The Taverner Chronicles: One Summer's Night, Two

Fiction By Marlene E. Schuler // 12/13/2012

Hello all, and a blessed season of Advent to everyone! I am so sorry for neglecting to post here... the Taverner Chronicles is almost finished, but I've been posting the chapters on my blog, www.charlieandmewrite.blogspot.com
You can finish it there if you can't wait to get to (almost) the end, or you can watch it slowly trickle here. :)

~~~

As Doctor Rawlings led her away from the dance floor on his arm, Millie prayed that it would not be long before he asked her again. She... felt so different in his presence now. It was a soaring feeling, something that stirred her very soul every time she glimpsed his face. It was... hard to place, alluding her thoughts and sticking to the back of her mind like a shadow. But a warm, beautiful shadow- one that she did not wish to penetrate, just leave as it was.

They stood, side by side, not saying anything nor moving. For a few breathless moments, Millie realized that he had not broken free of her hand on his arm. As he started to move away, he let her hand slide down his arm, and almost caught it in his before he walked away. It was so subtle, Millie doubted anyone saw it. But he had done it- so small an act... did he know what it did to her? She suddenly caught her breath, for she realized that such an act meant so much more than a passionate declaration of love or a bouquet of roses.

Millie pondered this for so long that she almost did not hear Anthony's voice next to her.

'Millicent? Millicent, are you still with us?'

Millie blinked a few times as she turned to help her thoughts return to the present.

'Oh, Anthony, I'm sorry. I didn't hear you just then.'

'Apparently not,' he chuckled, as if it were a big joke, 'Miss Taverner, might I have the honor of this dance? It's an old line dance, I believe.'

'Yes.' as she accepted, Millie quickly scanned the room to see who Dr. Rawlings asked.
Was that a twinge of jealousy she felt when she saw that he had asked Louise. Why should she feel such a thing?
Well, maybe that was a rather silly question to ask herself, for what was a little jealousy amongst so many strange and frightening new emotions? Things she couldn't even discern, much less understand?

Anthony led her out to the dance floor with flourish. He reminded her of a cock showing the world his fine feathers, for he almost strutted wherever he went. Millie stifled a laugh as the ridiculous notion that she and Louise were his hens crossed her mind; perhaps that would explain why he kept on flitting back and forth between them. Really, if Anthony wanted to marry one of them, he didn't have to be so wishy-washy about it.

Millie almost slapped herself for the last thought when she remembered the look on his face the day she had told him no. But that painful thought was squeezed out of her head very quickly when she saw that Dr. Rawlings and Louise were in their set. That meant that she would be dancing with him for a considerable time.

He must have read her face, for a smile crossed his when she caught his eye. To think- Millie was spending more time looking at Louise's partner than she did her own. Snapping her eyes in front of her, she realized that Anthony was trying to tell her something or another.

'...wasn't sure that this was the best choice of dances, because I thought that everyone would have felt it old-fashioned and forgotten it.'

Millie raced through her thoughts to try and think of something witty to say back, but the only thought that kept returning to her mind was the gentleman across from Louise. He was only two couples to her left, and it was hard to not peer in his direction.

'I... suppose the full dance floor proved you wrong?' she ventured.

'That it did.' replied Anthony, and then looked around with no further attempt at conversation.

The musicians were taking a little time to get started on the dance, so she knew that something else had to be said.

'Perhaps you should say something about the size of the room or the number of couples...'

From a few people down, Millie heard a snorting laugh that could only belong to Louise, and it was then that she realized what she had done. Spoken lines from Pride and Prejudice when she had nothing else to say. Maybe Anthony wouldn't notice.

'Hm?' he said as he turned towards her again, 'What's that? The room? It's very grand. I think it's one of the best rooms I've danced in... but not just for the decorations or the floor.'

And with that, he gave her a look that implied more than he said. Millie gulped and was very thankful that the music started just then. Maybe he wouldn't flirt so horribly after they were dancing.

In, out, out and in... she was to stay by Anthony's side until the next partner came to switch hands with her. The dance never allowed any one couple to stay together for too long; and though the time spent with one partner was considerably long, the couples usually only switched hands three times.

Finally, after long and awkward moments of silence with Anthony, she switched to her next partner. One down, another to go before she reached Dr. Rawlings. He was affable and somewhat talkative, but he seemed to lose interest in speaking to her as the more difficult parts of their round started. Millie guessed that he didn't know the dance as well as he would have liked.

And then, the moment came. As soon as her hand touched his, as soon as their eyes met, Millie found that she was alone in the dance floor.

Alone, that is, except for Dr. Rawlings.

Had she seen anything but his face, she would have noticed that Louise was watching them both very carefully. And the look on her face would have spoken far more loudly than any words Louise would have ever spoken to her friend- in fact, all her spare moments in the dance were spent in casting looks across to where Millie and Dr. Rawlings were dancing.

But Millie didn't see, how could she? Every moment in that dance was absolute bliss. The thought didn't cross her mind that it would never last- perhaps that is why she enjoyed herself so much.

Comments

:)

Glad you're back!

I've been reading it all along on your blog. I like how the story is structured very much...with Edward II as the narrator. Hoping to read the next chapter on you blog soon! :)

Lucy Anne | Thu, 12/13/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is amazing. I am so totally hooked.

*mouth still is hanging open* I have just spent the good part of the afternoon reading all the chapters. How...how do you write like this? It's amazing. Weave in and out. Like magic.

I am going to try (TRY) to refrain from going to your blog....b..u...t... yeah.

Wow. You are just one of the most talented writers on AP. Congrats!! I feel like rushing to the publisher and saying "there's this person a website who wrote this brilliant story...AND I want you to PUBLISH IT!"

You know, maybe I'm overacting. :) But well, well done!!

(I'm Maddi, by the way.)

Maddi | Sat, 12/15/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

Wow... thanks a billion. You

Wow... thanks a billion. You totally made my day! Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

Marlene E. Schuler | Mon, 12/17/2012

Visit yon blob of literary adventureness!
www.charlieandmewrite.blogspot.com

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