Father sat at the head of the long dining table over looking our guest. Dressed neatly in black he look the part of the wealthy gentleman his was. His hearty laugh filled the large room.
"Oh Father! You tell such lies!" I chuckled back to his last words. "I was merely six years old and wanted to please you."
Turning towards the young Miss O'Conner noticing her eyes were lit up with laughter as well. I had the feeling she needed to laugh more in life.
"Catherine, I was only attempting to bake the apple cobbler Father adores so." I tried explaining my six year old self's actions. Turning back my eyes caught with her brothers. They shone bright as well but not from laughter. Suddenly embarrassed I quietly added, "I apologized to the cook and attempted to clean up..."
"Anna was dusted from head to toe! Her dark hair was almost white with flour..."
My father's words rambled on about me as a small child. My attention was still on Marcus O'Conner. Under half closed eyes I dared to steal another look at this man. His square jaw line was set so hard, his eyes set on nothing. He seemed so focused on nothing like he was deep in thought. Wishing I could read his thoughts I turned away before he caught me staring.
Later that evening we paired off to enjoy refreshments and play some cards. Most of the men joined Father for a stiff drink and business talk in his study. Father had build up a large cotton empire. He owned and controlled the cotton from seed to fabric. Most of England respected his business sense.
"I so look forward to your ball Miss Sinclair. It will be spectacular!" Her Irish accent was thick still but her words were graceful.
"Catherine please do call me Annabelle or Anna if you prefer. I truly am not that formal." She sat opposite me at the card table. Her hair was a copper red unlike her brothers raven locks. It hung freely down her back in loose curls almost touching her backside. The emerald dress she wore was gorgeous against her pale skin. Unlike my other guest she was not heavy with perfumes and powders but rather natural in her beauty. Though only fifteen she held her self with respect and control.
"I think I have confirmed all the last minute plans. It pleases me that you can attend Catherine."
"As am I to be invited to such a special occasion. I still only know a few families her in England." She went on to explain she had only arrived in from Ireland six months prior. Still it seemed she held something back. Maybe she would warm to me and confide her feelings eventually. For now I would not pry.
The evening continued much like this. Small talk was made and cards were dealt. At some point the missing men returned to the parlor joining in the conversations and games. It was around this time that the thick cigar and pipe smoke got to me. I excused myself to gain some much needed fresh air. As I turned the corner exiting the parlor my bodice felt as though it would strangle me. The cool night air covered my face as I reached the south gardens door. Collapsing onto a stone bench as I reached for a hand fan. Breathing rapidly as I gasped for air to settle my queasy stomach.
"Annabelle. Are you ill?"
The voice reached my body before it registered in my mind. Startled at its effect on me, I jumped slightly. Stumbling with my words, "...The smoke has made me a bit queasy. I suppose...." I stifled a cry. Why was I frightened? Nerves tingled up my spine as I searched the dark for the voice's home. Tilting my head slightly to see his face as the moon caught his features. His brow was set in a worried look. Swaying slightly I tried to regain my composure. Before I could two large hands grasp my shoulders and steadied me on my perch. Our eyes met for he was just mere inches from my face now.
"Do I frighten you?" His words came in a hushed whisper.
"No." Just the opposite, he excited me in an unfamiliar way. Now on a bended knee he held my shoulder with one hand. His free hand moved to tilt my head back slightly. I could see deep into his blue eyes now. His breathe; smelling of sweet whiskey caressed my skin. I trembled slightly as I reached for him, needing to see if he was real. He was going to kiss me. Other men had attempted but I never allowed it. It always felt so crude and vulgar. Not fully understanding the rising need in myself I knew somehow it would be anything but crude with Marcus O'Conner.
"Annabelle." His breath was like a flame to my skin.
"Yes." I replied in a faint whisper now. "Yes Marcus?" This stranger held my complete attention.
"I would never hurt you." But he did as his lips never met with mine.
I moistened my lips before begging, "Marcus, Please."
My body no longer felt feverish from his touch. He stood now in front of me but far from composed. Running his hand through his hair as he spoke, "I will send your hand maiden to attend to your needs." With those words he turned to rush away.
My emotions faulted and a tear slipped from my eye. The rejection hurt my very soul. Never had I felt this alone. Why? I barely even knew this man. Rushing off to my rooms so I could be alone I allowed the tears to flow freely. He was a mere man why was I so affected by him? I was no child day dreaming of a knight in shining armor.
Sophia ushered in with a tray of tea. Upon seeing my tear soaked face she muttered almost to her self, "this will not do." Did she some how know what was wrong with me? Was I that transparent with my feelings? What would my Mother have thought of me acting so forward with an Irishman? These thoughts tumbled in my brain as she helped me dress for bed silently. I was exhausted and the warm tea was settling my nerves finally.
"A good nights rest will have you fit as a fiddle Anna." Sophia promised. "You have only over done yourself today, that's all."
YOU ARE READING
Sometimes it Pours "on hold"Romance
A collection of interlocking lover stories set in the mid 1800's England. Sometimes men were not gentlemen and not every lady was so proper. In the first story we learn of Annabella's longing for a certain Irishman. In the second half of the story y...