When Garrison made the decision, his heart raced. It was the decision of excitement over a staid life. To stay would be staid. For staying put at the manor would be spending the rest of his days with his chest out and his chin up, all in a dignified manner. Proper manners at the manor.
In other words, to Garrison, it would be to remain a statue.
But he needed life. True, it was going to be much more difficult in not becoming the Lord of Stanhope after Garrison’s father died. Out there in the real world, beyond the estate’s grounds, Garrison would have to earn his own way. Because he would never ask for an allowance, and even if he did, he doubted one would be given to him.
Garrison was sure that he was going to be cut off, and his younger brother would become Lord. Which was completely fine. Let Duncan have the golden yoke. He’d always been jealous of Garrison being born first, anyway. Let him rise to what he wanted.
A life away from the estate beckoned. A life with Bethany. When Garrison and Bethany were going to run off, a scandal was going to break out, like a horse sick of its stall. The next-in-line for the lordship gone off with a maid? Scandalous!
Let them talk. Garrison knew they sometimes yearned for gossip to chatter about. So, in a way, they should thank him for suppling fodder for many conversations to come.
Would they ever realize the beating heart underneath their gossip? The love they felt for each other?
Yes, this love was forbidden — which made it even more enticing. Garrison found out the temptation of the forbidden years ago, when he first stole tarts from the kitchen, and then graduated to stealing his father’s whiskey a little at a time.
At first, being with Bethany was exciting for its forbidden nature. Not only that, but she was beautiful — the kind of beauty it was hard to take your eyes from. Beautiful despite her plain clothes, not decked out in finery.
Then love took over the temptation. Because Bethany was sweet and smart and funny. And genuine. A trait that not many on the “nobler” side of the house shared.
It was that authenticity that persuaded Garrison to leave. He saw a life with her as authentic, one full of the swings of life. Turmoils and victories. The comfort of laying next to her every night. The accomplishment of earning a roof over their heads. The simple thrill of eating without wearing the proper clothing. The hope of seeing your own children rush into the house from school, eager to tell you everything that happened to them, and not needing to be hushed because they were too loud.
A life with blood charging through his veins, eager to see what every day would bring.
The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.