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Saturday, January 5, 2013

In Brist's Time - Chapter 6

Part II

Chapter 6


As Brist slowly drifted to consciousness, she heard voices.
Will she live, doctor?” Nicholas asked.
Yes, she hasn’t a fever, or any broken bones, just a few bruises.
Nicholas, darling, where did you find her?” Regina Evans asked her eldest son.
Outside the stables, Mum, she had apparently fallen off her horse,” he answered his mother.
She must be a thief, Regina, why else would she be wearing those clothes? Not to mention out riding in the middle of the night.”
I don’t know, Father, she is not filthy like a thief would be, nor does she have work roughened hands. Not to mention her horse is of a very fine quality. The mare is very difficult to handle and very loyal to her, not likely to happen if she had stolen the animal. Neither I, nor any of the stable boys could handle her highly spirited horse, and I almost got my hands bitten off for trying to tend to this girl. It was only after I felt compelled to tell the horse that I was trying to help the girl that it calmed down enough for me to get near her. This horse has a saddle of a quality that I have never seen, and the strangest thing of all is that it bears the Evans’ mark,” Nicholas explained, not sure why he was defending the girl – er woman – that he had discover by his family’s stables this morning.
It seems, Nicholas, that everything about her is a mystery, even how to open her bag,” Regina stated, then dismissed the doctor, who left with an accidental slam of the door. The noise woke Brist completely.
Look she’s awake,” Nicholas observed as he leaned over to check on her and discovered Brist’s newly conscious state.
Brist immediately sat up, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him passionately. “Muskles!” She cried joyously after she finished kissing him. Everyone in the room was taken completely aback. Nicholas freed himself from her affectionate embrace, looked at his parents in shock and mild embarrassment, then turned back to look at her.
Who are you?” He asked.
Muskles, stop joking around! It’s me.”
I have no idea who this Muskles is, but I assure you that it’s not me,” Nicholas said, confused by her apparent recognition of him. Brist continued on as if he hadn’t even spoken.
How long have I been out? Why did you bring me back here? Why aren’t I in my own bedroom? Who are they? Where’s Daddy?”
Miss, I do not know how long you were unconscious; I discovered you this morning, not more than two hours ago. These are my parents, and if you would tell us who you are, we would be happy to return you home to your father,” Nicholas said.
Brist took a good look at the man who looked incredibly like Jesse Muskles, and realizing that it wasn’t the same person she thought it was, jumped back to the edge of the bed that was against the wall.
Who are you? What are you doing in my house?” Brist demanded.
Your house?”
Yes it was built way back in 1790 by my really-great-grandpa David Evans for his eldest son Nicholas.
Way back? That was last year!”
Impossible! Get out of this house or I’ll scream and Daddy’ll have our security throw you out,” Brist threatened, seriously freaked out..
This is our house and you cannot order us about!” Nicholas replied, his tone becoming progressively more heated.
David and Regina Evans had watched as the two argued back and forth. Then, as she promised, Brist let out a high-pitched scream that could rival any banshee. The three Evans stared at her as if she had lost her mind. Which, when Brist thought about it, she must have, why else was she sitting here curled up in a frightened ball, when she could be kick-boxing their asses straight out the door herself. However, now that she had chosen then ‘weak female’ route, she may as well let it play out for now.
There! That ought to bring Daddy running,” she informed them.
Regina sighed at the way both of the men in the room looked about ready to drag the poor thing back outside. Resolutely, she took charge of the situation.
Nicholas, David, sit down and let me handle this,” Regina ordered the men. Careful not to scare the poor girl anymore, Regina sat on the edge of the bed, and took one of Brist’s hands into her own. She held Brist’s hand gently as she talked to her.
You must have been through a great ordeal, dear. I am Regina Evans; this is my husband, David, and my eldest son Nicholas. Today is October 7th 1791,” Regina explained. Brist sighed, then carefully examined the room and the people in it. She paled slightly at the minor differences in this room – which she recognized as Drew’s – from the way it should be. She looked out the window, her eyes growing wide as saucers.
I will believe you if you will believe me,” Brist said in a near whisper.
Sounds fair,” Regina agreed with a short nod.
Last night, for me, was October 6th 2001. Last night I found out that my father betrayed me, and I saddled my horse intending to run away. First to my friend’s house, then back to Minnesota. But a bad storm scared my horse and she threw me to the ground just outside my stables. I remember nothing else until I woke up here. 210 years in the past! I can prove my story, and normally I’d ask you to do the same, but I don’t think you could show me anything more evident than the lack of a driveway,” Brist said, pointing out the window.
There was a knock at the door and a loud clamor until David opened it. The rest of his ten children piled into the room.
Is anything wrong? We heard an awful scream,” one of them asked.
Who’s she?” Another asked.
We don’t know yet,” David answered, still wondering that himself.
Oh! I’m sorry! My name is Brist Southerland,” Brist replied.
Nine new pairs of eyes stared at her, trying to figure out why she was in Nicholas’ bed, wearing next to nothing. Brist’s stomach growled loudly, and blushed lightly as she suddenly remembered that she hadn’t eaten anything since lunch yesterday.
You poor thing! You must be starving! Let us finish trying to figure out what’s going on after we eat breakfast,” Regina said, shooing every male member of the Evans family out of the room so that she could get Brist dressed for breakfast.
That left her two youngest children – her twin daughters Regan and Raven.
Do you have anything proper to wear?” Regina asked Brist, trying not to frown in disapproval.
What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” Brist asked Regina. She was still wearing the shorts and tee that she had been wearing all day yesterday.
Well, dear, proper women wear dresses,” Regina answered slowly, as if explaining a difficult subject to a child. “Do you have any?”
Sure I do.” Brist answered. She lifted her bag onto the bed, and then looked through it until she found her Renaissance Festival costume. She removed her shorts and tee, causing Regina to wonder what kind of underthings Brist was wearing. Brist had to giggle to herself. She supposed that her transparent lacy-red bra and matching thong undies were strange to Regina.
She pulled on her purple bloomers with black lace that was caught at her knees by some elastic, and hung to mid-calf. Then, she slipped a black, floor-length skirt made out of silk with sheer lace panels running down the sides. She giggled as she twirled around causing the skirt to puff out. Next, she took off her bra and pulled a sheer-purple, silk, peasant-style shirt over her head. It had been made specifically for her so that it was basically a tube top with sleeves. Over that, she put on a black leather vest that laced up the front to perfectly push her breasts up into a tantalizing view of cleavage. The vest also allowed one to view just a hint of her midriff.
Oh my!” Regina exclaimed upon seeing Brist’s completed outfit. The twins giggled, positively scandalized and excited by this strange girl.
Normally, I’d have you wear one of my or my daughters’ dresses, but since you are much shorter than us – and have a more voluptuous shape – I fear they’d never fit,” Regina sighed. “I guess it’ll have to do, but you’ll have to try to cover as much as possible with a shawl.”
I don’t have a shawl,” Brist murmured, wondering what was wrong with her costume. Then, she remembered that women of this era probably covered as much of their skin as possible. Her expression formed a silent “o” of enlightenment.
Don’t worry; you can borrow mine,” Regina offered, wrapping a cream-colored shawl around Brist’s shoulders, then pinning it together with an emerald and opal broach. Brist paled slightly at the sight of it.
Where’d you get that?” She asked.
My father had it made for me as a wedding present. Why?” Regina wondered curiously.
You should be happy to know that it has been successfully handed down for generations,” Brist informed her as she removed her jewelry case from her bag. She opened it and located the exact same broach, which she showed to Regina.
Oh my lord!” Regina sat down quickly, as if her knees had given out. She accepted the second broach from Brist and examined it closely. It was exactly the same in every way, except for a few obvious signs of age. Other than that, it looked remarkably well cared for.
Brist took it back when Regina’s hand began to shake. Quickly, she placed it back in her jewelry case, then put that back in her bag, closing all open compartments. Seeing that Regina was still shaken, Brist put a hand on her shoulder.
Are you okay?” She asked.
Slowly, Regina nodded. She didn’t recognize the word, but guessed its meaning correctly.
Regan, not exactly sure what was going on – but tired of being left out of the conversation, and curious about their visitor – decided to ask something to change the somber mood of the room.
Are you married?” She asked, tugging on Brist’s sleeve and pointing to her ring.
Married?! No! Muskles gave me this ring right before he dumped me,” Brist answered.
Dumped you where?” Raven asked, just as curious as her twin.
We were going out-” Brist paused at the blank expression on their faces and tried to think of a term that they would understand. Unable to find one, she decided to simply ask them. “What’s it called when boys and girls hang together? Um, I mean makeout. No I mean, um, ah, I know! What’s it called when a guy brings a girl out to dinner and dancing?”
Courting!” The twins exclaimed together with matching grins.
What’s courting?” Brist asked, unfamiliar with the term.
It’s when a gentleman escorts a lady to places hoping to win her hand in marriage,” Regan explained.
Or at least a kiss,” Raven blushed.
Well,” Brist said, smiling at them patiently. “Going out means something similar to courting – only nobody wants to get married yet – and dumped means that one person told the other that he doesn’t want to go out anymore.”
Well, we had better go downstairs before breakfast grows cold,” Regina interrupted what promised to be an enlightening conversation now that she had regained her composure.

*******

The gentlemen stood as the ladies entered the room. Regina took her place at her husband’s left.
Miss Southerland, please have a seat,” David Evans offered, holding out a seat for Brist to his right.
Regina took her son Nicholas’ hand into her own. He had been sitting on her right. “You’ve met my eldest son, Nicholas. Now, let me introduce you to my other children.” She pointed back and forth as she told Brist each of her children’s name in descending order, which was the order that they happen to be sitting in. “After Nicholas is Lucas, Jonathan, Richard, Gregory, Thomas, Morgan, Curtis, and lastly my twins Regan and Raven.”
Are they all your children?” Brist asked, wondering if some were from a previous marriage of David's, or perhaps a mistress or lover.
Yes, Miss Southerland,” Regina confirmed.
Uh, since you are – in a way – related, please call me Brist.”
Related? How?” Lucas questioned, his interest piqued.
Well son, Miss- uh, I mean Brist, claims that she is a great-granddaughter from the future,” David explained, obviously not quite believing the story. He was also just as obviously flattered and amused by the claim.
I have proof too,” Brist insisted with a reassuring smile. “First off, I can tell you that this house – which has remained in the family for many generations – has 3 stories; 20 bedrooms – six on the second floor, 14 on the third. This is the small dining room. Through that door is the large dining room; next to that is the ballroom. Also located on the first floor are the study, the library, and the kitchen. Each bedroom has its own sitting room, except for the master bedroom, which has a nursery attached instead,” Brist recited. “Oh! I almost forgot! There’s an attic and a couple of wine cellars too.”
How do you know all that?” Lucas asked, impressed by her ability to just ramble all that off so quickly.
I believe that she’s from the future,” Regina stated. “Not because she knows the layout of the house, or that she possesses words and ideas that are unfamiliar to me, but because she has exactly the same broach as I do, and it has obviously been aged a number of years.”
She said that it has been handed down for generations,” the twins added from the end of the table.
So... she’s obviously done her research. What do you hope to accomplish?” Nicholas asked accusingly.
Accomplish? Nothing, what could I?” Brist wondered, baffled by his reasoning.
If we accepted you into our family, at the very least, you’d gain status in the ton, not to mention a plush life. I’m sorry, but I think we’ll need better proof,” Nicholas scoffed. Brist wondered what the ton might be as it dawned on her that every member of the family had an English accent.
No problem,” Brist replied lightly. Regina cleared her throat and cast a dark look at her son for his implications, but was determined to change subjects.
She doesn’t have anything proper to wear. She’s too petite and different to wear anything we’d have to borrow her, so I’m going to bring her shopping today,” Regina announced.
Mrs. Evans-”
Oh please, call me Regina.”
Regina, I’m finished eating now. I could go get my proof...” Brist informed her with a smile.
No please, stay seated. Is your proof in your bag?” Regina insisted, and at Brist’s nod continued, “Nicholas, please fetch Brist’s bag for us,” she ordered her eldest son.
Yes, mum.” Nicholas hurried off to retrieve the interloper’s bag.
Brist, while we’re waiting, I must say that you’ve come at the perfect time,” David informed her with a smile.
Why do you say that?” Brist wondered.
My entire family is actually in the same house at the same time. That rarely happens,” he explained.
Why?” Brist questioned.
Because I own a fleet of ships, and my sons each captain one; leaving us scattered more often than not...”
What about Regan and Raven?” Brist asked, then decided that they were probably considered too young.
The men burst out laughing and the ladies gasped. Nicholas reentered the room.
What’s so funny?” He asked.
Women! As captains!” Lucas answered.
Well, why not?” Brist wondered what could possibly be so funny about that. Even the servants clearing the table were chuckling lightly.
My dear, what man would take orders from a woman?” David asked mirthfully.
It’s just not done!” Regina informed her. When the laughter died down, Nicholas set the bag before Brist.
What in that bag is going to make me believe you?” He asked.
Brist pulled out her mini digital video camera – which was still on top of everything – and set it on the table. Then, she uncovered her TV, carefully setting it in the sunlight and making sure that there wouldn’t be a glare on the screen. Next, she pulled out the DVD player, grateful that the cords that connected the two were still in a bag taped to the top of the player.
She quickly connected the two, then took her video camera in hand once again. She pointed the camera at each member of the family, making faces at each as she did so that they would smile and laugh. Which they did, but they also looked at her as if she were crazy. She also introduced each to the camera to test how well she remembered each member’s name. As soon as she had finished recording each person, she moved the disk from the camera to the DVD player.
What is all that?” David asked in fascination.
This is a mini digital video camera, this is a TV, and this is a DVD player,” Brist explained, even though she knew they would have no idea what any of that meant.
And what do they do exactly?” Regina wondered, curious herself now.
The camera records what it sees onto the digital video disk I just inserted into the DVD player – which in turn plays what has been recorded – and the TV displays the scene so that you can see it,” Brist tried to explain as simply as possible, figuring that they would understand better once shown.
See?” Brist asked after she turned the TV on, turned it to the correct channel, and then pushed play on the DVD player – using the skip button to forward directly to the most recently recorded part. She was instantly grateful that her father had made them all solar powered with backup batteries that could also be charged using the sun's light.
There was a collective gasp as each member of the family was displayed on the TV.
I don’t believe what I’m seeing!” David remarked incredulously.
If our family was superstitious, I would immediately question what kind of magic this is, but I would not encourage my children to believe such nonsense. However, I’m at a loss as to how else to explain this,” Regina commented, sounding as if she believed that she might be going mad.
It’s just a machine, just like a watch or… have trains been invented yet?” Brist tried to explain, but was slightly discouraged when all she received for her efforts were blank stares. “No matter, if you’ll look at the corner of the screen here, you’ll see the date displayed.”
It says October 7th 2001,” Lucas announced after scrutinizing the spot Brist pointed to.
That’s because the clock doesn’t recognize that I’ve been flung back in time, if I’m here for very long, then maybe I’ll reset the clock to display your date and time – if it can be set to this date.”
So, apparently you really are from the future. I have no idea how else to explain your machines,” Nicholas remarked dryly.
Brist smiled. She rewound the disk back to the very beginning, and once again played the DVD for her ancestors to see. She figured that they might enjoy seeing her exploration of the house.
How is the house moving like that?” Morgan asked in confusion.
The house isn’t moving! Remember when I recorded you I moved the camera, and then when I played it back for you, it seemed that you had been moving,” Brist explained as best she could.
I see that there are many differences in the decoration of the house in your time.” Regina noted as she observed the many many fine crystals and other objects of fine art displayed as Brist had wandered the house the previous evening.
Yes, that was one of the first things I noticed this morning as I was in Drew’s room, but it looked very different than the way Drew has it.”
Who’s Drew?” Nicholas asked.
My brother.”
I think that’s enough of your machines for today, Brist. Nicholas, will you see to it that some horses are prepared so that I may take Brist and the girls shopping for a few things? Namely, something suitable for Brist to wear.” Regina said, trying to change the subject to something that she was more comfortable with. Nicholas nodded obediently and left.
Oh! I suppose my money wouldn’t be worth anything here, would it?” Brist questioned out loud.
How much money do you have?” David asked.
I’d have to check to be certain, but I think it was only a couple thousand,” Brist replied nonchalantly.
Dollars?” The twins exclaimed, looking at each other in amazement. They had never had that much!
Uh-huh, why?”
Well, I would be willing to exchange some of my money for yours,” David explained.
I don’t think that would be very fair, it’s not worth anything,” Brist demurred.
Of course it is! What other man would be able to say that he owned real money from the future?” David asked as an explaination.
Hmm, I tell you what, how about you hire me on as an expert wine maker and horse trainer – in addition to exchanging a small amount of money with me – that way I’ll be able to earn my keep,” Brist suggested with a smile.
Hmm, even though we have the latest in wine distilling devices, and a vast wine cellar, we haven’t yet begun to make any wine. Also, you’re a woman, and therefore, inherently unqualified to train horses, but I’m sure that there is something Nicholas can find for you to do. If not, then perhaps we can bring you back to England with us,” David mused, considering the possibilities.
I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear yet another chauvinistic remark come out of you mouth, and retrieve my money so that we can exchange some of it,” Brist responded with a sugary tone, removing her purse from her bag. Out of her purse, she pulled the money left over from her shopping trip with Randy and Belana. She counted out a little over 2500.
How did you get so much money?” Morgan asked.
Well, my mom gave me 5 thousand to go shopping with last night because today’s my birthday and my parents had to spend last night – and I suspect probably today – with a few business associates. I was given this money as an apology. It happens almost every year. Usually on Christmas and Thanksgiving too. In fact, all the holidays really, but it doesn’t bother us because we have each other, my brother and I,” Brist explained cheerfully, then she placed the majority of the money back in her wallet and handed David two hundred-dollar bills.
That's bound to be more than plenty in this day and age...

Go To Chapter 7 

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