"Wake up, Benjamin. We've arrived," Banks told him as the carriage pulled up to a rather stately home, Lady Cantrell's residence.
"I hope your company will be more stimulating then on the ride here," he admonished.
"Sorry Banks, hazard of my profession. I do not keep normal hours and find catching sleep where I can the best way to keep my mind fresh for whatever lies ahead."
Banks frowned at him. "It is a party, McAllister. Not an inquisition."
Benjamin laughed, "Point taken. Let us go meet this Venus of yours."
Banks knocked on the door and a servant answered asking for their names. Banks handed him his calling card and a second servant took their coats, gloves and hats.
"Gentlemen," they followed the first servant into a drawing room.
"Mr. Banks, it is a pleasure."
"Thank you, Lady Cantrell for the invite to your party. I hope it is not too much of an imposition that I have brought a friend. He just arrived in London and I thought it bad manners to leave him so soon after his arrival, and I most certainly could not disappoint you by not attending."
Lady Cantrell smiled but Benjamin took note that it did not reach her eyes. "No imposition at all. I am happy to have him."
Banks turned to Benjamin. "Lady Cantrell may I introduce you to Mr. Benjamin McAllister."
Benjamin bowed deeply in front of her. "Lady Cantrell." As his eyes rose he had seen her smile deepen. She was a woman not to be trifled with. Someone who knew her position deserved respect, but that kind of vanity is easily manipulated.
"You are just in time, as the last two guests of the evening, you arrive just before I have the pleasure of introducing my niece."
She nodded towards the drawing room door that the servants opened. In stepped through an apparition, a mirage, dressed in a white chiffon dress, the picture of demure innocence.
"I would like to introduce my niece, Lady Clara Bentley."
Clara curtsied performing as her Aunt had instructed. Trying to keep her balance hoping not to falter, keeping her eyes lowered until she stood to her full height. She was rather tall for a woman.
Her eyes raised and that's when she saw him. Her step became a stumble but Benjamin's reflexes were lightening quick and he caught her in his arms.
"There, there," he said, setting her right again.
"Thank you, Mister..."
"McAllister," Benjamin said, releasing his hold and taking a step back from her.
She saw no recognition on his face. She wondered. Perhaps he does not know. It was rather dark in that corridor of the club. Or he does not wish to make a scene, either way, she was happy to play along.
YOU ARE READING
Forever RuinedHistorical Fiction
Benjamin McAllister's past was riddled with intrigue, war and death. It was no place for a woman, such comforts as marriage, family and love were not meant to be his but one woman changed all of that for him. Clara Bentley had won Benjamin McAllist...