-Lost of words-
Mimi MCcarthy's POV
Janis spun so quickly that she lost her footing and grabbed the back of the chair for support. Matthew took a step toward Janis then stopped himself. He looked uncertainly from her to Angell.
I felt as if my whole body had been doused in ice water, then set on fire. I glared at Angell, who sat negligently on the armchair because I could not bring myself to look, Matthew. Matthew, of course, It all made perfect sense. as I stared at Angell’s passive face, the pieces fell into place....... the way Matthew initially agreed with my plan to find Janis a husband, then had such trouble carrying it out. In his estimations, no one had been good enough. The way he constantly antagonized Angell and predicted failure for him over and over even though he admitted of liking him. The way he chastised and bullied Janis then stare at her in bewilderment when he thought no one else was looking. I had thought it was disapproval. But in the light of this, his disapproval was clearly the self-condemnation of a guilty man.
It was all so clear to me now that I’ve been practically slapped across the face with it. What a fool I’ve been not to have seen it, when Angell had picked up on it right away. My eyes focused on Angell’s face.
“What’s the matter?” Matthew asked.
I envied him with his temporary oblivion. For a moment, it struck me as almost cruel to lower the boom on him with this, the revelation of his most terrible, guilty secret. He was so clearly unprepared for it. Angell didn’t say anything and Janis looked as if she were incapable of speech, she stood rooted to the spot, her hand knotted to the back of the chair staring at Matthew as if he’d materialized out of thin air.
“Is something the matter?” Matthew asked again, trepidation spreading across his features.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t suspect,” a bewildered Angell said to him. I looked up back at him, feeling the same incredulity that he obviously said.
“No, I didn’t. I honestly didn’t.” Matthew cleared his throat nervously. “Suspect what?” Janis turned her back at us and moved to sit in a straight-backed chair against the wall.
“I didn’t say anything ” she whimpered, staring at the door. “I didn’t say anything, I swear.” At her word, Matthew blanched.
“Good heavens,” he said, stricken and grabbed the back of a chair much the way Janis did a minute ago.
Janis looked up, “I swear, Matthew, I didn’t say anything.” I was amazed by the dejected look on my sister’s face. Did she fear his reaction so much? Had Matthew been the one who decided to leave her in the mess? At the thought, a towering rage erupted inside of me.
“So it’s you!” I exploded, rising to my feet, “you’re the one who did this-who wouldn’t let her tell?” Matthew grasped back at me.
“Matthew.Chandler. Flynn,” I said with my voice breathless and compelling, “On what’s left of your honor as a gentleman and as a friend to this family, are you the man who defiled my sister?” Janis let go a sob from her chair. Matthew glanced over at her with his expression torn between devotion and humiliation.
“I-” he began. No one moved. He tried to continue. “It’s-she-”
“I forced him to do it,” Janis blurted out. “He thought it’s improper, unseemly. Aren’t you proud of him, Mimi? He’s so like you.” I raised a shaking hand to her tear-wet face. “But I loved him. I wanted him. Then, after it happened, he couldn’t live with himself- couldn’t live with the disgrace.” She buried her face in her hands.
I looked at him in disbelief. “You were ashamed of her?”
“No!” Matthew found his voice. “I wasn’t ashamed of her-i was ashamed for her. Mimi,” he implored, “you must understand. She can’t marry me. What would people think? What would they say? For chrissake, she had a duke wanting to ask for her hand!”
“Matthew-” I began. My insides quivered and I could not escape the feeling that the moment was vital, more so even than was obvious and somehow inevitable.
“She’d be miserable and you know it,” he continued, then threw a hand out towards Janis, ” look at her, her shoes alone cost more than I make in a month. She’d grow to hate me.” He shook his head as he stared at Janis who couldn’t even look at him, his face and neck were flaming red. I turned to Janis who sobbed dramatically, her face still on the wall. “Janis,” I said. Then louder to be heard over the din, “Janis, listen to me.” Janis raised her tear stained face and pouted in Matthew’s direction.
“Do you want to marry Matthew?” I asked. I was acutely aware of Angell’s eyes on me as I spoke, assessing every word, I was sure.“Be honest, Jan. This is important. ” Janis swallowed hard and nodded like a child asked if a sugarplum would make it better.
“Then you must marry her, Matthew,” I said, turning back at him. “That’s all there is to it.”
Janis took a light slurping sip from the vegetable soup spoon as she lay in bed with a tray across her legs. Her sobbing had creased the moment I have taken her from the room and now all that was left of the scene were the red patches on Janis’s cheek from her tears.
“So. . . ” Janis looked at me over the spoon and sipped before continuing, “do you really think father will approve of Matthew.” I felt my shoulders sag. “Of course he will. He thinks the world of Matthew.”
“But-” she slurped again. “But the marriage would be so unequal. . . .” I smiled, sure of this position at least. “Father will make sure he’s successful.” Janis leaned back and pushed her tray to the side with a satisfied sigh, she crossed her hands behind her head. “So it all works out after all. You see, Mimi? Life is quite simple if you just know what you want.”
I leveled a glare at her. "Simple." She repeated. "you think it was simple to go all the way out to Missouri, dig up some man to marry you, teach him manners-"
“Oh, give it up already Mimi,” Janis said, waving her off with a hand. “You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it.”
“Enjoy it!” I stood with my outrage. “You think I enjoyed chasing across the country to find a husband for you?”
“Well, no, maybe not at first. And you know I do appreciate that.” I scoffed in frustration.
“In any case,” Janis’s voice chirped merrily, “it gave you the chance to meet Angell and you can’t tell me you don’t think that was worth it.” I turned quickly away from my sister’s prying eyes, my own filling with tears.
“Yes, of course, I’ve enjoyed him. He turned into a charming gentleman.” I smiled at Janis who was busy smiling at me wonderfully.
“Right now, Mimi you’ve to go talk to Angell now, at least apologize to him,” she insisted with a weak smile.
I sighed. “OK I will”.
Third person's POV
In the glow of the hall lamp, Mimi stood in a pink dressing gown, her hands clasped together at her waist.
"I’m sorry to disturb you." She said, her low voice tingling up his spine. “But I . . . . I couldn’t sleep and I saw your light and I thought we should talk a moment. May I come in?” Angell felt his stomach drop to his knees and thought, this is it. She was going to get rid of him and no doubt she’d be relieved about it coming morning. She couldn’t even sleep, she was in such a hurry to do it.
He nodded and backed up a step. “So,” he said with a forced laugh as she entered the room, filling his senses with a freshly bathed, lavender scent as she passed. “Here we go again, alone in an unsuitable place.” She looked so pained at the words that Angell felt a pang of remorse. He added gently, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to needle you, I admire what you did tonight Mimi. It was the right thing to do.” He closed the door behind him, uncomfortably aware of the heated direction of his thoughts as he shut out the world with a turned off his waist.
The light was dim, the fire was dying and only the one lamp burned on the other side of the room. Thoughts Mimi’s hair was pulled back, it still glowed with a richness he knew it would have only in the dark private recesses of his bedroom.
“Sometimes the closest thing is the harder they are to see.” Her legs were a filmy outline through her robe and he remembered clearly how firm that slim waist felt beneath his hand. oh my goodness.
Don't forget to vote, comment and drop feedbacks/reviews, thank you.