okay, so I have listened to too much Hamilton over the last few months, and I woke up with this line in my head:
- I’m a girl in a world in which
My only job is to marry rich
My father has no sons so I’m the one
Who has to social climb for one
Historically, this is untrue, but it got me thinking, what about a situation where it was?
And, uh, being me, slavery ended up involved. (Have I ever told you about like the first time I can remember slavery being involved in a fictional world of mine?)
“Take the knee,” she urged.
In another world, in another place, she might have said Join the priesthood and be my confessor, and then we can be together. He may have given her the same face as he did in this one: dubious skepticism.
“Marry me,” he countered. “Be my bride, and we’ll change the world together.”
“Take the knee,” she repeated. “My father’s in negotiations with Prandor Cathel. He’s under no impression that this is a love match, and he won’t bedruge me a, ah, a companion.”
“A bedroom partner, you mean.” HIs voice was harsh now. “A slave. I could tell you stories of the number of men tricked into service and sold over the Misty Sea under just such a suggestion.”
“By liars and cheats, sneaks and thieves. Do you take me as such?” Her eyebrows rose. “Take the knee, and be with me.”
“Marry me, and be with me in truth, in perpetuity—”
“You’d have me be your chattel, then.”
“You’d have me be yours!” He softened, slightly, at the offended look on her face. “Besides, Cathel might accept you having a… companion, but I can’t see him being the sort that would pay out his own hard-earned money for such. If I take the knee and you can’t afford me…”
“What do you think me for? I have my own money.” Unlike you, she did not say nor need to. “Gifts, investments, a little side work I did over the years, all quite legitimate. I could afford you twice over.”
“Then…” no, even his slightly-dented pride could not allow him to say Then we could live on your money until I find income. “You do love me, don’t you?”
“I do.” She, seeing what he couldn’t say writ more clearly than if he’d said it, softened in turn. “You know this world won’t allow me to marry you.”
“Renounce your family?” He did not mean it, couldn’t mean it, but he asked anyway.
“I cannot.” reluctance and rue tinged her words, and this time, she had no more hope than he did, but she asked anyway: “Take the knee? Change the world anyway, just change it from comfort.”
“I… cannot.” Should you have asked them, later, whose heart had been breaking more that moment, they each would have said the other — and each would have been lying. “Goodbye.”
“Should you change your mind…” She was the woman, and thought weaker, so in this, she had to be stronger. “You need only contact me.”
“Thank you.” Because he was allowed the luxury of some weakness, he didn’t say We both know I won’t. “Be well, in your new marriage.”
“Be well, changing the world.”
They both turned. They both walked away. But it would be a lie to say that they did not look back…
…A lie they both grew proficient at telling, over the years.
Nice going, Angelica, he was right
You will never be satisfied
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