A little background to this scene: Paula Leighton (our heroine) is waiting on the veranda for Perry to come out (and our lovable character Christopher Robinson is helping her create a scandal that will force Perry into marriage)…
A minute later, Mister Robinson opened the door and gestured for Lord Clement to step outside. “I told you no one is out there,” Mister Robinson said. “I will go inside and my wife and I will find Miss Leighton. Then we can all talk.”
Lord Clement hesitated on the threshold of the doorway. “I don’t know. Maybe we should all come out here together.”
“What’s the need? As you can see, no one is out there.”
He tapped the golden tip of his cane and sighed. “I suppose you’re right. What’s the worst that came happen?”
“Miss Leighton won’t show up,” Mister Robinson replied, chuckling at his joke.
“I’m not amused.”
He cleared his throat. “Of course not. Nothing amuses you.” As Lord Clement stepped onto the veranda, he added, “If anyone needs a lady who doesn’t take life so seriously, it’s you. It’s the only way you’ll learn how to enjoy life.”
“I enjoy life just fine.”
“Playing chess and discussing politics aren’t enjoyable.”
“That depends on who you ask.”
Rolling his eyes, Mister Robinson shut the door, leaving Lord Clement alone. Paula gripped the column and watched as Lord Clement settled onto a bench just mere feet from her. If she was going to do this, it was best to do it now.
Lord Clement jerked and turned toward her as she stepped forward. “Miss Leighton? I didn’t see you out here.” He rose to his feet. “We must get back inside before someone sees us.”
Her heartbeat picked up as she closed the gap between them. “No one knows we’re out here.” In a bold move, she took his cane, slipped her arm around his, and urged him to sit. From the position she chose, she had a clear view of the door but he didn’t. Good. With a smile, she set his cane on the other side of her so it wasn’t in his reach and clasped her hands around his. “Your cousin, Mister Robinson, was telling me that you’re a very kind gentleman.”
“Oh, well, that was nice of him.” He made a move to grab his cane but she shifted to block him, and in doing so her breast brushed against his hand. Pulling back from her as if he’d just touched fire, his face grew bright red. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t,” he motioned to her breast, “mean to…you know.”
“I know,” she quickly assured him, surprised he should be so flustered. Weren’t gentlemen supposed to try to touch a lady’s breast? “It was an accident. I understand.” Still holding onto his arm, she continued, “I wanted to get a chance to talk to you. Without any interruptions. I thought I might learn more about you that way.”
He cleared his throat and scooted away from her, but she quickly scooted along with him. He let out an uneasy laugh. “We can talk at Hyde Park. While we would need a chaperone, we could ride horses further ahead. That way we’d have a private conversation while not risking anything scandalous, like we are now.”
Before he could turn his head to the door, she cupped the side of his face in her hand and turned it back in her direction. “You worry too much.”
“My cousin will be out here any minute.”
“But he told me he’ll be at least five minutes. That leaves us a little time to talk.”
“I’m really not comfortable—”
“Like I said, you worry too much. Now, tell me all about yourself.”
He stopped struggling to get away from her for a moment and stared at her. “What?”
“What do you like to do? What are your favorite things?” When he didn’t answer her, she asked, “What’s your favorite color?”
“My favorite color?”
“I’m partial to purple myself. Now, tell me, what color do you like most?”
“Um, red, I suppose.”
“I also like blue a lot.”
“What a wonderful combination,” she said, snuggling closer to him as she gathered the courage to kiss him. “Red is passionate and exciting while blue is loyal and friendly. I bet you’re a loyal friend who has a passionate and exciting streak hidden beneath the surface. Am I right?”
“I never thought about it before.”
“I bet it’s true about you.” She took a deep breath. “I think we could be well matched.”
“You can’t tell that by learning what colors I like.”
She noticed that while he protested, he had stopped trying to get away from her. Either he’d given up and was hoping she’d release him or he realized he wanted to be close to her. She hoped he wanted to be close to her. There was something unbelievably sweet and charming about him.
She glanced at the door and saw it open. Mister Robinson stuck his head out and gave her a nod. Taking that as her cue, she leaned forward and kissed Lord Clement.
Dear Ruth, at last. I’ve been..waiting for Lord Clement’s story. And how nice that the heroine’s name is Paula 🙂
Today was a first for me. I participated in my new town’s Art and Craft Fair at our senior center, and sold some books and some home made crafts. With the Good Lord’s help and the Blessed Lady, I made it through the whole five hours. It was fun setting up my table. My granddaughter helped me with the poster I made for my books. She put on all the sparkly.
Looking forward to reading The Earl’s Scandalous Wife. At Last Lord Clement finds love. ❤
Paula is a lovely name. 😀
The fair sounded like a lot of fun, and being with your granddaughter is even better. How old is she? I bet she had a good time. 😀
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What does your schedule look like before January?