Ailiana couldn’t help but smile as Danson headed across the room towards her. “Lady Ailana” he nodded.
“Marquess” she beamed back as a million tiny butterflies skipped in her stomach.
Her interest in the man had begun merely out of a desire to catch a husband, but as the months had past her fleeting encounter’s with him had shown him to be possibly the noblest man she’d ever met.
Polite, compassionate and loyal she thought any woman lucky enough to catch his eye would indeed be the luckiest woman alive. While she’d come at accept that may never be her. She found herself uncontrollably bashful when he was around.
“I hear you no longer grace the castle?” he asked.
“I do” she smiled, “Just not Daniel’s”
“It’s a shame I’m sure you will be missed” Danson smiled.
“I don’t suppose I will be, but it’s nice for you to say so”
“I think you are more important around the castle than you realise” he reasoned.
“I would like to think I was important to some people” she asked hopefully. Daring a little, to hope in his roundabout way, he was trying to say he would miss her.
“Joseph will be most aggrieved, I think you are important to him” he clarified.
Her heart sank, “And he is to me” she whispered “but he will be leaving for University as soon as Christmas is over, so I dare say he’ll get used to it quickly”
“What’s the matter Lady Ailana?”
She wanted to scream at him. Tell him that Joseph was a pig, who talked while he ate and who’s idea’s of courtship, led his hands to roam where they were not welcome.
Most of all she wanted to tell him that of all things. She wished he was the one that would miss her, but instead she smiled weakly. “Nothing…. I’m fine” she whispered.
“I must admit” he smiled “I have not seen you and Joseph together as much in the recent weeks. Are things well? Is he behaving after our little talk?”
“He’s behaving better” she nodded, trying to shake the disappointment.
Yes it was true Joseph have ceased putting pressure on for ‘that’ having finally realised that perhaps he was not as ready as he’d thought, it did not however make things better. His hands still roamed and he still sulked like a child each time she pushed him away.
He was only three years younger than but the gap felt like thirty. Conversations where often laboured and having realised she was no-longer going to entertain his every advance his eagerness to court her had somewhat dwindled and his visit’s where somewhat less.
Still Abel had said Joseph would return from university a man and so she clung on to what she considered to be her only realistic hope for marriage.