Cybil was in every sense the perfect daughter. Intelligent, kind, playful, obedient, and beautiful; she was the pride of the wealthy Waldegrave family. Her parents eagerly awaited the day she would come of an age in which she could begin to find a suitor, knowing that she could have even the wealthiest, most sought over man in London. And a man of that description was exactly who they had in mind. Henrie Keriell was whom Cybil would one day end up engaged to, as he was nearly as eligible a bachelor as she. Cybil was undeniably a hopeless romantic, spending most her time reading novels about women who would get swept off their feet by a charming man, and was excited by the notion of their union.
When Cybil turned seventeen, her engagement to Henrie became official and she found herself spending every evening with him. She couldn't deny that he was a charming man with stunning looks, but to her surprise she found herself in discontent.
"Do you travel?" she asked one evening, leaning on the balcony railing of her family's mansion and staring up, into Henrie's blue eyes through his curtain of dusty brown hair.
He cocked his head and gave a peculiar glance, though it was masked with a kind smile. "I've been all over England," he responded calmly. His voice was smooth and unbearably captivating, though it did not have the same numbing effect on her it once did. She was, to her incredible disbelief, bored with who should be the man of her dreams.
Cybil let out a small sigh. "I always read these magical stories of exploration... of meeting people that are so exotic and seeing new and bizarre cultures, though I am dying to meet someone who has seen all of that first hand. I'm so curious about what adventure lies outside these property borders." she confided in her fiance.
He gave a small smile, though it seemed sad, and a little bit patronizing. "You still have your childhood imagination. That is good, though don't let it carry you away. England is where we belong. We will have our lives and family here. Books exist to give you those experiences without you having to go anywhere."
Cybil briefly thought on his words. "I suppose you're right. However, I don't believe my desire to meet interesting people will ever disappear. Imagine, being at the tip of a pirate sword-"
"Don't say such things,"
Cybil continued, a rebellious twinkle in her eye as she bounced around Henrie, "or escaping some cannibalistic tribe that's warming a fire to cook you,"
"You have strange fantasies,"
"And imagine the romance too. Would you save me? If there was some evil draugr coming to devour my flesh, would you defend me?"
"If you were acting like this at the time, I'm not so sure I would." he teased. His joking was clear, though she could notice the fear in his voice at the thought of being in such a situation. She giggled and fell into his arms. With her head against his chest she could feel his heart beat through the many layers of clothes he wore. "It's cold out here, let's go inside." he suggested, guiding her indoors as she remained attached to his front.
They found their way to the piano which laid as the centerpiece to the upstairs foyer. Cybil sat on the bench and looked up at her suitor with doe eyes. "Will you teach me how to play the piano?"
Henrie sat next to her on the bench. She blushed at the intimacy and boldness of his stare as he said, "Of course," then turned to the piano. Cybil had tried once or twice to learn in the past, though never got very far. She figured that perhaps now with her fiance as encouragement she could finally learn a skill that is considered to be favorable upon people of a status like hers. Henrie began to teach her the various notes.
She listened carefully to his teachings, and watched in awe as he demonstrated his skill, playing a piece far beyond what she could learn at her current skill level. She pushed her blonde, curly hair behind her ear. "I could never play that," she whispered as he played the final notes to his ballad.
"All it takes is practice." he smiled pridefully. He was happy to impress her. "Try this," he ordered and gave her a simpler piece to repeat. With his guidance, she did so and found a joy in playing the piano she hadn't previously felt. Suddenly there was no lingering boredom from their conversation before and she was optimistic about the rest of her life with this man. There was a connection so relevant it was nearly tangible as their fingers danced on the keys.
Cybil made a vow that night. She would learn to play the piano. "I will practice every day until I die." she announced, Henrie as her witness.
He smiled at her and her morbid way of speaking. He raised a crystal glass of water that he had rested on a nearby table earlier in the afternoon. "To many days of practice."
And shortly after their evening ended. Cybil stayed true to her promise, practicing everyday until she died. She practiced twice.
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