Surely you do not mean that Gisele?’ smiled Reinette.
‘Reinette,you’re ever so sweet but you do not know the full extent and true nature of my Mama.’
‘You’re lost so much in your life Gisele.Your Mama is the one person you should turn to in your time of need.’
‘Tom,I love you but please leave me be! You have been my true confidante throughout my life.’
It’s true Tom has indeed endured all of my pain,throughout all of this troubke and strife he has offered me love shelter and affection.In Lucille’s short lifetime he made such an impact.I can’t help thinking if Tom had made an honest woman of her.Then perhaps he could have tamed her wild and wily ways.All of the time I thought she had found her kindred spirit.For they brought the goodness out of one another.Sadly Lucille’s downfall was she never truly played it safe,she yearned for excitement and thrill of the chase.Looking back she had nothing but praise and admiration.Even as a penniless Architecht to Mama’s sheer disbelief.Tom has a kind and tender heart.Countless times I ran to him over my woes.Carl when my unfaithful heart was stirring and became public knowledge.I looked to Tom not a romantic attachment,it was purely and still is a platonic relationship.To me,he was more of a brother,certainly not the loving kind.So many times,I had carelessly lost my way.But Tom is ever so wise in his wisdom,he would have the right answer.This is the first time,I have rejected his point of view.Lady Antoinette,harsh it may sound dead to me.There’s only so many times she can make me appear to look small and foolish.
Holly flounced over,causing me to lose,my train of thought.
‘Lady Rickman,you have deceived me,you promised me that their would be handsome young gentlemen at your gala? They’re all frightfully dull.Where is all of the passion the thrill of the chase?’
‘Hello to you too! And please do not address me as Lady Rickman.’
‘It’s not all about you Gisele,I mean the amount of gentlemen that’s stepped on my toes! Take that gentleman over there that’s dancing with Aunt Grace.He goes by the name of Colonel Clarkson,all he aspeaks of his tiresome Shakespeare and his dead wive’s fan collection.’
‘He must be sweet on you?’
‘Do not mock me Tom.’
‘I thought you craved for the male attention?’
‘Preferably one that is one of age,that likes a good waltz light on his feet,
‘manages to take my breathe away whilst being a dab hand at the piano.Don’t get me started on his onion and cigar breathe.Mama has ideas of her own marrying a grieving widow.Oh I can not bare the thought of it,it makes me skin crawl.’
‘Oh Holly you never fail to amuse me.As for marrying him,don’t be so absurd? You barely know this gentleman?’
‘Oh no here he comes now!’
Holly conceals herself behind a curtain.
Colonel Clarkson,a tall gentleman who appeared to be aged thirty five.Strawberry blonde hair,hazel brown eyes came in our direction.I shall use my feminine wiles to divert him from Holly’s scent.I fluttered my eyelashes and approached this bumbling stranger.
‘Excuse me sir,pardon me if I may appear bold.I can’t help noticing you look lost? Are you expecting somebody?’
‘Lady Holly Delessop? I saw her head in your direction?’
‘Lady Gisele Delessop.’
‘Ah! Lady Gisele! We meet at long last! I am Colonel Dominic Clarkson.’
‘Pleasure to meet you,Colonel Clarkson.Thomas Davernport and his lovely wife Reinette,there dear friends of mine.’
‘How do you do?’
‘May I offer you my congratulations of your engagement to Lord Henry.’
‘Charmed I’m sure.’
‘You’re Mama Lady Antoinette,invited me as one of your guests? Said she was keen on introducing me to your sister Holly,she’s ever so delightful.’
‘Isn’t she just?’
I repulsed at the stench of his breathe,but smiled for I didn’t wish to offend the stranger.
‘Ever so kind of her,I haven’t had much female companianship since my beautiful Cecile was taken away from me.’
‘I’m ever so sorry,may I offer you my condolenses.’
‘Cecile was my life and soul for ever so long.We where sadly not blessed in the joy of children in the ten years together.’
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘No matter,we lived life saw so much travelled around the world in order to fill the void.She collected many beautiful things,fans in particular where her weakness….she left me her beautiful fan collection is all I have left of her,as she died so suddently.Left me without.But I’d rather have her you can not replace the love of your life.’
‘Quite right too.’
He produced a black and gold casket,enclosed it in was a beautiful pink and black fan,the corners had such fine detail unusal black roses.
‘The Lady Lily left this one to her Cecile,I should like you to have it.’
‘Please take it my Lady.’
‘Colonel,that is ever so kind of you…for it’s such a generous offer.But I’m afraid I can not.’
‘It has such sentimental value to you?’
‘Please I beg of you,it’s no use to me.Take it.’
‘Good to you?’
He bowed and walked away,on cue Holly emerged from the shadows.
‘What a frightfully odd man?’ scowled Holly.
‘I sense he’s lonely?’
‘Quite right too.’ smiled Tom.
‘Don’t tell me he’s got to you to Gisele?’
‘Holly,it appears that Colonel Clarkson is sweet on you?’
‘Kill me now!’
‘Holly! Please just I feel he needs a friendly ear? I feel for him,I do.On that first encounter I can tell how he dotes on his one true love Cecile.Reminds me of how I was with my Carl,constantly fretting and hung up on the past like he is now.He gave me her fan.Isn’t that sweet of him?’
‘You accepted a dead woman fan as a gift?’
‘Holly don’t be so cruel.’
‘I’ve heard it all now?’
‘I sense he’s lonely and in need of companianship? You could be there for him,give him your undivided attention.Maybe he could be the answer to all of solutions? He could tame your wiley ways?’
‘I’d like to see him try!’
‘Never! I simply refuse to….why if Colonel Clarkson was the last gentleman to walk upon this earth.I should rather die than be the dead wive’s replacement.’
‘Sometimes you can be so heartless.No withguard for anyone else’s feelings other than yourself.’
‘I can not speak to you when you’re being like this.’
And with that she waltzed off.
‘I wonder who she got that from?’
‘Tom I hope you’re not defending my sister?’
‘Believe me I wasn’t…’
‘He went out of his way all he did was offer a hand of friendship and she was downright beastly to him.’
I briefly lost my train of thought,standing across the crowded ball room was Lord Rickman,like the lone wolf he always portrayed himself excluding himself from the party.With his smouldering dark looks.Just like the first time we met ever so long ago.Oh why on earth did Mama insist upon inviting my former husband? Isn’t this painful enough for him.Try to escape him all I can.But despite Lord Henry’s protests to start again.It’s dawned on me that he will always remain a part of my world,as he’s Ava’s natural father and highly reguards Esme.On the other side of the room I spotted Evangaline was dancing with Lord Henry.Now it would normally be natural for a woman to become extremely jealous of your sister being in the arms with your fiance’.But it was a noble act of him to do,he too sensed that my sister was feeling low.I would wait a lifetime for that man.
My two worlds collided into one my former husband and my lover.Sounds awfully like a Shakespearean tragedy don’t you think?’
Lord Henry was inches away from my sister,I can imagine they could possibly feel one another’s heart beating.I sighed,I can not wait to dance with Lord Henry I refused to dance with him,for I promised the last dance for him.I am sticking to my principles,it will be worth the wait.
‘Whatever is it Evangaline?’
‘Not too close.’
‘Why ever not?’
‘People may talk?’ blushes Evangaline.
‘I’m sure your sister Gisele,wouldn’t be jealous of a little closeness?’ teased Lord Henry.
‘Why she was the one who asked me to wait for the last dance?’
‘I think that is romantic?’ Gushed Evangaline.’But I don’t think us becoming close upon the ballroom isn’t all right? Benjamin,after all we are soon to be brother and sister? May I ask you a question?’
‘Why must you always be so formal Evangaline? Live a little.’
‘What are your intentions for my sister? Speak now or forever face the consequences?’
‘Isn’t it normally the father that asks such an intriguing question?’
‘That may be Lord Henry,but since you are fully aware of my familys situation.Lord William past away some time ago.’
‘I should like to have met the gentleman,Gisele has told me so many endless stories.’
‘Now Gisele,she won’t forgive me for speaking out of term to her beloved.My sister she is such a fragile soul,I fear she hasn’t fully recovered since Duke Matthew attacked her…’
‘I realise that your Gisele was raped,and the thought of that monster what he did to her.’
‘And to lose Carl and her son.’
‘Those where Gisele’s dark and dangerous days,she contemplated suicide.She confided in me.She was lost,I was there held her hand….oh Evangaline it must be awful for you to hear these words.’
‘Go on? I need to hear it.’
‘Lady Delessop during that period she felt abandoned by her husband.Lord Rickman found the only comfort in my arms.She tried hating me,she truly did.We both tried it,but the passion drew us in.The temptation and pressure of her crumbling marriage it was too much.She was so ashamed to have fallen from grace once more…’
‘I had no idea how she felt this way,she was struggling and I failed to read the signals.’
‘I’m afraid I’ve said too much.Please Evangaline do not say a word.’
‘All I can say is how much stronger your sister has become.’
‘She still has a long way to go for full recovery?’
‘And I will be there by her side every step of the way.’
‘I never doubted that for a moment.’
‘Gisele,doesn’t realise how much of a beautiful person she truly is.Her self doubt makes me more emraptured by her.I love her,I realise that I went around romancing her the unconventional way.Louisa did mean something to me,for a time.I mean I would never have asked her to become my wife if I didn’t care for her.’
‘Tell me did you love her?’
‘For a time yes I truly loved Lady Rickman,she was so naive and beautiful.She had all of the qualities I longed for in a wife,kind sweet natured.I fear marriage changed her.She became damaged and possessed in her love for me.Changed the essence of her soul,it saddens me that Gisele and Louisa are no longer friends and I am the main cause for this. Lady Evangaline.’
‘Evangaline how many times,Benjamin after all you are my sister?’
‘You’ve been allowed to say you’re piece and I accept that.Now it is my turn to speak out of turn? Lord Arthur.’
‘Please Benjamin.Do not speak of your brother,I have truly forgotten about him.’
‘Lord Arthur my brother,Lady Evangaline the way he treated you so appallingly.I can not imagine what you’ve been through?’
‘He was charming way beyond words.I admitted his independence and wisness was beyond his years.I honestly thought his words of marriage was too good to believe.’
‘Please do not pity me Benjamin,I took a chance on a chance of happiness.Twas my fault,I lost my grasp on reality I should have walked away,I barely knew him…foolish and oh so wrong.Arthur transported me to a world,spoke of Italy America.Travelling to America has been a dream of mine for such a long time and I envy Gisele,she has spread her wings and leads her life in Italy.I couldn’t help think he could have offered me a life line.Swept off my feet by a stranger.Who may I add is rather light on his feet.Just like you are?’
‘It’s in the Henry blood.’
‘Don’t worry Benjamin,he hasn’t broke me for this lady shall come back screaming once more.Unlike Gisele,I don’t cry on the outside.’
‘Do not beat yourself up about it.For you’re not the first lady to be taken in by his words and you sharn’t be the last.He travelled far and wide,across the world.Allowing women to fall in love with them,there was a time he had a chance encounter with a bella donna going by the name of Adrianna,on a train journey.Their eyes met across a crowded room,sounds like the perfect love story.To Adrianna it was,for she taken in by his story of longing to find his kindred spirit.He was ever so charming.Months they spent courting,he quoted sonnets played the role of the romantic poet ever so well.She felt completely safe in his company for he promised her a life time together.Everything she’d been secretly yearning for a gentleman to whisper into her ear.Once she was manipulated,he sold her a story of the family being in trouble and needed urgent help.Pitying my brother she willingly handed over her wealth in the hope that once they where married the debt would be resolved.How wrong was Adrianna,the next day she woke up with nothing,he had left her took all of her wealth her jewellry as well as her pride.Adrianna was disowned,for she brought shame to her household.Now an outcast,unable to show her face her name became tainted to society.’
‘Oh my goodness.’
‘So I’d say you got away rather lightly Lady Evangaline.Is everything all right,you’ve gone extremely pale all of a sudden?’
‘I feel sick.’
‘I’m sorry to burden you with this.I honestly thought Arthur had changed and saw the error of his ways.When he had fallen in love with you,I was anxious at how close you had both become.’
I was sat alone,admiring my gala unfold I needed time alone,time to breathe.I admired the various dresses that the women wore.All different colours and styles,Holly had acquainted herself with a handsome stranger dancing alongside him.She was not afraid to show her emotions as he held her close,certainly looked like the cat who got the cream.
‘My this turned into quite a remarkable event?’
‘Don’t worry I wasn’t spying on you?’
‘I was coming to find you.’
‘Sorry I’ve been keeping a low profile.’
‘On the contrary,forgive me but I’ve been far too busy circulating.Is everything all right?’
‘I had a slight headache,and fell upon my bed.I lost track of time…I’ve only just arrived,I feel awful Gisele,I should be by your side supporting you.You’re not mad at me are you?’
‘Sophia you are one of my nearest and dearest friends.I could never be mad at you.’
‘I’m so relieved.’
‘I have been quietly amused by darling Holly’s antics?
‘Truth be told,Mama’s latest bright idea is not to interfere in Holly’s love life,she has arranged a courtship with an unknown gentleman called Colonel Clarkson much to Holly’s disgust.Do you know of him?’
‘I am aware of him.’
‘Lucky Holly I say,he’s one of Daniel’s acquaintances ever since Carl died he has sadly had many friends.They bonded over a game of pigeon shooting.I’ve on the other hand has had the honour of meeting on a number of occasions.’
‘I thought so too,Holly has taken a sudden dislike to him.Apparently he’s far too dull for a wild spirit such a her.Lover of Shakespeare.’
‘You’re fully aware,that my sister is not a lover of books.An hour been lost in a book is nothing but pleasure to me,not to Holl…it’s her idea of hell on earth.She’s not easily satisfied unlike yours truly.But don’t tell Benjamin I said that.’
‘Not at all,it will be our little secret.’ giggled Sophia.
‘I’ve missed this,us just talking mainly about poor Holly’s misfortune.I imagine he’s been trying to woo her through endless scenes quoting love speeches to enchant her.But sadly it merely amuses her.He spoke of his wife Cecile?’
‘Cecile was an extremely beautiful woman,Dominic couldn’t believe his look when she fell for his bumbling ways.She was sweet from him from the start,I had the pleasure of meeting her at one of Lady Isabelle Chadwick’s annual events.She had beautiful brunette hair,always had a smile upon her face.A lover of horses.’
‘What happended to her?’
‘Dysentary stole her life away in the end.’
‘Leaving the poor Colonel childless and without a future heir to inherit his estate.So heartbroken,he only just caught his breathe married for ten long and blissful years.Her death,almost made him socially awkward.As though he’s forgotten how he aught to act around beautiful women in polite society.’
‘The poor chap.’
‘No matter,I’m surprised you’re shadow hasn’t graced us with her prescence?
‘Lady Lara Forster and I have mutual respect for one another.The truth is I didn’t fancy another encounter with the oh so charming Sir Declan Holmes.’
‘Is she still with him after all of his possessiveness?’
‘I received a letter from her not so long ago,apparently he’s changed his ways and they are happier than when they first met.’
‘I was wrong about you.’
‘You’ve lost me?’
‘You and Lord Henry,I honestly that you were a drop in the ocean.That Lord Henry was merely a rouge,a misfit.A complete lothario on the rebound from the disaster of a marriage to Lady Rickman.But the way I saw you two together earlier.The way his eyes light up full of passion.’
‘Mostly hunger on my loveable rouge’s part.’
‘Do not mock me Gisele,I can see how clearly taken you are with me he loves you.’
‘And I him.’
‘There’s fire within you that was once before Lady Gisele.I had my doubts….I would like to apologise?’
‘You don’t need to.’
‘I had my doubts,but dare I say this before I choke upon my words? I was proved wrong.You have finally gained my seal of approval.’
‘Can I have that down in writing?’
Lord Henry walked over.
‘Am I interrupting something?’
‘Sophia and I were putting the world to rights.’
He kissed me upon the cheek.
‘I am glad you put your feelings aside.’ he whispered into my ear.
I blushed a little,he cleared his throat. ‘Don’t rush but you’re Mama has instructed me in saying that the dining room is now ready for dinner.’
‘Well I must obey her commands.’ I sighed.
I took hold of his hand once more.
We where all gathered for dinner,I was ever so greatful that Sophia and I were once again on speaking terms.I admire how she put all of her feelings aside and has begun to accept Benjamin.
‘I thank you for taking the time to dance with Evangaline.’
‘She’s family now.’
‘Ever so sweet of you darling.’
He kissed me upon the cheek.
‘Smile my love,I know that you have had yet another disagreement with your Mama?’
‘Tom told you? How could he?’
‘I thought you and I didn’t keep secrets,it’s what keeps us alive isn’t it?’
‘I didn’t want to burden you.’
‘No Gisele I’m getting the impression that you think I would fall apart unable to handle the truth that you wished you married Carl.That you look towards me,and you’re thinking secret doubts about us?’
‘No.Never Ben,Sometimes I look at you and our beautiful life in Venice and I feel it’s unreal so perfect.It’s so perfect for a girl like me,as I am so used to disappointment.I want to cherish every single waking moment with you,sometimes I want to pause time so I can take a deep breathe and allow myself to take everything in.I’m afraid.’
‘What are you afraid of?’
‘That you’re not real,that I’ll blink my eyes and you’ll be gone and I’ll be back in a abusive relationship with that man.’
‘I’ll never leave you.’
I surveyed the room,Louisa was sat alongside her brother.
‘Smile Louisa.It’s a party not a wake.’
‘I have no idea how can you stomach this? I’m starting to feel nauseous.Why are we here?’
‘Gisele was a dear friend of yours?’
‘Once upon a time.’
‘It pains me to see you are both at war with one another?’
‘She started this,she stole the love of my life away!’
‘Enough! Life’s too short to hold a grudge Louisa.Do you want to be alone in the world forever?’
‘I have you my darling brother.’
‘There may come a time when I’m no longer around.Make your peace.’
‘I’m sorry since when do I have to obey you’re every command?’
‘I’m the closest you’ve had to a father figure and with every breathe in my body I Shall not allow this.’
‘What are you going to do punish me? I’m not a child.’
‘For heaven’s sake Esme and Ava act more mature than you sometimes.’
‘I’m surprised there not scarred for life having a mother such as Gisele.’
‘Gisele is a wonderful mother,I know we have our differences and she broke my heart time and time again.But she dotes on our children I shall not hear anything badly against her.’
‘You’re a coward.’
‘Do you realise how hard it was to swallow my pride? You said man up Oliver,Gisele no longer loves you and you’re old enough to accept the truth.Well I’m asking you please do the right thing before it’s too late.’
I started to twirl my spoon around in the soup.
‘Stop playing with your food Gis.’
‘You’re miles away?’
‘Where are the children?’
‘Esme and Ava they are in the nursery with Nancy.Your Mama,she thought that they looked tired and a dining room isn’t a place for young children?’
‘Did she know?’
‘Please do not shoot the messenger.’
‘I’m sorry,I wanted them here.Sharing the moment.’
I turned away and noticed that my Evangaline was quite taken by Colonel Clarkson.
‘You’re wife she looked extremely beautiful?’
He put away the photograph.
‘Ten years Celile and I were married so you can understand why I may appear out of practice in the art of courtship?’
‘I think you’re doing perfectly well from where I’m sitting.’
‘Is it true that you’re sister lives in Italy?’
‘Is it true Colonel,she lives in Venice,her dear friend Tom Davernport is an architecht,has a vision of beauty.’
‘You must miss her?’
‘That I do.’
‘Holly,she’s quite an interesting creature?’
‘That’s the polite way of putting it.I’m ever so sorry she never give you the time of day?’
‘Not at all.’
‘Do not feel bad on her behalf she can be rather ignorant at times.I’m ashamed to be associated with her.’
‘Is it something I may have said to upset her? Perhaps if I’d only spared her feelings? Then I wouldn’t have received such a cold reception?’
‘Like I said,please do not feel offended by my sister’s erratic behaviour.Holly unlike dear true,has never had equisite taste in your man…For she tends to gravitate towards the opposite of a perfect masterpiece.She falls for the rough diamond,bad penny.Rouge who likes nothing more than drinking and gambling their fortune.It merely amuses her as she sees how it displeases Mama.Unlike I.’
‘And tell me what do you like in a gentleman hyperthetically of course Lady Delessop?’
‘Hyperthetically gosh I’ve never been asked that before.’
‘Take your time.’ Colonel Clarkson smiled reassuringly carefully putting my sister at ease.
‘Well It’s stupid really,for I like nothing more the art of conversation.A gentleman who allows me into his world without revealing too much gets me longing for long.You know invites me in with dark lingering eyes.Who isn’t afraid to make a fool of himself.’
‘A good sense of humour is quite important.’
‘Fills my life with endless sunshine.Talk about books,really explore the text.Have endless walks,teach me how to ride.’
‘You’ve never ridden a horse?’
‘No I’ve never felt the desire to.’
‘The truth is I have always been afraid to take a risk,you know always held back.You’re not the only one to lose some one so close to you.My sister Lucille died tragically in a horse accident.’
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘I felt as though I barely got to know her in the later years.You see Holly and I were once involved in a feud with Mama.Long story.’
‘I could teach you if you like?’
Evangaline looked at Colonel Clarkson and started to flutter her eyelashes.
‘Oh my,I fear I’ve gone and did it again.’
‘No Colonel,I should like that very much.’
I was once again alone,it was Sophia’s turn to have the honour of dancing with my beloved.I didn’t give a jot for I had danced almost every dance with different gentlemen and I always knew that no matter who Benjamin danced with he would finally return to me in the end.I caught him take a sly glance of me,with that knowing lingering look of his.I looked away bashfully,quietly giggling fanning myself with my new gift to disguise my blushes.I closed my eyes,this isn’t real at all I will wake up and all of this will vanish before me.Esme and Ava never born just a beautiful dream.Lord Henry would only be a beautiful vision that only exists in a romantic novel.I would be alone upon the floor,batterd and bruised with Jack awaiting to kill me.No matter how far I’ve come I can not erase the evil things he said and done.Every scald,bruise I had accepted because I deserved this as my punishment for acting unfaithful to Lord Rickman.I clutched on to my breast,I could barely breathe I dropped the fan upon the floor.Take deep breathes Gisele,I do not want to alarm Benjamin.The harder I tried to breathe,the tighter my lungs became.Some figure ran to my aid,I could barely see the figure at first for my eyes where trying as they might to shut,I was fighting my body against my mind.I started to slump agains the chair.
‘Gisele? Gisele? Wake up?’
The unknown female shook me. ‘Come on do not do this to me!’
It was though the angelic female voice was willing me back to the surface.My body felt ever so weak.All of my senses re-awoke.Smell of her sweet smelling perfume that familiar smell,I felt the intense heat from the figure.
I slowly opened my eyes,eyelashes rapidly blinking.It was Louisa standing before me.
I can not barely believe my eyes,my sworn enemy had transformed into my guardian angel.I felt overwhelmed.
‘Lou…What are you…doing here.’I said breathlessly.
‘Do not speak.breathe in and out.’ she clutched onto my hand. ‘One,two three and breathe out.Again.You can do this,your heart ever so heart.Have you taken something?’
I shook my head.
‘With me by your side,you can do this.I am allowing you to give up on me.’
We did this for a minute or so,I felt my heart go back to it’s normal rhythm it was no longer beating so fast,pulsating out of my chest.
A little while later,I thanked god and my lucky stars that I hadn’t caused a scene.Lord Henry can be overbearing at times,he would have carried me to bed and refused me to leave my bedchamber until I’ve fully recovered.
‘This corset is digging into me!’
‘That’ll teach you for wearing it too tight’ she teased.
‘You saved my life.’
‘Well someone had to.What happend to you?’
‘Thank you.’ I smiled.
‘The truth is,I came to find you.’ Louisa said stubbornly.
‘I do not deserve your kindness.’
‘Oh Gisele,please do not act the martyr.’
‘I don’t understand?’
‘At the dinner table I was given a firm talking to.’
‘He’s right,you and I we were such good friends.’
‘It wasn’t just you that got embroiled in the forbidden passion my husband.’
‘It shouldn’t have encouraged him.’
‘I was wild with jealously.Thought I had the answers to everything.Desperate for revenge.I didn’t care who got hurt.For once Gisele you where the black swan,unclean tainted caught in the cross fire.I needed you Gisele but was too cowardly and proud to admit it.The hair,the clothes.This isn’t how I behave I’m not my true self.In my loneliness I became too self-absorbed and vain….some say you were toxic to the core.Acid tongued,that you lived in the shadows.The Lady who haunts her prey with one. One Look of yours and you squeeze the life out of them.Hunting them down like your prey,take Carl for example.Unforgiveable I know.’
‘It broke my heart us drifting apart,I’m entirely to blame.’
‘I kind of figured that,you used to have such beautiful hair.
‘The reinvention of myself wasn’t merely to prove myself that I could survive in society without my husband,the truth hurt London was an isolated place,your Mama I was greatful for her hospitality extremely generous of her.In my heart I was longing to entice my Benjy back.Entice him and allow him to know what he had been missing.I look to you and I have so much to learn.I do not measure up to you.I’m not yet a mature woman in the eyes of society.I’m just a naive little girl forever making the wrong decisions.Society says I shouldn’t force your hand of friendship.Try as I might to fight it you’re friendship means a great deal more than a few choice words.Lady Delessop,I promise to lead by your example and learn by my past failings.Do you forgive me?’
‘Louisa my love,I miss you too.Just because Oliver and I are no longer together.’
‘I never thanked you for all allowing me to stay with you in Versailles and as for Sir Holmes to get involved with him….’
‘It’s all in the past,when we return to Venice please do not be a stranger.’ I smiled.
Time had soon past and I was soon reunited with my two beautiful daughters,Marianna had once again taken them under their wing she’s ever so good with them.
‘What took you so long?’ sighed Ava.
‘Mama has to talk to her guests.’
‘I miss you.’ sobbed Esme.
‘I know Esme,I miss you so but this evening is a big deal to Mama and Benjamin.’
‘Is Papa going away?’ asked Esme.
I detected she needed some reasurrance,her world is changing too.She is transforming into such a beautiful young lady.The image of Holly,her eyes glazed over I can not bare the thought of my little girl feeling hurt as it’s my job to love and protect their world I realise that I mustn’t wrap them up in cotton wool I must allow them to breathe.But I brought them into the world and aught to protect them in my bosoms their still vulnerable.I need to open and honest with them with my words of truth and tread gently in order to spare their precious little hearts.
‘No Es,whatever gave you that impression?’
‘He looks sad,and your marrying our new Papa?’
I bent down towards them,ensuring I was at their eye level.I need to think what I am about to say,for they do not miss a trick.
‘Ava,Esme Mama and Papa have grown to the stage where they no longer love one another.But it doesn’t mean we don’t love you any less.Your own little angels,just because I’m marrying your new Papa doesn’t mean that your losing your father.Oh my darlings,how I love you so.’
I embraced them both,I noticed Lord Henry alone once more he looked over and our eyes met.Him with nothing but a smile upon his face.Stood their undressing me with his eyes.He doesn’t speak,his look haunts me so.This child has certainly fallen from grace.Father forgive me,for I have sinned time and time again.For it tastes ever so sweet,I have no intention of letting you down again.
I slowly walked down towards Lord Henry.
‘Lord Henry I’ve saved my last dance for you.’