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Coming of Age Drama Historical Fiction

Jan 1889

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

First month of Green Valley School for Girls. I’m excited. Really excited. I met a girl on the carriage ride here. Her name is Isabella. She seems nice. She said I’m lucky to have a twin sister. I’ve never thought about it, actually, but I realize that I am lucky. Aella’s my best friend, but I’m glad that I can branch out now, meet people that are more like me. 

I hope Isabella and I become close. It would be nice to have friends, especially since I can sense that my twin sister Aella might not want anything to do with me this year. 

There was this other girl who smiled at me, from another carriage. She had this beautiful dark brown hair, braided down to her waist and finished with a green ribbon. I wonder what her name is. 

I’ve decided I’m going to try to make as many friends as possible here. After all, I’ll be spending two years in this school. 

I know that our classes will be Etiquette, Dance, Culinary Arts, and Form. I think I’m most excited about Culinary arts. I’ve always really liked cooking, and I’m good at it too, much better than Aella. The truth is, I’m better at all of this stuff than Aella. I hope she doesn’t come to resent me for it. I’ve always been the good child. I wish I could act out like Aella, but I can’t. I have to be the perfect daughter. I don’t mind it too much, it hasn’t really been hard. I like all the things they want me to learn. I’ve been told I have a soft voice and good posture and been complimented on my dancing skills. Aella, on the other hand, has often been reprimanded by our mother. 

“Stop slouching!”

“You’re so loud!”

“Aella, you’ve burnt it. You’ve been distracted again.”

“Aella, stop stepping on my toes!”

“Sit up straight! Look at Rose!”

It always makes me feel guilty when she says stuff like this. Aella is Aella. I love her how she is. But I’m the quiet one, the gentle one, so I sit silently and watch, like I always do. 

But this diary isn’t about Aella. For once, I want something to be about me. 

Feb 1889

Telephone Conversation between Rose’s mother (Eleanor Miller) and Rose Miller

Eleanor: Hello darling! How’s the school!

Rose: I love it. I’m having so much fun here, Mother. It’s paradise. I’m getting excellent grades in cooking and dance. 

Eleanor: I’m proud of you. I always knew you would turn out to be a fine young woman

Rose: Thank you, Mother. How is Dad?

Eleanor: He’s doing well. He’s working right now. 

Rose: Oh, okay. 

Eleanor:: Could I talk to Aella?

Rose: I don’t know where she is

Eleanor:: That’s fine, I have to go now honey, the servant is asking for me, but remember that I love you. I’m just so proud. I’ll call Aella later. 

Rose: Bye. I love you too. 

Eleanor:: Bye. 

Excerpt from Rose’s diary. 

I went down to the town square today and found this little book. It had a picture of a star on the cover, and it looked very old and dirty. I picked it up with my handkerchief, for I did not want to touch it, and took it back to my room at the school, and tossed it under the bed. I have no desire to read it, but I couldn’t just leave it there, of course. 

I think Isabella and I will be really good friends today. And I went and talked to the girl who smiled at me, even though I was nervous. Her name is Mary. 

April 1889

Scene, Rose preparing for the Spring Dance

It was the day of the Spring Dance. Rose was dressed in a beautiful blush-colored gown and was wearing a slight bit of makeup. She had decided to go with her new friend, Mary, with whom she had become close with, since neither of them had been asked. She was carefully applying powder to her fair-colored face when her vanity creaked. In surprise, she dropped it and it bounced under the bed. She kneeled on the floor, very un-lady-like, and stuck her hand under the bed to get it. Her hand landed on the star book that she had found 2 months ago. She brought it up, and decided to flip through it quickly to see what it was about.  

She became engrossed in the book. It was all about the night sky, which she had loved since she was a little kid. It told her things about the stars and the moon. Powder and dance forgotten, she sunk onto the bed and read. When she looked up, it was past 3:00 in the morning. The dance was over. 

May 1889

Scene, Rose thinking in bed

My heart and mind are not the same. I’m sorry, you won't understand. 

Aella’s words repeated over and over in Rose’s head. They bounced around her skull and twisted her stomach into a tight knot. 

I'm sorry, you won’t understand. 

She had stopped Aella after class, to talk, and that was where they ended up, with Aella saying those things. Rose felt as if her heart had been ripped in half. 

You won’t understand. 

Rose turned over onto her side. 

I’m sorry

There was a wall forming between them. Rose didn’t know why. 

YOu won’t understand. 

My heart and mind are not the same

Over and over and over, they played in Rose’s head, ceasing finally at 2:15 am when she drifted off to sleep. 

June 1889

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

Mom and dad called for Aella and my birthday. They said they were very proud of me. I noticed that Aella didn’t talk much, so I tried to make up for it by staying on for a while. 

I wonder if they would be so proud if they knew about my star book. They want me to marry, not learn. I’ve almost memorized it now, I’ve read it so many times. 

Mary is still angry at me for missing the dance. It’s been two whole months, and she still won’t talk to me. I don’t know what I can do. At least I have Isabella by my side. 

July 1889

Scene, the Summer Ball

A boy had asked Rose to the ball this time, but she had said no. He was from the village, a village boy. But Rose, too caught up in her star book, hadn’t been paying much attention to what he was saying. She had waved him off without even learning his name. 

As Rose sat elegantly on a bench, her back straight and head held high, she was thinking about this. Guilt jabbed at her stomach. He must’ve felt terrible. She hadn’t meant to say no. She had only realized what he was saying too late. It was too late now, though. 

Rose was dressed in a periwinkle gown this time. It shimmered in the light. She wore silver earrings and had her dark hair in a beautiful updo. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Aella sneak out of the ball, probably to visit that village boy she liked so much. Rose felt a pang of loneliness. She was the only one at the dance all alone. 

Rose picked up her clutch purse and pursed her lips. She was going back early. There was no point in staying there. 

August 1889 

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

I’m so glad that I found the tower. More glad than anyone could ever know. It has a glass ceiling, so I can see the stars. I’m tired of the star book that I found on the bench. I need more. I want to learn more. My thirst for knowledge is overtaking me. Tomorrow, I will go down to Green Valley Town Square. They have a library. I won’t be able to bring the books home, but I must read there. 

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

I am a terrible human. I am a disgrace to my family. Today, I was reading in the library and I couldn’t help myself. I took a book back to school. I can’t truly check out books, for my family would never approve of me bring a library member. It’s wonderful. I have no regrets. But it’s weighing on me, this secret. 

September 1889

Scene, Rose in the tower

Rose is lying on the floor of the tower, skirt spread around her. She knows she doesn’t look good like this but doesn’t care. At the moment, all she can be is mad. 

Why must I always be the good one? Aella gets to run around while I cannot. It would break Mother if I did, since Aella took claims on getting to have fun first. All I want is to be able to check books out of the library freely and read in public and tell people everything I learned. I just want to not have to do this in secret anymore. 

She layed there for an hour, bitter thoughts like these running through her mind without stopping. A dam had broken in her brain and now the water of her anger, towards her parent, Aella, the world, were flowing freely. She got up and went back to her dorm, feeling inexplicably but drastically better. She laughed with Mary, who had come to forgive her, and then fell asleep late at night, clutching a book to her chest. 

October 1889

Conversation between Rose and Isabella, takes place in Rose’s room

Isabella: What is this? (Holding up a star book)

Rose: Oh, that?

*Silence*

Isabella: I found this in your room, just now, when you went to go to the bathroom. 

Rose: Oh. 

Isabella: It’s a book. You know you’re not supposed to do things like that

*Silence*

Isabella: Tell me what is going on, or I will alert your parents of this. 

Rose: Alright! Alright. It’s a book that I like reading. I’ve been sneaking books from the library to learn. 

Isabella: Learn? Why?

Rose: Because it makes me happy. 

*Silence* 

*Isabella turns, leaving the room. She tosses the book on Rose’s bed as she goes.*

December 1889

Excerpt from Rose’s diary, 

I have just come home from school. My first year at Green Valley School For Girls is over. Isabella wouldn’t speak to me when I tried to say goodbye to her. Ever since she found out about my love for the stars, she hasn’t talked to me. She has not told anyone, and for this I am grateful. 

I will miss Mary while I am here, at home. We are like sisters now, closer than Aella and me. I almost told her about my books, on the carriage, but I decided not to. The scar Isabella has given me is too fresh, too new, for me to risk getting another one. And I like Mary more than I ever did Isabella. 

I noticed Aella reaching out to the driver today, about to tell him to stop driving when we passed a stableboy. But she didn’t. I wonder if this is the boy she has been meeting. 

January 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

I saw Aella in the tower today, and she saw me with my books. She knows now. I had no idea that she came up to the tower. I know she won’t tell our parents. She’s got her own secrets. 

February 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary. 

Aella’s village boy was beaten today. She cried for them to stop, but I grabbed her by the arm and shushed her. I knew it wouldn’t do anything, and would only get her into trouble. 

She must hate me now. 

April 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

Poor, poor Aella. My heart aches for her. A handmaiden has started following her around. She looks so miserable and sad. Is it possible for me to be happy when my twin, my closest friend, my confidant, looks so down? 

I must not tell anyone about my books. I cannot end up like Aella. I must be perfect,

May 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

Why won’t Aella open up to me? I’m so worried about her, yet she won’t tell me anything. I do not know what is happening. We used to be so close, she would tell me everything. Has she come to resent me?

My grades are slipping for the first time, I’m so worried. I think the librarian is starting to notice me sneaking out all the books. If she catches me, I don’t know what I’ll do. 

June 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

I have never been jealous of Aella before. It’s a new feeling. She received a beautiful gown in the mail. I know that it’s from her village boy. I asked her about it, but she wouldn’t answer me. 

Why does she get so much attention, doing whatever she wants, while I, who tries so hard, am not given any?

It’s our birthday tomorrow. I’ve never been less excited. 

July 1890

Scene, Spring dance. 

Rose’s date had ditched her the moment they had gotten there to go talk to his friends. She didn’t care much. She was talking to Aella when she saw a boy toss Aella a rose. It was red and had no thorns. It was beautiful. The boy smiled at Aella, and she smiled back. But before she could pick up the rose, Rose yanked her by the arm and pulled her away. She was jealous, and she was aware of it. 

September 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

That was quite a disgusting speech that I just heard. The council told us that there are “right” people and “wrong” people, and we should know which ones to stay away from. 

I could tell that Aella hated it just as much as I did, if not more. But I want her to be happy. So I told her that they were right, even though I don’t believe it myself. 

I know that it’s wrong, because I know that if people knew my secret, I would be a wrong person, along with would Aella, and how could two girls like us be so bad?

October 1890

Scene, empty classroom

Rose took a deep breath. This was it. Mary blinked at her, waiting. They were standing at the front of the classroom. 

“I read. I like learning. I take books home from the library. I love learning about the stars. Science. I think it’s so amazing. But my parents don’t like that. They want me to marry, not learn.” Her words were choppy. 

“Okay.”

Rose was taken aback. 

“You’re okay with it?”

“Of course! I think it’s great!” Mary looked surprised, but she wasn’t mad. 

Suddenly, Rose didn’t feel so alone in the world. She grabbed Mary’s hands in excitement! 

“Mary! I could teach you stuff! We could learn secretly together!”

Mary shook her head, 

“Rose, I’m not like you and Aella. I like these things. This is what I want to do.”

“B-but Mary, you don’t have to do what they say. You can defy them, like me and Aella..”

Mary jerked her hands out of Rose’s. 

“Rose, this is what I want to do. And that doesn’t make me any less than you two.”

There was a loud silence that seemed to fill the whole classroom. Rose sighed. 

“You’re right Mary. I’m sorry.”

Mary forgave her easily, instantly. That’s how it was with these two. They could never stay mad at one another.

November 1890

Scene, Rose’s bedroom. 

Rose held the letter tightly in her hands. The front of the letter, all she had read so far, said “To Rose. From Aella. I’m sorry.”

Rose tore it open. She read it and sank onto her bed, shaking. She was going pale. 

“No, no, no.” She kept repeating. 

Aella was gone. She had run away, with the stable boy, 

“No, no, no, NO!”

Rose started sobbing. Ungraceful, ugly sobs that shook her whole body. She ripped the letter in half and threw it on the ground. How could Aella do this to her? She grabbed her diary and started scribbling furiously, tears streaming down her cheeks and drenching the paper. 

Excerpt from Rose’s Diary

I’m happy for her. I am. I know she’ll be alright. I wonder if she will even miss me like I will miss her. It’s just….what about me? I must keep our parents happy, which means resigning myself to be perfect. They won't be able to handle two daughters like Aella. Again, she gets to do what she wants….and I don’t. How much pressure will be placed on me now? Did she even stop to think of me? Once? I must keep my secret safe. For Mother. 

December 1890

Excerpt from Rose’s diary

It’s all over. They found out. 

I’m done with finishing school. It’s a weird feeling. I will miss it, and Mary, a lot. 

I’m home now, sitting on my familiar bed. 

I had to return all my books to the library. They weren’t really mine. Except for the first one, that one with the star on the cover, the one that started it all. That’s the one that they found. Mother found it, actually. 

“This is a men’s book.” She said to me. She was really, really, sad. She looked like she was about to cry, and it broke my heart. 

I told her what I had been doing. There was no point in avoiding it. She had cried. 

“No, no, Rose, you’re the only one left.” 

I told her that I still wanted to marry, and loved school, and had done well. That cheered her up a bit, but she was mad. She took away my star book. It hurts.

But I won’t let them stop me. Somehow, I will learn. I will discover. I will be the girl I was born to be. 

October 24, 2020 01:43

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110 comments

B. W.
17:58 Oct 25, 2020

heya there ^^

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Amaya .
00:49 Oct 26, 2020

Hi :)

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B. W.
02:05 Oct 26, 2020

Hiya, how are you? ^^

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Amaya .
03:51 Oct 26, 2020

I'm doing... well. Normal, ig. Quarantine sucks but it's not that bad tbh. What about you? Are you doing in person school/work

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B. W.
03:57 Oct 26, 2020

I'm doing online school

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