Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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


Chapter 21


   Sarah had not heard the knock at the door with her face buried into her pillow.

   “Oh you poor dear.” Grams said as she walked to Sarah’s bedside with her arms out to her. “Come here Sarah.” Grams wrapped her arms around Sarah and held her tight.

   “Is there anything I can fetch for you?” Richards said softly.

   Sarah shook her head no, as she wiped her tears away. She looked a mess with her hair falling out from the pins that had secured it and her eyes were red and swollen. She brushed back her hair off her face as she looked to Grams.

   Grams took Sarah’s face in her hands and looked to Sarah with such pity. Sarah’s face began to frown in Gram’s hands and then crumbled as tears streamed down from Sarah’s eyes and over Gram’s fingers. She pulled Sarah to her chest and Sarah let her cries begin again.

   She rubbed Sarah’s back and gazed at Richards. “Perhaps some tea may help.”

   Richards put his hand on Grams shoulder, gave it a little squeeze and nodded. “Where shall you like me to bring it Darleen?”

   “I will tidy her up and we will have it in the drawing room Fredrick, thank you my love.”

   “Very well then.” Richards then left to fetch some tea for the two women, quietly closing the door as he exited the room.

   Grams lifted Sarah away from her and said, “Shall we clean you up a bit and take some tea. We have all night to talk my dear. Come on let’s get you to the dressing table and I will fix your hair.”

   Gazing at herself in the mirror as she sat at the dressing table, Sarah did not recognize the young woman who was staring back at her. All she saw was a sad weak woman who has a dark lonely future in front of her.

   Who could love that kind of woman? Having no dowry to offer any suitor. Growing up without a proper education, only the experience of the travels with a father. Left without any connection to family and remains still removed from society. A woman who was left alone and penniless. What could I possibly have to offer anyone? Nothing is what I have and nothing is all I will ever have.

   Grams watched Sarah in the mirror. Her heart was breaking for her as she could see Sarah’s sad eyes. Sarah’s gaze into her own reflection was hollow. Grams remembered feeling that way with the loss of her husband and then tragically, with her son. The loneliness that covers you like a blanket, wrapping you tight as if trying to smother what little life is left in you out. She recalls what a threatening place that can be.

   “There we are my dear.” Grams said as she finished placing the last pin in Sarah’s hair. “You are so handsome Sarah. I never had a daughter or a niece of my own to do hair for my dear. I do hope you like it?” Grams smiled at Sarah’s refection.

   Sarah gazed down at a few pins that lay on top of the dressing table in front of her. That last thing she felt was pretty. She did not want to look at that woman in the mirror any more. Sarah does not know her and does not care too.

   As she stood up from the dressing table, she thanked Grams and walked towards the door. Her body felt heavy and sluggish. She felt numb.

   Grams came up beside her and looped her arm through Sarah’s arm. Together the two women proceeded to the drawing room for some hot tea.

   Devon watched as Bob made his way from the table to a bar stool at the end of the bar. Bob’s walk was anything but straight and steady. Devon was amused at Bob’s repeated attempts to set himself on top of the stool.

   “Poor Bob, if he had spent less time here and more at home, his wife wouldn’t have left him. He had always liked the drink a wee bit too much though,” John said.

   John turned towards Bob upon hearing a loud crash. Devon went to stand to offer aid to the man. Bob had finally made it on top of the bar stool and then fell over sideways as he passed out.

   “Aah Bob.” John said. He stood up and went to his friend lying on the floor. “Come on their Bob, time to go home. Let’s get ya up and will put ya to bed.” John helped Bob to his feet. Bob’s arm was hanging over John’s shoulder.

   Devon came up next to Bob, and took his other arm and put it about his shoulder. “How far does he live?”

   “Oh on the outskirts of town in the country, but we’ll bring him to me house for the night.” John said with labored breath from the weight of Bob on him.

   “How far do you live John?” Devon asked as he was trying to turn himself and Bob sideways to get through the door of the tavern to the street.

   “Ah on the out skirts of town, a wee bit in the country but closer.”

   Devon started to chuckle. “Closer you say?” He shook his head back and forth with amusement at John’s humor. “Alright then, which direction are we to go?”

   “To the right and down the road a bit.” John replied.

   John and Devon made their way down the road with Bob. It was a struggle for Devon to hold Bob, he was quite a bit taller than John was, and to add to that Bob was not walking. Bob’s feet were dragging behind him.

   After about fifteen minutes of walking, Devon threw Bob over his shoulder.

   “It is right around the corner up ahead.”

   Devon was thankful being that Bob was a heavyset man with a very round belly that did not balance well upon his shoulder.

   John opened his front door and Devon stumbled inside with Bob. John pointed to a room off the kitchen for Devon to place him. Devon bounced off the narrow doorway of the room hitting Bob’s head on the frame. Devon hurled Bob’s body on to the bed, nearly falling on top of him as his body lunged forward.

   Devon pointed to Bob’s head and with labored breath and said, “He may feel that in the morning.”

   John laughed at that. “Oh believe me lad. He has been in far worse shape. A little knock on the noggin won’t do much to him.”

   Devon smiled at him, placing his hands on his hips while trying to catch his breath.

   “Come on Devon. Let us see if we can find us a drink.” John patted him on the back.

   Devon sat down in a chair at John’s kitchen table. His breathing was still labored. It was a long walk from town with an encompassing man about his shoulder.

   “Ah Brook me girl,” John said as he looked past Devon’s shoulder behind him.

   Devon stood up and turned to greet the woman. He bowed to her and said, “Nice to meet your acquaintance Lady Brook. My name is Lord Devon Price.”

   Devon was surprised at how beautiful she was. Brook has big gray-blue eyes and long wavy deep red hair. Both features were stunning against her pale milky white skin.

   Brook curtsied to Devon and smiled. “How do you do Lord Price?”

   “Devon is a friend of Sarah’s,” John said as he sat back down.

   Brook moved quickly to Devon but still maintaining a respectable distance. “You have not seen Sarah recently have you?” Brook’s expression filled with worry for her friend.

   “Sarah is currently a guest at my estate with my family. I assure you she is sound.” Devon said to Brook with a reassuring tone in his voice.

   Brook smiled at him, looking relieved upon hearing the good news.

   Back at the estate Grams and Sarah had settled down for tea in the drawing room. Sarah was staring out the widow. She had not really taken her tea yet. Richards had Molly make a variety of quick sweets for Sarah but mostly for Grams.

   Sarah sat in the club chair next to the warm fire. She began to wonder if it would be best to go back to Lady Wilcox’s to stay for a while. It was not right that Devon was to leave every night because of her. Sarah felt she had caused this family enough problems.

   “A sweet treat for your thoughts my dear,” Grams said as she held out a sugar cookie in her hand.

   Sarah shook her head and said, “No thank you.” She then turned her gaze back out the window. “I think it would be best if I return to Lady Wilcox for a visit.”

   “Sarah I don’t want you to leave. I enjoy your company immensely my dear, you are as family to me Sarah.” Grams scooted closer to Sarah off the chair across from her. “Everything will work its self out.” Grams patted Sarah’s hand. “You will soon see.” She tried to smile at her.

   “I would feel more comfortable to be honest with you Grams. I am sorry.”

   Grams face fell. “Will you not still come to visit with me?”

   Sarah smiled weakly at her, “Of course I will. I do not think I would be able to stay away from you even if forced too.” Sarah took Grams hand in hers. “You are family to me as well Grams. My only family now.”

   “I will take you to Lady Wilcox’s myself, if you do not mind?” Grams then sat back and took a mini muffin off the silver platter from the side table next to her.

   Her gaze fell back upon the window once more as Richards entered the room and asked Grams for a private word with her. Sarah had not wondered why. Her mind was on Devon and the horrible night’s events.

   Brook and Devon began talking at the small kitchen table. She filled Devon in on what she knew of Sarah’s situation. It took Devon some time to convince her all the information was to help Sarah. Brook is a very loyal friend. She did not want to spread gossip or embarrass Sarah in any way with anything she was to tell him and Devon respected that.

   Given the late hour, Brook had offered for Devon to take the remaining spare room to sleep in for the night. Devon had agreed and Brook retired to bed. Devon remained in the kitchen sitting at an old small wooden table in front of the fire.

   Devon gazed into the flames as they shifted and moved wildly from the wind picking up outside. He suddenly felt exhausted. It had been a long day and an even longer night. He began to drift off into sleep at the table.

   Devon saw Sarah standing in the middle of a field, just beyond the forest. She was wearing a white wedding gown that blew around her in the wind. Her hair was down and whipped in every direction in the gusts. She was staring at him as he rode towards her on a black stallion. Devon could see her bright green eyes glisten in the moon light as he approached her.

   As he came up beside her on the horse, she turned from him and began to walk away. Devon dismounted and called to her. Sarah did not answer, she only gazed back and smiled. Devon followed her as she walked further into the field towards the other line of trees across from where they were.

   He slowly walked behind her a few yards back. He was confused. Where was she going? Why would she not answer him?

   Sarah drew closer to the tree line and gazed back at him again. She was breath taking in the wedding dress he though. Devon suddenly panicked at the thought of whom she was going to marry. Who had asked for her hand?

   He called to her again through the strong hollowing of the wind. Sarah turned away and entered into the forest, disappearing in front of his very eyes. Devon for some reason did not want to go in after her. He stood in the spot where she had left him, staring into black emptiness.

   Sarah called his name as she appeared in the line of trees in front of him. Devon asked where she was going. Sarah answered wherever her heart takes her. Devon asked her where that would be. Sarah walked toward him and told him to you.

   Devon was shaking in his dream. She was asking him to love her. Sarah with a tear in her eye turned from him and began to run away.

   He did not want her to leave. He was also scared to follow her. He watched her run away into the darkness. There was a frightful pain building up in his chest. Devon drew his hand up and placed it over his heart. He could feel it thumping rapidly. Sarah was gone and he screamed for her. It was a dreadful scream filled with desperation and regret.

   Sarah did not answer and never reappeared. Devon fell to his knees and let out everything he had been holding in for her, for Benjamin, his father and grandfather. He needed her. He wanted her and now he was too late, she was gone.

   “Devon, Devon wake up.”

   Devon awoke as Brook was gently shaking him in the chair. He looked up and saw Brook’s expression.

   “Are you alright Devon? You were screaming for Sarah.”

   Devon felt the tears rolling down his cheeks. Brook handed him a dry cloth for his face. Devon wiped his face and shook his head.

   Brook had poured him some water and handed it to him. Devon took it and sipped it.

   “You are sweating. What were you dreaming about?” Brook went to the pail of water and submerged the cloth in it. She then handed it to him and sat down. “You sounded as if you were in a great deal of pain.” Brook then poured herself a small drink of water.

   “I’m not sure. I was in a field and Sarah was there with me and I-” He stopped as it came rushing back to him. “I am not sure what it was about.

   “My goodness Devon, you are turning pale. You are as white as a ghost is. Come with me and I will help you to bed.”

   Brook did not wait for his response as she took his arm and nudged him to his feet. She led him to the spare room and pulled back the covers for him. His hands were shaking and he felt dizzy. Devon began to sway towards Brook.

   She stood up straight after turning down the bed and turned to face him. All she saw was his pale face falling into her. Brook jumped off to the side as she let out a little yelp.

   “Devon are you alright?” Brook asked.

   He did not answer her. He was face down on the bed and sweating. Brook rolled his body over and began removing his coat. She then moved onto his boots. Brook stopped as she took off everything other than his breeches. She went to the kitchen and grabbed the cloth and water pail. Brook wiped him down and took his clothes to wash them.

   As she left the room, she began to giggle to herself. Her bedchamber was right off the kitchen and she heard everything Devon was talking about in his sleep. She had not woken him until he had started to scream for Sarah. Brook heard enough of his dream to figure out he was heartbroken over Sarah. Whatever the dream was about, it had upset him enough to cause him to faint. Brook laughed again and thought who ever heard of a man fainting over loving a woman.

   Sarah had gone up to bed hours ago and was still lying awake, staring out the window. The blue curtains from the window were gently blowing in and out of the window. She felt her tears begin to fall again. They began to form a wet spot on her pillow. Sarah wiped her tears and turned the pillow over.

   She had decided to leave late morning after breakfast. She most likely would not eat but, if Grams was to escorting her, she could not deny Grams her appetite. Perhaps she would begin to feel better once she arrived at Lady Wilcox’s home. She did love spending time with her. Sarah felt for her as if she were an aunt. Lady Wilcox always made her feel welcome and at home.

   Sarah watch the sun start to rise as the sky turned all shades of pink and purple. She loved those two colors. The birds were chirping their morning greetings to the world and Sarah let a small smile out.

   Sarah whispered aloud, “Devon Price I deserve better.”

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Cary ~ Mizz Romantica