tagRomanceLove Is Ch. 03

Love Is Ch. 03


As they passed the first village, they stopped for the horses to rest a bit before continuing on. Jeff seemed uneasy when they had gotten out, as though looking for someone. He laughed when she had told him this but seem reluctant to leave when they had resettled into their carriages.

"Maybe he has a sweetheart in this village," Emma had volunteer when Kasey had passed her inner thoughts to her maid. They passed the second town without stopping and headed on to Greenwich.

Greenwich was a quaint town approximately 15 miles from the country which Kasey had lived. Two small villages, a couple of farms and a large expanse of forest separated the two. When her brother Jeffery had turned three and twenty, he had inherited a large townhouse in Greenwich from a distant relative. Seeking independence, he had moved there the following year. Kasey visited him on many occasions and had made friends with his neighbors, Mrs. Amber Monroe and her step brother, Lord Archie Gair. Kasey had envied her brother's freedom since the only way which a woman had that ability to come and go as she desired was if she was a widow, old or God forbid, a harlot.

The town itself was large enough to boast of its own historical library, and Kasey had spent many days there looking through the countless books. Jeff had teased her that someday she would transform into part of the décor of the two storey building.

As they entered the town, Emma remarked on how crowded it was.

"Don't you remember Em? This month is the annual festival of St Rose. Baron St Rose and his wife Baroness Edna must be really busy. Bentley manor must be packed to the rafters!"

"Oh of course! When we attended year before last it was marvelous wasn't it? It was a pity I was unable to go with you last year," Emma sighed. She had taken ill and had remained home that year. Her brother had chaperoned in her place.

"Last year was not as enjoyable for me. Jeff kept leaving me to chase skirts. There was this one gentleman, um Sir Beddinfield, he kept making advances. And Baroness' nephew Newton kept trying to pinch me. Frankly I think that child needs a good scolding. And on top of that I fell into the lake during the picnic." Jeffery hand laughed uncontrollably after he had fished his sister out.

"Oh you poor dear. I was wondering why you came back all wet but I was afraid to ask." Emma gazed out the window. Just then she gave a start.

"Look at that dress in the seamstress' window. It's beautiful!"

"Yes, it is..." breathed Kasey. It was the height of London fashion and green in colour. It was a shade she had seen somewhere before.

"That dress would be perfect for you to wear at the St Rose festivals. It looks just your size," Emma told her.

"Not me. I've got freckles all over. That dress shows an ample amount of skin." Suddenly Kasey regretted spending so much time in the sun.

"But that dress suits you. It matches you brown eyes." Emma eyed the dress for one last time before their carries disappeared into the distance.

That's where she had seen the colour green before! Lord Garwood's eyes!

They drove past the last of the buildings in business area and entered the streets where the townhouses were located. In no time the carriage pulled up in front of Jeff house. The door was yanked open and Jeff help the two women down.

"I'm heading over to Jordan's place for a bit, you think you can keep out of trouble for a while?" he asked.

"I do not get myself into trouble. Purposely. I may pay Mrs. Monroe and Lord Gair a visit." She told him.

"Those two are a handful. As a matter of fact, you three have a lot alike. Okay then, I'll see you for dinner then, Kasey, Emma." With a wave, he returned to the carriage.

Leaving Emma to her own devices, Kasey headed to the house next door.

After two knocks, Dwight, Mrs. Monroe's butler answered. His round face lit up when he saw Kasey.

"Miss Morgan! I shall announce your arrival," he smiled as he ushered her inside the house and into the sitting room. Within minutes, Amber Monroe appeared looking regal in a maroon evening gown. She pulled Kasey into a tight embrace before taking a seat next to her.

"When your brother told me you would be coming, I ran out and got us some tickets to the theater. The actors aren't as good as Kean and those others from London I'm afraid but the playwrights are marvelous. Archie is out with Mrs. Masters and her daughter" The older woman stated excitedly. "Now tell me, how have you been?"

"As unpredictable as the weather, I'm afraid. Mother has told me her desire to wed the family lawyer but I'm not so sure. I mean I'm happy she is happy. Not to mention she was thinking about selling Kinsley manor. Life would be a lot easier if I were a man!" Kasey grinned.

"I beg to differ, my dear." Lord Gair had just entered the room and overheard the last of Kasey's statement. He limped into the closest chair.

"What happened to you Archie?" Amber asked.

"Some brute snatched Miss Masters' purse. Being the gentleman I am I pursued, caught the brat and twisted my foot in the process. Life would be a lot easier if I were a lass! He grinned at Kasey.

"Oh dear. Someone should tend to that. I shall get Dwight!" his stepsister exclaimed rising from her seat. Lord Gair waved his hand and looked nonchalant.

"Don't bother dear; it's a lot less painful than it looks." He turned to Kasey.

"Now tell us what is this about your mama's plans to wed?" he said, getting more comfortable in his armchair. When Kasey had finished, he let out a sigh.

"How do you feel about all this?" he asked handing Kasey a cup with chocolate milk one of the servants had just brought in.

"To be honest my lord, I don't know. I am happy for mama but then..." her voice trailed off as she took a sip from her mug.

"I suppose it will take some getting used to." Lady Monroe bobbed her head up and down. She got up and walked over to the window.

Just then lord Gair looked at his pocket watch before remarking "look at the time! I must be off before Chester's closes," he exclaimed referring to a popular men's clothing store. He gave Kasey a quick hug before leaving the room. Mrs. Monroe turned towards Kasey. "That reminds me, what are you wearing to the festival of St. Rose? I saw this beautiful green dress at Rockwell's that would look darling on you."

"I saw it too! But I don't know if I'll be attending the festivals just yet, remember what happen to me the last time I attended?" Kasey shuddered as she remembered Newton's pinches. She also thought of her freckles.

"Oh nonsense dear everyone attends the festivals once they are in Greenwich." She rang for Dwight. She pulled out her purse and handed him some money.

"There's a beautiful green dress in the window at Rockwell's. I shall buy it for you, consider it an early birthday gift," she smiled at Kasey.

When Dwight had left on the errand, she smiled slyly at Kasey, "perhaps it will help in finding your future beau at the festivals."

"I much doubt that but I do thank you for the dress." Kasey's thoughts ran on Sir Beddinfield and she shuddered.

The elder woman shrugged in response.

"Let's play a few games of draughts. I must say it has been rather boring since your last visit. Archie has proven to be rather useless at the game."

Five rather lengthy games later, Dwight returned with the news that someone had already purchased the dress. Kasey was both relieved and disappointed. She still thought the gown wouldn't do her freckles any justice.

"I guess we'll have to find something which equally does your figure justice," her friend vowed.

They're so beautiful," Emma sighed running her hand over the two dresses which had been delivered while Kasey had not been at home. One had been the very same green dress they had seen at Rockwell's and the other was an equally beautiful, deep brown, off shoulder dress. The only other thing which came with the dresses was a card which read "enjoy"

"Let's see how they fit you!" her maid said excitedly. She helped her into the brown one.

"I wonder who sent them." Kasey looked at herself in the mirror. Freckles danced across her shoulders. She frowned at them.

"Perhaps you have an admirer," grinned her maid. She nodded at the freckles "no one is going to notice those, they're barely noticeable."

"You're just being nice Em. They're gigantic."

"Oh posh, they're just barely noticeable."

Just then, there was a knock on her door and Jeff entered.

"Jeff! Haven't you heard of privacy! Just because we're family..." she watched him stroll over to her bed and sit.

"It's not only because we're family, you've got nothing to hide as well." He grinned and patted the seat next to him. He scowled at her brother before obliging.

"I may not be as endowed as the women you know, Jeff but I am a girl all the same."

Her brother shrugged then laughed at his sister's scowl.

"What do you want?" she grumbled.

"Why should I "want" something? Perhaps I want to spend time with my favorite sister?"

"Most of the time you spend with your only sister is spent making it miserable and comparing her to a skinny lad."

"I have? I'm sorry lass I shall try to make all the time we spend together miserable," her brother vowed stressing on all.

She hit him on his arm. "What do you want Jeffery?"

"We have been invited to a party by the Masters. It's the general's birthday.

"Oh. They have such boring parties, I usually hide out in the garden," Kasey grinned.

"You really are horrid Kasey," he brother laughed "I fall asleep in some corner of the house!"

Kasey climbed off the bed. "You're going to get caught one of these days."

"Not tonight, I'm bringing Jordan along to wake me should I drift off. Say that's a splendid dress."

"Thank you. My secret admirer sent it." Kasey twirled around for him to see."

"How do you think it is?" her brother made himself comfortable against a pillow.

"I don't know. I hope it's not Sir Beddinfield," she contemplated stuffing the dresses in a dark corner of her trunk.

"Perhaps its some shy haggled toothed bloke wi9th an eye for fashion?" Jeff closed his eyes.

"Don't be silly Jeff. Do you think so?" he could hear the worry in his sister's voice. The seed had been planted. He grinned.

"Wear it to the party, maybe your admirer might be there tomorrow night."

"I don't know. Maybe you're right. Jeff? Jeff? Jeffery are you falling asleep? I have to change! Get out of my room!

"We bathed together as children Kasey." Jeff made himself more comfortable.

'I have changed a lot since I was ten, you know." Kasey glowered at her brother's back. He muttered something as he dozed off which sounded like "I beg to differ."

"Maybe I should faint."

"Don't be silly, you look as healthy as a hippo. No one is going to believe you have a case of the vapors."

"I don't like that analogy. I don't look like a hippo"

"Just dance with him."

"I don't want to."

Kasey and her brother were at the Master's party which was packed to the rafters with people, old and young all wanting to test their moves on the dance floor and catch the latest gossip about youngest female Master's interest in a not so popular earl and eat the food prepared by Arnold, the best cook in all of Europe, according to Annabelle Master, the General's wife.

Kasey fell into none of the fore mentioned categories, she wanted to escape into the garden where to air was clean, the stars were lifting up the cloud free night and she was away from Sir Beddinfield who was making his way towards her for a second dance. She love dancing but not with Collin Beddinfield pressed so close to her and trying to trail his hand on he derrière.

"Excuse me Miss Morgan, may I have this dance?" a familiar voice asked over Kasey's shoulder.

"Yes, yes of course!" she said quickly, spinning around and grabbing a gloved hand. She practically dragged her rescuer onto the dance floor as the band began a waltz. It was only then she realized that it was Earl of Royston who had come to her aid. His penetrating green eyes looked down on her as she breathed a sigh of relief Sir Beddinfield wolf like face had disappeared somewhere behind a sea of ruffles, powered faces and wigs.

"Jordan, um lord Garwood, um ah ...," she sputtered.

"Jordan would suffice," he grinned.

"That wouldn't be right, to call you by your Christian name. I have to call you my lord, my lord," she said trying to mentally still her stomach from doing a faster version of the waltz.

"Oh right. I forgot how frivolous England's etiquette can be." He looked above her shoulder for a moment before looking down at her.

"It appears you have an admirer, my dear," he murmured.

Sir Beddinfield. Bloody hell.

"What should I do?" she asked Jordan.

"Well a lady usually curtsies and accepts the gentleman's offer," he offered. He then watched the blood drain from Kasey's face. "Or you can feign sick and I help you to the nearest seat."

"I can't. No one's going to believe that. Everyone knows I'm as fit as a horse. Just look at me."

Jordan quickly looks the girl over and silently cursed himself. Jeff doe eyed little sister looked ever better close up and felt like heaven in his arms. She wore one of the dresses he had made Bradley hurry to Rockwell's to purchase and send to the Morgan's house anymously. The brown dress exposed all the right places and left any red blooded man with little imagine of what was covered. Curses. There was no way he was getting a peaceful rest tonight.

Still caught up in his thought, it can as a shock when Kasey stopped in mid waltz and dropped to her feet.

"Oh dear, my lord, I seem to have broken my shoe. No more dancing for me I'm afraid," she said, just loudly for the couples around them and the man making his way towards them to hear. She then proceeded to drag him through the dancers over to the first available seat.

"Or you can do that," chuckled as she sighed then frowned.

"I really like these shoes. Pity I had to destroy them to evade sir Beddinfield's grubby hands. I'd destroy a ten of my favorite's slippers if it meant never having to dance with him again." Kasey covered her well shaped mouth.

She couldn't believe she had said her thoughts out loud. With Jordan looking as handsome as he did, anything seemed to escape from her lips. She took in his dark suit that held his well muscled form snugly, from the tip of his glove to his well shinned black boots. A thousand curses on the fingers of lord Royston's tailor. Kasey's heart began doing waltz faster. She had to get away from the man.

"Um would you mind getting me some lemonade, my lord, I am a bit thirsty, from all the dancing," she asked politely.

Jordan looked at her for a moment as though trying to assess whether she was really thirsty, nodded and headed to where the refreshments were situated. Kasey waited until his dark head disappeared behind an outrageous looking wig before heading in the opposite direction.

The night air was slightly chilled and smelled of the lavender which grew surrounding the entire Master's house. Careful not to disturb a couple meeting in the gazebo, Kasey hurried along a path which led to a water fountain, a stone bench and a swing. A wall, covered in thick green moss and a locked gate prevented her from going any further. Crickets and the sound of water from the fountain were the only noises Kasey heard, the ballroom noises couldn't be heard as the garden was on the western side and the ballroom lay to the east. She stumbled into the stone seat and sighed.

Her mind flashed on the face of the young man she had left in the ballroom. There was no point in denying it; she had done so during her flight to the garden. Kasey Morgan was smitten.

"Why?" she pondered out loud to the cupid stone sculpture which was shooting water out of his mouth in the fountain.

She tried desperately to remember what her brother had told her about Jordan, but it had not been much; they went to school together and he lived in the Americas for some time.

"This won't do me any good. He's Jeff's friend, which means he will be in his company quite a bit and if he speaks to me I shall sound like a ninny because I can't get my words out right because my heart beats so fast and my chest feels strange like I am about to swoon although I have never swooned in my life, so how should I know how that feels?" Kasey took a deep breath. "This is crazy. I can't like someone I met only three times, can I?" Jordan's smile danced about Kasey's head.

Just then, her thoughts were interrupted by someone approaching. At first she thought it might be Jordan, coming to look for her and the butterflies in her stomach began getting restless again. However, as the person approached, she realized the person was much too short to be the earl.

It was the girl she had passed earlier in the gazebo with the mysterious gentleman. Although she had hurried by so they would not notice her, she had observed the girl was wearing a lavender gown.

The girl did not seem to notice Kasey's presence on the bench as she ran to the swing, sat down and began crying. In a matter of seconds, she had resorted to bawling as she withdrew a handkerchief and proceeded to soak the delicate material with her tears.

"Um excuse me, are you alright?" Kasey began. The girl did not seem to have heard her as she continued crying. Walking over to the crying girl, she tried again. Without warning, she stood up grabbed Kasey and began crying into her shoulder.

Now Kasey didn't know what to do in this situation. After all, it was not a norm for her to go fleeing into gardens, away from gentlemen with midnight hair and green eyes she fancied. Thus she had never found herself being drenched by young ladies who seemed to have enough liquid within her to match that of Thames. She thought about what her mother would do in such a situation. She patted the girl motherly.

"It's going to be alright," she soothed. The girl cried louder. As Kasey contemplated her next step, the girl stopped and looked at her teary eyed. She stepped back and looked at her wet shoulder.

"I'm so sorry," she began.

"That's okay," Kasey grinned. She hoped the girl wouldn't begin crying again.

"It's just that...James Masters is a jackass!" she covered her mouth and her cheeks reddened. "My name is Natalie Andrews. You're Jeffery Morgan's sister right?"

"Yes Kasey," said Kasey. "Are you alright?"

Natalie looked as though she was about to cry again, but shook her head and smiled at Kasey.

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