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Historical Fiction Romance

I’ve always loved when the festival came to town. Ever since I was a girl, Mother and Father would let Nanny take me for just one day, and it’s always the best day of the year. 

There’s something mystical about it. The whole scene is bright and exciting during the day and at night, the flickering candles and lanterns become hazy- almost dreamlike- against the dark of the sky. The festival has always felt like a dreamy light blue- which is why I chose that color dress to wear tonight. 

Every year, I get to the fairgrounds as early as I’m allowed, and stay well into the night. Even as a child, it was the only time I was allowed out past dark. 

Now I’m older, though, and I’ve gotten away with even the small hours of morning in years past. I don’t need Nanny to come with me now, either; it’s the one day I feel free. 

Being the daughter of wealthy parents, freedom is a limited luxury. Of course I’m grateful for everything I have; the fancy dresses, trips to summer homes, the lavish mansion we call home. It’s not what matters, though. I’m not allowed to talk to anyone that Mother and Father don’t approve of, which doesn’t make for a life filled with friends. 

I’ve heard the whispers; people in town think I’m a lonely child. Mother wishes that I would socialize with the whomever she chooses for me, but I don’t like any of those people. They have their opinions of me already, anyways. They all think that I’m strange. 

At the festival, though, no one is paying attention to me. Everyone comes for the same reason, and strange is what they are here to see. 

The wind chills me, and the bustle in the streets are thinning. It must be well past midnight; I’ve been here for hours. 

All my heartache dissolved at the front gate. Everything that I dread about life, all those tedious, mundane things that I hate with all of my soul, my entire life washes away and stays back there. At the festival, it’s the only time I feel like I can be myself.

I hear the lively orchestra music dim, and realize that I have no idea where I am. The festival changes every year, and this year I must have wandered too fast. I start to panic, looking around for any familiar face, and creeping away from all shadows. 

But the wavering candlelight chases away shadows. The dimming orchestra changes the music, not performing the playful, plucking tunes anymore, but now incorporating intense flourishes and beautiful violin and piano solos. 

The music is different, but I feel so undeniably drawn to it. I stand in the middle of the bustling pathway and stay still, inhaling the flowering air and hearing the blooming melody. My full cornflower blue skirt is brushed past often, but I ignore it. 

All of my senses feel like colors; they always have. Whenever I’m angry or upset, I use different colors in my paintings to convey that emotion. So I’ve developed a habit of associating my emotions with colors, even away from the easel. 

Usually, Red is angry. It’s deep and blazing and vicious; the color of blood and anger flushed skin. So when I decide I feel like Red, I surprise myself. It’s not solely an angry color anymore. It’s bright and lively and passionate; the color of bursting fields of poppies. 

My eyes are still closed, and I feel someone brush my shoulder. 

“Oh- I’m sorry,” I exclaim, opening my eyes. When I see the person there, I’m sure that my cheeks become the same Red that I feel.

“That’s alright,” says a boy about my age. He is simply gorgeous, messy waves of hair reach just the tips of his ears, and his features are defined. He looks like every fictional character I’ve ever read of. His eyes are the best part; the deepest emerald green I’ve ever seen. He smiles at me playfully. “What’s your name?”

“Uh- it’s… it’s Mara.”

“Mara,” the boy muses, crossing his arms over his chest. I nod at him slowly, and he chuckles. “You’re not going to ask me my name?”

Oh-” I shake myself. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

“I’m Lincoln,” he greets, sticking out his hand. “Lincoln Adley.”

“It’s lovely to meet you, Lincoln.” I shake his hand, and it’s warm and strong. I start to pull away, but Lincoln doesn’t let go. I look up at his face, and his smirk turns mischievous. 

“Can I show you something, Lady Mara?” 

I blush. “Well I… I suppose so.” I realize I’m dangerously willing to accept his offer, and his offer to go somewhere new seems like a perfect opportunity to stay out later. Out in the circus with no parents. I can forget my heritage… the rules… I can forget it all temporarily. 

Lincoln’s smile broadens, and he stares into my eyes. I stare back, becoming utterly and completely lost in the green. Green feels clean and new; the color of the grass where my Red poppies would bloom. 

Finally, Lincoln turns and starts running, tugging me along with him. We run fast, weaving in between festival goers and food carts. My long dress flows behind me, and I almost feel like I’m flying. Lincoln never loosens his grip, and we near the edge of the fairgrounds. The music continues to dim as we run from the center of the grounds, but the soaring notes still fill my ears, matching my soaring mood. 

We reach the end of the grounds, and we slow to a stop. Lincoln tugs me forward, but I stay still. 

“What’s wrong?” Lincoln asks. 

“It’s just…” I sigh. “I feel like once I leave the fairgrounds, this will all disappear.” 

Lincoln laughs. “That’s absurd,” He moves closer to me. “I’m real.”

“Are you?” I ask, suddenly questioning all of my decisions. “Why did I come with you? This is all so insane, you’ve barely said four sentences to me and I’m running off with you like I’ve known you all my life.”

“I wish I had known you that long.”

“Why me?” I blurt. “There are a hundred prettier girls within these grounds.”

“I disagree,” Lincoln insists firmly. “Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“Not really,” I tell him, but I know that’s not entirely true. 

“Well I saw you just then, and it was love at first sight. I saw your face, I heard your voice, and my breath was taken away. You took my breath away, Mara. I can’t explain it, not even to myself. But I just know that it was fate that brought you to the festival.”

“Brought me? What about you?”

“Well…” Lincoln starts. “I’m always at the festival.”

“Really? I haven’t seen you before.”

“I’m usually behind the stands,” Lincoln points to a festival game stand, and I follow his eyes to the man running it, wearing a masquerade mask. “And you wouldn’t see my face anyways.”

“Y-you work here?” 

“I travel with the caravan. I’ve done it all my life.”

“What about your parents? How would they-”

“I don’t have any,” Lincoln states bluntly. 

“Oh,” I raise a hand to my mouth. “I am so sorry, I shouldn’t have-”

“Hey,” Lincoln consoles, taking my hand gingerly once again. “It’s alright. I don’t remember them; they left me on the steps of a festival tent,” he laughs. 

“Why are you laughing?” I laugh along with him. “You truly are odd.”

“Well,” Lincoln strugs. “I do live traveling with the festival.” He flashes his dashing grin and whirls around. “I bet I could beat you to the top of that hill!”

Laughing, I chase after him as fast as I can. Mother always scolded me for running fast. She said it was a boys sport. I love to run, though, and I love the face of surprise that Lincoln makes when I beat him to the top of the hill. 

“You run like a man,” he exclaims, climbing his final steps to the hill where I’m standing triumphantly. 

“No,” I protest. “I run like a girl.”

Lincoln throws his head back and laughs. “Fair enough,” he smiles, and sits down at the base of a large apple tree.

I join him; sitting close, feeling his warmth. The night is brisk but I barely feel the cold. Lincoln and I are sitting with our arms pressed together, and I fight the urge to lay on his shoulder or hold his hand. 

I remember what Mother taught me; the man should always make the advances. 

Rolling my eyes at her voice in my head, I decide I never listen to her anyways. Why should I start now? 

I find his hand next to mine, and entwine our fingers together. Lincoln doesn’t pull away, and I try not to sigh in relief too loudly. 

“So, Mara,” Lincoln talks softly. “If you seem to be so concerned about how much we know each other, why don’t you tell me something?”

“What do you wish to know?”

“Everything,” he exhales. “What’s your favorite color?”

“All of them,” I answer quickly. 

“Good answer.”

“Thank you,” I grin. “And you?”

Lincoln hums thoughtfully. “Probably blue,” he replies. “Specifically the blue of your eyes.”

I blush furiously. “You’re such a flirt,” I scold him, turning my head away so he doesn’t see how red I am. 

Lincoln scoffs. “I am not. I speak the truth.”

We say nothing for a while, leaning into each other. I don’t feel the awkward need to fill silence with talk like I do with other people. The silence is comfortable and intimate. I don’t realize how long we’ve sat here, not worried about it at all. Every care or worry is washed away in those moments, including the worry of being home on time. I only speak when I see the sun begin to reveal itself from behind the mountains. 

“Good heavens, it’s morning,” I exclaim, standing up quickly. Lincoln still has my hand, and tugs me back down. 

“No,” he shakes his head vehemently. “It’s not. Close your eyes, then you won’t see the sun.”

“That’s not how it works,” I counter, but Lincoln persists. 

“How would you know if you don’t try?” he says. I smile and I roll my eyes. Lincoln lays on the grass and pulls me close so my head rests on his chest. I feel his breathing and I hear his heartbeat. “Now close your eyes,” he says. 

I do.

And I pretend that the world doesn’t exist. 

Until I remember that it does. 

“Lincoln, I truly do have to go,” I tell him apologetically. “If I’m not back soon, I’ll never be allowed out again, and we will never again see each other. 

Lincoln's face falls, and I can tell that he isn’t telling me something. 

“What’s wrong?”

“Well…” he pauses, then sighs. “The festival is leaving tomorrow.”

“And?”

“And I must go with them.”

I stare at him for a moment, letting those words sink in. I contemplate how I could be so sad over a boy I met mere hours ago. I don’t say anything else as I lay back down on his chest. 

I keep my eyes open, though, as I watch the sun rise and illuminate the rolling green fields below. I know that color will be changed for me, now. 

Green feels sad and lonely; the color of my first love’s eyes, and a day I’ll never forget. 

May 10, 2021 14:04

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18 comments

Monica June
14:05 May 10, 2021

Hey guys! So this is something completely different from my usual stories. I'm not used to writing things like this, so any feedback is greatly appreciated! I want to get better, so be honest!:)

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Rachel Smith
08:21 May 11, 2021

I liked this. So cute. This line is lovely, "Green feels clean and new; the color of the grass where my Red poppies would bloom. " Seeing emotions in colour is a powerful concept. I think you could indulge in that more (describing more colours, how they look to her, what they mean). Well done. A sweet story.

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Monica June
13:22 May 11, 2021

Thank you! I appreciate your comment. And I'm glad you liked the color thing! I loved writing it :)

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Charli Britton
16:33 May 10, 2021

I like that it's different. I came into the story thinking someone was going to die. but nope! Quite the opposite. It was sweet, and it leaves me wanting more which is always a good thing. I'm trying to find something to criticize because I feel like being negative right now, but there really isn't much to say that is negative. Maybe change the name Lincoln. It is so boring. xD But at the same time it fits. Good job Monica

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Monica June
18:00 May 10, 2021

Haha! Lincoln is pretty common, but it was the first thing that came into my head, and decided not to search for a new name xD Thank you for the comment! I liked trying something new this time.

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Loxie Oaks
02:15 May 11, 2021

Very well written and sweet, like Charli said! And I, for one, absolutely love the name Lincoln :)

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Monica June
02:34 May 11, 2021

I'm glad! I don't always like common names, but some are okay ;)

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Cole Lane
04:26 May 23, 2021

I feel like Lincoln was the embodiment of what Mara wanted to be, free. He was handsome and carefree, but the real excitement was she was able to glimpse into a world where stringent rules didn't apply. The contrasts between her world and his are so well played in this story. The desire to just be free, but the constant nagging voice of Mara's mother telling her how to behave all felt so poignant. Awesome storytelling, really great inner conflict!

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Monica June
04:28 May 23, 2021

You're, the best, Cole! I LOVE your comments. Thank you for your kind words!! I'm glad you picked up on those things. :)

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Cookie Carla🍪
18:11 May 17, 2021

You did a really good job with this story and it was such a good read!! If you want to read any of mine, just check out my bio where it says 'find your story' and you can choose which one you would like to read based on the genre. Thanks in advance!!

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Monica June
22:42 May 17, 2021

Thanks for your feedback! I'll head over to your page now ;)

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14:33 May 17, 2021

Loved this story. It was romantic but with a slightly sadder ending. I’m glad you didn’t choose to go the ‘happily ever after’ route. Also I loved the way you used colors to capture emotion. Overall very well done!

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Monica June
14:43 May 17, 2021

Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback :)

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Marie Bishop
12:20 May 17, 2021

Really beautiful Imaginary here. Maybe she will find her first love in another story, along the way.

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Monica June
12:58 May 17, 2021

Thank you for your comment! And maybeee ;)

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Arwen Dove
20:57 May 12, 2021

I love this so much! 'All my heartache dissolved at the front gate.'-I loved this description! Beautifully written story, well done!

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Monica June
21:22 May 12, 2021

Thank you so much!!

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Arwen Dove
22:14 May 12, 2021

:)

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