“That he is in love.” Landon turned to her with a smile.
Sarah and Devon returned to the house. Grams began to give Sarah quite an earful. “And further more if you insist on lying in the middle of the field on top of a horse, I must be notified first. You scared me to death!” Grams was shouting with her arms flaring around in the air. Sarah stood before shaking her head in understanding. She glanced quickly over Grams shoulder at the two men at her back.
Devon looked to Landon who was trying to keep a straight face. Devon said, “Theatrical is she not.”
Landon shook his head in agreement and turned his back to her. “That is Grams though and I think she is amazing.” Landon said with a smile at Devon.
Off in the background, Sarah was still being scolded. Richards entered the room bringing tea and snacks. He walked past Devon and Landon as he said, “This will shut her up.” The two men could not contain their laughter and burst out. Sarah began to smile as she had heard what Richards had said.
Grams stopped talking when she saw some of Molly’s mini muffins go by. Richards began to pour some tea for everyone. Sarah turned to leave the room.
“Will you not stay for tea Lady Sarah?” Richards asked.
Sarah turned and said, “I think I shall bathe first. Save me a mini muffin for when I return.” Sarah then left the room.
Devon over heard what she had said to Grams and wrapped a mini muffin in a handkerchief placing it in his pocket. He joined Grams, Landon, and Richards near the sofa.
Sarah asked her maid Lisa, to draw her up a suds bath. It did not take long for Lisa to fill the tub. Before she left she asked Sarah if she needed her further. Sarah smiled kindly and told her no she may retire for the night.
Sitting at her table she let down the rest of her hair. She then stood and began to remove her clothes. Gazing at her naked body in the mirror, she wondered what other women looked like compared to her. She realized she had never thought of that before now. She examined her body in the full-length mirror. Turning around she looked at her bottom. She wondered if it was too large compared to other women? It looked large to her or maybe just firm and full. Sarah turned back towards the mirror and gazed at her breasts. She knew they were large enough because men were always gawking at them. She lifted her arms up above her head to see what they looked like at that angle. She thought it odd she had never once done this in the past.
Grams had noticed Landon looking at Devon with that smirk of his. As everyone talked with each other, Devon was starring out the window thinking of last night with Sarah. He wondered if she had removed her clothing yet. He could not picture her naked for some reason. He had never seen her naked, well not entirely naked but knew she would have to be beautiful. He thought about when he had grazed his finger across the top of her bottom and how soft she felt under his touch.
Sarah let her arms fall to her sides. She then stepped into the bath and slid down under the water. It felt so good. She had not realized how sore she was from riding. Sarah had used muscles she had not used in over six months. She remained in the tub until the water grew colder.
She braided her hair in a lose braid off to the side, seeing there was not much she was able to do with it being wet. Grabbing a light cotton soft blue dress, she to put on. Comfort is what she was looking for. The dress was similar to the one she wore the night before.
Sarah rejoined the group downstairs. Devon was the first one to see her standing in the doorway. Their gazes locked. Devon loved her hair that way. He smiled at her softly.
Landon noticed Devon smiling like a fool. He looked at the doorway and saw what was making him smiling that way. Landon chuckle to himself and thought that maybe Devon needed a reason to notice Sarah. Quite possibly if Landon was to began to adore Sarah a little, then Devon would have to speak up about the way he felt for her.
Sarah saw Landon’s expression on his face. Sarah looked to Devon and saw why Landon was making that face. She quickly moved towards the sofa.
“Oh look the dead is walking,” Grams said.
Landon walked over to Sarah. “Would you like some tea Sarah?” He smiled at her with his charming features.
“Yes thank you Landon.” Sarah returned the smile.
Devon asked himself. Why did he just call her Sarah and not Lady Sarah? Devon moved in closer to the group. He took a seat in the club chair. Grams was sitting at one end of the sofa and Sarah at the other with Landon in between them. Richards sat opposite of Devon in a club chair next to the fireplace.
“So Landon, do tell me who is new in the ton this season?” Grams said.
“To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. I do not have any interest in getting involved with the young ladies of the ton.” Landon looked to Devon.
“Grams you know as well as we do that a man can become easily trapped. It is best to stay away from the young ladies coming out and their mothers,” Devon said.
“Ah, entrapment is the name of their game I see. I will admit, I have witnessed myself many a times men becoming trapped into marriages. Does it not seem that it has gotten to the point, that a family can merely suspect an inappropriate gesture and the poor chap is then forced into marriage?” Grams asked no one in particular.
“The men always comprise an option though. He can simply departed from a scandal, were as a woman remains optionless.” Richards pointed out.
“Yes, why is that do you think? It does not at all seem just,” Sarah said.
“Because men can run about and chase skirts and proper ladies keep their skirts down. It is the way it is.” Grams said. “Being a woman is not easy to say the least. I personaly would not care to be a male. We females do have our advantages.” Grams smiled at the thought and looked to Sarah.
Sarah began to giggle at Grams as she had winked at her.
“Landon you have no plans to marry as Devon does not care too?” Grams asked him.
“Not at this time, perhaps in the future. I have far too many things to complete before I consider taking a wife.” Landon said.
“What if you fall in love?” Sarah asked him.
“Simple, I do not plan too.” Landon chuckled and looked at Devon as if it were that simple.
Grams started laughing, as did Richards. Devon, Sarah, and Landon were looking at each other.
“Falling in love is never something one plans or does not plan on doing my dear boy Landon. Grams said.
Richards was still chuckling. “If you have ever been in love you would surely not be saying that, Landon.”
“It happens as easily as the sky releases rain or someone blinking.” Grams said to all of them.
“Nor do you ever choose who to fall in love with.” Richards said as he looked to Grams and smiled at her.
“Yes, that is true as well. One minute you are not than the next minute you are.” Grams said.
“How would you know if you are then?” Sarah asked.
“There is no mistaking being in love. It is the strongest feeling on earth. Love is a life force in its self.” Richards answered Sarah. “It is a feeling like no other feeling. Love consumes your every thought of the one you love and you cannot resist the feeling you have for that person when they are near to you.”
“That is true. The feeling is so powerful it cannot be denied. When two people fall in love they feel it the instant they touch. A touch as simple as touching the others hand or arm. Having that person brush a hand across your knee” Grams said.
Devon shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He felt as though everyone in the room was reading his mind. He had felt that when Sarah brushed his knee and he cannot control himself around her with every thought he has is of her. Devon wanted to leave, but he couldn’t.
“What does it feel like?” Sarah asked them again.
Grams and Richards looked to one another, then Grams looked to Sarah and said, “The moment they touch, it is if the world has fallen away and all you see is the one who stands before you. A warm sensation washes over your body as a wave washes over you in the ocean. You suddenly feel alive and alert. Imagine walking though life asleep and you are touched and suddenly awoken. Your heart begins to race, you may have a hard time catching your breath, or you simply cannot move as you are stunned by the rush of emotion. The sensation of the first touch is something that you have never felt before. It is like a static shock but over your entire body, your mind, and your very soul. The soul knows and will not allow you to deny the feeling it desires and needs.
“It sounds painful.” Landon said with a light chuckled.
“It can be for some. Have you never heard of dieing of a broken heart?” Grams said to Landon.
“Can that really happen to people?” Sarah asked.
“It most certainly can and does. My sister Maggie died of a broken heart. She was my younger sister and she was so very much in love.” Grams looked to Devon. “I have told you the story have I not Devon?”
Devon cleared his throat. “I thought she had died from a fever.”
“No no no.” Grams said.
“I have heard your family talk of it in the past.” Richards said. He looked to Sarah and said, “Her portrait hangs in the hallway outside Lady Wilsbee’s sitting room.”
“What happened to her? Why did he leave her? Did he not love her back?” Sarah asked Grams. Her eyes were wide with fascination, wanting to know the poor woman’s story.
“Maggie was just merely a year older than you Sarah my dear. She was twenty-three years old. The whole family gathered for a family picnic at my cousin’s estate. It had been dreadfully hot that summer. Maggie was sitting under a large oak tree watching the younger children fly their kites in the summer's warm breeze.”
“The way that Bruce liked to tell the story was that, he saw Maggie earlier that day running with the children in a field and her beauty caught his breath. He was nervous and not quite sure what to say to her or how to approach her. Bruce poured two glasses of lemonade and walked over to her. He said his heart was beating so fast he thought it my beat out of his chest. Bruce knelt down in front of Maggie, who was sitting on the ground, and offered her the glass of lemonade. Maggie’s gaze locked with his and she smiled at him. No words were ever exchanged between them. Maggie reached out and touched his hand that held out the glass in front of her.”
“Now, Maggie and Bruce both say it was if they had known one another for life times. It was many life times of the past, present, and the future all in one single moment, in one touch. Bruce leaned forward and kissed her.
“Bruce and Maggie were engaged within less than a week. Our parents insisted to a long engagement. The young couple in love did not care. They were not waiting for the honeymoon to share their love with one another. I know because I walked in on them. The position I had found them in, I still to this day do not believe to be physically possible.”
Everyone started laughing. Sarah was smiling shyly. Devon looked to her and he knew she was confused but trying not to show it.
“What happened to the young couple?” Landon asked after a few seconds had past.
“Oh yes. Well they remained very much in love throughout their nearly six-month engagement. Bruce was over at our estate from the time the sun rose until long after it set. He wrote Maggie poetry, which I still have to this day. When you were in the room with these two, the room was alive. You could feel the love they had for one another in the air around them.”
“Three days before the wedding Bruce told Maggie he had to go pick up the wedding gift he had made for her by a friend who was a jeweler. Maggie did not want him to leave. Bruce was to be gone for a day and a half. He had left early on a Thursday morning. Maggie sat in the big picture window awaiting his return, right here in this very room.” Grams pointed to the window seat at the big picture window.
“Friday evening came and there was a caller for Maggie at the door.” Grams put her head down to compose herself. “I still remember the cries coming out of that room were the strange man was with Maggie. The whole house heard her and grew silent. The carriage Bruce was riding in flipped over and crashed. The driver had fallen asleep and Bruce was killed.”
Devon heard Sarah gasp as she chocked back her tears. Devon leaned forword and handed her his handkerchief. Sarah looked to him as he smiled at her.
“The stranger in the room with Maggie was Bruce’s old friend, the jeweler. He gave to Maggie her wedding ring that held in it three birthstones. Maggie’s, Bruce’s and in the middle of the ring, was the birth stone of their unborn child.”
“Maggie slowly died six months later of a broken heart. She never wore the ring. She just held it in the palm of her hand.”
Grams got up off the sofa and walked to Sarah who was trying to keep up with wiping her tears. Grams held out her hand to Sarah. As Sarah gazed at Grams's hand, she saw the ring.
“It is beautiful.” Sarah said as she ran her fingers over the stones.
“Upon her deathbed she told me she would do it all over again, even knowing she would only have six months with him. “Live your life with love in your heart,” was her last words to me. Then she handed me the ring and died in my arms.” Grams said.
After a few moments Grams said, “I think we have had enough of love stories and tea. Devon would you like to pour us some drinks and we shall have a toast.”
“What shall we toast to Grams?” Landon asked her.
“We shall toast to good friends and the pursuit of love.” Grams let out a giggle.
Sarah sat quietly and thought about the story and Grams description of being in love. She had decided she wanted that. She wanted to feel that feeling and share her heart with someone. She thought she had felt that with Devon but she couldn’t have because if it was love, then he would have felt it as well.
Devon sat next to Sarah on the sofa as everyone else was by the bar. He handed her a glass of wine. Sarah smiled as she looked at the glass. She thanked him while not moving her eyes away from it.
“Are you alright?” Devon asked her softly.
“I am wonderful.” Sarah said as she was still smiling.
“Wonderful? Most people would be saddened after a story like that one. You seem to have lifted spirits Lady Sarah.” Devon chuckled as he teased her.
“I think I do. I think I may have changed my mind about marriage. I do not want to be scared any longer of becoming hurt. I believe Grams was right when she told us to live life without love, is not to live life at all. I want to fall in love.” Sarah said to him. Then she smiled again slowly at her glass of wine she was still starring at in her hand.
“Shall we toast?” Sarah shouted happily. She then got up and knelt on the sofa, resting her arms over the back of it.
Devon remained quiet. Everyone else clacked glasses in a cheer. Sarah looked down at Devon.
“I cannot take a sip of my wine until you raise your glass with me Dev.”
Devon raised his glass to her and gazed at her bright smile.
“Cheers to you Dev, I hope you find the woman who will make you feel alive in love.” Sarah said to him sweetly.
Devon said, “If it happens then it happens.” Devon shot back his whole drink in one gulp. He stood up and went to pour another.
Grams moved over to where Sarah was and Devon could hear them discussing the upcoming ball. Landon walked over to him as Richards, who he was talking with left the room. Devon shot back another drink in one gulp.
“I can get you the whole bottle if you like.” Landon said then laughed.
Devon chuckled. “Why do women get so caught up in the idea of love do you think?”
“You do not believe in love?” Landon asked him.
“No, I didn’t say that. I just think people should not chase fairy tales their entire lives is all I am saying. If it is as Richards and Grams describes it to be, then hardly anyone would ever marry. It could take a lifetime to find that person. Could you imagine how much time one would spend looking for it,” Devon said.
“Or avoiding it as well. I think if you fall in love, you cannot deny it to yourself. My parents are still madly in love after thirty years, so I have seen it myself. Believe me Devon, my father still looks at my mother like a fool in love.” Landon then smiled at the thought of his parents.
Richards entered the room and announced supper was ready. Grams and Sarah strolled to the dining room arm in arm as Devon and Landon followed behind them.
Grams had her usual place at the head of the table. Sarah was off to her left and Landon was at her right. Devon was sitting next to Sarah. They started the meal with clam chowder soup. As it is set down in front of Devon and Sarah, they look at each other and start to laugh.
Richards gave them the eyebrow and said, “Do attempt to keep it in your own bowls this time. Otherwise, I do believe Molly will quit.”
Grams looked at the two partners in crime laughing hysterically, which of course made her begin to laugh.
“Is there something in the soup?” Landon asked.
Sarah started to slap her hand on top of the table. She could not catch her breath.
Grams shouted for everyone to stop laughing because she was in danger of wetting herself. A moment later, she then announced it was too late.
Sarah had rolled off her chair holding her stomach and was snorting. Devon’s face was red. He watched Sarah roll off her chair and fall to the floor. Devon burst out in a harder laugh.
Richards took it upon himself to explain the incident that took place in the room they were in and the explosion of food within it. He had explained that Devon insisted Sarah had dropped her plate but Richards added she must have had to drop it a thousand times over.
Grams then began to describe what she had seen, as well as the way Sarah and Devon looked when she had opened the door on them. Sarah and Devon began to argue who had really started the fight. Sarah took everyone else’s opinion about the matter and of course, they all agreed Devon deserved it. Devon threw his napkin at Landon and announced he was a traitor.
A while later, everyone had quieted down and began to eat the now cold soup. Landon looked at Devon who was watching Sarah as she was speaking with Grams about the ball. He gazed at Sarah at times the way his father looked at his mother. Landon had decided he would talk with Grams about it later. Devon needed a little encouragement concerning Sarah.
“Have I told you this evening how breath taking you are?” Landon said to Grams.
“I do believe you have not! And to think, I have had to wait patiently while you had not notice until this very minute.” Grams started to giggle at her own witty humor.
“Please do forgive me my beauty.” Landon picked up her hand and kissed it gently. “Do not make me beg for an apology.” He flashed her a devilish wicked smile.
“I like my men to beg my dear boy and beg you will my exquisite creature.”
Laughter again began to fill the room. Sarah told Devon how she loved to watch Grams and Landon do this to one another.
“It is a contest to see which one can stump the other.” Devon said to her.
“Or whoever blushes first.” Sarah said.
“It will end up being Landon, I’ll bet you. Grams tongue can become quite wicked at times. I would wager on it.” Devon said with a chuckle.
“Alright then, what shall we wager?” Sarah said back with confidence.
Devon looked at her and smiled. “I am not sure.”
“Perhaps a dance at the ball. If I lose you get to pick my partner and if you lose I can pick yours.” Sarah suggested.
Devon said. “For one dance or every dance?”
“Oh, shall we do it for every dance. This will make it much more interesting. What if they have a tie?” She asked.
“How are they going to have a tie at this Sarah?”
“They could both very well blush at the same time. Could they not?” Sarah looked to them then back at Devon.
“Then we will split the dance choices for each other evenly.” Devon stated.
“Agreed then,” Sarah finalized it with a nod.
Sarah stood and clanked her fork on her glass. “Devon and I have a wager going concerning you two. I have wagered Devon, that Landon can make Grams blush before Grams can make Landon blush.” She looked to Grams and said, “Sorry Grams, I have blushed with the things he has said to you.” Sarah then sat down.
Devon looked to her and said, “He makes you blush?”
“Have you not heard what comes out of the man’s mouth?” Sarah faced forward and smiled.
“What do you purpose we will get out of this? Landon asked.
Devon asked him, “What would you like?”
Landon replied. “Nothing from you Devon.” Landon moved his gaze to Sarah “What will you offer to me Sarah?”
Sarah instantly blushed. She looked to Devon and said, “Oh he is good. Look at my face. I believe I shall win.” Sarah began to giggle.
“I am not being serious. I do appreciate your confidence in my ability though Sarah.” Landon laughed at Devon’s expression.
“My boy, have no fear for you know my mouth. I shall not let you down.” Grams was shouting.
“You may start at any time throughout the remainder of the evening but, everyone must be present.” Sarah said to all of them. “Our hope is that by night’s end we shall have a winner.”
Sarah sipped her wine. Devon leaned into her and asked her softly in her ear, “Do I cause you to blush the way he does?”