The Lovely Simplicity of Tea - March 10

Roy Hoshino
Roy Hoshino

October 15th, 2014, 5:00 pm #1

Roy was by the servants' entrance of the great house, standing in mostly quiet. A light wind--a brisk wind, given the time of year--was whistling in through the narrow opening between the bottom of the door and the floor. It was almost haunting, lonely--such a stark contrast to the chaos of the place during the day.

The servants' quarters downstairs had just about emptied for the night, which felt a rarity in and of itself. The rest of the house had seemed to go into disarray with Mr. Bates' being taken ill, but perhaps nonesuch as Anna. The poor woman had enough as it was with the baby--and then her birthday coming up in about a month... At some point, Roy had begun to make a greater effort to help the Bates out where he could. He liked children, and he'd already been given the task of chauffeuring the family home at nights. Now it was primarily just Anna and the baby he was taking around, but he'd also offered to help them with chores in the meantime, when they needed it, or to come to him if they felt he could be of some use. With everyone pulling a little bit extra weight, he was sure they would all manage fine. He just felt sad to see such good people, and friends, experiencing such hardship.

Roy was still wearing his uniform fully done-up now. His cap he'd set down on the table, though he'd put it on again once they were outside. However short a drive they were taking, propriety demanded that he look his position, though he couldn't deny how much he was looking forward to getting home and being rid of it all for the night.

He pulled his driving gloves over one hand, then the other, flexing them as he always did before driving during the colder of nights. He kept a spare blanket with him in the car at all times. It was just a simple, woolen thing, but it was enough of a layer of protection against the cold when needed, especially when he was meant to wait outside for a passenger. He'd brought it with him into the house and had it slung over one arm now; Anna could use it for herself and the baby, stay warmer. Now, if only they both had a nice cup of hot tea to enjoy before the trip, things might have been the slightest shade easier.

At the sound of footsteps approaching, a gentle tread of heels over the wooden floor in the servants' hall, Roy looked up.
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Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 4:07 pm

October 16th, 2014, 3:36 pm #2

After having put away Lady Mary's dress and shoes, to be dealt with in the morning. Anna went to the nursery and picked up her daughter. Having just turned four months, Anna was still shocked from time to time of how fast she was growing. She was still very fussy, especially at night, keeping Anna up, trying to calm her crying daughter, when she really should be sleeping. It was all so much harder, when John wasn't there.
Anna had nearly lost John before, but having it happen a second time didn't make it any easier. It was a kick to the stomach and having the rug pulled out from under you to come so close to loosing him again. Of course Anna had known that he was stressed, just as much as she was. But she had never thought that John's heart wouldn't be able to keep up. Had she known that, she would have done more. At the moment she didn't know what more she could have possibly done, but she couldn't help but blame herself a bit for what had happened.

Carrying her sleeping daughter, Anna made her way downstairs and turned a corner and spotted Roy. Her fair features had clear signs of exhaustion as she looked upon the younger man. "Are you ready to go?" She asked quietly, not to wake up Laura. These days Anna didn't have the energy for smiles, or much small talk. She just kept her head down and did her work without complaining. But it wasn't easy, being without her husband.
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Roy Hoshino
Roy Hoshino

October 18th, 2014, 2:11 pm #3


Roy smiled tiredly Anna's way. "I am ready when you are, Mrs. Bates." He turned his gaze to baby Laura, and his smile grew. She was like a sleeping angel. He wondered if she was aware of her father's illness--or at least attuned to everyone else's concern for her and her family because of it. He wouldn't have doubted it. He'd always thought children were incredibly intuitive. "Poor darling," he said in a low voice. "She must be exhausted, too."

He was actually thinking that between the three of them--and Anna and the baby especially without Mr. Bates around--they could have knocked out the competition for the world's people most in need of sleep, literally and metaphorically. As ironic an image as it all was, probably enough to give them a much-needed laugh, he said nothing; no need to draw attention to the fact.

Instead, he opened the door now, and the late-winter wind rushed in to greet them, flooding the servants' entrance hall with a wicked cold. Even in his uniform, Roy shivered. He immediately went for the blanket over his arm, holding it out to the lady's maid to take. He doubted her jacket or the baby's would be enough.

"It is bitter outside," he said softly. "Strong wind. I brought this for you and the baby." Holding the blanket out now, Roy began to wonder if perhaps it might not be a good idea to begin carrying more with him--or something heavier. They were still inside, but with the wind coming in, the cold struck like something from the Arctic. While the simple blanket suited him well-enough on colder days of driving, maybe something stronger would be more useful for passengers. Anna and the baby couldn't risk getting sick, too--Anna alone was already far busier than usual, and it was no secret what stress could do to one's health.
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Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 4:07 pm

October 25th, 2014, 1:41 pm #4

Anna placed a light kiss at the top of her daughter's head. "She'll be awake and screaming in an hour, when I'm just about to fall asleep" she sighed, it was how it had been for the past many nights. Anna had lost count of how many. But she still turned to John's side of their bed, in the hope that he would get up, before she remembered that he was still in the hospital. She missed him terribly, not just because he wasn't around to help with Laura. It was like part of herself was missing when he wasn't around, Anna worried a lot about him, especially now. "Would you hold her, while I get my coat?" Roy had helped out with Laura a lot in the past weeks, so she knew he wouldn't mind holding her. Placing her in his arms, Anna went to the entrance to get her coat and her hat. When she returned her coat was buttoned and the hat was on her head. Then she took Laura back into her arms, trying her best not to wake the sleeping girl.

Roy went to open the door and a cold wind rushed in to meet them. Anna held Laura a bit closer by the feel of it, as if that would keep her warm. "Thank you, Roy" She almost smiled, as she accepted the blanket and folded around Laura as shield against the cold. Anna herself would be alright in her coat, she had walked home from Downton in far colder and windier conditions.

When they made it outside, it really was freezing, especially considering they were in March. It was supposed to be nearly spring, but in stead it still seemed winterly freezing.

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Roy Hoshino
Roy Hoshino

November 8th, 2014, 3:16 pm #5


"She'll be awake and screaming in an hour," Anna replied, placing a gentle kiss on her sleeping daughter's head. "When I'm just about to fall asleep."

Roy started to laugh softly at the unfortunate irony, then quickly lifted the back of one hand to his mouth to muffle the sound. No need to make the poor baby wake earlier than apparently planned. Surely Anna was too tired to find any of the humor in it, either.

"Would you hold her, while I get my coat?"

Roy swiftly nodded. "Yes of course." He held his arms out, swept the small child up into them from Anna's grasp.

As the woman rushed off to get her things, Roy gazed down at the precious child, and even despite the difficult situation the household was in, his heart felt incredibly uplifted. She looked every bit like her parents, he thought. He would guess she would grow up to have Anna's lovely grace and Mr. Bates' charming, mischievous twinkle. Perhaps she would be the most popular child in the village. As it was, he'd helped the Bates take care of Laura before, and though he would not be bold enough as to consider himself anyone special to them, the task gave him additional and pleasant purpose in life.

Yes, he was happy to help out, though it often got him to thinking about how very family-less he himself was. And then he often wondered if he would ever find a proper match to make a family with. As it was, he did not believe Japanese people were quite a commodity to the English people as potential mates, however much he admired them. In fact, he'd heard horror stories from friends in London about their acquaintances in America, some of whom had been arrested for having relations with American women. At least one of those men had committed suicide, his heart had been so broken...

Don't spoil a late evening with such thoughts, he chastised himself, turning his attention back to sweet Laura. He ought to consider himself lucky enough, as it was. The Bates had been kind enough to treat him like family--at the very least a good friend, and that ought to have been more than he could ask for.

Anna returned all bundled up for the evening, and Roy handed Laura back. No sooner was the sweet baby once more in her mother's arms and wrapped up in the blanket, then Roy opened the door for them. Anna thanked him softly, and they headed outside.

Indeed, this was winter weather. As the cold wind rushed forward, stinging at the exposed skin of his face and neck, Roy shuddered. There was not a trace of spring at all, as if the weather had become sentimental, decided to imitate the current coldness of life at Downton. It had taken him enough time to get used to English winters--their Tokyo counterparts were much warmer, and with barely any snow. Even now, after so many years here, he thought he might not have been used to it, not really.

"Actually," the Japanese man began, as they headed for the car. He moved for the passenger side, had to tug a bit harder on the handle--the door seemed to have frozen itself shut. It finally cracked open, and Roy moved aside to allow Anna and the baby in. "Perhaps it is not for me to say, but..."

He hesitated. "One moment please."

Then he made for the other side of the car, and one more cracking door car later, climbed in.

"Mr. Bates is at the hospital now. I am sure it is lonely at your cottage. If you return to Downton while he is away...what do you think? Maybe the other staff will be annoyed by a baby's cry--" At this, he laughed a little. It was too much imagining Mr. Carson, wonderful man though he was, coming out of his room in the middle of the night, tearing out his hair at the sound of a crying baby. This awful, yet funny image in mind, Roy set to work starting up the car. He shifted back the handbrake, adjusted the spark and throttle levers, brought one foot down on the starter.

There was a coughing sound--Come on now, thought Roy, hopeful--which was then replaced by a steady rumbling underfoot. They were started. And yet a bit more waiting seemed in order. With this weather, it would all need a few minutes to warm-up. They couldn't take off until then; not unless they wanted to end up stalled and stranded in the middle of the trip to the cottage.

Roy turned back to Anna and the baby, his breath misting in the chill night air. "My meaning was...if you are at Downton, we can all help. And perhaps you will not feel too lonely."

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Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 4:07 pm

November 10th, 2014, 7:19 pm #6

Anna moved quickly with the baby, to get inside the car and out of the icy winds. The last thing she needed now was for Laura or herself to get sick. Outside it still felt as if they were still in the middle of winter and not in the early part of spring. But at least in the car there was no icy winds and it made it easier to keep the baby warm. It was an unusual feeling to be driven home each night. Both Anna and John had tried not to ask for more than they needed, and Anna had just never felt they needed to be driven home. Not even after Laura was born. The family had already given them far more than what was normal and Anna would hate to ask for more than that.

She waited for him to get into the car, wondering what it was that he wanted to say. Roy had been a good friend to her and John. Anna was grateful that he had been there to help her when John had had his heart attack, mostly after it. He had helped her, probably in more ways that she realized. And if Anna had been more aware of it, she would probably have been more appreciative of him.
Shaking her head a bit, Anna did not see the funny side of moving back to Downton, even if it was just for a while. She had been back before and that had not been happy days. All she could see was the trouble she would cause, robbing all the other servants of their sleep, as well as herself. Plus it wouldn't be that long until John was released from the hospital, or so she kept telling herself. And the cottage was their home, she didn't want to leave that, even if John wasn't there. "I have Laura and we're fine in our home.. I don't want to cause any more trouble." It wasn't easy, being alone with their baby all the time, but Anna would rather that than be at Downton again. It wouldn't help her loneliness to be there. The one she needed was John, he was the only one who could make her happy again. No, she wanted to stay in their home.
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Roy Hoshino
Roy Hoshino

November 11th, 2014, 2:20 am #7


"I am sorry," Roy said quickly, softly. He cast a quick look at the gentle woman, concerned his foolish late-night sentiments might have done more harm than good. "Of course you want to be home."

And he understood. Of course he did. However lonely such a place could be with a loved one missing, it was the place a family had built together. It was private and peaceful--it was their own. A person could ask for little more than that. It seemed too long ago now, but Roy recalled a similar feeling...When his grandparents had worked hard to raise money to buy their own home, the one they'd planned to make in the style of an English bed and breakfast. He still remembered the half-empty halls of the place. Half-empty, but decorated with simple and endearing charm, and filled with the warmth of his grandparent's pride and love.

After a moment more, confident the car was ready, Roy shifted in his seat to look carefully through the back window as he reversed them out of the servants' entrance area. The darkness had originally made it next to impossible. Much practice from driving the family home had made things instinctively easier. Once they'd reached the main entrance-way, Roy decided to say what he'd been thinking all along. "If I may," he began again softly. "I do not believe you make any trouble. Everyone cares about you very much."

And then they were off.

Except for the car's humming and the howl of a brisk wind, it was quiet inside the car. Some nights were like this... If it had been a long day for any of them--driver or passengers--the serenity of silence could turn out to be nice. If they were feeling up for it, though, and sometimes, if Roy was feeling especially lonely, they might make small-talk. It wasn't a very long ride to the cottage, but it had dawned on Roy that long day though it had been, Anna probably could have used some cheering-up. He couldn't have guaranteed anything particularly uplifting on the spot, but he'd begun to think about her upcoming birthday. And as he'd been planning to go see Mr. Bates in the hospital about that exactly...

"Anna?" He was hardly very good at this, but with any luck, Anna would be too tired to note anything too out of the ordinary. Perhaps, in the worst case, she would simply think he was speaking stupidly out of exhaustion. "You are busy now, I know. But when you have free time, what do you like to do?"

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Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 4:07 pm

November 13th, 2014, 1:20 pm #8

Looking down at Laura always made Anna feel like she was in the right place, doing what she was meant to, what she wanted to do with her life. The tiny girl looked so peaceful and it never failed to make Anna feel the same, even with everything that was going on.
The cottage might just be a cottage to everyone else. It was cramped and sometimes a bit drafty. But to Anna, John and Laura, it was home. It didn't matter whether John was actually there or not, it was still home. Sometimes it felt like John might walk in the door at any moment. Like it had been a few months ago, when Anna had still been on leave. She liked to tell herself that, it was more calming than the thought of John in a hospital bed.

"After three sleepless nights I don't think everyone will care as much anymore.. Besides, it would slow everyone down and I don't want to do that. It's enough that I am tired" Anna could just imagine both Mr and Mrs Carson being half asleep at the breakfast table. As well as the rest of the staff. Laura had quite a set of lungs, she would be able to keep up all of the servants' floor, if she really wanted to. Anna blamed the lungs on John, she definitely got them from him.

As the car rumbled down the road, Anna found herself getting more and more relaxed. It wasn't until Roy spoke up again, that she realized that she had drifted off for a bit. "Sleep.." Was the first thing she could think off. She looked at Roy with a tired smile and shook her head. "I don't have much time off. But when I do I spend it with John and Laura. We go for walks or if the weather is bad we stay indoors in front of the fire." Anna couldn't wait for summer to come, so they could take Laura out and show her everything. By then, hopefully things would be back to normal.
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Roy Hoshino
Roy Hoshino

November 14th, 2014, 12:17 pm #9


"After three sleepless nights," Anna had replied, sounding exasperated, "I don't think everyone will care as much anymore.. Besides, it would slow everyone down and I don't want to do that. It's enough that I am tired."

Roy had nodded his understanding, even if he didn't agree, and even if he did not believe anyone would be troubled enough to hold it against Anna. He could only hope that she wouldn't feel too lonely. Or that Mr. Bates would get better soon.

The silence had descended after that, and by the time Roy had asked his question, Anna had at first replied with something surprising, but not entirely unexpected:

"Sleep.."

Roy cast a look his colleague's way. Ah, but his timing...She'd clearly been resting. It would have been better to let her stay asleep, especially if it was going to be all she would get for the night...

Still she smiled at his question, albeit tiredly, and shook her head. "I don't have much time off. But when I do I spend it with John and Laura. We go for walks or if the weather is bad we stay indoors in front of the fire."

"I thought," and Roy couldn't help smiling, "you will say sleep."

His jest aside, Anna's answer sounded nice. Although it didn't exactly pinpoint any specific hobbies she might have had. He supposed he could go window-shopping for a present in the village, in York--he didn't think he'd get a chance to get up to London before then, and if he did, his time would likely be scarce. He liked to think he could be intuitive enough to select a decent present for a friend, but he didn't think he was creative enough for it. His grandfather had been, with his paintings--paintings always made for lovely presents, but...

...Oh. Oh yes. That might be perfect... From him, anyway. He'd still have to try to coordinate something with Mr. Bates later on.

"It sounds very nice, family together time," the Japanese man replied, watching the darkened road in front of them. It was fortunate, really, that the Downton cars had electric lights. They weren't big things--still took a bit of careful studying to see the road in front of oneself properly--but they served their purpose very well. As they said in Japanese: Sasuga (As expected). Lord Grantham collected nothing but the best. "I hope you can have time for yourself. But I am also envious."

He turned away from the road and back to Anna quickly, gesturing with a soft smile to the sleeping baby. "Because I believe Laura is a very lucky little girl."

And he did. It wasn't an easy or kind world. Mr. Bates' sudden and unexpected illness would have attested to that. And as it was, not all children grew up with loving families. Some grew up with no families at all. That Laura had two of the world's most wonderful parents made him very hopeful indeed about her future.

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Joined: May 22nd, 2013, 4:07 pm

November 16th, 2014, 6:38 pm #10

"If I could sleep all day, I would." Anna said with a tired smile. She would give a lot to get to spend an entire day in bed, just relaxing and sleeping. But even when they had a day off, there were still things that needed to be done. Like cleaning or washing of clothes. But Anna had learned long ago to cherish the little things. When Laura didn't wake too early, or when she woke before she had to get up, so that she could spend a few moments with her husband. That was before of course, now she would rather sleep than wake early to see the empty bed.

Anna nodded slowly. The few days she and John had had to them selves had been wonderfully peaceful. On one particularly rainy day, John had sat in front of the fire, with their daughter sleeping on his chest. Anna had been perfectly content, to just talk quietly with John for hours, while watching their daughter with quiet smiles. In moments like that, she felt so blessed for all that god had given her. Never regretting that she had had to fight so hard for what she had. It was worth it, both Laura and John were worth all the hardship they had been through.
"The days spent without work are always very precious, since they are so few and far between" Not that Anna didn't enjoy her work, of course she did. But there were things more important tot her now, one of those things was getting to see her daughter grow up, and not to be so busy with work so that she would miss it.
And he mentioned being envious, Anna looked at him with a question mark on her face. But then he explained further and Anna smiled. "I think I am the lucky one, to be so blessed" She looked back to a little girl, smiling. As tired as she might be, she didn't forget how much she had wanted a child, or how much they both loved her. Although it could be hard to remember that when you hadn't slept all night.
"I hope you're not envious, because you're lonely?" It might not have come off like a question, but it was meant as one. As much time as they had spent together in the time he had been at Downton, Anna was ashamed to say that she actually didn't know that much about his past, or if he had family in England or not. She should know a thing like that, Roy seemed like a person who would be very fond of his family.
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