Something To Remember Him By

May 31, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

I was not the only Primrose girl invited to the junior ball. There were several others including my roommate Lucy, but as I descended the steps into the main foyer it felt as though every eye in the house was focused on me. The royal blue gown Jonathon gifted me with was as much the commotion as anything. It was truly beautiful and I felt that way myself for the first time in months.

Jonathon stood at the bottom of the steps waiting to escort me. He somehow managed to look regal and disheveled at the same time. His grey suit was a perfect compliment to my attire and while I am certain with most men it would be an accident, I am certain where Jonathon is concerned it was not.

He extended his arm to me as I reach the final step. I smiled (relieved I had not tumbled down the stairs) and took his arm. Mr. Carrington stood nearby and by the look of pride on his face you might have thought he was my father.

“You look lovely, Elizabeth.” Jonathon whispered in my ear.

“Thank you.” I replied with a slight blush on my cheeks.

As we approached the front door where Mr. Carrington was standing, he cleared his throat. His eyes leveled on Jonathon.

“Midnight.” He said.

Jonathon nodded. “Yes, sir.”

We exited the manor and descended the steps to Jonathon’s carriage. It was scarcely six and the sun was still warm on my back. I looked back up the steps as I settled into the carriage. Penelope looked out longingly from the window and I felt a twinge of irrational guilt. She waved and I waved as well with a supportive smile.

It is strange to think it will be months before I see her again. We have had so little time to talk about all that has transpired in the last few weeks. I fear the closeness we have achieved of late will be absent when next we meet. She leaves on the last train of the night and while we have promised to write over the summer, I know as well as she, we will not.

I will not leave until Tuesday. The rates are lower then for some reason. I do not mind the extra few days though. It will give me ample time to say goodbye. I am not even certain yet if I will return in the fall. I wish to but wishes are not always enough, so I have learned.

“You are distracted.” Jonathon said as the carriage began to move.

“I’m sorry. I was thinking about Penelope.”

“I thought you were not friends?”

“We are not but maybe we could be? I feel sorry for her with what all she has gone through.”
Jonathon nodded.

“Mr. Drake would not be my first choice as a disciplinarian. Penelope has my sympathies as well, but I do hope she has learned to better control her tongue.”

I looked at him with surprise.

“You do not support the changes?” I asked.

“I support the school board. My opinions as to the details are my own and not a pertinent discussion.”

“A simple yes or no would have sufficed.”

“If the question could be answered simply it would have been.”

“I do not infer the subject a simple matter, but one’s position can be simply stated as for or against.”

“My position is not simple nor shall it likely ever be simple. To quantify a position as merely yay or nay fails to recognize the inevitable lack of totality. Were I to take the time to state my position in full you would realize the flaw in your logic, for my position does not yield to the simplicity you desire. As my position is not relevant, a conversation in its regard would be equally trivial and without merit.”

“How small you must feel.” I said.

“I beg your pardon.” He said.

His eyes bore into me, making me feel small.

“As you should.” I replied.

His eyebrow arched in disbelief. I could hardly believe the words had slipped from my mouth as well.

“Perhaps it would be best if we avoided such talk this evening?” Jonathon ventured.

“I think you are right. I am sorry.” I replied.

“No, you are not, but I forgive you regardless.”

I smiled, embarrassed by the truth in his words.

It was soon after we arrived at our destination. Not the ship, but the finest restaurant in all of Providence. Jonathon wore me on his arm like a badge of honor. In most cases, I have found it annoying when a man does so to his companion, but with Jonathon, it felt right.

We were the center of attention when we entered. Heads turned, menus dipped, napkins were raised and all to stare at us. More accurately to stare at me but Jonathon knew that all too well, I think. Not even with my father have I been treated so much like a lady of importance.

Dinner was pleasant enough, certainly superior to the food at the Carrington’s. Jonathon and I fell into silence as we ate. It was likely for the best because it seems no matter what the subject, I always end up insulting him or he me. Maybe we are not the fit I wish us to be or maybe we are and simply have years of interesting conversations yet to come. I wish for the latter but suspect the former to be more true.

It was only a short distance to the harbor from the restaurant and Jonathon chose to walk. The sun had only just set when we stepped out onto the street and the night air was only then beginning to cool. It felt nice to stroll along a real street with him as my escort. I wonder if I too was wearing him like a badge of honor. I definitely felt proud to be at his side.

We turned a corner and there in the distance I could see the lights of the ship for the first time. It was brilliant. Breathtaking. I blinked and held my arm up to shield my eyes.

“It is beautiful.” I said.

“It is only light and it is dim to your beauty.”

I stopped walking and turned toward him. He paused as well and turned to me. His eyes seemed nervous as though they wanted to ask if he had something wrong. I tilted my head up to him and stared into those sincere eyes. The light was to his back and it created a white glowing aura around him like he was an angel sent to me.

I pushed myself up on my toes, wrapped my arms around his neck, and kissed him passionately on the lips. He was stiff and shy at first but he melted to my touch. His arms enfolded me to him crushing my breasts against his chest. Our hearts beat as one and he took my breath away.
Suddenly he pushed me away and turned from me. His head sank low and I could see he was trembling.

“Please forgive me. I had no right.” He whispered.

“No, you had every right.” I replied.

“You are an enigma, Elizabeth Bassett.” He said turning toward me once more.

“I think I like that.”

He offered me his arm and I took it. We walked on to the ship in all its splendor. A band played on the main deck and we danced the night. There were others around us but I only had eyes for Jonathon and he for me.

On the steps of Carrington Manor we said goodnight. I think it might have been goodbye as well but this was a perfect night, a happy night and there are no happy farewells. I will always remember the evening fondly along with the proper gentleman who kissed my hand goodnight.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, thank you, a very nice post, and no spanking.
Warm hugs,