For today’s Sunday Story Sample, I wanted to post another scene from Kent’s story. As always, this is in first draft form, so it’s not perfect. 😀
“You tell the most amusing stories,” Kent’s mother gushed after Mr. Johnson finished telling everyone his experience at the billiard room.
Kent’s father, Mrs. Johnson, Rebecca and her younger sister all chuckled along with his mother. Kent forced a polite smile, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t forget Ann. It’d been two weeks since Mr. Statesman refused to let him court her. He’d told Ann her father’s answer and saw the disappointment in her eyes. But what could he do? He was bound by the rules of polite society, and if her father didn’t want him to be with her, there was nothing he could do about it.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, he lifted the steak to his mouth and forced himself to eat it. For all the flavoring the Johnsons’ cook used, it was tasteless to him. He couldn’t enjoy anything without Ann. It was like losing Wilma all over again, except worse because he loved Ann more. She was vibrant and full of life. She was the kind of lady who could make a gentleman forget everything but her, and she gave him a reason to believe in the best life had to offer.
Blinking, he directed his attention to his father. He cleared his throat. “Yes, Father?”
“Perhaps you’d be willing to entertain everyone after this fine dinner?” Turning to Mr. Johnson, he added, “My son has been playing the piano since he was five. He’s mastered some of the masterpieces written by famous composers, Beethoven being one of them.”
“Now, has he?” Mrs. Johnson asked, her smile widening with pleasure. “Rebecca has a lovely voice. Perhaps your son could play while she sings?”
“That would be delightful!” Kent’s mother replied. “Wouldn’t that be delightful, Kent?”
Kent’s gaze went from his mother to his father who indicated he’d better agree to it. Ever since he told his parents that Mr. Statesman had refused to let him court Ann, he’d been afraid they would try to pair him up with Rebecca, and now it looked as if that was what they’d set their mind to do. He glanced at Rebecca. She gave him a shy smile, which he returned only because he was expected to. The last thing he wanted to do was encourage her.
“Excellent!” his father said, nodding his approval at Kent.
After the meal was over, Mr. Johnson escorted everyone to the parlor. He gestured toward the grand piano. “There she is, Kent. Thumb through the music book and see if there’s anything you know.”
“Oh, he can play anything as soon as he sees it,” Kent’s father replied, patting Kent on the shoulder. “Perhaps we ought to let Rebecca pick the song.” Looking at her, he asked, “What would you like to sing?”
With a shy smile, Rebecca approached the piano and opened the book. “I hope no one minds if I sing ‘All Things Love Thee So Do I’?”
“It’s her favorite song,” Mrs. Johnson said, sitting next to Kent’s mother on the settee. “I just love to hear her sing it. She has the voice of an angel.”
“Then we must hear it,” Kent’s father agreed, motioning for Kent to play for them.
Glancing at the grandfather clock, Kent settled onto the bench and scanned the music. It looked like a simple enough tune. He tested out the scale on the piano and played a portion of the melody. When he figured he had a good feel for the music, he began the song. Rebecca soon joined in with the lyrics, and to his surprise, she had a beautiful voice. In some ways, it was hypnotic. It pulled him in and made him feel the emotion in the song, a deep abiding love, a deep longing. His thoughts went to Ann. Why did her father refuse to let him court her? He saw no reason for the gentleman’s refusal, and as much as he tried to push it aside, it continued to bother him.
When he finished the song, everyone clapped and called for another one. He glanced at Rebecca to see if she had another piece she’d like to sing, but she encouraged him to pick one. After sorting through the book, he showed her “The Sailor Boy’s Grave” and asked if she knew the lyrics.
“Are you familiar with the music?” she asked him.
He nodded. “You can read them while I play.”
“I’ll do so.”
The arrangement was made and his fingers moved across the piano with ease. If nothing else, the evening was enjoyable simply because he was playing music. Sometimes it seemed that nothing could soothe the soul like a good melody. It was unfortunate his parents didn’t have a grand piano. He’d play it all the time. Since leaving New York, he hadn’t had the chance to do it.
After an hour passed, his father stood up and announced that it was time to leave. While Rebecca’s parents and his talked about the lovely evening they had, Rebecca sat next to Kent.
“Our parents get along remarkably well,” she said, leaning closer to him than he preferred.
He glanced over his shoulder, but no one noticed them. Clearing his throat, he shifted away from her and closed the book. “Yes, they do.”
“And we have so much talent. Few are as musically inclined as we are.”
“My parents say you come from a noble bloodline. Do you really have an ancestor who was a prince?”
“That was in the late eighteenth century, but I’m not a direct descendant.”
He traced the white and black keys. He really missed spending time at the piano. Rebecca let out a high-pitch laugh, and he had to fight the urge to wince. He couldn’t recall hearing a more atrocious sound.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a direct descendant or not,” she said with a wave of her hand. “The fact that one is in your history is important. It means you’re better than other kinds of people.”
His directed his gaze to her. “What kind of people?”
“You know the kind. People who have nothing to commend themselves. You and I have much in common. We’re old money. We’re established. Some families in town aren’t.” She lowered her voice and leaned toward him. “You shouldn’t waste your time with such persons. After all, does a prince marry a nobody who managed to be adopted into family who recently acquired their wealth because of a lucky investment?”
Her meaning dawned on him. Ann had told him she’d been adopted. The matter hadn’t bothered him, nor did the fact that her father hadn’t been born rich. Apparently, it bothered some of the people in the town, including the Johnsons. He glanced at Rebecca’s parents who were conversing with his parents as if they were old friends. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If they only knew the truth about his family, they wouldn’t have anything to do with them.
“Come along, Kent,” his mother called out. “We must be going.”
“Yes,” his father added. “Perhaps you and Rebecca might delight us with another concert in the future?”
“We’d love to,” Rebecca said with another shrill laugh.
“Wonderful.” His father shot Kent a meaningful look. “Isn’t that wonderful, Kent?”
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Kent nodded. “Wonderful.” And he was already dreading it.