House of Harwood-Tangled Beginnings by Olivia Batker Pritzker

House of Harwood-Tangled Beginnings by Olivia Batker Pritzker

Vote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Clarissa gives a modified version of the events to her father. Readers voted that her father doesn’t believe her story and fires Richard.

Episode 7

“Clarissa?”

Rose’s soft voice, never raised past the point of exerting her vocal chords, floated up to Clarissa’s room where she was still pacing nervously and pulling on her curls with almost manic determination.

“Please come downstairs.”

Rose was waiting in the library, with two cups of tea and an expression halfway between stern control and flustered disbelief. Clarissa knew immediately with a sharp feeling in her stomach that her father had not believed a word she had said.

“Sit down, Clarissa,” Rose said with a tremble in her voice. “And perhaps you can tell me about the outrageous story I’ve just heard from your father.”

For once Rose didn’t notice Clarissa pulling on her curls, and Clarissa barely noticed herself as she faced her mother and decided to finally tell the truth.

“Mother,” she began in a small but steady voice. “I love Richard. And I know he loves me. There’s nothing wrong with what we’ve been doing -“

That was as far as Clarissa got. The rest of their “conversation” was a blur of the rise and fall of Rose’s hysterical voice, peppered with phrases like “find a husband” and “shame on the family” and the dreaded “ladylike” repeated over and over again in increasingly shrill tones. Rose’s face became pinker and pinker, and her hands trembled as they clutched her porcelain tea cup painted with tiny hummingbirds.

Eventually, unable to take any more, Clarissa got up without a word and left the library. She ran down the corridors and didn’t stop until she reached Richard’s room.

He was alone inside, packing his meager possessions, his face set in it’s usual stoic expression. Shutting the door with a click, Clarissa attempted to throw herself into Richard’s arms, only to be met with stiff coldness.

“Richard?” Clarissa looked searchingly into his eyes. “Richard I did the best I could. I’m so sorry they fired you, it’s not fair at all. But I’ll fight for you, I promise!”

Again she pressed in for an embrace, but Richard stepped back and looked at her with steely eyes.

“Clarissa,” he began, “I think you should leave. I’ve enjoyed our time together but I’ll be going soon, and the best thing would be for you to forget about me.”

He moved to the other side of the bed and shut his suitcase decisively.

Later, Clarissa would slightly regret throwing the lamp at Richard’s head. Not fully, because she had been so angry, so humiliated, that she felt she owed it to herself – but she did regret what followed. The string of events that found a concussed Richard out on the streets without a reference, and which found Clarissa, after weeks of long insufferable sessions with Rose, standing once again on the Harwood’s doorstep. Vote below on what will happen next or if viewing from email, click Take our Poll.

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