by Ruby

Part 1


William Bush was a young man of about 17, had curly hair, blue eyes, and
an impressionable character. He lived with his two younger sisters,
Victoria and Vivian, in a quaint and proper little cottage near the seashore
in Dover, England. He had hitherto experienced no excitement in his life
except the nights that he spent in the company of his sisters. He was
content and pleased with his station in life and with working as an
assistant for a local blacksmith. William was paid barely enough to
comfortably support his sisters and himself, though he would not allow his
sisters to work. In his mind, he was the man and so he was the one
obligated to go forth and work. Plain and uneventful though his life was,
it would undergo change the night he passed the bakery.

William had not planned on passing by the local bakery but his sisters had
begged him to pick up a loaf or two of bread for supper the next night.
William happily agreed and after work was through he walked down towards the
small establishment. When he came upon it, he did not see the young lady
exiting the building and therefore tumbled clumsily into her. After helping
her gather her bags, he looked up to be greeted with a beautiful face of a

"Um....pardon me, Ma'am. I was not looking as to where I was going.
Forgive me," William uttered out.

"Oh, it is alright," the young lady replied, "I am not harmed and everything
is still as it was."

William, unable to let such beauty pass him by, tried to begin a

"William Bush, Ma'am," he said as he put a hand out.

"Caitlin Hays," the young lady with black hair and creamy skin replied.
Her delicate and slim hand took William's and they shook.

"That's quite a lovely name, Miss Hays. Might I offer to walk you to your
destination?" William asked, hoping that she would not refuse.

"Thank you, Mr. Bush and as a matter of fact I would be honored if you

The much relieved William was so excited that he ran quickly inside for but
a moment, bought his bread and returned and fast as possible. Caitlin was
still waiting and William offered his arm, which Caitlin gladly took and
together began walking down the street.

"So, Miss Hays, where are you headed on such a night as this?" William put

"Well, I am headed for my brother's house which is just a ways from here.
He is sick and felt in the need of some of the baker's delicious bread."
Caitlin answered, the moon reflecting beautifully off her soft skin.

"Are you new around these areas? For I have not seen you before."

"Oh, yes. I have come down from London to visit my sick brother, Mark, who
lives alone," Caitlin said and rather teasingly added "And do you live
alone, Mr. Bush?"

"No...I don't," William paused here to watch the face of Miss Hays flinch
slightly and then added, "I live with my two younger sisters, Victoria and
Vivian." Relief overcame her face and she blushed when she noticed she was
being watched.

"Oh, that's very kind of you."

"I take it as no trouble at all. They are lovely women....as I am sure you
are." At the sound of this Caitlin immediately blushed and William smiled.
Caitlin was glad to see that they had finally arrived at Mark's house and
happily took up another subject.

"Well, Mr. Bush, I am glad to have met you." She said sincerely as she

"And you likewise. I was wondering, Miss Hays, if you would do me the honor
of joining me for dinner tomorrow at my house. It is Vivian's birthday and
they are planning to cook up a feast."

"Well, I will have to see if my brother is able to be left alone for a
while. Will you come back and ask once more tomorrow?" She asked.

"Of course," William replied, relieved that she did not say no.

"I hope to see you then. Good night, Mr. Bush, and thank you."

"Your welcome and I bid you a good night, Miss Hays." He said as he grabbed
her slender hand and touched it with his lips.

Caitlin watched him leave before she closed the door with a pink blush
forming at her cheeks. William Bush was definitely an attractive man.

The next day after William was no longer needed by the blacksmith, he went
immediately to Caitlin's house to inquire as to whether or not they could
expect her arrival. When Caitlin answered the door, she was wearing a light
blue dress that billowed out and accentuated her lovely hips and had her
hair put high into a bun which was unsuccessfully holding all her hair up.

"Good morning, Miss Hays. I have come to see if you are able to attend my
sister's birthday party after all." William welcomed.

"Well, my brother is well this day and so am I," Caitlin said, looking at
the clear and beautiful sky, "I am indeed able to attend the party and will
happily do so."

William was glad to be so fortunate and his smile broadened to prove it. "
I am glad to hear such great news....about your brother, of course."

"Naturally," Caitlin said her smiling growing as well.

"Well, Miss Hays...."


"Well, Caitlin I shall come and pick you up at seven. Is that well with

"Indeed it is Mr. Bush"


"Indeed it is, William." With a smile as wide as can be, William turned
from the door and started on his way home.

Victoria and Vivian were all aflutter when they heard the splendid news of
another fellow female joining the party. They tweaked this and moved that,
they asked and they wondered. William, all the while was anxiously awaiting
the time when he would be able to go and pick Caitlin up.

When all had seemingly found its settling place, Victoria and Vivian
themselves settled and began to inquire about the mysterious young women.

"So, what does this young lady look like?" Victoria asked. Victoria herself
was a young lady of about 16 with brown eyes and her brother's dark curly
hair. Her face was always pleasant and calm and it always amazed William
why she had not yet married.

"Caitlin has the most radiant skin, creamy and so soft to touch. Her eyes
are a deep brown....so much so that sometimes I think I can see into her
soul. Her hair is curly and wisps off her neck in such a manner as to allow
her appear above any stately Lady. Hands that are so thin and delicate,
they look as though they had never seen a hard days work in their life. A
smile that could brighten even the darkest of days."

"Wow, that sounds like quite a young lady. William, do you describe us like
that?" Vivian implored. Vivian was a girl of 15 years of age this day and
had a light color to her hair and eyes. Although her beauty was not as
demanding as Victoria's was her spirit certainly was. She was beaming with
joy and happiness almost all the time. Her bouncy character and up-lifting
attitude made William want to be around her constantly.

"Vivian, for beauty like both of yours to be described, all words fall far
short." That put a smile on everyone's face as the clock in the cottage
struck the appointed time.

"Well, I am on my way," said William rising from his chair, "I shall return
shortly. While I am gone try not to think yourselves less beautiful than
what you really are." They laughed and William walked out the door.

As William stood in front of Caitlin's house his stomach began to flutter.
Knocking on the door, Caitlin appeared in a wine colored dress embroidered
in a gold colored ribbon and her hair down to her shoulder blades. William
stood in awe.

"Hello William." said Caitlin, her cheeks coloring to the color of the

"You look .....brilliant," William said as he racked his mind for a word,
"Like a queen," Then earth hit William and he added jokingly, "Wait until
my sisters see you!" It caused Caitlin to giggle and William offered his
arm once again and once again Caitlin took it and together they walked
toward William's home.

Vivian and Victoria were ready and waiting, peering out the window and as
the couple walked down the path, Victoria beat Vivian to the door and was
the first to welcome Caitlin.

"Miss Hays, welcome to our home. I am Victoria and this is Vivian , "
Victoria said.

"I am indeed welcome for you inviting me," Caitlin replied, "and I wish you
a very happy birthday, Miss Vivian Bush." Caitlin said, producing a small
package from behind her back.

"Ohhh, a present!" Vivian exclaimed, "Thank you very much! I am sure I
will love it."

" Well, I could not show up without a present, now could I?"

"Yes, you could have. You would have been just as welcomed but I are very
thankful none the less. Please......enter." Vivian said as she allowed
William and Caitlin to enter into the house.

The house was clean and well decorated for one with two women. The table was
beautifully set with flowers of all sorts and a cake simply decorated. They
offered Caitlin a chair and all took a seat.

"May I open it now?" Vivian asked once they had all been seated.

"By all means." Caitlin replied.

Ripping open the brown covering, a handkerchief with a rose and the name
"Vivian" became visible.

" I do a lot of sewing," Caitlin explained.

"Thank you," Vivian said, "I love it."

"You are welcome."

"Vivian," William began, "I, too, have brought a present." Slowly, he
pulled a little box from his pocket and placed it in Vivian's hands. The
box was wooden and had the initials "MB" elaborately carved into the wood.
"I thought since Victoria got Mother's necklace, you should have her ring."
Vivian opened the box to produce a shimmering silver ring that had once been
two but had been intertwined to become one. Her eyes watered and her hands
shook as she slipped it on her finger, it was a perfect fit.

"Thank you," was all she was able to say. The table grew quiet and Victoria
wisely began to offer cake. After all had eaten and had several cups of
tea, Caitlin began to bid good bye.

"I will walk you, Caitlin." William offered.

"That is very kind of you, William, thank you.....and thank you Victoria and
Vivian, I had a wonderful time and congratulations, Vivian, on your

"Good night, Caitlin!" both replied as Caitlin and William began walking
down the pathway.

When they had at last reached Caitlin's door, William asked if he could call
on her more often. She gladly agreed and after telling him what a great
time she had, kissed him lightly on the cheek. William felt the blood rush
up to his face and smiled foolishly.

"G -- Good night, Caitlin." William stammered.

"Good night, William."

The door was shut and William walked slowly back home. It had been a
wonderful night.
Caitlin and Victoria and Vivian all went out the next day to the sea to
collect small shells that had gathered on shore. On their walked there they
conversed about how Mark was making a remarkable recovery and was on his way
to perfect health. When they finally reached shore however the subject had
somehow drifted to the inevitable subject of William.

"So what do you think of our lovely brother, William, Caitlin?" Vivian
asked, she was always more daring in her ways then Victoria had been.

"Well, he is certainly a kind gentleman."

"That is all???" Vivian blurted.

"Well, you are his sisters...you tell me what he is like," Caitlin was very
tactful in saying this for she did not like revealing her feelings about
William so early to his sisters.

"Well, he is both gentle and stern." Victoria put forth, "He can make a
baby sleep with a tender lullaby yet he can work men till there is not a
breath left in them.

"Yes," Vivian agreed, "We have seen him work his men in the blacksmith's
workshop. They are not many...perhaps two or three but they listen and his
voice resonates off the walls. He would make the perfect father."

Vivian had said this without thinking and caused Caitlin to blush horribly.
Victoria saw what her sister had done and quickly changed the subject to the
lovely shells that littered the seashore.

Save for that little mishap the afternoon was past in relative harmony.
They found many beautiful shells and touched many topics yet not once again
did they mention William and Caitlin or father in the same sentence.

Later on that evening when William was returning home from work, he was
welcomed with a fistful of flour that was accidentally thrown in his
direction and landed on and covered his entire face.

Chuckling William managed a "Well, hello there flowery ladies," that was
received with many giggles.

"Hello! William! We did not expect to arrive home so early," Caitlin
explained, "We were going to surprise you."

"Surprise!" Vivian said, holding out her arms and hoping all the fun was not
"Well, I am greatly surprised," William made plain by the smile that was
broad on his face. As if automatically, Caitlin blushed.

"William," Victoria intervened, "Vivian, Caitlin, and I were all going to
bake you a cake but you seemed to have surprised us with your early

"Yes, my dear Sister Victoria, the blacksmith let me off early today. I
hope you still continue through with your plans though and maybe I might
even be able to lend a helping hand in the process of the dough making,
which you women seemed to have greatly strayed from."

All the girls murmured an agreement and William moved away from the doorway
and into the kitchen but not without a certain bit of cautiousness, lest
they should once again stray in his direction. William could not but become
more attracted to the beautiful woman that was most covered with the white
powder. Caitlin was beginning to win over William's heart.

The cake was finally made but not without a good amount of straying and
after they had placed it in the oven, they were all covered head-to-toe with
all kinds of various ingredients. They all seated themselves at the table
and got entwined in such a deep conversation about William's job that the
cake almost became a disaster. They salvaged it just in time that the cake
came out "Almost as good as the time we had making it" as William stated
early through their meal. All heartily agreed.

After the cake had been eaten and everyone had had their fair share of the
delicious provisions, Caitlin bid her farewells to both Victoria and Vivian.
All were sad to see her have to go. She insisted though, for she said her
brother simply could not stay another hour without her company and so she
must take her leave. Waving as Caitlin and William walked down the cobble
road, Victoria knew that her brother had finally met the woman she knew he
deserved and she was glad.

William had not been able to remove her from his mind and her presence was
now more constant around the Bush household. Her brother was advancing in
health and he was nearly back to his healthy and normal state. Caitlin
broke the news that she would have to leave in a few days during an
afternoon visit.

"But why??" Vivian asked. She was so extremely sorry to have to so Caitlin
leave in such a short time.

"Well, my brother is almost well again and my mother and father will need me
back home again soon."

"Is there no way you could possibly stay longer?" Victoria inquired.
"None that I know of. Father has a bad back so my mother needs all the
assistance she can get around the house. I must leave soon." Silence
ensued after this statement had been said.

"Well, I am extremely saddened to have to see you leave Caitlin," said

"Thanks Victoria Dear but I have not left yet and suggest that we have all
the fun we possibly can before my time comes."

"Much agreed," said William, who had not as of yet commented on the subject.

"I know.....let us play a game of Whist!" Vivian suggested.

"Alright," said Victoria and Caitlin.

"What about you William?" Vivian asked. William moaned.

"Oh come now William....you never know, you might actually win!" Victoria

"Are you really that awful William?" Caitlin was curious. Everyone shook
their head in affirmative. "Oh, in that case you can be my partner. I am
not that bad."

The cards were passed out when William finally agreed and the time passed
happily with little conversation.

"We won!" Vivian rang out when the game had been finished.

"Bad luck, I'm afraid," said Caitlin to William.

"It's not your fault Caitlin; William is not a very skilled mathematician,"
Vivian giggled.

"Not with you two geniuses as sisters," William said, "I have you two to do
all my thinking for me." Caitlin smiled, she really did hate having to
leave. William had touched a special place in her heart and she was
saddened at the thought of having to leave him. He was so genteel and such
a gentleman! She knew that if she lost him she would not find another like
him. His sisters were such sweethearts as well. Victoria was like a best
friend and Vivian had grown to be a little sister to her.

"Well, I must go for today," Caitlin said, breaking the short silence, "My
brother wanted me back before five, I promised to bake him a pie for desert.
William would you mind walking me home?"

"Not at all."

"Vivian and Victoria, I will see you tomorrow morning so that we could do
some knitting together, how does that sound?"

"Oh, yes. That would be great." Vivian said.

"Good bye." Caitlin and William walked out the door and onto the cobble
stone road.

William sighed after they had gone a ways from the house. "Must you truly

"Yes. It is sincerely not my desire to but, William.....I have no reason to

This was a simple statement but caused William to be silent in deep
meditation for a while. He was so lost in his thoughts that he did not
notice that Caitlin had tears running down her cheeks until he heard a
sniffle come from her.

"What is the matter?" William said stopping and facing toward her.

"I really don't want to leave. You all have grown so special to me." said
Caitlin still sniffing.

"Caitlin, you do not have to leave. I thought of someone who needs you."

"Who?" asked Caitlin, looking up at him.

"I do. In these pass few days, Caitlin, you have remained a constant
thought in my mind. If you go, I will lose someone who is like someone I
have never met before. Or ever will. Caitlin, I need you....." said
William moving in closer toward the warmth of her body.

"I need you too, William."

"So what I'm trying to say, Caitlin, is...will you marry me?"

A smile automatically appeared on Caitlin Hays' young and brilliant face and
she embraced him.

"Yes!" she cried. And he embraced her back. "My brother will be so happy!"

"Who is this brother I keep hearing about but have not met?" William said.

"Oh, I am so sorry! You have not met Mark yet! He will want to meet you!"

"I want to meet him." William said laughing.

"I shall introduce him to you when we get home." Caitlin said.

"I mean, after all...we are family now." said William, his smile growing

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