He decided he would not call off the wedding. An Unlikely Arrangement. Chapter 3 – 2

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Chapter 3-2

“She is beautiful, Mother. Let me finish dinner, and we can talk in the parlor. There is a small problem.”

The small, cozy cottage met the basic needs all the income from his milk delivery business could afford. Everything they had tucked away bought the wagon and horses to start over in America. Mother brought her most meaningful items to this new country and turned the parlor into a replica of the one in Holland. Handmade lace doilies covered the overstuffed chairs and settee like snowcaps on a winter morning. Matching lace dressed the windows. Her lifetime collection of antique figurines filled the room, cherubs, dancing ladies, tulips, horses and carousels. Her father created one-of-a-kind porcelain figurines, his life’s work, and his artisanship became renowned in the homeland. Peter refused to allow her to sell them after his father died and vowed she would never lose the priceless treasure.

Tea trickled into the fragile china teacups of her famous collection. He always thought his calloused fingers would break one of the dainty cups. Never the less, Mother insisted they continue the old customs. “Our meeting is at teatime tomorrow,” he said.

“Lovely. You did not mention the Squires. Will they attend?” She sat on the edge of her favorite chair, back straight and dress folded properly around her ankles.

Peter admired her effort to retain traditional manners and decorum. He prized her blonde tresses, swept demurely into the fashionable chignon of the day. Still a handsome woman, the soft blue, homespun dress brought out her blue eyes. “Her parents left for New York to acquire the trousseau. The maid will stand in as chaperone. Are you sure we should do this, Mother? We do not know her, and I might botch the whole thing because I have no experience.”                                                                                                                          Peter’s mother set her teacup on the lamp table. “You are a Kirby, Peter. You have natural charm and charisma like your father. She is lucky to have you. Now tell me about your future wife, dear.”

They talked about the up-coming events until his bone-tired body gave up, and he excused himself.

“We have an exciting day ahead, Peter. Get some rest.”

****

Peter ripped the shirt from his torso and threw it on the bed. “Rest…indeed! Sleep, when all I see are the chocolate pools of her eyes, the curve of her cheek, those plump, succulent red lips.”

The bed groaned under his weight. He bowed his head and entwined his fingers in his hair. “I was fine until Mother made a mission to marry me off. I didn’t need women in my life until now. It never occurred to me my body would betray me like this. I can’t stop thinking about her. What kind of cad am I? I barely know her, yet the heat burns in my loins. Why couldn’t Mother leave me alone? Now, I must endure the torture of the flesh.” He lifted his head from his hands and there she stood, in the middle of the room, black hair disheveled, her sensuous smile said come-hither. The moonlight illuminated her gauzy white night dress and revealed a lithe figure.

He gasped. “What are you doing here?”

She reached toward him. “I want you, Peter. I wanted you from the first glimpse, but was afraid to let you know. Sleep wouldn’t come. I had to see you, kiss you. Come to me Peter. Come.”

The illusion dissolved the second he reached out to her. Moon dust filled his empty fist. The night tortured him, robbed him of sleep. Dreams of Ruth floated through his subconscious mind. He saw her laughing in the garden, give a coy look over her shoulder, and run behind a tree. He’d pretend to look for her, and when he found her their kisses burned hot.         He woke, sheets twisted around his sweat soaked body and an ache in his heart. Only twenty-hours since he’d first lay eyes on his future wife and need consumed him.

The early morning sun made its entrance. Peter, wide awake, stared at the ceiling. “I don’t know if I can see her today. She might reject me.” He sat up. “I must call this off. I can’t stand this torture.”

The hot shower calmed his restlessness, and by the time he finished knew he would not end the plan already in motion. He wanted her, and he would have her.

Chapters of the novel appear on Monday and Wednesday.

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