II. Gabriel Evans

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He had grown into a man they loved to love.

Gabriel Evans.

Tall, dark, handsome and holding a storm of radiance rolling along the horizon of his dark eyes. Those eyes too, so familiar and yet so anonymous. April had known the likes of that pair. Similar, yet not even remotely the same.

Gabriel’s orbs were dark and earthly. Like molten copper trapping light, tungsten ablaze.
      April had known honey speckled with gold, fire and finesse. Magma in wet clay. April had known the second born. Her Adam.

“Miss April Mildred.” Gabriel’s deep, scrutinizing gaze dug into her like miniscule needles. His voice rung deep and delicious to her ears. “Delighted to have you back at Wilfred Park. You were utterly missed.”

April held herself from wincing at the formality of his address. Gabriel had always been the one about decorum and primness but this reserve went so beyond her. He had spoken like a true diplomat but diplomacy wasn’t a thing for childhood kin and folks, was it? He was pretending subtlety.

Hah! As if April had not slapped stale porridge right on his face the one time Gabriel had punished Adam for slouching. Or was there a count how many times Gabriel had twisted hers and Adams ears for being a nuisance.

Miss April Mildred, her aching foot!

“Thank you, Mr. Evans.” April answered with an overly precise dip of curtsey. “Nice to see you again too. My loudest cheers on now being the sole Lord of Maplebell. You have become quite a peer, I see.”

Beside her, Jeremy did a poor job suppressing his snort.

Gabriel’s raised his left brow ever so slightly as he took in the jeering edges of her voice. His face remained, otherwise, free of any apparent assertion. He heard it and unheard it instantly.

“We stand right where you left us April.”

A hitch settled into the middle of her breathing and April felt a twinge down her heart. Four years and he said like he could do that_ put a pause in the time. Adjourn years and ages from passing by. He said it with such emotions that she could have almost believed it.

She never answered.

“London kept you busy?”

April blinked up at Gabriel. “London? No. My Education did that.”

“Which reminds me…” Gabriel extended his hand toward April, a solemn look on his face and April stared at it, unsure of this implication.

“Congratulations on being the one of those many few.”

April grinned. Jeremy too. And Gabriel, almost. Her finger slid over his and he faintly shook their joint hand once before letting her go.

Jeremy nudged at April playfully making her glower at him.

“Mildred is now a woman of Prudence. Like all the heroines in Bronte’s works. Isn’t that so…moving!”

Gabriel frowned at Jeremy. “Miss Mildred to you, Jeremy.”

“Yes. Her.” The jade-eyed boy smirked. “Our Jane Eyre.”

“No such thing Jeremy. Although_ ironically, my being a heroine in Bronte’s novel is nowhere as near as yours having the same name as its male protagonist’s, Mr. Rochester.”

“Doesn’t that make us quite a pair, Mildred?”

“Doesn’t.”

“Cruel.”

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