It’s time for Fiction Friday! How does Fiction Friday work? Well, kind of like those old Choose Your Own Adventure stories, but with a lot more room. Read the installment of the story below. At the end, you’ll find a question. You the reader will get to determine what happens next. Leave a comment. I’ll pick one at random. You get to determine where the plot goes. So read, enjoy, and tell me what you want to happen next.
FICTION FRIDAY – Segment 10
Air whooshed from Olivia’s lungs. She was actually thankful for the lack of air. It kept her from saying anything she might regret in response to John’s cutting comment.
I figured it would be the best way to prove to her that we wouldn’t suit at all.
She waited, expecting him to continue. He had to have more to say. Something along the lines of realizing his mother was right after all and they suited perfectly. Even that he was beginning to see her differently would work.
Silence reigned in the garden.
John strolled on down the path, not bothered a bit by his revelation to her. Given the way she reacted to him in London he probably thought she was grateful for his statement. Olivia focused on keeping her feet moving. If she allowed her hurt to freeze her in place, she would draw his attention.
“Of course,” she finally squeezed out. She winced slightly but didn’t think he noticed.
“Mother will have someone else in mind when we return to London, I’m sure, but by then the season will be approaching an end. I’ll have another year’s reprieve.”
“Do you intend to invite next year’s candidate on a tour of the country as well? You won’t be able to keep Minnie away from London again next year.” Olivia fought to keep the bitterness from her voice. She refused to allow him to strip her of her pride, even if inadvertently.
“I am aware of that, Olivia, but now have several months to think of a new plan.”
Olivia felt she had to make one stab at changing his mind. “You could get married.”
He looked at her from the corner of his eye. “I have nothing against marriage. I just don’t want my mother planning it for me. I would like to select my own wife.”
“So you would avoid someone just to spite her?”
She walked two paces past him before she realized he stopped short. Her skirts whirled as she turned to face him. His eyes were narrowed as they watched her closely.
“Miss Bedford, are you suggesting you would like me to consider you for the position of my viscountess?”
Panic filled Olivia’s stomach. What was she to do now? She couldn’t let him know that he’d hit the nail on the head. “Obviously you don’t remember our discussion while dancing in London. I believe I told you then I had no romantic leanings toward you and my own mother made me dance with you.”
Tense moments passed before a smile split his handsome features. “Perhaps our mothers should get together then, hmmm? They can form a club.”
“Mmm, yes. They can meet twice monthly and lament their disobedient children.” Tears began to burn behind Olivia’s eyes. She had to return to the house immediately if she wanted to keep the truth to herself. “I fear I am more tired from the journey than I first thought. I will leave you now and retire to the house. Enjoy your walk.”
She stalked past him and retreated the way they had come as quickly as she felt acceptable. Once she rounded a particularly large plant, she began to run.
“Garden blooms are pretty.” Mrs. Ruggiford sat next to her friend on the sofa in the drawing room that night. They were awaiting the rest of the party before walking in to dinner.
“Yes, I spent a great deal of time with the gardener the past year until we found the perfect arrangement. I like the effect.” Lady Mulligan was a sharp contrast next to her friend. Olivia would never have placed them together as close companions. Where Mrs. Ruggiford was sharp and rough, Lady Mulligan was grace personified.
“Went for a walk in them today.”
Olivia’s attention flew to the older woman. “You did?”
“Had to stretch my legs after traveling.”
Olivia waited to see if Mrs. Ruggiford was going to mention seeing her and the Viscount in the garden. It was possible she had walked in a different direction. The gardens were quite vast.
John entered and kissed his aunt’s cheek. “Aunt Lillian, I see you and Lady Mulligan haven’t lost a moment.”
“Of course not. I’m smarter than you.”
John paused in the act of pouring himself a drink. “I beg your pardon?”
“You heard me. You think I wanted to spend three days more than we had to in order to see the countryside on our way here?”
“Er, no.” John took a slow sip, watching his aunt with an odd expression, as if her were waiting for the sign he would have to haul her off to be committed.
“No. Family said it would be a good idea. Sure enough it was.”
Olivia felt her cheeks burn. It was a clear reference to her conversation with John in the garden. Mrs. Ruggiford was trying to get John to reconsider.
John, however, was made of sterner stuff. “I’m glad you feel it has worked out for you. Family can tend to be a bit blind to what you really need sometimes. Fortunately, that was not true in your case. “
The two stared at each other. The room grew more and more uncomfortable.
Lady Mulligan’s eyes suddenly lit up. She gripped her friend’s hand and smiled in a way Olivia didn’t begin to trust. “I have a wonderful idea!”
Okay, Alana, (or someone else if they want to challenge her!)what is Lady Mulligan’s idea? It’s going to be something to try to further her friend’s agenda at getting these two together. Are they going to put on a play? Have a scavenger hunt?