Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I Love Dialogue from Indian Summer
Historical romance, Indian Summer, is due to be re-issued on Friday, September 8, 2017. This sweeping historical novel is a must read!
It's the night of Gabriella's birthday and Manuel is her escort. When he and her sister, Maria, take flirting a bit too far, she is angry and hurt. Manuel does his best to apologize to her.
Manuel reached for my hand. I gave him stiff fingers and a cool look. His face fell as he dropped his head.
"It's only right that you chastise me, Gabriella. I let a meaningless flirtation carry me away beyond the boundaries of propriety. I owe you and your family an apology. You most of all, for I see that my actions have wounded you deeply. Perhaps you would like to take a breath of fresh air with me the garden? My aunt is seated out there. The noise and press of people is too much for her these days."
I allowed myself to be led from the courtyard, saying little. Manuel held my hand closely to his arm, absently patting my hand from time to time, apparently thinking.
"Is there some way I can make this up to you? Can I do something to prove to you that my heart is yours alone?"
He turned me to him gently, looking intensely into my eyes. Before I could answer, I heard Aunt Securo from a short distance away.
"It isn't your heart that's the issue, my boy. It's the rest of you."
Manuel looked at her a little astonished. "What do you mean by that, dear aunt?" He truly was surprised at her remark.
"I mean, my lad, that it's perfectly easy to pledge your heart and your love to a lady, but if your other parts wander off from her doing things they aren't supposed to, that's the issue."
I must have looked very puzzled. Manuel glanced at me and shrugged. Aunt Securo muttered briefly to herself about what was proper and then shook her cane at Manuel.
"Propriety be hanged," she said angrily. "Nephew, you've a bit of a reputation, of which I'm sure this young lady is blissfully unaware. However, people talk near an old lady whom they think blind and deaf. Blind I may be, but my hearing is as acute as it was thirty years ago." She turned to me.
"My dear, I'm sure you're not aware of the ways between men and women yet, as well you shouldn't be. I'm sure you know that some women are a little overzealous in their pursuit of a man. Some of them slip and fall flat on their backs. Sometimes there are men unscrupulous enough to take advantage of that position." She muttered again. "How can I say this without stepping over the lines?" She sat silent a moment.
I waited patiently, but curious just the same. I noticed Manuel was trying to make himself small and was backing slowly away from his aunt.
"You stand still, boy! I'm talking to you as well! My dear, come sit beside me so I can see you better. And you, scalawag, you stay put. I can hear you breathing!" She shook her cane at him again as I sat beside her.
"My dear, I'm sure you know by now that the same rules don't apply to men as do to women. What a lady guards so carefully in her lifetime before her marriage, her virtue, a man is more honored for if he gives it up early." She sighed heavily. "Some men are womanizers, my dear. My nephew is one. As much as I love him, I know his faults. He likes women, he likes strong drink and he likes to gamble more than is good for him."
Manuel started to protest, but she shook her cane at him again. "Be still, you! Let me finish. Despite all that, he's got a heart of gold, he's strong as an ox, brave as a lion and loyal as a, well as a dog? No, no that's not the right thing. Well, in any case, he's loyal. Honest I'll not always say of him, but he loves you, of that I'm certain. I'm also certain that if you wed, he won't do anything undeserving of your trust."
She shook her cane even more violently at him. "For mark my words, boy, I shall know if you play her false!" She patted my hand. "That scene in there was harmless, though hurtful." This was directed at him. "He's learned his lesson now, haven't you?"
Manuel spoke briefly and quietly. I had never seen him so cowed as he was in her presence. "Yes, my aunt." He looked over at me imploringly. "Bella, can you forgive me? I regret that I caused you any pain, for I would never do so intentionally." He came over near where we sat and went down on his knee.
"I ask your forgiveness, Gabriella. Please say you forgive me or I'll stay down here and—I'll soil my pants." He looked so sincere, yet so ridiculous, I started to giggle and took his hand.
"Never let it be said I caused a gentleman to muss his trousers. I forgive you."
© 2017 Dellani Oakes
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