Happy Tuesday! Happy Blog Battle Tuesday! This week we are aiming our writing guns at a new GENRE:ROMANCE using the KEYWORD: INDIAN. To read other stories writing by other battlers, please click HERE.
The way the ice melted beneath the heat of the sweet tea made him stick his fingers between his neck and collar and loosen up its choking bindings. It was early November. There should have been at least frost on the ground, not flowers and sun dresses and certainly not sweet tea in the garden. But they were experiencing a glorious and completely unexpected Indian Summer, one that was just as unexpected as his being there, in Miss Lorrel Hadly’s garden in the first place.
The young woman was absolutely divine. Here generosity and charity of heart had certainly humbled Blake Dunnan. But it didn’t make him wish to run or scorn her. Instead it made him covet her company like a bee to nectar. He’d heard Pastor Rolan’s preach from the scripture in Galatians, he believed, Blake couldn’t be quite sure which book it was, but he’d heard him say that it was the grace of God that brought men to repentance. And since Blake had met Lorrel, he couldn’t disagree. The grace she’d given him under their hateful circumstances had made him so much more than repentant, they’d made him love her.
Lorrel sat the large citrus tea pot on a cozy and offered the mason jar of sweetness to him. With a whispered thank you, he drank down several gulps feeling as hot and cold as the tea and as anxious as the bee that danced around the floral arrangement on the table, grateful for the extra chance to gather nectar, just as Blake was.
He smiled at the tiny creature before setting his drink down and clearing his throat. Lorrel hardly made eye contact with him. She probably suspected the worse. That’s all his presence brought her in the four months head made her acquaintance. He’d hoped he could undo that.
“Miss Hadly,” He said, noticing that his voice gave a dry crack. Heat crept up his neck and rose to his face with the look in her eyes. She was kind and generous but she was clearly anxious about him being there. It wasn’t his fault that her father had all but ruined his own business dealings with bad investments only after signing over just about everything including his soul to Dunnan Shipping and Imports as collateral. When the old man died he left mountains of worry and debt that landed in his daughters lap and a financial inconvenience that had made Blake none too happy even though he was really nothing more than ‘inconvenienced’.
He admitted that he’d acted rashly as he demanded liquidation of most of the Hadly estate in order to make himself and his father whole. It was the right thing for all the wrong reasons and once the ball had begun rolling it was virtually impossible to stop it. He’d only met Lorrel towards the end of his devastation of her life, but now he wished nothing more than to make her whole again.
“Miss Hadly,” He said again. “I wanted to have a very important word with you.”
Her eyes grew wider and it seemed the pink had washed out of her face. Her mouth bobbed in a rushed response. “Mr. Dunnan I know that I’m supposed to be off the estate grounds by month’s end. I assure you that I’m doing everything I can to get things squared away. I,” She twisted a napkin she had only just laid across her lap. Blake’s heart kicked in his chest. He couldn’t stand to see her anxious.
“There is not trouble with that, Miss. Hadly. I didn’t come to speak to you about the house, but rather something I lost inside your abode, and,” He scooted a bit closer to her. “And I was wondering if you should find it, and see any value in it, would you do me the honor of keeping it?”
Lorrel tilted her head, her thick blonde curls catching the sun with glow that made her hair appear as spun gold. “I’ve not come across anything of yours, Mr. Dunnan,” She stood. “Perhaps its in Daddy’s study. We can look now if you’d like?”
Blake rose to meet her this time he took her hand in his. He closed his eyes and thanked God she did not pull away. His throat was already beginning to close with nerves. Lorrel laid her other hand atop his and gave a gentle squeeze of concern.
“Are you alright, Mr. Dunnan? You look unwell. Is there anything I can do?”
He managed a nod and even a bit of laughter before opening his eyes. “Indeed you can.” He spoke his words little more than a whisper. “You see, I lost my heart in there, but not in your father’s study. I lost it in your hands,” Lorrel took in a sharp breath. The angel had no idea. Blake took a step closer to her and again thanked God she did not shy away from him. “And though I recognize it is a shabby heart, the last months can attest to that, I was wondering if you would be willing to keep it for a spell.” He tried another smile but this one made him look like a school boy he feared, for he was well out of confidence though he managed to press on.
“Keep-keep your heart?” Lorrel whispered, her blue-green eyes glassy with tears.
“Only if you think it worthy of you.” A tear slipped from her eye and he thumbed it away with such reverence as he would show gold. “I wouldn’t want to trouble you with it for long, however, only maybe til death us do part.” His heart kicked again in his chest especially with her glorious smile.
“I think I might have some time available for that Mr. Dunnan.”
“Blake, call me Blake.” He said before giving her their first kiss that tasted of sweet tea.