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   Chapter 4 NO.4

Through It All By madairifa Characters: 10761

Updated: 2018-01-12 11:32


It was the longest day in Sophia's life. The Willis family dedicated themselves to get everything ready for the big dinner party. Sophia tried hard to focus as Gilda gave her a wide variety of dresses to choose from and as she tried different hairstyles on her, but as much as she wanted to be optimistic, Daniel Smith's face ran through her head like a dark cloud. How could he have done that to her? To his wife? Since Daniel was raised abroad, people from this village didn't know much about him. Apparently, Daniel got married some place far away where no one was nosy enough to care.

Daniel was the only man that made her feel like she could be loved. She had just turned eighteen and she was so na?ve. Daniel made her feel so pretty, and since she was excited to let society know she was available for marriage, Daniel's sudden interest in her made her so glad that she might get married sooner than she thought. But months had gone by and Sophia kept seeing Daniel as often as she could. Daniel insisted that it would be best if they met in secret for he wouldn't be able to show her how much he cared for her with a chaperone by their side. Now she knows that he didn't want to be seen being unfaithful.

She sits on her bed unable to move. She loves him. She still can't believe how blind she was. Tears start rolling down her cheeks for the hundredth time since she last saw Daniel, why did it have to happen to her? She feels so ashamed, though it did not get too far, she still felt filthy, and no matter how much scrubbing she did, the feeling will not leave her.

"Sophia?"

She turns slowly towards the closed door. "We are ready for you in the drawing room, " Gilda's voice announces.

Sophia nods trying to gain some courage. She takes one last look at herself in the mirror thinking that perhaps things won't be as bad as she thinks, maybe he will like her, she smiles but then it fades, or maybe he won't. She steps out of her room running her nervous hands down her best dress. She can start over. She has to start over, and this time she won't make any mistakes.

??? ? ???

"There she is, " she hear her father say the second the door is opened for her grand entrance. "Here comes the light of this house." Sophia smiles shyly and curtsies quietly. "Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster, I want to introduce you to my youngest daughter, Sophia Mary." Sophia turns towards the Lancaster family slowly as her father introduces them one by one.

Mr. Adam Lancaster senior is an elegant man with silver hair and he smiles greatly at her, the woman in an extravagant dress holding his arm is Adam's mother, a boy of about twelve years of age who is standing quietly behind them is the youngest son named John, and beside them, stands Adam, his deep brown eyes meet hers and she rapidly looks down at the floor feeling foolish.

"Darling, " says her mother. "Why don't you play a song for us? We were just telling them how gifted you are at playing the piano." Sophia saw this coming. Playing an instrument was the way to impress a gentleman, that's what her mother always told her. Which is the sole reason why they encouraged her to learn.

She nods obediently, and walks towards the awaiting piano. She notices Lucia standing next to their mother watching her expectantly to see her fail. Sophia tries her best to ignore her.

??? ? ???

After she played a song, they proceeded on to giving the Lancaster family a tour of the Willis splendid house. Throughout the tour, Sophia watches Adam absently as he walked next to her father admiring her ancestors' portraits down the hall. He is a striking man, no doubt about that. He talks firmly and elegantly. He is very courteous and he carries himself with so much confidence that she finds it difficult to look away. As she sees all these wonderful qualities, she can't help but wonder if she will be even be capable to move him a little bit.

She sees Mr. Lancaster whispering something to him and Adam gives him a smile. A very dazzling one. She catches a glimpse of her reflection on a vase that has been in her family for centuries and sighs gloomily. Though her dress is amazing, she feels she isn't keeping up with the standards. She turns to look at her beautiful sister, her fair skin and blue dreamy eyes always made Sophia feel inferior to her. Lucia, after all, inherited the incomparable beauty from their mother. As for Sophia, she simply inherited her love for reading from their father. Her eyes search for Adam one more time but panics as she finds herself locking eyes with him. She looks down rapidly with her heart beating fast hoping he could not tell her thoughts from looking into her eyes. Due to her timidities, she fails to see Adam Lancaster smiling her way as he starts seeing something in her that he has never seen in any woman before.

??? ? ???

As both families finished the walk around the house, the father's excused themselves into Mr. Willis' study to discuss the delicate subject of the bride's dowry and her inheritance. The rest of the members went their separate ways trying to waste time till dinner was announced.

Sophia and Adam are given some time alone as they keep each other company at the family's extensive library. Adam walks along the wall inspecting the book shelves. Sophia follows close behind quietly not wanting to interrupt him.

Adam

clears his throat, "Are these books just for show?"

"I think they were for some time until I started reading them. I've barely read half the wall, " she answers.

"Ah, " he replies.

Sophia looks down at her hands nervously. What else can she say? She didn't want to bore him. Nothing seems to come to mind and she feels incompetent.

"Interesting selection, " she hears him break the silence.

"My father has a very eccentric taste, " she admits as she watches him skimming through a novel by a Russian writer. He probably has never even heard of the author's name.

They stay quiet for the next ten minutes. Every now and then, he would comment on a book that would catch his eye and she would reply, but that was it. Sophia feels useless. Why was this so difficult? She can't even seem to converse with Adam without feeling self-conscious afterwards. She turns to look at Gilda desperately as if the answer to her peril was in her hands. But she simply stands quietly by the doorway and shrugs.

? ??? ?

"Gilda?" Sophia is sitting next to her as the footmen make their way around the table, each with a platter. "Do you think I am boring?"

"No, I don't think you are boring, why the question?" she replies quietly.

Sophia smiles at the servant as she helps herself not paying much attention to what is being served. "Because I am afraid I bored Mr. Lancaster."

Gilda grabs her fork and knife. "Are you mad? You were engaged in a conversation, he didn't seem bored at all."

"But he was, extremely. He seems more entertained with Lucia now than he was with me." She observes Lucia giggling as Adam speaks to her in a low voice.

Gilda takes a small bite of her food, and looks around and sees the two fathers sharing stories about their children, the two mothers chattering about their neighbors. John seems bored as he starts playing with his food, and lastly she sees Lucia smiling flirtatiously at Adam. "Don't worry about Lucia, worry about yourself."

"That is precisely what I am doing. Listen, Gilda." She wants to look at her but doesn't for she didn't want to be obvious about their conversation. "I am scared. I wanted to impress him so badly, but every time I tried, my mind went blank."

Gilda laughs like it was the most amusing thing in the world. "You needn't try so hard, he was impressed."

Sophia sees both fathers looking at her and she smiles. "No he was not. What if he doesn't like me? What happens next?"

Gilda brings her glass of wine to her lips. "Well, he might tell his father that he refuses to marry you, but is less likely that that would matter. If the father likes you, then the engagement will proceed."

"You mean, he is obligated to marry me?"

"I wouldn't say obligated but yes, something like that."

"Poor thing, " Sophia says sadly as she watches Adam from across the table. "What a wife he has come to obtain."

"Don't speak like that, " Gilda retorts. "You are going to have more dates before the actual wedding, and you'll have time to make a better impression, if that is what's worrying you."

"Really?" Sophia can feel her hopes slowly rising.

Gilda nods. "It is what happens usually."

A smile escapes Sophia's lips. Yes, that is what she needs. A second chance to try to make Adam see that she is not as tedious as she first seems. That perhaps she can be someone he won't mind to have around as his daily companion. But Lucia's presence will make this a very challenging task. She can't compete with her sister, not when he's obviously enjoying her company. Sophia looks up from her plate but once again she locks eyes with Adam. She doesn't turn away this time. Her eyes lingers on his as she searches for some sign that can maybe tell her that she did not completely repel him.

There is a sound of someone clinking a glass and everyone around the table turn their attention to Mr. Lancaster Senior.

He smiles as he has the whole room's attention. "It is settled, we will announce the engagement next Friday."

Sophia could feel the blood being drained from her face.

"It will be a pleasure to unify our families, " Mr. Lancaster finishes.

"Sophia? Are you feeling alright? You look a little pale, " she hears her father ask.

She slowly turns her attention to him. "I..." she tries to swallow but her mouth has gone dry. "I am just surprised, Friday is so soon." She turns to look at Adam for some encouragement.

Adam takes a deep breath. "Don't we have to discuss this first father?" he asks completely dazed by the news.

His father laughs and everyone laughs along with him. "There is nothing to discuss, we all saw how well you got along, so why delay the process?" Sophia's father adds something to the conversation but Sophia can't hear him. She hears nothing but her rapid heartbeats.

Everything is moving way too fast. How is all this dragging her along not permitting her to do anything about it? She doesn't even know if he wants to get married, why didn't she ask him while she had the chance? Instead of talking about books, she could've asked him what he thought about the engagement. She starts to feel lightheaded. She feels Gilda's wrinkly hand on hers.

"Why?" she whispers to herself. Why is this happening so fast? Why did she have to fall for Daniel? Why is Adam the one she is supposed to marry? Why was she so scared? Why?

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