A Fallen Flower

“Thank you for coming M. and Mme. Morris.” Annabelle Rowney said, flashing her dimples at the young couple standing in front of her.
“Well, it is a pleasure Mlle. Rowney, and may I say, have a very prosperous life.” M. Morris said leaned down to kiss the woman’s hand. He straightened up, smiled at Annabelle, turned to his wife and lead her off into the boisterous crowd of the party… This memory played through Annabelle Rowney’s mind a thousand times sense that night. And in her mind she could think of hundreds of things she could have done next to prevent what had happened to her. In her imagination, she thought of what her life would have become if she hadn’t agreed to go down to that stupid lake. She prayed to God to reverse time and set things the way they were supposed to be – to the way Annabelle had planned her life to end up like. But none of the things she hoped for came true, and Annabelle had to come to terms with what had happened.

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“Mlle. Rowney, time to get up darling!” one of the many servants said, starting the fire in the small fireplace in the corner of the room. Annabelle, of course, was already awake, waiting for one of the servants to come and start the fire and bring her, her breakfast. “Ah! I see you are already awake!” Annabelle closed her eyes and wished for the maid to be silent, like any other morning.

          “Quiet.” She said in a stern voice, startling the young maid.

          “Yes Mme.” the young girl said bowing slightly. Annabelle hoisted herself up to a sitting position, dragging the dead weight of her legs along with her. After a short while of watching the maid work around her large room, Annabelle herd her mother coming down the hallway, talking to someone, their footsteps echoing through the large room.

“Annabelle is paralyzed from the waist down, so you have to be strong enough to pick her up and help her around the house. She is required to be washed once a week – you can have one of the maids help you with that. All you need to do is get her into the tub and turn on the water to her liking.” Annabelle’s mother said coming into view with a man.

“Perfect, Annabelle, you are awake. This is Matthew Lewis, your new caretaker.” The man walked forward, offering his hand, and Annabelle completely ignored him and glared at her mother.

“He is a man.”

“Yes?”

“I am a girl.”

“Yes, I see nothing wrong with that.”

“You see nothing wrong? Mother! I am paralyzed!”  Annabelle exclaimed wanting to get up off the bed and slap her mother. “He could take advantage of me!”  Mme. Rowney looked horrified, her face going red with rage, but before she could say a word M. Lewis stepped in.

“I promise you Mlle. Rowney, I would never do such a thing. I only need the job.” He said politely, taking off the hat he wore. His dark brown hair cascaded down his forehead, covering the top half of his eyes. He took his hand and pushed back the hair from his face, revealing his light blue eyes. Matthew had a strong jaw, and when he smiled a single dimple showed on the right side of his face. Annabelle frowned, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Annabelle? What do you say?” Mme. Rowney asked, a hopeful look on her face. Annabelle sighed, closing her eyes. She thought of the possibilities of getting another woman who was strong enough to lift her into her wheelchair, to care for her if she needed to go to the restroom.

“Fine.” She said opening her eyes again, to see Matthew’s head down, his hands together, as if he were praying. He looked up, his blue eyes gleaming.

“Thank you Mlle. I won’t let you down.”

“Please, just call me Annabelle.”  Then she turned to her mother and glared at her again. “You know how I feel about this.” Mme. Rowney nodded quickly then turning to Matthew said.

“When can you start M. Lewis?”

“I can start now if you wish.” Mme. Rowney brightened up, and Annabelle rolled her eyes.

“Just start now. And Mother, you can leave now.” She said dismissing her mother like she was a servant that was unwanted. Mme. Rowney nodded turning, she left without another word. M. Lewis stood there a blank expression on his face, not knowing what to do.

“Mlle. Rowney - “

“I said to call me Annabelle.”

“Uh, Annabelle… what would you like me to do?” he asked setting his hat on the table across from her bed. Annabelle thought for a little while, she couldn’t stay in her bed forever, but she also didn’t want a strange man to hold her in his arms while setting her in her wheelchair. She opened her eyes, sighed, and said,

“Can you help me get into my wheelchair?” Lewis nodded smiling.

“Yes Mlle. – I mean Annabelle.” He walked over to the woman in the bed, thinking of how to get her out of it and into the wheelchair across the room. Slowly he took off his jacket and set it on the edge of the bed, then swiftly uncovered the paralyzed woman. “Is this okay?” he asked wrapping an arm around her back, and the other under her legs. She nodded, wrapping one of her arms around his neck. He lifted her off the bed, and Annabelle couldn’t help but notice how his arms tensed up and his muscles bulged before he lifted. Matthew quickly walked over to the wheelchair and set Annabelle down, quickly laying her down and adjusting her night gown before walking slowly away.

“Thank you.” She said bowing her head slightly. “I don’t need you anymore.” And with that Annabelle pushed herself toward the window.

“Then what do I do until you need me again?”

“The drawing room is in next door.”  Matthew nodded, and left the room softly closing the door after him. After about a minute, there was a knock on the door, and Matthew walked in.

“Mlle. – I mean Annabelle, I forgot my coat and hat, sorry for bothering you.” And with that M. Lewis left the room again with his belongings in tow.

 

>Authors Note<

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