LATER THAT DAY.
Henri was with me when I finally caught up with the musicians in the reception room. He told me he had a feeling that after luncheon, they will stay there to play for the rest of the day, and he was right. Henri beamed at me, sparkling with pride. I blushed and giggled.
Since we were there already, I suggested that we drink tea and catch up with each other. For the past few months in Paris, Henri was with the board and investors to discuss and plan the inevitable change in our company.
He helped me sat down and then went to the musicians in front with the piano man. When he sat down across from me, he said that he had a surprise. My smile was probably blinding that he laughed at the sight of me, beaming.
The stewards served us, and as if everything silenced on purpose, the musicians played my favourite piece, Camille Saint Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals: The Swan. I almost jumped out of my seat because of too much excitement. Henri laughed again, holding my hand to calm me down. But little did he know that he made it worse for my heart was pounding, faster than usual. I was filled with appreciation that he is here, and for remembering my favourite. I smiled brightly, and we enjoyed the beautiful music playing.
He told me about your plan, expanding our mining business in America. He thought it was great, and so, he wants to continue what you had in mind. Henri said it was to honour your brilliant idea and legacy. Now, here he is, on his way to New York to meet Aunt and the Board of Trustees.
As he went into details, I had no idea what the words he was saying because I clearly remembered whenever you tried to explain the business to me, it would turn out to be a bedtime story for I would snooze away. I apologize for that. I regret not paying attention to what you had loved, father. So, I tried my hardest not to fall asleep. As Henri explained the intention and progress of our business with lots of paperwork, I nodded along.
We were almost done with our teas when I overheard Mr Ismay and Mr Smith talking, more like in disagreement, because it was quite loud:
‘The maiden voyage must make the headlines!’ said Mr Ismay.
I did not hear much of what Mr Smith said as he was speaking in a low voice. It appeared that he did not want to comply with what Mr Ismay was saying. I figured they were talking about speeding up the Titanic because Mr Ismay said this:
‘Would it not be glorious to make into New York on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday, surprising everyone including the press?’
Before I could hear what Mr Smith was about to say, Henri asked how I had been doing. I was not sure how to tell Henri that I was having problems with my lack of expressing my grief and sadness. I did not mean to be rude when I questioned him to explain what he meant. But I knew, exactly, what he was doing. I was ignoring the inevitable. He looked straight into my eyes, disregarding the fact that I was trying to change the subject. He was persistent.
I looked away, he might not be my relative like Aunt Celeste but he, too, watched me grew up and had always been acting like a big brother as you raised me to be a proper lady. I suppose Henri had no idea I know his past; that you sheltered him when his parents were perished by a plague. His father was your best friend.
You took Henri before he was sent to an orphan asylum or forced to work for labour; you saved him, and now he is as close as my relationship with Auntie. But no one knew, even you, even Jane, that I like him more than just a friend.
You cannot blame me for not liking him. He is nice, father. Of course, he would be since you were the one who raised him. He is generous and has a way of making everything easy, even during hard times. He was the one who put the smile back on my face when you passed, father, and that was just from a letter he sent!
Imagine how happy I was when he told me he was coming to America with me! Now, there he was, sitting in front of me, hair, golden like the afternoon sun, blue-green eyes, full of warmth and love, and his smile complements his striking handsomeness.
But now I am as orphaned as he is.
He pulled me back from my thoughts when he caressed his thumb across my gloved hand. ‘Sierra, my dear?’ he smiled, sympathetically, ‘You can always tell me anything, you know that.’
I nodded. I blinked back the tears that were forming in my eyes, and sai, ‘Yes, Henri, I know. Thank you.’ I squeezed his hand. ‘You, being here, mean the world to me.’
He beamed at hearing my words of praise, and said, ‘I have been meaning to ask you,’ he sat up straight, ‘About the dinner party later. Would you like me to escort you?’
Smiling, and feeling the grip of his hand in mine, ‘Yes, that would be a thousand times less dull and lovely.’
He laughed. ‘Okay, I’ll meet you outside your door.’
Now here I am, writing everything to you so far that had happened this day, enjoying the view of the setting sun and my solitude. Ms Abram is having some trouble with what she would wear for tonight because I heard there would be a lot of bachelors dining later, and Ms Abram, not getting any younger, wants to meet someone. I hope she would, so she will not be as strict as she is right now. I hope she gets a taste of the feeling of being in love. Oh, Jane just entered. I better prepare for the dinner party for the bell has rung. I will write more after the party.
With love always,
Oh! I am disappointed because I have not seen Mr Sanders after our encounter at the Deck C, earlier this morning, and he promised last night that he is to show me around Deck F and beyond, today. TODAY!
How'd you like the dynamic between Sierra and Alec? Let me know in the comments! xoxo