Until You by NotSew – Chapter 1

Republisher’s Note: I’ve been showing some bias as far as putting back stories I like so it’s no surprise that this is another one. Unfortunately I think it goes a little wrong in the chapter where Danny pretends he’s blind and I’m kind of worried where they were heading with the public displays of affection at the horse race, but as that ended up being the last chapter just enjoy what’s here. The first 4 chapters are definitely the best.

Author’s Note: This story is set back in time during the late 1800s in Richmond, Virginia. I’ve always thought the simplicity and social jockeying of the time period held some great storytelling possibilities. Everything is pretty much the same structure wise except that the Santos are not from Richmond (Springfield) they are from European parts unknown. Be kind to Dru, she’s a “good guy”.

Until You by NotSew – Chapter 1

Bauer Manor

“Mah-Chelle! Mah-Cheeellle!”

Michelle Bauer turned from her leisurely stroll through the Bauer gardens to greet her long-time friend Drucilla Westcott, affectionately called Dru by all who knew her.

Dru barreled down the path, then grabbing Michelle’s small elegant hands in her own, and pulled Michelle into an excited embrace.

“I have the most wonderful news!” Dru exclaimed, stepping away from Michelle.

Michelle’s deep brown eyes sparkled back at Dru.

“What on earth has gotten you so excited?” Michelle asked tucking Dru’s arm through her own and continuing down the path.

“I received an invitation today.”

Michelle laughed.

“Dru that is no great novelty. You and I both receive countless invitations to various social functions at least every other day. Only half of which we feel obligated to accept. And all of which turn out to be utterly dull occasions in which we both become quite bored. ”

“I know that,” Dru said after catching her breath, “But this one is different.”

“Does it come with a guarantee that all attendees will not be overwhelmed with boredom,” Michelle quipped.

“Michelle, this is no laughing matter. We have both been invited to the Weston gala.”

Michelle stopped in her tracks and turned to give Dru an astounded look.

“You don’t say.”

“I do say. Look, I have our invitations right here,” Dru said placing the small lavender card addressed to Michelle into her waiting hands .

Michelle tore open the seal and scanned the contents of the invitation.

“Why that old bird, Clarisse Weston! Whatever was she thinking?” Michelle said in an amused voice, cocking her head to the side.

“I don’t know,” Dru said in amazement, “I couldn’t believe it either. After what happened last year, you can imagine my surprise that we have been invited back this year. I am surprised she didn’t have us brought up on charges.”

“Humphrey Tobbs insulted you. I had to defend your honor,” Michelle said grinning at the memory.

“Michelle, you challenged him to a duel on the Weston’s front lawn!”

“Well he deserved it. Humphrey Tobbs is an ass. And besides, if memory serves me correctly it was your dainty little foot that tripped Humphrey sending his saber into the hind quarters of Nathan Weston.”

“I guess it was quite amusing now that I think about it,” Dru said before joining Michelle in a fit of laughter.

The girls resumed walking along the path, both lost in thoughtful silence.

“Dru, why do you suppose she has invited us?”

“When you think about it how could she not? You are the most sought after girl of the season. And my family is one of the richest in Richmond. The gala would be a mockery without us.”

Michelle laughed at Dru’s lack of subterfuge.

“Surely I’m not the most sought after.”

“You are, Michelle. Huntington. Lordes. Chestercott. Desmond. They’re all trying to woo you.”

It was true even Michelle’s independent streak didn’t deter all of her suitors. Her dowry alone was enough to spark interest. Unlike Dru’s family, the Bauers were old money and they had a lot of it. Dru’s family had recently struck it rich out west in the oil industry, Michelle’s family had been living off the wealth of the shipping industry for the better part of a century. It would take a lot of incidents like the one that occurred last year at the Weston gala to put a dent in the Bauer respectability and influence.

Michelle Bauer was the darling of Richmond. Good looks didn’t run in the family but you couldn’t tell by looking at Michelle. She had the look of an angel. Every time she came into a room she had but to bat those big brown eyes and she had everyone eating out of the palm of her hand. Sonnets had been composed describing Michelle’s golden tresses and soft pearly complexion. And she had the figure of a goddess. She was desired by many men and envied by many women.

Michelle was aware of her attractiveness. It was hard not to be. She was not even above using her looks in certain situations, but she knew that there was more to life that a pretty face and an unblemished complexion. Michelle was a free spirit. She walked to her tune. She was unfashionably educated. She voiced her opinions as loud as anyone could hear. She walked free among the lower classes. She was well, she was Michelle.

“Are you going to go?” Dru asked, holding her breath for Michelle’s answer.

“I suppose so, yes.”

“I was hoping you would say that,” Dru said excitedly.

“You were? Why?”

“I have the absolute perfect dress in mind to wear. Mrs. Spencer just finished with the alterations yesterday.”

“Oh my! That reminds me. I haven’t the slightest thought to what I’m going to wear to this grand event.”

“Oh Michelle,” Dru said slipping her arm around Michelle’s shoulders, “You could wear a feed sack and look smashing.”

“I don’t think a feed sack is exactly the attire one wears to one of these affairs.”

“I wouldn’t put it past you,” Dru said saucily.

“Hey,” Michelle exclaimed in mock indignation, pulling away and cuffing Dru on the arm.

“Aren’t you excited,” Dru said her eyes sparkling.

“You know I never thought I’d say this but I am. I’m looking forward to seeing the look on old Clarisse’s face when she sees that we actually dared to show up.”

“Oh, you are incorrigible,” Dru said laughing

The girls turned and headed up the path to Bauer Manor arm in arm.

Michelle paused at the foot of the stairs leading to the veranda.

“Dru, who is Clarisse’s guest of honor this year?”

“You mean ‘who are the guests of honor.’ It is a whole family. The Santoses. Some European relations of the Westons. I hear the younger son is quite handsome.”

“You mean pompous,” Michelle said rolling her eyes.

“No, I mean handsome.”

“Well you’ve seen one handsome swain, you’ve seen them all.”

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