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Ch. 11 Heart Dis-Ease

As Alice walked out of Army Headquarters, she saw a familiar figure at the gate.

"Lady Alice," Lord Schultz greeted her, with a curt bow.

Alice winced. Schultz's tone and expression reminded her of a kicked puppy. She was certain that wasn't his intention, but she couldn't always help her imagination.

"Lord Schultz," she replied with a demure nod, "I'm sure you wish to talk."

Lord Schultz grimaced, his mouth forming a tight line.

"Milady, I do indeed," he said, and offered his elbow. "Will you do me the honor of escorting you home this evening, before you leave for your journey?" He made a sweeping gesture to his carriage.

Alice almost suggested walking instead, but realized too many ears might hear sensitive information. She took his arm and smiled.

"Of course I will," she replied.

After seeing Alice comfortable in her seat, Schultz instructed his coachman to take the longer route. Settling in, the two were muted at first in an awkward silence broken only by the familiar rhythm of the Clydesdale's hooves.

Alice spoke first. "I'm sorry," she said, her tone again demure but earnest.

Schultz stared at her with dulled eyes used to betrayal. He replied after a moment.

"Well…that's a start, I suppose."

Alice opened her mouth but closed it again. What could she say? The young lord had always adored her, ever since they were children together. However, Alice never could get past the feeling of him being closer to a brother than a potential beau.

"Just tell me something, milady," he said, "and…please be honest?"

She nodded emphatically and leaned forward.

"Was there ever…I mean, did you…did I ever have a chance at winning your heart? Any chance at all?"

Alice's face fell. She leaned back and sighed. At that, Schultz bowed his head, plucked his silk handkerchief from his pocket and tried to stop the few furious tears that threatened to overwhelm him.

"Well," he said, trying hard not to crumble right in front of her, "that's that."

"I am sorry," Alice said.

"Please," he interrupted. "At least I know now. I just wanted...oh, something. Well, I'd like to know why! You're not swayed by flowers or flattery, classical music and operas bore you, and you abhor shopping! I never heard of any woman, noble or common, who hates shopping! Then, that night of the attack, I thought I finally understood at least a small part of you. I left you that night, giving you room to breathe as you requested, so I could learn everything about the work you do."

"I know," Alice replied. "Thank you for that, by the way. For everything."

Schultz seemed only mildly surprised. "So your captain told you?"

"Not the details," she said. "But it was mentioned…so thank you, really. What you're doing is dangerous."

Schultz looked away, desperate to compose himself.

"Well," he sniffed, "at least you see something in me that tickles your fancy."

"Hey!" Alice replied, growing angry herself, "Stop that!"

Schultz continued to look out the window, lifting his chin in response.

Alice shook her head in frustration. "Honestly!" she said. "You know better than to say something so childish! You are a good man. I've always known that! Better yet, you are a dear friend. At least, I thought you were."

"Then why am I not good enough for you?" he asked softly. "I just don't understand."

Alice sighed and put her head in her hands.

"It's not like that," she said. "I…just…I just don't feel that way about you."

"So what?"

Alice looked up. "Huh?"

He was looking at her again with a deep intensity.

"You heard me," he said in a low voice. "So what? Most couples in our class are hardly civil, let alone friends. My parents barely speak to one another anymore." His eyebrows rose as he saw her look of dismay. "You didn't know?"

Alice shook her head. "I did not. My lord…I had no idea; I'm so sorry."

Schultz waved an impatient hand in dismissal. His next question was almost a sneer.

"Are you telling me your house was actually filled with affection?" he asked.

"Of course!" she blurted before she could stop herself. She brought a hand to her mouth in embarrassment, which made her angry all over again. Why should she be embarrassed? She then realized she was embarrassed for his sake, not her own.

"My parents were quite affectionate," she said softly. "You know how hard my father took her passing. He mourned for years. Years! Why do you think I was at your house for days on end? It was because he was never home! As young as we were, didn't that strike you as odd?"

Schultz shook his head, puzzled.

"No," he said, "You were my favorite playmate, and I assumed I was yours. I thought that was why you and your sisters were always there." He fiddled with his handkerchief. "My father was always gone, too. My mother left me with my nannies, and they were kind to me. My parents made no secret of their affairs. I just…I thought every noble house was like that, or similar, anyway." He shrugged. "I guess not."

Alice felt awful. She couldn't imagine being brought up in such a cold, loveless house. How many other noble houses were like this for him to think it was normal? Was that why the royal council seemed so broken? It did explain Schultz's overt feelings for her.

"Lord Taylor," Schultz continued, "fared no better with you, did he? I mean, even before his…accident, you were no more amorous toward him than you were toward me." When Alice remained silent, he added. "You don't deny it. I still do not understand, Alice. You are not a cold woman. You are passionate, fiery, even!" Alice gave a wry chuckle at that but he rushed on. "I am so fond of you. I know you better than most, really, and so…can't you at least try? Isn't there a chance you will grow to love me? I beseech you, in the name of our friendship!"

Alice glanced outside and saw they were almost to her house. She sighed wearily, then leaned over and grasped his hand.

"In the name of our friendship," she repeated, "I want you to listen to me, my lord. It is precisely because we are good friends that I must respectfully decline your very kind and generous offer. I know that if I accept, this friendship, that we both hold dear, even though for different reasons, will no longer exist. It's not because I'm not fond of you. I am, but only as a good friend. I know you wish otherwise, but that will not change. I don't want to ruin what we have with a lie. We've always been honest with one another, haven't we?" Schultz nodded reluctantly. "Would you really want me to lie to you every day? Tell you only what you wanted to hear? That's not love, my lord. That's not how it works. And that's not how I want to live my life. Now do you understand?"

Schultz swallowed hard and smiled sadly. "This is why I fell in love with you in the first place," he said ruefully, stroking her gloved hand with both of his thumbs. "You're the only one I know who isn't afraid of giving me a straight answer. It's painful, but at least I know I can trust you to tell me what's truly in your heart."

They felt the carriage come to a halt. Alice waited for him to open the door for her. When he didn't, she looked back at him. He was still holding her hand in both of his.

"You are an amazing woman, Alice," Schultz said, and raised her hand to his lips. "I thank you for this night. It was…enlightening." He looked up at her with unshed tears. Alice truly felt sorry for him then, although she couldn't tell if she should hide that fact or not. She didn't want to humiliate him any further. He slipped out of the carriage and waited for her to step out. When she did, he took her by the arm and escorted her to her front door. When they got there, he knelt.

"I humbly beg your pardon, milady," he said, "but would you permit this clumsy lout one request?"

Alice chuckled gently. "And what would that be, milord?" she asked.

"To bestow upon you one token of good luck for this perilous mission I know you must do."

"Oh, well…" Alice said, struggling for words. Schultz suddenly stood up and cupped her face. He gazed longingly at her mouth, but at the last moment turned her head and graced her cheek with a light kiss. Alice squeezed her eyes shut. Schultz was a noble to the end. She would have allowed him to kiss her fully, but she was afraid that if she kissed him now, it might still give him the wrong idea. Instead, she gave him a long, tight embrace. It was the best she could do.

"Thank you, Master Schultz, she said. "Please don't let this get between us-"

"Fret not, my dear!" Schultz interrupted. "I cherish our friendship moreso now than ever before! I will always be your ally, never fear!" With that, he stepped back and made a dramatic, sweeping bow.

"Good night, Lady Alice. Rest well; you will need your strength on the morrow!"

"Good night, Master Schultz. I will."
Ch. 11 Heart Dis-Ease
I admit, I had a lot a laughs at poor Schultz's expense. He was a fun character. I was surprised that he wasn't in the manga, because he fit in with the anime so perfectly. The poor guy means well. I might have a plan for him later on.

So hey, how are you?! Where the heck have I been?! I'm so sorry that I haven't been able to keep up with this. I know where I want to go in the story, just not how to get there, exactly! That's part of it. I've also had a lot of recent health issues that demanded my immediate attention, as my dA page will tell you! Also, it's not an easy thing to think while keeping up with two jobs that demand the majority of my time. I will try harder from now on, even if that means writing it out by hand first, as I don't have a laptop.
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I wish I could just talk to you.
To stay, and chat awhile.
To have met as high school classmates.
I wish I'd met you as a child.

But the only way I know is one
As daughter to a mother.
I'll never know who you truly are
And your many shades of color.

Who was the spark?
Who blazed that day;
Who was that summer child?
Caught between our Lord's sunbeams
And His loving Smile?

That summer child is still within
How I wish that I could meet her!
I'd hug her close, say, "It's all right!"
That nothing will defeat her.

I'll never know to look at you
With a special sort of awe.
Because I am a part of you
I was neither selected nor called.

Yet God chose the very best for you
Your parents; how we miss them so!
They're dancing in your honor, too
In a place we don't yet know.

And I will never really know
Your way of loving Dad.
That bond of decades-long friendship
And love through good and bad.

I'll never know what it felt like
To hold my brother that first time.
To feel him leave your body
Yet to find your souls entwined.

And three more children after that!
Though one had to return home
How did we ever fit in this house?
That's something I'll never know!

"Mom!" "What?" "Where-?" "There!"
"Oh, MOM!" "Momma?" "um, Mother?"
That sound, unique to your ears alone
Is unlike any other.

But I'll never know the chosen child.
I'll never know the girl.
I'll never know the seamstress
Though I'm blessed to be in her world.

And though I'll never fully know the dancer
Or pianist or bell ringer
At least I know a part of you
That will forever linger.

I'll never know quite all of you
But I do know you try your best.
I'll never know half the things you do
To keep moving with so little rest.

Thank you, Mother, for being you
For loving all of me.
You'll never know how much I love you
You're a Godsend to me.
I'll Never Know
For my mother.
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Kitsune Smile  by Wackyjax
Kitsune Smile
I suddenly had an urge to draw that face. My first for 2016. Bring it on.
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Dr. Ahmed's PA just called.
Pathology just came back.

100% BENIGN.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

:D
Updated: 15:00 12/19/15
I am downright flabbergasted. Apparently I'm doing so well, Dr. Ahmed just declared that I can go HOME tomorrow! I'm the healthiest patient in the ICU! Just have to keep the pain and any dizziness closely monitored.
Now: 05:07 12/20/15

Sleep comes and goes and hour or two at a time. My body has its own ideas in preparing for the journey home-namely, if it wants to (and I humbly beg pardon) piss like a racehorse, it will. My head and neck is waking up more, and it is tender and lopsided. I will likely be on Oxycodin and Tylenol for quite a while.

My ear clicks and pops, but fortunately that's normal, because the fluid is settling back in and the area is reasserting itself, I guess.

I will never take a shower or a meal for granted ever again. Never again will I take kindness, courtesy or privacy for granted. I am no longer afraid or ashamed. I don't know why it was me who had to have brain surgery to learn just how cared for I am. People prayed all over the world...for me.  Just...funny little me. I feel buoyed up by a thousand hands and delivered straight into God's.  I vow to make good use of this very real Christmas miracle. I feel like George Bailey. It really is a Wonderful Life.
Dr. Ahmed's PA just called.
Pathology just came back.

100% BENIGN.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

:D

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Wackyjax
JackieH
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
Christian, artist, poet, writer, storyteller. Old enough to know better, young enough not to care. ^^ Oh, and I'm a bonefide Cheesehead. Currently working 2 jobs, trying to find my way in the world.

Current Residence: Wisconsin, USA
Favourite genre of music: Hard Rock, Christian, Pop, Nature, Classical
Favourite photographer: Everybody in National Geographic
Favourite cartoon character: Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Bugs Bunny, Ebenezer & Snooch <-(www.twolumps.net)
Personal Quote: Just do what you can with what you have.
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:iconnorbertkocsis:
NorbertKocsis Featured By Owner 16 hours ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the +fav! :)
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:iconwackyjax:
Wackyjax Featured By Owner 16 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
YW! :aww:
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:iconclassically-depunk:
Classically-DePunk Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Please know we are praying ardently for you, sister.
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:iconwackyjax:
Wackyjax Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you kindly. Just had my 6 week checkup and everything looks good. I'll be going back to full time work soon. :)
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:iconclassically-depunk:
Classically-DePunk Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:highfive:
That is a wonderful blessing! God bless you again!
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:iconwackyjax:
Wackyjax Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! :cuddle:
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:iconclassically-depunk:
Classically-DePunk Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Recently, I read your prayer request on :iconjesus-loves-you:.
Please know we (myself and the other members) are praying ardently for you.

If I can pray for anything else, or if you need any spiritual support, please feel free to note me.

 I deeply apologize if this comes across as excessively forward, but reading your prayer request, I felt compelled to message you.
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:iconwackyjax:
Wackyjax Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
No worries, I appreciate the kind words.  :aww: 

You can read my updates, if you like. I am all right, and I'm going to be all right. Thanks again. 
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:iconthesuddenstop:
TheSuddenStop Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015
I just heard the fantastic news! :) I'm so glad everything went well. I hope you have a speedy and safe recovering, and that you and your family have a fantastic Christmas. <3
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:iconwackyjax:
Wackyjax Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, and likewise to you and yours! :) 
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