Chapter 13

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"Frank has garnered quite some astonishing business experiences in London," The Countess spoke, an amused expression on her face as she observed her son's confident posture as the spotlight moved towards his new talent, "Although, I must admit the notion of them is quite ridiculous to me, but it seems I must support it nonetheless, as there seems to be no other choice for me in sight."

"Oh come, Aunt Agnes, I'm sure whatever Frank's propositions are, they must all be very sound," Diana smiled, trying to ease the tension. Aunt Agnes was always quite verbal about her opinions, despite how disagreeing they might be, "Frank is more capable than you give him credit for."

Frank smiled at Diana as the words left her mouth. He'd forgotten how he could always count on her for everything, for dealing with his mother when she insisted on being disagreeable, for turning awkward conversations around, for supporting his ideas no matter how daft they were, and for making him see reason whenever he needed it.

"I'm afraid then he showcases his capabilities in front of you only, Diana, for I have yet to see even a glimpse by mistake," The Countess spoke again, as she motioned for a maid to bring forth some more biscuits for the little party.

"Mother, if you are done with your disagreement, pray give me an opportunity to at least tell Diana the proposition in question," Frank requested, a chuckle escaping his lips as his mother waved her hand nonchalantly, motioning for him to go for it. As he turned to face Diana, he suddenly felt his train of thought disappear as he caught sight of her, with her dark chocolate eyes fixed intently on him and her plump lips in a soft encouraging smile. It was the look she always gave him, the look of promise of agreement of whatever that should leave his mouth, the look of support for whatever unheard endeavor he had in mind. It was the look he had always yearned for these past two years. It was same look she had sported the night he had proposed to her, but only then it had lied of the promise and support held in it.

Clearing his throat as he felt his silence exceeding the time limit, he knocked all unnecessary thoughts from his mind. The past was in the past.

"I mean to invest in a business here in Portsmouth," He started, putting on a sincere smile on his face as he looked from Diana to Alicia and then to Diana back again.

"That is indeed a very sound proposition Mr Templemore," Alicia spoke up, a little confused as to what The Countess might find disagreeable in the endeavor, "Aunt Charlotte's husband has gained quite the success in his business endeavors in Portsmouth and he too started with investments in capable businesses."

"I have no doubt that investments are surely the way to go about in having success in business endeavours, but I had hoped he set his sights on a business in Southampton," The Countess pressed, "Frank is only a man of twenty and one with no previous experience except watching his father work and his best option would've been to start from where he is known. Not to gamble money to an unsure recipient."

"You are right, Aunt Agnes," Diana added, it really would've been a good option to start in Southampton. Familiarity would have bred success for Frank easily there, and from there he could've have ventured out, "But surely he can try here as well."

"I take it you have a business in mind here Frank?" she asked, her eyes turning towards him. "Yes I do," he replied confidently, "Portsmouth, Cotton Textiles Mills & Co."

Diana let out a sigh as the all familiar business title rolled off of Frank's tongue, her smile still in its proper place. Exchanging a glance with Alicia, who bit back an amused scoff, Diana fixed her gaze back on Frank, who had without doubt noticed this quick reaction.

"It seems you both are familiar with the business in question," Frank noted, shifting to the edge of his seat.

"You are?" The Countess asked, as Diana cleared her throat, smiled, and shrugged, "Only because it is where Uncle Arthur is employed."

"Wait, let me see if I understood you correctly, Edward," Isaac Algernon frowned as he put his hands together and pressed them to lips, his elbows rested on the surface of the office table, "You mean to tell me that the investor you attracted for our mill, the investor our secondary eastern Portsmouth mill branch depends upon, is Frank Templemore, the son of The Countess of Brockenhurst, and now he happens to be the blood related cousin of the lady you had a rather undignified exchange with in the comfort of this office because of your poor treatment of her uncle who is in your employ."

Edward Buxton ran a hand through his hair as he paced about in the office,frustration taking holds of him, "Well, if you say it like that Isaac, it becomes more problematic than it ought to be." An odd feeling washed over him as Lady Diana Beaumont's words rang in his ears. That day when they had argued in his office, she had said something about the tables turning. And much to Edward's surprise, her words had decidedly come true. 

Isaac scoffed, "We may as well lose the hope entirely for this particular investor, all thanks to you. I knew your behavior would cost us more than the ladies' favor, and I was right, the situation has now become more financial than personal."
Edward let out an angry groan as he put both of him hands on the table, facing Isaac, "For crying out loud, these are my employees and I decide if they get time off or not. Me stating that fact clearly to a lady who apparently has not owned a mill before in her life is not misbehavior," He let out, his voice lowering by the end, "And besides, she cannot divert her cousin from this investment." 

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