Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday's Escape Into Romance Is..."Surrendering"


Chapter 20


   Grams and Landon were walking towards Devon’s study. As they entered, Landon saw Sarah in Devon’s arms in the middle of the room possibly kissing. He immediately spun Grams around back in the direction they had just come from.

   “Landon did you just see what I think I just saw?” Grams asked him as she stopped in the center of the hallway.

   “If it was Devon and Sarah in a passionate embrace with their lips on each other, than no.” Landon looked to her and said, “We should give them a moment.”

   “Sarah’s back was to us, so I did not actually see their lips touch. Did you?” Grams asked him.

   “Odds are if they hadn’t, they were just about to.” Landon said as he guided her forward down the hallway.

   Grams and Landon headed to the drawing room to wait. She took a seat on the sofa and began to eat her sweets. She slowly bit into a mini muffin as she starred off at nothing in particular. Her mind was on Devon and Sarah.

   Landon stood looking out the window. He was hoping Devon had come to his senses concerning his feelings towards Sarah.

   Devon and Sarah entered the room together a moment later.

   “Why did the two of you leave?” Sarah asked.

   “I craved a snack my dear,” Grams said.

   Both Landon’s and Gram’s gazes were on Devon as he stood next to Sarah in the doorway. Devon reached up adjusting his collar as it had suddenly grew tight. He did not like the way the two of them were glaring at him.

   Devon walked over to the bar. Landon after a moment followed Devon. He saw Landon coming over and pulled out another glass for him.

   Landon came to Devon’s side and whispered, “What the hell are you doing?” Landon did not intend it but his voice had a hint of concern.

   Devon kept his eyes on the glasses he was filling. He calmly said, “What are you referring to?”

   Landon leaned in closer over Devon’s shoulder. His whisper was a little harsher this time. “Please tell me you intend to ask for her hand in marriage Devon.”

   Devon moved his gaze to Landon’s and held it there for only a moment. Devon looked away to the glasses again. He then grabbed a bottle of wine from under the bar.

   Landon understood what Devon’s eyes had just told him. “I do not even know who you are any more. The man I know to be Devon Price would never have considered doing what you have done to her. What are you thinking Devon?”

   Landon ran his hand threw his hair and let out a long sigh. He turned back over Devon’s shoulder and said, “Why don’t you admit to yourself you love this woman because it seems you are the only one in the room who cannot see that fact.”

   Devon was working on opening the new bottle of wine for Sarah. He paused for a moment, he then continued working on the cork in the bottle.

   Landon was growing angry with Devon’s cold demeanor. “Benjamin is turning in his grave for what you are doing to his daughter. She loves you and you are using that for your own amusement with her.”

   Devon slammed the bottle of wine he was holding on the bar top and shouted, “I do not have to explain myself to you or anyone else.”

   Sarah and Grams immediately whipped their heads around to Devon.

   Devon pushed past Landon and stormed out of the room. Landon stood behind the bar still starring at the doorway. A moment later, everyone heard the front door slam shut with great force.

   Grams turned her gaze to Landon. Her mouth was open with shock from Devon’s behavior. She had never seen him so angry, it worried her. “What happened?”

   “Landon, is Dev alright? Should we go to find him?” Sarah asked.

   Grams took Sarah’s hand. Sarah held Grams hand tight. Both the women were waiting for Landon to say something, anything to fill them in on what had just happened.

   “He is a fool! That man is pig headed and stubborn. He is his own worst enemy. Damn it!” Landon was frustrated and angry.

   Landon please explain to us what has happened between you two.” Sarah said her voice growing with worry.

   It is not what has happened between Devon and me. It is what has been taking place between Devon and you, Sarah.” Landon came out from behind the bar and walked towards her.

   Grams said to her, “We saw you and Devon in the study as he was kissing you.”

   “He did not kiss me,” Sarah said.

   Grams squeezed her hand. “You do not need to defend him Sarah. He knows what he is doing to you is wrong.”

   Landon sat down next to her. “Sarah, he is denying to himself what he clearly feels for you. Devon does not intend to ask for your hand in marriage.” Landon tried to tell her the truth as gently as he could.

   Sarah gazed down at her lap. She was fidgeting with a ribbon on her dress. Sarah could feel her bottom lip begin to quiver. “He did not kiss me. I stopped him. Well he had asked me to walk away from him and I did, but then he pulled me to him and asked me not to go. He stopped himself from kissing me” Sarah felt the sting of tears in her eyes. “I know he does not care for me the way I care for him. I wanted him to kiss me anyway.”

   “Oh Sarah, love is difficult at times,” Grams said to her.

   “Why is it Sarah you think he struggles with himself when he is around you?” Landon asked her.

   Sarah began to blush as she said, “He has not been with a woman since his return.” She whispered it as if she were telling a deep dark secret to someone.

   Landon and Grams looked at one another with amusement.

   Grams said to her, “Sarah he loves you. That is why he cannot think clearly around you. If Devon wanted to he could have been with a woman since his return, but it is you he wants, that is why he has not. Oh sweat child do you not see it?”

   Landon smiled at her and said, “She is telling you the truth Sarah.”

   “Did he tell you as much,” Sarah asked him.

   “No but I know Devon very well and I believe that he is in love with you.” Landon answered her.

   “He has not confided in either one of you as to his feeling for me. I will believe it to be true if Devon tells me from his own lips.” Sarah could taste the salt on her lips from her tears. “Will you please excuse me? She stood and left to go to bedchamber.

   Grams began to tear up herself. Landon handed her a handkerchief. As grams wiped her tears away she said, “What are we to do Landon?”

   Devon pushed Rear to run faster than he was. He wanted to hurt someone or punch something. He wanted to never go back. That was what he really wanted. Landon had no right to pry into my dealings with Sarah. What does Landon know any ways. Why does everyone insist on telling me what I feel? I know what my own feelings are and they do not include marriage or falling in love.

   He rode for hours passing two towns on the way. Devon finally stopped at a small town miles away from home. He took a room above a tavern and booked it for only the night.

   Devon took a seat in a corner set back from the small crowd of men in the pub. A young barmaid came up and asked him what he would like. She smiled flirtatiously at him. Devon ordered a bottle of scotch, ignoring her advances towards him. He was not in the mood for company.

   He began to think about how he saw Sarah’s face every time he had tried to kiss MaryAnn. He told himself it was his concern over Sarah’s situation that had cause it. He just need to do what Benjamin had asked him to get her out of his head and out of his home.

   Who did Landon think was to judge him? He does not have to stay under the same roof with Sarah tempting him. Landon has no clue how torturous it can be with her around all the time. Landon would not be able to resist her smile or the way her head tilts to the side, when she is thinking hard about something. He has seen the way she bits in her bottom lip and looks up gazing at you with her big hazel green eyes, so he should understand.

   Devon threw back his second shot, feeling it burn as it slid down his throat. He ran through his mind what Landon had said to him. They had never had words before in that manner. Landon had always been his closest friend and honestly more like a brother. It hurt him to know Landon saw him as a rake. The very thing Devon despised. How could he have let things get so out of hand with Sarah? Landon was right. He is not the man he once knew. Devon didn’t even know who he was any longer.


   Back at the estate. Sarah laid on her bed crying. She wanted so much to believe what Grams and Landon believed to be true. If it were true then Devon would have told me himself.

   Sarah began to cry harder into her pillow. She had been holding these feelings inside for so long and know that she was allowing them to the surface, they would not stop hurting her. She felt as though someone had died. How could she morn for something that was never truly real. It was merely her own hopes for his love that she longed for.

   She hugged the pillow tighter against her chest and face. Sarah wanted her father. She wanted him to draw her up into his arms and tell her everything will be all right. She wanted to hear his voice again, just one more time. To have another chance to hug him and smell his scent of books and tobacco pipe that had always lingered on him.

   Richards stood outside Sarah’s door. He could hear her deep gasping cries. Richards raised his hand to the door then he stopped dropping his hand back down to his side.

   Grams came up the stairs and saw Richards standing outside Sarah’s door. “Richards,” she whispered.

   He turned to her and said, “What is going on tonight in this bloody house? Why is she crying?”

   Grams explained the story with a few short cuts to get to the point and brought him up to the current moment.

   “I am going in there.” He lifted his hand to knock on Sarah’s door.

   Grams grabbed his arm and said, “She wants to be alone. The poor girl is a mess.”

   “That is why we must check on her Darleen.” Richards raised his voice.

   The two of them froze as they heard Sarah’s cries grow louder.

   Richards turned to Grams and said, “I stood outside your door in the same manner, do you not recall. You needed someone then as Sarah does now. What if I had left you alone and walked away, honoring your privacy Darleen?”

   Grams studied his face for a moment then said, “Knock on the door Richards.”

   Two men sat with Devon at his table in the corner. He does not know why or how they had come to sit with him but they were. Devon had ordered a good meal for the table and shared his bottle of scotch with them.

   The two men seemed to Devon to be an odd pair to be friends, seeing that they were complete opposites. The calm easygoing man was John O’Brien. The other man Bob was very loud and seemed angry, but also a man of very little words.

   “So what brings you here to drink alone?” John asked Devon.

   “It is a woman. It is always damn women!” Bob answered for Devon.

   Devon chuckled. “Well yes it is a woman but not in the sense you think it is”

   “Women don’t make no sense. They just make problems is all they do,” Bob said.

   Devon put his hand up to his chin and studied the angry man.

   “Ah.” John said as he waved his hand at Bob. “Pay him no attention lad. He is still angry for his wife up and leaven him.”

   “I am sorry to hear that.” Devon said.

   “You think he’d be over it by now, she left twenty years ago.” John said and started to chuckle.

   “Yours left you too.” Bob said to John.

   “Bob you damn well she did not.” John turned to Devon and said, “Me wife died a few months after given birth to me daughter. She caught a fever and died. It was a long time ago.”

   “You did not remarry?” Devon asked him.

   John smiled and shook his head no. “I wanted to but could not bring me self to. I loved her a wee bit too much and I looked to no other woman the way me did her. Oh, she was a beautiful woman. My daughter looks just like her.”

   “What do you do for work John?” Devon asked him as he saw the spotted burns on his hands.

   “I am a black smith and handyman I guessen you’d call it. My daughter Brook and I get by. She works at a library a few towns over in Clairfield.”

   “I know that library. I live not far from town. Sarah Mcmay is a friend of mine who works there as well,” Devon said.

   “Ah I know Sarah. She is such a sweet little lady. She always sends Brook home with sweets for me. It is sad about her situation.” John shook his head at the thought of Sarah. His gaze then rose to Devon. John sat up in his chair and said, “You are not friends with that Collins fella are ya?”

   “No I was Benjamin Mcmay’s business partner and friend. Sarah is staying with my family at Price estates. What do you know of this man Collins?”

   “Well I tell ya this, if he had done to me Brook what the little bastard had done to Sarah, I would have tied him up to the back of a horse and sent him running threw a garden of rocks I tell ya. A man has no business putting him hands were they aren’t wanted. After Brook had told me what had been done to Sarah, I told her Sarah should stay with us if she saw fit to. Brook was going to tell her the next day but she hasn’t seen or heard from Sarah since. She is worried of it too.

   “Please tell Brook she is safe with my family and she may visit any time she would like to,” Devon said.

   “Thank ya very much, I will.”

   The barmaid brought over their food. Devon went to go eat and John grabbed his hand.

   “Lad, when ya eat with me, ya gives thanks first.”

   Devon raised his brows at the little Irish man and said, “My apologizes John.”

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Cary ~ Mizz Romantica