Three Things Golden
Thomas is a poor boy who lives in the town of London, where he is hopelessly in love with the landlord's daughter. When he finds the perfect gift, he has one chance to give it to her- at the party on Christmas Eve. But can he make the girl of his dreams fall in love with him when she doesn't even know he exists?
The manor looks foreign without a layer of snow covering the roof, but more cozy and grand with the window lit up in glory. For the first time, I notice ivy creeping up the sides, which gives it an old, scholarly look.
I look down at myself, to make sure I look all right. My suit is a faded shade of black; we had borrowed it from the Miller's oldest son. Father said I should be thankful, but in truth, it is out shaded by everyone else's fine clothing. I look out of place, the obvious goose in the flock of ducks.
As we enter the manor, I can see that the crystal chandelier is dusted and lit up with flaming candles. Everything is elegant and full of grandeur- the velvet staircase with the polished wooden rails, the arranged furniture, even the polite talk of people of high status. I can feel the spirit of the holidays racing through the air, the comfortable atmosphere, but also the feeling of self- importance that might be conjured from my nerves and imagination.
Then I see Maria. Her black, silky hair is pinned up in curls at the back of her head, framing her face beautifully. She was laughing with a group of friends, her face aglow with happiness. Her beauty took my breath away, as she was donned in a dress that was fitted along her torso and dropped with ruffles to the floor. The material was ivory with purple silk ribbon, which looked so rich and fine I bet it had cost a fortune.
Father must have seen me looking. As he catches my eyes, my emotions still on my face, I can see it all click in his mind. He leans close and whispers, "That Maria is a fine girl." He gives me a smile, his eyes twinkling in the light, and heads off, apparently seeing someone he knew.
I know that this is my only chance to get her, and I will stop at nothing.
I continue to walk past the hallway, and when I look in the mirror this time, I see something else- a proud yound man with a confident demeanor, a large build, and piercing green eyes. I take one last breath.
And then the dancing begins.
How does someone get the girl of his dreams when she doesn't even know he exists? I narrow my gaze and find her again in the crowd. I feel like that the whole world is empty, except for just us, and I can feel my heart thumping in anticipation.
Maria is alone, near the desserts table, which is laden with chocolate scones and shortbread cookies. In her hand is a chalice full of ruby red wine. I slowly approach, every part of me clenched with nerves. I slowly calm myself down, clearing my throat, and pour myself a chalice of wine, the gold sparkling.
"Merry Christmas, Maria." The word come out of my mouth before I know what I'm saying. I feel like the stupidest man on earth. I feel my cheeks ignite with warmth.
I have startled her out of her thoughts. She takes me in coldly, then her gaze softens, her eyes once again unreadable. What is it about her that makes me so crazy?
"Do I know you?" Her words are soft on her lips, her voice rich. She is closer than I have ever seen her, and I hungrily take in her features- her round blue eyes, pale skin with freckles dotting her nose in the cutest way possible, her lips pursed with uncertainty.
"I mean, are you enjoying the party?" She glances away awkwardly, regretting her rudeness.
"Of course, my lady." I feel like this conversation is going nowhere, but I enjoy every second. I catch a faint, soft scent of lavender in the air, and my heart beats faster. On a strange impulse, I reach down and take her hand, as soft as rabbit's fur, and bring it to my lips.
She snatches her hand away, her face full of confusion, and then slaps me hard on the cheek. I am left standing there, dumbstruck, trying to comprehend my failure. My fingers run through my hair in frustration. I acted like an idiot! All of my self confidence is blown away on a sea of lavender.
I watch her as she approaches her friends. That face, the one I have dreamed about in fantasies, is fervently retelling the story about my stupidity. Her friends laugh, to my embarrassment, and glance in my direction.
I know nothing about women, so how could I have thought that tonight would be any different?
My mind drifted away, my feelings driving me insane. The golden locket burned a hole in my breast pocket. I had found the perfect present, its gold elegance filling me with hope. Now it was wasted.
Then I felt someone behind me.