The Second Time Around

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  1. The church was filled to the brim, close family friends and distant cousins alike sat tightly together in the long pews. It was decorated in pale white and yellowish cream flowers, silk and satin decorated the alter and the ribbon gave way to a bright red carpet the lined the center aisle. All things to be expected of a wedding. Bustles puffed out into the aisles while top hats were set in gentleman's laps. Two of the most wealthy families in the country were to be bound together in holy matrimony and it seemed that each had poured a lot of coin and work into the set up.

    One was a wealthy family from the country side, having gained high wealth from milling grain for many of the farms. Along with inheritance and strong property wealth, they were a family to keep in mind when visiting the beaches and rolling hills. The other family was a city family, having gained wealth purely from property, inheritance and the father being a high standing general to the queen. It was a match made in heaven, to very wealthy families with strength all over the country and not one without a connection somewhere. There was one small, little...tiny problem.

    The Groom had very bad habits.

    The young Bride was just a fresh girl of 18, untouched and as pretty as a country rose. Pale skin and lovely ebony locks made up in tight curls. Shining green eyes above a small nose and ruby lips. It was almost as if she had come right out of the Snow White Fairy-tale. She was a prime pick and more than one upset suitor was sitting in the aisle to watch the ceremony. However, even with such heritage and lovely looks, it was nothing against the powers of temptation...

    The clock stuck 12 noon, and the church was starting to grow restless and with good reason as well. The ceremony was due to start over an hour ago and groom had yet to even arrive at the church to prepare. Dressed all pretty and in her flowing gown, the bride could only stair out of the chapel window in her dressing room. No carriage pulled up, no horse stopped. Her father was pacing at the stairs angrily while her soon to be father-in-law sent out every servant available to find his son. The news that would return to her nervous ears would be less than appealing.

    "A whore house! Your son was sleeping in a whore house on the eve before his wedding day!?" Her father crowed in anger, more upset over the son than the man whom he had made the arrangements with. The servant that had sent the news that the son was on his way as soon as he could, the trio of men stomping around in the halls outside her waiting room. The shock was a bit much, leaving her with tears in her eyes. A man, whom she had grown to enjoy the company of and who had seemed rather interested in her...had slept with around woman before their wedding. Was she not good enough? Was she not to his standards?...

    Storming from her room, she shocked the men who were arguing in the hall and the servant that was caught in between them. "I won't..." She started to say as she looked at the men upset and angry. "I won't marry a man...who can't at least honor monogamy! If he dares show his face to be I resign every having agreed to this!" And with those words, the door was slammed on it. Her father begged, her former groom's father tried to reason with her, and even their wives tried to console her...but she would not move from her strong words. This Wedding was over...before it ever began.

    9 years passed since that day, and the tenth was on the horizon. After the whole ordeal, the once lovely country rose grew untrusting, men she had known for her whole life were given a second glance, looking at with uncertainty and fear. Not even her cousins were spared from the scorn of a woman abandoned at the alter. Time was much more forgiving to her beauty than it had been to her poor heart. Now a lovely 27, she didn't look a day older than she had at the alter, save for the much more adult taste of dressing and high frilly collars. Her once luscious curls were held back in a tight bun though her gowns held a lovely elegance only found in an older woman. Only now, as talk of her staying as a maiden for her whole life did she dare start to dip her feet back into the waters of marriage.

    Her mother was determined to find her a match more than ever now, knowing that her daughter was going to be hard to sell onto the idea. So, with that in mind, the woman arrange a dinner party for older woman in the same situation as her daughter, either never married or having been widowed and looking to marry again. A lovely mother of another girl was happily hosting the gathering and collecting up plenty of eligible bachelors to come to the festivities. She even set the party up at their city home, making it easier for young men from this wealthy families to come visit since only the ladies would be hosted at the home...

    "Evelyn, do smile a bit...Mrs. Coghill was kind enough to host the party here in the city. I know you are still uncertain about this but I assure you my precious daughter that this is only to see who is available...No commitment on your part precious..." Mrs. Bartley said to her daughter, the lovely woman sitting across from her in the carriage.

    "I know, Mother..." Evelyn said softly as they pulled up to the house, It seemed as the gather was already a decent size for she could see the mingling people through the curtains. It seemed as though they were having a grand time. Hopefully Evelyn would be able to do the same.

    (Her Dress)
  2. [​IMG]

    [ Callum Andrew Alcott ]

    9 years before ...

    His father was overbearing man. With only one son and two daughters, Callum was raised to be the sole heir of his father's vast property. He'd eventually become the Duke of Derby. With both of his older sisters set off in marriages, here he was alone in the world. His mother had died long ago and he learned about the world on his own. Usually his father was a distant and cold hearted man, absorbed in his business which included sales in India. Callum had been neglected and so he did whatever he pleased. Often times he would make friends at balls. There he'd introduce himself, drink with them and then laugh with stupor. Callum did not have one ounce of care in the world. Marriage was insufferable and he didn't want a woman ordering him around.

    When his father had set up this little 'arrangement', he completely ignored it. Women were just whores. He didn't mind them but he had no interest in showering them with attention or affection. No, if he wanted his ego to be pet, he'd just find himself a harlot. Now the idea of children, what was the point? It didn't matter so much to him. For all he cared, his nephews could take over his estate. He just wanted to enjoy life, hunt, travel and eat.

    The first time he had met Evelyn, he found her to be 'alright'. She was indeed very pretty. But she did not seem like the type to be easy. A silent fear of being tamed always ran through his nerve. He never wanted to fall in love. For love was weakness and without it, he'd fear nothing.

    But now things are changing with the passing of the 9 years ...

    At this age, his father presses even harder for a bride. His days of fooling around are to come to an end.
  3. Evelyn and her mother joined the party happily. Mrs. Bartley was quick to introduce herself and her daughter to all of the young men and women at the dinner party. Evelyn put on a graceful smile as she promised and so far the party seemed more than happy to have them. Evelyn was still of very high standing after all, even after the shameful actions of her ex-fiance at the alter. While his family suffered shame and ridicule for his actions, she was almost applauded for turning him down...though mostly among the quite tea parties of her family and friends. There was still that heavy feeling in the air that she should give him a second chance at the marriage, if only for the fact that their combined wealth and power could make then a family to be weary of. She, of course, refused such thoughts, saying that only a man and suitor worth her time would have a chance now...especially men who were interested in settling down for a family.

    With this knowledge known my all at the party, Evelyn was not short on male conversation as she sat with a few familiar faces at a small tea area. It seemed that everyone at they party was ever so happy to be there. Then again, many of these gentlemen and ladies where here for a second chance at marriage, having lost former spouses or having passed the original prime age of marriage. Such events like this were rare so it was no shock at all that all in attendance were joyful and talkative and ever so social with all sorts of people. While a group of feverishly talking men and women sat around her, Evelyn sipped tea in silence. Her mother had gone to chatter away with Mrs. Coghill about her lovely hosting skills.

    "Ms. Bartley, your mind seems elsewhere." A older gentleman commented, his blond curly locks shining a bit as he took a drinking of brandy in his glass.

    "Ah, no...I'm not much of a talker to be honest." She said lightly as the small group looked to her.

    "Ms. Bartley is a listener, Mr. Gunthel." A lady pipped in sweetly. "I've had her to tea so many times and she rarely makes a peep. It makes her a lovely listener though, I'm certain she would recall the whole conversation we've all just had." The other women proceeded to agree and giggle as Evelyn smiled softly.

    "You are too kind." She replied. In all honesty though, she had been elsewhere with her thoughts. She wasn't too fond of parties like this, for it gave her sad memories of the past. There was also a lingering fear that maybe...he might arrive. It was unlikely though, he had better things to do in his mind then come around to a dinner party meet to bring together marriages. His last reaction was more than enough proof of that.
  4. Callum grumbled as his father sat across from him. Another lecture, another speech. It was all the same. He had been dragged from home out of his free will, threatened to be disowned or even banned from stepping foot off of the grounds. Callum listened to the sound of the rain that pittered pattered outside and he wanted to doze off. But his father's loud talking was starting to get to him. If only he could disappear into the darkness. He wanted nothing more than to sleep. His fingers ran through his blond hair as he waited for the painful ride to end soon which it eventually did.

    "This party, is being hosted by the Coghills." His father said abruptly.

    "And?" Callum asked exasperated. What did he even care who was hosting.

    "Listen. I know the Bartleys have attended, specifically Evenlyn." He said briskly.

    Callum's blood froze. He had no interest in seeing the girl he had broken nine years ago.

    "Why now?" He hissed, his eyes narrowing at his father.

    "Because you're already at the age of 29 and still unmarried. You are the idiot that all society mocks about. The last thing I need is for you to fool around with a kitchen maid and have wedlock children." His father growled, "If you want to stay under my roof, eat my food and use my money, you listen to my rules."

    "What the hell is the point of this?" Callum muttered getting angry.

    "I am preparing to offer the Bartleys another marriage proposal. Evelyn is a lovely girl and her family is a good match. I'd repair the reputation you tarnished nine years ago." His father replied stiffly.

    "Tcht, whatever." Callum spat.

    He entered with his father, eyes flitting in his direction. He usually didn't mind attention but now, it was the pleasant kind. In fact, it made him quite uncomfortable. His father had decided to roam off in search of Lady Bartley and here he was, abandoned. For once, he had no idea what to do.
  5. "Well look who just arrived..." Said one of the gentlemen quietly to the group. The ladies all quickly glanced over to the door before looking away once more. Evelyn had also looked and had been the first to look away in slight horror. Thankfully it wasn't showing on her face as she had caught herself before it could. The conversations that had once been filling the void was all but gone as the group was suddenly very aware of her presence in the group. Callum had been the one to arrive and the whole party seemed aware of him as well. The music continued to play and groups continued to chatter but the man seemed horribly out of place for several reasons.

    "Hmm...Interesting..." Was all Evelyn could muster as she did her best to stay calm. "I didn't...know he was interested in marriage." She finished coolly. The women all seemed to look to each other quietly before the men gave all slightly nervous laughs at her words. It was obvious this group had grown uncomfortable with this situation and it seemed to only stay that way as long as she was sitting with them. Standing up suddenly, she abandoned her drink and bowed slightly to her former company.

    "Pardon me...I must excuse myself." Evelyn said softly, leaving the group with only that before taking a different path out of the room as to avoid the man from her past. The conversation returned almost instantly as she stepped out the room, almost even louder than before as she knew very well the chatter was her past with Callum and their failed wedding...and her rage filled rejection of him and his family. It was the one thing take made city parties like this so hard to enjoy. The only safe place any more was her country home where she lived with her parents. At least the people out there knew better than to chatter about the past...then again the most she knew out there were family friends or cousins...
  6. He saw her again. Her.

    Evelyn. She looked the same as the 9 years ago but more mature. The same dark locks and eyes. Her beauty had caught his breath for a short second until he realized what he was thinking about. This was the woman he had abandoned, the girl ... he rejected on the day of his so called wedding. Where he had not been whoring (that had been the night before) but instead, drinking the morning, gone with all his woes. Drowned in jugs of alcohol. With his father out of sight he lurked into the shadows. The people here were not the type he would associate with. They were serious about love and marriage. As if a fairy tale truly existed, he scoffed at such a childish idea.

    Departing from the area, he made his way outside for fresh air. He had half the mind to escape but the carriages were no where in sight and they looked relatively similar in the dark. The night was his favorite time of the day. It represented darkness, loneliness, everything that he had made himself to be. He let the wind blow in his face. The cold was non existent as he was absorbed in his own thoughts.


    Not far away, his father was quietly talking to Lady Bartley. He rambled on about deals and how this marriage would end the 9 years of scorn. He had explained how he had wished to give his son time to think and mature. But at this point now, with a waste of 9 years, he had no choice but to force Callum. He saw the glooming disapproval of Lady Bartley but this time, Callum's father offered another deal. A great amount of wealth to their daughter when an heir was born from their marriage. He pressed on for her to agree.


    Callum wandered off into the corridors of the grand hall. Inspecting the furniture and arts. He chuckled at the ridiculous lavishness that people spent. Frivolous trinkets. Yet again, he oodspent his money on drinking. He was rarely sober but whenever in a bad mood, a sad mood, a happy mood, he drank. It solved his problems and he taken a habit of it a year ago. Before it had just been whoring and gambling. But with his money cut off from his father, he stopped. Women became his sole distraction but it wasn't enough.

    He was a miserable mess to put it at that.

    Just as he had wandered about, he bumped into her. The last person he wanted to see. His own hazel - green eyes met hers. Silence. No words rolled off his tongue but he stared at her intensely.
  7. Evelyn had taken to hiding now in the rather large house. She knew she would hardly be missed as the conversation would most certainly be about herself and Callum who was also attending this ddinner party. Had she known he was going to be here she would have never agreed to attending, then again, her mother probably would have never even taken her if she had known as well. Word of mouth must have been against them, this party was probably mentioned through the grape vine and touched the Alcott family ears before anyone could stop it. Evelyn tried to go to her mother to speak with her about leaving early, but it seemed that Mr. Alcott had other plans. He was feverishly talking with her mother about something and from the expression on her face she had a feeling she knew what it was all about.

    Turning on her heel, Evelyn when and found peace in the library, hiding among the shelves as she waited for dinner to be announced. Certainly the Alcott's would have to leave since their arrival seemed unannounced and ill-prepared for. There couldn't be any room for them at the table...could there? Hopefully Mrs. Coghill would not invite them to stay for the meal, that would only make this dinner party all the more tense and uncomfortable. She had to leave her own group before they would talk again after all, she could not imagine an eight course dinner served in complete and utter silence. Talk about a terrible mood to be eating in. As much as Evelyn wished to just hide, she knew she would need to put on a brave face for this social gathering. At some point, she was certain, she would have to speak with Callum once more. It would be ill for her image if she were to so quickly shot him down and snap at him. She had worked so hard to get over the damage he had caused her nerves and heart. Just being at this party was taking all of her energy from her as it was about finding marriage again.


    Mrs. Bartley wasn't so certain on this arrangement. Nice years earlier it had seemed like a perfect idea and looked how it ended...Her daughter broken into pieces and one of the most famous city families wallowing in the shame of their flirtatious son. She could not bare to put her lovely child through such pain a second time around. It took all her power and skills just to get the woman out of the country and to attend such a party. Now Mr. Alcott seemed more interested in ruining all of her hard work. The money would certainly ensure a comfortable future for her daughter. Holding her nose up at the idea, she did her best not to be so easily swayed by this pressing Father's words. If he wished for her to give in, he would need to offer a much bigger offer than that for the damage his son caused to her precious baby.


    It seemed that the talk of past was ending as Evelyn slipped from the library quietly. The conversation returned to normal and the party accepted the fact that the couple of the countries most famously failed marriage was attending the same party. Wandering through the halls, she found it hard to return to the drinks and music that she had been enjoying before. There was just that risk of seeing him there, sitting near her people or enjoying some tea that she might have liked. The idea was torture. How could she just sit but and let him think that nothing was wrong, that she hadn't been broken by his actions and his ways hadn't ruined all of her attempts at marriage for the past nine years? No...But this was not the time or place to let him know about them either. As she was turning a corner she bumped into someone. Stumbling back a bit she dusted off her dress.

    "Pardon me-" Before she could finish she bit her tongue, looking up into the green eyes of none other than Callum. She lost her voice, couldn't bring herself to speak to be honest. It seemed neither could he as the two of them just stood there intensely looking at the other.
  8. Callums father had seen that she had no assurance or faith in what he said so he spoke confidently. He would confine his son and if his own son didn't take it upon himself to care for her daughter, his son would work for her family. He had thought about disinheritance and spoke about it with her. She seemed to find some sympathy for him. How the heavens had cursed him with such a rake of a son. Although, he was much like his mother. When Callum's mother was young, she had been a pretty thing and a quick flirt. However besides her beauty, she had been quick witted. Something Callum had not inherited. Instead he had taken up on short tempers and a cold heart. Much like his grandfather. Callum's father was nearly at the end of his wits as he tried to resolve the situation. He knew his son was a meddlesome thing but he would do whatever it costed him to keep him out of trouble. Even take them out of the city and into the country which sounded like a brilliant idea. It would be exclusive and for miles, it would just be the two of them. It was a good solution and it he beamed at such an idea.


    Callum's own eyes were drowned into hers. A similar shade of green except with a different hue. The light caught in a way that it seemed to glisten with gold particles. It was quite alluring but he realized what he had been pondering about and shrugged it off quickly.

    "Apologies, it seems like my father is busy speaking to your mother." He said coldly. He felt no shame, no guilt. She was just a pretty face and he wouldn't allow that to affect him. He couldn't.

    He didn't want to be here at all. He couldn't bear to stand and even be near her. Maybe his conscious did feel horrid. The choices he had made had ended up in a disaster but at the end of the day, he still didn't give much of a damn. Life went on. But something was starting to annoy him. His father hadn't dragged him here for nothing. The man must have been plotting and it would be another trap for him. He raged silently as he didn't pursue the conversation.
  9. Mrs. Bartley Felt only a small amount of sympathy for the father, his son not having turned out as he might have wished for. But that was the curse of having children, there was no promise or guarantee that he or she would turn out as one wished for them to. At the mention of taking his flirtatious son out into the country, it sparked quite the interesting idea inside the Mrs.'s head. Her daughter has had trust issues for the longest of times since the failed wedding day. If Callum was as misguided as his father was letting on, who was to say a outlined path wouldn't assist the young man? Though the father was speaking in having her daughter be the only lady about, Mrs. Bartley turned and laid forth a challenge. Callum would be an honored guest over the winter holidays at their country home. Over that time, she would observe Callum and see if he was worth her daughter's time. If She approved, Callum could proceed to woo her daughter, but if Evelyn refused the proposal his son made, Mr. Alcott would have to drop this arrangement permanently. Smiling coyly at him, Mrs. Bartley waited for his retort.


    His words stung, but Evelyn showed no such emotion on her face. Instead, she simply nodded her head a bit at his comment as she looked at him and folded her hands in front of her.

    "I had noticed. Your father seemed very eager to speak with her...I suppose it had been a long enough since they had last seen each other to warrant a proper hello." She said back simply, knowing that the last time their parents had spoken was the wedding day. "Now pardon me, I've to return to the party." With that, she parted.

    Holding herself to her words from so long ago, she did not waste much time with him. Callum had left her to stand alone in a wedding dress, to be shamed in front of both families as a possibly unwanted bride. Though the shame didn't last nearly as long as it had for him, she was still unwilling to let such an action slide. He was the reason she could not have the heart to wed ever again, and he was also the reason she had lost so much trust in all of the men she had ever known, including cousins. Stepping quickly, she didn't even spare him a second glance as she hurried around another corner to escape him.
  10. Such a task was as mindless and easy for him to agree. How he would have to make Callum coincide to such a request. He knew his son only and merely cared for money and food. If he were to cut of his son because of his failure in this marriage, he would send his son out into the world to make it on his own. No matter how stubborn Callum would be, his father knew him too well to be the type of man who would willingly give it all up. Just a bit hesitant, he decided to agree to her terms. If things were to work out, they would be wed in the summer where the season was beautiful and the sun was out. Alcott could not afford to lose such a gracious deal. He'd been lucky the woman even agreed to it. He shook his hand to it and he knew within a week, he'd have his son out of the house and shipped off into the country. Good riddance, maybe he would learn something or two on his own.


    He watched her depart, not an ounce of weakness. She had spoke calmly and collectively. He wanted to get under her skin. In a sick sadistic way, he wanted to see her break down and weep. It might have also released his own terribleness if she would just lash it out but she was of course, too good for that. The way she carried herself. Indeed, he was the bad guy in the situation. They hadn't even truly courted and the social circles went around spreading the commotion and chaos. It was pure entertainment on his own part. But since she was a woman and she had her duties, to be degraded with such shame must have been a heavy burden to carry. Why couldn't she insult him. It left him slightly angry and confused.

    As she turned the corner and ran off, he found his father making his way toward him.

    "Arrangements have been made." He said stiffly.

    "Arrangements?" Callum murmured.

    "Get into the carriage and I'll explain all the details to you." His father replied.


    It had taken him the whole carriage ride to absorb the detail.

    "You're telling me that I need to marry her truly? Why would she want to marry the likes of me." He scoffed.

    "You have a duty and a reputation to repair. Act like a grown man and stop whining like a school boy."

    "What if I don't do it?"

    "Survive on your own."

    His father had got him. Without money or the luxury of life he had been blessed with, he might as well die.

    There were no loop holes or circles to walk through. He had to do it.
  11. Evelyn retreated with grace, something that even she was shocked that she had been able to manage all on her own. The man had shamed her publicly in front of friends and family and did so by not only drinking away their wedding day, but having bedded who knows how many women the night before! Still, she was a lady above all else and she had long since learned that people would talk and you couldn't avoid the past forever. Granted, it still made her terribly uncomfortable but it wasn't anything she couldn't handle now. Seeing him again made her all the more eager to go back to the party and talk to people...If she was lucky maybe she'd meet a kind gentleman this even whom would be interested in her. Just as she came into the party once more, her mother appeared with quite the grin on her face.

    "My dear...we need to talk." She said smoothly, pushing her surprised daughter back out into the hallway...


    "I can't believe you mother! Behind my very own back!" Evelyn snapped at her as they road back out into the country that night.

    Mrs. Bartley had told her daughter of the arrangements that she had made, nearly sending the girl into a frenzy at the thought of having to share her own private space with the man the broke her into pieces. She had been able to bite her tongue though just in time for their gracious host to announce that dinner was ready. The rest of the evening was painful as Evelyn sat there at her table spot, surrounded by happy pairs of men and women whom had gotten closer during the before dinner drinking. While she had gone to hide her mother had arranged for the demon of her past to come live with them over winter holidays. No escape at all for her as they would more than likely be snowed in. Only after the long dinner and more drinking did they part, finally allowing for poor Evelyn to vent.

    "My dear...I haven't arranged anything by a test of his caliber. I believe that the reason the first wedding was such a horrid turn out was because your father and myself had rushed into the arrangements without thinking of Callum habits. He was frisky and young and we had paid it no mind thinking he'd grow out of it for the wedding day. How wrong we were! This though...this is to make sure that he is worth our families time. Unless I approve of his ways, he will not be allowed to may any proposals to you. And also, keep in mind you are always allowed to say no. I will not have you marrying anyone whom I do not approve of. Besides, Callum seems to have hardly changed since back then, so I doubt he'll last through the holidays."

    With that said, Evelyn sighed. As much as she hated to admit it, her mother was right. This was not the arrangement it had been before. It was a test of Callum's character and she had every right to turn him down, even if he did change his character and actions. Leaning back, she glanced back out the window into the darkness, sighing a bit. Hopefully she would have some peace before this raging storm fell upon her.


    Fall came without warning, marking the arrival of Mr. Alcott's son. The guest room was prepared from him on the first floor, far away from the servants quarters and Evelyn's room. Strong threats of removal was placed upon the maids of the house if they dared to give into any whims of Callum that would be considered improper. Also, the butlers were warned of his drinking habits and told to keep the drink cabinets locked unless otherwise stated. Evelyn kept to her private drawing room as she looked out the window, watching the stairs for the arrival of his carriage. It hurt for it reminded her of looking out the window of the church and waiting every so patiently for him to never arrive. Dressed in dark red, her collar high with bright white lace, she turned back to her cook to wait for the formal announcement of his arrival. She wasn't going to waste her time looking for him this day.
  12. After a while of thought, Callum had decided to take this as an opportunity, a challenge to pursue. Although society often had seen him as a drinker and a man whore, he had other hobbies such as reading, playing chess, shooting and hunting. He'd be permitted to ride around the grounds and so he thought that would be for the best. It didn't look like there was much in the barren countryside which had been filled with water and ice. He was mostly however tired, annoyed at the precidament he had fallen into. He sighed as the view changed ever so slightly with the same dying trees and falling snow. As he arrived, he forced himself to act like a gentlemen. The servants in sight did not glance at him for a second and he just accepted it. He had been cages up on the grounds by his father to revisit the land of social protocol and etiquette. He had no desire in wooing Evelyn. But he gritted his teeth, his father would have his head and strip away all he owned if he dared failed.

    He followed the maids to his bed chamber which had been cleaned to perfection. He asked where the others were in the household but they seemed absent in the moment. He sighed, it would be a long winter but he'd make do. He set up his entertainment pieces and stared at the little figures. In the other hand he held a book while briskly skimming through some of the lines. The activities were quite boring without a partner to talk to or vs.

    "Where is lady Evelyn resting?" He asked a maid. She seemed surprised at his request but brushed it aside as he followed after. Evelyn had been occupied in her room, staring out the window. He knocked on the door to capture her attention.

    "Would you like to go on a walk?" He had many things he wished to discuss and declare. He waited for her to reply. It seemed like a good idea to chat and come to better terms with each other. Callum had to make things work after all.
  13. Evelyn had become ensnared in her book quite a bit and before she even realized it, Callum had not only arrived, but settled into his room. When the knock came to her door she didn't answer, assuming it to be a maid who would then speak whatever it was that she was reporting to her. Instead of a polite made though, it was none other than the man she had been dreading to see. Shocked, she wasn't even certain on how she should answer him. Weren't her parents home? Certainly they should have been there to greet him and at least give her a warning before having to face him. Evelyn knew she couldn't be rude to him though. That would appear unladylike and improper. She was a woman of grace, albeit a scorned one. Standing up from the chair she had been reading it, she placed her book to the side and headed over towards the door.

    "I...I shall need a moment to prepare." She said simply through the door as she stood there, not having the heart to face him just yet. Standing there, she waited for his reply. Hopefully he would accept what she said and then be on his way to the main door. Since the ground was covered in snow there wasn't much to see in the gardens around the house so they would have to stick to the stone paths around the grounds. It was't anything special but they would be certain not to wallow in mud that way. Even if she was not fond of him that did not mean she was going to make him walk in slush and snow, and she certainly had no intention of doing that either.
  14. He stood his ground, he wasn't really giving her an option to turn him down. Her parents seemed absent and he wanted to discuss the situation. Because, truly, how the hell was this all suppose to work? It made him feel like a devil when he considered the option of toying with her. If he could only get her to agree to a marriage, then he'd be able to return to his glamorous world of women and drinking. She wouldn't ever need to know if he took a mistress or not. He smiled coyly.

    "Hurry up now, time's ticking." He called as he waited outside.

    He was warmly dressed and now pacing back and forth in the hallway looking like a madman. The servants stared at him but quickly avoided his glance as they scurried off to do their work. He was pretty sure that they had been ordered to do their work and not bother him. His father must have emphasized his nature with the women of the staff because seriously, they ran when they caught a glance of him. Irritating, truly.
  15. Evelyn was in no rush to go out with Callum, taking her time even as the man insisted that she hurry herself up. He certainly wasn't going to impress her by acting this way. No, Evelyn had decided long ago that if he wanted to even have a chance to even escort her to a ball he'd have to clean up his act. She would not be fooled a second time around, that would just be sad and shameful if she let him hurt her heart twice. Thankfully her mother was kind to give her the ability to say no. She knew many girls who were not as lucky as herself in situations similar to her own. Pulling on a lover blue wool coat and tying a matching bonnet to her head, she stepped out into the hall with her gloves tucked into her pocket.

    "Sorry to have kept you waiting." She said smoothly as she started to pull her dainty gloves onto her fingers.

    Keeping her distance, she folded her now gloved hands in front of her, looking to him quietly and emotionlessly before she spoke once more. "The garden is rather snowy, so we can't walk there...but the stone path is cleared enough where we should be able to keep rather dry." Evelyn then turned and started to walk down the hall without hesitation. He would keep up if he wished to walk with her. As she lead them the maids parted, not making eye contact with Callum and politely bowing to their young mistress.
  16. Callum nodded, stiff and rigid like winter. He wasn't quite sure what he would say but he believed that they could talk about the future together. Or at least discuss it. He needed, no he wanted, DESIRED to go back home but with this sort of impediment and demand ... without her he would be kicked out. He balled his fists and clenched his jaw. Thoughts drifting into and out of his mind. Swirling like a storm overhead.

    "Stone path it is." He grumbled a bit as he could hear his own stomach rumble. He sighed, exhausted.

    Following after her, they were out in the open. The snow flooded the ground and looked as white as linen sheets. He watched her walk down the path and it thankfully, it had been swept. It was still cold but his body heat radiated him enough to keep him awake and alert.

    "I'd like to discuss this arrangement. I know you aren't happy with this but I want a fair chance ..." He didn't feel guilt honestly. He was a liar but just a tiny sliver of him didn't care. Maybe things would work out, who knew. He wanted to give it a shot. He was sure he could woo her easily. Women were easy and predictable. They enjoyed tea, pretty gifts and compliments. He would bed her before they were married. Or at least that's what he envisioned. That was actually a perfect solution. Then with no doubt they'd wed. They had to.
  17. Evelyn walked a few steps ahead of him on the stone path after they headed out the door. Callum was not someone she was going to walk in step with just yet. He had the chance on their wedding day but he threw that to the side in favor of sleeping with a whore instead. She didn't even feel the need to keep his pace as she moved along at her own faster speed to make sure he never caught up enough to stand with her. As the arrangement came up into discussion, Evelyn only gave him a sparing glance.

    "I see, so then what about it would you like to discuss?" She said lightly, keeping her tone polite but distant. He was already trying to push for her agreement? How pathetic! If he thought she was going to break so easily and give into his proposal a second time around he was a fool, as much as she had been one to accept it the first time! Still walking, the weather seemed to start to show itself as like snow fall happened all around them. There was no cold wind to chill them but light flakes seemed to dance before them and stick to their faces and eyelashes every so lightly.

    Evelyn knew that the walk wouldn't last long if it continued to snow, but all the better then. The less time she spent with him the more he would get the message that this wasn't going to be as easy as it had been the first time around.
  18. "That you will be open to this ... arrangement." He said slightly as his hands rested in the pocket of his coat.

    He breathed, releasing warm water vapor. It was getting chillier by the second and he supposed his idea hadn't been the best of the best ideas. Just by the way she was reacting, he could see the loathing she had for him. It would be quite the challenge but there had to be some way to repair the mess that had been created from the past years. If she was going to be stubborn, he would have to try even harder and that sounded like a headache.

    But first off, he had no idea what she liked and disliked. Though, at least he knew one thing she disliked. Bastards and that was exactly what Callum was.
  19. "I suppose I shall be open to it, your father went so far as to speak to my mother after all." She said smoothly as she continued to walk about the path, not minding the snow in the slightest. "However, as I have been told I have every right to deny your offer if I see fit, So I wouldn't recommend pushing me with a deal unless you are certain I will accept. For I believe, you only get one chance to ask." She added as she looked over her shoulder at him, as if daring him to try and ask her now so she could crush his hopes in having any success.

    "You've only just arrived anyway, and mother and father need to at least see you and speak with you on some arrangements before we...go about this silly waste of a winter holiday." She added then a bit bitter as she headed around a turn on the path to head back towards the house. As She moved along Evelyn took a moment to look over her lovely home of her childhood and enjoy the feel of snow on her cheeks...for such feelings would be quite rare with him around.
  20. She was reclusive and he knew it. She carried herself with grace and pride, undefeated from what he had done it was just so irritating. At least she some hate or scorn or anger. Even a little snobbiness would have been better than her needless perfection. He didn't get it, he didn't like it. After all, he was used to having women stroke his ego. That's how it ended up so big in the first place. He sighed, wishing he could knock his head on wood. He couldn't structure out a plan. There were no loop holes ... unless. Unless he found another rich lady with a dowry, he could marry her and live his comfortable life out. It was backup. If she was to be difficult, he would not push to chase after her. After all, she hadn't really seemed to take an interest in him. (And he wishes to be ego stroked) It was lowering his confidence and hopes.

    "Speaking of your mother and father, what plans do they have?" He asked as his boots squished the snow beneath his feet.

    "A ball? Something?" At least he had to have someone at his side to aid him in this match making craze. He knew little of courting ideas. He'd spent most of his time snogging in the hallways anyways.

    The wind blew and it seemed like the weather was getting colder and darker.

    "I s'ppose it's time to see your parents. I'm sure you can lead the way there and then we shall discuss ..."
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