My English Assignment

This is my short story for English.
I just handed it in yesterday (fingers crossed!)
Tell me what you think?

Chapter 1

With This Ring

Time seemed to stand still, and to Anna, it was as if the room had inhaled and was waiting, with indrawn breath, to exhale. She stood unmoving, one hand resting on the sill, and gazed out into the night, her eyes raking over the dimly lit lawn as she searched for the tell-tale headlights. In the other hand, she held the letter, crumpled and folded as it was, her mind racing with questions and scathing comments to hurl at him. No. That would not do. She was a lady, and should act like one, no matter what the circumstances. She took a deep, calming breath; composed herself. Tried to think of reasons for him not having told her of the matter already. She drew a blank. Why had he not told her? She was his wife, after all. Not to mention the fact that it was her money. The man hadn’t a dime to his name.

Her focus snapped back to the present, and she watched the cars lights illuminate the gravel drive. Clenching her hand around the letter, she drew the curtains and swept out of the parlour, into the well-lit and spacious living room, where she stood, awaiting his entry.
He kissed her, as was his tradition, and moved to the fireplace, where he kept his pipe. His mood, being jovial, gave Anna all the more reason to crush it. How could he be so good humoured when he surely saw the look on her face? Was he blind? She cleared her throat, watching his face closely as he looked up from filling his pipe. His gaze, so warm, nearly broke her resolve, but she pushed on. She had the right to confront him, didn’t she?

Her voice shook, partly with anger, partly with uncertainty, as she spoke.
“Henry. I got a letter”
He scrutinized her face, waiting for her to continue, and when she didn’t, he prompted her, “From whom?”
She watched as he finished packing his pipe, tamping it down with the air of a man well practised, before she spoke again, “From the bank. This morning. Here.” She held out her hand, and he took the wrinkled piece of paper from her, his brow creased with concern. Ha! Finally, some indication that he did indeed possess a working conscience, “Oh…”
She smiled sweetly, crossed her arms and took a step closer. “Yes, oh. So tell me, darling, when precisely where you planning on telling me you had been frittering away my money?” She raised an eyebrow, and watched as his eyes dropped, the pipe in his mouth as it quivered, his hands as they shook faintly. He looked up suddenly, smiled. “Anna, darling, surely you don’t believe this? I mean, it’s ridiculous. There’s no way we could possibly be-“
“Be what, Henry? Bankrupt? Penniless? Go on, say it!” She snapped, “It was my money. Or had you forgotten that small detail?” She felt suddenly overwhelmed, and almost lightheaded.

She had never in her life felt so irate, so fed up and tired as she now did, and she wanted him to know it. Her words were abrupt and broken, her voice shaking, as she finally managed to swallow the anger building up and speak, “We needed that money, Henry. We needed it.” His face, blank of all expression only succeeded in further antagonising her, and she spat the words at him like venom, “I’m pregnant. We have no money to live on, let alone any to raise a child.” His blank expression crumpled, giving way to undisguised surprise, and to her shock, even horror. “How could you?” She cried. “You spend the money, and then look at me as if it is my fault we are to be parents. Do you ever think ahead?”

Finally. Finally, he spoke, his voice hoarse and faint, as if he were choking on the words. “You…are you certain?” And at her terse nod, he whispered, as if to himself, “What will we do?”
He looked up. “We have no money - that is now clear. And I admit that it is my fault. But to have a child now?” He shook his head, folded his arms, “You must get rid of it. We cannot support it.”
It was her turn to be shocked. “It? Get rid of? You can’t possibly mean….”
“I do. We have no other choice.”
She was amazed. Astonished at his heartlessness, hurt by his lack of emotion. Shouldn’t he be understanding? Compassionate? Overjoyed? Of course she had been harsh, but she had a right to be, didn’t she? The man never had a thought in his head for the future. And now, he was blaming her for being with child?

It was enough. The hurt, the anguish and the feeling of constantly being alone suffocated her, and all at once, she was tired of the whole charade of married life. She looked down at her hands, and knew what she must do. Taking a step closer to him, she took his hand, and spoke. “You say I must get rid of my child? I would rather die myself. I will raise him, and bring him up to be everything you aren’t. He will be a virtuous man, a man of respect and honour. He will know how to treat his wife, and he will be willing to do anything for her.” She kissed his cheek one last time, and pressed her palm to his, “My son will be a gentleman.”

And with that, she left the room, leaving him to stare at the wedding ring she had left in his hand.


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