I wrote this to participate in Lala’s blog’s competition, so I hope it is a good read.
It was a clear night and Ariel was on her way home after a meeting. Her thoughts were wrapped around the perfection of the system and the structure it brought. Screeching tires brought her thoughts to a halt and she turned to see a black Lotus ram into the building. It was clear that the driver was injured and in danger.
Ariel ran to the car and yanked the half-broken door to drag the driver out. She was staring at a gorgeous chiseled face that was barely conscious. The driver’s clear green eyes were trying to focus on Ariel while she muttered “damned capitalists”. Yet, she held him on her lap and held on to his concentration, not letting him slip. The ambulance and the police had been contacted, Ariel could hear the sirens. She wished they would hurry, blood was spreading on his shirt and he was losing focus.
Ariel watched as they carefully placed him in the ambulance and took him away. A hospital attendant hastily thanked her before informing the person in-charge that the victim is Eric the Earl of Warwick’s son. Ariel almost scoffed thinking about the idiocy that came as a package with being rich and noble but she couldn’t help herself but to worry about Eric.
When he opened his eyes Eric only wanted to see what he saw last, the girl. Her big brown eyes and the concern she had. He now needed to know who she was. “Are you okay?”, a voice asked Eric. He looked and found the same pair of brown eyes that he remembered but he couldn’t say anything, he couldn’t articulate words. He just nodded. Alice, the nurse checked his vitals and ensured Eric that he was stabilized and wished him luck with his recovery and left. He was surprised but definitely happy.
Ariel was home still thinking about the boy she had just met, Eric. He was perfect and she knew it; she had felt the strongest connection ever with anyone in her life. For a moment she considered leaving to find him but she couldn’t because she knew who he was and who she is; it was impossible. Days went by and Ariel couldn’t forget about him but she had a duty to both her father and the party. The constraints by the the Earls and the Dukes were beginning to press on the freedom of the communists to meet. Ariel had to be more and more careful with her movements and her involvement with the party. The stronger the party became the worse they were being hunted down and Ariel was determined to defeat the capitalist fools, so she kept going strong although people were beginning to quit and things were getting dangerous.
One day, she was handed a task; to cripple the Warwick house. She couldn’t say no to the job; she can’t let down the party or seem weak so she let duty lead her heart. Ariel was to pose as a maid in the mansion and gain intel to keep track of the progresses in the battle against communism. To definitively protect her cover she was instructed to pretend to be mute.
Enough time had gone by for her to stop thinking about Eric but not enough to rid him from her mind completely. Ariel had a heart of steel and she knew it or at least she thought she did. Her first day on the job she was dusting in the library when she heard a booming laugh as the door opened and she feared to turn because she knew seeing Eric will render her weak; weakness was something she didn’t know how to handle. She turned and saw Eric walk in with his father with a shadow of laughter etched on his face and she hadn’t known his face with a relaxed smile and it completely threw her off.
Arthur had only known her as the new mute maid, Ariel, that he sympathised for. Seeing her flustered and fervently blushing Arthur assumed that she was panicking over seeing the lord of the house. “It is okay Ariel, don’t worry” he said trying to reassure her.
Ariel just nodded while gathering the duster and cloth she had been using. “It is her first day here, and the poor child can’t speak” Arthur said to Eric in hushed tones before patting Ariel’s shoulder and saying, “go and have some tea, it is your first day, you will be fine”. Ariel did as she was told, she got to the basement, the servants’ quarters and made herself a cup of tea and sat down to breathe. She was still in love with Eric and she could sense that wasn’t going to change and he will never know her; neither as his savior nor as his love.
Days went by and Ariel saw a lot of Eric they became almost friends, as much as a servant and a noble could be or just as much as a communist can be with a capitalist.
Eric too just like his father felt bad for bad Ariel and this allowed him to be nice to her, not exactly how Eric is to the servants. Everytime he saw her, he was compelled to be kind.
One afternoon as Ariel was cleaning the windows in a room that Eric occupied she heard him walk in and by this day she had gotten accustomed to seeing Eric and communicating with him. When he saw her, Eric had the widest most cheery smile as he said “Hi” and added a rather patronizing wave. Ariel smiled in response and returned to the window she was working on. A couple of minutes later Eric tapped on Ariel’s shoulder and offered her something out of a paper bag.
“Toffee???” he blurted in both a statement and question with his mouth full. His struggle to speak made Ariel laugh out loud with a fake sound she had learned to make. Eric’s eyes widened as he looked at her and struggled to swallow the toffee in his mouth.“You laughed!” he said, “it was adorable, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be insensitive”. Ariel shook her head and smiled reassuringly. He smiled in return and gestured to the toffee in his hand. Ariel took a piece, popped it in her mouth and returned to work and Eric settled in his favourite chair to read.
She knew this was the closest she could get to him, this was as much as she could have him. If she thought anymore was possible Ariel knew she would be fooling herself and she was a practical young woman who did not live in a world of fantasies. Sometime after Ariel had enough time to work on her mission she overheard something that was just as important as plots against the Communist party. Eric was being forced into a marriage but he claimed to be in love with some nurse with brown eyes who saved his life. Ariel knew better than anyone else that it was her who had saved him and that it should be her in his mind but fate had changed her path and his too.
She knew then that she should have left, her job was done but she stayed to be around Eric, to just be there and not live her life because it seemed almost irrelevant to her now that she wanted what she couldn’t have; she clung on to to her new unreal life. It only became harder as she watched him unhappy about this marriage and very unwilling. All Ariel wanted to do was to hold him and ask him to run away with her. She thought about it everyday until the day came for the bride’s family to visit.
Ariel was carrying the tray of the tea set to the drawing room. She stepped in and heard Eric’s deep laugh followed by a girl saying “I am so glad you remembered me”. Ariel stopped in her tracks because that was Alice’s voice, her cousin Alice. She ran out of the drawing room and shoved the tray to the first other maid she saw and ran to a tiny room in the basement to breathe and ultimately cry.
Alice and Ariel’s mothers’ were sisters and as children the girls looked alike but Ariel grew into her father’s angular bone structure while Alice retained her soft features and her hair lightened over the years. Alice is now the classic blonde beauty while Ariel now has stern features set in contrast to her warm brown eyes and auburn hair that is almost red in sunlight.
Ariel then realised that Eric may or not have seen Alice that night but mistook her for his savior because of her eyes. She knew her game was over and that it was time for her to leave, her job was over as it had been for a while, her love story never really existed and reality caught up with Ariel. Her thoughts were finally in order again she knew the first step had to be for her to leave. So, she wrote a letter to Mary the housekeeper regarding her decision to quit her job but left it on Mary’s dresser and left through the back door. She had done as she was instructed by the party and blamed it on family issues so that she wouldn’t be questioned if at all she was asked but she had just left.
Eric was thrilled, he was set to marry the girl he had fallen in love with but for some reason he sought Ariel he wanted to tell her about Alice and share his joy. He looked for her everywhere in the mansion but she was nowhere to be found. Mary happened to walk by when Eric stepped out of the library.
“Have you any idea where Ariel might be?” Eric asked somewhat surprising Mary by merely acknowledging her presence.
“She should be around Master Eric, I saw her earlier with the tea tray”, Mary said with a sense of awkwardness because she knew for the longest time that Eric was Ariel’s friend of some sort.
“Well, she isn’t would you mind getting her for me?”
“Sure, Master Eric I will tell her to come to you once I see”
“With haste” Eric added before walking off.
Mary was left confused because it was unlike Ariel to not be working. She wasn’t like the other girls, Ariel needed to work to feel worthy. Mary always felt that it was because of her disability that Ariel felt the need to prove her prove her worth. What she wasn’t aware of was that Ariel was raised to work and not feel entitled and the one time she felt entitled to a man because she saved his life she was left out in the cold.
The letter was waiting for Mary which meant she had to unwillingly give Eric a bad news. So, she walks up to him in the drawing room and proceeds with “Master Eric, Ariel has quit her job and left. She left me her resignation letter.”
“Did she say why? Why would she leave?”
“She has mentioned a family crisis, Master.”
“Um okay. Write down her address and leave it on my desk.” Eric looking at Mary and dismissing her.
Eric was then wrapped up with his wedding preparation and his betrothed, Alice. He looked at his wedding invitations and remembered Ariel yet again for one last time before the wedding.
The ceremony was beautiful followed a reception lit by the setting sun. Ariel watched everything from a distance with a pair of binoculars, she wanted to act as she hadn’t had a mission in a while. Ariel had plans to make Eric’s and Alice’s exit from their wedding a permanent one, she had her Gimpy and her aim as sharp as ever but she wasn’t sure; rather uncharacteristic of Ariel. While contemplating to squeeze on the trigger she heard familiar footsteps and voice.
“You are made for much more”, her father was standing squarely behind her.
“Dad!!” She exclaimed before flinging her arms around him. “When did you get back and how are you? How did you know I was here?”
Thomas, Ariel’s father smiled and gripped her shoulders’ while saying “I am your father and also just as good a spy.”
They both chuckled and Ariel hugged her father again. “Do you want another mission?” he asked her reaching for his pocket to get her the letter.
“Yes” she said thrilled taking the letter from him.
It was an appointment to the Kremlin as an agent to protect the Marxist-Leninist ideology. Ariel knew then no matter what, she wasn’t going to die in vain; she will die a hero fighting for her cause and the true righteous social order.