Ellie Oswald died when Clara was just a small child. The little one never got to say a proper goodbye to her mother, she didn’t understand what was happening and her father didn’t have the time or the heart to explain it to her. Dave loved his daughter very much but couldn’t talk to her about that subject, it was just too serious for a young girl and he belived that Clara would soon get over it.
However, Clara still missed her mother. Now more than ever. Dave got remarried and his new wife was the most shallow person Clara has ever met. Linda couldn’t stand her stepdaughter and made that very clear. She was always making comments on Clara’s appearance and intelligence, as if she was still a little girl.
That night, during dinner, Linda made an announcement.
“As we all know Clara is not getting any younger and it’s about time she found a new home.” she cleared her throat “She needs to marry a man and give birth to his children so that she can live in comfort.”
Clara had a bad feeling about that conversation. It seemed like her stepmother had more to say than just the regular verbal abuse she got used to.
“Since we are not very wealthy and Clara is too short, her face is too round and her nose has a weird shape to be considered beautiful our options are very limited.”
“Where are you going with this, Linda my dear?” Dave asked.
“I found the perfect suitor for Clara, darling. He may be a bit old, but he is a doctor and when he dies their children will inherit his property and Clara will not be homeless.” she smiled, proud of herself.
Clara on the other hand was livid.
“Excuse me?! Are you selling me away to a man I don’t even know?!”
“Selling you away? I’m saving your life, you ungrateful child! Where do you think you are going to live when your father is dead and your cousin Rory wants this house for his own family? You certainly don’t expect that Mrs. Williams will want to live under the same roof as her husband’s cousin. Besides, you know who Dr. Basil is.”
“Dr. Basil? You want me to marry him?! But he’s 2000 years old!”
“Shush! Dr. Basil may not be young but he is no elderly man. He’s still capable of fulfilling his duties as a husband, no doubt.”
Clara looked over at her father, desperate for his help. Dave merely shrug.
“Your stepmother is right, Clara. You do need to get marry someday and Dr. Basil is a good man. Sure, he’s a bit older than you but I’ve never seen any young man show interest in you. I think you like to scare them away, dear.”
She never told anybody, but there was a man she was in love with. The young and cheerful John Smith, who only ever saw her as a friend and even if he loved her back they couldn’t get marry because her family wouldn’t approve of her marrying someone who didn’t have any money. Clara was happy enough to be the one John would ask to fix his bow ties but now it seemed that was over. She was going to marry the old Dr. Basil.
“No! I won’t marry him! I won’t!”
Clara left the table and ran to her bedroom, locking the door so no one could enter. She felt like her life got progressively worse since her mother died. Obviously Linda wanted her out of the house so she was forcing Clara to marry any man who would take her.
The days passed. Dr. Basil was suddenly invited to have dinner with them every night and he always agreed to that. Clara didn’t understand why. He didn’t like talking very much and seemed irritated by everyone in the room. One would think that Dr. Basil wanted to avoid those people like the plague, however he still visited them.
Clara wasn’t found of Dr. Basil before and now she liked him even less. He was very rude, grumpy and looked nothing like her friend John Smith. She couldn’t stand being in the same room with him, let alone marrying him. Being homeless was a better option.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror one night, thinking of how tired her face was. She was tired of being used by her stepmother so much and wanted to take a break from her own life. Clara was so distracted by that thought that she didn’t hear when someone entered her bedroom.
Dr. Basil coughed to get her attention.
“Excuse me, Ms. Oswald.”
Clara covered her exposed skin with a shawl.
“Sorry, but you were taking too long to get dressed and dinner is getting cold.”
“How kind of you to let me know.”
He didn’t notice her sarcasm. His eyebrows nearly touched while he was looking at her.
“Why do you need three mirrors? Isn’t one enough?”
“None of your business.” Clara ignored him and continued to brush her hair.
“Is it because your face is too round? I noticed this when we first met.”
Clara didn’t know whether he was being mean spirited or just completely clueless on how to talk to a woman. Maybe both.
“Leave me alone, Doctor.”
Dr. Basil took the hair brush off her hand.
“Let me help you with this. It seems like you’re having issues with this task. Maybe it’s too complex for you.”
“It’s you I have an issue with.” Clara muttered.
“What did you say?”
His delicate manner of brushing her hair took Clara by surprise. She had to admit that the Doctor’s hands were very smooth and it felt nice to have someone taking care of her for a change.
“You are really good at this, Doctor. I must say.”
“Thank you. Maybe I could teach you someday. It’s not that hard.”
She noticed a proud smirk on his face.
“A gentleman would compliment my looks.”
“I’m a doctor, Clara, not a gentleman. I’m only interested in cold hard facts.”
Clara felt the hair on the back of her neck rising when he said her name in a scottish accent. Not that she didn’t hear it before but it was different now that he was so close and his hands were touching her.
“So… what do you think about me?”
The Doctor took his time before answering that question.
“A little bossy. Self centered. Needy. Has a short temper.”
“Right. You can stop now.”
“But also very caring, loving and beautiful young woman.”
Clara smiled, surprised one again.
“You think I’m beautiful?”
His cheeks turn bright red. Clara took that as a “yes”. She started to think that the Doctor was rather handsome too. In fact, he looked adorable brushing her hair and embarrassed about the whole situation. Maybe he was clueless about how to act around people and didn’t mean to be rude. There was a much welcome honesty in his actions that Clara appreciated.
“I’m done.” he said, putting the hair brush down.
Clara looked at herself in the mirror again and she didn’t seem tired anymore. Dr. Basil cleared his through.
“Clara, I want to talk to you about something before dinner starts.”
She turned to him. Curious to what he had to say.
“Your stepmother is not very subtle and obviously I noticed that she wishes me to propose to you. At first I was against the idea for I believe that an intellectual such as myself is not fit for a married man life. However, at the past few days I’ve discovered that you are a very interesting woman and I would love to spend more time with you. In fact, I would love to share my life with you. If that’s what you want too.”
Had he say that a day before or even minutes earlier she would have turned him down, but at some point during the hair brushing she found herself able to love Dr. Basil.
“Yes, I do… Basil.”
“Please, keep calling me Doctor. I never cared for the name Basil.”
Clara gave him a kiss on the cheek making him blush again.
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