Authoress's Note: Well, this is my first shot at historical fiction...please review and tell me how it is! It might be awhile between updates, since I haven't written any more than this, and Im such a perfectionist that I'm being painfully picky about accuracy and all that! (By the way, I've-sadly-never been to England, so any comments and/or corrections are welcome!)

One more note...this story is dedicated to Allie...thanks for your encouragement and asking me (every freakin day) "have you written more?" Luv ya, gurlie!

Well, thanks for listening to my babbling on...enjoy the story! ~Jenny the chica~

ps~ *...* means italics, since I can't figure out text and html or whatever it is...if anyone can, email me! PLEASE!

Everything I Ever Knew

By Jenny the chica

~One~

MacDonohue Hall ~ Durhamshire, England ~ September 1760

The air was light and floating, with soft scents of flowery perfume drifting with it, all around the grounds. Heather was content merely to continue sitting on the side of the fountain, listening to the music that the orchestra produced seemingly effortless. She smiled and leaned back on her hands, spread out on either side, putting her weight on them.

At sixteen years of age, she was often required at such parties, held quite frequently by her parents. Thankfully, she had managed to escape this one.

She loved her parents dearly, although she had mainly been raised by her nurse and other servants in her wing of the house, and not seen her parents often growing up. She had been given the eastern wing of her gigantic house as soon as she no longer relied on her mother for constant watch and care as an infant. From then on, she had been on her own.

*Until now.*

Now, Heather had been presented so often during the last year that she didn't think that she could stand it. Her parents showed her off to every family who had a son within a dozen years of her, older or younger. She couldn't stand it anymore.

A slight rustle made Heather jump and nearly fall back into the fountain. She crouched down so quickly that it was a moment or two before she was oriented once more.

After realizing that it was only a slight burst of English wind, Heather gingerly raised herself up, brushing the dirt from her silk dress, sewn especially for this occasion. It seemed a pity to waste all the work that had been put into it, but Mother would surely make her wear it again.

Heather blew her breath out audibly in frustration. She hated hiding, but it was better than listening to people talk about her directly in front of her. Balls were truly a curse and a plague to society. And to think some, like her mother, actually enjoyed it all!

"Heather!"

This can't be good. It sounded like her mother's voice, although her mother rarely tried to find her when she failed to show up at balls. This must mean that there was someone *special* that she was supposed to meet. That *surely* couldn't be good, not with her mother. No, definitely not a good thing.

Heather retreated further into the garden, even though she was a good forty yards inside it already. *Please help her to go soon. I really don't want to have to go through this again! Please, if there is any mercy in the world at all...*

Apparently, there was not.

"Heather!"

Heather looked up sheepishly from behind the fountain, where she had been crouched, but hardly out of sight. Vainly casting about for a reasonable excuse, Heather could not find even one. "I...I...well, you see, Mother..."

"No. Don't even try right now, Heather. There's someone important I want you to meet."

*It figures. Some people you meet in this world are just so predictable.*

"All right, Mother. If you'll just let me clean up a little..."

Mother shrieked. "Heather! What in *heaven's name* were you doing? Go up to your room right now and call Alice to clean you up!"

"Yes, Mother," Heather muttered.

Heather picked up her skirts and hurried past her mother, who stood and watched her, shaking her head good-naturedly. *Yes, there was indeed someone whom she should meet. Tonight.*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heather bounded up the back staircase, detouring the closer west wing, where the ball was located. Once she was sure that the music could not be heard from there, she began yelling for Alice, her maid. Hopefully, no one at the ball would be able to hear her.

Panting, Heather burst through her bedroom door, where a ready Alice waited for her. Rushing her mistress over to the nightstand with an exasperated smile, she picked up the brush and fought against the tangles in Heather's curly brown hair, admiring the occasional reddish strand. Yes, Heather was obviously a MacDonohue.

Finally brushing Heather's hair until it shone, and pulling up most of it, leaving the remainder elegantly framing her neck.

Heather looked into the mirror and smiled, grateful to her dear, loyal Alice. After changing her soiled royal blue dress into her new white one, decorated with silver strands around the bodice and at the hems. Her sleeves ended just past her elbows, with small, lacy ruffles that went halfway down her forearm. The neckline was rather squarish, but Heather liked it. A sliver ribbon criss-crossed the front, to tie at her waist.

Encouraged by Alice's smile, Heather gave one last look in the mirror and hurried back down to the ballroom.

Rushing down to the main staircase where the two wings met, Heather slowed to a brisk walk when the first guests became visible.

When she reached the staircase, she slowed down even more and majestically processed down through the direct middle. To her chagrin, all the guests turned to watch her.

*It just keeps getting better and better.*

Obviously, one or both of her parents must have said something about her. Sucking in her breath, Heather continued her walk down, although she was fighting the urge to run back to the predictable security of her bedroom.

The diamond necklace that Alice had picked out to accent the dress rose and fell on her chest with her every breath, but other than that, she appeared calm.

*Hopefully they haven't said too much about me yet. Who knows what Mother's plotting this time.*

Betrothals truly were a curse on society, bad enough to even be called worse than balls. And that was pretty low.

Heather finally reached the end of the staircase, and the majority of the heads once turned towards her now turned and resumed whatever they had previously been doing.

Gazing over the room, Heather searched for her parents. She finally spotted them, talking with two men, although she could not tell who they were, as their backs were turned towards her.

Once she found them, she began to rush over there, then told herself to breath deeply and slow down. She did so, and slowed to a walk.

She finally reached the group, and her mother broke into an over-the-top, beaming smile. *She definitely wants **someone** to be impressed.*

Heather figured out who when the two men her parents had been talking to turned to face her.

*Of course.*

The Marquess of Cambridge shire was one of them, and the younger man was obviously his son. *It was only a matter of time, Heather. You knew that it would happen eventually.*

*The only problem is that this time it looks like it's for real.*

Heather's thoughts were interrupted by her mother's introductions. She vaguely went through the motions when meeting the Marquess, but she forced herself to look up at his son.

"And this is Earl Colin Wyldbore, Heather," she heard her mother say.

Heather compelled her eyes to look up to him.

He was smiling; so much that it even coaxed one out of Heather. Finally able to smile back, she kept eye contact with him all during her curtsy, never once breaking it.

She noticed, from the corner of her eye, her parents and the Marquess share a knowing look, but she could honestly say that she didn't care.

As the three adults went on with their conversation, minus Lady Wyldbore who had apparently not been able to come. Heather and Colin were left alone to root out some form of conversation.

"Well...um...it was very nice of you...to come," Heather tried, attempting in vain to conceal her nervousness.

It seemed as if both were fairly new at this.

"Yes...well, it was nice of you to invite me...I mean, for your parents to..." he shrugged, but also showed a hint of a smile, enough to keep Heather from getting nervously anxious about the present situation.

*After all, knowing my mother, we'll probably be seeing quite a bit of each other from now on.*

But now was not the time for Heather to be frustrated at her mother's plotting nature, and she realized that. Looking up again to Colin, Heather cleared her throat and attempted conversation again.

"Do you often go with your father to parties like this?"

He started at her bluntness, but Heather did not take it ill, as she was used to reactions such as this. She was simply a straightforward person by nature. She loathed small talk and such.

Thomas finally turned and answered her, suddenly serious, "Sometimes I do, but not that often. I usually stay at home and study from my tutor or work with estate matters."

Heather nodded courteously, now regretting the question, as it had caused his cheerful smile to vanish.

Internally, Heather sighed. *What in the world am I trying to do here?*

Heather straightened to attempt to fight off her sudden lost hope, but she was rapidly getting discouraged.

On a rash instinct, she suddenly said, a little bit too loudly, "Colin...why don't we go outside for a little while? It's so crowded and noisy in here, I think we might have a better conversation out there."

Colin's face immediately broke back into his beautiful smile. He looked into her eyes and time seemed to freeze for a couple of seconds. Then they both looked down and shook their heads, the magic vanished, and Colin offered Heather his arm, escorting her outside.

Smiling, Heather followed him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Colin led Heather outside, then she moved her hand from his arm to grasp his hand. He held back a gasp, but he was definitely surprised. She walked through the garden for a while, then finally sat down on the side of a white marble fountain, which easily reflected the light from the brilliant moon above them in the night sky.

Heather sat down and he sat next to her, neither one bothering to unclasp their hand.

It was a few moments before the silence was broken, but Colin finally turned and said, "Well, then. What do you want to talk about?"

"Anything. I really don't care at the moment."

Colin nodded, but did not speak again. Instead, he chose to study the woman next to him.

His father had said on the ride here that she was sixteen, and she looked it. Right now she was leaning back, with her hands resting behind her on the edge of the fountain. Her eyes were closed, but he had noticed them to be a beautiful shade of greenish-blue.

He wanted to finger her hair, but she looked so peaceful as she was that he found he didn't dare move, so he would not disturb it at all.

Her hair was pretty as well, brownish and curly, with little bits of red here and there. That was clearly from her Irish background.

It was very well known that the MacDonohues were from Ireland, and they were proud of that long-ago heritage, even though they had ruled over Durhamshire for a few centuries now.

Heather's father, the Earl of Durhamshire, had inherited few traces of his Irish background, and Lady Margaret was from a long line of Englishmen, so it was remarkable that Heather had managed to retain even a trace, after the watering down through the years of the Irish in the MacDonohues. Except for the name, of course. It was rather on the odd side for British nobility, but it was accepted.

Heather opened her eyes again and looked over at him, but he merely smiled at her and, in turn, closed his own eyes, trying to forget the unnerving fact that he could feel her staring at him, even from behind his eyelids.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Colin closed his eyes, Heather muffled a cry of frustration. *How am I supposed to be able to get to know the man if we keep avoiding each other?*

Heather felt a heavy feeling in her stomach, knowing that she was just as much to blame, if not even more. This was her home, after all, and it was her responsibility to make all the guests feel welcome. Even if it got rather old after a while. She was stuck with it. *Might as well learn to accept, along with dozens of other things.*

Instead, Heather took this time to study Colin, as she suspected he had when she had closed her eyes a few moments ago. She smiled at the ironic fact that they were already noticeably alike.

Although they were sitting down, he was obviously very tall, which had been much more noticeable in the ballroom. Of course, to the naturally short Heather, he seemed even taller. After his height, Heather had noticed his eyes. She had always been one to naturally notice eyes first, but his had especially caught her attention.

Unlike her eyes, which varied from blue to green depending on all kinds of things, his were dark and brown, with gold flecks that could not be seen unless one took the time to look, but they were soft and kindness seemed to be held in them. Heather regretted the fact that his eyes were closed now.

He had long hair, as was the style; tied at the nape of is neck neatly with a queue. It was think and brown as well, although his was sun-streaked with blond in places.

This was obviously from supervising the fields. Summing up his tanned skin, sun-dyed hair, and athletic figure, it was clear that he spent the vast majority of his time outdoors. Colin had mentioned watching over the fieldwork, and Heather suspected that he rode often as well.

After Heather had been studying him for a while, she started forward all of a sudden, and vaguely noticed Colin's eyes flash open next to her.

"How long have we been gone?" she gasped.

Colin's face registered that he had just reached the same conclusion. He stood up quickly, offered an arm to help Heather up, and they walked up the stony garden path towards the music of the ball.

A/N: Sorry, waterlily...I hadn't decided yet...but the date's posted now! =o) Oh, and to mic...that's one of the advantages of being the sovereign authoress...I get to make it up! (so just pretend that she's special, and, besides, the climate in England's a little different...y'know? It could happen! lol) Anyway, thanx for my reviews! BUT I NEEEEEEEEEEEEED MORE!