Until You by NotSew – Chapter 4

Republisher’s Note: All of Springfield has been transported to 1800s Richmond. Danny insulted American women as inferior to his sister, Michelle took offense and challenged him to a duel. Although such things weren’t done, Danny felt himself excited by Michelle like no one else he had ever met and agreed rather than let her walk away from him.

Until You by NotSew – Chapter 4

“God’s teeth! How did I let you talk me into this,” Mick Santos said handing his brother Danny a glove.

“Buck up, Mick. I needed a second. Besides, I’m not actually going to harm the girl. I’m just going to teach her a lesson.”

“And that lesson is?”

“Ahh,” Danny said ignoring his brother,” Here comes our fierce beauty now.”

Mick followed Danny’s gaze across the wide expanse of the lawn to where Drusilla was exiting the grand entrance of the Weston estate. A chagrined faced Dru stood aside and let Michelle come into view.

“Bloody hell! The chit is wearing britches,” Danny exploded.

And they were tight, formfitting britches at that. They molded to Michelle like a second skin, clearly outlining the shape of her body. And the white cotton peasant blouse she wore did nothing to hide her upper curves either. The sight of Michelle in her boyish attire both shocked and aroused Danny.

As they stepped onto the luscious green grass, Dru started to plead with Michelle.

“Michelle, give up this farce. You don’t care what other people think. So Mr. Santos made some disparaging comments toward American women. It wasn’t anything you and I haven’t said a gazillion times about the ninnies around here.”

“True,” Michelle said giving Danny, Mick, and a small group of male audience members a confident smile as they walked briskly across the lawn, “but that is different.”

“Old Clarisse is never going to invite us back if you do this,” Dru said stewing in self-pity.

“Dru, you don’t have to come. You can go back to the boring ball and continue make faces at people from behind your fan.”

“And miss you kicking the boots off of Danny Santos? Not a chance.”

“That’s what I thought,” said a chuckling Michelle.

The girls pulled up abreast of the group of men.

Danny lifted one dark eyebrow.

“Ms. Bauer, I find that attired as you are, I have less reservations about dueling with you. You do cut quite a dashing figure in those clothes. Maybe you can recommend your tailor to me.”

The group of men broke out into a chorus of laughter.

Michelle’s teeth gnashed together.

“You won’t be needing clothes where I’m going to send you tonight,” she retorted.

While the other men laughed good-naturedly at Michelle’s comeback, Danny grew hard at the thought of just where he’d like her to send him with no clothes on. It involved a bed, a fire burning in the hearth, and her lithe, nude body entwined with his.

Noting his sudden silence, “Is there a problem, Mr. Santos?” Michelle asked.

“No. No problem. Shall we,” Danny said sweeping his hand to where Ray was standing with the foils.

Michelle walked ahead of Danny to Ray and quickly selected her sword.

“Now you do know how to use that,’ Danny said in a mocking voice.

“My fencing instructor was Sir Allan Wells.”

Danny eyes widened for Michelle had just mentioned the name of a well-known fencing expert.

“Indeed. Well, I shall watch my step.”

“Please do. I’d like at least a challenge,” Michelle said smiling with mock sweetness as she did a few practice thrusts in the air.

Danny tore his amused gaze off of Michelle and turned to select his sword.

“After you,” he said turning around and gesturing toward the center of the lawn.

Michelle walked to the center and assumed the sparring stance.

Danny slowly joined her. His eyes meeting hers.

If he thought this was going to be easy, he was wrong. Michelle’s eyes burned with intensity and contained a confidence that spoke of great skill. She would be a dangerous opponent. But then Danny already knew this.

Inclining his head in admiration, Danny assumed the stance.

“On guard.”

And they were off. Michelle surprised everybody by being a very worthy opponent. She matched Danny’s power and control with quickness and instinct.

Not long into the fight Michelle realized that Danny was taking it easy on her. He had many opportunities to score hits but he let them pass.

With every flagrant pass Michelle’s resentment grew.

He was just playing with her. He could probably play this little game all night. Well if he thought she was going to let that happen he was mistaken.

Michelle quickly deflected one of Danny’s thrusts and deftly countered by pricking his side with her foil.

A stunned hush fell over the group of people on the field. Every eye drew to the small crimson stain that was spreading on Danny’s shirt. Slowly Danny’s eyes moved down to look at the wound, and just as slowly they came back up the meet Michelle’s gaze.

“If this is the way you want it,” he said, his eyes hardened.

Michelle begged her knees to stop knocking so she could stand up straight. She lifted her chin and nodded.

Danny assumed the start stance.

“On guard.”

This time around Danny gave no mercy. He didn’t hold back. He not only met every parry Michelle made but he gave some thrusts of his own and with a force that threatened to crack Michelle’s wrist with every contact their weapons made.

By the end of the fight Michelle’s energy was sapped and her blouse was clinging to her back. Danny on the other hand was barely breathing hard. He easily blocked one of her parries then twisted his wrist to send her sword flying.

Everybody gasped, waiting for what would happen next.

Michelle stared sightlessly in front of her with tears of humiliation brimming in her eyes. Momentarily she forgot her pride and hung her head.

Danny wasn’t about to let this proud women lose face. She’d never forgive him for it and that wouldn’t do since he planned to have her in his life.

He stuck out his foil using the end to left Michelle’s chin.

“Do you cede to my victory?” Danny said his eyes daring Michelle to deny him.

She met his gaze. Her eyes burned with emotion.

“Never,” she whispered.

Danny felt his throat catch. Never before had he met a woman he admired more. Liked more. Wanted more. He stared into her emotional eyes and saw something there that made him want to lose himself in their depths.

“Then we will have to change weapons.” He threw aside his sword and closed the distance between them. Cupping her chin in his hand, his mouth swept down and took Michelle’s in a passionate kiss.

They were standing in front of a group of Richmond’s most upstanding gentlemen but in that moment they were the only two people on earth.

Michelle pulled way from Danny. She stared dazedly at Danny’s lips while touching her lips in wonder.

“What is the meaning of this? ”

All heads turned toward Clarisse Weston, who was hurrying across to the lawn to the group.

“Relax, Aunt Clarisse. We were just having a little fun,” Danny said putting a proper distance between he and Michelle.

Clarisse ignored Danny all together and zeroed in on Michelle.

“Michelle Bauer, you have absolutely no sense of decorum. I realize that the frequent absence of your parents has led to your deficient knowledge of what it means to be a lady but that is no excuse for your reckless, scandalous behavior.”

Michelle’s face bloomed red. Then she exploded.

“How dare you! How dare you insult me! If you had one ounce of the decency that my parents do you might be a worthwhile person. My parents are absent because they are overseas using their time, energy, and sweat to help others less fortunate. While you and others like you live lives dedicated only to yourselves, my parents are using theirs to make a difference in this world. And as far as being a lady, you’re right, I wouldn’t know the first thing about simpering and acquiescing to the will of others. Living the life of a lady makes you beholden to everyone but yourself.”

With that, Michelle turned on her heel and walked toward the house with Dru close on her heels.

The group watched in stunned silence as Michelle walked off the lawn with her head held high.

“Honestly, I’m undone by this,” Clarisse snooted fanning herself.

Danny sent his aunt a mocking smile.

“Yes, it is always a shock when something someone says makes you see the triviality of your life.”

Danny strode away from the group toward the house.

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