Forgotten Embers

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You Haven’t Met

She was tall, certainly taller than he was, he being quite unremarkable in many ways. He was a man of ordinary height and stature, whereas she was a woman of stretched appearance. She was fair skinned with soft grey-blue eyes and long, silvery hair which she had pulled back loosely in a tie. She wore a dark cloak over her light blue cloth button dress which fell around her ankles, and he his usual suit jacket with a vest and tie.

They walked together through the crowd of people gathered around the large wooden platform, anxiously awaiting the next scheduled speaker, and she wondered how they would slip away in the sea of unfamiliar faces. He had tried to lose himself in the crowd, becoming a part of the masses, but she was surprised that they hadn't been stopped yet by anyone. That was something she remembered well, being stopped, especially with him, and he was always so happy and willing to talk. Although, it was in their best interest now that they didn't.

"Well, how did I do?" he asked her cheerily, looking to her with hopeful eyes of brown with speckled orange.

She sighed, shaking her head at him. "Wonderfully, as always," she told him, her face a considerate smile. "But I wish you wouldn't agree to speak at such large gatherings," she gently chided, "and I don't understand why you insisted on bringing me with you." She paused, giving a second glance to her friend's smiling face. "You're going to get us both into trouble, you know."

His eyes shifted as they met hers. "You know it helps me to have you here," he softly reminded her. "Besides," he said again, keeping his voice low, "I've only seen a measly seven of Kallida's spies today." His earnest countenance broke into a joking grin, and his failure to keep a straight face contributed to the immediacy of his jest.

She smiled, shaking her head again, and her lips gave way to a small grin. "Your ridiculous jokes will get us in trouble faster than anything," she replied with stifled laughter.

He smiled, lifting his gaze to the blue sky above them. "You know I wouldn't have come if Jordan hadn't requested it," he casually mentioned, seeking to answer her without drawing much attention from anyone.

"Mr.. Carder," she gracefully corrected, missing neither stride nor measure, "is a lovely man whom you, Mr.. Waverley, haven't met."

"Hmm... yes," he sighed, lowering his head with a frown. "Still, I had hoped to see him here. I had thought he might have some involvement, particularly since he invited me, no matter how uncommonly late."

"Well, being as this is the annual meeting of the Kingsmen for the northeastern region and being as Mr.. Carder is their representative on the Council, I would expect that he is also helping to oversee things."

"Yes, but," he let out a sad sigh, "why invite me if not to say hello?"

"Perhaps he's unaware," she suggested.

"Perhaps," he mumbled indistinguishably, his countenance fallen.

She stopped suddenly, holding their progress to a pause. "Horace," she uttered with a quiet sternness which caused him to refocus his attentions.

He had gotten a step ahead of her and turned suddenly, looking on her with furrowed brow. "Yes, Dorothy?" he responded kindly.

"All is well," she assured him, and her lips gave way to a small smile, her soft blue eyes meeting the fiery tinge of his own.

"Yes," he said with a nod, and his eyes dropped away. "Yes, of course. It is well, isn't it?"

"You know, Mr.. Waverley, you're much better happy," she told him.

He smiled with some seeming amusement, and he lifted his eyes to hers. "Is that so?" he asked with stifled pleasantry.

She nodded. "I know you miss them," she said, her voice dropping as she offered him her heartfelt sympathies. "There are those missing from all of us."

His eyes were filled with a gentle intensity, and she stopped, feeling the weight of them as they watched her. They stood in silence for a moment, and he sighed, a fond smile crossing his kindly countenance.

"I am grateful to have you here," he said, taking a step towards her. "Had you gone, I..." he shook his head, "well, I don't know what I would have done."

"You know, Horace," she said with a smile, "this is an awfully bad time to mention it."

He grinned and looked as if he might have offered some quip or witty retort had he not been interrupted by the voice of another man.

"Horatio!" the man called out with great effervescence and friendly enthusiasm.

They turned their heads to look, their eyes met with the fine sight of their ever whimsical friend, and they both smiled as they watched Jordan quickly push his way through the crowd from the far side of the camp to theirs.

'Horatio...' She shook her head. 'I'll take it to mean that he's figured us out, then.'

"Good God, man, are you leaving?" Carder asked him, noting their nearness to the horse stables.

"Well, we were..." he sheepishly admitted.

"We have another appointment," Dorothy explained.

"Is that so?" Jordan asked him.

"Yes, I'm afraid we hadn't anticipated coming but for your request," Mr.. Waverley told him.

"Pish posh! You must stay for lunch. I have heard such great good of you from Pyre that I had anxiously anticipated having the chance to finally meet you, Mister..." he paused, keeping his eyes intently set on Waverley. "I'm sorry," he muttered. "You remind me of an old friend."

"Any friend of yours is an honor to be compared with, sir," he graciously responded. "And the name is Waverley," he added with a slight bow.

"Well, I do wish you'd stay, Mr.. Waverley," he said again, and looking over to Dorothy added, "Both you and your wife are more than welcome to lunch, and perhaps some tea?"

She smiled, amused at the offer of tea, which seemed more like bribery than anything else.

"Oh no," Mr.. Waverley quickly corrected, "Miss Trimble here is a lovely lady and the dearest of friends, but..." Jordan watched him, his eyes faintly questioning, and Waverley shifted his weight with some discomfort. "We aren't romantically involved."

"Oh?" Jordan said with a look of surprise and the sound of some disappointment. "Well, my apologies to you," he muttered. "I'm sorry to have supposed something so fragile."

She smiled with appreciation. 'Jordan Carder, ever the man of courtesy. He seems so disappointed by it. Though, he would never say. Still, I wonder how much he knows.'

"Still," he said, moving the conversation quickly forward from his fallacious accusation, "Mr.. Waverley, Miss Trimble, the offer is still open - lunch?"

Waverley turned his eyes to Dorothy, who smiled at him. "Yes, of course," she said pleasantly. "He would be delighted."

"And what of yourself, Miss Trimble?" he asked her. "You're more than welcome to join us," Jordan quickly made certain to remind her.

"Thank you," she said, "but I'm afraid we are expected elsewhere, and I think it best that one of us should keep our appointment."

"Carry with you my apologies," Waverley earnestly requested.

"Of course," she responded kindly. "Lovely to meet you, Mr.. Carder," she told him by way of parting.

"Likewise, Miss Trimble," he said, taking her hand and kissing it. "It has been an absolute pleasure," he told her emphatically, his eyes fixed on hers as if to help her understand.

"Mr.. Waverley," she added, turning to her constant friend and present companion.

"Miss Trimble," he said by means of acknowledgement.

"Stay out of trouble," she implored him with a voice like a whisper, and he smiled.

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