Chameleon, a Love Story - Page 42
Friday arrived swiftly.
Cie dressed carefully for the outing with Stone. Paige had relentlessly given her a riding suit on the condition that she would wear the white satin gown for her date with Roland later that evening. The lustrous gown had been hand picked by Paige herself and she had been very insistent on the matter.
Cie held great reservations about both the gown and the rendezvous with Roland. The gown would have served nicely as a wedding dress. All it needed was a bit of netting for the hair, and wallah!
Her sly sister had arranged the day to suit her own expectations, making the date a formal evening event. So much for the two o’clock casual luncheon that had been initially established on the evening Paige had called to rearrange meeting times. Roland would be collecting her at seven. From Melrose Castle they would attend the Symphony in London.
Paige had also mentioned a late formal dinner with dancing. It should prove a very interesting day Cie mocked dryly to herself, pulling on the last polished riding boot. Books had buffed them to a glossy shine and Cie could almost detect her reflection on the dark leather.
With that thought in mind, she went to observe her trim form in the full-length oval mirror. The jodhpurs would take some getting adjusted to, although she could find nothing wrong with the outfit.
She had left her long blond hair loose, depending on the riding hat to keep it from flying into her face.
Mulligan greeted her as she descended the stairs and offered an immediate compliment. “My, but you do wonders for that outfit,” he teased.
“You are too kind, Mulligan,” she smiled, appreciating his friendliness for she was a bit apprehensive regarding her morning with Stone.
Mulligan had arrived and was conversing with Books before Cie had been graced by his attention and she remembered that the two were good friends.
Mulligan was full of whimsical tales from the moment they left the castle until he deposited her in the large familiar room at Ten Oaks, the room that Cie was beginning to know as the waiting chamber.
Her attention was once again drawn to the statue carved from olive wood as she impatiently waited for Stone’s entrance. My goodness, she was less nervous on her biannual visits to the dentist.
She tried to settle her heightened emotions, secretly convincing herself that her time with Stone was repayment for him saving her niece. If possible, her goal was to rescue him from the clutches of that evil witch, Judy Harper; perhaps an unreasonable goal but she would try nonetheless.
“Good morning, Ms. Chantel,” Stone greeted unexpectedly.
Cie gasped, startled by his sudden appearance for she had not heard him enter the room.
His face curled into a tight scowl, unable to conceal his displeasure over her reaction. Cie assumed he thought she had been startled over his concealed face rather than his impromptu entry, knowing how self-conscious he was regarding the mask.
She set down the statue and told him with a smile, “I did not hear you enter. And please, address me by my first name. We’re both Americans and I can’t see any reason for such customary British formality.”
Stone’s face seemed to relax, Cie hoping her explanation had released any uncertainties regarding his outward appearance and her startled reaction upon his entry.
He was unable to force his gaze from her. God, she did look beautiful and even more so when she smiled. He had seen this outfit on her sister before, but she sure did not fill it out like Cie. She looked like a delicate princess in uniform.
“As you wish, Cie,” he drawled, his face almost a part of the mask, for he exhibited no reaction. “Are you ready to go to the stables? The horses are in preparation for the ride.”
Cie nodded and followed alongside of him, noting that Stone had sidestepped her, placing her on the side that did not bear the mask.
The path to the stables was lovely and the air, crisp and cool in this early morning hour. Birds hovered over the blue sky above in search of food, their images seeming miniaturized by the massiveness of the castle.
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