Angell Summer

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-i don't like Inigo Alicante-

Third person’s POV

“Lucas Archerson won’t stop talking about Antique’s, paintings, statues, and birds e.t.c he’s making this dinner party a living hell for me,” she rolled her eyes at Lucas as he kept on talking about a yang Ming dynasty antique cup from 1880′s. She swallowed the last of her sherry and placed the glass on the table In front of her, careful not to let her bodice grape as she leans over, though she’d had to be covered in feathers for Lucas to notice. She let her eyes stray back to Summer but he was looking at Mr. Petrakiss and laughing, saying something that caused the whole group to smile. She could just barely hear the timbers of his voice over the chatter around her and the sound sends a tingling of energy along with her nerves.

She smiled to herself to see him looking so comfortable- so much more comfortable, in fact, than she herself ever felt. She shifted her eyes and noticed her father looking at her with an intense, interested expression. Abruptly, she straightened and wiped the smile from her face. Her father nodded to her, the tip of his mustache turning upwards before he turned his attention back to Summer. Mimi looked away, then re-positioned her body so she more directly faced Lucas and tried to look interested in the yang Ming dynasty antique book.

“More clavier? Or sherry, Miss?” One of the servant required.

“Now, this one, the Serrionai Georyo fasciata, is common to the southern territories. . . ” Lucas droned, his fingers smoothing the page several times through it lay perfectly flat. Mimi handed the servant her empty glass In exchange for a full one. Sighing, she leaned back and spilled at the warming liquid letting it soothe her agitation.

“And the serrionai flavirasiris, which resides in the Western territories-”

“This is an unusual one,” Mimi said, placing a hand on the page to stop Lucas from turning it.” Look at the green bill.”

“Yes. It’s slightly stronger than the one from Georyo at four inches-”

“Have you got any of those?” She interrupted, determined to find something interest in what the man was saying-anything to keep her eyes off of Summer.

“Oh, no,” Lucas said, looking genuinely put out. “As I said, they were carried from Labyrinth in the southern territories, and-”

“What sorts have you got?” She inquired.

“Well, mostly variations of the Ming dynasty jar, as I said.” He began flipping back through the pages again.

“Yes, it was obvious she could not spend her life with Lucas Archerson. Mimi took a deep breath and felt relaxation and a general sense of well being suffuse her. Really, she owed it to herself to speak with Angell to ask him to stay. What was the worst that could happen?. A jolt of foreboding flashed through her at the thought of him pushing her away again and she took a generous gulp of the sherry. After a moment, the liquid seemed to melt her away again, she took a generous gulp of the sherry. After a moment.

“I was pointing, ” Mimi protested. “I was gesturing. ”

“well, whatever. People are staring to look at you. ” Mimi straightened and looked around. “At me? ” she caught Angells eyes and smiled, letting herself bask in his graze for a moment. He gave her a concerned look in return. At that moment, Mrs. Archerson announced dinner, and the entire company rose to its feet. Mimi pushed herself upward and felt the room spin with the effort. Janis grabbed her arm.

“Good lord in heaven, ” Janis marveled, “you’re drunk! ” Mimi spun to face her sister but had trouble locating her face for a moment. “I am not, ” she said to it, once she found it in the crowd. Janis looked aghast. Mimi giggled. To think that Janis was angry with her for drawing attention! The irony was too absurd not to laugh. “I’m not,” she insisted, smiling.

“you’re and it’s_ it’s unseemly, ” Janis said sourly which made Mimi want to laugh again. “Come along. A little food will do you a lot of good about now. ” Mimi was seated between Francesca Montenegro and Inigo Alicanté, Janis left her with a hushed directive to finish everything on her plate but as Mimi studied the layers of meat, sweet potatoes, green beans, caviar and rolls, she could imagine fitting anything into her stomach that was not liquid. She picked up her water glass.

“Doesn’t the pheasant appeal to you? ” Mrs. Montenegro asked. she smiled, half-expecting Lucas to rise heatedly to his feet and demand to know how he was expected to eat Antiques. She pressed her lips together -this giddiness was becoming downright unseemly and see the glass down, staring at the mountains of food. ' its this corset,' she said truthfully tugging at her waist. “My sister laced it so tightly I don’t believe I can swallow a thing. ”

Mrs. Montenegro colored profusely and turned her attention to her plate. “Heavens, child, ” she murmured digging with renewed concentration into her sweet potatoes. Mimi picked up her fork and felt herself tripping to the left. She put her fingers discreetly on the table to stop the motion. Goodness, she might just be a little tipsy after all, she thought carefully depositing her fork and reaching again for her water. Her fingers stumbled against another glass, nearly knocking it over, but she gasped it in time. It was the wine. To be on the safe side, she sipped from it rather than going for the water and risking disaster.

Mimi sighed with full bodied warmth of the liquid and picked up her fork. She was thankful Mr. Alicanté was engaged in conversation with Mrs. Archerson, so he did not notice her nearly miss with the glasses.

“Did I mention that the McKinney are coming to visit? ” Mrs. Archerson was saying to him. “lovely old friends of ours from the south. ” Mimi cleared her throat and turned to Mrs. Montenegro before she could get roped into that conversation. She’d have heard a lot of bad things about the McKinney's on several occasions and a more stuffy and boring couple she couldn’t imagine. the name sounds familiar to her hearing.

“Tell me something, Mr. Montenegro, ” she said in a carefully modulated voice, “What do you think of our house guest ?”

Mr. Montenegro looked up. “Mr, Summer? A delightful fellow. Really, quite entertaining. ”

“Oh, I’m glad, ” Mimi said sincerely. “We just think the world of him.”

Mr. and Mrs. Montenegro nodded and poked a slab of the bird. “So I understand. Your father spoke quite highly of him as well.”

“Did he? ” Mimi asked.

“of course. Said he was a veritable genius when it came to the market. ” Silence descended between them as Mimi thought about that. Angell was playing his part well. Apparently. She attempted another bite of sweet potato, chewed it slowly and swallowed feeling the lump Land in her throat and stay there. It was like trying to force something into the neck of a knotted drawstring bag.

“Miss McCarthy. . .” Inigo Alicanté voice sounded close to her heart. She jumped and turned to face him, actually glad of the opportunity to put down her fork. She smiled

“you startled me.” Some people said he was a handsome man, though he was only about the same height as Mimi. He had dark slicked black hair and black smoldering eyes and he spoke with a slight Spanish accent but something about him bothered her, some element of insincerity or impropriety and she’d always kept her distance.

“I’m sorry, ” he said, his breath caressing the bare skin of her shoulders. “I merely wanted to tell you how stunning you look this evening. ” She inclined her head, feeling some nervousness return. It was something about those black eyes and the way they never seemed to look at her, but rather through her. She felt his gaze travel the length of her face, then gaze the expanse of white skin above her bodice.

“thank you, Mr. Alicanté. ” she took up the closet glass- of her wine-and sipped, blinking twice to regain her focus on his face.

Inigo smiled and his heavy-lidded eyes descended to her cleavage. “yes, I believe so, ” he cooed. Her eyes scanned the table and lit briefly on Angell who sat next to Janis. The two leaned close as he spoke. Mimi frowned and picked up her napkin.

“Why it’s just so hot, ” she said, dabbing the cloth to the corner of her mouth then moving it down to her neck in an effort to conceal herself from Inigo’s brazen eyes. Inigo took a deep breath and said slowly, “you drive me to distraction when you do that. Your skin... It’s paler even than the whitest fabric. ” his fingers rose and barely touched a corner of the napkin flipping it lightly where it hung near her breast. Mimi dropped her hand to her lap. “I-i beg your pardon? ” He leaned towards her.

“You’re lovely Miss McCarthy. ” his hand sought her thigh beneath the table and stroked it.

“perhaps we could get some air together after the meal, while the men are smoking .” Shocked at the contact, Mimi pushed back her chair, the leg screeching on the floor.

“Unhand me! ” she demanded, rising unsteadily to her feet. Crystal clanged in protest as she clutched the table for balance. Silence swallows the room and all heads turned to look at her. Mimi grazed at the stunned, curious faces around the table. She blinked and they wavered before her eyes like pebbles at the bottom of a stream.

“I-” she began. Her eyes fell on Angell and Janis.

“I’m afraid I don’t feel well at all, ” she pronounced, speaking each word carefully. “I believe, I should go home now. “.

Janis stood up. “I’ll take her. ”

Angell rose beside her and Mimi could swear she saw amusement in his face. “Don’t get up Mr. McCarthy

Please, you finish your dinner I’ll escort the ladies home. ”

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