Entry for writer's cramp. Word Count 992.
| What other option did she have? Her uncle had threatened her to silence. If she told anyone what he was doing she would be killed.
Iddell fumbles with the laces of her corset. She stops and looks at her shaking hands, tears fill her eyes as she tries to forget what her uncle had done. Jasper walks in and stares at his cousin. In her dresses under layers she stands frozen trembling like a leaf. He walks up behind her and spins her around to look at him.
[indent}“Iddell, you must control your nerves or they will get you into more trouble.” She rolls her eyes and walks towards her closet.
”My nerves are under control, Jasper. I was only thinking.” He trails her into the closet and runs his fingers along some of the dresses.
”Father had no choice but to threaten you to silence, you know? It is to protect you.” Jasper says tugging out a ruby colored dress with silver lining.”
”He has no right doing that to them h…” Jasper clasps a hand over her mouth and shakes his head.
”You must not speak of it.” She elbows him and snatches her dress from his hands.
”Get out.” He releases her and backs out of the closet with his hands held away from his body. He shuts the closet door and passes around her room waiting on her. He sifts through her charcoal brushes and lip stains. Behind him the closet door is snatched open and Jasper dodges a flying shoe. “I want to be alone, go away, get out.” Jasper smiles at her patiently.
”Iddell, you're scared and upset. You heard and saw things you weren’t supposed to, but we can’t change that. Now that you know, things are going to change, lots of things, but I’ll always be here. I’m not changing, you can trust me just as you always have.” She bursts into tears and he pulls her into his arms brushing her hair. “Shh shh, everything is going to be alright.” She sniffles and pulls away.
”I can’t fasten the top button. Could you do it for me?” He nods and does the button before moving to her box of hair things. He shifts through them until he spots a silver hair piece. Iddell pins her hair back and pulls it out of her face. Jasper hands her the hair piece.
”Not this on…”
”It matches your dress.” She looks at it again and realizes it does. Iddell twists the piece into her hair and reaches for the charcoal brushes on her vanity. As she searches through them she feels a tug at her hair and a few pieces fall into her face.
”Jasper! Stop.” She glares at him. “Now I have to redo it.” He shakes his head smiling.
”I was fixing it.”
”No you’re messing it up. Do you even know how hard it is to put it up like that? Of course you don’t.” Jasper stands waiting for her to stop scolding him. She pauses realizing he hasn’t said anything.
”Your hair looks better with half down. You look your age with it partly down.” She opens her mouth to disagree and he rushes on. “You don’t want them thinking you're older than you are. They will be more sympathetic to someone of your age.” Her words die on her lips and she nods and sets the charcoal brush back on the vanity without applying any. Iddell places a small bit of lip stain on her lips and turns to Jasper.
”Jasper, do I have to go? Can’t you tell them I’m sick?” Jasper kneels in front of her and takes her trembling hands.
”You have to go, Iddell. Everything will be alright you’ll see.”
* * *
Jasper trails her through the ball room as she makes her way around searching for her uncle. Crallin notices his niece making her way over and cuts his conversation short. Iddell startles when someone catches her elbow.
”Good of you to join us. Let me introduce you to each man of the organization.” Crallin whispers in her ear leading her towards a group of men nearby. Their conversation stops abruptly when they join the group.
”Gentlemen, may I introduce my niece, Iddell.” One of the men takes her hand and bows over it with a gentle kiss across her fingers.
”A pleaser miss Iddell. My name is Arthur.”
”How do you do?” Iddell curtsies.
”I assume this is the girl whom overheard your conversation?” Arthur asks.
”Yes sir.” Crallin affirms with a nod.
”Miss Iddell, I presume your uncle has told you how important your silence is?” Iddell’s gaze drops to the floor. With a gentle hand Arthur lifts her chin. Trembling, she looks into Arthur’s eyes.
”Yes sir.” she says in a hushed voice.
”Good. You will be working for me from now on.” Arthur looks past Iddell at Jasper. “Jasper, you will be her guard. You will protect her and if she tries to leave without permission you are to restrain her and bring her to me. Do you understand?”
”Yes sir.” Jasper steps forward impeding on the space Iddell had been backing into as she backed away from Arthur. The fifty year old man steps forward taking her hand and resting a hand at her waist.
”Dance with me darling.” With much reluctance she allows him to lead her through the dance. “Would you tell me what you heard and saw?” Iddell shakes her head. Arthur smiles. “I’ll allow you this time since you’re new but you never tell me no, you hear?” Iddell nods. “Iddell in the corporation we give out loans and if someone fails to pay, well let’s just say they get in trouble. Tomorrow tea time in the reading room be there." Arthur leaves Iddell frightened and alone on the dance floor. She would be at tea the following day. What other option did she have?
Word Count 992