The meal passed quickly and now they sat in the dining room waiting for the dessert to be served. He was beyond proud of the menu he had chosen seeing as they all had praised the choices. He could feel something swelling wildly inside of him. It was his pride, his unmatchable ego that refused to be brought down. He had made it. Finally.
“So, Jared..Thomas tells me that you come from…humble beginnings.”
Jared glanced up at his aunt and smiled but could he hide the nervousness that suddenly made him tense? Was that a good thing to have going around? Wouldn’t that mean he would be out casted? In a way hated?
“Jared has worked for everything he’s ever had, aunt. Isn’t that something?” Tom lifted his glass and tipped it slightly towards Jared.
“Well I don’t think his wealth now has anything to do with work, now does it? Doesn’t that have to do with Mr. Murray’s stupidity?” Mr. Hawkins asked, his voice irritatingly nasal.
“By no means…Jared came to gather recompense for how he had been treated simply because he had little money in his pocket. He demanded respect and from knowing that he had that right he acquired all of this.”
“Talk about inspirational.” Mrs. Hawkins stated. Was that honest or was she unimpressed? One couldn’t really tell with her, her eyes were as dead as a corpse.
“Not inspirational…” Jared finally spoke up, just as the dessert plates were being set down.
Everyone looked up towards him, his voice foreign throughout dinner.
“Then what?” Tom’s aunt asked, her attention unshifting.
Jared thought of sob stories, he thought of meaningful words but he dropped all of them. These were people that expected so much from him and yet what he had surpassed all of them. A smile came onto his lips and he looked her straight in the eyes. “Ambition.” He replied, his eyes enforcing his words.
No one spoke for a moment and just for a split second Jared wondered if that was the right thing to have said. He didn’t dare break the stare he held with Tom’s aunt but he couldn’t feel the sudden feeling of being suffocated.
Finally his aunt smiled widely and broke the stare herself. She looked down at her plate, lifting her spoon to dig in. “It seems that this boy here knows more about our way of life than we do.” She stated with a laugh before she began to eat.
“Is he not fascinating?” Tom asked, flicking his eyebrows in Jared’s direction.
Mr and Mrs Hawkins were watching as if they were waiting for her opinion so that they could be told what to feel.
“I knew he was the first time I laid eyes on him this evening. He’s so different from all of us and yet….well fascinating is just the right word.”
“Come now, don’t brush his ego too much.” Mr Hawkins said, tugging at the lapels of his own coat.
“Whyever not, dear?” Mrs Hawkins questioned, her dead eyes glancing towards Jared with a secretive smile. It seemed like Tom’s aunt decided everything.
The dining room door opened and Jared looked to it with irritation. The noise had broken the moment and he could feel everybody’s attention focus elsewhere.
“What is it?” He demanded in a low voice of the butler who had entered.
“Ms. Murray, sir….She’s come down for dinner.”
“Dinner has already been served.” He sneered, that old feeling of suffocation returning.
“Well dessert then, Jared. I’m famished.” Farrah came in, passing the butler with a smile.
“Ms Murray I’ve been wondering where you have been.” Tom’s aunt seemed to become cheery upon seeing the girl.
“I thought you took your meals in your room?” Jared asked, trying to rid his voice of the harshness.
“Come now, Jared, what is she? A prisoner?”
“Not at all, I’ve been quite ill of late….things happened so quickly.” Farrah glanced down at her clasped hands. “Jared has been a good friend, quite respectable and gentlemanly. So understanding.”
Mrs Hawkins smiled across at Jared as if that had increased whatever thoughts that had been on her mind.
“I see you are out of your mourning clothes…so soon?” Out of all the things to be shocked over Tom’s aunt chose Farrah’s attire to mention.
“My father would not like me to walk around so drearily…he told me so after mother died and besides, of late, I’ve been so happy.”
Jared’s eyes shot to hers, panic rising in his blue orbs.
“What is it that has cheered you so?” Tom’s aunt was absolutely interested, her smile making it apparent that she had strong affection for Farrah.
Farrah smiled and stood behind Jared’s chair. Being so close to her he could sense the tenseness in her. He glanced up at her, her young beauty overwhelming beneath the gentle glow of the chandelier. Her yellow gown did brilliant things to her skin and her eyes were alive with an acted smile. Her gloved hands lifted and rested on his shoulders.
“Jared has asked me to marry him!” She declared as if it were the happiest thing in the world to her.
Jared smiled as well, his plan mapping itself out. He knew she would accept, he knew the amount of loyalty she had towards her father. He was getting things at a rapid pace and if they continued going on this way it would be boring. He didn’t have to fight for a damn thing. Everyone needed a bit of conflict, didn’t they?
After the excitement of the impending marriage died down Jared saw everyone off except for Tom who stayed behind. Farrah had gone upstairs after all the congratulations and the dessert was finished. She had looked pale, her eyes nervously smiled. Jared had gotten her to break and now things would be set into motion. His plan.
“Quite the move, marrying Mr. Murray’s daughter.” Tom said as he sat down across from Jared’s leather chair in the study. “It’ll all be rightfully yours now.”
“I don’t think she’s too happy.” Jared said, passing a glass of bourbon to Tom before sitting in his chair.
“I don’t think she has a say.”
Jared laughed. “Of course she doesn’t.”
“You are more intelligent than I thought. When I first saw you that night in the cafe’ I thought you were some idiotic peasant who would get yourself killed and yet here you are.”
“Is this awe?” Jared asked jokingly.
Tom laughed but there was a flash in his eyes that passed quickly. Had he been unhappy about that comment?
“Speaking of the cafe’…I’ve had an idea about that place.” Jared broke the silence, emptying his glass.
“What sort of idea?”
“It seems to me that this side of town has one too many cafe’s…that serve the exact same things.”
“That is correct.”
“And since I have no say in any of the Murray businesses, I simply collect the profits, I’ve decided to get my hands dirty a little.”
Tom smiled and leaned forward with interest. “What did you have in mind?”
“A gentleman’s club. Drinking, smoking, women….a place to unwind from nauseating people like the Hawkins.”
Tom laughed aloud before downing his bourbon. “Has that really been what’s on that mind of yours?”
Jared nodded. “It is. This place is so drab. What am I to do? The seedy parts of town have all the fun. That isn’t fair at all.”
“You do realize that no one will be too happy about this plan, right?”
“No one was happy that Mr. Murray killed himself and I’m sure no one will be too happy to hear that I’m marrying his daughter either.”
“You’re fearless, aren’t you?”
“Quite.” Jared replied, a smile appearing on his lips.
“Well, Jared, you can count me in. It’s about time this place had an exciting endeavor. I’ve grown tired of fairs and garden parties.” He laughed again before he stood up and brought the decanter of bourbon with him, filling their glasses again. “To your excellent ideas.” He held up his glass and clinked it against Jared’s.
Jared drank the alcohol feeling the burn course through him. He was much too elated to think of anything else except his coming success. He knew that even with all the opposition in the world he would get this done and it would be a success too.
Jared snapped out of his thoughts when Tom suddenly howled with laughter.
“What?” Jared asked, his laughter coming out as well.
“The Hawkins!” He shouted, filling their glasses again. Their laughter undying throughout the night.