Authors's Note: Edited Chapter One: 2/1/15 For creative purposes, I decided to change it up a bit. It is no longer a standalone.

February 1901:

Lillian

I glided along the cobbled stone path that led to my family home. There was the faint smell of jasmine in the air as the wind blew past the curly tendrils of my long blonde hair. My exquisite hazel eyes and full chest made me a favorite of the boys in the neighboring homes but I never seemed to care. I was the only one of my age who did not seem to care of the attention that all the males in the class gave me; I was more concerned with chasing the chickens and swimming in the nearby pond with Duke, the family dog.

I slowly walked into the manor where I lived and set down my jacket when Agnes rushed to me.

"Child, the day is chilly and you do not have your jacket on! What has gotten into you?" Agnes put a blanket around me but I just pushed it off. I despised being treated like I child. I was sixteen years old, for goodness sake!

"Agnes, I am not a child. I am a young lady and I am not even cold."

Agnes feigned ignorance and put the blanket around my shoulders once again. "Sit down young lady by the fire and warm up. You're freezing!"

Agnes was a mother figure to me, since my real mother Tara was often distant and brash with her me. I can't recall a day where my mother and I got along. I think it some small way, she despised me. "Oh Agnes, you worry far too much about me," I said as she combed out the tangles in my hair with my fingers.

"I do not. I take very good care of you. What kind of nanny would I be if I let you run around in the cold with no sort of warm covering about you?"

I smiled. "You are so much more than my nanny Agnes, you are my friend. A very dear one at that," I told her.

Agnes smiled a little but I didn't really take notice. My attention was turned to the voices coming from upstairs.

"Agnes, who is here?" I asked.

"Mr. Nehemiah Brooks is visiting your father. He's offering him a position at the school. Isn't that wonderful?"

I stuck her out in feigned disgust. "It is already awful that I have to see my father here all day as it is, if I have to see him at school too, I might die!"

Agnes chuckled, "My dear Lillian, your father is a good teacher and he would do well here."

I sighed, defeated. Agnes was correct in her thinking. My father, Randall is a very smart man and has done well providing for our family, but suppose I give my father more credit, would he become puffed up with pride?

My father is not a bad man, but I have never before bonded with him, although truth be told, I'd rather spend a day with my father than my mother. He was a short man, with very little hair on top and large rimmed spectacles. His mustache was think and a little uneven but I would never dare tell him.

My mother on the other hand was a tall woman, with long legs and a cold stare. Why in the heavens my father married her, no one will ever understand. They were an odd couple.

The sound of thumping coming down the stairs broke me out of her thoughts and I quickly stood as my father and Mr. Brooks descended the stairs.

Nehemiah Brooks was in his late twenties and had never been married. He was tall and lanky, but friendly, and he was the only one to treat me like an adult. He spotted me and softly waved and I waved back happily.

"Good afternoon Miss Pierce, how are you today?" he asked.

"I finished my studies early today and Mrs. Hennigan allowed me to come early, so I spent the day wandering the trails by Old Crawley's property!" I responded excitedly.

From the corner of my eye, I saw my father give me a look of disproval but Nehemiah shared my enthusiasm. "I remember exploring those trails when I myself was a kid. I do hope your being careful out there though."

I nodded. "Yes sir I am. I've gone venturing those trails many times and often take Duke with me and he likes to chase the rabbits."

Nehemiah chuckled. "That's good you have some company." He then turned and looked at my father. "Well Mr. Pierce, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I'll take your requests to the school board and see if we can work out some sort of agreement with them."

My father nodded, "I hope it all works out Nehemiah." He followed Nehemiah to the door and the shared a few more parting words.

When Nehemiah had left, my father turned to look at me and just then, my mother slowly descended the stairs.

"You are an embarrassment to this family name Lillian Ann May Pierce! Why can't you act like a young lady?!" my mother complained. Oh dear, not again.

My father sighed. "Not now dear, not in front of the maids," he cautioned but my mother paid no attention to his words.

"You are sixteen Lily, why can't you act your age? Is it so much to ask that my only child not bring shame upon this house?" she plopped down onto the sofa and fanned herself.

Agnes quietly left the room and I stood. "I do not bring shame mother, but I don't see why I must suddenly act like an adult. I have no one to impress!"

She drew out a long exasperated sigh. "Do you hear that Randall, she thinks she must act like a young lady to impress people. What has become of my little girl? Go on, tell her our news."

My father went near my mother and began to comfort her by rubbing her shoulders but I paid no mind to that; my interest was now piqued. What is it that my parents had to tell me?

Mr father took a deep breath and said, "I am to become the new principal to your school Lilly, and your mother and I, we believe that this will open the door to many opportunities to expand our family fortune."

I stood utterly confused and he continued. "This means that it will allow more…respectable…people to enter our life. We will be moving to Upper Heights, to people that will be better suited to our class."

Upper Heights? This is what all the commotion is for?

Before I could remark, my mother sat forward swiftly and pointed a finger at me. "I will not have you disgracing our family there Lillian! It is time you became a young lady."

I looked at my father speechless and watches as he pursed his lips. "Yes well, all with the proper education dear…which is why we are sending you to boarding school for the next six months! We, of course, will already be living in Upper Heights when you return from your schooling but you will come back much more mature and wiser."

I could not believe my ears: They were sending me away! To boarding school!

"I cannot have you gallivanting around Upper Heights like some child, Lillian, it is time you learned your place!" my mother added, twisting the symbolic knife into my back.

Six months at boarding school? The nearest boarding school was 2 days away! How could they do this to me?

I wanted to scream, to cry, to detroy the house along with all my mother's precious vases but I knew, that no matter what I did, nothing would change their mind. My whole world was falling apart now.

The look on my mother's face told me that that is exactly what she wanted.

~X~X~

Later in the evening, Agnes had come up to my bedroom to console me. "I am so sorry muffin. I had no idea. This is dreadful news."

I slowly wiped my eyes. "I don't want to go Agnes, why would my father do this?" To be fair, I didn't quite think it was all my father's fault. I think mot of the pushing towards boarding school came from my mother. She has always had it out for me.

Agnes spoke bitterly. "I don't think your father had a choice. I think your mother has been hounding your father about this for some time." I was right. It was my mother's idea.

"This isn't fair!" I cried and Agnes put her arms around me and tried to soothe me. I felt so hopeless. Six months in boarding school was completely unfair for me.

"Listen to me Lily, you will go to this school. You will try you're hardest to become a lady and in six months' time when you return, you will show your mother what a refined young lady you can be. You show her Lillian."

There was not much else I could do; we both knew that. What life would hold in store for me when I come back from schooling…only time will tell.

~X~X~

Author's Note: Dear readers, thank you for taking the time to read my new story "The Wild and the Free"… some may be confused with the direction I am taking this story. Sad to say, the first couple chapters will start out slow because they are setting the premise for the entire story. This story is about the choices Lillian makes and how her life evolves from those choices. Starting out as a child bride evolves this character in many ways as she is forced to grow in ways she never imagined. I had to set the character background for her so that by the end of this story, the readers can see for themselves the battles Lillian had to overcome. (For example, her childish behavior in this chapter.) If you have any further questions or concerns, let me know. Be patient with me, the story WILL get better.