Wednesday, 6 November 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 5 Word count 1205

It had taken some serious persuading, but Mary had been wn over by Melissa's weak as a kitten attempt to stagger out of bed ad follow her. Within a few days of careful nurturing, Melissa was able to sit on a sofa in her dressing room. A few days more and she had convinced Mary that not only did she need a chaperone, but that Mary was the only suitable candidate.

Once she had agreed, Melissa summoned the dressmakers to clothe Mary appropriately for her new role. She also took the opportunity to win Mary over by arranging for a series of charitable donations and arranging for a fund for doctors. Initially, she had assumed that throwing money at the cause would resolve the problem and it was all she had the energy for to begin with. However, when interview after interview between Mary and prospective doctors failed, she began to feel the frustration Mary had indicated. Doctors were very keen to be associated with the money she was offering, but once it became clear they would need to mix with fallen women, they lost interest. Some even proclaimed their offence that she would consider it appropriate to consider they would want to mingle with such people.

Soon she lowered her sights from the best doctors to any doctors with a respected practice. Lowered them still further to the mediocre. She then drew the line at one wastrel who was clearly willing to do anything for money but could not disguise the fact that his words would not translate into the actions of a caring individual. In the absence of a dedicated professional to help them, Mary suggested funding a series of nurses to care for the worst of the girls and then setting up a boarding house for the newcomers to the city.

Melissa was taking an interest in her new hobby, providing and caring for the girls who had no-one else to turn to. For the first week it occupied ever waking moment of her days – albeit she slept more than 16 hours each day. Eventually she was once more healthy enough to participate in a social life and carry out activities beyond those that could be squeezed into her bedroom. Her neighbours began to visit again once the doctors assured them that there was no danger of contagion. She still engaged with her plans for the girls, but she was willing to entrust the greater part of the arrangements to Mary's wider knowledge and experience.

Her neighbours were not overly impressed with her new companion to begin with. Mary's appearance was not beautiful, however fine the garments she donned. However, Melissa felt her presence – after so long being dependent on her for everything she found it soothing and safe when all else still confused her – and entrusted her with every aspect of her life. Mary alone knew of her lonlieness, of her wish that Andy would visit – not for any amorous intention as she didn't have the energy for such an encounter, but merely as someone who knew and could understand.

She was hale again before she saw him and when she did she was shocked at his appearance. Like her, he had been struck down by an illness. Unlike her he had only had a few paycheck driven servants keeping him alive and they had resigned themselves to a very brief employment when his fever had been at its height. A few days later he had broken through his illness mostly unattended and the sustenance he had receive was only upon request. Without an equivalent of Mary's bullying he had remained uninterested in eating and his physique, already on the slender side, had wasted into skeletal.

He seemed tired and uninterested in his life in this time. He had been relieved to see she had not died from her infections – like her he had felt isolated without a companion who understood where they had come from and how utterly alien everything in this world was. Unlike her, he had found no new purpose lying alone and miserable in his chamber.

He seemed so lacking in purpose that she cast her mind back to remind him of how fun it had been – the parties, gambling and revelling in their new found experiences. He was uninspired. Castingmos her mind back further she reminded him or the reason they were here in the first place – the goal of saving the world from the disastrous future Andy would create. And when such a goal seemed to him to be fiddly she pointed out with some asperity that the very least he could do was to rescue his other self from the French forces. They'd already missed the date of his capture, so he would need to be broken free. At first it made no difference, but when she began suggesting ways and means; arguing against the suggestions she made herself he became engaged and the two of them developed a lively discussion.

There was no possibility that he could travel while still so affected by his recent illness, but she convinced him to build his strength and make the preparations.

Within a week, he had informed his new best friends of his intentions and they had signed up to the adventure. In total there were four of them – two who had been inseperable since their early days at school, Paul and James, Andy and another newcomer to town Michael. Michael had taught Andy to play picquet in his first week and the first proper game had been against Paul and James. They had played for five hours and drunk for an additional three before singing and dancing through the town in the early hours of the morning. The four of them became a band of brothers and while Andy was ill Paul and James had been inducting Michael into their world.

Andy had only to announce his plans over a few drinks and they were keen to join. When he reiterated the plan sober, the three of them had queried it at first but soon entered enthusiastically in the idea of things. Andy had only told them that he had heard a friend of his was in French hands and that he wanted to extract him. They'd suggested official routes first, but soon all were convinced it was best to take the city of Paris by storm and recover the lost man.

Their knowledge of the realities available maade all the difference to Andy and Melissa's plans. At first the others had been surprised by the inclusion of Melissa in Andy's thoughts, but soon his pragmatic, blithe, and wholly certain belief that he was doing the normal thing convinced them and they accepted his assurances that her input was important.

It wasn't long before Melissa recognised that although they carried the physique and trappings of men, they were boys inside and what they sought more than anything was a way to assert their independence and prove their manhood. Beyond that, they followed the strongest character and, having been shown they had no shame in considering her a member of the team she became the de-facto team leader.