New York in the late 1800's, and Charity Jones is at the heart of a tale filled with romance, mystery and lies.
I lift my satin skirts from about my ankles and run freely through the park after James who laughs and tumbles over in the grass. I catch my breath and lay myself down beside him.
The bees and small insects continue their work around us as we gaze thoughtfully up through the soft greenery of the trees above us. I can hear his rhythmical breathing, slow and heavy and I turn my head as to watch him more easily.
He feels my gaze on his face and his blue eyes meet mine. They are the exact same colour as the water on a perfect summers day, and I feel an urge to dive right into them and play my life away.
He smiles lazily and takes my hand gently, tracing patterns on my palm. I don't care that my plush pale pink dress is getting dirty, and neither do I care that my ringlets are tangled and my make up smudged.
Everything is perfect with James.
My eyes snapped open and I sat up abruptly. The thin covers of the bed fell off me, and then I realised where I was. I slumped back down onto the bed, letting out my breath in an irritated huff.
It had been such a lovley dream, I thought as I dressed a few minutes later. I pulled a brush through my thick blonde hair and secured it back with a ribbon.
If only it could come true, I continued to ponder whilst I pulled on my maids dress. Then I stopped.
"Charity Jones," I told my reflection in the mirror. "You must stop dreaming about him."
There was a soft giggle behind me and Mary slipped in, shutting the door carefully. I sighed and put my brush on the table.
"You're still obsessed with James Pendelton?" she asked cheekily, sitting down on my bed.
"Don't be absurd," I snapped straightening the duvet and opening the curtains rather to sharply.
"You do, though," Mary told me matter of factly.
I didn't reply, just looked out of the window. I could see the whole of New York from that tiny attic window, but it still felt a million miles away to me, stuck in a mansion of Fifth Avenue, sweeping floors and helping ladies get dressed.
"What about Gabe?" Mary pressed.
"He's just the stable boy," I told her angrily. "I don't even know him. Just leave me be, Mary."
Mary knew well when I needed to be left alone, and thankfully blessed me with some privacy.
If only life wasn't so complicated and unfair, I thought. It would be easier.