Just over word count: (((slaps hand)))
“The two most beautiful women in the district,” said Thomas, a cheery smile, “and which of the two I wonder will tenderly feel my brow and declare me fit for a kiss.”
This was the moment, the moment she had feared, the moment when Thomas’ eyes seemed as though embracing Anna. It was always thus the instant her ladyship entered a room; his eyes following her every movement. She had no right to feel jealous of the close bond between them, yet pain of rancour came upon her without warning, for Anna was younger and breathtakingly beautiful.
To envy Anna could ruin her own relationship with her most treasured friend, for her ladyship gave no reason to suspect her guilty of inner heartfelt desires for Thomas. Nevertheless her ladyship went straight to his side, hand to brow a stern expression. “I do declare you are most unwell, Thomas. A fever no less.” Anna stepped back a pace, as though fearful of taint from a sick man, yet appeared to bestow a secretive smile for him alone? “You are in need of cold cloths applied to your heated body, and I cannot assist you in this.”
He laughed heartily, winced with effort to sit up a little, and said, “Ha, yet Morton in fever and you slaved for days over his body to save his life.”
“That I did, but he knew nothing of my hand in his recovery until you revealed all.”
“And if I told you what he said you’d blush as you have never blushed in your life, my lady.” His eyes fell from Anna’s face, and instead settled on her own and her heart melted. “Her ladyship is a wicked tease, Bess, and . . .”
“I am aware of that,” she said, her outburst unnecessarily bitter.
“What have I done or not done, Bess? Something ails you. I’ve never known you so quiet.”
“Nothing ails me, bar your sister.”
“Come here, Bess,” he said, tapping the bed beside him. “We have little enough time together as it is, and you choose to stand there when I know you are keen to leap atop me.”Anna laughed. “I shall leave now, for I am more than reassured you are back to your old self.” With that she smiled, the like bestowed only on close friends. “Make the most of this time, Elizabeth. I shall detain Catherine for as long as I am able.”
To see entries by other participants go here.
I'll be doing the rounds to comment on Sunday afternoon/evening...