Chapter 11

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Edward came downstairs for dinner early, hoping to find Mr. Montgomery in his office in order to inquire of him about calling on Elizabeth formally. He was a little nervous, and when he wasn't recalling their passionate kisses, he'd thought constantly about how to formulate his words to Peter since returning from his outing with Elizabeth this afternoon. The one thing that calmed his anxiety was the fact that he had formed an easygoing relationship with Peter.

Edward hadn't given much thought as to how to handle his father, but he didn't have to worry about that as yet. What he did know was that he wanted to be with Elizabeth, and it seemed that she wanted to be with him; at least, she had kissed him affectionately of her own accord and accepted his offer to formally court her. Now, would her father feel the same?

Lord, please give me the words to speak. I pray that Mr. Montgomery will be happy to grant my request.

Edward neared the entry to Peter's office, raising a hand to knock on the door. He paused when heard the low murmur of voices coming from inside. Obviously, Peter was meeting with someone at the moment. Edward strained to try to recognize the voice; there was something familiar about it. He was just about to turn to leave when the door swung open and Peter was standing in his face.

"Edward, it's nice to see you. Can I help you with something?" Peter looked surprised to see him, but thankfully not perturbed, seeing as it must have appeared that Edward had been eavesdropping.

Edward's face flushed. "I, uh... Yes, sir, I wanted to..." Edward's voice dropped off when he caught sight of the man standing behind Peter.

"Edward, my son, how are you? I thought I'd come around to see how you and Matthew were faring; and of course, to visit with Peter, here." Charles' voice dripped with sarcasm, and he gave Edward a devious smile.

Edward paled, and glared at his father for a moment. "Father, I trust you won't be staying long, given all the business you have at the bank, correct?"

Charles laughed. "Oh, come now my boy, surely you're not that anxious to be rid of me? I'm staying for dinner, of course. I want to hear all about your stay here at the plantation. Don't you worry about the bank, I left Harry in charge. You know that he's quite competent."

"Of course." Edward bit off the words. He couldn't believe his father was doing this.

"Ah, Edward, did you need to see me about something?" Peter asked, looking a bit uncomfortable.

Edward glanced at Charles, noting the glaring disdain on his face, as if he knew exactly why Edward had wanted to talk to Peter. Edward decided against saying a word about his errand, at least, while his father remained here.

"Ah, it was nothing, Mr. Montgomery. I was just going to inquire as to how your day has been." Edward hated lying.

"Yes, well, it's been a rather productive day. I trust you enjoyed your outing with Elizabeth? Were the horses to your liking?" Peter asked.

Edward's face reddened at his question, for he knew it would anger his father to know that he had been spending time with anyone other than Amelia. "Um, yes, of course, Mr. Montgomery. Elizabeth is quite a good guide, she showed me that wonderful view of the lake. And yes, the horses were magnificent."

Edward avoided eye contact with his father. He suddenly wished the floor would open and swallow his body, relieving him of his father's volatile presence. Edward knew escaping the coming storm of his father's wrath was impossible.

"Very good, then. I'm glad you had a nice time." Peter smiled.

Charles cleared his throat. "Peter, do you mind if I have a word with my son in private?"

"Yes, of course, feel free to use my office. I'll be going to dress for dinner now. See you gentlemen later, then." Peter nodded to Edward and Charles.

After Peter left them, Edward turned a scowl toward his father. Charles held the door to Peter's office open, waiting for Edward to enter. Edward stormed past him.

"What are you doing here?" Edward demanded.

"Glad to see you, too, Son," Charles smiled wryly as he shut the door behind them. "I'm here because I knew you'd manage to botch our plans at the first opportunity. It would appear that I arrived right on time to put you back on track."

"They're not our plans, they're your plans. And I think it's obvious that I hate them." Edward crossed his arms over his chest and glared at his father.

Charles growled. "I knew you'd rebel against me if I forced your hand, but you left me no choice. I see you're still flirting with every skirt you meet; what is the meaning of this, taking Amelia's sister out today? You need to put her out of your head this instant. I know I was quite clear, Edward." He leveled a menacing glare at his son.

Edward seethed, "Oh, yes, you were quite clear, Father; quite clear that you have no morals to speak of, what so ever."

"Morals? Morals mean nothing! Money and making more of it is all that matters." Charles paced up and down the room.

"You're incredulous! Father, do us all a favor and go back to the bank and its money that you love so much." Edward turned toward the door.

"Edward, don't you dare leave this room. I'm not through with you!" Charles bellowed.

"Well, I'm through with you!" Edward jerked the door open and stormed out. He hurried up the stairs before his father could stop him. Thankfully, there was no one to be seen in the hallway and he ducked into his room undetected.

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Charles continued to pace the length of Peter's office after his son so rudely exploded and left the room. He could hardly believe that Edward was his son; after all, other than his temper, the boy had little comparison to himself in personality. Charles grunted. No doubt it was because of all that religious hogwash his mother and his nanny had brainwashed him with. It had made him soft in the head.

Charles ran his hand through his graying hair. What in the blazes was he going to do with that boy? Why couldn't Edward just do what he'd asked him to and relentlessly pursue Amelia, secure a marriage proposal, and allow him to make the banking empire he'd always dreamed of? With the money the plantation could bring in, Charles could easily open another bank.

Besides that, Charles wanted to see Peter squirm and suffer for what had been taken from him. Charles had seen Amelia's portrait, she was the spitting image of her mother. How Edward could even look at another woman when Amelia was in the room was beyond him. Lydia had been the most beautiful woman Charles had ever seen. He wanted to have the satisfaction of seeing his first born son married to Peter's little "Lydia." No less would do.

The conundrum was just how to accomplish the task. Edward was not cooperating, so he'd have to take matters into his own hands. How could he get Peter to agree one hundred percent to the arrangement? When Peter had said there would have to be an attachment or no deal, Charles had been positive that Edward would be successful. But now he wasn't so sure...

Then there was the matter of the other sister to attend to. He needed to get Edward's focus off of her and onto Amelia. The question was how? He would make sure to have Nelson continue to follow Edward, and perhaps Amelia's sister as well. Nelson had reported to Charles upon his arrival at the plantation this afternoon; he informed Charles of everything he had witnessed between Edward and the girl during their outing. There was no doubt that Edward was playing a dangerous game and must be taught a lesson. Charles was glad he'd arrived when he did, before things had gotten completely out of control. It was clear he had a lot of thinking to do.

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I want to say a big thank you to two wattpad friends who have been a big help and support while I've been getting the hang of wattpad.

Thanks so much to @SarahBensonBooks and @myepic for all the feedback and advice! And thank you for always being excited to read my book- it means more to me than you know!!

Anyone looking for more good reads should check out "Born of Shadow" by @SarahBensonBooks and "The Prince" by @myepic!!

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