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My Only

I decided to try my hand at a reader insert fan fic. A friend and I both did a Murphy McNully x Reader Soulmate AU fic. Here’s my attempt.


A stillness settled over the pitch as the spectators waited with baited breath, their eyes transfixed on Madam Hooch with the Quaffle in hand.

At the sharp chirp of her whistle, she launched the Quaffle upwards.

The pitch roared to life as the players sprung into action.  A triumphant grin flashed across the Ravenclaw chaser’s face as he reached for the Quaffle only to watch in horror as it was snatched from his grasp, mere millimeters from his fingertips.  The Hufflepuff chaser streaked past him, looking back with a cheeky grin.  With a grimace he gave chase.

“Parkin is in possession of the Quaffle.  She passes to Amari.  It’s back to Parkin.  She’s lined up for the shot…a 93.68% chance of making the goal…Doyle takes the bait and is thrown off by Parkin’s feign.  Will he get there in time? NO!  Hufflepuff scores!


“That was incredible, wasn’t it?” chittered one of your friends excitedly.

“Honestly, Murphy’s the best quidditch commentator Hogwarts has ever had!” added the other.

“It was alright,” you grumble.

Your friends look at you quizzically, “What’s up with you?”

You shrug, “I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.  He throws in a few numbers and all of a sudden he’s the best?  It’s gonna take more than that to convince me.”

“Yeah, but he’s like calculating the probabilities of things as they happen.  Like that’s so incredibly cool that he can do those calculations so fast.”

“Sure,” you say, “I just find him so…so incredibly annoying.”

“Who’s annoying?” asked Murphy, wheeling up behind you.

Your friends exchange a look of embarrassment as you turn to face him.


He looks at you in surprise, “What did I do?”

“You keep following me around and shouting numbers at me!  I’m so sick of it.”

“I…um, I’m sorry?  I had no idea that irritated you.  I was just breaking down the facts of the situation and having concrete –”

“Look, I don’ t care why you do it, just stop it!  And leave me alone!”

You take off as your friends look helplessly between you and Murphy.

He sighs, his head hung low as he wheels off in the opposite direction, muttering to himself.

One of your friends comes running after you, while the other follows Murphy.

“Don’t mind her, anyone would be lucky to have you.”

“You think?”

“Of course!  I mean…”


“I would totally date you.”

“But what if…what if I find my soulmate and…”

“And what if we’re soulmates?”

Murphy thought about it.  The numbers didn’t add up.  There was no sign that she was the one.  He wasn’t one to want to break anyone’s heart, but clearly you weren’t interested.  Maybe this would be for the better.  Maybe by doing this, he could make you happy.


“Y/N, what the hell was that?”

“I’m so sick of him just following me around like a puppy just chattering on nonstop.  Like, I wish there was an off switch”

“Oh, come on!  He’s cute!”


“Wait, you think he’s cute?”

“Well, yeah, of course, I have eyes.”

“Then why were you being so mean to him?”

“For starters, at some point that face starts talking and then I just want to punch him.  Do you have any idea what it’s like to have to listen to him go on and on about something I could care less about for hours on end?  Like can he talk about something that isn’t Quidditch for once in his life?!”

“Well have you tried?”

“I…” you furrow your brows, “I guess I haven’t.”

“Well there you go.”

“Why are so insistent that I like him as much as you guys?”

“Just call it intuition or whatever, but I think you guys would make such a cute couple.”

You snort, “Friendship is one thing, being in a relationship with him is completely different.  There’s no way in hell I’d be caught dead dating him.”

“Hey!  You could do a lot worse than him.”

“That’s true, but just the thought of it…” you shiver.

“But what if you guys were meant to be?” your friend said quietly, “What if he was your soulmate?”

“Him?  Yeah right?  We get along about as well as, well, I don’t know where I was going with that…my point is we don’t get along and we never will.”

You feel a twinge.  Your irregular heartbeat seems louder than usual as you try to ignore it.

What if?


It didn’t take long for the entire school to know that Murphy was dating your friend, Abby.  Halls filled with whispers that would suddenly subside when they noticed you approaching.  Sympathetic looks were thrown towards your retreating back, but you could still feel their gazes, hear their pitying thoughts.

Abby took pleasure in showing off her new relationship, flaunting it to anyone who would listen about their “cute love story” as Murphy followed her around reluctantly.

Whenever you were near, he would watch you, but never say anything.  He didn’t want to be accused of annoying you anymore and if it made you happy for him to be silent, then he would.

“Y/N!” Abby called out to you, “You should totally join Murph and I for lunch.”

“Uh…thanks, but I think I’ll pass.”

“Why?  Are you suddenly saying you don’t wanna be friends just because I’m dating Murphy?  Wow, I thought you were better than that.  You were always going on and on about not dropping your friends just for a boy and now you’re just-“

“Chill out Abby.  I just missed a class and promised Professor Sprout I’d make it up over lunch today.”


“I’ll catch you guys later.”

As you left, you heard your friend, Elizabeth hiss, “What the hell do you think you’re doing Abby?”

“What do you mean?  I’m just sharing my happiness.”

“You know they belong together.”

“He’s my soulmate!  If you can’t see that, maybe we shouldn’t be friends anymore.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Everyone knows how much I love him and he’s way better off with me than Y/N.  Besides, she hates him, might as well.”

“I’m telling you…this is not right.”

Abby shrugged, “You’re just jealous that I had the guts to make the move.”

“I’m not jealous, Abby…I just think…well, never mind.  How do you know you’re soulmates?”

“They say souls recognize each other when they first meet.  Call it a feeling or whatever you want, but we’re inextricably linked.”


“You can’t seriously think Y/N is his soulmate, can you?  I mean, he deserves to be with someone who makes him happy and she clearly doesn’t.”

At that moment, Murphy entered the Great Hall and Abby skipped up to him happily and began chattering to him, but they fell upon deaf ears.  Though he had agreed to do this to make you happy, there was a gnawing inside telling him something was wrong.  All the while he could feel each beat of his strange heartbeat in his throat, like it was trying to tell him something.


Quidditch just wasn’t the same without Murphy in the commentator’s box, Wizard’s Chess wasn’t as challenging to play without Murphy trying out his new strategies, but Abby wanted to be by his side 24/7 and she couldn’t stand the thought of losing him, especially to you.  Besides, he didn’t have the drive to pursue the things he loved anymore.

Soon, the school’s sympathetic looks and sighs weren’t reserved just for you anymore.

“Man, I miss having Murphy around.”

“That Abby is ruining his life.”

“He’s miserable, I heard.”

“You think he still loves her?”

“They’re soulmates, of course he does.”

“Then why don’t they just get together?”

“Because he wants to make her happy.”

The voices swirl around you.  There is no peace, not in class, not in your dormitories, not even in sleep.

“Was this my fault?” you think.

You never meant for this to happen.  You just wanted him to leave you alone.  To give you some space and stop shouting seemingly random statistics at you.  You never meant to hurt him.

You sigh, resolved to make this right, you climb out of bed and creep downstairs.  Almost everyone has gone to bed, but you see Murphy still sitting before the fire in the common room.

“Hey, couldn’t sleep?”

Murphy looks up at you in surprise.

“Can we talk?”

“Yeah…of course.”

“The things I said…”

“Were all true.  I can be overbearing and annoying…I just…”

You shake your head, “I was wrong to say those things.  I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

“No, you were probably right.  It was a matter of time before I just got on someone’s nerves.  Besides, I’m fine.  You didn’t hurt my feelings at all.”

“We both know that’s a lie.”

Before Murphy can respond, Abby comes bounding down the stairs.

“What is going on here?” she demands.

“We were just talking.  Couldn’t sleep.”

She eyes you suspiciously, “I know bullshit when I hear it.”

“I wasn’t-” you begin to say.

“She wasn’t-” Murphy says simultaneously.

“I know what you’re trying to do, Y/N.  You’re jealous!  You realize now what a catch Murph is and you want to be a part of that, but you know what, you’re too late.  We love each other and we’re going to get married and have lots and lots of children once we graduate.”

“I-” you begin, “Never mind.  Good night.”

You get up, looking back as Abby bends over Murphy.  You catch a glimmer of sadness in your eyes before you are forced to turn away to avoid seeing the disgusting things Abby is doing to him. 

You return to your room and lay down in the bed, staring at the canopy, but sleep still won’t come.  You turn and notice Elizabeth awake in her bed.


“What is it?”

“I think I messed up.”

“I’ll say.”

“I…I don’t know what to do.  I…I tried to talk to him, but Abby…”

“Is so paranoid that you’re going to try to steal him away from her that she chased you away?”


“So, are you finally admitting you have feelings for him?”

“No.  I just…I didn’t mean for…well for all this to happen.  He doesn’t even commentate or play chess anymore.  Or strategize or spew his statistics or – or –”

“You hurt him really badly.”

“I never meant-“

“I know, but you did and Abby won’t let you fix it because she thinks if anyone goes near Murphy, she’s going to steal him away from her.  So, if there’s this rift between you, you guys can’t get together.”

“So, help me find a way to speak to him.  I mean, he’s got to be alone…sometime, right?”

“You’d think, but no, Abby rarely lets him out of her sight.”

“That’s not healthy.”

“No, but you know what, I think I have an idea.”


“Abby!  Oh my God Abby!” exclaimed Elizabeth, coming down into the common room the next morning.

“What?!  What’s going on?” Abby panicked, turning away from Murphy for a moment.

“There’s something really important I need to tell you…it’s about…”

Abby’s eyes widened and she nodded, turning to Murphy, “I’ll be back in a moment, sweetie.”

Elizabeth led Abby back up to the dormitories and kept her occupied with lies you made up together about you as you snuck into the common room.


Murphy turned towards you in surprise.

“Let’s get out of here so we can talk without being interrupted,” you whisper.

He nods and follows you out of the common room, strolling through the hallways looking for an empty room to duck into where you won’t be found by Abby when it appears.

“What is…”

“Who cares?!  Get in!”

“Oh, this is cozy.”

Your face feels warm as you realize how close you’re standing to him.

“So, what did you want to talk to me about?”

“I just wanted to apologize.  I’m sorry I said those things.  They’re not true!  I – I really miss having you at Quidditch matches…commentating.”


“Yeah…” you say sheepishly, “Tell me a statistic.”

Murphy’s face splits into a grin.  You can’t help but smile too.  He hasn’t smiled in months.

He reaches for your trembling hands with his.  At his touch, you feel a calm rush over you.

“There’s a 100% chance that I’m in love with you.”

You freeze.  You expected to be repulsed.  Afraid.  But all you feel is safe.

You drop to down so that you are eye level with him.

“I love you too,” you whisper back, barely audible.

Surprising yourself, you lean forward and kiss him on the nose.  As you pull away, you feel his hands leave yours, wrapping around you and pulling you in for a proper kiss.

“Y/N? Y/N!”

You snap yourself back to reality, looking at the photo in your hands, as your eyes filled with tears.

“Y/N, is everything okay?”

“I should’ve told you…all these years…I should’ve…done something.  And now…” you break down, your voice cracking, “You’re gone.”

He puts a hand on your chest, over your heart, “I will always be here.”

Love’s Death

As I walked into the room, I could feel every pair of eyes focused on me. Under ordinary circumstances, I would have shrunk under such scrutiny, but tonight I had paid special attention to my appearance and knew exactly how stunning I was. Tonight I would bask in the attention of those in attendance. I glided confidently across the room to my seat. As I reached my seat, I heard a dozen gentlemen scramble for it; Lord Henry Wotton reached it first.

“Allow me, Lady Veradisia,” smiled Lord Henry, giving me a slight bow.

I murmured a soft thanks and took my seat next to my aunt, Lady Agatha, watching the other gentlemen resume their seats in disappointment. Lord Henry resumed his seat across the table from me.

“Lady Veradisia, I don’t believe you’ve met our charming Mr. Dorian Gray,” introduced Lord Henry.

“I believe not,” I returned breathily, “It’s a pleasure, Mr. Gray.”

“The pleasure is entirely mine,” returned Dorian with his usual boyish charm.

Then he gave me a smile transforming the childlike, boyish charm into the countenance of a man. His eyes were bright with hope, but if you happened to stare long enough, you would notice the gleam of cruelty that lay behind his mask of innocence. His hair was a rich golden hue and of course, that transformative smile could launch a thousand ships. In short, he had the face of Helen of Troy. He was terribly beautiful, yet so very artificial. Yes, Mr. Gray had the two most important things in the world: youth and beauty but those could not last. That was what made him so charming, so desirable.

“It’s odd isn’t it?” commented Lord Henry.

“What is?” asked Dorian.

“That he isn’t here?” continued Lord Henry.

“Who?” asked Dorian.

“Henry, stop speaking in half sentences,” said Lady Agatha sharply, “It’s quite irritating, contrary to what you may be attempting to accomplish.”

“When will you learn Aunt Agatha, I am not attempting anything. I have already accomplished it,” said Lord Henry smiling.

Lady Agatha sighed, “I suppose you were trying to be provocative. Well out with it then.”

“Well, isn’t it odd that Lord Alexander isn’t in attendance?” asked Lord Henry smugly, “My dear Vera, where is he? You two are nearly inseparable, and yet you’ve come to dinner without him.”

“Late, as usual, I presume. Must’ve been some piece of…appalling advice you gave him about how to impress me,” I returned dismissively.

Lord Henry smiled, “Well speak of the devil and he shall appear.”

I looked at him questioningly and he inclined his head. I turned to see Lord Alexander Delacroix sweeping in and causing quite a disturbance as he did so. It seemed that anyone who had the misfortune of associating with Lord Henry or Mr. Gray caused a considerable commotion.

“Evening,” greeting Lord Alexander addressing the table.

“Late as usual,” reprimanded Lady Agatha sternly.

“My deepest apologies, Lady Agatha,” smiled Alexander, inclining his head slightly, “There were unexpected circumstances that delayed me.”

Lord Alexander was just as coy and manipulative as Mr. Gray though one could say that he was far more attractive than Mr. Gray. He had Harry’s sarcasm, but with Alexander I could discern true affection from theatrics. I knew that there was nothing that Alexander wouldn’t do for me and he knew that I felt the same about him. He had began as a childhood crush, but that simple childish affection soon blossomed into an intense love affair thought only to be possible in cheap romance novels.

Lady Agatha smiled, shaking her head, trying to hold in a laugh, “Henry, what did you do this time?”

“Nothing at all,” answered Lord Henry, giving Lady Agatha one of his special looks reserved for her.

“Harry,” I said warningly.

“I swear it, I had nothing to do it,” Lord Henry said simply, “I speak nothing but the truth.”

“I can never believe you when you speak like that Harry,” I said eyeing him suspiciously.

Lord Henry laughed, “My dear, what do you take me for?”

“A spider spinning a web of lies, sitting in the middle, pulling the right strings just to watch them dance for your pleasure,” I admitted teasingly, “We are all marionettes in a world you built, in a world you control.”

“A spider? How repulsive,” said Lord Henry, “However, I don’t believe that someone as pure as yourself could ever fall prey to my tactics.”

“Me?” I said, giving him a small smile, “You have no idea how profound your ideas are, sometimes I believe you blind as to how you affect others, myself included.”

“I’m touched,” said Lord Henry, “And honoured.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” said Lady Agatha laughing, “I don’t think Veradisia meant it as a compliment.”

“Oh, of course she did,” said Lord Henry, “If I am the spider who spins the web, then who must be the one who give the spider those orders, for he…or she must be the devil.”

“Oh stop,” I laughed, “That will be quite enough Harry. Let us speak about something more pleasant. Look, the dancing has begun.”

“Well then, Lady Veradisia, would you grace me with the honour of the first dance?” asked Lord Henry.

“Dance with Victoria,” I said bluntly, “A gentleman should always offer the first dance to his wife.”

“It’s quite all right, Lady Veradisia, I’ve had utterly enough of Lord Henry tonight,” reassured Lady Victoria.

“You’re sure it’ll be all right?” I confirmed.

“I’ve been feeling under the weather as of late. It’s better I forego all dances this evening until I am well,” insisted Lady Victoria.

“Very well,” I nodded rising.

Lord Henry made his way around the table, offering me his hand and leading me to the dance floor, assuming the start position.

“I still don’t understand why you married Victoria if you refuse to dance with her and she with you,” I muttered.

Lord Henry shrugged, “She was charming when I first met her, as all women are.”

“Is that not so anymore?” I inquired delicately, raising my eyebrow ever so slightly.

“So long as we keep our lives separate, I shall be content,” said Lord Henry, “That is what makes Victoria more tolerable than most.”

“Is that so? Well, so long as you’re content, there is nothing more for us to discuss,” I nodded, “If you would be so kind to humour me, tell me about Mr. Gray.”

“I know not much and certainly not more than what everyone already knows. He is the grandson of Lord Kelso and that he has since inherited a handsome amount following Kelso’s death,” recounted Lord Henry.

“Don’t lie to me Harry,” I dismissed, “You’re friends with Mr. Gray. You say that Lord Alexander and I are inseparable, well I have heard the same about you and Mr. Gray. I’ve heard that you dote upon him more than you do your own wife. So when I ask you who Mr. Gray is, tell me who he is.”

“Apologies, my lady,” said Lord Henry grimacing, “I find Dorian to be a thoroughly fascinating subject. He is young and impressionable. Reminds me a bit of myself before I met you.”

“Poor boy,” I said amused.

“Are you speaking of me or of Mr. Gray?” asked Lord Henry.

“Mr. Gray,” I answered.

“Help me understand what he’s done to earn your pity and I have not,” said Lord Henry.

“Because the boy was and is far more gullible than you ever were and are,” I returned.

“He is a man. I am sure he has a well-developed sense of reason to decide what is moral and what is not,” countered Lord Henry.

“Harry,” I said sharply, “This is not a game we’re speaking of, this is a man’s life.”

“Even so…” sighed Lord Henry, “I cannot resist. You showed me a world beyond words, beyond the senses, how can you expect me not to share its beauty with the world.”

“Because there are those who can use the truth for good and there are others who will use it to their own self-destruction,” I said quietly, breaking away from him as the dance ended.

As we returned to our table, Dorian and Lord Alexander rushed forward to greet us; I looked on with curiosity.

“Will you do the honour of being my dance partner?” asked Dorian timidly.

Lord Alexander looked at me sternly, “If you dance with him this evening, you must promise to stay in my company for the remainder of this evening.”

“My Lord,” I exclaimed exasperated, “You mustn’t do this at every party; people will talk.”

“Let them talk,” said Lord Alexander boldly.

“Lord Alexander!” I laughed uncomfortably.

“I relent darling. Dance with whomever you please. Grace whomever you please with your presence,” grumbled Lord Alexander grudgingly.

Lord Henry smiled but said nothing. Keeping his eyes on me, studying my expression, he leaned over and whispered into Dorian’s ear as he passed him on his way back to his seat. Dorian smiled knowingly, holding his hand out towards me. I took it, allowing myself to be led back to the dance floor once more.

“Your Ladyship looks absolutely ravishing tonight. Anything that one can put into words can never do your beauty justice. Language did not know you when it was created,” complimented Dorian, “If I may be so bold, only actions can ever truly express the emotions I feel for you.”

I blushed, “You flatter me, Mr. Gray. But it is a bit bold for we have only just met.”

“It is the truth, my Lady,” smiled Dorian, looking directly into my eyes, “I apologize for being too forward, but you should know your impact on my heart and soul.”

I studied his face; his words seemed genuine. Lord Henry had certainly outdone himself this time. Everything on Dorian’s face was well calculated and given in perfect measure. This was manipulation at its finest and I knew I could never love a beautiful lie such as he.

“Oh Dorian,” I sighed, sending his heart fluttering, “Those are the sweetest words to have graced my ears.”

“My Lady Veradisia…” smiled Dorian.

“But you mustn’t believe all the lies Harry has told you,” I told him, “He may have taught you the art of seduction, but that man is a cynic, a man without morals.”

Dorian laughed, “You think that it was Harry who taught me these things? He has nothing to do with this. This is my life, the life I chose to live.”

I bit my lip, Harry really had exceeded all my expectations. How Harry had managed to convince the poor boy that he had had the choice all along, that it was all his own was something beyond my own abilities. I was envious, but also wary. I knew passion and love in the hands of the wrong people were very dangerous; I had flirted  with it once before in my boredom and nearly compromised myself. He shot a look past me at Harry, almost in panic.

“What did Harry say to you earlier?” I asked.

“Nothing of consequence,” deflected Dorian.

“Was it about me?” I asked innocently.

“Not at all my Lady,” said Dorian, trying to hide his surprise.

“It absolutely was,” I said smiling, “What did he say?”

“I swear, it’s nothing you ought to be worried about my Lady,”  said Dorian.

I gave him a sad doe-eyed look and he melted, “He said…he told me to try and charm you. He assured me that you would fall in love with me just as everyone always does.”

“Harry said that did he?” I asked raising an eyebrow.

Dorian nodded.

“To Harry, everything is an experiment,” I said bitterly.

“My deepest apologies, Lady Veradisia,” apologized Dorian looking hurt, “I meant no offense.”

“There is no need to apologize, Dorian, ” I sighed, “I will have a word with Harry when we are done here. He is so cruel to have exploited you for your youth and beauty.”

“Harry hasn’t done a thing,” said Dorian quickly.

“Harry is right about one thing, Mr. Gray, youth and beauty are all you have. Both things add to your irresistibility,” I smiled, “But despite all that, you can tell Harry that he was wrong to have used you in the way that he did.”

Dorian returned my smile, “So you do find me irresistible, and yet you resist.”

“I know charming when I see it Mr. Gray, but that doesn’t mean I am resisting,” I returned.

“I don’t understand what you mean,” said Dorian, furrowing his brow.

“I mean that my heart…my heart belongs to another ,” I said as delicately as I could manage, “You could have all the charm, youth, beauty, money, and whatever else in the world, but that would never change what my heart desires.”

I could see that I had injured him despite it all. Even in his despair, Dorian was beautiful. For the first time in a long time, I was unsure what to say or do.

“Mr. Gray…” I said, putting a hand on his cheek.

He looked up with his sadness filled blue eyes, “My Lady?”

“Please…I never meant to hurt you,” I started.

“My Lady, we cannot choose who we love,” returned Dorian, “I cannot blame you for loving another. Your heart is sincere and you certainly cannot deny your heart what it longs for. But I wish you to know that from the moment I lay eyes on you, my heart was yours.”

I stared at him speechless. Society’s conventions had always taught me the art of lying was the most important skill a woman should employ. Frankness was rare and mostly frowned upon in polite society. His confession had caught me off guard.

“I…Mr. Gray…” I started.

“My lady, I will never be lucky enough to have you, but I hope, from the depths of my heart that you and I will remain cherished friends,” said Dorian.

“Mr. Gray, there will always be another out there, someone who is a better fit for you than I. When you meet her, treat her like your finest possession, with tender love and care. And most importantly, a woman is not property, she is not an object, she is your equal,” I said, finding my voice again.

“I will do my best,” smiled Dorian, escorting me back to our seats, “It was a true honour to have had this dance with you Lady Veradisia. Thank you.”

“The honour was mine,” I said returning the compliment.

I turned to Harry, ready to reprimand him, when an arrogant, foppish gentleman tottered up to us, grinning lecherously at me before bowing deeply. I cringed, taking care not to make my discontent too apparent. I looked at Harry pleadingly. He came immediately to my aid.

“Mr. Lovel*,” addressed Lord Henry with a slight sneer.

“Lord Henry!” squeaked Mr. Lovel, bowing again, “Your Lordship looks particularly fine this evening.”

“Are you suggesting that upon other evenings I do not look as fine?” questioned Lord Henry.

“No! Of course not my Lord. You are always exceptional, in fact, beyond exceptional,” exclaimed Mr. Lovel reddening.

“Oh, Mr. Lovel, you must stop with the flattery, or others may talk, for I am a married man and though your words are very kind, I am not interested in what you have to offer me,” said Lord Henry.

Mr. Lovel reddened even more, “I only meant…”

“Yes, to flatter me in hopes that I would allow you the honour to dance with Lady Veradisia,” said Lord Henry coldly cutting him off, “My answer is still no.”

“Please, Lady Veradisia, won’t you allow me this one simple pleasure, this simple honour,” implored Mr. Lovel, “I swear I will ask nothing more of you should you accept. I shall make myself scarce and never dare approach your loveliness again.”

“I cannot and will not defy, my Lord Henry,” I stated plainly.

“I know and understand that your cousin means well, but…” Mr. Lovel continued.

Lord Henry glared at him and he shrank away, “She’s beyond your social rank. You have no right to demand anything of her, or of myself. Is that clear Mr. Lovel?”

“Y-y-yes, m-my Lord,” said Mr. Lovel backing away, “M-m-my deepest-deepest a-a-apologies for having  bothered you.”

“My Lady Vera, may I?” asked Lord Alexander, holding his hand out towards me.

I took his hand in mine, “It would be my greatest pleasure, my Lord.”

He smiled at me knowingly and I tried my best to control the desires rising up in my breast.

“How utterly improper!” thought Mr. Lovel watching us dance, “How dare she deny me a dance purely on a whim!”

I knew in that moment I was the luckiest girl in the world. There was no one, there was nowhere I’d rather be than in the arms of my greatest love. He held me close and I felt as though nothing in the world mattered anymore.

“Vera, after this dance, would you accompany me to the gardens, I have something I’d like to show you,” whispered Lord Alexander softly.

“As my lord wishes,” I nodded, “You have permission from Harry and Aunt Agatha, I presume?”

“Of course, my love,” agreed Lord Alexander.

I nodded once more, resting my head against his shoulder, closing my eyes. With him, I felt safe. I knew that he would never harm me, nor allow any harm to befall me. Behind me, Mr. Lovel was fuming. I dreaded facing him.

When the dance finally ended, I clung to Lord Alexander as he guided me towards the veranda. Mr. Lovel intercepted us on our way out. Harry and Dorian took notice and made their way across the room to join us.

“Lady Veradisia, Lord Alexander, is it not so very inappropriate for you to be so intimate with one another when you are not betrothed?” asked Mr. Lovel smugly.

Lord Alexander took a step forward protectively. Mr. Lovel shrank back slightly but remained in his place.

“Mr. Lovel, are you causing Lady Veradisia trouble again?” said Lord Henry, shielding me as Lord Alexander was.

“Not at all your lordship, I was mere pointing out that it is appallingly improper for a woman of her standing to be intimate with another,” stated Mr. Lovel.

“And it is equally improper for a man of your standing to even speak to a lady of her standing about impropriety,” returned Lord Henry.

“Lady Veradisia,” said Mr. Lovel trying to navigate around Lord Henry and Lord Alexander.

“No,” I said, “Leave me be. If I ever see your visage again Mr. Lovel, I will make sure that that is the last time you ever draw breath in my presence again.”

Mr. Lovel’s jaw dropped. Having rendered him speechless, I swept past him onto the veranda, waiting for Lord Alexander to join me. As predicted, he followed shortly after.

“That was quite a threat, my love,” said Lord Alexander, leaning up against the balustrade.

“And you know me well enough to know that I do not make idle threats, ” I returned.

Lord Alexander inclined his head, “That I do . However that was a rash lapse in judgment.”

“I suppose you’re right, but I don’t think you understand what it’s like to be constantly pestered by a man such as he. I suppose I ought to have been flattered, but I am not. It disgusts me how women are pursued like they are prey and men are taught to be relentless,” I sighed.

“You know my love that you only need to say the word and I will obey,” said Lord Alexander.

“I do,” I nodded, “Now what was it you wanted to show me?”

Lord Alexander dropped to his knees, “My darling Vera, I’ve known and loved you since the first. There were times you hurt me terribly, but I knew in my heart that there would be no other who would give me greater pleasure. For what is pleasure without pain? What is life without you? I only have but one request, and that is that you do me the honour of becoming my wife.”

I stared at him speechless, my mind was racing and heart pounding.

“Vera, please, say something. If you don’t love me, please…” begged Lord Alexander.

For the first time in my life, the words wouldn’t come. I could not express what my heart felt, what my heart wanted.

Lord Alexander rose dejectedly, turning to leave, “I’m sorry to have wasted your time, Lady Veradisia.”

I took a deep breath, “My Lord Alexander, please…wait.”

He turned, his eyes filled with sadness and hurt.

“From the moment I met you, you stole my breath, my heart, and filled every moment of my life with joy. I apologize for all the pain I’ve ever caused you. And I will love to the end of my days. You are more than I deserve,” I confessed, “To be your wife is a greater honour than I deserve. I will do everything in my power to ensure you success and happiness. I will do everything to return to you the joy you have given me. ”

“Vera…” he murmured, gently stroking my face.

I paused, observing my surroundings, seeing no one around I thrust myself at him, resting my head against his chest, listening to the rhythmic beat of his heartbeat. He ran his fingers gently through my hair, kissing me.

“Let’s put that all behind us and work on building a life together,” I whispered, taking his hand and leading him back towards the party.

Lord Alexander asked, “Will you promise one thing?”

“Anything,” I returned.

“I would like to keep this engagement private for the time being. I would like to find better circumstances to announce something as important as this,” requested Lord Alexander, slipping the engagement ring onto my finger.

I stopped to examine the ring before we headed back to our table: a ring of pure gold topped with a three carat diamond. This was beyond expensive and ornamental, but it was certainly in line with Lord Alexander’s style. He was after an Earl who’s family made its fortune in diamonds. It could be said that I expected nothing less from him; he always gave me the very best. We returned to our table, doing our best to hide our happiness. Not long after we were seated, a voice called out from behind me, “Ah Lady Veradisia, there you are!”

I half turned, paled, turning back to my party.

“Harry…please,” I whispered, “I…That man has no sense of propriety. He-”

“Vera, calm down. He will not lay a hand on you,” said Lord Henry standing, “I will personally see to it.”

“Good evening my ladies and lords. If I may, Lady Veradisia, have this next dance?” asked the gentleman.

“Not this evening, Sir Clement**,” answered Lord Henry, “Lady Veradisia was about to retire for the evening.”

“With all due respect my Lord, I was addressing Lady Vera,” stated Sir Clement boldly.

“Sir Clement!” exclaimed Lady Agatha, “You are too bold and acting much too familiar.”

“My apologies Lady Agatha, but as I recall, Lady Vera and I have quite a history and her familiarity with so many gentlemen-” began Sir Clement.

“Watch your mouth,” snapped Lord Alexander, “I will not have you bring Lady Veradisia’s virtue into question.”

“It’s never been in question-” Sir Clement began again.

“Enough!” barked Lord Henry, “Lord Alexander, if you would be so kind to escort Lady Veradisia home immediately.”

Lord Alexander gave a curt nod and offered me his arm. Taking it, he and swept out of the room, stopping only to thank our hosts and bid them a good evening.


I rose early the next morning and went out onto the terrace to write. It had been a long time since I had found time for such a pleasure, but with everything that had happened last night, this was the best way to clear my head.

Summer was notoriously busy with all the dances and dinner parties every fashionable lady was expected to attend. An upper-class lady such as myself received an upward of fourteen invitations an evening, making it utterly impossible to honour all them all. Each promise led to another until one found that summer was now at its end. However, it was not simply evening occupations, there were luncheons and afternoon teas that one were expected to attend. They were utterly impossible to keep straight. Thankfully, I never had to, there was someone else to do that for me.

“Excuse me, my Lady,” said my maid timidly.

“Yes?” I asked looking up from my work.

“A Mr. Dorian Gray is here to see you,” said my maid blushing.

“What?” I asked standing, knocking my inkwell across my papers.

She nodded, “In the parlour, my Lady.”

I scrambled to pick up the inkwell before it completely spoiled my work.

“Leave it, my Lady. I will clean it up,” said the maid.

I nodded, wiping as much of the ink off my hands as I could, my hands shaking as I did so. I took a deep breath to collect myself and headed into the parlour.

“Good morning Mr. Gray,” I greeted, “To what do I owe this early morning pleasure?”

“Lady Veradisia,” smiled Dorian standing, “I just wanted to make sure you arrived home alright. last night.”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I said, “Lord Alexander would have never left me in distress.”

I took a seat and Dorian resumed his.

“I was thinking about you last night,” started Dorian flushing.

“Mr. Gray…” I said.

“Wh-what I meant was…I…I think I’m in love with you Lady Veradisia,” said Dorian shyly.

I had never met a man so bold yet still able to maintain a sense of propriety.

“Mr. Gray…I can’t possibly…” I said, still unable to form coherent sentences.

“Please, call me Dorian,” he smiled, gaining the upper hand over me.

“Dorian, I can’t possibly love you,” I managed.

“Why is that, my Lady?” asked Dorian innocently, “I can see in your eyes what your heart desires, why do you deny it?”

“You are not what my heart desires, Lord Alexander is,” I said, almost uncomfortably.

“Is he?” asked Dorian raising an eyebrow, “A man so caught up in convention. I can’t imagine a lady such as yourself to be interested in a man like him.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, trying to keep the accusation, the defensiveness out of my voice.

“You grew up with Harry, did you not?” asked Dorian.

“That I did. But I don’t understand what bearing it would have on this conversation,” I asked.

“Well, it’s apparent that both of you are so taken by the theories of beauty and pleasure that you preach about, yet neither of you dare to live it. You in particular hold back much more than Harry though I can see that you are far more brilliant when you do choose to employ your wit,” explained Dorian, “I don’t understand why you of all people must conform to society’s ridiculous expectations for a man like Lord Alexander.”

“Lord Alexander is more than meets the eye,” I began.

“We all are,” said Dorian cutting me off, “But that is no excuse not to follow your heart and dreams.”

“How do you know that I’m not doing so?” I asked.

Dorian looked at me as though I had said something impossibly stupid. Before he had the chance to respond, Lord Henry entered, “I thought I -Dorian?”

“Good morning Harry,” exclaimed Dorian, jumping up and flushing.

“Vera, this is highly improper, even for you,” teased Lord Henry.

“Good morning Harry,” I returned, “Might I have a word in private?”

Lord Henry looked at Dorian curiously and followed me from the room.

“What is it Vera?” asked Lord Henry lowering his voice.

“I’d like the record to show that I had nothing to do with Dorian’s visit. He came here to confess his love, which I cannot return. I have explained it so, but he is persistent. Whatever you’ve done to his mind, I ask you to reset it back,” I began.

“He spoke ill of Alexander didn’t he?” asked Lord Henry amused.

“Harry, I’m serious,” I said annoyed.

“Forgive me Vera. I’ll have a word him,” apologized Lord Henry.

“Harry…please don’t reveal to Dorian my engagement to Alexander yet. There are formalities we need to observe prior to a making the announcement,” I said.

Lord Henry nodded, “I understand Vera, don’t worry, I will take care if it.”

Lord Henry headed back into the parlour and I followed close behind.

“Dorian, shall we take a walk?” asked Lord Henry.

Dorian gave him a curt nod, following Lord Henry out to the garden. I watched them disappear behind the hedges. I waited a moment longer before summoning my maid. She came in, still flushed from earlier.

“Have you gathered all my things?” I asked.

“Yes, my Lady,” she nodded.

“Please take them up to my writing desk,” I ordered.

“Of course, my Lady,” she nodded.

“Oh, and could you send Alice in?” I asked.

“Certainly, my Lady,” she said, “Will that be all?”

I nodded, she curtseyed once and exited.

“You called for me, my Lady?” asked Alice entering.

“Yes, what engagements do I have this afternoon?” I asked.

“Your aunt, Lady Agatha is hosting lunch here, afternoon tea will be at Lady Ashford’s today, and in the evening, Lord Alexander is hosting a ball in which he will announce your engagement,” listed Alice.

“I beg your pardon?” I said, caught off guard by the last.

“Which engagement shocks you, my Lady?” asked Alice.

“The last. When…?” I asked.

“This morning. He had asked it of your aunt last evening and this morning she consented and had me add it to your schedule for today,” explained Alice.

“Thank you Alice,” I nodded, “Please prepare my things for lunch.”

She curtseyed, “Right away, my Lady.”

“My Lady, I hope I am not interrupting. You have a guest,” stated the butler, narrowly missing Alice on his way in, “My apologies Alice.”

“No problem at all,” said Alice hurrying away.

“Who has come to call upon me?” I asked.

“Lord Alexander Delacroix,” answered the butler.

“Show him in,” I said.

The butler gave a curt nodded and padded down the hall followed by the click of Lord Alexander’s shoes. I rose as he entered.

“Good morning, my Lord,” I smiled.

“My darling Vera, did you sleep well?” greeted Lord Alexander.

“Fairly well,” I nodded, “Will you sit?”

Lord Alexander swept across the room to my side, indicating I ought to be seated first.

“Is there anything I can get for you, my Lord? My Lady?” asked the butler lingering.

I shook my head.

“No, that’ll be all, thank you,” replied Lord Alexander.

The butler nodded and made himself scarce.

“You’re up earlier than I expected,” commented Lord Alexander.

“Mr. Gray paid me a visit,” I said dryly.

Lord Alexander looked startled, “That’s quite improper of him. Did he rouse you from sleep?”

“Thankfully, no. I was working on my latest novella,” I informed him.

“If you’ll excuse me darling, I’d like to have a word with Mr. Gray,” stated Lord Alexander rising.

“He’s in the garden with Harry,” I informed him.

“I won’t be long love. Will you wait here for me?” he asked.

“Alright,” I nodded, “But don’t keep me waiting too long.”

“I will certainly endeavour not to,” smiled Lord Alexander.


Lord Alexander made his way across the lawn, heading straight for Lord Henry and Dorian in the northeast corner of the garden.

“Excuse me Lord Henry, might I have a word with Mr. Gray?” interrupted Lord Alexander.

“Well good morning Lord Alexander. What an ungodly hour for all of London to be paying Vera a visit,” smiled Lord Henry sardonically.

“Mr. Gray, I would like to impress upon you the dire consequences of your action. If you commit such an impropriety again, I will be forced to take action against you,” started Lord Alexander.

“I meant nothing by it,” apologized Dorian innocently, “Forgive my insolence, my Lord. I came to speak to Lady Veradisia as a friend; I apologize if it has offended you.”

Lord Alexander eyed him suspiciously as Lord Henry laughed, ” “Relax Lord Alexander, Dorian means to keep his word. He honestly meant nothing by it.”

“I hope you’re right,” said Lord Alexander coldly, returning to the house.

Dorian laughed, “Thank you Harry.”

“I would be careful Dorian,” said Lord Henry, “Lord Alexander does not make idle threats.”

“Truly? He would be barbaric enough to use violence against me?” asked Dorian, his eyes wide.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Lord Henry seriously.

Dorian grinned, heading back towards the house, “If that’s all Harry, we ought to be heading back.”

“Dorian, one last thing,” said Lord Henry.

“What is it?” asked Dorian.

“Please do not call upon Vera again,” said Lord Henry.

Dorian spun around in surprise, “What are you saying Harry?”

“Stay away from her,” said Lord Henry warningly.

“I love her,” sighed Dorian.

“Not Vera,” stated Lord Henry firmly.

“You don’t understand. You never will,” said Dorian accusingly, “You’ve always looked at marriage so cynically. You don’t understand how Vera makes me feel. She’s different from any other woman I’ve ever been with.”

“I know exactly how she makes people feel. She makes them feel as though they’re the only one in the world that matters,” said Lord Henry, “I nearly broke off my engagement to Victoria because of her. And she was just playing with me. I can’t imagine how it must feel for those she is truly targeting.”

Dorian looked astonished, “Harry, you speak about her as though she’s a monster.”

Lord Henry smiled, “When you have known her as long and as well as I, you’ll know what an absolute monster she is.”

“Harry, you shouldn’t speak of her like that. She is an angel,” argued Dorian.

Lord Henry shook his head. He knew that nothing he could say would change Dorian’s mind.


“Darling, there’s still time before lunch, would you like to go for a walk somewhere until then?” asked Lord Alexander, returning to the parlour.

“Vauxhall or Ranelagh garden?” I suggested, “Or perhaps Hampshire.”

“Wherever suits your fancy, my love,” nodded Lord Alexander.

Lord Henry and Dorian re-entered the house as we prepared to head out. Upon seeing Dorian, Lord Alexander put his arm around my waist possessively.

“Harry, Dorian, we were just heading out to the gardens, care to join us?” I asked.

Dorian opened his mouth to answer, but Lord Henry stopped him, “No, not today, my dear. Though I must say, it is a refreshing change that you are not choosing to say cooped up indoors with a book.”

“There’s nothing wrong with a good book,” I said defensively.

Lord Henry smiled, “So shall we be expecting you back for lunch?”

“We certainly will be,” I nodded.

“Well, enjoy yourselves and try not to get into too much trouble,” teased Lord Henry.

I gave him a girlish laugh, leading Lord Alexander out towards the waiting carriage.


The gardens were pleasant, as usual. I always found that they were particularly beautiful in the morning. The sun bathed all the flowers in its pale warmth, the dew delicately adorning leaves and petals with miniature diamonds. The impermanence and insubstantiality were what gave the garden its early morning beauty. The crispness of the air was a perfect excuse to be close to Lord Alexander. It was the perfect morning. Or at least it would have been had it not been for Sir Clement’s untimely appearance.

“Good morning Lady Veradisia, Lord Alexander!” greeted Sir Clement, “What a pleasure it is to encounter you on this fine morning. What brings you here so early in the morn?”

“Good morning,” said Lord Alexander icily.

“Are you feeling better, my Lady? I apologize deeply if I offended you last night,” apologized Sir Clement.

“There have been matters that have been pressing as of late,” I returned politely.

“Forgive my intrusion, but would it be too bold to ask what that might be?” asked Sir Clement.

“Too bold,” answered Lord Alexander, stepping forward and shielding me.

Sir Clement shrank back slightly, but did not back down.

“May I speak with you in confidence, my Lady Vera?” asked Sir Clement.

“I said no,” snapped Lord Alexander, “Know your place, Willoughby.”

“With all due respect my Lord, I wasn’t addressing you,” sniffed Sir Clement.

“Do not speak to my Lord with so impertinently,” I said sternly.

“My Lady, I would advise you speak to me alone unless you care not for your reputation and wish the world to hear,” threatened Sir Clement.

I cast of a look of bewilderment towards Lord Alexander. Though I had no idea what Sir Clement could be holding over me, I was afraid. I knew my place and my obligations. I knew that for a woman in my position, my reputation, my virtue, was all I had. I did the only thing I knew I could do to escape this unsavoury situation. I fainted. Lord Alexander caught me in surprise.

“Is she all right?” fussed Sir Clement.

“Leave. If I speak to me or my lady ever again, I will make sure you never see the light of day again,” threatened Lord Alexander.

He gently set me down in the carriage before slamming the door in Sir Clement’s face and instructing the driver to return home posthaste.

As we came to a stop, the page posted at the door rushed forward and held open the door.

“Fetch your master and mistress at once,” ordered Lord Alexander, disembarking with me in his arms.

The boy gave a curt nod and ran inside, yelling for the butler.

Lord Henry intercepted Lord Alexander as he was setting me down on a sofa in the parlour. Dorian rushed in after him, paling at the sight of me.

“What happened?” demanded Lord Henry.

“I haven’t the slightest clue,” said Lord Alexander bewildered.

“Describe to me the exact scenario you found yourselves in,” pressed Lord Henry.

Lady Agatha  swept into the room, pushing the gentlemen aside, “Oh for heaven’s sake. Stop standing around and talking. Loosen her corset.”

Lady Agatha’s maid slipped past the gentlemen and did her best to loosen the corset without exposing my body to the point of indecency.

“Brandy,” called out Lady Agatha.

Lord Henry poured her a glass. She grabbed it hurriedly, sloshing some on herself and inadvertently pouring some into my mouth. This was my first encounter with something as strong as brandy. I sputtered and choked, jolting upwards, spitting most of it out. Lord Henry laughed as I tried to catch my breath. Then the room fell silent, watching me as I sought to catch my breath.

“Lady Veradisia, are you alright?” asked Lord Alexander, breaking the silence.

I blushed, shifting uncomfortably. To tell them the truth would have dire consequences, but to lie was a different problem all on its own.

“I suppose the stress of the moment combined with the tightness of the corset was just too overwhelming,” I replied.

“The stress of the moment?” echoed Dorian, “What or who could’ve possibly done that to you?”

“Sir Clement,” I said disgustedly.

“Excuse me,” bowed Dorian, rising and leaving the room.

I stared after him, watching him disappear through the front door. There was something strange about how angry Dorian had gotten.

“What did he want?” asked Lord Henry irritated, “Did we not make clear that he was not to associate with you any further?”

“He wanted to speak with Veradisia, alone,” sneered Lord Alexander.

“With Lord Alexander in your company?” asked Lady Agatha astonished.

I nodded. Everyone cried out about Sir Clement’s impropriety, about how fortunate I was to be struck by my affliction when I was, how Lord Alexander should have been more active in the assertion of his dominance, and so on and so forth. Only Lord Henry looked at me knowingly,  a smile, tugging at the corners of his thin beckoning lips.

“This day has been quite taxing, if you don’t mind, I’d like to rest,” I sighed standing.

“May I?” asked Lord Alexander also standing.

I nodded and exited on his arm.


“Will you stay?” I asked removing my earrings.

“If you’d like,” nodded Lord Alexander, drawing a seat next to me at the vanity, studying my face in the mirror, “Vera, did you really faint?”

I turned to face him, “Of course  not. You know as well as I that to wander off alone with that man means the death of me and my reputation. The alternative was to reveal our engagement and that is not something I would do without your consent.”

Lord Alexander smiled, leaning forward to kiss me. I leaned in towards him, and as I did so, my dress slipped from my shoulders, piling around my waist.

Lord Alexander lifted me to my feet and the dress cascaded to the floor. He pulled me close and kissed me.

“We shouldn’t,” I whispered, stifling a giggle.

“Do you want me to stop?” teased Lord Alexander.

“No,” I admitted.

His fingers worked their way around my waist and started unlacing my corset. We were interrupted by a knock at the door, causing us both to jump. Lord Alexander knelt down, picking up my dress and kissing my thigh as he did. I grinned down at him, making myself look semi-presentable and took a seat at my vanity, reapplying my makeup. Lord Alexander sat down across from my vanity and pretended to look disinterested.

“Come in,” I called.

Lord Henry came in, closing the door behind him.

“I must admit, you have more self-control than I thought,” mused Lord Henry, “I expected to find you in some form of undress.”

“Harry!” I exclaimed.

Henry smirked, “I know you well enough to know that that was certainly on your mind.”

“Regardless Harry, why are you here?” I smiled.

“Did you faint to avoid speaking to Sir Clement?” started Lord Henry.

“Was it too obvious?” I asked, biting my lip.

“No, never,” smiled Lord Henry, “You’ve always been a good actress when you need to be. The second order of business however…”

Lord Alexander rose, “I’m supposing you’d like me to leave momentarily?”

“If it’s not too much trouble,” nodded Lord Henry.

Lord Alexander nodded, lingering briefly to smile at me before he exited, closing the door gently behind him. I heard his footfalls grow quieter and quieter until I heard nothing at all.

I turned to Lord Henry worriedly, “What’s wrong Harry?”

“Keep away from Dorian, I’m worried about his impression on you,” started Lord Henry.

I started laughing, “Me? You’re worried about me leaving Alexander for Dorian?!”

“Veradisia…” said Lord Henry seriously.

“I don’t understand why you’re so worried Harry,” I sighed, “Are you afraid of Dorian ‘corrupting’ me?”

“You shouldn’t take this too lightly Vera,” said Lord Henry.

“Harry, I’m not,” I returned, “I would never leave a man for a boy. I love Alexander far too much. It’s as you said, the tension between us was palpable. Do you think I’d leave someone who understands me? Someone who has my heart and feeds my soul? No, I wouldn’t leave Alexander for the world. Dorian is nothing more than a Narcissus. Beauty and youth are all he has. Without those, he is nothing but a child. And I have no interest in a child.”

Lord Henry looked relieved, “Dorian confessed that he’s in love with you. I was afraid that you-“

I began to laugh again, “How could he possibly know what love is?”

Lord Henry shrugged, “How can you be sure you know what love is? How do you know Alexander is the one?”

My eyes flickered towards the door, “I…I’m not sure how to explain it to you Harry. You’ve always been a cynic when it came to love.”

Lord Henry smiled, “You don’t have to. You just showed me…”

I stared at him speechless.

“Alexander!” called Lord Henry.

Alexander returned to the room, putting a hand on my shoulder, “Is everything alright?”

I smiled up at him, “Everything’s perfect now.”

“What you two have is love,” said Lord Henry, “Something I once had with Victoria…but that has long since passed.”

Lord Alexander stroked my cheek and returned my smile.

“I’ll look the other way if the two of you decide to throw yourselves at each other right now,” said Lord Henry standing.

“Of course you would,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Oh come on, you know I wouldn’t tell,” teased Lord Henry.

“Hush,” I giggled.

“Oh, alright, hurry downstairs and announce your engagement!” relented Lord Henry.

I jumped to my feet and called for my maid. She relaced and tightened my corset. I took Alexander’s hand half-leading, half-dragging him down the stairs. Everyone was in the parlour taking lunch. They all looked at us apprehensively as we entered. My cheeks were flushed; I could feel my blood surging through my veins constricting my throat.

“Excuse us everyone, we’d like to say something,” said Lord Alexander hesitantly.

The room immediately fell silent, every pair of eyes upon us. Dorian looked on at us in dread as Lord Henry wandered in lazily, grinning at Lady Agatha before taking a seat.

“Lady Veradisia and I are engaged. A date for the actual wedding has yet to be set, but we’re hoping that it’ll be in the next few months,” said Lord Alexander proudly, holding up my hand with the ring on it.

Lady Agatha replaced her cup into its saucer and set it on the table.

“Congratulations!” exclaimed Lady Agatha, standing and clapping her hands together delight, “We can finally and officially welcome you to our family, Lord Alexander.”

“Lady Agatha, you’re too kind,” smiled Lord Alexander, stepping forward and grasping her hand firmly in his.

Dorian looked dejectedly at the ground, the colour drained from his face. He avoided everyone’s gaze, toying with his cufflink. Lady Agatha made her way towards me and gave me a hug, whispering in my ear, “I’m so happy for you sweetheart. I know you’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Dorian clenched his fist, standing up with resolve, striding straight towards me.

“I’m so happy for you, Lady Veradisia,” said Dorian in a strained voice.

“Thank you Dorian,” I smiled radiantly.

An apology caught in my throat. What did I have to apologize for? Nothing. Yet, I felt as though I had to address the harsh rejection Dorian had just endured.

Dorian looked at me expectantly, but no words would come. I looked towards Lord Alexander helplessly and he quickly came to my aid.

“Hello Mr. Gray,” smiled Lord Alexander coldly, “Keeping well I assume?”

Dorian mumbled a quick response before darting off.

“Thank you darling,” I whispered, “I had no idea how I was to handle that. I feel terrible that he’s faced the ultimate form of rejection, but-“

Lord Alexander shook his head, “You shouldn’t berate yourself so. Dorian would never have been a good match for you; he is simply attempting to force your hand. Perhaps I’m being biased, but I could never see you being happy with a man like him.”

I nodded thoughtfully, “I know.”


This was it. Today was the day I was waiting for for my whole life. Lord Henry had spared no expenses and neither had Lord Alexander. It had turned out to be quite the spending war. It was the most lavish party and wedding of the century. It seemed as though, between the two of them, they had invited the whole of the United Kingdom. I could hardly keep track of all those in attendance. In fact, I didn’t even know who was and wasn’t invited and Lord Henry didn’t look like he cared much.

“Congratulations,” repeated Dorian softly, echoing that day months ago, handing me a gift wrapped in gold and silver paper with a blue ribbon.

“Thank you Dorian,” I smiled, “I’m so glad you could come.”

“I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you do tonight,” complimented Dorian smiling charmingly in that special way of his, “And I’ll forever remember you this way.”

“Oh, Dorian, always the compliments,” I smiled, shifting the gifts around to make space on the table.

I turned to face him, “I hope you enjoy yourself tonight.”

As I turned, he drove a dagger into my heart. He leaned in and whispered in my ear, “I couldn’t bear that Sir Clement disrespected you so that day, so I took care of him. But you didn’t know, you never knew the things I’d do for you. I loved you Vera. I still love you. I’ll always love you.”

With the smile frozen on my face, I collapsed. The chaos around me seemed to be moving in slow motion. I couldn’t hear the screams around me. I could only remember how I had always dreamt of the splash of blood that would stain my marriage bed. I only knew that I would never have that pleasure. Alexander ran to my side horror struck, catching me inches from the ground.

“I love you, my darling,” I whispered, dying in his arms, “Good bye.”

No one questioned him as he carried my limp body upstairs to what would have been our bedroom and locked the door. Etched across his flawless features was an inhuman rage and indescribable pain.

“You’ve forced my hand for the final time, Mr. Gray,” snarled Lord Alexander.

He ripped away the collar of my dress, sinking his fangs into my throat.

*A character from Francis Burney’s novel Evelina who first courts Evelina at her first ball in London.

**Sir Clement Willoughby. Also from Frances Burney’s Evelina. Courts Evelina shamelessly. Is supposed to be a baronet or of similar standing.

Two can Play

I could have never imagined that killing would have felt so good. I could never have imagined how easy it had been. But he had it coming. He deserved it for everything he had done. My only wish was that he hadn’t died so easily. I had so much more to give him. I wanted to take care of him the same way he had taken care of me and my sister.

The police had come. They had asked their questions. And they had nothing vaguely incriminating against me. But yet they held me. My lawyers were useless. All they could think about was how to get me off. There was no conviction yet, but my lawyers were already preparing an insanity plea for me. I couldn’t help but think that by setting me up to be evaluated by a psychiatrist, it would make me look even guiltier.

“Alexandria, this is Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist in his field,” introduced one of my lawyers, “”Dr. Lecter, this is Alexandria Verger.”

I blinked a couple times and took in my surroundings in silence.

Dr. Lecter extended his hand to me, “It’s a pleasure Miss Verger.”

I grasped it firmly, but still said nothing, opting to stare at the ground instead.

“Well we’ll leave you to it,” said another lawyer, “We’ll be waiting in the sitting room for you Alexandria.”

I gave him an annoyed look and the three of them filed out in silence.

“Please, have a seat,” offered Dr. Lecter.

“Thank you,” I murmured.

Dr. Lecter followed the lawyers to the door, closing the door before seating himself across from me.

“You’re Margot’s therapist aren’t you?” I started timidly.

“And you’re Margot’s sister, aren’t you?” returned Dr. Lecter.

I nodded and studied his face.

Dr. Lecter nodded, “Did Margot tell you about me?”

I shook my head, “Not really. She mentioned you in passing, but didn’t delve into details.”

Dr. Lecter continued to study me, waiting for me to say something that he could respond or reflect back at me.

“Do you know why I’m here Dr. Lecter?” I asked quietly.

“Why don’t you tell me?” asked Dr. Lecter amused.

“My lawyers think I’m guilty of my brother’s murder and are trying to get me off on an insanity plea. However, there is nothing the police can charge me with, does that not seem odd to you?” I answered.

Dr. Lecter cracked a smile, “Now why would you want to murder your brother?”

“Have you met Mason?!” I asked incredulous.

“Unfortunately so,” grimaced Dr. Lecter.

“Then you’d know…” I said trailing off.

“Are you admitting you murdered him?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“Not at all, quite the contrary actually. As you have met him, you can attest to how utterly unlikable he is. In fact, you and I are not the only ones who disliked him; he had many enemies, but liked to hide behind his Italian henchmen and money and I mean, he could only hide for so long,” I stated stiffly.

“Now that he’s dead, are you and Margot free?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I shrugged, “I wouldn’t call it freedom as father has done everything to restrict the Verger fortune from falling into Margot or my hands. We don’t get a legacy.”

“Unless you create one,” said Dr. Lecter.

“Margot can’t. After what Mason did to her…there’s no way she’ll ever be able to have children,” I said shaking my head.

“What about you?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“I was never allowed to leave the house. I could never have met anyone…even now. I don’t have the skills to…entice anyone,” I said hesitantly.

“But since you’ve been out, have you met someone you like?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I dropped my gaze, “Yes…but I don’t think it’ll work out…I mean who he is isn’t compatible with who I am.”

“How do you know if you haven’t tried?” pressed Dr. Lecter.

“Because I understand societal conventions even if I’ve never been a part of them…this is one relationship that would be greatly frowned upon,” I sighed.

“Without going into too many details, describe him,” instructed Dr. Lecter.

I sighed again before starting, “He and I have a professional relationship. No it isn’t one of those idiot lawyers you’ve met who are waiting outside, but we’ve interacted briefly in the past. He ran errands for Mason and was one of the few people I had any sort of interaction with. He was a decent person, was always polite, soft spoken and willing to do anything I asked. After I got out he…offered to teach me things, took me in and there I…feel that it’s wrong to be falling in love with him.”

Dr. Lecter smiled encouragingly for me to continue.

“The more I talk to him the more I feel that I’m in love with him. Some nights I can hardly sleep without getting a panic attack thinking about him. It’s the little things that trigger a skip in my heart beat and a rush of adrenaline. Well that and estrogen as my voice usually shoots up three octaves or so when I’m talking to him,” I continued, “It’s like I can’t even function like a normal human being.”

“You bring up a good point with that last there, but let’s get back to the panic attacks. Tell me more about what those are like?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I buried my face in my hands, “Everything I see is somehow connected back to him.”

“Give me an example,” requested Dr. Lecter.

“Okay, um, so he drives a green Toyota Prius, so every time I see one I think it’s him and it makes me do a double take. Not just green Toyotas though. Green cars more generally that are the same shape, other Toyota Priuses…small things like that. Other green cars though not of the same shape or model or anything make me smile because they make me think of him,” I explained.

“Strange thing love, isn’t it?” mused Dr. Lecter, “What kind of things did he talk to you about before Mason’s death?”

“Ordinary things. Like how Mason was treating me, if I was getting enough to eat and yeah, stuff like that,” I answered.

“Did he ever suggest getting rid of Mason? Did he ever say ‘if Mason were dead, I would…’?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I furrowed my brow, “I don’t recall, but I was too enamored with him to remember much. Gosh, I’m still enamored with him.”

“Describe a typical fantasy,” said Dr. Lecter.

I reddened and looked away again, twisting my hair as I used to do as a little girl when Mason used to hurt me.

“I’m sorry…I don’t think I can…” I said as steadily as I could.

“I know that you remember one,” said Dr. Lecter sharply.

“What I meant was…I can’t repeat what I have thought in my head. It’s…too much,” I blushed.

“Really? There must be a tame one in there somewhere,” smiled Dr. Lecter.

He appeared to be enjoying himself, pushing me to the edges of my comfort zone.

I frowned again, trying to think of my first fantasy, sure that it would the most decent and tame fantasy I had of him, “I remember thinking how good he smelled and one of my first fantasies was cuddling. Just cuddling under the stars with him and taking in his wonderful scent.”

“And now tell me the most risqué,” said Dr. Lecter.

I groaned, “I don’t think so Dr. Lecter.”

“Miss Verger, I think it would be a good exercise,” said Dr. Lecter.

“Fine…the most…,” I started, “I think it would be dinner and…um, going to his house and…”

“Oh,” said Dr. Lecter disappointed, “I expected more. From what Margot told me, you have a powerful imagination.”

“Margot praises me too highly. I’m really worthless,” I said, “I’m sorry to have disappointed you.”

Dr. Lecter shook his head, “You are far bolder than you’d like to reveal and far more clever and imaginative than Margot described you as, but years with Mason have stifled what you feel is your self-worth.”

I stared at the ground, I hated admitting that I was wrong.

Dr. Lecter leaned in, “. I have a friend who consults me and works in the Behavioural Science Unit. I read the report and saw Mason’s body. It was well done. An art form in and of itself. It was well thought out and planned.”

“Perhaps it was a serenade,” I said simply.

“To whom?” asked Dr. Lecter curiously.

“To the Chesapeake Ripper,” I answered standing.

At that moment my lawyers returned and I allowed them to escort me out.

“We’ll be in touch, Dr. Lecter, for Alexandria’s full evaluation,” stated a lawyer.

“Will it be likely that I will have another session with Miss Verger?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“No,” answered another, “Thank you for your expertise doctor and have a good evening.”

Dr. Lecter watched from his window as I got into the car. Once fastened in, I gave him a smile as I disappeared down the road.

Prompt: Write or draw something based around a favorite movie or TV show

Written in the Stars

Prompt: write or draw about your favourite character from any story in an alternate story, sequel to the original story, or in a different period of time.

“Good evening Henry,” I greeted my cousin.
“My, my Helena, you look ravishing. Is there someone you’d like to impress tonight?” teased Lord Henry Wotton.
“Oh hush!” I said colouring.
Lord Henry smirked, “Not Dorian is it?”
“Of course not,” I said dismissively.
“Oh you are so naughty,” laughed Lord Henry.
“It’s not Dorian,” I insisted.
“Sure it isn’t,” said Lord Henry sarcastically, “I’ve invited him to escort you anyways.”
“Pardon?!” I exclaimed, nearly falling out of my chair.
“Upset with me?” asked Lord Henry.
“A little, yes…I was hoping…” I said biting my lip.
“Ah, have you asked someone else?” asked Lord Henry raising an eyebrow, “That’s rather bold, even for you Helena.”
“I didn’t ask him,” I blushed, “He offered to take me…”
“Impressive, may I ask who?” asked Lord Henry.
“Are you gossiping?!” asked Lady Agatha smacking Lord Henry with her novel.
Lord Henry pretended to be affronted by such an accusation, “Of course not!”
“He’s only caused a situation,” I said dryly.
“What have you done Harry?!” exclaimed Lady Agatha.
“I wasn’t aware that Helena had an escort for this evening so I took it upon myself to procure someone for her,” confessed Lord Henry.
“Well I hope you’re aware you’re fixing the situation,” said Lady Agatha annoyed.
“Yes…well…” said Lord Henry.
“HENRY!” exclaimed Lady Agatha.
“Alright!” laughed Lord Henry.
At that moment the doorbell rang and we all jumped.
“I don’t know what to say to Dorian if he shows up first,” I fretted.
“I’ll handle it,” reassured Lord Henry putting a hand on our shoulder, “I got you into this mess, I’ll get you out.”
“Thank you Henry,” I smiled nervously.
“Ladies, Lord Henry,” announced the butler, “Lord Maxwell Starling.”
I let out a small sigh of relief.
Lord Maxwell walked straight towards me. I only had the time to stand up before he took both my hands and pressed it to his lips.
I blushed again, “Good evening my lord.”
“Lady Helena,” smiled Lord Maxwell.
“Lord Maxwell…that’s unexpected,” said Lord Henry under his breath.
“Lady Agatha, Lord Henry,” nodded Lord Maxwell, “How do you do?”
“Well,” said Lady Agatha excitedly, “And yourself?”
“Well,” repeated Lord Maxwell, “I hope there are no objections that I will be escorting Lady Helena to tonight’s dinner ball.”
“Of course not!” said Lady Agatha breathlessly.
“Take care to be home before midnight,” teased Lord Henry.
“Most certainly not!” I laughed.
“Alright, we will see you there,” nodded Lady Agatha.
I nodded as Lord Maxwell took my arm and led me to his carriage and helped me in.


We arrived in the midst of the party, but we caused a buzz nonetheless.
“Is that Lord Maxwell with Lady Helena?” whispered a socialite.
“Unbelievable…how did she end up with someone as illustrious as him?!” returned another.
I absolutely glowed under all the attention.
“Enjoying yourself?” asked Lord Maxwell amused.
“I most certainly am,” I nodded, “Although, I have a bit of a situation that I need to discuss with you.”
“Hmm?” asked Lord Maxwell.
“My cousin, Lord Henry asked Mr. Dorian Gray to be my escort thinking that I had no one to accompany me to tonight’s dinner. I hope that it will not cause any conflicts later this evening.”
“Your cousin is quite a piece of work…does he think before he opens up that mouth of his?” mused Lord Maxwell.
“I don’t think so…” I returned.
“Well, should there be a conflict, I think I would be able to handle Mr. Gray,” stated Lord Maxwell, “I thank you for the forewarning.”
I gave him a small smiled, “Even if you can handle Mr. Gray, you have my sincerest apologies.”
“Don’t apologize for your cousin. He can do so himself when he arrives for dinner with Mr. Gray,” said Lord Maxwell, drawing out my chair for me.
We took our seats and said our hellos to the other guests already seated at our table. It wasn’t long before Henry arrived with Mr. Gray and my mother.
“Lord Henry,” smiled Lord Maxwell coldly, standing to help seat my mother.
“Lord Maxwell, do I detect a hint of ice in your voice or has that always been there?” returned Lord Henry.
“I believe you took the trouble of finding your cousin an escort though she already had one for the evening,” said Lord Maxwell.
“It was a mistake,” said Lord Henry dismissively, “I was only trying to do what was best for her.”
“You think Mr. Gray is the best she can do?” asked Lord Maxwell, “No offense to you Mr. Gray.”
“None taken,” said Dorian meekly.
“I meant no offense Lord Maxwell. I just thought that Helena ought to have some fun, go out with someone she isn’t expected to marry,” said Lord Henry nonchalantly.
“How…thoughtful of you,” said Lord Maxwell smirking, “Next time, put your trust in her. She knows what she wants and knows how to go about getting it.”
“Right…now that we’ve settled that, can we continue with normal dinner conversation?” asked Lady Agatha importantly.
“One last question,” said Lord Henry.
“Yes?” asked Lord Maxwell.
“Did Helena put you up to this?” smirked Lord Henry.
“Do you really think I’m that kind of a person?” I asked shocked.
“Oh, but of course. Who knows better than you how to corrupt a perfectly impressionable youth?” teased Lord Henry.
“Of course it’s me,” I conceded, “I wanted to watch you squirm under the pressure for once.”
“Well, congratulations, I suppose. You got your wish, but now, introductions, yes?”
“Yes,” I agreed, “Oh, before you do, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for my rejection Mr. Gray. You see, Lord Henry informed me of our arrangement only a half hour ago and of course as a woman, I plan weeks in advanced and had already procured Lord Maxwell as my escort for this evening. Perhaps we may attend the next party together if I have not offended you too much.”
Dorian smiled his perfect boyish smile, “It would be my pleasure and an honour to be your escort.”
I nodded and so Lord Henry introduced us all to his friend Mr. Dorian Gray, grandson of Lord Kelso. Henry was always good at withholding details, well at least the interesting and imperative ones necessary for the analysis of character. Poor Dorian was bombarded with all kinds of questions from, where did he live before inheriting Kelso’s mansion to who was he currently interested in. Dorian was far too polite to refuse answering even the most offensive questions and that made him seem all the more likeable. The only one who looked vastly unimpressed was Lord Maxwell and I couldn’t blame him. He was used to being at the centre of attention and this shift onto Dorian, a young gentleman was rather unnerving and from Lord Maxwell’s perspective, rather annoying.
“What do you think of him?” Lord Maxwell asked me quietly.
I shrugged discreetly. “He’s alright I suppose. Nothing special. I’ve seen boys like him come and go. They’re popular for one season and entirely forgotten in the next.”
Lord Maxwell smiled subtly, “Your heart is set on someone else then?”
I nodded and said nothing more.
We were about to start dessert when the west doors of the ballroom flew open. Every party was incomplete without Lord Jasper Winston. Lord Jasper didn’t bother looking around at the ladies adoring him, but headed straight to our table and fell to his knees before me.
“Oh good lord,” muttered Lord Henry under his breath.
“Lady Helena, will you do me the honour of becoming my bride?” proposed Lord Jasper.
I shot a quick look at my mother in a panic. This was completely unexpected.“I—I—uh,” I said hesitantly.
“Lady Helena…” whispered Lord Jasper, “Please don’t do this to me here.”
“Do you have my mother’s blessing?!” I whispered forcefully.
He nodded and I looked at my mother for confirmation. I closed my eyes. The room held its breath. I took a deep breath, “Yes.”
“Really?!” exclaimed Lord Maxwell, loud enough for the table to hear, but it only sounded like a murmur to the rest of the room.
“No,” I said loud enough for the room to hear.
Everyone gasped. Lord Jasper was an Earl, Lord Maxwell was only a Marquees.
“How dare you lie to me?” I hissed.
“What ever do you mean?” asked Lord Jasper innocently.
“My mother didn’t give her blessing,” I whispered.
“You’ll deny your heart because I wasn’t completely truthful?” asked Lord Jasper.
“Yes,” I said firmly.
“You said you loved me,” said Lord Jasper confused.
“You said you loved him?!” asked Lord Maxwell shocked.
“I said I loved him,” I answered.
“But why then?” asked Lord Jasper and Maxwell in unison.
“Because I value honesty more. How can I believe you once I’m married to you if you can’t even tell me the truth about something as simple as consent? I will not marry a man that my mother has not given blessing to,” I explained, “Youth and beauty fade. One day it’ll be your character that is important. That’s why.”
Lord Jasper opened and closed his mouth, but nothing came out.
“I’d like to go home,” I said to Lord Maxwell, who immediately stood.
Lord Maxwell put an arm around me and guided me out.
In all the fuss, no one noticed Dorian had slipped away.


I arrived home at eight and sent Lord Maxwell away. I need time alone to think and promised I would call on him tomorrow. As far as I knew, he returned to the party. He had barely left when there came a knock on the door. I hadn’t even taken a stride before I was back at the door thinking he had perhaps forgotten something.
“My Lord? Oh…Dorian, what can I do for you?” I asked surprised.
“I just wanted to talk…about something you had said early this evening,” said Dorian shyly.
“Alright, come in,” I sighed, opening the door a little wider.
“Carson, tell mother and Harry that Dorian is here,” I called out.
“Yes, my lady,” nodded the butler.
I led Dorian into the living room.
“What troubles you Dorian?” I asked.
“You said beauty fades and that you look to a man’s character instead…that seemed odd to me. Someone as young as yourself concerned with character?” said Dorian.
“Beauty isn’t everything Dorian and yet it is. Beauty is impermanent that’s why it’s so beautiful. It is transient, a moment that will never come again…that is why it is so highly valued though it shouldn’t be. In this world where appearances make up for so much, it’s hard to find someone who is true in their heart. I thought I loved Lord Jasper and I was ready to marry him tonight. It was as he said, it was what my heart wanted, but he lied to me and I couldn’t accept that. Yes, he’s a beautiful lie, but what if he were to be unfaithful to me? How could I know that? I cannot risk my reputation, present or future for a man like that,” I explained.
“You say that so easily…but do you really believe that?” asked Dorian.
I nodded, “Harry taught me well. Ironic isn’t it?”
“Well…a bit,” agreed Dorian.
“But society’s like that isn’t it?” I continued, “We teach our sons to pursue a girl as though she is prey, yet we teach our daughters to beware of these predatory men. Why do we teach our children like this? Why can we not teach our sons to respect women? Why must we teach our girls to take precautionary measures?”
Dorian stared at me blankly with no answer for several minutes before he replied, “I don’t know…I don’t think I can answer that.”
“No, but think about that Mr. Gray before you treat another girl as a conquest. Now I believe that you’ve stayed long enough to evoke suspicion. If you’d like, you may return tomorrow afternoon when my mother and Harry have returned,” I said standing.
“Yes, of course, thank you Lady Helena,” returned Dorian, jumping up from his seat, “Good evening.”


The next day I called on Lord Maxwell as promised and there he proposed in the quiet of his living room. I think after last night, no one would dare propose with an audience again.
“Have you gotten my mother’s blessing?” I asked.
“Yes, but if you’d like to check with your mother prior to consenting, I do not mind,” smiled Lord Maxwell, “But do tell me, how could you have loved a man like Lord Jasper?”
“He swept me off my feet with sweet sonnets…the one thing I truly do love is a good old fashioned sonnet,” I said smiling at the memory.
“That’s all it took?” asked Lord Maxwell blankly.
“That’s all he had the separated you from him,” I nodded.
“So if I started writing you sonnets, would that make us equals?” pressed Lord Maxwell.
I laughed, “Then you wouldn’t be yourself.”
“Oh, no, that isn’t so!” exclaimed Lord Maxwell, “All educated aristocratic gentlemen are taught to write in all forms of verse. I just thought that as a progressive woman, you wouldn’t be interested in the whims of old.”
“Write me a sonnet and impress me,” I laughed, leaving him to his thoughts.


I returned home to find Dorian already waiting for me.
“Dorian, what a sweet surprise,” I greeted.
“Lady Helena…I’ve come for some advice,” said Dorian hesitantly.
“Of course, what is it?” I asked.
“I’ve fallen in love…with a simple country girl. Her name is Hetty Merton…and I so want to be good for her. I’ve done some pretty bad things in my lifetime under the guidance of Harry. Things I cannot undo, yet I wish to undo them. My soul is damaged beyond repair and I’m at a loss for what is to be done.”
“Have you ever gone to a confession?” I asked.
“Yes, but the father could not help me…I have seen my soul and it is rotten,” said Dorian quietly.
“No one but God can see our souls,” I said.
“Yes, but I have…when I nailed my soul to the devil’s altar,” continued Dorian in his low voice.
“My God…Dorian, what have you done?!” I asked appalled.
Dorian looked at me like a lost, kicked puppy, “Please Lady Helena, tell me what to do. I don’t want this corruption, this filth spilling onto Hetty…she is so sweet…so young and oblivious. I can’t bear the thought of breaking her heart. Oh Hetty!”
“Hush now Dorian,” I said, making sure no one had heard, “Show me what you mean.”
Dorian nodded and led me to the front door, I paused as I saw my mother come onto the landing.
“Going out Helena?” she asked.
“Yes mother, only for a little bit. Dorian would like to show me something,” I said vaguely.
“Well, I was meaning to tell you last night. Lord Maxwell has asked for my blessing for your hand in marriage and I’ve given it. I hope that is alright with you.”
I nodded, “I will give him my answer.”
She nodded and disappeared back into her rooms.
I followed Dorian out to his carriage and we took it in silence back to his home. He led me upstairs and opened the locked door in the attic, leading me to a painting covered by a drape.
“This was painted by Basil Hallward. He and Harry showed me the beauty of my youth. It was they who corrupted me…I should never have listened to them…I wish I had met Hetty much sooner…she would have turned me from this path…” said Dorian, pulling back the sheet.
As I gazed upon the painting, I felt a sense of pity filter through me, “Dorian…you were once as innocent as Hetty. Do you remember those days?”
Dorian shook his head, “It seems so far…I most certainly am not that man today…and either gazing forward or back, I would not recognize myself.”
“Dorian…how do I make you understand that there is nothing that neither Hetty nor I can do for you. What you’ve done to yourself is irreversible.”
“I was afraid you would say that, so I wanted to ask you. If you had had a portrait commissioned in which the portrait aged and sustained the damage to your body for you, what would it look like now?” asked Dorian.
I thought about it for a long while before I began to speak, “We all want to say that that painting would reflect back the beauty of that day we were painted, but unfortunately it is never true. You showed me your secret…let me show you mine.”
“Yours?” asked Dorian in shock.
I nodded, “But first, I need to accept a proposal.”


We arrived back at my home shortly after five. I led Dorian to my private gallery, which I kept locked just like he did. However, I did not have the only key. In fact, everyone in the house had a key which made me question why  it was my private gallery and not the whole family’s. At the back of the gallery was my study. This room was truly my private room and I held the only key for this room. I made my way in and made sure to lock the door behind me. I led Dorian to a painting and drew back the curtains.
“How?” asked Dorian staring at it incredulous.
“Because I could stay true to myself. I didn’t let Basil or Harry or Lord Jasper or Lord Maxwell or anyone change who I was. It was hard and I had to say no to my heart many times, but this painting ages as I age. When I die it will revert to the glory Basil painted, but until then it is my mirror.” I answered.
“You said that no one could lead such a virtuous life…yet you?” said Dorian at a loss for words.
“I had my fun Dorian. I damaged my soul. But it was not yet irreversible and I found a way to heal,” I answered.
“How?” repeated Dorian.
“Writing. And reading. And falling in love,” I smiled.
“But I’m too far gone?” asked Dorian.
“You’re never too far gone,” I said, “You may have irreversible damage done to you, but doesn’t mean you can’t move on. Who knows, maybe Hetty is the one who will make all the difference,” I answered.
“So you’re saying I should still try with Hetty?” asked Dorian.
I nodded, “Remember, she has not yet been spoiled by London. Do not allow that to happen and she may be your saving grace.”
“Thank you Lady Helena…you’ve taught me things I’m ashamed to admit are wrong with me…thank you…I will never forget you. I promise you, I will return this favour to you one day. I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but one day,” said Dorian.
“Good bye Dorian and good luck,” I said.
“Good bye Helena.”


Eight years later

“Darling, this came in the post for you this morning and got mixed up with mine,” said Lord Maxwell walking towards me with a letter.
“Who’s it from?” I murmured.
“Mr. Dorian Gray,” read Lord Maxwell.
“Read it to me,” I said, closing my eyes.
Lord Maxwell broke the seal and began the letter, “Dear Lady Helena. Years ago you did me a favour and helped me find redemption. I promised you that day that I would return the favour. It would be a great honour if you would come with Lord Maxwell and your family to the countryside and enjoy the hospitality of my darling wife, Hetty and I. I await your response with baited breath. Your ever faithful, Dorian.”
“Shall we go darling?” I asked.
“What was the favour you did for him?” asked Lord Maxwell.
“He has a portrait issue similar to mine,” I said vaguely.
Lord Maxwell wisely shut up. He knew generally what my situation had been and knew that he had no right to be poking around in Dorian’s business.
“It’ll be good for the children,” said Lord Maxwell finally.
“Will you draft up a response and send it out to him? Ask if this weekend is acceptable for him,” I instructed.
“Certainly love. Sorry for having woken you,” apologized Lord Maxwell.
“No, it’s alright. How’s Gabriel doing? Has he terrorized his nurse to insanity yet?” I asked.
Lord Maxwell laughed, “Not that I’m aware of. She hasn’t run off screaming yet.”
I laughed, sank back onto my pillows and fell asleep.


On Saturday morning we set off from London. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that we arrived at Dorian and Hetty’s family home.
“Dorian, how are you?” I asked.
“I’m well thank you,” nodded Dorian, “Lady Helena, Lord Maxwell, this is my wife Hetty.”
“Hello,” we said politely, “These are our kids, Mary, William, and most recently Gabriel.”
“Hello,” returned Dorian and Hetty.
“Come inside,” said Hetty.
Lord Maxwell pushed the kids ahead of him, noticing that I was lingering slightly. He reached out and took Gabriel with him inside.
“Dorian…how is your portrait?” I asked quietly.
“Come see it,” said Dorian leading me off to workshop off to the side of the house.
He pulled back the drape and though the painting still had traces of its former damage, but the maggots were gone at least.
“How’s yours?” asked Dorian.
“A little older than a mirror. Children have really taken a lot out of me,” I admitted.
“This is for you,” said Dorian holding out a box for me.
I looked at him curiously, “Should I wait to open this?”
“It’s up to you,” smiled Dorian.
I untied the bow, peered inside the box, and smiled, “Thank you Dorian.”


A tribute to Hannibal

The scent of rotting carcasses filled the air as I stood amidst them. It was glorious, beautiful, an expression of my unrecognized talent. In life they were nothing. They were only common folk, but in death I elevated them to art. I carefully made sure that each actor and actress was in his or her place, taking care not to leave any evidence behind.

Art was not merely a visual experience, not art was a visceral response, an auditory response, a full sensory response. I would make it so. Looking at the bodies entertwined, becoming one as the flowers bloomed around them was overwhelming. After months of cultivation, my garden was almost done. All it needed were some guests, music and food. I would take care of all that soon.

The smell of rotting carcasses was a bit off putting, but it was the price I had to pay for such genius. I looked around and wondered if he would be among the police to see and hear my serenade to him. I loved him, but he didn’t know me. I wasn’t important. Expendable even. But that didn’t matter. Not anymore. I just wanted him to know. To know this was all for him.

I went inside the truck and brought out prosciutto roses made from human leg cured for eight months, heart tartar, flamingo tongue, foie gras among other delicacies. I carefully arranged them on the table I had set in on the carcass cobblestone I had created. I put some flowers in a vase, poured some wine.

I hoped the FBI agents would show up. They would be a lovely addition to my art piece. The final touch to this masterpiece. They were the guests of honour.


From my hiding place I watched them come. Come to see their colleagues dead and set into my masterpiece. A soft breeze floated through and the scent of the garden and carcasses mingled and I saw him lean in to inspect the food. I saw a small smile creep onto his face and it was satisfaction enough. I carefully snuck away. Until I could no longer hear the music and then I ran. I ran without stopping. Almost forgetting to breathe. I just kept going. The only thing on my mind was to get home. To destroy all the evidence there.

They would never find me, but I had to make sure. I would burn it all. Burn everything down.

And disappear.

I knew it was going to be hard. But this was my final masterpiece, it had to be overwhelming.

All the work I had put into it, it had drained me. All I could think about was laying down somewhere to sleep. Just to close my eyes and drift away.

But no. Not before my work was done. I still had lots to do. There was no time to be thinking about sleeping.

But I was so tired. It was so easy just to forget all my obligations. To forget all the demands I had on me. It was so easy to say good bye as there was no one left.

I wanted him to know what I had done for him. I couldn’t destroy everything yet. The fire would bring me too much attention. I had to see him first. To let him know. And then say good bye.


“Good evening,” he greeted me, “Please come in, Miss Carter.”

“Thank you, Dr. Lecter,” I smiled.

Once the door was securely closed behind me. I took a seat, a deep breath and began.

I spilled to him my story, recounted every last detail, studying his face as I told him.

“They’ll catch you,” he commented.

I shook my head, “You don’t understand. They won’t catch me. There’s nothing there to incriminate me.”

“But I have the obligation to inform the police,” he said.

I smiled, “Not if you value your secret. I know. I’ve seen you work. And with great finesse. I admire you. It was my serenade. My good bye.”

He smiled and thanked me, not quite understanding the crazy person before him.

“I’m sure you’ve had fans. Imitators, people so willing to claim credit to your work,” I said, “I didn’t want to do that. It would have been an insult to your talent. I hope you enjoyed a taste of my work, but I’m going to sleep now and I don’t think I shall ever wake.”

“Would you like some help?” he offered.

I crinkled my nose, “Would I be imposing?”

He shook his head, “Let us create one final masterpiece. Your greatest masterpiece.”


“This will help,” he said, injecting something into my blood stream.

“What is it?” I mumbled.

“A sedative,” he answered cryptically.

“Thank you,” I said.

I felt myself drifting off.

“Don’t forget the fire,” I mumbled one last time.

I saw him nod as my eyes closed.


They found me just the way he left me. On the kitchen table carved up like a roast. The table was set for two. Candles and roses adorned the charred table and the sweet scent of lilacs filled the room. He had come back after to set it just the way I had asked. A soft melody greeted the crime scene processing team. He was with them and did so well to keep that smile off his face, but this was his masterpiece too.

Our masterpiece.

Something we were both proud to call our own. I would never forget him. And I know that he would never forget me.


Prompt: The scent of rotting carcasses filled the air.


BBC Sherlock Fan Fiction [In progress]

BBC Sherlock Fan Fiction [In progress]


Vampire Academy Fan Fiction [complete]

Vampire Academy Fan Fiction [complete]

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