*WARNING: This blog is intended for a mature audience. Its contents may include adult situations, violence and sensitive issues that some people might find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.

14 March 2014

A Pair of Brown Eyes: Chapter 18

Author's note: I would normally put the A/N last of all, but this time I'm going to do it the other way around, so as not to spoil your reading. This is a very, very special chapter --all happy and sweet-- for a very special day because... IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!! (and, since I live like 6+ hours ahead of many of you, I mean the 14th) :-D.

Before I get asked about the festival's colour scheme, it's meant to recreate the Union Jack, an interpretation of which was --I believe-- the most widely used flag in Canada at the time.

And now, without further ado, I'll leave you to read Chapter 18. Enjoy it!

:-D :-D :-D :-D




As soon as Andrew arrived at City Hall Square he was drawn by how beautifully it had been decorated for their local annual celebration. He was not the sort of person who would normally enjoy such elaborate festivities, but he had to admire merchants and women's associations alike, who had, as usual, made their best in making their city look so pretty for the day.

He scanned the whole area, and soon spotted Ethel's stand, where she would most likely be selling some of her famous quilts. He would buy one; they were very warm, and knowing that all the money collected was destined to improve the children's shelter, would ensure him a good night's sleep when under one of those.


But then he saw her. Claire. The sight of her chatting casually with Ethel was not something to be missed, since her very presence overshadowed all the other beauties surrounding her.


Andrew approached them, interrupting their conversation. "My, my! Look at what I've found here. Three incredibly charming ladies."

He was rewarded by Becky's joyful giggle on being called a lady and by Claire's sudden colouring of her cheeks. And then, women were generally suspected of being hard to please. So much for that assumption! His sister's reaction, however, baffled him, since she merely kept staring at him over her shoulder, and remained unnaturally quiet.

"Ethel, I was wondering if you could spare Claire for a while. I'd like to take her for a walk before her recital." He then addressed the other woman. "Well, if you would want to, that is."

"With pleasure," Claire answered, smiling, and he was glad to find her in such good spirits, which seemed to match his own.

"By all means! Go enjoy yourselves!" Ah! His sister was back. That cheerful response was more like her. "I was just finishing, anyway."


Andrew offered his arm to Claire, and together they took a quick tour through the other stands. "So, have you been enjoying the day?" Andrew asked her, conversationally.

"Oh, yes! So much colour, and joy... Everyone seems so happy, so carefree..." she sighed. "It's... refreshing."

"I'm glad to hear it. But the best part of the festival is yet to come." He was refering, of course, to her concert.



Andrew wished he had paid more attention to his poetry teachers when he was a student; perhaps he would now have understood the title Claire had chosen for her piece: Dawn in the Mist... It was evocative, but it could mean so many things... But still, Andrew could appreciate the power of her music, and her most poignant chords sometimes gave him a chill. It was as though her very soul was speaking through her notes.


"You were right about her, Stuart. She's very accomplished. A little unpolished, perhaps, but her talent is undeniable." So enthralled was Andrew he hardly heard Williams addressing him in such a manner. But his friend's next words were not lost on him. "There's an almost scary intensity underlying the whole piece. There's rage in that composition, and deep sorrow, and something else entirely different I can't completely grasp. Either she has a vivid imagination or she's undergone some very strong... I don't know how to put it... some deep emotion; a trauma, perhaps."


A trauma? Well, her untimely widowhood could qualify as a deep enough emotion, of course; one she was obviously trying so hard to overcome. Then again... Andrew had the feeling there was more to it. That alone couldn't explain the strange way in which she behaved sometimes.


That was when he remembered what Lawrence had told him during their fishing expedition. Andrew looked ahead of him, to the place where Lawrence and his wife were seated, once again lost in thought.


Her hands. He was in awe of them as they swiftly caressed the piano keys. Her ring-less hands. Being a bachelor himself, he couldn't tell for sure, but he was under the impression women gave those things a great importance. Her not wearing her wedding band had to mean something. If he could only guess what...


At that moment, he caught a glimpse of Ethel resting contentedly in her husband's arms. It was heart-warming to see her sister so happy with her chosen partner. But then, as he raised his eyes to the stage again, it made the contrast all the more striking: the lady sitting at the piano, in that dignified but inaccesible way of hers, was the opposite of contentment and happy domesticity. 


Once the recital was over, both Andrew and Williams went to meet Claire at the pit orchestra. She approached them, a smile on her lips. "Mr. Williams, I feel honoured, and a little ashamed, to have had you among my audience."

"I'm glad you remember me, Mrs. Parker. And please, don't sell yourself short. Your technique and the composition were impeccable. In fact, I'm prepared to offer you a position as a music teacher in my academy, should you choose to change your employment."


But when Claire gave him her answer, she wasn't looking at Williams. She was looking at himself, instead. "I thank you, Mr. Williams, but my current situation is quite satisfactory. I have no wish to change jobs at the moment." 

Her remark relieved Andrew, because, happy as he was for her to be offered such a suitable job, he'd be terribly sorry if he were to lose her as his assistant. "Your performance was sublime," he honestly told her.

And there was still another spectacle remaining before the evening was over...

He would take her up the hill, where they could see the lights without being disturbed. Tonight he wouldn't share Claire with anyone. He wanted her for himself.



Andrew was thankful for the soft breeze; at least the weather was cooperating. When they reached the peak, a multitude of paper lanterns were already surrounding it, giving the whole area a dream-like tint.


He was pleased when he heard Claire speaking in what seemed blissful wonder. "I had never seen such a beautiful thing in my entire life."

Neither had Andrew, but he wasn't even looking at the sky. Her eyes usually held a wisdom incongrous with someone her age, but tonight there was nothing but a youthful expression on her face. It was so pleasing to see her so full of life for a change. One day he would discover how both sides of her were connected, he promised himself.

"You can...," her voice wavered when she spoke next. "You can call me...," she swallowed hard, but her smile had not completely disappeared from her face yet. "...a flower, if you wish."

Andrew didn't understand her remark at first, but it was obvious that whatever it was, she was having a difficult time acknowledging it. Then he remembered the incident the last time he kissed her. But he had never suspected it had been his term of endearment that had vexed her. This thought perplexed him even further.


Andrew cupped her face in his hand, forcing her to look at him. How he wished he could read her eyes, but they were as impenetrable as usual. What had she meant by that? So many things he wanted to know. So many things he wanted to tell her... But those would come later. Not now.

Hard as he tried not to kiss her again, the temptation she posed was too hard to ignore. And he noticed something different in her behariour this time; there was not a trace of trembling in her body, and she was even bold enough to step closer to him. She seemed to be willingly waiting for something. He had to find out for sure.


Andrew encircled her waist with his left arm while his right hand played with her hair. He noticed at once how her arms started to hug him, and he took the opportunity to take her mouth in his.


Andrew was in no hurry, he wanted his kiss to show her how much she meant to him. But he was totally unprepared for the eagerness with which she met his touch. She clung to him with a passion --a desperation almost-- he didn't know she possessed. Her heart might still be owned by some other man, but tonight he felt she was his. Thoroughly his.



  1. wow...look at Andrew trying to connect the dots, at least a little. I still don't think he has connected her previous married life was an unhappy abusive one, but he knows something is off. I really do love hearing from Andrew's POV :)

    Wow...look at Claire being a little vixen ahahahah.....this kissing thing ain't so bad now. :D

    This was a great chapter.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! :) Hope you party hard and enjoy the day!!!

    1. No, Andrew has definitely not guessed everything but, well... I didn't expect him to think: "hey, this girl is acting very strangely, she must be a battterd woman!" ;-), even though I imagine he must have seen quite a few battered women before, in his line of work, you know... At least he's beginning to suspect something is amiss.

      Wow! Little vixen? :-O Hmm, this is as far as Claire can go to being a "vixen", I'd say, LOL.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your good wishes, I did enjoy my day :-D.

  2. Yes, Andrew does seem to piecing together something, though he doesn't know what yet. Hopefully he can piece HER together. She's still such a broken woman. I was so glad that she was so happy with him tonight, even getting into the kiss a bit. Could she be healing?

    Happy birthday!

    1. Ah, an interesting question you're posing here. Could she be healing? Well, at least she seems to be moving forward, hmm... to some extent... The festive atmosphere may have helped her feel a little more at ease, a little bolder. The question is, how will she feel in the morning? ;-) Next chapter we'll learn some more about that.

      Thank you so much for reading. I did enjoy my birthday :-D.

  3. =D Happy Birthday! Here's hoping your day is magical and your year filled with wonder and contentment.

    Hmmmm! Andrew is starting to piece things together isn't he? Though it's taking nudging from his friends, he's at least starting to think about her past and trying to connect it to the present.

    'Dawn in the Mist.' Even the title sounds like exactly what Mr. Williams described. At least Claire has an outlet like that to pour her emotions into.

    After that, Yay! A happy day for Claire! Hopefully, she'll have many more happy days to come.

    1. Aww, thanks so much :-D *hugs*

      Oh, yes, he's starting to suspect... something! Too bad his sister is not allowed to share with him what she does know ;-).

      Well, I spent a good amount of thime trying to come up with a good title that would express what Claire must have felt when writing her piece. And I'm sure her music is filled with some sentiments she's still not completely aware of.

      Here's hoping Claire will enjoy more days like this in the future!

      Thanks so much for reading :-D.

  4. Happy Birthday Marta! :D
    And great chapter as always... glad Andrew is starting to see there is more to Claire's behavior. Although right now I feel like there is just too much happiness something bad is bound to happen... and did not intended for this to rhyme.

    1. Hmmm... your guess might be right, I'm afraid :-(. Then again, who knows what might happen? Well, I mean, I DO know what's going to happen but that's not the point, right? :-P

      Thank you so much for reading and for your good wishes :-D.

  5. Oh, happy, happy (belated) birthday :D Hope you had a lovely day!
    This chapter was such a lovely and happy one. Not going to lie, the staging in this was breathtaking. I admire your patience and dedication ^_^ That recital looks particularly stunning.

    1. I had a lovely day, thanks. *hugs*

      I wanted this chapter to be all sweet and happy. I'm not goind to lie, either: staging it was a real pain! All that could have gone wrong, did go WRONG *sighs*. But in the end, my will to get it right was stronger than all the drawbacks. I'm glad you liked it :-).

      Thanks so much for reading and for your nice words :-D.

    2. Ha, ha, oh man, poor you! Sims can be so difficult when you're trying to stage them! Even with all the tools you can use it can be a true pain. It's worth it in the end, though ^_^

      You're welcome :D *hugs*

  6. <3
    I'm all giddy :D

    Well, first things first, Happy belated Birthday! I hope you had a brilliant day! The weather here was good, so hopefully it was for you too!

    So Andrew realises for sure that there's something more than just a dead husband on Claires mind. I wonder if he'll ask? And if he does, whether she'd be able to answer? I get the feeling she couldn't answer right now, but maybe given more time she'll learn to trust him and be able to unburden herself.

    I'd love to know why Ethel was looking at her brother like that!!

    1. Awww, thanks. I had a great day :-D. The weather was good, a little TOO sunny for my taste, but oh well... *hugs*

      Will he ask her? Hmm... that's an interesting question. I'd say "no". You know, good manners and politeness were very much observed in those days, and perhaps those would prevent him from asking her outright. Then again, I don't suppose everyone acted as expected all the time, so... who knows?

      Ah, nice catch! Well, Ethel is keeping a secret from her brother. I bet she's having a hard time keeping her mouth shut for once... ;-)

      Thanks so much for reading and for your insightful comment :-D.

  7. Oh I'm late, but Happy belated birthday, I hope you had an awesome day!

    I loved this chapter so much, everything was just so beautiful, and those paper lanterns, my God, absolutely breathtaking. Happy, happy sigh.

    I'm glad Andrew stole her away and they got to share a quiet moment, and sneak in a kiss or two.

    Maybe after the kissing, if they can pry themselves away from each other long enough that is, they can talk some. Or maybe I'm rushing them, but talking doesn't seem like a bad thing. I do wonder though if Claire will want to open up to him. At some point she's going to have to learn to trust again.

    1. Oh, I had a wonderful day, thanks a lot!

      :-D :-D :-D <----Yeah, that's me right now!

      Hm, interesting what you said there: will Claire want to open up to him? "Want" being the key word here, because wanting to do something and actually doing it are quite different things ;-).

      Thank you so much for reading and for your great feedback.

  8. A very Happy Birthday, hope you had a great day, birthdays are usually wonderful :D

    This was a great chapter, so good to see heart-warming mushiness that plasters a smile on ones face :D

    1. Oh, thanks a lot, mine was... Wonderful, I mean! :-D

      I'm glad you liked it, because I have more stuff like this in store ;-).

      Thanks so much for reading :-D.

  9. I am glad her concert went well. I am worried that somehow she is going to be attracting that man to where she is. I really want her and Andrew to work out. She needs someone to help her and protect her. But if her husband comes looking for her, she is married, how can Andrew save her? Ugh... and he kissed her... ups and downs.... it is good that Andrew is thinking a little bit more about the situation..., just maybe he will realise that her marriage wasn't so wonderful. great update.... Happy Birthday :)

    1. Oh, interesting little comment that we have here... I'm afraid I'll have to leave you to your (hopefully rhetorical) questions, though ;-).

      Thank you so much for reading and for your good wishes :-D.

  10. Happy (belated) birthday! Such a gorgeous chapter, both for the characters and the readers. As always, the sets and costumes are stunning - I can almost imagine myself sitting and listening to the concert, wrapped up in my new quilt. :-)

    1. Awww, that's such a nice thing to say... <3. Thank you very much :-D. *hugs*

  11. Happy Suuuper Belated Birthday!! =D
    This was such a beautiful read - the pictures and the words. I especially love the way you write about Andrew's point of view when trying to figure out Claire. The way he thinks about her and looks at her is so sweet.
    I'm glad that these two had a moment to enjoy each other's company and that Claire was willing to be a bit vulnerable with him.

    1. Thanks a lot! :-D

      Hehe, poor Andrew is so clueless...It's always fun for me to explore his take on things. And it's quite an undertaking for Claire to allow herself to feel vulnerable around him (or anyone, for that matter), but it's good she's taking these little steps.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  12. Suuuuper late but....Happy Birthday!! I hope it was a good one.

    Claire is improving by leaps and bounds. Your pictures were particularly lovely this chapter! The lanterns and the concert setting...great!!
    I do like that kiss at the end. I'm so happy for Andrew too, that he can feel some true reciprocation from Claire. She doesn't try to confuse him but she can't help it!
    Oh it's all so fluffy and happy...I smell a storm brewing.... ;)

    1. It was a great birthday, thank you very much :-D.

      You've made me all giddy and happy by your words... so let's relish the fluffy for a while and leave the storm for some other time, okay? ;-)

      PS: Don't worry, your comment hadn't disappeared, it was just awaiting moderation. I've been getting some annoying spam lately >:-(, so I had to turn it on for old entries.

  13. Awwwww...... Andrew!!! LOL, he is so cute, wanting Claire all for himself, first when he removed her from Ethel's presence, and then when he hung out with her by the paper lanterns. He is trying to understand Claire with the little things she does and how she doesn't wear her ring. I like that she chose to keep working for him, ^_^ not that I think she could have quit, she likes him too much. Oh the kiss! I cheered for Claire, LOL, because she finally stopped being scared of Andrew for a moment. I enjoyed how kind Andrew was being too, and I liked that he was surprised by Claire's reaction. I just want to say again how I love your writing, it's so elegant and beautiful, poetic, in a way.

    Sorry I'm so late reading this! I didn't forget about you, never could. :) Don't know if it's too late to wish you a happy birthday or not, but I do hope that you had a marvelous day. Also, love your blog's redesign. :)

    1. Hehe, Andrew won't share Claire with anyone! Aww, the kiss, I don't think anyone is as surprised by her reaction as Claire herself: she must like him very much indeed! ;-) As for your compliment on my writing, I hope you weren't expecting me to answer to that, because honestly, I don't know what to say. It's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me, *blushes*.

      Its alright, no need to be sorry about that. I accept your good wishes, of course, and I did have a marvelous day :-D.

      Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

  14. Happy Belated Birthday!

    Such a sweet chapter! He's starting to figure some things out. I just want to help him connect the dots. lol! And once again, Claire is opening herself up a little which is always nice to see. :D

    1. Thank you so much! :-D

      I wanted this chapter to be all happy and sweet, as a sort of birthday gift to myself, hehe.

  15. First of all...it is great to see Claire having her own concert! Looks like the more chances she gets to display her musical abilities the more people appreciate them! Part of me wishes she would have left her old job behind, but I understand why she did not.

    Also looks like he's slowly figuring her out, but she still remains mostly a mystery to him. Her past at least.

    I'm really late but happy birthday! Better late than never...right? RIGHT!?!?! D:

    1. Hey, glad to see you back! :-D

      Yes, music is very important for Claire, there's no way she can leave that part of herself behind her. She still remains much of a mystery for Andrew, though.

      Thanks for your wishes, and, of course, better late than never: no worries there ;-).

  16. Forgive me, I can't do any math! 26 and 35...

    Also, how freaking cute was this chapter?! sigh...

    1. That's right. Claire is 26, Andrew is 35 :-).

      Glad you found this chapter cute. Thanks :-).

  17. *Sighs* My romantic nature is appeased by this chapter. I might not read on tonight just to enjoy this feeling.

    Dawn in the Mist is just what is happening to Claire, and she could express it even in the title of her composition (of course, she is you, Marta, you've accomplished it). There is light in her darkness -- and it is just wonderful that their best kiss so far, happens midst a myriad of lights. That was a very beautiful scene.

    I enjoyed above all Mr. Williams reading of Claire's musical piece. It is so true that what she can hide in words and gestures, she couldn't -- nor would be willing to -- hide in her music. Of course, she doesn't know she has been read like an open book by the musician -- and to our joy, Andrew was by his side and paid attention to his remarks. Let time work the seed of understanding that has been planted in Andrew's consciousness, and with his determination to 'discover how both sides of her were connected' working as the sun and rain over fertile soil, an insight will bloom at the right time, and Andrew will be able to forgive and aid Claire when she opens his heart to him.

    1. I wanted this chapter all nice and enjoyable, I'm glad I could achieve that :-).

      That's exactly what I intended to convey by her composition and all that it means to her. And, well, not quite "ME", but you're right, both Claire and I have evolved, and I can't but show that process within the text itself...

      I like my supporting characters to play a distinct role in the narrative, and Williams has done "his" part really well ;-). Music (as is every form of art) is a very powerful tool for self-expression.

      Thank you so much for reading! :-)