Brielle and Phillip saw their chance. The automaton nanny had fallen asleep holding Brielle's four year old little sister, Madeline. Madeline's head was lolling against the nanny. Nodding, to each other, they quietly tip toed across the room and slid out the cracked open door.

They had been waiting for this day for a while. Several families in the area had summer houses next to each other. The Serra's estate happened to be right next to the Keylock's, Phillips family. Both families had been close as long as she could remember, and until the day her sister would be old enough to play with truly, 13 year old Phillip was her closest friend.

They both hated the summers. So much beautiful countryside, and they were not allowed to explore unless chaperoned! Of course, none of the chaperones had any interest in letting their young charges do things such as climb trees or splash in the creek. They might get hurt, or even worse, dirty their fine clothes.

Now, they could taste the freedom. They stood up straight and waltzed through the house like they owned it, avoiding the servant's questioning glances. They waited for a quiet moment when no one was looking, and slipped out the front door. They walked through the garden with brisk even steps, and when on the other side, linked hands and ran wildly, giggling and laughing until they were out of sight of the house.

The afternoon was blissful. They wandered through the woods, until they found a creek. It was very shallow, and Brielle happily peeled her boots off and went splashing through the water, getting the hem of her dress up to her knees soaked and muddy. Phillip followed suit, rolling up his pants, and chasing her so he could splash her, soaking the rest of her dress.

Afterward, the pair found themselves in a sunny field. “Why won't they let us do this? No one got hurt...” Brielle innocently asks.

“I don't know. I mean..we did ruin your dress I suppose. We could always wear rags! Next time let us do that, we can hide them and then our parent's won't ever find out by way of the clothes...they can't be cross if they do not find out!” He smiles at her and she looks at him with adoration.

“You are so smart! Smarter than our parents. Why didn't they think about that clothes thing?” “Because they are a stick in the mud, sweet. Muddy clothes or not, running about shrieking in the mud is something common people do, according to them. Here, let us go find that orchard on my parent's land...we can eat all the fruit we want!” He stands up, offering her a hand to pull her up. She giggles and they run off to the orchards hand in hand.

“Brielle! Brielle! Where are you? Phillip....” She hears a distant voice, yawning and stretching before realizing she is quite literally up in a tree. She looks over to see Phillip on a nearby branch. Wide eyes full of the terror of being caught, she nudges his sleeping form and hisses, “Phillip! Phillip...we felll asleep and now they are looking for us...” He jolts awake and forgetting where he is, tries to stand up, knocking the two of them out of the tree in the process. They come flying down and hit the ground with a thud and a shriek, a mass of boy and girl and petticoats sprawled on the ground. The two look up sheepishly to find Brielle's father glaring down at them. They wince in anticipation.

“Young man and lady, what is the meaning of this?” Brielle innocently blinks up at her father.

“We just wanted an afternoon in the sunshine and fresh air...” He hauls them up by their respective collars, and drags them along, lecturing them on the ins and outs of noble behavior all the way back up to the manor entrance and then lets them go free. They scatter into the hallway, then seperating, Phillip to his room to await his own father's punishment and Brielle to the stables and where she starts crying in the corner. A young boy steps from the shadows.

“Hello miss, what is troubling you?” He offers her a hand up, which she takes, swiping away the tears with the other hand. “Just my father...he has no idea of fun....” The young boy tilts his head.

“I can show you some fun, you and that lad you always hang around with. Not so many kids our age around here, you know? Name's Griffin....” He smiles cheekily at her and she giggles.

“I haven't met you before....who are your parents?” His face goes a bit solemn.

“I'm not fancy folk like you and your lad....I'm a stable boy and a blacksmith in training!” He puffs out his chest proudly.

“Nothing wrong with that. You may not have money, but you can go sit in an orchard on your day off and no one will yell at you for it...” She pouts. “And I bet you know how to have the best fun!” Her face brightens at the notion of a new friend who could show her all the delights her parents were so studiously keeping her away from.

“Well, I'm always around...you and your friend can come find me any time for adventures!” She claps her hands and kisses the boy on the cheek before flouncing back to the house and trying to find Marion, her favorite maid, to take care of her muddy clothes before her mother found them.

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