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Thread: Ana's "Dear Julian" Letter

  1. #1
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    Ana's "Dear Julian" Letter

    My Dearest Julian,

    This letter may be the last time you ever hear from me. I have accepted another gentleman's proposal in marriage, and we will be joined together in holy matrimony within the month. His name is Jessie Ledger and he is a noble gentleman of the old Southern variety, although he himself is but a youth, a mere 23 years old. He holds the wisdom of the ages, however, as he has been taught since he was a child working on a cattle ranch alongside his father the virtue of hard labor and the reward of dedication.
    Unfortunately, his father passed away when he was only six, but when he was 18 he inherited the family's estate, growing the business in parts of Texas and North Carolina while managing to remain aloof and somewhat detached from his work.. I tell you these things to assure you that he is worthy to be my husband, as you will undoubtedly oppose any union with a man who does not adhere to or measure up to the very highest of standards.
    I remember how we left off together and I want you to know that I have forgiven you and I pray and trust that you have forgiven me also. Let us let the past remain in the past, as Jessie says, and live only in the present. While this principle is certainly a sound one, I know that it is difficult to achieve sometimes, especially in affairs of the heart. I am aware that there exists between us a mutual and sustained affection that will not be diminished or extinguished by either time or distance, and on behalf of that shared devotion, I now implore you to refrain from interfering with my marriage. I know, dear Jules, that your first inclination will be to jump on a plane to North Carolina, where you would reclaim me from my new suitor by proposing something that is both highly dramatic and impractical, like challenging Jessie to a duel (I should warn you he duels with a 20 gauge shotgun and not a Cutlass or a Moonblade). Such an act - while tremendously winning - would only serve to tear my heart asunder, as I would be ripped apart between my romantic love for you and my practical devotion to him. So, if you love me as you have proclaimed it, then abstain from causing me any further suffering, for you know in my heart I will always love you and will remain affectionately yours,

    The Future Ana Devon Ledger

    PS: I finally saw the movie, Jules, and everyone was correct: it is pure genius – but this does not surprise me; you’ve always been brilliantly creative.


    Jules sat, reclined against the terrace chair of his Casa Ninetto apartment on the northern part of the Positano resort, staring out at the blue bay below. He had traveled to Italy shortly after the final premiere of "Nate's Sacrifice", which occurred in England and which was attended by sundry notable aristocrats - in particular one Lord Bentinck who declared it a "brilliant tour de force", to spend time with his mother and re-familiarize himself with the family fashion business. He had not sold all his shares in the company as he had once claimed, but had reserved a rare few that he intended to exploit once he had atoned for his sin against Nate and secured his position in the movie industry, two goals he could now declare accomplishments. But this letter from Ana had caught him off guard, and presently he found himself wrestling with the notion of forgoing his plans to whisk her away to mountainous New Zealand where they would live happily secluded with a houseful of small, beautiful children.
    A knock on the door roused Jules from his thoughts and he muttered “Come in,” though he wasn’t expecting on or wishing for any guests. It was his mother, who had flown in from Milan and was planning on accompanying him to the Campania area, where he wished to visit the ancient monuments and taste the local delicacies. When she saw the expression upon her son’s face, however, she immediately grew concerned, and inquired as to what was the matter with him.
    “A letter from Ana,” he sighed, holding out the piece of paper covered with the woman’s delicate but elaborate handwriting. Mrs. Vercini took the missive in hand, and perused it for several moments. “She’s expecting you to come,” she said at last.
    “Yes, I know,” Jules replied wistfully. “And she will continue, day in and day out, night after night until that night, and even then she will stare out the window while he sleeps, hoping to catch a glimpse of me in the grove, until finally one day she comprehends that I am not going to show, and that I have chosen to allow her to be happy.”
    “Why not go after her, my dahling, if she fulfills you?”
    Jules gazed compassionately at his mother. “Why didn’t father come after you?” he asked gently. “Though you were compatible with each other, your lives were not; you came from different backgrounds with dissimilar interests.”
    Mrs. Vercini’s eyes welled up with tears. “Oh my dahling, my Jules, what I wouldn’t have done for your father if only he had come for me – I would have gone anywhere in the world with him!”
    Jules bit his lip painfully. “I know mum,” his voice trembled, “how much you loved him. Ana told me about the letters she found in dad’s closet, but one of you had to be reasonable, to see through the emotions to the reality that would naturally follow if you had both given in and eloped. Dad performed that service for you, and now I must help Ana perform that service for the both of us.”
    “Ah, you’ll regret it,” Mrs. Vercini declared with certainty, shaking her finger at her son. “You’ll wake up one morning and wish you had chosen a different path than the one you have selected to follow. You’ll be married to Cass and call her Ana.”
    Jules smiled, then laughed in response to his mother’s strange assertion. “No I won’t; I’m not going to marry Cass.”
    “She chases you to Italy.”
    “She chases me everywhere, mum,” he grinned. “ It’s all political maneuvering – I’m so glad my uncle was always available to you and helped you in the business. You have the heart of a true romantic, the love of an innocent. Ana reminds me of you in so many ways.”
    “There you go – mentioning her name again. You can’t speak without those three letters!”
    “I’ll learn,” the producer said, then turned to gaze out again at the bay, scrutinizing the water as if it contained the answers to the deepest of questions. “I will learn. Until then, I will feign it – I’m a good actor you know.”
    “Yes, I know. Unfortunately I’ve seen you at your worst – but are you ready to go now? There are lemon groves to visit, and luxurious wines and limoncello to taste.”
    “Forgive me if I pass tonight. I don’t feel much like going anywhere except bed – I’m awfully tired, mea culpa?”
    “Of course dahling, but I am terribly worried about you. Do you want me to stay?”
    “I appreciate it, but no thanks, mum. I’m a big boy now and really should learn how to go to sleep by myself,” he teased. “But there is one thing you can do for me. See if you can locate a picture of this Jessie Ledger, and look into his liquid assets, stocks and bonds, etc. I want to make sure Ana is marrying who she thinks she is marrying – otherwise, I will have to kill him.”
    “No more killing and no more death for you. Mon amour mon cheri, I will find out what I can and check in on you in the morning.”
    “Okay. I love you. Bye. Bye for now.” Jules closed the door behind his mother, then tore off his clothes and climbed in bed. Although he had realized long ago the best course of action for himself and for Ana was to go their separate ways, her letter had nevertheless broken his heart, and his soul now ached with a deep and abiding agony, as if part of him were dying but leaving him alive to endure it. He could not imagine himself with any other woman - or a man for that matter - and it occurred to him before he could squelch the thought, that he was condemning himself to a lifetime of bachelorhood. Yet, he could not bring himself to surrender his career ambitions or to once more risk causing Ana further torment, and resolved to not interfere any further with her life, he fell asleep.
    In the morning his mother returned as she promised, carrying a printed picture and the available, public financial records of Jessie Ledger and the Ledger estate. The first thing Jules noted was Jessie’s traditionally handsome face; with his square-cut jaw, piercing hazel eyes and weathered features he was the embodiment of everything masculine and virile. The producer could not decide if he envied the man or lusted after him, but finally concluded it was a mixture of both, and moved on to his financial records. The Ledger estate was worth millions; this lonesome cowboy was undoubtedly one of the wealthiest cattle ranchers in the United States and was pulling in annual figures comparable to himself. Tit for tat, line item by line item, Ledger measured up to everything Jules believed to be true about himself – everything except that Jessie was a dependable and stable man who would unquestionably make Ana a good husband. On the other hand, he – he could not be relied upon day-by-day to rise at the same hour or to fancy the same restaurant.
    Shutting the portfolio, Jules casually handed it back to his mother, who in turn asked him if he had found what he was looking for and he assured her he had. He then mentioned an existing commitment with a business associate, a comment that served as a viable excuse for him to be alone, and so his mother departed with the expectation of the arrival of new prospect within a half-hour. Once she had left, Jules undressed once more and climbed back in bed to nurse his despair. His soul was all aflame with the pain of grief, and his only desire was to survive the torture that now plagued him.
    Madness is my defense against Reality.

  2. #2
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    The End First Draft

    The airline steward in first class was approximately 25 years old with long brunette hair that was pulled back in a colonial bun and dark brown eyes that lit up when he smiled. The wavy, loose frays around his hairline framed his face perfectly, accentuating his high cheekbones while softening his ivory, taunt skin. He was pushing a loaded cart down the isle, asking each passenger if they wanted Eggs Benedict or a Western Omelet, a fact that only seemed to increase his charm, so by the time he reached Ana, she had completely fallen in love with him. Straightening her pressed, linen, dress, she smiled graciously at the young man, and when he repeated to her the same question he had already asked at least a dozen other individuals, she politely informed him that both were too rich for her palate and that she would have only the fruit cup, if it was available.
    The young man eventually disappeared behind the curtain and returned with their food, which he began serving sequentially, a circumstance that simply delighted Ana for she was the last passenger in business class. When he finally arrived at her row, he grinned shyly at her and said, “here is your fruit cup, mam.”
    “Oh, please don’t call me mam,” Ana pleaded playfully, “you make one feel so old.”
    The young man’s face immediately fell at her comment. “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you; I don’t think you’re old at all.”
    “Oh yes I am,” she contended, “but that’s okay. I was teasing you to amuse the both of us but it seems that I have failed. What is your name young man?”
    “Jake Richards,” he answered.
    “Of course it is; it says so on your name tag, right there,” Ana pointed at the nameplate with wings. “I was only testing you, but perhaps I jest too much. I am just an old woman trying to entertain myself these days, unfortunately sometimes at other people’s expense – but it is never intentional. I haven’t a mean spirit in my body; it is my single weakness.
    Have a seat beside me please; it is unoccupied.”
    Caught off guard and somewhat confounded by Ana’s mental agility, the young man instinctively sat down and looked at her.
    “Jake Richards, tell me about yourself, and then I shall tell you some things you don’t know about yourself.”
    The flight attendant looked startled. “Well, what would you like to know?”
    “So, you are what...25 years old?”
    “27 to be exact.”
    “And you are working your way through school?” she inquired.
    “Yes.”
    “For something creative no doubt.”
    “Architecture actually,” he informed her. “I want to design modern high-rises, but I also love traditional design; the old Italian villas appeal to me.”
    “They appeal to me as well, but let me tell you something you don’t know about yourself,” Ana announced. “You remind me of someone; in fact, when I first saw you standing there I thought you were an apparition from the past come to haunt me.”
    “Wow," Jake commented, now completely curious and enthralled by the mysterious lady's conversation. "Well who is it?”
    “Do you remember the TV shows “Red Herring” and “Hunter’s House,” and the movie “Nate’s Sacrifice?”
    “Vaguely...I recall watching the sitcoms when I was younger,” he mused. “ I wasn’t old enough to see Nate’s Sacrifice when it came out in the theaters, though I do remember hearing about it.”
    “You remind me of him; he was a genius – a brilliant creative mastermind. Everything he touched turned to gold in his hands.”
    “Who?”
    “Why Jules Vercini of course,” she replied. “Who else?”
    The young man’s eyes suddenly lit up. “Oooh, him...,” he chirped, and his eyes grew wide from the epiphany. “I remember hearing about him....he was bisexual, wasn’t he?”
    Ana gazed at the young man’s face, intrigued by the beauty of its expressions, then looked away with a smile.
    “He was, wasn’t he?” he asked again.
    When Ana remained silent, Jake went on: “Anyway, I remember the movie Mining for Jules...”
    “So you’ve seen it!” she declared proudly. “Ah-hah! I caught you.”
    Jake blushed from embarrassment and Ana saw that he was nervous so she continued: “No matter. It was unique; after all, it had a plot and most films of that nature – well, what is the point of them? They certainly don’t have tragic heroes or victorious villains or convoluted plot-lines. Take out the dodgy parts and it could have played in regular theaters. In any case, you are a walking vision of him some 25 years ago, and he was an incredibly handsome man; beauty on two legs with a voice and golden hands.”
    “You knew him.”
    “Yes I did,” she confirmed softly, “and I loved him very, very much.”
    The flight attendant studied Ana at length and then cleared his throat. “So,” he squeaked anxiously, “where are you staying in the city?”
    Ana smiled affectionately at the young man, then placed her hand upon his cheek.. “You are tres, tres beau monsieur,” she cooed, “but far too young for me; after all, I am old enough to be your mother. Still, I am flattered, and if I were ten years less, I would have answered differently.”
    “Then may I know your name at least?” he asked.
    “My name is Ana, Ana Ledger, but since my husband passed away, I may yet go back to Devon. That is my maiden name.”
    “Ana Devon.”
    “Jake Richards.”
    The flight attendant laughed at her mime. “I’ll be sure to mention you to my friends, and tell them about the beautiful woman who thinks I look like Jules Vercini.”
    “And I will mention you to my friends – that is, if I had any – and tell them about the handsome younger man who propositioned me in business class.”
    The two strangers continued to chat through the rest of the flight so that by the time they arrived in the city, they had become the best of friends. Ana promised to write and Jake promised to call, then the duo parted ways and Ana rode to her hotel alone.

    ********************************

    In the morning Ana arose and, after dressing, made her way down to the gift shop where she purchased a café mocha and a key ring before venturing onto the street in London. It was her second time visiting the city, the first being her initial visit to Mr. Cromwell where she was mistaken for the gentleman's niece and where she first discovered the secret letters to the forbidden Vercini romance Decades had passed since then, but little had changed in the metropolitan area: it remained overpopulated as ever, with Brits swarming in mass like bees around a hive. Ana intended to do some shopping in Soho when she was stopped short on the street corner by a glimpse of elderly gentlemen in a long, black overcoat as he disappeared behind a building on the opposite side of the street. Dodging in between traffic, Ana ran harem-scarem after the man, finally managing to catch up just as he reached the light on the next street corner.
    "Excuse me sir…," she began out of breath. The man spun around to confront his accoster.
    "Ana…?"
    "Jules…?"
    "Ana!"
    "Jules!"
    The two old people burst into spontaneous fits of laughter, embracing and kissing each other on the cheeks.
    "Ana, I'm surprised to see you here! So where is Jessie - how is he doing anyway?"
    "Oh, he passed away three years ago when he fought a grizzly bear and lost," Ana sighed. "It was a terribly tragedy - something was devouring the cattle so he and some ranchers tracked it - they say the bear surprised him and he managed to kill it, but he didn't survive the attack."
    "I'm sorry."
    "So am I," she heaved sadly, "but how is your wife? Who did you finally end up marrying anyhow? Is there a Cassandra Depardieu Vercini these days?"
    "I never married," Jules informed her. "There is no Cass Vercini because there is no Mrs. Vercini. It was a price I paid for my career."
    "Oh…," Ana mumbled, as if she were unaware of the fact. "Well, you had a lovely career - you still do. I've invested in both Vercini and Manfast enterprises and keep up with the performance of both in the market; I made out well when the latter split last year, but that didn't surprise me. You have the Midas touch, especially when it comes to any creative endeavor of yours."
    Jules grinned widely at his former flame's compliment, and for a second Ana saw the boy inside the man. "You know you don't look all that different than you did 20 years ago," she added, scrutinizing his face. "You're still quite handsome."
    "And you're still quite beautiful, my sweet Ana," he cooed, grasping her hand in his and bringing it to his lips for a kiss. "So I take it you are now unattached?"
    "Completely. Jude moved out of the house last year and is attending Yale now, majoring in law."
    "Well, that's a pleasant major," Jules replied.
    "No it's not - it's totally insipid," she remarked, evoking a hearty chuckle from Jules, "and you know it; nonetheless, he's got a mind for that sort of thing, and I won't interfere."
    "You're a good mother."
    "I try."
    "So, where are you going now?" he asked.
    "No where in particular; I was going to do some shopping in Soho, why do you ask?"
    "Would you care for some company?"
    Ana raised an eyebrow suspiciously at Jules, although she was secretly delighted by his invitation. "Yes, Mr. Vercini, I would," she said, offering her arm to him, which he immediately took and wrapped in his. The old couple then began their stroll down Carnaby Street towards the London shops, reminiscing over the past and expounding upon the future.
    Madness is my defense against Reality.

  3. #3
    awww.... is this the end?
    Well... I'll just assume that it is, because it is such a beatiful ending.
    I have been following your book avidly, and I think thatits a mighty fine work of art. thanks for the story

  4. #4
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    Thank you. I left out many chapters sort of to prevent someone from procuring my work for themselves (I was ordered to do this by two people) - although the very idea that anything I write is worth stealing is ludicrous and I feel terribly haughty and arrogant for acting as if it is some brilliant masterpiece - but yes, this is the end. It came in an epiphany. I like to end on hope, but don't like "And they lived happily ever after."

    Thank you for reading and for being so kind in your comments. Countess
    Madness is my defense against Reality.

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