Strawberry Fields

"Infidelity,” Ann whispered beneath the brisk rhythms of the violin. “Excuse me?” Replied a low male voice. “You asked me earlier why my engagement with Lord Alexander was broken. There’s my answer.” “Infidelity,” he replied stunned. “who dared to betray a daughter of the Duke of Westwood? Why have I not heard of this?” “No one has. My father made sure of it.” Ann replied barely audible. “Your father is a respectable man. Why would he stand for the embarrassment of a broken engagement and hide the true reasons?” “Because the woman I found my future husband entangled with was …….Katherine.” “Katherine, your sister?” He replied appalled. “Excuse me,” interrupted an older woman’s voice from behind them. “Will you two stop being such a bother and quiet yourselves or leave the concert hall?” “Sorry, Mrs. Barrett, we will cease from speaking,” replied Ann. “No Ann, we most certainly will not.” Interrupted the young man angrily. “Excuse me,” snapped Mrs. Barrett. “Do you know who she is?” He continued. Mrs. Barrett pursed her lips. “I’m not a simpleton, boy .I know she’s the Duke’s daughter , Ann Kensington, and you’re that foot solider, John Fields, Frederick‘s boy, that loaf who made half his earnings selling livestock and the other half as the gambler of Westwood. Personally, I don’t know how you have the class to be here with us.” “He is my guest,” replied Ann in a stern voice. “As my guest, he is welcome anywhere he pleases. If you don’t mind before you so rudely interrupted us, we were having quite a pleasant conversation.” “I will be having a very stern word with your father after this. We will see what the Duke has to say about your ill-mannered behavior, “assured Mrs. Barrett. “Oh, trust me, “replied Ann with a satisfied smile. “He’s been dying to have a word with you for months.” Ann and John, giggling, turned back in their seats leaving Mrs. Barrett flustered. “Well, someone was reminded of her place.” said John still in a giggle. “Don’t worry, she’ll forget it again in couple of hours, prideful old bat.” Assured Ann. “Speaking of prideful, what did Katherine have to say for herself?” Asked John. . “Oh you know Katherine, ‘she who can do no wrong’. She called it "love". She said Lord Alexander was miserable with me, and it was a poor match from the start. Ofcourse father could not dare displease his youngest. He said after six months the two were more than welcome to marry as long as I agreed to be the one to have broken the engagement.” " Aren’t you crossed," John asked surprised by Ann’s calm speech. "Very much so, but being crossed at Katherine has never brought about justice. I'm just out of luck I suppose. She's always been father’s favorite and the favorite amongst gentlemen." "Not for me , among the Kensington sisters, I always favored you, and that flaming red hair of yours." "You always said that, even when we were kids. What was that nickname you gave me again?" " Miss Strawberry," he answered shyly. "No, that wasn’t it " Ann answered in a half smile. "It most certainly was, “rebutted John. “Oh no it wasn’t. I specifically remember being called MRS. Strawberry Fields." John’s face grew red. "Ann, you must forgive me, but I was boy and you were a very beautiful young girl." " I liked it." "What?" Answered a shocked John. "I liked it. It had a certain ring to it." "Ann, I was a boy. Now I understand," answered John. "Understand what?" "Why you'll never be Mrs. Strawberry Fields,” mumbled John in a sad tone. "You're the Duke’s daughter. I'm no one. I became a foot soldier because it was one of few options I had. There will be another Lord, Ann-just wait. "John, I don't want there to be another Lord or Duke or even Prince, just you." " Why Ann?" Asked John staring deeply at her. "Because I was never just the Duke’s daughter to you, I was more." " Ann, I have nothing to offer you." " You have everything to offer me. " " The Duke would never agree, Ann." " He already has. You were my one condition when I agreed to blame myself for the broken engagement to Lord Alexander." Ann said confidently. “I told my father it was the only way I would reconcile with Katherine’s madness.” "The Duke agreed to this? Ann, what have you done? Why do this?" "I love you, John. Mrs. Strawberry Fields is who I’ve wanted to be since I was a little girl. Alexander was a name I thought my father wanted. Now that Katherine has what she desires, why can’t I have what I desire?” " Ann, what about your dowry?" "Consider it forgiven," " What life could I possibly give you?" Asked John tearfully. "My dear John, I know you will give me one where infidelity will never exist."  

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