I let Rose lead me away from the parlour and the fuming Emily. She had totally caught me off-guard with her sudden embrace and passionate quick kiss. We were walking down a hallway now, toward the back part of the house, I took her hand and stopped her from moving on.
"What was that about?" I inquired, both curious and amused. A mocking smile on my face as I saw Rose blush when I turned her gently around.
"You can kiss me whenever you like, I think I can do the same," she responded.
My expression was that of bemusement and exhilaration by Rose answer. I placed my thumb and index finger on her chin, my lips brushed hers lightly. I felt shivers running down my spine, wanting to fully embrace her in a kiss, but I contained myself, tempting her.
"Jealous?" I whispered on her ear, kissing her earlobe.
Rose stood there, she gave me a captivating look, biting her lower lip. She then tiptoed to my ears, her face snuggled in my neck as she whispered, "maybe."
An indescribable feeling gripped my heart, a very welcomed feeling. She stepped back allowing me to see her face better, she gave me a teasing smile then left. As I saw her disappeared around the corner I made a mental note in my head: stay away from Emily.
I walked to where Rose had disappeared, before rounding the corner I felt a hand pressing my chest, suddenly my body was being pressed against the wall.
"Lord William," the female purred, her hands were moving about my chest in a ravaging manner. Her head rested on my chest, kissing my shirt. "Is that invitation still up?" She turned her head to my face, her eyes burning with desire.
"Maryann," I said curtly.
"I have missed you," she drew circles in my chest, moving her finger up to my neck. She drew closer, placing her lips on my neck, kissing it passionately. Her hands clutched the sides of my shirt as she tried to pushed her tiny figure to kiss my lips. I lifted my head out of her lips reach, her moaning was disgusting to me.
I placed my hands on her shoulder and got her away from my neck. She gave me a hurt look, her fingers touching her lips and playfully delineating her full lips, glossy under the light.
"Let's play," she whispered, "nobody will know. Remember the night we embraced in the garden under the stars? It was the happiest moment of my life and I know it was for you too."
"You are wrong," I snapped at her coldly. "Things change my dearest Maryann, I would suggest you would be less compliant to men."
Her eyes flashed with anger, "who are you to talk about that? You are always around flirting with anyone with legs and skirts." Her voice was a shrill.
"I don't offer my dignity," I replied. "Good day." I stepped away from her continuing my path. I turned to her with one last piece of advice, "Stay away from Jacque." I turned around, she had a quizzical look on her face. This advice was directed to her, I was thinking of Isabelle. My innocence was corrupted, I would not allow Isabelle and Rose to lose theirs.
I took a shortcut out to the front garden, avoiding contact with the parlour.
"Mister William," a voice I wished not to hear called at me, I stopped in my tracks and turn to watch Emily in the distance, her arms were crossed on her chest as she stride toward me. "I am glad I caught you before you go out." Her voice was full with mystery and secretive.
"I wouldn't like to spend such a beautiful day indoors," I said, "is there anything you need from me?"
"I will be concise," Emily said, "I saw you and that girl with the violet dress in the hallway, that was quite a show." She gave me a playful smile and place a hand on my chest, brushing off imaginary dust.
I cringed, "I assure you that was nothing..."
"What would my cousin Rose think of it?" she continued, cutting into my sentence, "Rose has always been my favourite cousin, she is so gentle and sweet..."
"I have no doubt about that," I said.
"I think highly of her and love her so much, I cannot hide what I saw from her," her voice was low, saying each word perfectly slow and powerfully, implying evilness. "Poor Rose will be devastated, don't you think?"
I gave her a haughty look, "I don't think Rose should know this. As you have so clearly stated, you love Rose and wouldn't want to see her sad. I can assure you, there is nothing between Maryann and me."
"William, William," she snapped, her hands were cupping my face. "Everyone knows your reputation in this manor, everyone knows you are a flirt. Who knows? Maybe you are playing with Rose too, she feels that way doesn't she?"
"You are wrong," I counter-reacted at her insolence, "Rose does not think that way. She knows my true feelings." Did I believed what I had said?
"You don't believe that yourself, do you?" she taunted. "How does it feels, Lord William? The charmer being charmed? Certainly no one believes you have true feelings for Rose, the question is, do you?"
I was aghast as I thought about this question, unable to utter an answer. Fear took possession of my limbs, my face was contorted with discomfort.
"Waltz with me tonight," she said, "at the ball my uncle is giving because of my brother and my arrival to the manor. Grant me one night full waltzes with you, and I won't say a word about it to Rose."
Everything was going well with Rose, I did not want to break her trust in me. My mind did not process clearly, everything was a blur. I wasn't sure what I answered, but when I left the manor I saw Emily smiled triumphantly