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   Chapter 5 NO.5

Through It All By madairifa Characters: 11966

Updated: 2018-01-12 11:33


"So that is it then? No do you like her or anything of that sort?"

Adam nods mutely as he holds the hand scraper in his bristly hand and looks down at the wooden chair in front of him. He is almost finished; all he needs to do add the varnish and this week's order would be completed.

Daniel leans against the wall watching him work. "Sounds a lot like my marriage."

"Other than you being engaged since you were twelve, yes, it does sound a lot like your marriage, " Adam replies giving him a teasing look.

"Fifteen, " Daniel corrects. "Who is your betrothed? Throughout the whole conversation, you have managed to avoid saying who the lucky girl is."

"You haven't heard? I thought everyone knew by now."

Daniel shrugs. "You know how I keep away from gossip."

"You're attending the party, aren't you?"

"You mean your engagement party? Of course."

Adam runs his hands down the chair satisfied with his work. "Then you will find out who the lucky girl is then."

Daniel chuckles. "Keeping me in suspense, I see." He grabs his jacket and starts towards the door. "I will have to leave you, my father wants to have a family meeting of some sort."

Adam nods. "How is your wife? I hope she's doing well."

Daniel replies dismissively, "She's doing fine. She's happier, I think."

"Happier? She hasn't been to Lakewood to know if she's happier in New York."

"Trust me, she doesn't need to come here, I know she is happier in New York. I'd be happier in New York."

Adam chuckles as Daniel exits the carpentry. He tries hard to distract himself with his work but his mind drifts to the engagement party. He always thought of himself getting married when he was at least twenty five. There are many things he wants to do before settling with a wife. After he graduated from the university, he swore he would enjoy his youth. He even started to make plans to travel the world with his former college classmates. Getting married will only bring all this to an abrupt stop.

He stretches his throbbing back as he looks out the window thoughtfully. How come when he was at the Willis residence, these plans didn't seem to matter? It didn't even cross his mind when he sat opposite Sophia back when they were having dinner. In fact, Sophia was a very pretty woman once he saw her up close. Her soft blue eyes spoke volumes even when her shy demeanor didn't. Adam saw everything he had failed to see at that Christmas party. Her beauty, her thin and small body hidden under her great gown, her gracious and charismatic behavior, all this he saw in the two hours he remained at the Willis residence. Of course he couldn't help himself from comparing her to Lucia. He had the pleasure to be accompanied by the woman every man in Lakewood want, and yet his eyes seem to always drift to her sister, to his fiancé.

"Thinking of how your life has been ruined?" he heard his father say, he hadn't noticed when he entered the room.

Adam clears his throat. "Not exactly, " he admits.

His father laughs and positions himself on the same chair Adam was finishing. "Are you excited for tonight?"

"Father, can we perhaps, wait for a couple of years for this marriage?" It took him a lot of strength to finally ask his father.

"Why? Did you not like your fiancé?"

"It's not that, it has nothing to do with Miss Willis. I just see how I absolutely not have a say in this matter, perhaps I can at least, decide when this marriage is going to take place."

His father shakes his head. "You cannot. Miss Willis won't wait forever."

"I think, she has waited her whole life, a few more years won't make a difference."

His father laughs at his reply. "Maybe, but other men won't lose their chance to ask for her hand, of that I am sure."

"There are men who want to marry her?" he asks. The men he knows, don't even notice her.

"Why yes, plenty. And let me tell you something, these men are envious. You have the most beautiful fiancé in town."

Adam thinks about it. Sophia wasn't really in the men's lists of the most desirable women of Lakewood, but he could see why men would be envious. He turns towards the window remembering Sophia's innocent eyes. His father, satisfied with the conversation heads to his office and lets Adam daydream. He watches people walk by, men nod his way acknowledging him, some girls wave at him and he smiles in return. But his eyes halt on one specific girl.

Sophia walks by right across the street in her red dress, taking everything in. Every now and then she smiles and waves gently to whoever greets her. Her chaperon, the old aged lady in a big dress, holds a basket as she converses with Sophia. He feels his heart race at the sight of her, is it nervousness? Is it excitement? Whatever the feeling, he decides to walk out the door, his eyes fixed on the girl in the red dress. She stops in front of a store's window admiring the dresses it showcased. He is a few feet away when she turns as if she felt him walking towards her. She gives him a sweet smile.

"Miss Willis, " he greets once he approaches her.

"Mr. Lancaster, " she replies as she curtsies. "How do you do?"

"Very well, thank you. I see you are shopping, " he observes.

"Yes. Father wants me to wear a brand new dress for tonight. We were just about to return."

Silence follows and Adam looks into Sophia's eyes realizing that he had missed them since their first encounter which confuses him for how could he have missed someone when he had only met them once? The sound of their surroundings seemed to have been shut down for a moment as he dreads the moment she will look away shyly.

"Do you mind if I accompany you in this walk?" Adam finds himself asking.

Sophia seems surprised. "I don't know if..." she trails off as she turns to her chaperon.

"Do not worry about me, you are technically engaged, there is no need for me to be present. I'll meet you back home, yes?" Gilda replies with a grin.

"Thank

you, " Sophia replies. As Gilda walks away, Adam offers her his arm and Sophia accepts it, looping her arm around his.

They start walking in a slow and steady pace; Sophia's arm is warm on his. "Your chaperone, uh..."

"Gilda."

"Yes, Gilda, she seems to really enjoy your company. You don't see that often."

Sophia laughs lowly. "Well Gilda is more than the chaperone. She was my care taker when I was a toddler, my teacher when I was a child as well as my governess. She's been with me since the beginning, you can't help but form a bond."

"Uh. She was all that?"

"Yes, " she nods. "Lucia and I have are very fortunate, she's a great woman."

Adam nods as he hears the attachment to her chaperone in her voice. And for some reason, he finds himself wanting to know more. More about her life, her childhood, her education, everything he can possibly find out about her, he wants to know. He shakes his head in confusion, he hasn't felt this way with anyone. No one at all, what kind of witchery did Sophia have that makes him feel this way?

"I understand you came back from college, " she starts interrupting his thoughts. "I bet it was a fun experience."

"It was. You meet all kinds of people in place like that. It's very refreshing."

"What were your studies?"

"Business management mainly. If I'm going to inherit the family business, I have to know what I'm doing."

"Of course, " she comments.

"So, " he says after a moment of silence. "Are you prepared for tonight?"

"I am. My mother has been after me all this time, if I got my jewelry, if I had my dress, what am I going to do with my hair. I am glad she will finally just let me be." She turns to look at him, but he doesn't dare to look back, he fears he would get more unknown feelings.

"May I ask you a question?"

He looks at her for a split second. "Of course."

Sophia takes a deep breath. "I know I may be speaking out of line, but I feel that we should have talked about this the other night."

"What is it?" he asks intrigued.

"Do you want to get married?"

He turns to look at her surprised by her frankness, he hesitates to answer. Though his opinion of her has changed, and his opinion on marriage has not been unaltered, he still wasn't sure if he wants to marry her.

"You can tell me the truth. I'll understand, " she urges.

"Well..." He struggles to find the right words. "I didn't think that I would get married so soon, " he answers carefully.

"I see, " she replies.

"I do wish to postpone it for at least a few years."

She nods. "Because you have plans, don't you?"

Adam nods. "Yes, I wanted to expand my horizons, explore the world, visit France, Italy, and Great Britain..."

"And marriage will ruin it, " she interrupts determinedly.

"I wouldn't say ruin..."

Sophia lets out a laugh. "Alright, a wife will only hold you back. You already saw a bit of the world when you attended college and you are hungry for more, I understand completely."

Adam blinks in surprise. "You really do."

"Of course, I might not go out much but I have books, and books have always been my getaway, my way of exploring the world. And if anyone was to take that away from me, then I would feel as if I was caged." She pauses and comes to a halt. Adam realizes they have walked past the busy streets and now are in a small isolated park. "I can't say we can postpone the wedding, it has been postponed for far too long for my father's liking."

Adam gives her a puzzled look. What is she trying to say?

"I might be able to speak to him and cancel the wedding. I don't know what I will tell him but something will come to mind."

Adam is flabbergasted, he can't believe she has offered to do such a thing. "No, " he says without thinking. "I mean you don't have to do it. Don't you want to be married?"

"Of course I do. Is the only thing I want in this life. I know it sounds petty but I feel like I was put in this world to have a family."

Adam feels a pang in his stomach. He feels horrible for telling her of his wish to postpone the wedding, it's her dream, her goal in life and he is ruining it by being selfish.

"But I don't want to condemn you to a lifetime full of regrets, " Sophia finishes softly.

"But I won't have any regrets, " he says in an attempt to relieve himself from the guilt he's feeling.

"Yes, you will. I will speak to my father and..."

"No, " he finds himself interrupting. "Don't do that. I'll do it. I will call it off."

She smiles, leaving Adam even more confused. "You will talk to my father?"

"Yes, I'll talk to Mr. Willis right now." He starts walking decidedly but Sophia holds on to his arm tightly.

"No, you can't, " she says hurriedly.

"Why not?" he inquires.

"Because my father won't be very fond of it. I fear he might hurt you."

"Mr. Willis?" he asks puzzled. Mr. Willis is the most charismatic man in town.

"Yes. He is very protective over his daughters, " she explains.

"When do you suggest I cancel it then?"

"Tonight?" she responds.

"Tonight? That is mad. Do you have any idea how humiliating it will be for you? I will not ruin your reputation. It will make it harder for you to find someone else to marry, I can't."

"Yes, yes, I know. People will talk and they will criticize but none of that matters. As for finding another man to marry, I'm sure my father has a list of alternative suiters somewhere, " she replies determinedly making Adam chuckle. How can she be taking all this so lightly? "And also if you do it in front of the guests, " she continues. "My father won't hurt you."

"Is that really how you want it done?"

She nods giving him a smile. "It is."

Adam offers his arm again unable to find any words. He finds himself admiring Sophia's straightforwardness and bravery. Then he starts asking himself, did he really not want to marry Sophia? Wouldn't she make a fine wife? Why would he waste an opportunity like this?

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