I am going to be sharing a scene from my current work in progress – that I am REALLY hoping to finish by the end of October! I realized the other day that it has been a long time since I’ve shared any of my writing – I do have a few short stories in my drafts folder but I just can’t seem to finish them!
Setting: East Coast, late 1890s. The Main Character, Amelia, is expecting Mr. Greenwahl any minute – it is their first “date”, also happens to be her very first caller. Grace is her lady’s maid and friend. I did shorten the scene here so if there’s some odd gaps, that’s probably the culprit, although I did try and smooth them out. I hope you enjoy!
“The length of the parlor wasn’t nearly enough to walk out any nervousness,
but Grace found Amelia pacing it when she entered to chaperone. As she settled
in one of the chairs set in the back of the room, she admired her friend; little
remained of the girl that had shown up in a wrinkled traveling dress and braids.
The fine gown and fashionable angled hat highlighted her beauty. She wasn’t sure the long gloves would survive the evening though, as she watched Amelia crush them in her hands.
Catching a glimpse of Walter heading for the front door, Grace cleared her throat.
“You might want to stop strangling those gloves and put them on.”
Amelia was surprised at Grace’s words; she’d been so focused on remembering the proper etiquette for the evening that she’d not noticed nearly breaking one of the major rules:
A lady is never without her gloves.
She tried to calm her nerves as she worked one, then the other up her forearms, and then
straightened each finger. The familiarity of the movements helped to soothe her
and she moved near a chair, having heard Walter greet Mr. Greenwahl. Shooting a glance toward Grace, she tried to draw on her friend’s calm.
“Mr. Greenwahl is here to see you, Miss Hughes.”
The first thing she noticed about him was the way his suit fit him perfectly, showing off his broad shoulders and slim waist. Blushing slightly, she curtsied. When he neglected to say anything, she looked up at him, confused.
Her glance seemed to snap him out of a daze, for he jerked and quickly bowed, moving toward her before he had fully straightened.
I apologize, Miss Hughes. You ah…͟” He grasped her hand, kissing it. “You took my breath away.”
“It…it’s quite alright. Shall we sit?”
“I realize that it’s not quite proper to say so, but…͟” He paused as he sat.”I do seem to have gotten myself into a spot, haven’t I?”
At his disarming smile, Amelia found some of her nerves lessening.
“Thank you for allowing me to come this evening.” His deep voice still held a touch of embarrassment over his blunder.
“Thank you for asking.” Even to her ears, she sounded stiffer than she’d intended. Seeing his slight wince, she darted a glance at Grace again.
“I did notice your aunt wasn’t with us. There is nothing wrong, I trust?”
“She’s not feeling well this evening. My lady’s maid is here in her place.”
She was impressed when he nodded at Grace instead of merely ignoring her.
“I’m sorry to hear that. I first met Mrs. Barrington a few years ago through
a mutual friend, Mr. Smith, at a benefit. It was supposed to be the event of the
year…but I don’t think that handkerchief can handle much more.”
Shocked, Amelia’s eyes flew to her hands, to find that her handkerchief was
twisted and turned through her fingers. Her cheeks flushed and she clenched her
hands, trying to hide it.
His voice was soft but Amelia couldn’t bear to look at him.
She hadn’t known she was fidgeting with it, but she was so nervous that…
“Miss Hughes, may I interest you in a stroll in the garden?”
Realizing she would have to look at him eventually, Amelia raised her face and put her hand in his.
“I didn’t mean to bore or embarrass you. I apologize.”
“You weren’t boring me. I’m just…not used to this.
“It does bring out the nervousness, doesn’t it?”
They passed through to the garden, Grace several paces behind.
The smell of roses beckoned and calmed her……
And so the evening passed, walking arm in arm, around and around the
garden. When they grew tired of that, they went inside and sat just across from each other, eager to learn more about the other.”
I will add that I didn’t intend to have her court anyone, Mr. Greenwahl just showed up and I fell in love with his character instantly. Hopefully you did too =)