I thought I’d post another scene from Kent Ashton’s Backstory. It’s really fun to see how the story is coming together. This scene paves the way for why Kent tried to “rescue” Ann while she was in North Dakota.
He turned from the carriage in time to see Ann hurrying in his direction. His heart sped up at the sight of her. It’d always speed up because she was near. Turning to the driver, he said, “Take the carriage on home without me.”
The driver nodded and Kent stepped around a couple strolling down the sidewalk to meet her. “Ann, I don’t know if your father would approve of your talking to me.”
She lifted the front of her hat up and tilted her head, showing him the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. “Won’t you ask him if you can court me? Please?”
Making sure no one passing by on the street lined with businesses would hear them, he gestured for her to walk with him in a more vacant area. “I already did. He said no.”
“I meant that I need you to ask him again.”
“If he said no the first time, what makes you think he’ll say yes the second?”
She clenched the purse in her hands and sighed. “If you don’t find a way to get him to say yes, he’ll arrange for me to marry Todd. I just know he will. My parents have been pushing me at him for months now and day by day, it only gets worse.”
“But I thought your father promised you that it would be your choice.”
“And I choose you.” She stepped in front of him. “Kent, if you don’t do something, then I’ll be forced to marry someone I don’t love. Do you really want that?”
He lowered his head. “No, of course not. Ann, I…”
With a sigh, his gaze met hers and he fought the urge to embrace her. He wanted nothing more than to hold her. If he had enough money, he’d suggest eloping and running off to a place where no one would find them. But he didn’t have more than a few coins to his name. Without her family’s money, he couldn’t give her the things she was accustomed. She deserved more than he could offer.
“I want to be with you,” he finally said. “I want it more than anything.”
“Then do something. If it’s not you, it’ll be Todd.”
“I don’t know if I can ask your father right away.”
“Well, then maybe you can come over and visit me. We’ll be in the parlor and one of the servants can watch us. We’ll do everything proper.”
“We’ve never done nothing inappropriate.”
“I know but maybe my father isn’t sure about your intentions. Up to now, we’ve talked at the school or on my way home. You haven’t been in my home. No one can vouch for you since you recently moved here.” Her smile widening, she nodded in excitement. “I think I know why my father refused your request. He doesn’t know anything about you.”
That sounded like a reasonable explanation.
“Will you come to my house and visit? You’ll get a chance to talk to my parents and I’m sure once you do, my father will see you the way I do.”
“Alright,” he agreed and returned her smile. “I’d love to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I want the same thing!”
They hadn’t come out and stated their feelings before, so to hear her confess where she wanted things to go renewed his confidence. She was right. What he needed to do was show her father that he was an honorable young man. “Can I come by tomorrow?”
As much as he wanted to kiss her, he reminded himself that it’d be better if he waited until they were engaged. “Wait for me by the large oak tree in front of the school and I’ll walk you home.”
“I can’t wait.”
“May I walk you home?”
“Actually, I’m on my way to see Agnes. Would you like to walk me to her house?”
“Of course.” It gave him an excuse to spend time with her. He’d never give up the opportunity to do that. “Which way does she live?”
Turning around, he strolled beside her, in no hurry. “I should bring over some pictures of New York City. You said you haven’t been there?”
“No, I haven’t but one of my friends has, and she says it’s lovely. There’s so much to see and do.”
“She’s right. You’d love it. It’d be perfect for you.” He hesitated to say more but since she’d made her feelings known to him, he saw no reason to hold anything back. “I’d like to take you there for our honeymoon.”
“I’d love that.”
As he told her where they’d go, the future he wanted became more real to him. Before, he’d had a vague idea of what it’d be like to spend the rest of his life with Ann at his side. But now, he could see it with such clarity, he had no doubt it’d come true.
They reached Agnes’ house, and reluctant to end their pleasant conversation, he said, “We’ll do many wonderful things there.”
“I can’t wait. It all sounds so exciting.”
He heard someone walking up the porch steps, his eyebrows rising in surprise when he saw Todd. He forgot Todd was Agnes’ older brother. “Good afternoon, Todd. It’s a pleasant day, don’t you agree?”
Todd glanced from him to Ann then back to him. “Yes, it is pleasant.” He cleared his throat and passed them. “I can let you in.”
“I came to visit with Agnes,” Ann said.
“I know,” Todd told her as he opened the door and waved them in.
“Oh, I won’t be staying,” Kent replied.
“I’ll be in there in a moment,” Ann added. “Will you tell Agnes I’m here?”
When Todd was out of hearing distance, Kent turned his attention back to her. “He loves you.”
“I know but I don’t love him. I’ll never love him, no matter how much he or my parents wish it. I only want to marry you. Promise me you’ll do everything you can to make sure we end up together?”
He nodded and brushed her cheek with his fingers. “I promise.”
“Ann? I’m so glad you came!”
He lowered his hand right before Agnes showed up at the door. “I better go. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Tipping his hat, he offered Agnes a greeting before heading down the porch steps. As he glanced back, Ann gave him another one of those smiles that made him feel as if all was right with the world. His lips turned up but then his gaze caught a slight movement in the parlor window. His steps slowed when he realized Todd was watching him. It was the first time he sensed a challenge. He stopped and faced the window, but Todd lowered the curtain, blocking his view of him. Eyebrows furrowed, he put his hands in his pockets and headed down the street.