She let her eyes flutter open slowly, lazily even. As her eyes blinked, she felt the sunlight on her toes. She wiggled them, letting the sunlight creep into every crook of her skin. It was peaceful. Then, she opened her eyes, and what she saw before her made her jump. And just like that, all of the sunlight had gone from her toes, and with it, the warmth, and with the warmth, the peace.
She spoke, “Hello Jonathan.”
“Hello Penelope.” Finally, the silence was broken, but was the curse?
Since the great year of 1902, Penelope Elizabeth Summerton had been alone. Not physically, but mentally, she was alone. Her father, brave though he was, had died trying to defend her and her sisters. You see, family names were everything in Tottenheim, England and her father had died defending theirs. The curse? Well that’s another tale for another time. For now, we’ll start at the beginning.
“Penelope! Give that back!” Jonathan chased her with a fury in his eyes. His heart was pounding, partly because she had stolen his favorite crimson handkerchief and partly because at the age of eleven, Jonathan Percival Marcello was already falling irreversibly, deeply in love with Penelope Elizabeth Summerton.
“Oh Jonny, when I was but six years of age you stole my pink satin bonnet and it landed in the mud. Don’t you think I deserve a little justice?”
She jumped to the side, avoiding his swipe for the hankie.
“No. I believe that justice is a privilege, not a right.” He jumped to the right, reaching his hand up high to capture it. Penelope ducked.
“Well Jonny that would make sense since you live quite the privileged life. You’ve no need to worry about rights when you can simply buy them!”
“You’ve no idea what my life is like Penelope. Or me, for that matter.”
“Is that so?”
He paused. He stared at her so intensely, he thought he may go blind from facing such a beauty. And out of the blue, he leaned in quickly and kissed her on the cheek.
It was soft and warm. Her free hand moved as if by some unseen force of nature to her cheek where his lips had been. She blushed. Shock and the fluttering in her chest overcame her. In a moment of disbelief and intense distraction, Penelope lost the handkerchief to Jonathan’s grip.
“Got it!” He shouted and ran away. He ran and ran through the tall, overgrown summer grass. The wind whipped at his cheeks as he ran faster and faster, his smile growing with each and every stride. He had kissed Penelope Elizabeth Summerton on the cheek! And she smiled. He thought perhaps he had even seen her blush, but it could have been his imagination.
“Jonathan!” He could hear her calling in the distance. She sounded irritated, but in a pleased way. And although he had no idea, her smile was growing with every step she took, just as his was.
Penelope ignored the feeling of the wind whipping against her cheeks. She had never enjoyed wind. It was much too chaotic. She liked still, warm sunlight. She liked to feel it on her toes while the rest of her body remained in the shade of an old oak tree. Suddenly, the wind stopped.
“Penelope! Get up!”
She sat up quickly. Oh yes. Home. It had only been a dream, a reliving of the past. But it was just that, past. She and Jonathan hadn’t spoken for….how long was it? Five years now. It was April sixth, 1902 and Penelope’s life was nothing like she had expected it to be.
“Penny!” Her younger sister Alice was shaking her by the arm. “Penny, you promised to take me in to town today.”
“Yes, Alice I know. I’ll be up in a moment.”