Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Ivy

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share with you the best love scene I'd ever written. Alas, I couldn't pick one! So I settled on sharing with you a love scene from the book I'm currently working on. I hope you enjoy it!

Ivy walked through the room looking for a familiar face. She found a few; some friendly, some not. Charlie was visiting with Nathan Evans against the far wall and she wondered what world issues the two friends were solving tonight. She also noticed Lord Bennett milling around, Eleanora forever clinging to his arm as though if she let go he would be lost to her forever. He greeted people cordially and engaged many in friendly conversation. Seeing him thus, caused her to admire him even more. It amazed her that he took the time to greet his tenants. Eleanora looked positively bored at his side and Ivy noticed that neither Lady Bennett nor Bruce took the time to encourage conversation with the majority of the guests.
Finally, she spotted Terry and Emily Brewer. They smiled and waved her over. Feeling relieved to have found them, she made her way through the people and over to her friends.
“Ivy,” Terry said with a smile. “Where have you been?”
“Charlie arrived nearly twenty minutes ago.” Emily eyes twinkled in delight.
“Cassie was having a bit of a challenge warming up to people. You know how shy she gets. She didn’t want to let me go.”
“Henry Hodgens is here! He asked me to dance with him later!” Terry said with a fervor born of a girl beside herself with joy.
“I didn’t realize Mr. Hodgens danced,” Ivy said.
Terry seemed not to hear her as she hugged herself and swayed from side to side.
“He called on her yesterday after work,” Emily said. “She’s been nearly impossible to converse with.”
Ivy giggled. Terry did seem happy and no one deserved happiness more than the Brewers.
The girls visited until another song started. Couples immediately flooded the floor and Ivy jealously watched them dance. After two songs, Terry and Emily were both asked to dance and Ivy stepped back toward the wall, aware that she would probably not be asked. She had known she would spend all of her evening this way. Terry and Emily were beautiful girls and far outshone Ivy’s plainness. Though Ivy enjoyed the girls’ company, she was not delusional enough in her thinking to imagine that they would remain wall flowers for the entire evening. She was happy for the girls. They deserved to be happy and from the look of things, they were well on their way to being very happy as they were both dancing with handsome young men.
As the evening passed, Ivy continued to watch the dancers. From time to time, she would leave her spot along the wall to check on the children. Her younger siblings, of course, were in no need of her assistance, so she would resume her post by the wall, watching her friends dance.
Upon her return one time, she was greeted warmly by a young man. He was a very handsome man with big brown eyes and dark brown hair.
“Would you care to dance?” he asked with a gallant bow and his hand extended.
“Me?” she asked pointing to herself.
He laughed. “Of course.”
She took his hand and allowed him to lead her to the dance floor. For a brief moment, the floor disappeared and she was walking on the clouds, feeling lighter than a feather. Looking at her partner, she blushed at how handsome he was. His smile was contagious and she giggled as they both took their places. No one outside of her father and brothers had ever asked her to dance before. She was so overwhelmed by the circumstances that she almost forgot the steps her father had taught her as a young child. Smiling and laughing in delight at her mistakes, she went spinning with glee as her partner spun her in an elaborate turn. When she turned back to him, however, he was gone.
Glancing around the crowd, desperately trying to locate the man she’d been dancing with. Others were looking at her, some snickering, some pointing at her. Her heart raced from the exertion of the dance and began to throb with embarrassment. She frantically looked through the sea of faces, trying to locate one she knew, the emotion building behind her eyes. Finally, she found him, dancing with another woman and smiling as though the sun rose and fell by her. Ivy’s face flushed hot with humiliation and tears brimmed in her eyes.
The tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks and her throat threatened to choke her as it swelled. She pushed through the dancing people to get some fresh air in order to allow her tears to flow freely. Not paying attention to where she was going, she ran right into someone. All she saw was a wide chest in front of her. “Forgive me. Please excuse me.” Not daring to look up, she desperately attempted to push past the man who blocked her way.
“Wait a minute,” the man said as he grabbed her arm.
She wrenched her arm free of his grasp and ran all the faster out of the room. Not knowing where she was, she found a quiet little nook behind a large houseplant and squatted down and sobbed. To her mortification, she heard footsteps echoing on the floor coming closer and finally stopping in front of her.
“If you don’t mind,” she sobbed, turning away from him, “I’d like to be alone right now.”
“Are you just going to sit there and let him get away with that?”
“I don’t know that he has really left me any choice.” She sobbed harder without looking up, her hand covering her face.
“Then, why don’t you dance with me.”
“You are very kind, sir, but I…I…”
“Miss Lewis,” he said authoritatively and she looked up through her bleary eyes to see Lord Bennett standing before her. “Dance with me and show him that there is nothing that he can do to beat down your spirit. Don’t let him win.”
She stared at him. Could he be serious? He certainly seemed to be. Or would he laugh at her too?
“I would never do to you what he did. You can trust me. Dry your eyes and let me champion you.”
Slowly, she wiped her tears with the back of her hand and awkwardly pushed herself up off the floor. She longed to dance with him but something inside her caused her to hesitate.
“I don’t bite.”
Slowly she extended her hand and allowed him to lead her back into the great hall.
They stood arm in arm while they waited for the song to finish before Sterling led her to the dance floor. She felt inadequate standing next to him. With her head bent low, she tried to disappear, though she loved the feel of her arm in his. Still, she could feel the probing eyes upon her. She could almost hear the whisperings of the others. Though Lord Bennett had tried to champion her, she now felt as though he had driven the dagger deeper into her heart.
“Keep your chin up,” Sterling’s whisper commanded in her ear. His warm breath on her skin caused a shiver to course through her body. “Don’t let them see you crumble.”
Looking up into his handsome face, she whispered, “I know what they’re thinking, my lord. They think I have made you feel sorry for me. That is the only reason you would dance with someone like me.”
“Then we’ll prove them wrong.” He gently brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. “If the truth be told, I would have found a reason to dance with you tonight anyway.”
She gaped at him in astonishment and his eyes locked with hers causing her heart to beat with delight. If anyone were to gaze upon their simple exchange at this moment, they would surely draw the conclusion that Lord Bennett was romantically involved with Miss Ivy Lewis.
As the chords of the next song were played, he led her onto the dance floor. She did her best to hold her head up high and look as though she were worthy to be on the arm of such a man. She knew everyone recognized the difference between her and Lord Bennett. However, if she allowed her thoughts to dwell negatively, she found it much more difficult to be confident in knowing she had unwittingly captured his eye this night. So she allowed herself to reflect on that instead and enjoyed the dance they shared.
And Sterling Bennett was a fine dancer. He led her with ease across the dance floor. Though she felt clumsy and more than once tripped or stepped on his toe, he only smiled at her and continued to be the perfect gentleman. His touch caused her to be more awkward than normal and she blushed as he caught her from nearly landing them both in a heap on the floor.
“Are you all right?”
“I just have heavy feet, my lord.”
“Dancing was never my forte either. I prefer horses to people most days.”
“You seem so confident when dealing with people.”
He laughed. “My horse will never laugh at me or look at me other than his friend. We each have a duty to our relationship. He carries me when I need him to and I keep him fed, exercised, and well cared for. It’s simple.”
“Your other relations aren’t simple?”
He looked at her. “Are any of yours?”
They were silent for a moment before they both began to laugh.
“I imagine your father taught you to dance?” he asked when he caught his breath.
“We often used to dance when Charlie and Martina and I were young. Father loved to dance and he and mother always danced on Sunday afternoons. Of course, I badgered my father until he taught me. We’d often dance in the evenings by the light of the fire.”
“He must have been quite skilled. He taught you well.”
“I’ve never had any formal instruction, sire.”
“Neither have I,” he said and she looked at him in shock. He chuckled. “Mother hired several instructors and Bruce and I chased them all off. Mabel was the only one who could get anything past our thick skulls.”
“I never would have guessed…”
“Well don’t tell anyone. I’d be the laughing stock of the town.”
She giggled. She had never dreamed dancing could be so enjoyable. He helped her forget that she was simply a girl with a sick mother and seven younger siblings to raise. She was a woman with passions and desires.
His body moved so easily and smoothly, it was as though he were carrying her away into a dream. She suddenly worried less about the steps of the dance that she missed and allowed herself to be swept up in his spell of enchantment that he wove over her. He pulled her close, his cheek nearly resting against her own cheek. Her heart thudded so loudly in her ears she almost didn’t hear him softly singing the words of the song.
“Oh hie me away to the mountains, sweet lover,
Where grasses and meadows run wild and forever.
I’ll pick you an armful of pink and white clover
Just promise to love right now and forever.”
When the dance finally ended, she expected him to escort her off the dance floor but to her surprise and sheer delight, he engaged her in another waltz, pulling away slightly but never stripping his eyes from hers. He built another world for them as they danced and she drowned in the feel of his arms and the depths of his rich brown eyes. In fact, he danced with her for the next three songs – which was scandalous in nature – until the musicians took a small break. It wasn’t until then that she remembered they weren’t the only ones in the room. Lord Sterling Bennett had truly championed her, and what a fabulous result. She felt as though she could conquer the world as he finally laced her arm through his and led her off the dance floor to where Terry and Emily stood waiting. Sterling bowed to them each in turn, then to Ivy, he kissed the back of her hand before he took his leave.
“Oh, my goodness!” Emily exclaimed. “What did you do to capture his attention?”
“I don’t know.”
“I cannot believe that you have danced nearly the last half hour with Lord Bennett!” Terry squealed. “Think of the bragging rights you will hold over Julia and Chloe now!”
“I know!” Ivy couldn’t help but say, though she knew she would do no such thing. While Sterling Bennett was easily every girl’s dream come true, he was not a man that she would be able to capture for more than a half hour. Still, she decided to enjoy the thrill of being held in his arms for that heavenly length of time. “He is so handsome,” she sighed.
“I cannot believe you were dancing with him!” Terry said again, clearly awe struck by Ivy’s partner.
Ivy just laughed as she and her friends continued to giggle about Lord Sterling Bennett until the musicians began to play again.
“Do you think he will ask you to dance again?” Terry asked.
“He’d be a fool if he did,” Ivy said.
“Oh, don’t go saying such things. You have just as much right to dance with him as anyone else,” Emily said.
“In case it interests you,” Terry said, “I haven’t seen him dance with anyone else, besides Eleanora Key, all night.”
“The night is still young,” Ivy said. “He will have plenty of time to dance with other girls.”
“Highly unlikely. By the way, did you see the way Eleanora was looking at the two of you?” Terry asked and glanced over to where Eleanora was standing, glowering at her.
“I’m surprised she didn’t cut in and rip him away,” Emily said.
“I bet she was livid.” Ivy smiled. It was a wonderful feeling to out-do Eleanora in something, though she knew she would probably pay for it in some way or another. Still, at the moment, it seemed worth it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Morgan said...

I love this love scene. It is just so cute and Ivy's feelings are so true to what lots of girls may feel.