Hidden Love

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Hidden Love

I can't say for definete that this will be a long drabble, because I only have a broad plan for what happens after this, and none of my drabbles are ever that long anyway, but there will hopefully be more coming soon!

- X -

Sybil felt safe enough in the garden to wander to the front gate and look out at the street beyond longingly. It was boring in the garden with only the babies to play with or Rix teasing her. She knew that she wasn’t allowed to fight with him, but he went on and on about how she was a girl, and every time she tried to point out that she belonged it was her who got into trouble.

She hated him and she wished that he would go back to India and leave them alone. David was easy enough to get along with, and she stood in a certain awe of him because he also belonged, and he didn’t tend to like her when she tried to rule him. If Rix had gone she would have been the happy ruler of the Nursery, for despite his views David didn’t like to interfere with her unless he had to.

Her thoughts were broken by the arrival of three young boys, looking like little more than street urchins. Their trousers were ripped and stained and one of them wasn’t even wearing a top. Sybil turned up her nose disdainfully, recognising them as three she had had an unpleasant encounter in the sweet shop with the week before. They had vowed to pay her out then, but her mother had promised to talk to their parents if there was any more trouble. Sybil had a great opinion of just how powerful her parent’s words were, and she didn’t have any fear about making herself known to them.

One stopped and pointed, then began to whisper to the other two. Sybil turned her pretty nose up even further – even the babies knew that it was rude to whisper. She could hear one of her playmates, engaged in a game of hide and seek, running to come and try and hide in the hedge, but she didn’t bother to look around, the three older boys holding her attention entirely. They had crossed to the other side of the road, now, and Sybil was about to chalk it up as a victory to herself when something hit the gate in front of her. Her eyes widened. The boys were throwing stones at her, and when, next moment, she was hit on the cheek, she raised a scream which could have awoken any banshees in the nearby area.

At once someone was by her side, but it was master Rix, who only looked at her scornfully.

“Might have known that a girl would scream about nothing,” he muttered, assuming she was scared of the three boys opposite who were still shouting unpleasant things. Even he was a year younger than them, but he certainly wouldn’t have screamed just because they were saying things.

Sybil drew her hand away from her cheek and revealed a rapidly swelling bruise, just as another stone hit the hedge where Rix was standing, and he realised why Sybil had screamed. Instantly his demeanour changed; he might tease his cousin all that he liked, and fight with her, but nobody else did! The children weren’t supposed to open the gate or go out, but Rix simply flung himself through it like a miniature hurricane, while Sybil dissolved into tears completely.

Thankfully, Dr Jem had heard her first scream, and came onto the scene just in time to see Rix hit one of the boys, while another tried to pull him off, hitting indiscriminately as he did so. The third had seen Dr Jem and began to run off. A quick glance told the doctor everything that he needed to know, and he left Sybil for the moment to try and break up the fight rapidly developing.

Apart from the fact that Rix was younger and had very little experience in fighting anyone but Sybil, there were two boys and he was overpowered even in the minute between him starting the fight and Jem appearing. He yelled as he got punched on the nose, and his hair was tousled and dirty, clothes askew. Dr Jem waded straight in and hooked him out, with a look which quelled any fighting spirit that he may have had left. Sybil’s cries were still audible as she stood, transfixed to her spot by the gate, but by now David had arrived as well, and he was doing his best to comfort her.

“What is going on?” asked Dr Jem angrily. The two other boys shuffled and tried to look for a means of escape, while Rix, trying desperately to hold back tears as pain from various regions of his body suddenly registered, explained miserably,

“They were throwing stones at Sybil and I wanted to stop them.”

“I see,” said Jem thoughtfully. He surveyed all three in a grim silence until the full enormity of their conduct hit home, then pronounced his sentence. “I shall be ringing up both your parents tonight to inform them of this and give them my opinion of your conduct, and Mr and Mrs Agnew will also be hearing about it, for I don’t doubt that Peter had an equally big share in the event.”

That was all that he said to them, but it was enough to fill them with horror. Everyone knew and respected the great doctor locally, and they couldn’t have chosen a much worse family to argue with. They disappeared quickly, leaving Rix looking at up at his uncle uncertainly. But it was only after he’d been marched into the house – Sybil being gathered en route – and Marie sent for the first aid box that he let them know what he thought.

By the time he got to the bottom of the affair, he was rather scornful of them both. Sybil shouldn’t have tried to aggravate the other children, and although throwing stones wasn’t a particularly nice gesture, he could understand their reaction to her proud airs and graces. Perhaps it would teach her some of the benefits of ladylike behaviour in the future.

Rix he told deserved everything he got, for fighting was not the option – he should have got Sybil away from the boys and come and told an adult, not rushed in as his did. Although Dr Jem could have been much harsher, both children were weeping copiously by the time he lifted Sybil on to his lap and began to treat her bruised cheek.

That done, he set her down and told her to go back to Rosa, and to stay with her this time. She wasn’t to be out of an adult’s sight again until she could be trusted. Although her spirit rebelled against the indignity, she knew better than to argue – for when he was angry Jem was far more scary to the children than Madge, although she was usually stricter than her husband – and went, glad to escape. Before she left the office, though, she turned around and smiled at Rix.

“Thankyou,” she whispered, running off quickly so that he wouldn’t see her blushing.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thanks an interesting and tantilizing start

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Well, they say that there's a thin line between love and hate and all that ... when two people argue a lot it sometimes means that they really like each other :D .

That was a very interesting start, ChubbyMonkey - looking forward to more.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Happy to oblige then Alison! :lol:

- X -

Sybil was sat demurely on the sofa, working at her latest piece of stitching, when she heard the doorbell, and Madge going to answer it. She felt a shiver of excitement as she tried to imagine what their guest would look like. She hadn’t seen him since she went out to Switzerland with the school, but now she was at home a lot of the time she had known she would see Rix during his next holidays. Despite their childhood differences, the two were quite close now that they had both grown up.

After the Bettany’s moved to the Quadrant, the cousins had seen very little of each other – except for the girls at the Chalet School, of course – but Sybil and Josette had taken it in turns to write to either David or Rix. At first Sybil had seen those letters as something of a chore, and it was only thanks to Joey and Madge encouraging her that she was able to complete them, but slowly they had grown into something more – in regard to her letters to Rix, at least.

After a couple of years, they had started writing to each other weekly, filling their letters with news of all sorts. Sybil had managed to laugh off her thoughts about Rix, and had never shared them, but she was sure that now and then she would see a knowing look from Josette, when the post arrived and there was always one envelope covered in familiar handwriting. It was absurd, though; even if it wasn’t so wrong to feel this way about her cousin, he surely couldn’t return her sentiments.

He had come to stay with his aunt and uncle for quite a few months, over his long summer break. He was training to become a doctor, and Jem had offered to let him have a room and a job in the San. while he was on his holidays. Rix had written to accept keenly, and at the same time had written to Sybil to say how excited he was about seeing her again.

She heard a deep, man’s voice in the hall, and for a moment she sat stunned, amazed that Rix could have changed so much since she last saw him. Then she cast her sewing to the winds, leaving thread to tangle itself in the rug and the pattern to do what it would, so that she could fly into the hallway to greet him. She was flushed, her copper hair flying wildly around her head and her sapphire eyes bright. She was just as Rix remembered her, still so pretty yet delicate looking.

For his part, his face had broadened, and at some point since he was thirteen he had changed into an adult. His once curly hair was now cut short to his head and his eyes, which had used to laugh at her anger so often, were deep and serious, though still the handsome shade of hazel. They both stopped, looked at each other, and then glanced at Madge, looking embarrassed. The young man and woman who had come together were both expected to be exactly the same as many years ago, and it was clear to Madge, wise in her generation, that they both needed some time to get over the shock.

She ushered them back into the sitting room and rang the bell, asking Marie to bring tea. Rix was tall and broad shouldered, no longer the little boy who had led Sybil into so many scrapes, and as she collected her errant bits of thread and tried to pack everything away neatly, Sybil glanced up at him from her long, delicate lashes, so much a part of her porcelain doll face. At one point he caught her looking, and they both fastened their attentions hastily on to something else, Sybil blushing gracefully.

They sat down to tea, Madge listening keenly to Rix describing his studies, while Sybil sat in silence, trying to order her confused mind. She had thought that she knew so much about Rix from his letters, but it was difficult to match the boyish, mischievous tone of them to the man sat in front of her. And she had told herself that when she saw him again for the first time, all of these ridiculous feelings that she had been having would go away and she would be able to just see him as a cousin again. But instead the attraction had grown, until she felt a sudden desire to excuse herself, get out of his presence before she did something to embarrass herself.

But Madge was already rising, saying that she wanted to see Marie about something and would be back shortly. Actually she wanted to give the cousins some time alone – having noticed the eager way Sybil waited for the post each day, grabbed hold of a letter from Rix and tore it open as soon as it came, she guessed that they might want some time alone to become accustomed to each other again.

Actually, Sybil was filled with dread. She was alone with Rix, and she couldn’t even look at him without nerves making her hands shake; what was she to do now?

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

That's interesting - although relationships between first cousins are perfectly legal, people sometimes find them strange, but both Madge and Josette seem to be aware of Sybil's feelings and seem to be fine with them. So, how does Rix feel ...?

Author:  Chris [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

looking forward to some more of this.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

They sat in silence for some of the longest moments Sybil had ever experienced, unable to look at each other. She could feel her heart racing, knowing that he was so close she could reach out and touch him. Suddenly, everything before now seemed so futile – she had memorised his letters by heart she read them so often, but those words couldn’t have come from the upright man in front of her, carefully avoiding her gaze. He had once written to her that some of the boys in his college found a picture of her, and he’d been the subject of great envy for some time after that, as everyone agreed how beautiful she was. Usually she hated her looks being mentioned, but Rix moderated it by adding a laughing comment suggesting that he couldn’t see what all of the fuss was about.

Suddenly an awful thought struck her. What about if Rix had actually meant it? Everyone was forever saying how beautiful she was, but what about if when he looked at her he simply saw the horrible, conceited, selfish child she had tried so hard to forget, who was always just trying to make him unwelcome. She hoped not. More than anything she yearned for his approval, yearned for him to even look at her, rather than staring out into the distance, doing his best to avoid her. She had tried to make up for those awful first years with her letters, but his behaviour suggested that she hadn’t at all.

Either that, or he just didn’t like her. Perhaps when he saw her she had changed so much that he’d realised he didn’t like her at all. Or perhaps there was something he was hiding from her. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to hear it. She had fought so hard to overcome her jealousy and possessiveness, but someone as handsome and charming as Rix must have his admirers, and she didn’t know if she could bear to hear that there was someone else.

Then he looked around, and the warmth of his smile as he met her eye steadily made all of her fears melt away. He was just as embarrassed and unsure as her, which must mean that he felt the same mixture of emotions. She was astonished by how much he had changed, but the man before her now was so tempting that she didn’t know if she could control herself. Any distraction was needed, particularly when she couldn’t tear herself away from his eyes, so dark, like pools of melted chocolate that she wanted to get lost in forever.

Her sewing was the first thing that came to hand and she picked it up, flustered, trying to organise the blurred mess of colours before her into something resembling a sewing pattern. Before she could, though, she heard Rix stand up and then felt a weight beside her. Her panicked mind tried to ignore him sitting next to her, but she could feel the brush of his bare arm against hers, and his hands covering hers as he tried to take the sewing from her. She released it instantly, drawing her fingers away. Contact with him shouldn’t have felt that good.

“You must be looking forwards to going for your training,” he said in his soft, deep voice, which sent shivers up her spine. Not when I could be here with you, she wanted to reply, but she knew that she couldn’t, so she merely nodded. “It was jolly good of you to come home for a year as company first. I don’t know if I could give up my training just because I was needed at home.”

“It’s only for a year,” she said softly, but there was something deeper than that. The accident with Josette had left a scar on the whole family, and Rix knew that Sybil wouldn’t have had a choice in coming home. She had written to him, very occasionally, the odd paragraph which told him that she hadn’t forgotten yet, hadn’t left her guilt behind. She was still terrified of losing her parents, as she thought she had when it all happened, and if she had been told she was needed at home, she wouldn’t have argued.

“Well, you’re more patient than me,” was all that he said, though, handing her sewing back. She had lowered her head, was doing her best not to look at him. She wanted him to move away from her but at the same time she wanted him to stay close, so that his arm would keep brushing against hers. Thankfully, the decision was made for them by Madge coming to take Rix up to his bedroom. Sybil hastily buried herself in her sewing, so that her mother wouldn’t see just how badly she was affected by the contact. It took nearly ten minutes for her to compose herself, but once she had she ran upstairs to her room, hiding there for the afternoon as she tried to sort out everything in her mind.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thank you for the regular updates. Sybil and Reg's mutual embarassment is realistic.

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Seems like the feeling's mutual, but the title of the drabble's got me worried that someone (Jem?) might put a spanner in the works ...

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Really enjoying this and as someone said, the feelings are very realistic. It would be hard for them to come out and say they're in love (if that's what they are) to everyone and may decide not to do anything about it. Hope it all works out okay for them both

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

The table had been set so neatly that you felt you were dirtying it just by sitting down. Jem was already sat at the head, Rix next to him, when Sybil arrived. She slipped demurely into her place, blushing when she realised that she would be expected to sit next to her cousin for the whole of the meal. Only Madge’s place remained unfilled, though Jem assured them that she was just tidying her hair and would be with them shortly. Sybil lowered her eyes and tried to concentrate on the way the cutlery shone in the soft glow of light.

He was her cousin. She just had to keep saying that to herself. He was her cousin, he had seen her wandering around in nappies, he had known that horrible little person that had nearly killed her sister. Nobody could possibly feel anything like the affection she had for him knowing all of that. He was her cousin. They were related. She knew instinctively what her parents would say if they knew how she felt. And they would, if she didn’t buck up and stop staring at her hands, weaved nervously in her lap.

Madge arrived and dinner commenced. Jem was served first, followed by Rix, Madge and then Sybil. She began to eat gratefully – it gave her an excuse for not even looking at anyone, let alone talking. She tried to concentrate on Jem talking about his day, describing the condition of one patient that Madge always asked after, giving Rix a general impression of the wards and the cases he could expect to deal with. She wouldn’t be expected to comment on things like this; they held no interest for her and, apart from her polite visits at Madge’s side to patients connected to their church or something similar, the San. had no bearing on her life.

Dinner had almost finished when she was eventually called upon to add to the discussion. Jem finished his meal first and sat back slightly in his seat. Sybil was embarrassed to see him regarding her and her cousin almost critically, as if assessing them for something. Madge was watching him curiously as well.

“It’s good to see you both getting on better,” he said at last, with a tiny nod at Rix, who smiled politely back. “Sybil was madly keen on getting your letters – she used to dance with impatience if the postman was late.”

Rix laughed uncomfortably, clearly as awkward about the situation as she felt. She wished that she could make her father be quiet – it was bad enough that she had to sit next to Rix and pretend that her mind wasn’t wandering to all sorts of unholy places, without him making it worse. As if her parents wanted to be complete sadists, her mother added happily,

“We always hoped that you would be close, because Dick and I always were and wanted our children to be too.”

Sybil couldn’t stop herself from blushing at this. The way she felt about Rix was definitely not the way that her parents had intended her to feel and she knew it. She wished that she could believe they would encourage her on, but deep in her heart she knew that they wouldn’t. And she knew that even if they did, Rix could never feel the same. The hours alone in her room had planted a new dread in her heart; what if her letters had been far too obvious, had lead Rix to guess how she felt. That would explain his embarrassment. He just didn’t know how to tell her that he didn’t feel the same, and while he’d had to come and stay for the sake of his career, he wished vehemently that she didn’t have to be there too.

Now scared of her parents finding out how she felt just so that Rix could tell her he didn’t like her that much at all, and had only written because she was his cousin and he had to be nice to her father, Sybil excused herself as soon as pudding was over, bolting back upstairs to hide in her room again. She craved solitude, so that she could be alone to indulge her fears and not have to try and be polite and helpful at the same time.

She had just settled herself on a chair by the window, with her sewing to hand should she be bored, when there was a knock at the door. Wearily she called whoever it was in – hoping fervently that it was just Marie come to ask if she needed anything – automatically straightening her clothes and running her hands over her hair to make sure it was relatively neat. To her surprise, it wasn’t Marie who appeared but Rix.

“I wanted to talk to you,” he said solemnly, shutting the door and taking a seat opposite her.

Author:  Alison H [ Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Looking forward to finding out what Rix has to say. He's shut the door so presumably it's something rather private ...

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

You can't leave us there!! Can't wait to see what Rix is going to say

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

I wish that I could stop having new ideas for this ;_;

- X -

She tried to focus on the tree outside her window, anything not to have to look at him. Her cousin. He was her cousin. She mustn’t look at him, she would blush. She knew that she would. She was sure that she could see a pigeon preening itself in the branches, and she focused on it. Anything but his deep brown eyes, and his mouth which curved ever so slightly whenever he looked at her. He was laughing at her, she was sure, knowing that she was just a naïve little girl who thought that she would fall in love with someone who was obviously far too good for her.

She heard him sit uncomfortably on the tiny stool at her bureau, and fix his gaze on her. She refused to look around, refused to see that handsome face that just couldn’t belong to the same little boy who had chased her through the trees, trying to put a worm down her top. Her breath hitched. If she didn’t think about him, just let him talk, then he would go away. If she wrestled with herself she could remain composed in public, and she wouldn’t see that much of him anyway, she hadn’t been a doctor’s daughter all her life without knowing the long hours that they were expected to work.

“Sybil,” he said softly, and before she knew what she was doing she was looking at him. She met his eyes fearlessly, her blue eyes not flinching even though she longed to touch him, to have any sort of contact. Her fingers twitched, and she cursed herself, sure that he could read everything she was feeling.

“What?” she asked carelessly, tossing her curls in a way he remembered fondly. She was staring out of the window again, wishing that she could rest her hot head against it and try to organise her thoughts. Why had he come? Why couldn’t he have found someone else to give him some training? Why did she have to be here when he was?

“I –“ he stopped again, awkward. It must be difficult to try and tell someone that you didn’t love them, she reflected bitterly. Not that she would ever have to try. Well, she wasn’t going to make it easy for him, if that was what he hoped for. “I wanted to tell you something,” he confessed. He coughed awkwardly at the end, but ploughed on. “I don’t expect you to feel the same, and I know how wrong it is for me to feel like this. If – if it makes you uncomfortable, I shall leave immediately, I wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt you.”

Now she was too scared to look at him. Perhaps it was just her foolish wishes, but he sounded so sincere, and he sounded like he was about to say those words that she wanted so badly to hear. If only he would. She had grown up watching people fall in love, get married and live happily ever after, but she had never thought that that could be for her. She was spoilt, selfish, conceited, all of those other things that her father and mother had called her. She had long since decided that nobody could love her, but that hadn’t stopped her from writing more and more to Rix, giving more and more of her heart away.

“Sybil, I – I care about you. A lot. And seeing you this afternoon I just knew, somehow, that these feelings weren’t going to go away, and I just thought that it was only fair to let you know. I’m sorry.”

She had never seen someone look so dejected, but by comparison she could barely stop smiling. He felt the same. Nothing else but that mattered; as long as they felt the same, anything else could be overcome. True love always conquered all, the heroine always got their hero, and hers was sat just in front of her, unable to look at her. She slipped out of her seat and knelt in front of him, pressing her delicate fingers into his, milk in a cup of coffee.

“I’m so pleased,” she whispered. “I thought that you could never feel the same as I do.”

He looked up at her, hope in his eyes, and when he looked at her he saw the truth. She was just as confused and scared as him, just as unsure, but she loved him too. His whole face brightened and he stood up suddenly, pulling her up with him, crushing her in a hug. She felt so delicate and vulnerable against him, the greatest treasure he had ever known. His breath was uneven as relief flooded him.

Sybil looked up, her face tantalisingly close to his, her breath warm against him. Slowly, he kissed her, pressing his lips gently against her. Her fingers, at the back of his neck, twitched, and she moulded herself slowly to him, wanting this moment to last forever. It was perfect.

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Awww :D .

Author:  Emma A [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Poor Sybil really doesn't feel she deserves this, does she? Could we see any of this from Rix's point of view? I would be interested to see how he thinks about Sybil and his declaration (which was rather sweet, and hesitant).

Thanks, Ariel - very interesting.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thanks this is lovely. But I can see Madge and Jem's concerns as they are the children of twins. However they are faternal twins so no closer related than other brother and sisters.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thankyou for all of your lovely comments so far *doles out cookies* I shall try and write in a part from Rix's view - I have a certain point in mind, though, so I hope that you don't mind waiting for a little bit.

- X -

It was all that a lazy Sunday afternoon should be. Madge and Jem had gone to tea with a visiting doctor and his wife, and originally Rix was to have gone as well, but he cried off, pointing out that it wouldn’t be much fun for Sybil stuck in the house by herself. He had promised her a picnic, but she had woken that morning to see rain streaming down her window.

Rix wasn’t one to be stumped by some poor weather, however. After some ingenious thinking, and having promised Madge that he wouldn’t take Sybil outside in the rain lest she catch a cold, he called her into the sitting room. It was transformed, the furniture pushed back to the edges of the room and a picnic rug complete with spread taking over the floor. He held out his arm for her in a chivalrous manner.

“Complete picnic without the walking, getting wet, or being stared at by passers by,” he informed her, beaming, as he seated her in the middle of the rug. She smiled, lowering her head slightly. She couldn’t believe that he had gone to so much effort for her. As if reading her thoughts he laughed and added, “You shall have to thank Marie for the spread, I’m afraid that I did little more than be a genius and move the furniture around a bit so that Auntie Madge can be horrified with me later on.”

Sybil giggled and accepted a sandwich. After that they ate in silence for a while – writing had come easily to both of them, but they frequently found that when they were alone together they had nothing to say. The food was certainly delicious – cold meat sandwiches, nuts, fruit, small pickles, cheeses and lemonade or ginger beer. Rix had also promised a surprise if she was a good girl.

There was a homely atmosphere in the room, the two people closeted together, alone. The house had always felt lonely to Sybil since she came back from St. Mildred’s, and there was only her and Madge, as well as the staff, for most of the day. Now, she was glad of the privacy. She hadn’t been able to see Rix properly since he had told her his feelings, though they had snatched moments alone from fate.

The rain still drove in sheets against the window, but the two people within were protected, lost to each other. It felt so good, so liberating, to be able to look at Rix and admire him openly. She had never thought that she would have the luxury of spending time alone with him and not being flustered as she tried to hide her real feelings. She barely tasted most of the food, focused on one thing only. She did, however, eat a good meal, and was rewarded with Rix’s handsome smile, which always made her heart race.

“You can have your surprise now,” he teased. She rolled her eyes at him – as if someone she had outwitted at every game of hide and seek ever could tease her. She didn’t mention it, though. She had learnt to be so careful with her speech, so that she should never remind anyone of her childhood and what she had done. “Close your eyes.”

She obediently shut her eyes, eyelids fluttering. She was the picture of innocence, so childish and elusive. Rix had already retrieved the present but for a second he only looked at her, breath caught. There were moments when she made his heart stop. Then he commanded her to open her mouth and, when she did, slowly fed her a strawberry. She ate it daintily and then opened her eyes, smiled at him. Naturally, she had to feed him in return.

Afterwards they lay down together on the rug, Rix holding Sybil close to him. She shut her eyes contentedly, snuggled up against his chest. She had dreamt of this moment so many times, but nothing could come close to the reality of being next to him, smelling him, feeling his breathing in time with her own. His hands were resting against the bottom of her back, against her bare skin, and she suddenly realised that in all of her dreams she had never experienced such feelings before.

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Rix is lovely and just what Sybil needs, and they seem so happy together, and relationships between first cousins are quite legal in this country ... but I get the distinct feeling that some members of the family are going to find the idea strange.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

That is so sweet and lovely. Thank you

Author:  Abi [ Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

This is sooooo lovely! It's wonderful to see Sybil so happy - somehow she never seems to quite get there in the books. But like Alison, I'm afraid not everyone will see it that way.

Thanks Ariel!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Written in the back of a car when my mind was half on something else, so this may not be very good :oops: Apologies!

- X -

As reluctant as she had been at first, Sybil had to confess that her room was the logical place for the chaste lovers to meet in private. Rix was out of the house for much of the day now, helping Jem at the San., leaving Sybil alone to the company of her mother’s various charity groups. She would sit silently in the corner, a smile on her lips, as she pretended to listen to old Mrs Gilbury’s outrage at the new vicar, while her mind dwelt on one topic only – Rix.

In the evenings they would sit opposite one another in the room Madge still fondly referred to as the Saal., Sybil next to her father, sending coy glances whenever they thought that they remained unobserved. Then Sybil would have a headache, or be dreadfully tired, and have to excuse herself to bed. After that, of course, Rix would have to find some excuse, unaccepted by Jem, and then just confess that he wanted to let his Aunt and Uncle have some time alone.

Sure that the adults were ensconced happily downstairs and wouldn’t bother about him if he came to borrow some toothpaste from Sybil or return a handkerchief that had become entangled in his laundry, he would sneak in. It felt odd for both of them to be together in such a private place, but it was time alone.

She reclined into his chest, delicate fingers brushing against his strong arms and her hair tumbling down his chest. His hands were around her hips, moving in tiny circular movements against her milk-and-roses skin. She was looking up at him so trustingly, her eyes filled with love and tenderness. The muffled noise of conversation from downstairs reassured them that they were safe.

“I love you,” murmured Rix gently, his breath warm against her neck. “You know that, don’t you? That I’ve loved you for ages, even if we haven’t been able to see each other.”

“I know,” she replied, linking her fingers in his with a smile. “I just wish that we could tell everyone else.”

“We will,” he promised. “Let them get used to me, and get to know me again, and I’ll talk to Uncle Jem about it. I want him to see that I can be a good doctor, and provide for my family.”

“You’ll be excellent. You’re kind and caring and hardworking.” Sybil paused but, trying to keep her tone lighthearted, added, “Do you want a large family?”

“I want whatever you want,” he promised tenderly. “I’d like to wait a little while, until we’re married and I’ve got a proper job, though.”

There was a small silence, until Sybil shivered and huddled closer into him. He looked pensive, hesitant, but said suddenly,

“That doesn’t mean that we have to wait for everything.”

Her heart froze; she could guess what he wanted. She had asked her mother why Auntie Joey was having another baby before Mike was born, and Madge had been forced to explain. It hadn’t sounded pleasant, and Sybil had had it firmly rubbed in that ladies waited until they were married. She hadn’t questioned any further than that until now.

“You don’t want to,” said Rix, feeling her tense body try to move away from him. Sybil shook her head; that wasn’t it at all. The problem was that she did want to, very much. It felt wrong, though, and she knew exactly what her parents would think of her even considering it. There was a time when she would have done anything to win their approval. But if it meant losing Rix, she didn’t know if she could do what they expected.

“I’ll leave you to think,” he promised heavily. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you. I just – I want you so much that I don’t know if I can wait. If that is what you want, though, I shall respect it, of course.”

He stood up, dusted himself and straightened his clothes, then stared at her for a second. In the doorway he turned around.

“I love you.”

Even in her numbed state, these words pierced Sybil’s heart.

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

I hope Sybil's not going to feel pressurised either into doing what Rix wants or not doing what her parents wouldn't want, rather than doing what she wants. Rix obviously genuinely cares about her, though, and she really needs that because she seems to feel so unloved :cry: .

Author:  Abi [ Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Poor Sybil, a very, very difficult choice to have to make. Hope she will choose wisely, and not for anyone else's sake.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

For a few days everything carried on as normal. When they did manage to have the ten minutes alone together which Sybil craved, Rix made no mention of what he had said before. She was more thankful to him for that than she could ever say; she needed the time to think, to just be left alone, and she knew that if he had tried to pressurise her she would have crumbled. As it was, though, she was left alone and she thought of nothing else.

Sewing was still her passion – though not, now, her only passion – and she would spend hours a day sat quietly, creating her pattern. Sometimes Madge would sit with her, darning Jem’s socks, but most of the time she would be alone. She wanted so badly to let her instincts take over, just once to do exactly what she wanted. But the last time she had done that she had nearly killed someone.

It wouldn’t just be going against her parent’s wishes, either. It went against the word of God, and Sybil shivered at the thought of what must happen to her if she broke that. She could justify it, though; she and Rix all but were married. They had vowed to always love each other, to never be parted no matter what, and just saying those same things in front of a vicar and giving each other a ring couldn’t change things that much, could it?

She was still thinking about it, brushing out her hair, when Rix slid in, sitting down on the edge of her bed and holding out his arms. It had become almost a routine, a routine that Sybil loved. He was her reason for being, her reason for getting up in the morning. She missed the excitement of waiting for the post, the tension of wondering each night whether he would have written to her, but she had found something so much more special; she had found him.

They sat in silence for a few moments. Sybil didn’t have anything to tell him, having spent the day at home sewing and advising Madge on a small domestic dilemma she had, while Rix did everything that he could to avoid telling her of his days at the San. Unlike Jem, he wouldn’t talk of the patient who had died, or the child who had looked into his eyes so trustingly when he knew that all he could do for her was alleviate her pain. He wanted their time alone to be special, perfect, unmarred by any of the suffering which had become so much a part of his general life.

“I have something to tell you,” he said gently after a little while. He was stroking her hair tenderly, holding her in the possessive way that only he ever had. “I know that we agreed not to talk about it until you are ready, and I don’t want to try and influence you in any way, but I just wanted to show you another option. Of course, if you have made a decision –“

He tailed off, waiting delicately to see what Sybil would say. She moved from his lap to the softness of the duvet, not wanting to have any contact with him when they talked about something so intimate. She was scared of herself. They waited in silence for a few seconds, and then Rix fished in his pocket, removed a tiny packet that he handed over to her.

“These have just been made legal in America. Technically they aren’t here yet, but, well, you make contacts.” He shrugged and passed over the point quickly. “I knew a few girls in college who used them – they make sure that you can’t become pregnant, just as protection. Of course I don’t want to try and pressure you at all. If you want, I can take these back and I shall not mention it again until you are ready. I just wanted you to know that if you wanted to – well, I’d make sure that we were safe.”

He smiled, slid the packet across. She brushed it with her fingers, looking at the pills. It went against all of the teachings and morals which had defined her childhood, but it was temptation sat right in front of her. It gave her a safe way to have what she wanted without hurting anybody, without anyone finding out. It was a way that she could keep Rix and still not upset her parents.

They cuddled together for a few more minutes, but time was running out and, mindful of Jem coming upstairs shortly, Rix decided that he had better leave. Sybil clung to him briefly, surprised at her own sadness. Her room felt cold and lonely once he had gone, and all that she could see were the pills, still sat on the bed where he had left them. He seemed to take heart in the fact that she hadn’t given them back, but she didn’t know. Almost her whole being wanted to say yes, wanted to be with him. Only one voice at the back of her head repeated all of those things that her father had said so long ago, one voice made her hold back.

In the end she dropped to her knees, prayer coming easily to her. She begged God to show her what she needed to do, to give her some sign. She loved Rix, and she was going to be with him for always no matter what anyone else said. So, if that was the case, couldn’t they wait? He had made it clear that he wouldn’t leave her if she said no. But she wanted to so badly. Was that evil? Would she be punished again, just like she had been when she had been so selfish before?

She shifted slightly as she finished her plea for guidance. The pills fell off of the bed and onto her lap.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Poor Sybil. Hope she waits until she feels easier about the decision. And certainly hope if she does decide, she doesn't get caught by her parents which I could actually see happening. It would certainly explain going to Australia and staying there

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Technically two updates, but both quite short so I wrote them as one. Actually starting to get the plot moving a bit now :roll:

- X -

Her fingers ran lightly over the pill. Her whole life, her whole future, lay there in front of her. She had read the instructions so much that she had memorised them. It was so simple; all that she needed to change forever was a glass of water. Her hands shook slightly. This hadn’t been a decision that she had ever thought about having to make, things had always been going to follow her fairy tale script and she was going to be happy. She didn’t fall in love with anyone but the Hero – the acceptable one, who her parents would approve of.

She had prayed and prayed and still no answer was forthcoming, leaving her alone to decide. She knew that there was no-one she could turn to. Madge and Jem were out straight away, because they would be more horrified than she could envisage for her just having thought of it. She couldn’t ask Rix, because she knew what he wanted, and as much as he would try and respect her feelings, give her good counsel, he couldn’t be impartial. She didn’t have an older sister she could turn too – she was supposed to be the one that everybody ran to for advice. If she tried to write to Auntie Joey, who had helped her in the past, her parents would hear of it. It was the same for anyone connected to the school, anyone in her life.

She was, for the first time ever, truly alone.

What made it hardest was that no matter what she did, she could only have herself to blame. The two roads she could take now had never been clearer, she had never had such an obvious choice to make, and whether she followed Rix down one path or her family down another, it would have been purely her choice. In the end, there were only two questions that she had to answer; she wanted to do this, she wanted to be with Rix, and she would do anything not to lose him.

Shutting her eyes, she swallowed the pill.

- X -

She didn’t tell Rix what she had done. Every night she would diligently take another tiny capsule, but she couldn’t confess to him yet what she was doing. Aside from anything else, putting it into words made it sound wrong somehow. But then, after praying fervently for so long for guidance, something happened which told Sybil that she had to make the final decision.

She didn’t tell Rix until they were alone together that evening. She was lying, with her head in his lap, looking up at him adoringly, in their customary silence. At first there had been something awkward about it, but now it had become the natural silence of two people who knew what the other was thinking, who didn’t need to speak to communicate.

“I was talking to mum earlier,” she said gently. Her breath hitched for a moment, but she forced herself to continue, “Dad needs to go to a conference for the weekend, and she asked if I could look after the house while she was away. They wanted to take you, but the organisers said that there wouldn’t be room. So, we’ll be alone in the house for the weekend.”

His eyes brightened hopefully, but he was wise enough not to ask. Sybil was almost regretful of this; at least if he had, she wouldn’t have had to say it. The words wouldn’t come for a minute, but when she had thought of what she wanted to say, she was suddenly glad that Rix had remained silent.

“I – I’d like to – well, I’ve been taking the pills that you gave me.”

It wasn’t nearly as bad as she had feared. The only judgement was Rix smiling, kissing her, telling her how brave she was and how much he loved her. In fact, she felt almost relieved, that now the decision was made it couldn’t be changed. From now on she was committed to this, there was no more hesitating, no more worrying about what she should do. Only delicious anticipation.

That night, she lay alone in her bed for the last time. She knew that she was about to defy everybody she had ever cared about, ensure that she never regained her parent’s love and trust. Somehow, in some bizarre way, it didn’t matter as much to her as she thought it would. Because somewhere, at some undefined moment, Rix’s love had become more important to her.

Author:  Alison H [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Still don't feel entirely comfortable about this - she's worrying way too much about what other people want. What a shame that she doesn't feel she's got anyone to talk to. What about Daisy? She's Sybil's cousin, and as a doctor she must have heard it all before.

Thanks ChubbyMonkey.

Author:  leahbelle [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thanks for the updates.

Author:  KatS [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Hmmmm... I don't think Sybil's in a good situation here. She's so nervous, and it seems like she's so desperate for Rix that she's putting aside her own feelings. Rix shouldn't be pressurizing her (and I know a lot of guys do, but in Chalet land it seems more awful, somehow). She honestly doesn't seem like she's ready.

She knew that she was about to defy everybody she had ever cared about, ensure that she never regained her parent’s love and trust. Somehow, in some bizarre way, it didn’t matter as much to her as she thought it would. Because somewhere, at some undefined moment, Rix’s love had become more important to her.

No, Sybil! You shouldn't be feeling this way. Rix should never make you feel like you have to cut yourself off from your parents and everyone you love in order to be with him. :banghead:

Author:  Emma A [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

I'm agreeing with Kat, here. I think Rix may not realise how desperate she is for love and attention, nor does he realise how conflicted she is about the step they are about to take. She needs to tell him how she feels, and he needs to respect her uncertainty, and let her know that he will wait for her. They need to tell her parents, too, before it goes too far to stop - Madge and Jem may find the situation strange, but they'd far rather find out directly than discover that Sybil and Rix had kept everything from them.

Very interesting, though. Thanks, Ariel.

Author:  hac61 [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

KatS wrote:
Hmmmm... I don't think Sybil's in a good situation here. She's so nervous, and it seems like she's so desperate for Rix that she's putting aside her own feelings. Rix shouldn't be pressurizing her...
No, Sybil! You shouldn't be feeling this way. Rix should never make you feel like you have to cut yourself off from your parents and everyone you love in order to be with him. :banghead:

I don't think Rix is pressurizing her. I think she is pressurizing herself by thinking that if she doesn't say "yes" then he won't want her any more.

“I’ll leave you to think,” he promised heavily. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset you. I just – I want you so much that I don’t know if I can wait. If that is what you want, though, I shall respect it, of course.”

"Of course I don’t want to try and pressure you at all. If you want, I can take these back and I shall not mention it again until you are ready. I just wanted you to know that if you wanted to – well, I’d make sure that we were safe.”

"The two roads she could take now had never been clearer, she had never had such an obvious choice to make, and whether she followed Rix down one path or her family down another, it would have been purely her choice. In the end, there were only two questions that she had to answer; she wanted to do this, she wanted to be with Rix, and she would do anything not to lose him."


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

I'm finding it very interesting to see how people are reacting to this - my own opinion is quite different from some, but I don't know if that's because I'm just odd, I know the ending ( :devil: ) and there is some things coming which might influence it, or just that my writing isn't very good (most likely). Anyway, have another update!

- X -

The fateful night had come. Only Sybil had been there to wave Madge and Jem off that morning, as Rix still had to fill in his usual shifts, but they had left, Madge not without instructions to Sybil. After that she had an afternoon alone, supposedly to sit and sew although most of the time she watched languidly out of the window. The house had never felt so big before. She wanted Josette to be sat, sewing with her, or David to be in the corner reading a newspaper. She especially wanted her brother; she looked up to him so much, and some small part of her hoped that he would understand what she was doing, contrary to everyone else.

There was only her, though. Only her to sit and wait for the sounds of Rix returning, only her to sit opposite him at the table, barely able to touch her food through nerves, only her to sit and talk to him until Marie had gone to bed and they were safe. Even then she didn’t make a move to go upstairs, didn’t suggest that they take those few final steps. She let Rix talk on, about small, everyday things which went nearly completely over her head. She was waiting for him to suggest it, waiting for him to make the first move, but he was too gentlemanly, too chivalrous.

She knew that she could still say no, could still change things if she wanted to. Rix wouldn’t hate her, she wouldn’t lose him. He would support her, help her through whatever she was feeling. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that she didn’t want to stop it, she didn’t want to change things. No matter how much she knew that it was wrong, knew what people would think of her, say about her, she didn’t want to avert this. Curled up next to Rix on the sofa, feeling his arm around her shoulders, she could think of nothing that she wanted more.

The time to think was over. She leaned up and kissed him slowly, her lips brushing tantalisingly against his. It was like a signal. Before her whirling head could register what had happened she was out of the door, walking up the stairs, leading Rix to her bedroom. Her bed was a single but they would find a way to lie together, to be comfortable even in such a narrow space. She would feel more at ease there, anyway. It was the place that she and Rix always shared, something sacred to them.

He let go of her hand at the door, told her that he would go into his room to get ready, come back once he had everything that he needed for the night. She was slightly disappointed that he didn’t come straight in, but it would only be a few minutes of anticipation, and then – then she didn’t know, but Rix was looking after her, and making sure that she was safe.

She combed out her hair for the last time as an innocent girl. Then she looked at her reflection in the mirror, promised herself that she could do this. Everybody had always said how beautiful she was, Rix couldn’t be disappointed in her now. When they were younger he used to walk into her when she was in the bath, just to annoy her. She kind of missed that childish mischief now; everything had been so much simpler, then.

She slipped out of her clothes, looking at her body in the mirror. Would Rix like it? Or would he think that she was horrible, wonder why he had loved her in the first place? She traced a tiny scar on the inside of her elbow, no bigger than her fingernail, from where some of the boiling water that nearly killed her sister had splashed her too. She had never told anyone about it, had pinched at the burned skin until it healed as a reminder that she had done wrong. Often she would glance down at herself and there it would be, a permanent reminder of how far she had fallen.

Rix appeared rather more suddenly than she had expected. Automatically she blushed as she saw him looking at her naked form. It seemed almost wrong, but only because she was embarrassed at having been caught. She wanted him to look, wanted him to see her and tell her that he thought she was beautiful, he thought that she was attractive. His answer came in the arms around her waist, the gentle kiss on the back of her neck. It came as he took his top off.

His broad chest was muscular and toned, evidence of the gym that he had once written so enthusiastically to Sybil about. His skin was still dark, like it was when they would all run around the garden, disorganised, and when she ran her hands down it, she felt a thrill of pleasure. Slowly she lay down, pressing her body against his, planting kisses on his bare skin. She was trembling; out of nerves, out of anticipation, out of sheer exhilarating joy that she was here.

He was looking into her eyes, searching, probing. He tried to be so tender, so delicate, trying to calm her down. Her fingers rested against his shoulders, stroking softly, but both of them had stopped. She knew that this was her last chance, knew that she could still say no now. But she had never felt like this before, never felt so loved, so special.

“Ready?” he asked quietly, so serious that it made her want to cry. He truly, truly cared about her, wanted this just as much as she did. She kissed him again, pulling his head down, moulding her body against his. She knew that he was trying to be gentle, but she couldn’t help giving a tiny gasp of pain. He stopped at once.

“I’m fine,” she whispered, shutting her eyes and losing herself to his embrace.

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

It's always interesting seeing how other people react to things you've written: people have seen things in some of my drabbles that just never occurred to me! I wonder sometimes what EBD would think if she could read some of the discussions on here about aspects of her books :lol: .

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Two months later very little had changed about their lives. The only real change was in routine; now, instead of snatching a few minutes while Madge and Jem were downstairs, Rix would wait until they were asleep and then slide into Sybil’s room. He would have to be sure to get up early to get back his own room, but it was worth it just because they could fall asleep in each other’s arms.

The summer was nearly at an end, now. In just a few weeks Rix would be going back to college, and Sybil would start to apply for her place at the Kensington School of Art Needlework. Her heart wrenched at the thought; they would be parted, and she didn’t know if she could bear to lose him now that she had found him again.

Then, exactly two weeks before Rix would leave, Madge received a letter over breakfast. It was from Molly, and she read it avidly while Jem and Rix discussed a matter of business that had come in some of Jem’s correspondence. Suddenly Madge let out an exclamation, looking up at them with beaming eyes.

“Molly says that if we will have her, Peggy wants to come and stay for a week,” she announced, beaming at Jem, who smiled half-distractedly back. Rix looked happy as well; he hadn’t spent more than a few days with his twin sister for nearly a year, now, and he badly wanted to see her again. “I must write straight away and tell her that of course Peggy can come.”

If Madge was excited at once again seeing the girl she had raised as a daughter for thirteen years, it was more than Sybil. While Madge and Rix would sit and discuss things for Peggy to do, people for her to meet, Sybil would sit silently in the corner, worrying. Peggy was Rix’s twin; would she just have to look at him to know what was happening? Would she be able to tell what they were doing? Sybil found that, unsettlingly, she was becoming more and more paranoid about their relationship. She was sure that when people looked at her they could see what she was.

In the end, the day came, but Sybil could hardly work up the courage to face it. It was with a heavy heart that she came down to breakfast – her last breakfast before her secret was discovered, she was sure. She had thought that, while it was just people outside the family, and Madge and Jem, she could keep her secret hidden; after all, both of her parents were too busy to really notice her, and people outside could have no idea. But Peggy was different; she and Rix were so close, it would be impossible for her not to notice.

All morning was spent in a state of nervous tension. Rix and Jem had gone to the San. as usual, and Madge was flying around, making sure that everything was ready for Peggy’s arrival. Only Sybil heard the doorbell ring – Madge was upstairs, berating Marie for not organising the towels properly. With a heavy heart, she went to greet her cousin.

Peggy was relatively unchanged from the cheerful, jolly girl who had once been such a good head girl. She beamed at Sybil and even gave the younger girl a hug as she was ushered in, and began to strip off her outdoor clothes. Soon she was settled comfortably in the Saal., while Madge poured them all a cup of tea. Sybil sat next to her on the sofa in silence, listening to the easy exchanging of views with more than a little jealousy; her mother never paid this much attention to her.

She was surprised to find her old feelings of animosity coming back. She thought that she had conquered them, but everything was overcoming her. This girl next to her was so much loved by everyone, everyone noticed her, everyone commented on her nicely – not just a vapid ‘oh how pretty’. She could see Rix whenever she wanted, she knew things about Rix that Sybil never could. She was everything that Sybil wanted to be and wasn’t, and she had to sit and listen to her being perfect and try and be polite.

“Are you feeling well?” asked Peggy at this point, turning to her. “You look tired.”

“Bad night,” Sybil forced herself to reply cheerfully. She didn’t want to tell Peggy the truth; she had spent so long awake, tossing and turning, that she had woken Rix up three times, the last of which he went grumpily back to his own bed. Peggy shot her a sharp look, but before she could say more, Madge decreed,

“After lunch you must go upstairs and lie down for an hour. You do look tired. Let me know if you need anything else.”

Sybil nodded dutifully, but it didn’t help to calm her nerves at all. She wanted to be with Peggy constantly, so that at least if the elder girl found out, Sybil could try and persuade her to keep the secret. She couldn’t say why she was so convinced that Peggy would know, but it just seemed too much of a coincidence. Her paranoia had been growing and growing, getting worse and worse, and then suddenly Rix’s twin, the person who knew him best in the world, arrived.

Even after she had gone upstairs and curled up dutifully in bed, she didn’t get any sleep. Instead she lay, staring at the ceiling, turning it all over in her mind. People were bound to find out soon; with a third person in the house to discover them, they couldn’t keep running risks. The idea had been at the back of her mind for some time, but she had never had the courage to contemplate it before. But now Rix was going away from her, and she was sure that her parents would find out soon.

There was only one thing to do. They had to get married before anybody else could discover the secret; after all, that was always going to be the plan, she just wanted it to happen sooner, rather than later. She turned onto her side, so that she could smell Rix in the pillow, and began to plan how such a thing could be accomplished.

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Oh dear, I don't think Sybil is thinking very clearly. And I hope that Madge and Jem don't find out that Sybil and Rix have been sneaking into each other's bedrooms under their roof or they really are going to be annoyed.

Peggy always seemed like a very conventional person, but she was able to help Elma Conroy with boyfriend problems so maybe she'd be able to help Sybil too.

Author:  Emma A [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Oh dear, poor Sybil. I'm not feeling at all charitable towards Rix at present - I don't care how much Sybil thinks she wants their relationship! They should not be keeping it a secret - Madge and Jem are going to be more appalled that their daughter would sleep with Rix outside of marriage than they would be of the two of them being in love, and honestly confessing it. As far as I can see, Sybil hasn't voiced any of her legitimate concerns to Rix, and needs to do so.

Thanks, Ariel - very thought-provoking.

(Am wondering whether this should be in St Hild's, though...)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Sorry if this is the wrong house now - I didn't really have a plan when I started, so I didn't really know what was going to happen.

- X -

Rix had been given the afternoon off to come home and see Peggy, so it was with much relief and some trepidation that he returned. His sister was waiting for him, and Madge quickly excused herself so that the two siblings could have some time alone. Once she was gone they sat down and for a while discussed news; Rix hadn’t seen Peggy since her marriage, and he wanted to know all about her new life, as well as how the rest of the family were getting on. Then he talked about his studies, and what a brilliant time he was having working at the San.

“And Sybil?” asked Peggy in a low voice. Rix glanced around, then shook his head. He couldn’t even look at Peggy, and instead stared out of the window.

“She loves me too,” he murmured in the end. He had confessed everything in a letter to Peggy some months previously, begging her advice and asking what he should do from here. She had tried to counsel him to forget how he felt, because Sybil could never feel the same way, had tried to persuade him to gradually break off the correspondence and forget her, but he couldn’t. He had even taken active steps to be with her, something which had made Peggy cease all contact with him for many months.

She was here now, though, and Rix knew that he could rely on her to listen fairly to him, no matter how angry she was. She had been such a big help in his life, and during the past year she had been there for him and helped him in a way that nobody else could have done. Now she cupped his face gently in her hands and forced him to look at her. She looked so sad that he felt wretched for forcing her into this position.

“Rix, you can’t do this,” she said gently. “No matter how either of you feel, you’ve told me that you know this is wrong. Mum is still delicate, if she ever heard about any of this it would break her heart. You aren’t thinking straight. Claire was a huge person in your life and you need more time to recover from that before you can possibly hope to face this properly.”

“No,” he cried, standing up, pacing the room, and then turning back to her. “Don’t you see? I haven’t chosen Sybil because of Claire – I chose Claire because of Sybil. Before I met Claire I knew how I felt, I knew that I loved her, but I knew that I shouldn’t and so I tried to find someone else, someone like her. The first thing that you said was how much Claire looked like Sybil. That was all that it was; I fooled myself into thinking that I loved her, because then I couldn’t love Sybil as well.”

Peggy remained silent, her eyes soft and sad – for him. She pitied him so much, and he didn’t know why. This wasn’t the mess that she was making it out to be. He loved Sybil and Sybil loved him and no matter what else they had to face they would be together. He didn’t care what his family said, he didn’t care about how they felt or how this must look to them. When he fell asleep, his hand tucked into Sybil’s, he had never been happier. He wanted to make Peggy see that.

“You don’t know her,” he carried on, trying to find the words to say how he felt. “You don’t see how she looks at me – so loyal and caring. You couldn’t possibly understand how we feel. You know nothing. I love Sybil with all of my heart and we will be together forever, no matter what you or anyone else says.”

“Then you’re a fool,” said Peggy simply. She had watched Sybil through the whole of her childhood, watched her difficult journey through school and seen just a little of how Sybil felt at home. Rix may genuinely want to do what was best for her, and want to care for her, but just by doing so he was causing her pain. “Can’t you see what you’re doing? Can’t you see that if you do this you are forcing her to choose? She will end by hating you, Rix, and you will end by hating either her, yourself or both. If you really loved her, in a completely unselfish way, you would never have said a single word on the subject.”

After her speech, Peggy stood up. There was no point talking to him anymore; nothing else that she could say would persuade him one way or another. It was between him and his conscience now. But before she could leave he grabbed her arm, stopped her.

“I can’t let her go,” he said hoarsely. “I need her. I love her.”

“Then I can’t let you keep doing this,” replied Peggy quietly. “If you won’t end it then I shall.”

Author:  KathrynW [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Thanks Ariel, this is really interesting and I wonder whether Peggy's interference is going to help or just make things worse.

Mod comment - I've moved this drabble to St Mildred's.

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Peggy is obviously trying to help and has Sybil, Rix and indeed the rest of the family's best interests at heart, but this is now a no-win situation - someone's going to get hurt - unless the two sets of parents are OK about it, and that's the unknown factor. Relationships between first cousins are perfectly legal in the UK, even though this is an unusual one in that Rix and Sybil were brought up together in the same house, and it's possible that Madge, Jem, Dick and Mollie won't have a problem with it.

The trouble is that they won't know until they tell them, and doing so could tear the family apart.

This is interesting: looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Chocolate is the only thing keeping me writing these updates. That and the fact that yesterday while I was getting shouted at for not having done something which I forgot about thanks to Sybil and Rix, all I could think about was Sybil and Rix. It needs to stop invading my life! Anyway, the end is nigh. Hurrah!

- X -

Sybil sat up in bed when Peggy approached, but otherwise she did nothing to indicate that her cousin had come into the room. Instead she hugged her knees into her and tried her best not to look at Peggy. The latter took a seat on the edge of the bed, mentally preparing herself for what she knew must come. She hated Rix for putting her into this situation, for making her do this for him, but she knew that this must be ended somehow before any more pain could be caused.

“I know about you and Rix,” she said in a low voice, for she didn’t know where Madge was, but she didn’t want to be overheard yet. She ran her fingers through her curls, straightening the bow that was holding them up. Sybil had looked at her with something approaching panic, but Peggy had an air which forbade her to be interrupted. “He told me a little while ago about how he felt.” She stopped again, unsure of what to do now. In the end, she decided to see just how much Sybil knew. “It was just after he met Claire, who I was able to meet once or twice. Has he ever talked to you about her?”

Sybil shook her head quietly, but her heart sank as her worst fears were confirmed. All of the times that he had sat with her, known exactly what to say, known exactly what she was feeling, she had wondered. She couldn’t bear to picture him lying next to another girl, giving someone else equally special memories. He was supposed to love her and her only.

“They were supposed to be in love for about a year,” explained Peggy gently. She was trying to break this news in the most gentle way that she knew, but she couldn’t help being upset for the tiny girl in front of her. “Rix says that really he was in love with you, and Claire was just supposed to be because he couldn’t have you, but I don’t know. I don’t know how Rix feels or what he is thinking. I don’t think that he does anymore.”

“He loves me,” said Sybil stubbornly. That was the truth, and the only truth that she would acknowledge. No matter what anyone else said she had seen the look in his eyes, had recognised from her own feelings the tiny flutter of joy which would pass across his face when he looked at her.

“But that isn’t enough,” argued Peggy. “Can’t you see? You knew just as well as he did that you had to keep this secret, that you couldn’t tell anyone. Doesn’t that alone tell you that this is all wrong? What would your parents think if they knew what had happened?”

“I don’t care,” said Sybil, tears in her voice. She had allowed herself to believe that if they could just get married, could just prove how deep their love was, then they would be accepted. If her parents knew just how serious she was, if they knew that she and Rix loved each other and would do forever, then they couldn’t do anything but approve.

Peggy could see that talking to Sybil was going to be as pointless as talking to Rix. They had both cast themselves as Romeo and Juliet and words alone couldn’t change their minds. She took a deep breath. She had known that one day she would have to make this decision ever since she had opened the fateful letter in which Rix told her of his feelings. It hadn’t been an easy one, and she had spent far too long worrying about what she needed to do. The moment had come.

“I do,” was her final answer. “I care about you and, more, I care about Rix. But you have to think about everyone else, you have to stop being selfish. I shall give you and Rix half an hour after Uncle Jem gets home to tell him. If you haven’t then I will. Sybil, I’m doing this for you. Neither of you can be happy together while you have to keep lying.”

She departed after that. There seemed to be little point in staying when she could offer no comfort, or none that Sybil wanted to hear. Instead she went to take a book to the bottom of the garden and sit, not understanding a single word of what she was reading.

Author:  hac61 [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Bitch. Pious Bitch.

Author:  Emma A [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Feeling sorry for Sybil, particularly, here, but I also think Peggy has a point, even if her reasons for thinking so may not be accurate (what she thinks about Rix's feelings for Claire, for example), but I'm rather glad that she'll force Sybil or Rix to tell Madge and Jem about their relationship.

I don't think she's being a bitch at all, just motivated by a very real love for her brother, particularly, and by a very pragmatic view of what the consequences would be if Sybil and Rix continued to keep their feelings and actions secret. Sybil might see it that way, of course...

/my two penn'orth

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Peggy is overstepping the mark here, but she does have a point in that all this secrecy can't continue.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Penultimate post *small squee of excitement* I've pretty much already mentally written the last part, so if things go to plan, I should be posting it at some point this evening.

- X -

The scene was not a comfortable one. Sybil stood in front of Jem, her cheeks flushed, her eyes blazing with a mixture of anger, hatred and upset. He was little better, as he walked around her, looking at her silently. Madge sat anxiously in the corner, only just managing to stop herself from crying. Peggy sat next to Rix on the sofa, holding him down, stopping him from interfering.

She had duly carried out her threat, when neither Rix or Sybil went to talk to Jem, and now the whole family, plus guests, was congregated to face Jem’s anger. He had stormed into the Saal., where they were all reclining, Peggy behind him. Rix and Sybil had at once guessed what the problem was, and Rix had taken Sybil’s hand gently, the promise of remaining with her no matter what happened. At Madge’s enquiry Jem gave a terse explanation of the two apparently being in love, at which point Sybil had stood up and tried to get him to see that there wasn’t any doubt – they were. He silenced her with a look.

“How dare you?” he burst out suddenly, right in front of her. She flinched at the anger in his eyes, but remained standing where she was, in the middle of the room, still silent. “How dare you have the arrogance to assume that you can do whatever you want without even having the courtesy to tell us about it? We would have listened, we would have tried to understand. So why have you been lying to us?”

“Jem,” said Madge quietly, but he only glared at her as well. Rix was twitching next to Peggy, longing to be able to get up and defend Sybil.

“You wouldn’t have tried to understand,” she said simply, doing her best not to get angry. That wouldn’t help to resolve the matter at all; if she could just explain, show her father how much she loved Rix, maybe things could still have a happy ending. “You would have just assumed that it was wrong, and that was why we couldn’t say anything, but I love him, dad. I love him and he loves me and I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”

“And you think that lying to everybody and sneaking around like a whore is the way?” he demanded, beginning to walk around her again. She refused to lower her head, refused to look embarrassed. Even if she had done something wrong, it was only out of love, and she wouldn’t apologise for it.

“I love him,” she said simply, determined to keep saying it until he listened. “And he loves me in a way that you never did, that nobody else ever did. Ever since I hurt Josette none of you have loved me, or even tried to pretend that you did. You have no idea how alone I felt when you wouldn’t come to visit me, and I thought that you’d abandoned me forever. I spent the rest of my life trying to make up for that, but afterwards I was never quite good enough, was I? I could have done anything and you still wouldn’t have loved me.”

There was the sound of a stinging slap, and Rix struggled to rise from his seat as Sybil stood, in shock, a blazing handprint across her cheek. By this point Peggy was having to physically restrain her twin, and Madge had started crying unashamedly. Jem seemed slightly taken aback by what he had done, but he quickly recovered, and simply stared at his daughter until she raised her head again.

“The problem was always that we loved you too much,” he said quietly. “We have only ever done what is best for you, even though it meant changing our attitudes to the other children, and this is how you behave. This isn’t what is best for you, Sybil, this is wrong, and I won’t allow it to continue.”

“No,” she retorted angrily, even though his tone had calmed down slightly. “You can’t stop us! We’ll always love each other and you can’t change that!”

“Go upstairs,” he sighed wearily. “I’ll talk to you when you’ve calmed down. In the meantime, I shall go and ring up Dick. He must be told. It might be best,” he added, turning to Rix, “if you packed up your things. I don’t even want to look at you. I shall take you to the station now, and you should be able to get a late train. Go!”

He strode out of the room, but before any of them could move, Madge had stood up and escorted Sybil from the room. She glanced back at Rix as she walked through the doorway. He was crying silently, stood up, almost coming after her but not quite. It was the last time that she ever saw him.

“I love you,” he mouthed, before she was lead away from him.

Author:  Emma A [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Yowch! Jem had no right to do that, but I can quite see why he's so angry (if I'd been him I'd have probably hit Rix, though :roll: ).

Looking forward to the last bit, Ariel.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Phew, reached the end at last :D Thankyou for all of your lovely comments throughout - I can't wait to see if I've done justice to the ending, or not. Thankyou for reading my work to the end (I can't believe I've actually written this ending. I feel so heartless :cry:)

- X -

Sybil didn’t even try to stop the tears which dripped down her cheeks as she sat, waiting. Jem was opposite her, but he wouldn’t look at her, and she couldn’t bear to say anything to him. It was difficult to believe that she had once thought she and Rix could be together, could overcome any opposition. Now she couldn’t even hear his name without a lump coming to her throat. He had tried to write, more than once, but as soon as Madge or Jem saw the envelope they would take it away.

They had all moved out to Australia, less than two months after ‘the affair’, as it was delicately referred to, was revealed. Sybil still hadn’t told them everything, though she knew that soon enough they would find out just what she had done with Rix. And she knew that tonight she was going have to pretend that this was what she wanted, pretend that she wasn’t thinking of Rix’s hands running down her and Rix’s lips pressing a kiss to her neck.

When the naval officer had come to tea, with his mother who knew Madge, she had thought nothing of it, merely sat and been polite. But it rapidly became clear that he had formed some sort of attachment to her, for he was always finding excuses to come around after that. It wasn’t that Sybil disliked him – she was, in fact, quite fond of him – she just couldn’t feel for anyone else the way that she had felt for Rix. Away from him, though, and with her parents pushing her on as much as possible, she had ended up here.

A tear dropped into her lap, staining through the silk of her wedding dress. She would have turned down his proposal if she dared, but Jem had already given his permission for it to go ahead, and through the months she had been parted from Rix she had learnt to have a healthy respect for just how forceful her father could be. Trembling, she accepted, even though she felt sickened with herself for doing so.

She’d had letters from Auntie Joey and Uncle Dick, congratulating her, and from many of her cousins to let her know of their regret that they couldn’t be there. Nothing from Rix, though. She could only imagine how hurt he must be, to think of her now, giving herself away to another man. She had written a letter to him and sent it in an envelope addressed to Peggy, the only possible way that she could think of to get something to him. She hadn’t had a response, though, didn’t even know if he’d got it. She hoped so. She hoped that he might try and understand, just a little bit, why she was doing this.

Jem stood up, opened the doors a crack to make sure that everybody was ready, and then held out his arm for her. At first Sybil couldn’t bring herself to stand up. Jem’s silence, though, eventually wore down the smallest of resistances that she’d managed to build up. She stood up, smoothed her skirts and wiped the tears away. She had to be brave now.

She let him walk her down the aisle, towards the wrong man.

The next day, Sybil was told that she must remain inside, out of the sun. She was half rebellious about this order, but also thankful; she had a headache and her cheek was sore. She settled herself quietly with a book, but soon threw it down, bored. She could hear the sounds of the others, playing and racing around.

“Auntie Madge sent me in,” said a voice in the doorway, and she turned to see Rix standing there, looking sulky. “She said that I mustn’t hurt myself more. I’m not hurt, though. Hurting is for girls.” Having asserted his own masculinity, he stood and rubbed one foot up and down his leg for a moment, before concluding, “Shall I go and get a board game?”

Sybil neither accepted nor declined his offer, and so he went over to the cupboard where the board games were kept. Between them they set it up and then sat down and played with enthusiastic vigour. When Madge came up half an hour later, she found them arguing and shook her head with a smile, before retreating undetected again.

Was there anything which could stop Sybil and Rix from arguing?

Author:  Emma A [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Hmm. Not pleased with Jem for forcing the issue, though perhaps it's understandable. Do feel that Sybil ought to have had a bit more spine (of course, that's easy for me to say!) and waited for her parents to come round to the idea of Rix and she being in love, rather than marry someone else whom she doesn't love.

I do like the way you've fitted this into CS canon, and it works very well as an explanation for the trip to Australia :D . I hope Sybil was happy with her naval man, though I suppose that's rather too much to hope for under these circumstances.

Thanks, Ariel - you certainly are prolific (where do you find the time? I'm impressed!).

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

That would explain why Madge insisted on Sybil going to Australia with her, but it's sad that Sybil didn't feel able to stand up to her parents. Maybe she'd've done better to write via David than via Peggy.

Thanks ChubbyMonkey: this has been really interesting.

Author:  Abi [ Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

Oh my, you could see this ending unfolding before you like one of those inevitable tragedies - Macbeth, or Hamlet - where everyone behaves exactly as they would according to their character and there just isn't any way of stopping it. So many things could have been changed or done differently and it might have been different but of course it couldn't be because of the people involved.

Thanks Ariel - this was really interesting.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

My parents are first cousins and there wasn't a problem with the parents over that. Mind you, they never met until they were adults.
I think Jem certainly overracted there and his claim that he loved too much is rubbish if he could behave like that. Peggy should never have interfered and I hope she regretted it because she caused so much unhappiness for everyone. I doubt, because she was so loved by Jem and Madge could even see how little Sybil was loved At least Sybil by marrying an Australian will never have to see her parents much again, though I do feel sorry for her husband. None of it was his fault

Author:  JellySheep [ Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hidden Love

This has been really gripping and it's a pity it's come to an end, though it is just right in length. I was sad at the way events turned out though I suppose there's an element of inevitability. The way Jem behaved was pretty horrible, even though probably realistic, and Peggy's interference, if necessary for plot purposes, not very benign! Like some others, I'm not terribly optimistic about Sybil's marriage.
Looking forward to your next story - your prolific writing is impressive!

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