Sometimes it Pours Annabelle's story ch-3

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The days leading up to my ball passed quickly. They were filled with dress fittings and décor choices. The ball room was being transformed into an elegant dream. Deep blues of the wallpaper created a backdrop for fragile white flowers delivered special. The tables were set with dainty place cards and fine china dishes. Father had truffles specially made in London with rich chocolates. Champagne was arriving by the cases. Everyone assured me that it was going to be quite spectacular.

Father had an image of wealth and power to protect. There would be many high society people in attendance. Most of the ladies would rally in my support but a few would await my failure. Sophia had reminded me several times that many eligible bachelors would be in attendance as well. There was only one I wished to see, Marcus O'Conner. Sophia broke into my thoughts asking, "Anna are you ready for your entrance?"

I gave myself a once over in the mirror. She had piled my deep chocolate strands high on my head allowing several to fall framing my face. Father had bought me some diamond hair combs that held it in place. The tailor had the fabric of my gown dyed a special purple hue. Taking one last deep breathe to steady myself before leaving the safety of the room.

The stair case curved into the grand ballroom. Slowly I descended the steps as the crowded room paused. Father stood at the foot of the stairs with a large group of people nodding in approval. Stepping forward to take my hand before he asked, "Will you save an old man a dance?"

"Yes Father. However, first I must greet our many guests." With a kiss to his cheek I parted ways with him. Stopping and chatting with many people while searching the crowd. I knew I was searching for Marcus but he was not in sight. After accepting many invitations to dance I excused myself to the refreshment table. The sheer number of bodies moving to the music and the weight of my gown had caused a heat to rise.

"Allow me Annabelle." His words were smooth and just loud enough to reach my ears.

"You are much the gentleman Davis." My brothers emerald eyes like mine danced with amusement.

 As he handed my drink he bowed deeply at the waist. We both knew he was not this refined man he pretended to be. Tonight in front of Father's friends he played the part. Davis's hopes of growing his own business depended on what these people thought of him. In truth he was everything but a proper gentleman. Only two years my senior he had taken a wife and expected a child of his own soon. Before marring he had several ladies hanging to him and spent many nights gambling. Father had stopped that by forcing him to settle down or loose his inheritance. Money always solved our Fathers problems it seemed.

"Where is our dear Sara?"

Sighing slightly, "She has protested to swollen feet and taken to Father's study for privacy." He looked tired and worried. In my opinion he had matured a lot since taking Sara as a wife. I suppose fatherhood will do that to a man.

"Do not fret. I will check on her now." I reassured him before leaving the ball room in search of Sara. Soon I found her with her feet propped up in Father's study; a plate of chocolates resting on her swollen stomach.

Her pretty face now plump scrunched up as she spoke. "Annabelle you must think me a swine?"

"Never, Sara you are merely enjoying a break. Besides the baby is like me and enjoys a sweet treat." I struggled to contain my laughter.

"Can you not tell Davis I am hiding from everyone here? Those snotty Bishop Sisters keep touching my stomach. It is truly ridiculous!"

"Your secret is safe with me. I however must return to those people. Father still awaits a dance." I stole a chocolate from her plate before leaving.

Making my way back down the hall way I chuckled to myself about her reaction. I saw him approaching.

"What amuses you Miss Sinclair?" Marcus' words drawled out with a mild accent much fainter than his sister's. He was dressed in a finely tailored suit jacket with tails. He seemed at ease in his fancy clothes. His dark hair tightly pulled back in sleek perfection.

"Nothing really, just my sister n laws comment." I tried to drag my eyes away from his well sculpted body meeting his blue eyes. Clasping my hands together to steady there shaking. The memory of our earlier meeting hung in my mind.

"You look to be feeling better tonight." He took that moment to openly survey my body from head to toe. This caused a deep flush to rise to my cheeks.

"Yes tonight has been wonderful." I shyly remarked. My stomach churned with nerves. Why did this man have such effect on my senses? His spicy scent tickled my nose slightly. Trying to speak sensibly I inquired on his sister's where bouts.

"She and I were delayed leaving the city. Presently I believe she is on the dance floor with your father." He gave a slight smile.

"Father is a wonderful dancer. She is in good hands...." I babbled on feeling as if his eyes piercing mine. Slowly he took my hands in his.

"Annabelle, I must apologize for abandoning you..." his voice trailed off. My eyes searching his finding he was genuine. Leaning in close as he spoke, "I could not trust my self to be alone with you..."

Were my ears failing me? He had wanted to kiss me to that night? Why had he stopped? Before I could solve this puzzle his lips met with mine.

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