Chapter XCIV

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We both rode back to Stanley Hall and as we put the horses in the stable I did not even blush at the stable boy who saw our clearly dismantled appearances

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We both rode back to Stanley Hall and as we put the horses in the stable I did not even blush at the stable boy who saw our clearly dismantled appearances.

"Alice..."

"Yes sir?"

"You should know I am going to disengage myself from Cynthia."

"Oh..."

"Do not get married to Henry."

"If I can help it trust me I shall never do so but..." I sighed thinking of the worst wanting to be prepared for all possibilities, "if it comes to that I wish you to know whatever path I must take I will always love you sir."

"Alice..." Mr. Howard helped me from the horse to the floor and I helped myself to another kiss until our lips were inevitably parted.

"Be careful when ending things with Cynthia, she will not take it well sir," I tried to warn him.

"If I could but create a world where you and I could be..."

"Shhh you did my love, this has been the most wonderful of afternoons," I kissed his hand to ease our dreams but I also needed to be convinced by reason to not tell him to take me away from all of this. "Now, neither of us is disengaged yet so let us play the part sir."

"I did say I would take anything you could give me."

"I will see you for dinner then."

"Yes and after it as well, I intend to spend every moment with you until you must leave Stanley Hall."

He let go and I went dragging my feet before I changed my mind and ran back into his arms wishing nothing more than to run away with him, I wanted to saddle the horses once more and say goodbye to everything and everyone towards a place where only the two of us could live happily ever after but that was not wise. My wishes were selfish and it would only fulfill my desires of having him all for my own but what life would it be if I could not share that happiness with those who depended on us? I respected the limits of our love, of sanity and kept moving as fast as I could before anyone saw me and started speculating about my clearly flushed appearance.

Upstairs in the room Edna was waiting for me impatiently for having taken longer than discussed inside the bedchamber.

"Milady!" She looked at my wet clothes and the sand ingrained in my hair.

"Sorry I decided to enjoy the wonders of the sea," I explained.

"Of course you did, I wonder why you are turning out to be so rebellious lately? Or rather I know why."

"Can you help me out of this before the lady's maid comes in?" I blushed.

"Yes come here before Mrs. Hall yells at us both," Edna said and we hurried into the bathing tub where I was scrubbed down into my ears to make sure no sand grain remained.

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