My contribution to this week's challenge for Romantic Friday Writers is a snippet from my historical English Civil War novel, the one a lot of bloggers' went wild about during a blogfest last year.
Brief: Although Morton and Anna once loved each other Civil War tore them apart, and a recent tragedy has led to uneasy truce between them. While the new lord and master at Axebury Hall endeavours to ease sense of pain and loss for both, Anna proves unwilling to grant him any favour.
On reaching the house he enquired as to Anna’s whereabouts, and upon taking his cloak Tilly pointed him toward Anna’s favourite sitting room. He knocked the door and entered. Anna as expected proved tearful and less than enamoured by his intrusion. ‘May I sit with you,’ he asked, half prepared for outright refusal.
She kept her eyes averted, her attention out through the window, the river flowing fast from heavy fall of rains. ‘It’s your house, and who am I to say where you can sit?’ her curt response from the window seat.
‘Anna please, Axebury is your home as much as mine. In truth, to some extent more yours than mine.' She looked up at him then, her eyes searching his as though disbelieving a word said. ‘I feel like an intruder, trespassing,’ he said, moving into the room. ‘All that I loved I feel has gone from me now.’
She gestured her hand toward the chair nearest the fireplace, and again looked away out through the window. ‘And you don’t think I feel much the same as you. That I intrude where I no longer belong, and that I have lost everyone whom I love?’
There was no ready answer to that, for she was still blaming him for his father’s death. He refused to take to the chair, his mind in turmoil. He stood with back to the fireplace sense of anger and frustration overwhelming him. The memory of his father’s last dying words caused a lump to throat. ‘I will not be held responsible for the death of my father. Do you hear me, Anna, I never laid a warring hand upon his body, and the sooner you get that into your pretty little head the sooner we can be civil to one another.’
She turned then, rose to her feet and walked toward him. ‘I loved him Morton, and it was I whom asked to be his wife.’
He had known of her intended marriage to his father long before his aunt had informed him. Blasted servants had tongues worse than serpents hissing vile gossip from household to household and around the village, and yes it had sore hurt to think of her as his father’s wife, but it had not happened, they had not wed.
According to Tilly’s father, his daughter as close as anyone to Anna, the betrothal had been merely Anna’s way of avoiding marriage to Thomas Thornton. He needed no prompting to know the reason for her refusal to wed Thomas, and although her grief genuine it was far from that of a woman truly in love with her betrothed. Despite her bold stance and harsh glare, her eyes revealed all that he needed to see.
‘Stop acting the grieving widow, Anna. It is most unattractive in one so young, and don’t think him innocent when abroad. He was just as inclined to whores in doxy houses as Thomas.’
Anna flew at him, and pummelled his chest. ‘You’re jealous, jealous that I sought comfort in your father’s arms.’Her taunting words sliced through him, slashing at his heartstrings. Numbed by it all he fell speechless. She kept at him, fists flying and he fending her off until finally his arms about her. He held her fast against him. She loves me . . . She loves me not. She loves me. I know it, she knows it, and only God knows when she will admit to such.
O.K., I know - 5 words over the limit of 400.
To see other contributions go here for the list of participants.