The Life We Choose – Episode 02

Daniel held out his hand to her.

“Please help me up, pretty lady,” he said, dark eyes dancing with laughter.

“After all, I fell for you and I could be injured.”

He leapt to his feet and trapped her hand in his.

“Daniel Morrison,” he said, smiling.

Sarah returned the smile.

“Sarah Ogilvie,” she replied, wondering when Daniel would release her hand. He didn’t.

As the crowd surged around them, noisy with high spirits, they were borne away with Jess and Sandy.

For a while, Sarah and Daniel had been in the company of Jess and Sandy, then as the newlyweds went off to find a quiet spot under the trees, they had wandered hand in hand around the stalls and booths, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

When the races began, Daniel had taken off his boots and asked Sarah to guard them while he ran. He won his race and returned jingling a pocketful of coins.

“My prize.” He held them out for Sarah’s inspection. “I’m a rich man, so now I’ll buy you a present.”

She protested, pushing tendrils of hair away from her face.

Daniel bought her a clasp for her hair. She had never seen one like it, surmounted as it was by a brightly painted butterfly.

“It’ll bring you luck,” a gypsy girl said as she handed it over.

“Today, the luck is mine,” was Daniel’s answer.

Jess and Sandy had come back in search of Sarah, full of apologies. Sandy and Daniel knew each other and the four of them enjoyed one another’s company for the rest of the afternoon, until the crowd gradually drifted away in the slight chill of the early evening.

Their parting was almost formal, as if a spell had been broken.

“Thank you for your company,” Sarah had said stiffly, trying to avoid Daniel’s intent gaze.

But as Jess and Sandy turned away to speak to acquaintances, he leaned forward and whispered in Sarah’s ear.

“I come up to the Gowan Banks and sit by the stream in the evening,” he told her, his voice urgent. “I hope we meet again.”

His dark gaze locked into hers and brought warmth to her cheeks. She managed a smile.

But since that day, she had told herself that she had not behaved as her father would have expected. He had plans for her – plans which did not include a friendship with the handsome young man whom Sandy had told her was a miner from the village of Langrigg.

So Sarah had tried to content herself with only the memory of Daniel on a sunlit afternoon which might soon disappear into the mists of time.

But as afternoon had slipped away into evening every single day since the Gowan Fair, Sarah had sat by the window, looking out over the fields, knowing that there, just out of sight and sitting by the stream, Daniel would be waiting for her.

A sudden urgent rapping at the door of the schoolhouse broke her reverie and brought her to her feet.

The caller stood on the doorstep, an imposing figure, stout, and buttoned securely into black bombazine. The veil on her black hat obscured her eyes, but as she twitched it back with a gloved hand, Sarah looked into the face of a woman in late middle age who might have been described as “handsome”.

“Mistress Mary Ellen Walker,” she announced herself stiffly. “I have come to see Master Ogilvie.”

“Is he expecting you?” Sarah asked.

“I shouldna think so, Miss Ogilvie. I wrote to him a while back, but I’ve had no answer, and the time’s gettin’ on so here I am.”

Sarah sighed. Her father had developed a disregard for letters recently.

“Come in, Mistress Walker,” she said.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.