Life is great

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

When Cupid attacks, there's no way back!

The landscape was moving before her eyes. It was possible to see the sunset on the horizon. The car wasn’t progressing very quickly. Her mother strangely looked at her. She didn’t want to argue with her. She turned her attention to the landscape. The road was too long to New York. Her uncle Jacob gave a reception for the birthday of his daughter Katia. She celebrated her twenty-one this evening. The trip was too long, dragged on as always. She hasn’t seen her cousin for quite some times. It was back when she was thirteen. They had watched the young man who took care of Jacob’s horses. He was in a clearing, completely naked. He swam in the lake. They were hidden behind a grove near the young man’s clothes. Water streamed down his tanned skin and his hair was completely soaked. Remembering this, the young girl smiled.

The car stopped in front of the main gate of the impressive domain of Jacob Richardson. Passengers alighted from the vehicle. Maria, the young woman’s mother, went inside, holding the arm of Nestor, her husband. Their daughter Sarah seconded them, not wanting to upset her mother.

“Oh! Maria!” Catherine cried, the wife of their host. “Have you done a good trip?”

The young girl got away from her aunt and her parents before they could add a single word. She went to her cousin. The latter waved her hand. She came to meet her, obviously very happy to see her after all these years. Sarah wished her a happy birthday. They left the house and went for a walk in the garden, chatting about the time they had lost. They went up in time, remembering the things they had done. They laughed as they once did. Sitting on a bench near the lake, they continued their discussion.

“Do you remember Luke Stuart?” Sarah asked, taking her hand.

“How could I forget… Is he still working here?”

“He went to London when his mother became ill. Dad sent him a ticket to return to New York when his mother would be better. He’s… he died in April, four years ago. He was on board the Titanic.”

Sarah looked down, ashamed for having asked the question. Katia shook her hand, a forced smiled on her lips.

“Tell me a little about yourself. Are you still studying?”

“Yes. I’m in art classes. And you?”

“I’m getting married at the end of the summer.”

Sarah sat up in surprise. Her cousin was getting married? How was it possible?

“I wanted to introduce you, but you will be at my wedding, isn’t it? And you, are you going to get married soon?”

She shrugged and told her she didn’t know if her parents had started talking about it. Katia smiled.

“When we married, his father retires and Neil will take command of the Bridgeport railroad company.”

Sarah smiled back, glad forher cousin. It was barely in two months before the big day. Katia asked if there was a boy who was interested in Hartford. Sarah shook her head.

“You’re very lucky.”

“Sarah, you’re nineteen. You’re old enough to marry a man from a good family.”

Sarah shrugged. They returned to the house to mingle with other guests. Musicians were playing in a corner of the living room. Guests danced and celebrated. Katia took her cousin’s hand and led her to the crowd of dancers. The two young girls danced like crazy a good part of the evening, not seeing the time passing. There were so long that they hadn’t laughed so much. Katia looked at the people before suddenly getting up, a broad smile on her lips. She ran to a tall man wearing an impeccable suit. She threw herself into his arms and kissed him on the cheek. He took her hand and kissed her fingers. She took him by the arm and dragged him to her cousin to make formal presentations.

“This is Neil Craver, my fiancé. She’s Sarah, my best friend and my cousin.”

“Very pleased to meet you,” he replied, smiling.

“Sarah, do you mind if I dance with Neil?”

The young girl smiled back and nodded. The future bride and groom went to join the other dancers. Sarah sighed deeply before making a nod to a waiter. The latter handed her a tray of champagne glasses. She thanked him before he got away. She didn’t leave Neil and Katia from her eyes. Drinking a long sip of champagne, she went to the back door of the house. Eyes still resting on her cousin, she collided with someone. Champagne fell on her chest and inside her blouse. She gave a little cry of surprise.

“Oh! Forgive me! Are you okay?” a male voice asked.

She shook her head, laughing.

“It was me who wasn’t looking where I was going.”

He handed her a handkerchief. She thanked him before picking up the mess.

“You know our host?” he asked her to start conversation.

“Of course: the birthday girl is my cousin.”

“Oh! So you know them better than me. My father is a very good client of Mr. Richardson. It’s for this reason that he invited us to his daughter’s birthday.”

“I see.”

“Do you mind if I ask you to dance with me?”

She nodded, smiling at him. He held out his hand and dragged her to the dance floor. Passing an arm around her waist, they began to dance a waltz. The music enveloped them. She whispered that he was an excellent dancer.

The young girl laughed. After the dance, they took champagne and talked for a long time. They went out into the garden to take fresh air. The alcohol began to take effect on the girl. Her head was spinning and she hoped that fresh air do her good. He extended his arm, which she accepted.

“I don’t know your name. I’m Sarah Hunter. And you?”

“Daryl Morgan.”

She stumbled and fell backwards into the grass. Lying on her back, she was unable to stop laughing.

“As you wish. Give me your hand so that I can help you.”

“I’m very well here.”

She replaced her beautiful blue sky dress. Her blouse was quite revealing. The young man could hardly tear his eyes from her. The dress she wore suited her admirably. Sleeves started a little lower than the shoulders, ending with lace. From the waist, blue stopped to make room for white cloth, forming a kind of openness. A small loop stood in the middle of the waist. Her long brown hair was held back by fine white pearl necklaces.

“Come join me, Daryl. Do you still have some champagne?”

She began to laugh. She pulled him by the arm to bring him down beside her. The girl leaned on the shoulder of her companion and her gaze was lost in the contemplation of the stars.

* * * * *

The wooden area was very quiet in this beautiful afternoon of July. She walked slowly, slightly raising her green dress so as not to trip over. A breeze was moving her long brown hair and golden ribbons attached to her dress. Suddenly, she heard noises behind her. She ran to hide behind a big rock. The noise approached. A horseman passed close to where she was. The young girl held her breath as not to attract the attention of the rider. He went away quietly on his horse. Once gone, Sarah came out of her hiding place. She left the woods to sit in the valley behind the house. She watched the landscape around her for a moment. Then she lay down in the grass and looked at the beautiful sky. The young girl closed her eyes when she heard a slight noise near where she was. Opening her eyes, she saw nobody. She returned to her thoughts.

“Hello Sarah,” a voice beside her said.

She jerked on the elbows. Daryl stood beside her, a big smile on his lips.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Daryl? What are you doing here?”

“I was riding on my horse in the forest. And I saw you. Aren’t you happy to see me?”

“This is not what I meant.”

She stood up.

“And what are you doing in this meadow?” he asked.

“I’m currently on my father’s land. I do what I want, you know.”

“Oh… You think I can walk on his land?”

She laughed.

“Don’t worry.”

She put her hands on her hips, looking at him from head to toe. He didn’t move, wondering what was wrong.

“You are much less elegant than yesterday.”

“You don’t like my outfit?”

His white shirt unbuttoned half came out of his riding breeches. The young girl could see the young man’s torso. She quickly looked away, her face red.

“It changes you.”

“Is it possible to see us from the house?” he asked as he approached the girl. “Seeing you with a man might displease your mother.”

“Yes… I think it’s possible to see us…”

He took her hand and asked her to follow him. He helped her to mount his horse before climbing too. They went into the woods. Sarah doubted where he wanted to take her. In the clearing… He ordered his horse to stop. Daryl got down first and then helped his companion. She looked around her, smiling. She turned to him.

“I was sure you want to come here.”

She sat down on the rock where she had hidden earlier.

“You’re living in Hartford?” she asked.

“The house near the lake on the other side of the woods. We are neighbors for a while and surely we ignore each other. I didn’t expecting to see you again so soon, Sarah. But I have nothing against the idea.”

“I must say that me neither.”

He leaned on a tree trunk, looking at her more carefully. She was so beautiful. Her long hair moved with the warm breeze. The sun lit up her sweet pale face. He sighed, still looking. The young girl was also observing him from the corner of her eye. A lock of hair hanging in front of the young man’s left eye, giving him a little rebellious look. She smiled sweetly before getting up.

“I want to dive into the lake,” she snapped, “just at the bottom of the woods.”

“But you… you do not…”

“Will you come with me?”

She challenged him with a gaze, head held high. A smile on his lips, the young man crossed his arms over his chest before approaching her with downcast eyes. She returned his smile, advancing too. They met only a few centimeters from each other. She put her finger on the chest of her companion, approaching her face closer.

“You will not go naked…”

She stood on tiptoe, a mischievous smile on her lips.

“Do you have something against this idea? You can join me if you want.”

Sarah turned and ran towards the lake. He sighed, looking up. He ran to her. The girl ran a little faster. Daryl also accelerated. They arrived quickly at the lake. The girl loosened the golden ribbons of her dress and took it off. She removed the rest of her clothes. She ran to the water and turned to know if he was still following her. Her long hair hid her naked breasts as she darted into the clear water. She beckoned to join her. Shrugging, he took off his shoes and the rest of his clothes before jumping into the water. They waded a time, putting some distance between them. He asked her if she swam very well. She nodded before she challenged him to catch her up as fast as he could. She began to swim, not knowing where Daryl was. She turned, but she saw nobody. She swam towards the shore. Once her feet touched the sand, she turned again. He emerged from the water before her. Sarah squealed having recoiled, but he caught her before.

“I’ve got you,” he whispered, breathless.

“You were following me all this time?”

“Of course.”

“This is not fair!” the girl protested.

She tried again to escape, but he took her by the waist and pulled her to him. Their bodies touched, making her shudder. He stared into her eyes, asking her if she felt okay. His voice was soft. She blinked, trying to control her nervousness. It was the first time she found herself in the arms of a man. And they were both naked. She moved her face and kissed him. Daryl seemed surprised by the kiss, but he didn’t move away. He pulled her even closer to him. He murmured:

“Sarah, I love you…”

“How is it possible to know you’re telling me the truth? We just met…”

“I’m sure.”

She was suddenly cold. She left him to get dressed. He didn’t the same. She remained silent, preoccupied. Her movements were abrupt and rushed. He gently took her hand.

“What’s wrong?”

The young girl shook her head.

“I’ve got to go. That’s it.”

“Did I scare you?”

She dropped on the floor, near a grove. She nervously played with the gold ribbons of her dress, eyes downcast.

“It’s not you, Daryl. My cousin told me she was getting married. She asked me if I was promised to someone and I was ashamed to tell her no.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of. And what did you say?”

“Not at the moment. Yesterday, I almost hoped to meet a man. Today, I don’t know what to do because the thing is done.”

He smiled as he approached her.

“Don’t worry, Sarah. Don’t change your habits because of me. I wanted to tell you.”

She snuggled into his arms. He placed a soft kiss on her forehead and whispered:

“I love you, Sarah.”

The young girl looked up, surprised he became so intimate in so little time. She stroked his cheek.

“I love you too,” she whispered.

* * * * *

She had lost track of time, but she suspected that her parents were sleeping soundly. It was about midnight. Sitting in front of the large window of her room in a large blue velvet armchair, she watched the prairie. It was very dark, but she still could see. Nanette entered the room.

“Miss!” the servant exclaimed. “You’re not sleeping?”

The girl turned.

“I can’t.”

“You don’t need anything?”

“No. You can go. Good night.”

“You too.”

Then the servant left the room without making any noise. She returned to her duties, leaving the young girl alone. Sarah sighed deeply when she heard a noise. She frowned, rising. She approached the balcony to go out, but she saw nothing. She walked to the edge of the concrete. There was nothing to see, but she heard moaning. Frowning, she peered into the darkness again. She heard someone calling.

“Who’s there?”

“Down…”

The girl looked to see Daryl. He stood painfully on the grid where a honeysuckle bordered the entire wall of the ground floor. He was trying to get to her. She leaned to help him. He eventually got there.

“But what are you doing?”

“Sarah, I wanted…”

“You don’t realize what my father would do if you were in my room?”

“The formal mode makes me very uncomfortable,” he replied.

The young girl sighed, calming down.

“Very well. How did you know where is my room?”

He blushed.

“You were changing…”

She shook her head and sighed again. He had soft eyes to soften her and she eventually smiled at him.

“And what are you doing here?”

“I wanted to see you,” he said, taking her hand.

“You could have been killed. Didn’t you think about it?”

He kissed her.

“I’m ready to do anything for you.”

“And is it why you’re not sleeping? You’re not serious…”

“I am.”

He made a gallant kiss on her hand, making her smile. Suddenly a noise from the hallway could be heard, drawing their attention. Sarah turned to the door, nervous. She was biting her lower lip without leaving the door from her gaze. He turned his face to hers and stared into her eyes.

“I’ve got to go.”

She shook her head.

“Shall we meet again tomorrow?” she hastened to ask him.

“In the clearing after lunch.”

“I’ll be there.”

He put a light kiss on her lips before running to the balcony. She followed, not wanting to see him go now. While the young man descended, the door suddenly opened, permitting her father to enter the room. He seemed exhausted by his hard day’s work.

“Sarah?”

“Here! On the balcony. Is something wrong?”

“Are you okay? I heard a noise.”

“A noise…? What kind of noise?”

“A rustle. You didn’t hear?”

She quickly shook her head. He finally shrugged. After he kissed her on the forehead, he left the room of his daughter, yawning loudly. She dropped on her bed, a huge smile on her lips.

* * * * *

The sun was very strong. It was very hot in the morning. Wearing a white dress, her hair loosely over her shoulders, she went to the clearing to join her new love. The wind wasn’t blowing. The heat was almost unbearable. It was much cooler in the woods. The young man was already in the clearing, still wearing his riding outfit. He smiled when he saw her.

“You didn’t have too much trouble because of me?”

“No, but don’t do it again, please! My father believed me.”

He put a hand on his heart and promised not to give it a try again. She laughed, settling on the rock. Daryl knelt before her and handed her a red rose. She smiled tenderly, touched by his gesture. He walked over and kissed her passionately. She asked him why giving her a flower. He just shrugged.

“A beautiful rose for my pretty one,” he said.

She smiled at him.

“Will you still love me?” she asked him.

He took her hand and kissed her again.

“Until my death. Maybe more.”

“What were you thinking last night? You could’ve killed you!”

“I did it so I could see you again.”

He stood up, still holding her hand. She stared into his green eyes, inhaling the sweet scent of the rose.

“It was impossible for you to wait until today?”

He sharply shook his head. She got up and they walked to the lake, hand in hand. He remarked that when he met her at the reception, she seemed morose. She lowered her head, explaining that her cousin’s fiancé showed up and she was left alone among strangers.

“Did you mom saw us?”

“No, but she said that I made her ashamed.”

“Is she always like that?”

Sarah nodded, looking away.

“Everything I do is wrong. Well, most of the time.”

“What about your father?”

“About the same thing. I’m an only child. So I have to be perfect for them.”

“Mine are normal. I’m the eldest of two children. My sister is only twelve years old. So everything rests on my shoulders. My father will let me run the business when I get married. Except I don’t think it’ll happen soon!”

“Of course not! You still have time. Me too, actually.”

The afternoon passed quietly. They talked all this time to learn more about themselves. He spoke of his family. She did the same. There was a great contrast between their families. Life seemed so perfect for Daryl compared to Sarah. The girl envied him a lot. His parents didn’t ask him too much. She imagined because he was a boy. She found the situation quite unfair.

“At least,” the girl replied, “my parent let me paint.”

On the horizon, the sun wasn’t so high.

“I’ll have to go home,” she announced.

He looked at her and nodded. They kissed tenderly before they parted, each one getting on their way. The young girl came out of the woods with a sigh. She wanted to stay with her new love. Unfortunately, it was impossible. She crossed the meadow, with a heavy heart. The wind had risen and heavy clouds now studded the sky, heralding a storm. She entered the house. Her mother was in the living room with Nestor. The latter read the newspaper while Maria embroidered on the couch. They both turned their head, hearing their daughter into the house. She had been out all afternoon to get back to the dinner. Her parents wanted to know where she had spent her day. Her father beckoned. Sarah bit her lower lip, sitting beside her mother.

“Did you have a nice day?” Nestor asked gently, folding his newspaper.

“Very nice, thank you.”

“Your art teacher came,” Maria told her without stopping embroidering. “Did you forget that you had a lesson today?”

The girl nodded.

“You neglect your studies.”

Her mother spoke to her scathingly, filled with reproaches. Sarah began to tremble like a leaf. She hated feeling like a five year’s old little girl.

“It’s beautiful outside.”

Maria glared at her. The young girl hoped to disappear at the edge of panic. She began to wonder if her mother had seen them. If it had been the case, her mother would openly accuse her.

“Get in your room. Nanette will come get you when dinner will be ready.”

Without a word, the girl walked towards the stairs. She rose quickly and locked herself in her bedroom. She sank into the big blue velvet chair with a deep sigh. Arms crossed over her chest, the young girl was thinking about a better explanation than the one provided earlier. Nanette joined her to tell her that dinner was served. The atmosphere was very tense in the dining room. Sarah swallowed almost nothing and asked to retire early. She locked herself in her room. Nanette went to see whether she felt okay.

“Your mother wants to know.”

“Tell her I’m fine.”

She hadn’t looked at Nanette when she answered. She kept her eyes on the dark landscape offered to her. The servant approached the girl, frowning.

“Are you sure?”

“Nobody can heal love.”

The servant slightly bowed her head before turning on her heels to leave the room.

* * * * *

Sarah awoke before dawn. She chose her own clothes and went outside with all her painting equipment. She wanted to flee the family home, not wanting to confront her parents again. Installed in the meadow behind the house, she carefully watched the landscape she wanted to reproduce on canvas. Throughout the morning, she just painted everything that passed before her eyes, refusing breakfast. The paintings lined near the place where she was installed. Thinking of nothing else but paint, she jumped when Nanette came to fetch her for lunch. Reluctantly, she had to return.

“Where were you again?” Maria asked between bites.

“In the prairie.”

“That’s why she didn’t come for breakfast,” Nestor said. “She has painted all morning.”

“And how many paintings did you do?”

Sarah shrugged. She hadn’t made the account before returning home.

“Her paintings are now drying in the prairie,” her father replied. “You always can go to see them after the meal.”

The young girl sighed. After lunch, she returned to her paintings. Standing before a new canvas, she sought a new topic. She took the brush and began her work, her eyes closed some times. She imagined everything in her head. The brush moved quickly on the canvas. Soon, it was possible to distinguish a blue lake, trees and a big rock. She painted a man and a woman from behind, sitting in the grass. Turning to remove the finished painting, she saw Daryl who came to meet her.

“How are you?” he asked, smiling at her.

“I’m fine. And you?”

He gave her a kiss on the hand.

“Very well. You should become an artist. You have a lot of talent.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I waited in the clearing, but you didn’t come.”

“My… parents are watching me since yesterday.”

“I thought you didn’t love me anymore.”

She smiled at him.

“You know that it’s not true, Daryl. Don’t think about it, please.”

He nodded.

“This painting is really superb,” he said, looking at the last she had painted. “Can I have it?”

“Sure, but it’s not yet dry. You’ll have to wait.”

“No problem if you wait with me.”

“Don’t move, please.”

She set a new canvas on the easel and began to paint his portrait. He dared not move. She simply made a rough sketch with a small brush and black paint. Once finished, she showed him her work.

“That one is for me,” she said, smiling.

“Not as good as the original, but you are a wonderful artist.”

She thanked him for the compliment. He frowned, announcing that someone was running toward them. Sarah turned and saw Nanette. The latter ended up near them, out of breath.

“Miss… Your mother wants… to talk to you without further… It is… very important…”

Sarah sighed before looking at Daryl. He smiled slightly, placing a kiss on her forehead. Nanette seemed offended by this mark of affection. She touched the girl’s arm.

“Come, miss.”

“Go ahead, Nanette. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“But…”

“Do as I say. But don’t tell them I wasn’t alone, please.”

Nanette slightly bowed her head.

“Very well, miss.”

The servant stooped to pick up the paintings. Daryl offered his help, but she coldly refused. Sarah asked her to leave three of the paintings because they were not dry. Once they were alone, she kissed the young man before heading towards the house. As soon as she set foot inside, her mother told her that she should join them in the living room. The young girl entered the room. Her mother stood up to meet her. She took her hands, a huge smile on her lips. She drew her toward the couch.

“I have great news for you!” her mother proudly told her. We’ve found you a fiancé!”

Sarah’s face became livid. Her mother hastened to say he was coming home the next day. The young girl was now petrified with horror. Sarah suddenly withdrew her hands before getting up. She had dreaded this day for so long. She wasn’t ready to face this part of her life. She stepped back, trembling. Maria’s smile disappeared at the reaction of her daughter. She expected rather of gratitude or recognition concerning any thoughts about her future.

“You don’t have the rights to decide for me.”

“I forbid you to speak to me in that tone. You’re our daughter and we decide what is best for you.”

Tears began to roll down her cheeks without she could hold them. She bit her lower lib to stop her tears, but she couldn’t. She hurried up to her room, sobbing. She threw herself on her bed, crying her sadness. She heard a latch turning. She understood the message: her mother had locked the door. It wasn’t the first time it happened. But there was always the balcony. She wiped her tears, moving towards the double doors. She leaned forward to see the wooden gate along the wall. Looking up, she saw a shadow near the wooden area. She took a deep breath before taking support on the balcony. She went over the railing of concrete. The grid seemed solid. She began her slow descent. She suddenly felt that something gave away. Her heart began to race. The top of the grid was no longer on the wall. She began to scream while falling.

* * * * *

Her head was terribly hurting. She felt something wet on her forehead. She slowly opened her eyes. Nanette stood above her. She pulled the damp cloth to immerse it in a bowl of cold water. Sarah touched her hand.

“Don’t touch my head, please…” the young girl moaned, grimacing.

“Your mother is very worried, you know. Fortunately you don’t have anything broken.”

Nanette rose to slightly open the curtains. The sun was over the horizon. Sarah asked for how long she was in her room. The servant told her when she had regained consciousness before falling asleep.

“Why… why did you want to leave?”

“Because I refuse to get married.”

“Your opinion matters little,” Maria replied, entering the room.

Sarah glared at her.

“He’ll be here tonight. I hope you’ll find a way to behave.”

“Why the sudden need to interfere with my private life?”

“Because I’ve learned that you spent the evening drinking with a man. You come from a good family, little slut. Rest well before tonight.

With that, Maria turned and left the room. Sarah asked the servant to open the doors to the balcony, but Nanette retorted that they had been locked from the outside. The young girl sighed deeply before asking Nanette to leave her alone. She was going to have to face the facts. Unlike her cousin, now she dreaded this day. A destiny marked out in advance frightened her. An arranged marriage wasn’t based on love at all. Even if the husband was a good man. Could she forget Daryl? She didn’t want to, but she should resign soon. She wanted to stay with him. Tell him the news saddened her. Why could she not choose who she could love? She began to cry, the sheets over her head. She wouldn’t even have time to get used to the idea before meeting her future husband. She closed her eyes, hoping to find herself in a nightmare.

* * * * *

She promised her mother to behave well and she’ll keep her word. She slowly rose, readjusting her dress. She forced herself to smile. She replaced her hair one final time before going down. She could hear her mother’s boast her talent for painting. A man said he was eager to see for himself. Surely my fiancé. Sarah came down the grand staircase. Her mother came to her and dragged her into the living room, a huge smile on her lips.

“This is my only daughter Sarah.”

The young girl slightly bowed her head, unable to look up to them. A man cleared his throat to begin formal presentations.

“And our son Daryl.”

Their parents decided to leave them alone for a moment, so they could get better acquainted. Sarah felt her legs bend under her weight. He seemed as confused as she was. Seeing her pale face, he took her hand and led her to the couch.

“But… What are you doing here?” she stammered.

“I… I think our parents have decided to marry us together…”

“It’s impossible… I don’t understand anything…”

“From what I’ve heard, our fathers have known each other for years. They had lost contact, but the reunion was made at the reception. They talked about us and… Voilà!”

He pulled her to him and kissed her.

“No need to hide in the woods…” Sarah murmured, smiling.

“No. Not anymore.”

THE END


Submitted: August 29, 2013

© Copyright 2021 JeCy. All rights reserved.

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JeCy

Officially, it's the first romantic story I ever wrote. Hope you like it.

Thu, August 29th, 2013 1:41am

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