I Didn't Mean To...

September, 1792

Hesther knew she had done wrong... She had snuck out and let herself be seduced by a stranger, and now she had to face her father because... Well... She had a major problem. Not even her sister knew what she had done, for Hesther could not even bring herself to put it in her journal where her sister sometimes snuck peaks, and she certainly had not brought it up even though they talked to each other about pretty much anything. They were best friends even if they annoyed each other.

She approached her papa and closed the study door. She tried to smile but she couldn't. He was worried about her, she had been sick for a while and he didn't know why, nor did the doctors. She knew, though... She was paying now for the sin of lust.

"Are you feeling any better, child?" he asked, setting his pipe aside as was polite in front of any lady. He also set his gazetta aside, folding it neatly in doing so, his attention on his poor child.

"Yes, Papa... But I need to talk to you...." And then she would confess her sin and why she was ill. Her head was hanging in shame as she uttered the words she had dreaded to say to her father.

"You did WHAT?!" She flinched as he began to yell. "Where is he?! I'll cut his pebbles out... I'll make him marry you! How dare he touch you?! And you should be ashamed of yourself! No daughter of mine is going to be the mother of a bastard child!" And thus, he continued to yell for several minutes, with a litany of curses spewed from his mouth. His face was red... He gasped out and clutched his left arm and he started having trouble talking.

"Papa?" she asked, alarmed then, and then watched in horror as he toppled from his chair, his face now ashen. "Papa!! Oh God, Papa! SOMEBODY COME QUICK! Papa!" She knelt beside him, her hand moving to clutch his as she watched him take his last breath just as a few of the servants came in. Hesther sat in shock, everything was like it was in slow motion as they realized there was nothing they could do. Joseph Abernathy Sr. had slipped away from them, and Hesther sat helpless as it happened.

At some point, someone helped her up, she had a look of shock on her face, numb for the moment, as the servant guided her out of the study and sat her down in the parlor. Someone also went to fetch Henri if she hadn't been alerted by the yelling. Assuming both girls were together at some point, the servant who tried to help their father came out and shook his head, "I am sorry but... Your father... He didn't make it. He is dead."

Hearing the words, Hesther fainted.
word count: 491

Re: I Didn't Mean To...

Henri and Hesther had not been quite so close to one another since the clothing incident. Oh, the two girls were still think as thieves but something lay between them. Henri had through her sister to be still sour over her wardrobe and had decided to give her space, then she grew ill. While she was concerned for Hesther's well being, Henrietta still kept to herself. Spending some time daily at her sister's side, but mostly keeping her head down and her nose out of trouble. For, their father had gotten quite irate with their last bit of stunts. There'd been much that had to be replaced.

If she'd known the secret her sister harbored she would have been quite put out. The two girls had always told one another everything and not knowing? Well, that would have hurt.

While puttering around in the library, looking for a book to read, Henri heard a great commotion. Yelling from their father was not so unusual. Like them, he was a man of intense... passion? Mother had always been the more sedate one. It was only when Hesther's shrieking joined the fray that Henri came running. She met with the servant who'd been sent to retrieve her in the hall and followed behind the woman. She stood with her sister and arm going around the seemingly vulnerable Hesther. She herself probably would have been more upset had she seen the man go down. As it were, she assumed he'd simply be all right. He was always all right. After a bit of yelling of course.

The servant returned with the somber news. Henri's hand is lifted to her mouth and she lets out a strangled cry. However, she isn't able to contend much with her grief as her sister goes down. "Hesther!"

She turns and kneels by her sister smoothing golden curls from her face. Rising to her feet she orders the man who'd brought the news to carry miss Abernathy to her room! Henri follows behind. Their mother had gone to attend some friends for the afternoon, so everything was in Henri's hands. "Go fetch our Mama.. home right away, please." Another servant dismissed. Send for a Doctor!" And another.
word count: 380

Re: I Didn't Mean To...

The doctor came after a time, there was no way she was with child, for a certain thing had come full force not just from the stress, but because the whole time had been a false alarm. That made her feel worse... She felt responsible for the death of her father. Hesther didn't speak for several days, nor did she weep or anything. After a time, she was able to venture out of her room but she was lost in her own head, with the guilt she felt for their father dying.

She found Henri alone at some point the day she ventured out and leaned against the door, looking at her sister with sad eyes. "It's my fault." She said this quietly. "I told him what I did that you don't even know about, and I thought I was with child... And he was so mad. Now he's... and I feel like it's my fault."

Even though it wasn't her fault. He would have died whether she said that or not, it was only a matter of time according to the doctor who had warned the man that he needed to take better care of himself.

word count: 204

Re: I Didn't Mean To...

When her sister arrived she was reading over a book she found. Or at least trying. Her mind was wandering over the past few days. When Hesther appears the book is shut and Henrietta rises to her feet. The girls may have been selfish seemingly unfeeling creatures most of the time, but they had their moments. She slips towards Hesther and takes her hands, drawing her into the room and shutting it behind her. When she stood behind her sister, she frowned at the idea of a secret between them, but the expression was gone as she moved to stand in front of her again.

"It is not your fault. Father is.. well was a man of a rather bothered disposition. He was always upset about something"

Henri would never admit he was always upset because the two of them were hellions who liked to play too many pranks. She wraps her arms around her sister and presses a kiss to her temple.

"Tell me your secret Hesther... I will protect you"

And she would.
Mourning was such a bothersome thing. Their mother didn't look good in her widow's black and neither did her daughter. Still, thoughts of wardrobe aside, the girls would wear their dyed dresses with nary a complaint. For today was the day they lay their father to rest. Traveling back home would take too long, so he'd be buried here, in Italy. Their party was small. Made up of simply the girls, their mother, a few friends, and several close servants.

An arm loops through Hesther's as they make their way to the grave site. Her blonde head is bowed beneath the shade provided by the umbrella their maid carries. No words between either of them. Henri hadn't blamed her sister and in the time since the revealing of Hesther's secret, she had tried quite passionately to convince her sister that it wasn't her fault. Still, guilt seemed to shadow her twin.

There were no sounds at the moment. Their mother's stoic features were hidden behind a veil. If she felt grief at the passing of her husband, the Abernathy widow hid it well. Then again, she'd buried two sons after all. Burying your aged husband was nothing. The woman's attention turns behind her for a moment so she can shoot her daughter's a look, as if she didn't trust their quiet complacence.
word count: 409

Re: I Didn't Mean To...

Hesther told her sister everything... Even the thing about liking other women... She'd not confessed that to her father, she'd not had a chance to....


Something caught her eye as they were making their way to bury their father... There was a figure off in the distance, watching the procession but his features were well hidden by the hood of his cloak... Still, there was something quite familiar. She bowed her head, ignoring the pointed look from the distrusting matriarch. Mama knew the secret too... The one about the pregnancy scare that turned out to be nothing... She was angry with Hesther, but she was going to try and find a husband and wash her hands of the girl.

Hesther felt guilty enough, and at least the older woman was aware enough of the self punishment that she, who still loved her daughter and would eventually get over her awful behavior.


He was watching from a distance, not wanting his mother and sisters to see him. He was angry with the three of them, specifically his sisters. He stared at the procession with his lip curled and his fists. Now was not the time... He had not come to start a fight with his kin during the funeral of his father. He shook his head and turned around, needing to numb his thoughts with alcohol... Then he was gone.
word count: 232
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