Saturday, November 22, 2014

He said incredulously, “Felicity has barred you from the dining room?”

“Nothing quite so barbaric. You know how fanatically she values order and appearances. She does not wish an odd number of guests at table tonight.”

Gerard’s face grew thunderous. “That is outside of enough.”

“Gerard, I shall not be missed in the least.” While she knew it was true, saying it out loud seemed to hammer it into her chest with an hollow blow. No one would notice her absence, and indeed, some members of the party would even welcome it.

Her words seemed to have shocked him. Finally he sputtered, “Of course you will be missed. We all grew up together. It would not be the same without you there.” He checked himself, then added, “You and everyone else, of course.”

The spark of warmth that had involuntarily risen at his words was doused by the splash of reality. Gerard had never looked at her as other than a friend, and surely by now, after years apart, she had outgrown her childish infatuation with him. She gave him a rueful smile to hide her feelings. “Gerard, when have you known me to speak more than a dozen words at table? No one will pine for my brilliant conversational bon mots.”

--From The Spinster's Christmas in Mistletoe Kisses, 99 cents only until Nov 30th

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