young women who
      have formed a particular acquaintance. Miss Munroe spoke sparingly, and
      Marie hardly at all for thinking of the letter she had received. When the
      party met up with Captain Logan, Marie was pleased, but not for the reasons
      she would have been formerly. Now, at Logan's appearance, Scott and Jean
      stepped forward in a lively manner, soon pulling ahead. Marie, however,
      walked slowly, and eventually stopped altogether, pleading an entirely
      fictitious broken lace, and begging the other two to continue.

      Now paused on the path, Marie had time to think. But that was taken from
      her by the sudden appearance of he who chiefly occupied her thoughts. Mr
      Toynbee arrived from around a turn in the path, appearing even more handsome
      and elegant to her eyes that he had previously. She held out her hand to
      greet him, and smiled, and wished that perhaps her fairytale might come true
      after all.

      He bent over her hand, and looked up at her, his eyes warm. "Then may I
      dare to hope that I need not absent myself from your side?"

      Marie took a deep breath, but could not manage the will to extract her hand.
      She had to tell him, though. "Sir, I am most acutely conscious of the
      compliment you pay me with your attentions, however I cannot allow you to be
      under a misapprehension any longer. It would be most uncharitable of me.
      My father, whose station you so swiftly dismissed in your letter, is not a
      gentleman. He is a banker, sir, and no more."

      Toynbee also did not release her hand, but straightened and stepped a little
      closer, a smile on his face, even after that awful fact was communicated.
      "For all the information you take pains to give me regarding your father,
      anyone would think it was he I was in love with. But even should I care to,
      I imagine I would have immense difficulty marrying your father."

      This statement set off such a flutter in Marie's heart as was fit to render
      her almost insensible. She smiled, and laughed, and was entirely caught up
      in such delight as only youthful innocence can produce. She strove to
      quickly calm her agitation, however, knowing that soon her friends would
      begin to worry about her. In her present state of happiness, she wished to
      cause no pain to any. Even Jean was completely forgiven in her heart now,
      and Logan's misdemeanour in sharing their secret forgotten. And so she took
      her leave of Toynbee she hardly knew how, but with many flatteries and
      blushes and smiles, and walked with a gaiety formerly lacking to meet her
      friends, who all remarked that the fresh air had certainly done wonders for
      her this morning.

      It was in such a rapture that she passed the remaining days before the
      intended visit to the opera, when she could once again see Mr Toynbee. She
      would hear no notion of avoiding the engagement, and protested that she was
      so looking forward to the outing.

      So it was that the party once again gathered, this time in an opera box
      belonging to Mr Lehnsherr, but most definitely ruled by Mrs Creed with a
      tyranny perpetuated by her charm and smiles. The ladies were seated, the
      men standing behind them. Scott seemed to be almost guarding Jean, from the
      sternness of his countenance, and Toynbee smoothly took the place behind
      Marie's chair, in such a subtle way that none marked it but the lady
      herself, who exulted in the action. Mr Creed, of course, stood silently
      behind his wife, and Captain Logan was left to the place behind the chair of
      Miss Munroe.

      Marie enjoyed the opera thoroughly, though she could not have rightly given
      a precise recounting of the events that transpired on stage. She remembered
      clearly, however, every word, no matter how inconsequential, that passed
      between herself and Toynbee, and even more clearly how delightful he was,
      how charming, how elegant, how flattering.

      Her heart was almost fit to burst when, as the final curtain fell, he leaned
      forward to speak quietly in her ear: "I have something most particular to
      ask you, Miss Rouge, when the moment presents itself."

      A proposal! It must be. She knew it. And joy rendered her sparkling, and
      very beautiful, in the light chatter that followed the performance. So
      obvious was her luminescence, that Mrs Creed remarked that the opera had
      certainly thrilled her, and she would have to be invited again. Marie
      smiled, and blushed, which of course only made her more pretty.

      The invitation to supper was extended to the Summers' party, and Marie was
      sure this would provide just the necessary opportunity. However, Jean
      politely declined, claiming the night was too late, and Sir Charles too
      tired, and they must return home. Oh, how angry Marie was. How she hated
      Jean in that moment as she regretfully took her leave of Mr Toynbee.

      His cool hand on hers, his glittering eyes, the warmth of his voice, all
      troubled her dreams and her sleep, but she nevertheless awoke feeling
      refreshed, and was in positively high spirits at the breakfast table.
      Spirits which only improved when the morning mail was brought in, and
      included a letter for herself, addressed in a hand which she recognised
      instantly as being the match of that which had penned the much-perused
      letter now in a prominent place in her jewelry box.

      As soon as possible, Marie escaped the dining room and fled to her seat in
      the garden, where, hidden from the world, she eagerly opened her letter. It
      can be imagined how feverishly she devoured the contents. For the sake of
      her privacy, the letter will not be reproduced here, for it was full of
      intimacy and tenderness, meant for her eyes and no others. It did have
      another purpose, however, beyond the communication of such pleasantries, and
      that was the paragraph which made Marie's heart beat the fastest.

      'You must be entirely aware of my intentions,' the section in question read.
      'I wish you to be my wife. Every minute that passes to delay that happy
      occurrance is abhorrent to me. I would marry you today if I could. Failing
      that, Marie my dearest, could you - would you - meet me this evening in the
      park, and we shall away to Scotland, and our waiting will be over.'

      An elopement! How romantic, how thrilling, what a deliciously wonderful
      secret! Marie hugged the letter to her and laughed out loud. Yes, she
      would meet him. She, who David Randall had spurned, would marry a Marquis.
      Her fairytale was perfect.

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      "Now, when I listen to loud music, it's not
      teenage angst, it's dark and brooding."
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