"Er, he-hello," a voice called out. Mary turned towards the source to find a smiling Matthew sitting alone, and on her favourite bench, too. Fantastic. Mary took a deep breath to quell her irritation but allowed herself to shoot him an unfriendly look. Matthew merely kept on grinning like a dolt.
They stayed like that for a moment until Mary grew impatient. "Well, what is it?"
"I've decided on something," Matthew declared proudly.
"And what on earth could that be," Mary replied in the flatest tone she could muster. Matthew seemed to miss that she was uninterested in any decisions he'd made in the duration of his lifetime because he smiled even wider and proceeded, "Your father told me there isn't a reason for us not to be friends."
Has he now, Mary thought, because I can certainly think of a few reasons myself, you boorish, graceless -
"And, well, I think him rather right," Matthew continued. "Truth be told if it weren't for this, this issue, between us I think we'd get on fairly well."
"We can barely keep from being at each other's throats, Matthew, I'm sure you hadn't overlooked that," Mary said coldly.
"True, but friendships have sprung from less," Matthew chuckled. Mary offered a small smile but otherwise remained unfazed.
Matthew cleared his throat. "In any case, we both know that our -there's no word more suited for this - bickering is causing our families a bit of grief, especially your father. I don't imagine their feelings would change if we proceed the way we are. I'm sure you agree."
Mary frowned. "And what if I do?"
"I propose a standstill. An impasse if you will. Simply we're to appear to be getting along, er, spiffingly with each other in sight of everyone. Or act civil around one another, at the very least. I imagine it'd make everyone quite happy, it'd be one less thing for them to worry about," Matthew said.
Mary gazed out towards the grounds and considered this. Matthew was right, of course, that nothing would please her father more than to see them get on like a house on fire. The same father who had cast her aside in lieu of this philistine crook. Perhaps she was feeling vindictive and unaccommodating, no one could fault her for that.
Why should I be considerate of anyone when no one has been considerate of me?
"Mary? What do you say?" Matthew asked, interrupting her mulling. He held out his hand towards her. "Truce?"
Mary eyed his extended hand, barely unable to keep from flinching. Not only was he holding out the wrong hand (gentlemen would extend the right one, not the left!), he was also still sat down (gentlemen always stand up when acknowledging someone, especially a lady!). He truly was atrociously ill-mannered, and they expected her to stand down to this?
Mary let out a long breath. Let him have his peace for now, she told herself with conviction, let them all think we're exceptionally good friends.
I'll go about fighting back my own way.
"Very well," Mary responded, taking his waiting hand and shaking it. "Truce."
~~~x-posted to tumblr
at first I liked this but somewhere down the line I realized I'm not happy with how it was turning out. however it's taken far too long not to be finished so I'm saying goodbye to this piece
made it for my friend Gaby who's responsible for getting me into the downton fandom