The Misfortunes of Mr. Ferrars (Part Two)
Dwayne poured out what he sternly told himself would be the last cup for the day. The sun had set outside and shadows had crept across the room as he had not bothered to light any candles. Only the golden and pink streaks of fading light in the sky provided a little illumination. He barely noticed the lack of light. He sat staring at the drab walls of the dingy establishment that he had been forced to call home for the last two weeks. An open trunk lay yawning in a corner. He didn’t have any money to pay the next day’s rent, so he knew he had to move out, but hadn’t the heart to pack when he had returned “home”.
He emptied the glass down his gullet and set it down forcefully on the small table, sighing. The bottle was still half full, but he felt no inclination to even pull it toward himself again. He wanted to do nothing and be nothing. He knew he would have, that fateful night two weeks ago, if not for Lessie. He truly would be nothing if not for her. He knew he should be grateful that she’d stayed with him even after his business was closed down, but he only felt anger for not being the one accompanying her to the party. His blood boiled at the thought of her being asked for a dance by a handsome stranger, someone with the money and influence that he’d lost. Before he knew it, he was on his feet, his hands curled into fists at his side. He couldn’t allow that to happen.
In his dishevelled and slightly intoxicated state, even though a part of him was warning him not to, he left his room and was out of the inn in a trice. The sky had darkened into a deep blue and the stars were peeking out shyly. The moon was nowhere to be seen, so the high lamps of the infrequent lampposts and the lanterns that people carried in their hands were his only guides. He pushed his way past the thinning evening crowd, earning him swears and curses from people he didn’t wish to know. The slight aroma of the townsfolk’s evening meal mixed with the stench of a sweating city assailed his nose as he turned corner after corner, barely aware of where he was going. As he barrelled into a street having well-kept, tall buildings on either side and the sharp clack of horses’ hooves greeted him, he came to a dead stop. Lessie had only mentioned a party, but he knew not where.
He spotted a manservant hurrying out of one of the mansions and moved towards him, only to come to a standstill again. He had no change in his pocket to bribe the answer out of that man. He let out a wail of desperation, sinking to his knees in the middle of the walkway.
“What you be doin’ in these fine parts, eh? You drunk?” It was the manservant and his eyes were narrowed at Dwayne.
“Probably,” he muttered, unsure. Was the alcohol or blame or himself or should he be pointing his finger at Fate?
“Get outta here before a guard comes along,” the stranger growled, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and yanking him upright.
Dwayne saw his opportunity and blurted, “And before you leave, would you happen to know if there’s a party around here somewhere?”
“If I did, would I be tellin’ a fella like you about it, eh?” The servant chuckled as he walked away, taking the last hope that Dwayne had had with him.
The image of the faceless monster seducing Lessie with his charm on a crowded dance floor flashed across his mind again.
“I’m so sorry, Lessie,” he whispered to the night, a silent tear poised at the end of his lashes.
He knew then what he had to. A part of him had known all along, he realised. Lessie was the only thing he had left and he couldn’t let someone else take her away from him.
When he reached the inn hours later after getting lost twice on his way back, the innkeeper noticed a small smile playing on Dwayne’s lips.
“Will you be staying another night, Mr. Ferrars?” he asked, hoping the drunk man would take the hint.
Dwayne waddled over to him and clapped him on his back. “No, thanks, old chap. I’ll be having a job by tomorrow, you see.” His grin widened.
The innkeeper moved away from his touch. “Off to bed with you, Mr. Ferrars.”
Dwayne couldn’t remember reaching his room or falling asleep with his clothes on, but when he woke up the next morning with a mild headache building at the back of his head, he knew last night had been a mistake of the worst kind.
What do you think will happen to Dwayne next? How do you think the story is going so far? Let me know via the comments section. Have a wonderful weekend, lovely readers. 🙂