Absence, so old wisdom goes, makes the heart grow fonder. So we writers separate our darlings and let them worry a little. This week, I’m inviting you to post about someone who is separated from a loved one: a lover, friend, or relative.
My excerpt is from Never Kiss a Toad, which I’m writing with Mariana Gabrielle. Our teenage lovers have been separated by their parents, and my heroine is writing to Mari’s hero, feeling somewhat indignant about his latest letter but being circumspect, since her father is reading all correspondence. He needn’t think she is sitting her fretting. Even if that is exactly what she is doing. (We’re posting this a bit at a time on Wattpad. Follow us to see what happens.)
Elf would make a very nice husband. Just not for Sally.
Only one man would do for Sally, and he was off enjoying himself with every tart in Paris. But he had signed his letter ‘David.’ Surely he intended to remind her of their lovemaking. The swine! As if she could forget it. As if she could ever let another man touch her the way he was undoubtedly touching his opera dancers and whores. ‘My dearest Monkey,’ indeed. Did he think she was still a child?
“Some of my suitors are pleasing enough, but I will follow your advice about taking my time to choose a husband, Toad. I shall want to know them better before I make such a momentous decision. Will we work well together? Can we grow to love one another? Will he be faithful only to me? For I mean to have a marriage like my parents, and like Grandmama has had with Uncle Winshire. I mean for us to be friends, partners, and lovers, as well as husband and wife.”
“But I am only seventeen and mean to have some fun before I settle for a single lord and master.”
Was that what Toad was doing? Having fun before settling down? What if some other respectable female sought his ‘help’ as she had done? It would not do to assume he had learned his lesson that night in the heir’s wing, and it would break her heart all over again if her sacrifice to save him from a forced marriage with her only led him to another.
“Be careful yourself, my dear friend. Do not allow your enthusiasm for your pursuits to lead you into a situation where marriage is your only honourable course.”
“When you do come to choose a bride, as heirs of dukes eventually must, I counsel you to find out more about them than their looks and their dowries. You would not want a wife you found boring, Toad. Look for someone who reads the books you love, laughs at the things you find funny, and enjoys the same kinds of activities that give you pleasure.”
Would he not be happiest with the girl he grew up with, who knew him better than anyone in the world, who had loved him her whole life? Sally sighed, and turned her head aside in time to stop a tear from staining the page.
“On that note, I must end this missive. My fondest regards to you always, David. Always.”
There. He need not think she was pining away in England waiting for him to claim her. If he could enjoy himself, so could she. And downstairs, she was keeping a room full of suitors waiting. She must go and be flattered and flirted with, and try not to drift away in a daydream where she ran off to Paris and took a job dancing at the Opera, just to catch the eye of a certain handsome rogue.