However, if you also want to read a free story then plunge ahead!
Thanks for stopping by to read another Wednesday Brief. *smile* I know I've been missing for the past week but at first it was my trip to Sweden that got in the way and now I'm studying to pass my written driver's test *fingers crossed* for next Wednesday. Anyhow, I'm going to try and participate for the rest of the month and maybe turn this story into a Holiday Wednesday Brief short... Let's see if it works.
As always, I recommend you visit the rest of the awesome Wednesday Briefer's. The links are at the bottom.Oh, and the prompt I used was "I'll ------ when hell freezes over."
Anne stopped tapping her feet to the rhythm of the gay tune when her mother gave her a stern gaze. Trying not to pout, she sat up straighter and folded her gloved hands over her lap. She watched the dancing couples in the center of the room, swirling and prancing to the music. The women were an array of color from pine green to red to lavender. Anne frowned. Who in God’s name wore a lavender gown to a Christmas charity ball?
She focused her gaze on the men and suppressed an amused smirk. Most of them looked like bored hoots dressed the part of little toy soldiers. Their moves were mechanical and without grace: back straight, arms slightly bent, feet following the tune without really listening to the music. Anne sighed, watching as her cousin Diana waltzed by with her fiancée. The younger girl had met her groom to be a few months ago in her brother’s office when she went to pay him a social visit. Now that all her cousins were married or about to be, Anne’s mother had grown frantic and obliged her to go to every single event in the district. As if she’d been peering into her thoughts, her mother leaned toward her loudly snapping her fan open to hide their speech from curious gazes.
“What do you think about that one, Anne dear? The one in the far left corner, standing next to Colonel Dermouth, Beth and Robert D’Esti.”
Anne vied her sight to where her mother directed, the corner of her lips twitching with a smile. Her mother called Colonel Dermouth’s intended by her first name out of spite. The petite girl with long raven hair had stolen the Colonel’s heart right from under Anne’s nose. Not that she’d minded. Her affair with the Colonel had never gotten beyond mild interest.
Robert D’Esti had also been, according to her mother, a perfect husband for Anne. She still remembered how highly she had spoken of the French man until his wife and babe had arrived from Paris. Anne’s blooming smile died as she caught sight of the man her mother hand mentioned. She cringed. The man was short, with a full round belly and a face so pink he rivaled her dress’s red skirt. She wished his face was nondescript, but the tiny man with a pair of spectacles dangling from his round nose looked like he’d never seen the light of day.
“Well?” her mother demanded impatiently.
“Mother, do you really wish to see me married to that? He looks like a --“ Anne stopped mid sentence as another man caught her eye. He approached the group casually, yet carrying himself with such authority that she couldn’t help thinking him someone important. She tried to catch a glimpse of his face but his dark long hair, contrary to the current fashion, hid his visage. She all but gasped when he bowed to Beth, his wide back stretching, the muscle beneath bunching up beneath the black material. He moved back, running long fingers through his locks and saluting the mole like man her mother intended her to court with a firm handshake.
“Who’s that?” She hadn’t realized she’d asked the question aloud until her mother sniffed loudly and snapped her fan shut with a strident clack.
“It’s Colonel’s Dermouth’s friend. Some ragamuffin he met in the army.”
“What’s his name?”
“He’s not for you, Anne.”
Anne turned to face the woman that had given birth to her. Harriet Marie Wilksmouth Baker. Tall and lanky, she had been a beauty in her younger years with lovely brown hair that cascaded down her back and twinkling matching eyes. Life had taken its toll and the woman that stared at Anne now was barely a shadow of that laughing girl.
“He’s not for you.” Her mother forced a smile to her lips. “I know we’re desperate, Anne dear, but I expect you to do better than to marry a lowlife of which we know nothing about. Perhaps, Sir Sullivan is not an adequate candidate but I’m sure there are others--”
“Mother,” Anne stared sharply at her, indignation rushing through her veins. “If we know nothing about him, how can you be so sure he’s a good for nothing?”
Her mother pressed her lips together tightly, her eyes flashing with impatience. “While you sit at home devouring those books your father likes to gift you with, I go out and try to find you a suitable husband that can provide the sort of lifestyle you’re used to. That man, has no family that we know of, no discernible background. No one knows anything about him except that he’s friends with the Colonel.”
“Shouldn’t that be enough of a voucher?”
“No. Not when it comes to your future husband and happiness. I’ll let you marry a man like that when hell freezes over, Anne.” Her mother’s sight lifted and her tension seeped as she smiled up at a young man with black curls, offering his hand. Anne looked up at Arthur, her neighbor's youngest son.
The poor man hadn't even opened his mouth before his mother was ushering them off to dance. "Of course Anne will accept this dance with you, right Anne?”
Anne smiled at Arthur and pushed her anger aside. "Of course." Taking his hand, she allowed the young boy to lead her into the crowd of piroueting couples. Arthur was a good boy, but that was all she'd see in him. A playful kid who liked hiding in the shadows and overhearing her conversations with his elder sister. As they moved around the ball room, her eyes rivoted to the corner, her steps almost faltering as she almost caught sight of the stranger's face.
“Arthur,” Anne whispered. “Do you know that man, the one they say is Colonel Dermouth’s friend?”
Arthur grinned and chuckled. “You’re not the first to ask. All I know is that his name is Daniel Smith and he is a business man of sorts. We haven't been formally introduced."
To be continued...
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Elizabeth Morgan m/f
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Julie Lynn Hayes m/m