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The Hours #22

~ Note ~

I am sorry for dropping off the face of everything and making you wait for an update. While I might have excuses, that is really all they are. I won’t share them. I will be getting back to work. I will finish this serial with this update, so it might be a long installment; then it will be back to short stories. I hope you enjoy what is coming.

~ /Note ~

It was almost sunset before I managed to steel my nerve for the actions that I must take. I rode into the failing light, my stomach twisting and turning in anticipation.

I arrived at Mary’s estate and made my way in. I noticed that a number of the servants had worried expressions on their faces, but as I walked I attributed it to my own nerves.

I should not have.

It was unusual for me to call upon Mary after dark without expression invitation for some event. She was a child of the sun and as such, most of our outings and adventures were during the day. Due to her father’s opinions on the impropriety of spending time alone before we were wed, it simply was not done.

I topped the stairs and headed towards the little sitting room that I knew to be her favorite. I was concerned about the prospect of meeting her father in the hall, but that thought flew from my head when I rounded the corner and saw two of the maids pressing their ears to the door.

When I was noticed, they both jumped before hurrying away down the hall away from me. I noticed that they both looked over their shoulders as me as they turned the corner.

My time in the other world might have been small, but it imbued me with a sense of caution that I was not in possession of before. When I reached the room, I listened. The sounds I heard through the oak would have been unknown to me before my trip. Now though, after my time with Samantha, I knew exactly what was happening.

I stood there with my hand on the knob, trying to decide if I should enter or not. I wasn’t sure I could deal with what I was about to see, but I decided that catching her in the act was the only reasonable course. It would allow me to remedy my situation without stain to my honor or reputation. I felt shallow for thinking of that, but I still twisted the latch and carefully opened the door.

I was greeted to the image of my sweet, innocent Mary being ravaged by the man who I had asked to stand beside me at my wedding. Carl had her pushed over the back of a sofa so that both of them were facing away from door.

I looked to either side and my gaze came to rest on a bottle. So instead of speaking, I walked into the room and began to fix myself a drink.

I knew the moment the Carl became aware of me because the steady sound of skin slapping into skin ceased. I turned around and faced them as I took a sip of the scotch. A moment later, Mary groaned in protest before lifting her head to look up. She followed Carl’s gaze to me and stared in dumb struck silence before the reality of my presence dawned on her. She straightened up, crossed her arms over her exposed breasts, and began to hyperventilate.

I took another drink, emptying the glass before setting it down. When Carl opened his mouth I lifted my hand and he stopped. We stood there in silence for perhaps a minute, and then I shook my head and headed towards the door.

“You should fetch Mary’s father,” I told a maid as I passed her. “I believe that she and Carl will need to speak to him.”

***

The next morning, my mother and father joined me for breakfast. Father was furious and Mother was near to crying. I went about the process of opening my egg before I told my father of my plans. He sat in stoic silence for a few minutes before shaking his head. “That girl’s family is too far beneath us.”

“I will do as I wish,” I said. “I have made up my mind and that is that.”

He stared at me, lips pressed tightly together, but said not another word. I kissed my mother’s cheek and patted his shoulder when I rose to leave the table. It was time to go ask for my new bride’s hand in marriage.

***

I arrived at Samantha’s home and was given a cold greeting by her father. The news of my discovery the day before was spreading over the country like wind rolling over a field. Samantha’s father was beside himself with anger and assumed that I had some foul intention behind my visit. It took a great deal of time, as well as a couple of glasses of scotch despite the early hour, but eventually the man was sitting in a chair opposite me with a grin on his face. Samantha’s mother had joined us and she was bouncing in her chair from excitement.

“Do you really mean to do this?” She asked.

“I do.”

“And your family is alright with it?”

I smiled and lifted my glass. “I did not ask my father his opinion. I told him what I was going to do and I came here to do it.”

The man alternated between nodding and shaking his head. “I believe she is in her dressing room. I will send the maid to fetch her.”

I waited for a few moments, thinking of how I would greet her, of how I would tell her of my intention to wed her. I was thinking of this when the joy of my future actions was shattered by the maid’s screaming.

We all ran to Samantha’s room. Her parents clung to each other, the maid leaned against the wall, attempting to keep her feet with it’s support. I stood in the doorway, staring at the overturned chair, attempting to keep my focus away from the pointed shoe tips that floated above it.

***

I left my home a few days later. Now, I am floating down the river while drinking myself into a stupor. I have passed out and floated everyday for the last week. Maybe, if I am lucky, I will find that Samantha is in that other world waiting for me. I will find that she figured out how to go back when she left me.

I lie on the bottom of the boat and stare up into the sky, letting my eyelids drift closed.

 

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