Chapter 65: Fame

Sence was anxious to know what Victoria would do now that she was married.

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“Are you going to carry on in theatre?” she asked.

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Sence was hoping that Victoria would remain career-orientated so that her Cedric still stood a chance of inheriting the family fortune.

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“Oh yes, I’m sure we’ll carry on travelling,” Victoria said.

Sence was surprised this news didn’t make her feel any happier. She should have been relieved. She didn’t dare admit to herself how fond she was of Victoria and how much she liked having the young woman in the house.

Felice saw right through Sence’s line of questioning and attacked her.

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The excitement was too much for poor old Adelina…

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The Grim Reaper came for her.

To everyone’s surprise, Adelina left her flower shop not to Victoria but to Johnny who was away at war.

Victoria blamed Felice for Adelina’s death and the rift between them grew wider.

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Victoria couldn’t stand to be in the house, but she couldn’t run away again, not while everyone was grieving. So she went to the park and expressed her own grief through music.

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People started to come from across the neighbourhood to hear her play.

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Baldric saw an opportunity. He used the money that he’d made in his travels and Victoria pitched in the money she’d inherited from Adelina to buy a small theatre.

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Victoria was an instant success.

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It seemed as if nothing could come between them and their theatrical dreams.

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Until…

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Read from The Beginning

 

Chapter 64: Love and marriage

Harry was delighted to hear news of his daughter’s engagement. He’d been very concerned for her welfare since she’d run off with Baldric. However, he was also worried that he wouldn’t be able to provide the grand wedding that she deserved.snapshot_c07a927a_a30223c6

He was finally forced to confess the financial situation to Felice.

He approached her in the garden when he was certain no one else was around.

“I’m afraid I’ve done something terrible,” he said.

When he saw the expression on her face, he almost lost his nerve.

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He forced himself to continue.

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He told his wife about the forgeries he’d been making and about how he’d been unable to earn a single cent since war was declared.

“I don’t understand, why would you do this?” she responded. Harry was the most moral man she’d ever met.

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“Because art was all I could do, Felice. No one wanted my original work. I wanted you to admire me. I never wanted you to look down on me as the starving artist struggling to make ends meet.”

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“Oh you silly man,” she said, wrapping her arms around him.

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She promised him that they’d find a way to give their daughter the wedding of her dreams. Somehow.

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Harry couldn’t believe that Felice wasn’t more upset. He’d expected her to storm away, refuse to speak to him. Maybe even leave him. Instead, a kind of calm came over her.

What he didn’t understand was how finding out he wasn’t perfect made her feel so much better about her own sins.

Besides, she’d grown up poor. She could make a plan.

That very afternoon, she signed up to be a nurse.

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Victoria decided to return home for the wedding.

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She was surprised at how much older her parents were looking.

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But not as surprised as when she saw how nice Baldric cleaned up.

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In the end, they had a small garden wedding and reception with family only, and it was perfect.

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There weren’t even any cat fights, despite Sense making a comment about being surprised that Victoria would ever get married.

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After the wedding, Harry took some photographs of the happy couple so they could remember the day forever.

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Read from the beginning

Read from Victoria’s birth

Read from when Victoria and Baldric met

Chapter 63: I can show you the world

When Victoria and Baldric first began their travels, Victoria was very reserved, to the point that Baldric was quite concerned.

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“The world is a very big place, are you certain you want to travel with me?”

As time went on, she began to loosen up and she seemed to enjoy herself.

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They traveled across land at first, Victoria paying their way out of her savings to begin with…

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and then through performing.

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Sometimes they had to sleep rough, but the truth was neither of them minded very much. It was part of the adventure.

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As the days turned to weeks, Baldric began to realise how deeply in love he’d fallen.

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Eventually they reached the shore. Victoria had never seen the sea before, and it was the most beautiful and terrifying thing she’d ever laid eyes upon.

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They set sail for Twikkii Island.

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While on board the ship, Victoria made friends with the captain.

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That is, the ghost of a captain. She’d grown up in a household full of ghosts so, while the rest of the passengers hid in their bunks, she sang sailing ditties with the old sea dog.

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They settled into some lodgings on the island and Victoria was finally able to let down her hair (quite literally).

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Baldric set up some meetings with local performers to investigate taking their acts to the mainland.

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Victoria even learned fire juggling!

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In many ways, life on the island was complete bliss.

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It was the freedom that Victoria had always longed for.

And yet…

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She couldn’t stop herself from wondering, did Baldric really have any feelings for her, or was she still just a means to an end? Was he using her to achieve his own personal dreams?

When they first started travelling, they’d spent every moment together.

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Now she often found herself dining alone while he attended meetings or simply disappeared with no explanation.

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One day she stayed on the beach until long after the sun went down, thinking.

Baldric came out to find her and settled down in the sand next to her.

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He tried to make small talk, but soon realised that there was something on her mind.

“You’re homesick, aren’t you?” he asked.

“No, that’s not it,” she said.

“Please,” he begged. “Tell me what’s been on your mind. I feel like we’re growing apart and it frightens me.”

“It does?” she asked, surprised.

“Of course it does. You’re my world, Victoria. I hope you know that. I don’t want anything to ever come between us.”

She found herself smiling uncontrollably at this proclamation. “I feel the same,” she said, though she told herself that she was being foolish. Of course he would say that, if she was just a paycheck.

Just then, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a little box.

“I picked this up today, I was going to wait until a more opportune time. But truth is, I can’t seem to keep anything from you.” He laughed nervously. “Please stand up?”

She was confused, but did as he asked. Then he lifted himself up on one knee. “I know I don’t have much to offer you,” he said, “but everything I have. My dreams, my future, it’s all yours. Everything I have to give. If you want it, that is?”

He popped the box open, revealing a diamond ring that glinted in the starlight. It took Victoria’s breath away.

She had never, in her wildest yearnings, imagined that he would want to marry her. She pulled him to his feet.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked. He had always been clear that he was a free spirit, that he didn’t hold with traditional love.

“Yes,” he said, laughing. “Yes. But I think that’s your line. Will you marry me, Victoria?”

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“Yes,” she said. “Yes, I will.”

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Start from the beginning

Start from Victoria’s birth

Chapter 62: Great escape

Victoria invited Baldric to stay at the house. After all, he had traveled a long way to see her so it seemed only polite.

Felice and Sense were both very curious about him. Could this urchin really be Victoria’s heart-throb?

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Sense was polite to his face.

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But as soon as his back was turned, she made a snide comment to Felice about her daughter and the kind of man she attracted… which had the result one might expect:

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Victoria ran inside, mortified at her family’s behavior. As soon as they were alone together, Sense made a move on Baldric!

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When he rebuffed her, disgusted, she was very quick to say that she was just testing him.

What he didn’t know was that she was desperately trying to prevent Victoria from getting married and settling down, knowing that the estate would then pass to her rather than Cedric.

In the quiet drawing room, Victoria apologised to Baldric for her crazy family and confessed how miserable she was living at home.

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“You could always run away with me?” He suggested, only half joking. He didn’t think for a moment that she would agree.

Of course, it was a ridiculous idea. And yet, it appealed to Victoria more than she let on.

She tossed and turned the entire night. In the morning, when she was bidding Baldric farewell, she suddenly said, “come back for me at midnight.”

He couldn’t believe what he’d heard.

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“I’m going insane here,” she said. “I figure why not just… leave?”

As they spoke about it, she grew more and more excited.

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So that night,when everyone was asleep, Victoria snuck away.

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She hoped she was making the right decision.

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Read from the beginning.

Read from Victoria’s birth.

Chapter 61: Shop girl

Sorry for the silence, folks. I moved house and only just got my Internet line installed. Without further ado…


Nothing made Victoria happier than being with Baldric.

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They’d been together a few months when he finally plucked up the courage to tell her the truth about the reason they met.

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He confessed to her that he had initially started courting her because he knew of her wealth and he needed someone to back his theatre production that would fund his dream of travelling the world.

She did not take his confession well.

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He begged for her forgiveness. “I don’t care about the theatre anymore, or the production. Don’t you see? That’s why I’m telling you! All I care about is you!”

“You’re only telling me because I go home in a week and you’re about to lose your chance!” she yelled. “Get out of my sight, I never want to see you again!”

Felice was in the garden playing with Cedric when Victoria returned home.

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Felice was delighted to see her daughter and ran up to greet her, but Victoria wanted none of it.

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Their relationship had never recovered after Victoria found out about her mother’s affair.

Instead, it was Sense who she sought out and confessed her heartache to.

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“You just need to stay busy,” Sense suggested.

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She was secretly glad that Victoria’s love life wasn’t working out.

“I know just the thing!” she said. She called in Adelina and suggested that Victoria start training as an apprentice at the flower shop.

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Victoria agreed to give it a try, but in truth she hated the shop.

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She found it excruciatingly boring.

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And she struggled with even the simplest tasks.

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Was this what she studied for?

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Working in the shop gave her the opportunity to meet new people, but her attempts to flirt were all ham-handed.

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Her heart just wasn’t in it. She missed Baldric too much.

And she also missed playing the piano.

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How could she make her family understand that she had no interest in inheriting the flower shop? All she really wanted was to play music. Was that too much to ask?

She had been home for just over a week when the butler announced that she had a visitor. She thought that it was perhaps one of the girls who she’d resided with at the academy,they had promised to visit.

Instead, she found Baldric standing awkwardly in front of the house. He opened his mouth to try apologising again and to tell her how he couldn’t stop thinking about her and missed her so much that he had to make the trip half way across the country to see her… but before he could…

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Start reading at the beginning

Start reading from Victoria’s birth

Chapter 60: Bohemian love

Victoria continued to draw the crowds and became quite the musical sensation in her time at Alphadome Academy. Between her studies and her performances, she had precious little free time to socialize.

One person continued to confuse her – Baldric.

At first, she ignored him out of spite because he’d been so dismissive that night at the theatre. Then, she was angry again because he seemed untroubled by her cold shoulder. No matter what she tried, he continued to be pleasant.

As much as he frustrated her, she couldn’t seem to stop thinking of him.

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One day, when they happened to pass each other in a corridor, he had the audacity to compliment her outfit!

She decided to confront him.

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“I don’t understand you!” she said. “One minute you completely ignore me and the next you seem to go out of your way to… I don’t know, what is this? Flirting?”

“When did I ignore you?” He asked, sounding hurt.

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“It’s unfair! This! Whatever you’re doing!” she protested.

“What am I doing?” He asked again, still obviously at a loss.

She told him about the night at the theatre and the pieces of conversation she’d overheard. She grew increasingly angry as he seemed to grow more and more amused.

Finally, he interrupted her rant to say, “We were talking about our art! He’s a set painter!”

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“We were talking about a production that we want to put on at the end of the season,” he continued. “If I ignored you, I’m very sorry. It’s only because this play is so very important to me.”

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“I don’t have much, you see. I’m staking everything on its success. If it does well, I might be able to earn enough to fulfill my dream of travelling the world.”

“So you’re not…” she tried to find a delicate way to put it. “I mean, you do like women then?”

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“Me?” He chuckled, still amused at the conclusion she’d come to. In answer, he leaned forward and kissed her.

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She pulled away, breathless. “So that’s a yes, then?”

He smiled. “That’s a yes.”

She kissed him again.

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If Victoria’s parents wouldn’t approve of her moonlighting as a performer, they certainly wouldn’t approve of the relationship she started with the stagehand, Baldric.

Of course, there were candlelit dinners where they discussed their hopes and dreams.

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They celebrated each others accomplishments, like Victoria managing to finish a semester with high enough grades to earn a bursary.

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Her parents would not have frowned upon these. There were other aspects of their relationship however that they would not have looked upon as favorably.

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What Victoria didn’t know, was it was no coincidence that Baldric and her had met. His business partner knew how charming Baldric was, and had convinced him to try and use the beautiful young heiress to bankroll their production.

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Baldric was wracked with guild, forced to choose between his ambition (what would the money matter to her really? He could tell by her accommodations alone that she was rolling in it) and the fact that he had, somehow, really fallen for her…

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