I was amused and somewhat flustered at Edward's questioning of love and romance. I was somewhat suprised myself that he had not found any woman thus far to entertain his interest. Though, of course, I was not an expert on love. Look to my experiences on it. My heart sank; many of them were failures.
Days passed, uneventful in their ways. Mr. Mitchell continued to visit and cause me further discomfort, while trying to flirt with Elizabeth in the most casual fashion. No one seemed to notice, wrapped up in their own problems of love. Well, everyone accepting Edward, who pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was alright. He clearly suspected my attachtment to the man yet I detested it. Edward didn't seem to believe-just as Elizabeth had-and I don't think I believed it either.
With the passing days and no word thus far of Captain Howard, somewhat of a hope for me, my heart began to believe I would only search for love in vain. I denied my hopelessness as well, but it seemed very realistic. I was intelligent and clever, but for what men searched for was prettiness or the ability to be a wife. What kind of wife would I make? Mother had always told me I would excell as a mother, but was I too stubborn? Did men not like their wives to be too intelligent?
I sighed, frustrated as I allowed my hands to fall at my side from the piano keys. Did it matter? I was not changing myself for anyone-that I knew. Though it seemed my heart longed for some romantic tie....I shook my head, half smiling. That sort of thinking got me in trouble with Mr. Mitchell, thinking of him in such a dreamy, romantic way.
Returning my fingers to the smoothness of the ivory keys, the piano sang as I continued to play a melancholy song to match my mood. I don't believe I would tell anyone how I felt; everyone was quite busy with their own affairs and I didn't wish to trouble them anyways. My eyes wandering out over the landscape, I caught a glimpse of a man walking a horse across the green knolls, Edward's form walking out to meet him. I stood from my seat, the cease of the music causing Grace behind me to look up from her sewing.
My heart jumped into my throat. Captain Howard.
The women funneled from the house to greet the man; a slight limp in his horse's step as Edward walked at his side. "Look who I came upon," Edward winked at me, a playful note in his voice which made heat rise to my face.
"I am sorry to disturb you; I hadn't the slightest idea that this was your home," Captain Howard said, his blue eyes scanning our group and then falling upon me. I could not help but give him a small smile. "It appears my horse as gone lame, and needs a rest. There seems to be no other place for a long while."
"You are welcome to stable you and your horse here as long as you'd like," Mother said with a flourish, catching on to the glances that Captain Howard made toward me, as subtle as they were.
"Thank you, Madame," he grinned slightly, the warmth rising to his eyes. "You are very kind."
What did Fate have in store for me now?