My name is Simon Partridge. I have been a successful lawyer in New York for five years. Just one week ago, I received a letter from the High Judge of Riverwalk offering me a position as a Junior Judge in his court.
I didn't know I'd be meeting the most important person in my life.
Author's Note: This is 'The Caged Bird' from Simon Partridge's point of view.
It was raining in New York, something I hadn't anticipated. I kept my windows opened, hoping to release some of the muggy air that had invaded my house. I had just finished packing my last suit in my travel trunk and stretched, looking at my pocket watch with a frown. The coach was late. I could only assume the rain was to blame.
To pass the time, I walked around the lower level of my home. I lived in a spacious two story home. It truly was beautiful but it was too much space for a 27 year old bachelor. I had tried courting a few women but each one ended in pain. So, love has been pushed to the back.
All of my furniture had been part of the sale of the house to the bank so I didn't have to worry about it. All that I brought with me was my diploma, my suits, and little things my parents had given me over the years. It was simple and I was pleased with it.
Now if only the coach would get here.
Someone knocked on the door and I smiled as my fellow lawyer, Jimmy, walked in with an umbrella. His eyes took in my traveling trunks.
"So, you really are leaving," he said.
"Yes," I said. "It's time for a change, my friend."
He shook his head. "Does a change really have to require moving to a completely different state?"
I just shrugged and he sighed, shaking his head again. I waited, watching him warily. He was obviously fighting with himself before he finally said what was really on his mind.
"Simon, this is a step down from where you are now," he said and I shook my head.
I had heard those words from all of my fellow lawyers and my boss. I just remained silent and glanced at my watch again.
"Ivy Moore is coming by today," Jimmy said and I groaned, leaning my head back. Jimmy laughed. "Come on, Simon. She's beautiful, wealthy, and comes from a long line of real judges."
"She's also manipulative, unfaithful, and rude," I said.
"I don't know why that matters so much to you. There are plenty other women who you can be with while still married to Ivy. She'll certainly be doing the same thing."
"My point exactly," I said, adjusting my glasses. "I don't want to have many women. I want just one and I want it to be the same for her."
He shrugged. "It's your choice. I just think-"
"The coach is here," I interrupted, sighing in relief inside. "Thank you for visiting."
He shook my head. "Good luck, Simon Partridge."
I nodded and two coachmen came into the house to get my trunks. I grabbed my top hat and started walking to the coach. Then I heard a voice that made me cringe.
"Not now, Ivy," I sighed. "I'm running late."
"Please don't leave, Simon," she cried, gripping my arm.
She was soaking wet but I knew that was intentional. That's just how Ivy was. I had been attracted to her long red hair and big blue eyes immediately. I learned my lesson very quickly.
"Let me go," I said firmly. "I'm going to be late."
"Please," she begged, following me. "I'll-I'll be faithful! I'll be a real woman! Please don't leave me!"
"I'm leaving," I said. "Just accept it and go home before you catch a cold."
She erupted into very loud, very fake sobs. People around were staring and I sighed wearily, getting in the coach.
"Would you like me to splash her on the way out?" one of the coachmen asked as he passed me a towel.
I laughed. "That's a perfect idea but it will only indulge her. I really am running late, though."
"Yes, Mr. Partridge."
He closed the door and climbed up onto the carriage. I pounded the door twice and the coach lurched forward.
"Simon!" Ivy sobbed, chasing the carriage.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me," I said and moved the curtain. "Just go home Ivy!"
She fell behind and I shook my head, getting comfortable with the blanket that had been put in. It had been warmed for me and I shut my eyes.
I thought back to Jimmy's words.
"This is a step down from where you are now."
I've lost count of how many times I heard those words. I ran a hand through my hair and got out my old and tattered briefcase. I got out the two letters I had received from the High Judge. The first was his invitation.
Mr. Simon Partridge,
My name is Oliver Jones and I am the High Judge of the humble city, Riverwalk. I have heard much of your success in New York. One of our Junior Judges is retiring and I wish to extend the invitation for you to join us.
To put it briefly, a Junior Judge's tasks are simple: You have 1/10th of a say in all matters in our city. You will also be tasked with overseeing all city functions assigned to you. The fate of men who are arrested will also fall into your hands as well as your fellow Judges.
Our city does not hold a candle to New York but we will do our best to give you the same lifestyle you had there. I do hope you accept. Please send your response as soon as possible.
High Judge Oliver Jones
The second letter was from someone named Frederick Flint.
Mr. Simon Partridge,
My name is Judge Frederick Flint. We have received your acceptance letter and are most excited to meet you. We will be having a dinner in your honor in one week's time at the High Judge's estate. Please be punctual.
Judge Frederick Flint
The idea of having a special meal just for me made me uncomfortable but I was excited nonetheless. I just hope the rain wouldn't get in the way of everything. Normally, it would only take six hours to get to Riverwalk but we had to trade out horses so the trip was extended to three days. I didn't mind.
I was one of the few lawyers to actually travel for their clients. I had many men call on my services from different cities and states. My last case still weighed heavily on my mind and I waited impatiently for the memory to pass. I had had to do something terrible and I had considered stopping law. I loved it too much, though.
I stretched my long legs out in the carriage and closed my eyes, letting the carriage rock me to sleep.