Sunday, October 30, 2011

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


Chapter 25


    Devon heard birds chirping all around him. He opened his eyes seeing the bright blue sky above him. Sarah was still in his arms. Their bodies had tangled into one another during the night. She was tucked into his side with one of her legs in between his. Her head rest on his arm under her. He had his chin resting on top of her head and she was enclosed within his arms tight. Sarah had her arms drawn close to her chest as her hands rested against his.

   He realized that he had never slept so well before. He had no nightmares last night, as he had almost every night. Even when he did not, he continually awoke several times during the night. Last night he did not recall waking up once.

   Devon gazed down at Sarah still sleeping in his arms. He removed his hand from her back and pushed back a lock of her hair that was trailing across her cheek. Sarah lay so still and he began to wonder if she was even breathing. He did not feel her back moving with any breath. Her body rocked slightly as he nudged her. Sarah did not respond and he started to panic. Devon began to shake her and Sarah jumped up resting herself on her arms.

   “What is wrong? What has happened?” Sarah was startled by the way, he had been shaking her.

   “I thought possibly you were not breathing.” Devon said.

   “Why would I not be breathing Devon?” She grew irritated by the way he had woke her. “You scared me.”

   “Well you scared me, you sleep too soundly.” Devon said as he rose to his feet. He held out his hand for her.

   Sarah refused his offer and stood up. “Do not ever wake me in that manor again, unless my hair is on fire,” she said. Turning from him, she stormed away with her fists clenched.

   “Oh there is the morning beast. I was wondering when I might see her again. Good morning to you too, princes Sarah.” Devon said.

   Sarah stopped in her tracks and turned to face him. Her lips were pinched tightly together then she said, “You do tend to bring out the worst in me. I do not know of anyone who chooses to wake someone in the many unpleasant ways you do... Lord Price.”

   “Perhaps you are just too sensitive Sarah.” Devon said defensively.

   “What? You are rude and you conduct yourself as a child would. You can’t even tell me how you feel about me without falling into a puddle to the ground.”

   His body stiffened and his jaw set. Sarah knew she had taken it too far. Devon just stared at her with hurt filled eyes.

   “I’m sorry Dev. I should not have said that.” She moved towards him and Devon stepped away and headed down the path back to the estate.

   The rest of the walk home Sarah remained quiet as she fidgeted with her shall. Devon had not said another word to her, he hadn’t even looked back at her. She wanted to take back the entire morning and start over again. Sarah understood that it was Devon’s odd way of caring for her. She had basically, thrown it back in his face, telling him it did not matter to her and then ridiculed him for how he shows her he cares for her.

   The door flung open and Devon strides up the steps to his room to change. This drew the attention of Grams and Brook in the breakfast room off to Sarah’s left. She stood at the bottom of the stairs wondering how to take back what she had said and fix things.

   After a few minutes, Sarah ran up the steps to Devon’s room. She knocked on the door lightly. She had not a clue what she was going to say to make it all go away. He did not answer. Sarah knocked harder this time. “Dev?” she said.

   “Leave me alone.” Devon said. He knew it was her.

   “Devon please, I want to speak with you. Open the door.” Sarah said.

   Devon did not reply and Sarah knocked again. “Devon please.” She knocked harder this time with her open hand against the thick wood door.

   The doorknob turned and he threw the door open. Sarah gazed down at his bare chest and then down to his waist, realizing he was completely naked. Her mouth dropped open.

   “Well I-I. That is you. I mean I want to see, I mean say.” Sarah was fumbling as he stood beautifully bare in front of her. She was trying not do look down at him, but it was hard not to.

   “Spit it out Sarah.”Devon said. He did not care if he had shocked her. The woman would not stop banging on his door. He wanted to be left alone.

   Sarah stood there dumb founded. Devon waited a few more moments then slammed the door in her face.

   She jolted her head back from the force of the slam. Sarah stood outside Devon’s door for at least a full minute before turning and going to her own room. She entered her room and plopped down at her dressing table. Sarah looked at herself in the mirror. Leaves and twigs peered out at her through her hair. She looked a wreck and she didn’t care.

   Sarah took down her hair and removed all the pins. Her dress was wrinkled with a few grass stains scattered about it. Leaning over she placed her arms on top of the table and rested her head on them.

   Devon finished dressing and made his way down the stairs. He did not stop to say anything to anyone as he left out the front door.

   Forty-five minutes later, he found himself in front of the office where Eli worked. He was about to get down from his horse when he saw Eli coming out of the office door. He was already locking up for the day and it was only noon.

   “Eli, are you closing up early?” Devon said from his horse.

   Eli turned and said, “Devon how are you my friend?”

   “I am well thank you for asking. Have I caught you at a bad time?” Devon asked.

   “Oh no, not at all Devon. I had just come in to work on a few things and now the rest of the day is mine. What brings you all the way out here? Do you need help?” Eli said.

   “I do need your opinion on something, it is important to me. There is a document I would like you to look over, if it is no trouble to you.” Devon said.

   “Well, how about if you come with me around the corner to my town house and we can talk there, if you would not mind.” Eli suggested to him.

   “I am most grateful Eli.” Devon said with a smile. He dismounted his horse and walked with Eli to the stable to board his horse. Eli then led him a half a block further down to his home.

   Eli stopped at the top of the steps in front of the door and turned to Devon as he said, “I have a roommate who I live with. He grows a little excited when we have company stop by.”

   Devon smiled at Eli and said, “That is quite alright Eli. I look forward to meeting him.” Devon understood what Eli was really trying to tell Devon. His living arrangements would be frowned upon if discovered.

   “Edward, I have returned.” Eli announced as they entered the house. He turned to Devon and smiled.

   Edward was excited with the news he had for Eli. “Oh Eli, I have just returned from the market and have pick up a new tea for us to try. I have made some and I want you to taste it.” As Edward came around the corner the stopped to see Devon’s tall masculine physique in front of him. He stepped back a little from the doorway and glanced over to Eli who was walking towards him.

   Eli put his hand on Edward’s back. “Edward this is a friend of mine, Lord Devon Price.”

   Devon bowed to Edward and then stood up straight with a warm smile to the man. “It is a pleasure to meet you Edward.” Devon said in a deep voice.

   Edward looked to Eli and then back to Devon. “Hello Lord Price.”

   “Please call me Devon, I insist on it Edward.” Devon said. He glanced at Eli, then back to Edward. “I will not intrude on your afternoon long. I only need a moment of Eli’s time and then I will be on my way.” Devon was trying to be as friendly as possible to ease this man’s nerves. “I would really like to try some of the new tea you had mentioned a moment ago.”

   Eli turned to Edward and said, “Shall we move to the sitting room?”

   Edward said to Devon, “Call me Eddy. I will fetch the tea right away.” He smiled widely at them both.

   Eli and Devon settled into the sofas in the sitting room. Eli took a seat on the sofa across from Devon. He looked to Devon and said, “So what is the important issue you have to discuss?”

   Devon pulled the will Landon had discovered from his coat pocket and handed it to Eli. “Is this authentic? It was left to Sarah from Benjamin.”

   Eli reached forward taking the document from Devon’s hand and opened it. After reading over it for a few minutes, he moved his gaze to Devon. “This is genuine Devon. I know Benjamin’s signature and it is his. Where did you get this?”

   “A good friend of mine discovered it buried on Benjamin’s estate.” Devon said to him.

   “You need to notify the authorities Devon. That filthy Mcmay is stealing from Sarah and forcing her into marriage. Is she still with your family?”

   “Yes, she is quite safe. I do not trust Mcmay. I am not sure how he will react to this and I would appreciate your discretion on the matter Eli.”

   “Devon you have my word, that I can assure you of.” Eli said. “Mcmay came to the office yesterday. He plans to force her to marry his assistant and she is not aware of it. The poor girl. First she losses her father and then is left with that sad excuse for an uncle.”

   Devon looked at Eli with a serious fierce expression and said, “I will never allow that to happen to Sarah.”

   Edward entered the room with his special tea blend. He set the tray down on the table and sat down next to Eli. He reached out for the teapot and poured tea for them. Looking up to Devon, he handed him a cup and saucer. “You will not need sugar or lemon with this tea.”

   “Eddy, it smells simply yummy.” Eli said to him.

   “Thank you Eli. I added a hint of spice.” Eddy smiled then whispered with a giggle, “As well as a splash of rum.”

   Eli gazed to Edward with a surprised look as well as a smile of excitement.

   Devon took a sip and said, “This is the best tea I have ever tasted. It does not even taste like tea or rum. I am not sure how to describe it.”

   After Eli had his taste of the spicy treat, he looked to Edward and said, “Oh Eddy, you have out done yourself this time. What will you name this one?” Eli turned to Devon and said, “We always name all of his creations. Eddy invented a tart peach tea that I thought at the time was just out of this world but, this is by far my new favorite.”

   “Do you think?” Edward said. “I was thinking sassy at the time.”

   Devon took another sip and said, “It is a spicy exotic pleasure.”

   Eli and Edward gazed at one another, then to Devon.

   “That is perfect!” Eli said.

   “Oh you’re clever Devon.” Edward said.

   Devon smiled at them, feeling impressed with his own creativity. He raised his cup to them both and tipped his head as he drank more.

   Eli said to Edward, “Do you recall a beautiful young woman with blond hair, we ran into a month ago at the library?” After Edward nodded to him, Eli continued. “She is currently staying with Devon.” Eli brought Edward up to speed of the whole story until now.

     Devon was quiet while Eli had been telling Edward the story. He gazed down to the cuff of his pant leg. Devon during the course of the story, told in Eli’s own dramatic words, had had two more cups of tea.

   The voices of the two men faded off into background noise. The night before and that morning with Sarah, was weighing heavy on his mind. It really was the reason he had come to talk with Eli. He knew the will he had Eli examine had been genuine. He wasn’t even sure what he wanted to ask them. His life had become chose and confusing since Sarah had come into it.

   As Eli and Edward had finished discussing Sarah’s situation, he gathered the courage to ask them their opinion on the matter. “What do you think it means when a person thinks they may feel a curtain way for someone and has a hard time telling the other person how they feel for them?”

   “In what way is it difficult?” Edward asked him. He sat up straight giving Devon his full attention.

   Devon’s gaze fell back to his pant cuff. “Well let’s say they cannot bring themselves to say how they feel and cannot say it out loud.”

   “This person could write a romantic note to the other.” Edward said. “Does the person have a hard time speaking with the other? Do they fumble to find the right words or can they not speak at all in front of the other?”

   Devon thought about how much he wanted to reveal to them. “You could say this person starts to feel things they maybe denying to themselves and becomes ill.”

   “Ill? That is love, plain and simple.” Edward said as he looked to Eli.

   “What kind of ill are we talking about?” Eli asked Devon.

   “This person begins to feel dizzy then sometimes the room starts to spin and this person sweats profusely as their legs feel numb and weak.”

   Edward chuckled and said, “That is fainting. Does she always do this around you?”

   Devon moved his gaze to Eli and then back to Edward. “Sarah does not faint, it is me.”

   Edward grabbed Eli’s forearm and placed his other hand over his heart. “I wish someone would faint over me.”

   Eli laughed and said, “That would just cause you to panic and faint as well Eddy.” He turned back to Devon. “Why do you not just tell her Devon?”

   “I am not sure if I want to be in love.” Devon said as he poured himself and the other two men some tea.

   “I have never heard of someone having a choice in the matter. Devon if this is how you feel for her, then you must tell her. If you don’t, you will go through the rest of your life regretting not doing so.” Eli said to him.

   “Does she know? Have you fainted in front of her?” Edward asked.

   “Yes I have twice and the other times she had not been witness to it. She was under the assumption I was coming down with something.”

   Edward gasped. “She has no idea. Oh, if she only knew the effect she has on you Devon. How romantic she would think it to be. When did this start?”

   “I am not sure, a week ago maybe and she does know.” Devon shook his head and poured more tea for himself. “We had an argument this morning. She thinks me to be ridicules. We said some mean things to one another. She grew very angry when I told her she might be too sensitive.”

   “Are you mad! No man with half a brain says that to a woman. It is no wonder why she became upset with you.” Eli said. “Emotional, sensitive, overweight, and never tell her she is like her mother. Those are all rules of what not to say to a woman.”

   Edward leaned forward and asked, “What did she say to you about your behavior towards her?”

   “Sarah said I conduct myself like a child, not being able to tell her how I feel without falling to the floor in a puddle. Honestly, I think I was more embarrassed than anything.”

   “She did try to apologize for it.” Devon started to chuckle. “She was pounding on my bedroom door and would not stop I had been changing my close at that moment, so I answered the door without my close on.”

   Edward put his hand to his mouth as Eli said, “You little devil.” He began to chuckle at Devon.

   Devon said, “She was quite shocked as she struggled to form a sentence. I was angry at that moment and it is not like she has not seen me that way before.”

   Devon looked to them as they stared at him.

   “Please tell me Devon, you are not the kind of man who concurs and then moves on.” Eli said in a discerned tone. Although, he did not know Devon well but, he just could not fathom conducting himself in that manner. Eli had perceived him to be a perfect gentleman thus far.

   “If you have taken her innocence Devon, you must do the right thing.” Edward said.

   “I have not taken her to my bed. I have not yet seen her naked.”

   The two of them looked at him confused.

   “She removed my clothes and, well, use your imaginations gentlemen.” Devon said and then poured more tea. “How much rum is in this tea Eddy?”

   “Enough for you to spill you heart and a few juicy secrets.” Eli said. They all started laughing. “I will fetch us more.”

   Eli looked to Devon and asked, “Could you see this women with your children? I have to be honest and tell you, I use to feel the same way when I first fell in love. Once I revealed my feelings, it stopped. All the light headedness and spotted visions just disappeared. At first, I figured I could not distinguish between desire and love, until one day I realized I could not live without him...Eddy that is. I have never been happier in my life. It is worth surrendering to Devon, I promise you.”

   He smiled at Eli and said, “Eddy seems to be a kind and honest man.”

   Edward came back with more tea in a larger pot this time. “What did I miss?”

   “Nothing, I was about to say there is a ball tonight and Sarah has been set up to meet a few interested suitors. I am going out of my mind. The thought of her with someone else kills me.”

   “You need to go and tell her you want her.” Edward said. “Do you know if she feels the same way for you?”

   “She told me she does. I did not say anything back, well you know why.”

   “The poor girl,” Eli said. “She must have been heartbroken.”

   Devon poured more tea and drank it.


   Back at the estate, Brook and Sarah began to dress for the ball. Their gowns were laid out with all the matching accessories to go with it.

   Brook sat at the dressing table while Sarah worked on Brook’s hair. She watched Sarah go through the motions of pinning up her hair in the latest fashion. Sarah did not look the least bit excited about the ball. Brook was unsure what to say to her. She knew Devon and Sarah had an argument but, about what she did not know. She broke the silence that was smothering the room. “Sarah what happened between you and Devon?”

   Sarah’s gaze flew to Book’s in the mirror. “I was mean and cruel. He has every right to never speak with me again. I cannot imagine what he thinks of me Brook.”

   “I have never known you to be that way Sarah.”

   “Well believe it, I was. He told me I was too sensitive and I told him he could not even tell me how he feels for me without falling to the floor in a puddle. I said he acts as if he were a child.”

   Brook’s mouth dropped open. “Oh Sarah.” Her sympathy for her shown in her expression. The man was confused and confusing Sarah in the process, it just wasn’t right of him.

   “I know Brook, but he had shaken me hard to awake me because he thought I had stopped breathing and I was angry by it.”

   “Why did he believe you were not breathing?”

   “Devon grows worried sometimes that something may happen to me. I know it is odd. He does mean well by it, he just scared me that time is all.”

   “I think it is quite sweet and romantic. If a man loved me that way I would feel flattered.”

   Sarah looked at Brook. She suddenly realized, he was not scared of her rejecting him, he was scared something was going to happen to her. He was scared to love her out of fear of losing her. She started to smile.

   Grams knocked on the door. “Ladies are you dressed yet? The carriage awaits for us.”

   “We are almost ready. Can we meet you down stairs?” Sarah said.

   “Yes, but hurry. I do not want to wait in line at the entrance into the ball.”

   As they finished dressing Sarah said, “You are beautiful Brook. This is going to be the best night of our lives thus far.”

   Brook knew it would be her only one. She smiled at Sarah. “You are right and you look stunning Sarah. Let’s not keep Grams waiting any longer.”

   Sarah walked out the door and Brook shouted to her, “I forgot my gloves, I will not be longer than a moment. Meet me down stairs Sarah.”

   Brook finish and made her way to the top of the steps. As she gazed down the stairs, she saw Landon. She had not expected him to be there.

   Landon glanced up and caught sight of Brook in her soft purple gown with a low cut neckline. She looked breathtaking. He watched her as she came down the staircase.

   Sarah was watching him, as his gaze was glued to Brook. She smiled to herself at the thought of him falling in love with Brook. They would be a very good match.

   As Brook was taking her last few steps down the staircase, Landon offered her his hand. He wasn’t smiling or saying anything. He was just gazing at her.

   Brook smiled at him slightly. Landon felt his pulse begin to race. He noticed the faint spray of freckles across her nose and trailing slightly onto her cheeks.

   “Are you ready for a night full of dancing in the arms of a charming lucky man?” Landon asked her.

   Brook nodded her head and smiled. Landon leaned into her and whispered.

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