Parts 2 & 3
Okay, so I can’t figure out how to get the second & third parts on my Short Stories page, so I’m just sticking ’em on here!
“Eleanor, dear, if you will come with me, there is someone I wish you to meet.”
“Yes, Father,” Eleanor smiled, taking the arm that he offered her.
He led her down the stairs and into the parlor. A young man with bright red hair was standing looking out of the window. As they entered, he turned.
“Eleanor, allow me to introduce Sir Travis,”
Sir Travis bowed to Eleanor, and she dropped a polite curtsey.
Her father leaned close to her ear, “My dear,” he said, in barely more than a whisper, “Sir Travis has asked for your hand in marriage. I have not yet given him an answer, but he is a very rich man,” he paused, “Do try to like him.”
Eleanor felt her cheeks grow hot. Try to like him? Marry him? She felt her heart still inclined to the promise to wait for Edward. But, she thought, Edward is not the same. I told him that I did not want to see him anymore. Perhaps this ‘Sir Travis’ will be the right one.
“My lady, it is an honor to meet you.” Sir Travis bowed again.
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, sir,” she replied softly.
“Why don’t you,” her father cleared his throat, “Go stroll in the garden. It is a lovely day.”
Her father seemed to like this man. He seemed to have excellent manners, and he was almost as handsome as Edward. Almost.
In the garden the two began to talk. Eleanor found that he was enjoyable in conversation. But she found herself again pondering the promise that she had made so long ago to the man she loved.
About a week later…
Edward paced up and down the small room.
“You must understand, Esmond, that I am not welcome there.” He said, “Eleanor herself said that she did not want to see me anymore.”
“I, for one, do not believe it.” Esmond, a dark-haired fellow with blue, twinkling, eyes replied, “I imagine that she is pining for you as much as you are for her.”
“What would you know about love?” Edward growled, “You, who have never liked a girl in your life.”
“You’ve told me all about it,” Esmond replied, “I believe I know all about how to get a girl now. Supposedly steal a ring, then run off for a while, then find it, bring it back, ask her to marry you, and ride off into the sunset.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Really? I thought that was quite complicated. If it’s more complex than that, then I shall never attain a bride.”
“Esmond, you are impossible. Now tell me if you have any suggestions, if you are so brilliant.”
“I never said I was brilliant,” Esmond replied, “But since you asked for my suggestion, here it is: my dear fellow, if you don’t try, you won’t be successful.” He paused, “How is that for advice?”
“Brilliant.” Edward muttered, “Esmond, I don’t know now to try. Eleanor… she… oh, bother you, Esmond, now I will have to go try.”
“I’m sure that the idea would have worked itself into your thick skull eventually.” Esmond replied, his eyes twinkling, “Aye, now you will have to go. Sweep her off of her feet – or kiss her; I don’t care, just get her or I’ll have to get you a doctor.” With that, and a chuckle, Esmond left the room.
“He must think I’m love-sick or something.” Edward said to himself, sitting down to stare at the fire. “Well, I would have to agree with him on that one.”
~ ~ ~
A little while later…
Edward slumped into the chair across from Esmond.
“Aye, it is true. She is to be married in two weeks to a fellow name Sir Travis.” He said quietly,
“Do you know anything about him?” Esmond queried
“No, except that he is rich.”
“Then you do have competition!” Esmond exclaimed, “So when are you going to go back?”
“Esmond, stop it!” Edward jumped to his feet, “She made her choice. Sir Travis will be able to take care of her, which is much more than what I’ll be able to do. Esmond, I have nothing to offer her. Besides, she doesn’t like me anymore.” He sat down again.
“Edward,” Esmond leaned forward to face him, taking on a more serious demeanor, “I didn’t mean to offend you, but I still don’t see this situation as hopeless.”
“So what do you expect me to do, kidnap her?” Edward said sarcastically,
“God can work miracles like you’ve never seen,” Esmond pondered for a moment, “Pray about it, Ed; even though it seems that you’ve lost her, God can turn a heart of stone to one of flesh.”
“God. I had nearly forgotten about Him.”
“How could you forget about God? He has not forgotten about you.” Esmond stood, “Ask Him, Ed,”
~ ~ ~
Eleanor felt butterflies in her stomach as she gazed at the dress. Beautiful white fabric embroidered and beaded in an exquisite design.
“Would you like to try it on, My Lady?” the seamstress asked,
“Yes,” Eleanor exclaimed, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited before!”
“Aye, My Lady,” the seamstress bobbed her head in a sort of nod and smiled, “All young girls are that way,”
This, Eleanor thought, is true happiness. Or was it?
NOTE: I didn’t mean to copy Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with the names Eleanor and Edward.
What in the world am I doing here? Edward wondered. It was nearly midnight, and here he was, sneaking around the place he had never expected to see again. He raked his fingers through his short dark hair; a sure sign of agitation.
He walked silently through the gate and into the garden. Moving along the wall of the house, he slowly peeked around the corner. Two men stood only five paces away. Edward strained to listen to the conversation.
“So, Travis, it’s working?”
“Aye, better than I expected. I’ll marry the girl, then we’ll have the ‘accident’, her father will die, and she will inherit the fortune. Once we have the money secured we’ll dump the girl somewhere.”
“Brilliant, Travis. It is working extraordinarily well. I must be going.”
Edward flattened himself up against the wall. The man walked right past him. Edward breathed a prayer of thanks that it was dark enough that the man could not see him. Once he was sure that both men were gone he dashed for the gate. He must get to Esmond and make a plan to rescue Eleanor from those brutish men.
“Sir Travis,” Eleanor stepped from the house into the garden. He turned, and offered a welcoming smile. A few seconds later she fell in step beside him. She felt her stomach twist in knots as she contemplated what she was about to say.
“Yes, my love?” Sir Travis looked down into her eyes, his were a piercing, icy blue; so different from Edward’s.
“I…” Why could she not say it? Finally she blurted out the words. “I cannot marry you.”
A look of surprise crossed his face. “Why ever not?” he exclaimed,
“Because I promised to wait for another; even if it took a lifetime.”
“Who is this man who has so stolen your heart?”
“Why would you care?”
“Because I care for you,” Travis said with faked sincerity.
“His name is Edward.” Eleanor spoke softly. Edward. That name that had played itself over in her mind a thousand times since the time he left. His image was engraved in her mind, still a beacon of hope that she would see him again.
“When was the last time you saw him?”
“A few months ago.” She paused, then started walking away.
“Then farewell, Lady Eleanor,” he replied, “But I wouldn’t count on your Edward coming back.”
Eleanor turned, fire burning in her eyes. “Sir Travis, you are no longer welcome here. You may go.”
With that, and with a swish of her skirts, she disappeared inside.
~ ~ ~
Eleanor’s father was sitting in his study when a knock came on the door.
“Come in,” he said.
Sir Travis entered. “Sir, I hope I have not disturbed you.”
“No, not at all. What is it you want to see me about?”
“Do you know…” Travis paused, “Someone named Edward?”
“Edward? Aye, I do. How do you know of him, Sir Travis?”
“I saw him with your daughter earlier today. When I asked her about it, she simply said that his name was Edward.”
“What? He was with Eleanor?” The elder man stood, “Why, that man is a thief. He stole a ring, and then, because Eleanor begged me to, I did not press charges. Edward,” he stopped and shook his head, “If you see him again tell me directly.”
“Yes, sir,” Sir Travis bowed and exited the room. His plans were beginning to come together.
To be continued….