Ella - Love Everlasting Book Two
Washington, 1870, our Hero, Thomas Bailey, meets Ella's stepmother and one of her step sisters for the first time.
Thomas opened the hatch of the hansom and waved for the driver to turn in. The Georgian styled home with its sprawling lawn, and multiple flower beds looked exactly like Isaac had described it. Here’s hoping he was as objective with his daughter as he was with his home.
The cab rolled to a stop on the circular driveway and Thomas waited for the driver to release the door. Delivering the parcel shouldn’t take long and then he could return to Pennsylvania Ave, take in some of the sights, before he was cooped up in the document room at the department.
“I’ll be half an hour or less,” Thomas said as he stepped from the cab.
“I don’t mind waiting, but you’ll have to pay me for that half hour first. There have been too many gentlemen like you, who kept me hanging around some fancy home for hours. I never saw them or my money again.”
Thomas cringed at the implication.
“With the ride here, that’ll be seventy-five cents, Sir.”
Thomas fished in his pocket for the coins and handed them to the driver before turning to straighten the lapels of his coat and adjust his top hat.
A moment after the doorknocker sounded, the oversized door opened and before him stood a tall, lithe woman in finery suitable for an evening of dancing. Her light blue eyes blinked twice. Isaac wasn’t far off the mark, beautiful, but his daughter looked older than her years.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“Ahem, I here to deliver a parcel for Isaac Goodell.” Thomas extended the brown paper wrapped package toward … what was her name?
“Mother, I thought I heard the knocker. Who is it?”
The door opened further to reveal a large, young woman with a fearful explosion of black curls rising from her forehead and contorting into some sort of a knot. Layers and puffs of sickly yellow material extended the borders of the girl even further. “Why, hello,” she said and pushed her plump lips into a “please kiss me” pout.
A quiver ran up Thomas’ spine- dispersing into his brain. His eye’s widened. “I’ve come to deliver a parcel from Isaac. It’s for his daughter.”
“That would be me,” the younger woman said and reached for the parcel.
“Uhhh,” her mother said.
“Mother, please, invite the poor man in. Aren’t you curious to discover how he knows papa?” The parcel disappeared under the folds of her sleeve and she gripped Thomas’ wrist pulling him through the door.
The girl’s mother followed them through an entryway where Thomas jammed his hat on a hook before he was hauled under an arch to a formal parlour. The girl then deposited Thomas on a narrow, ornate sofa and plunked beside him. She retrieved the parcel from its hideaway and placed it on her lap.
Isaac, I will never forgive you.
“I’ll have Ella fetch us some tea.”
“No need, mother, our young man isn’t even thirsty.”
Her mother cocked her head and raised a fine eyebrow.
His throat was a corn husk; but if he didn’t have tea, he could leave sooner. Thomas raised a palm. “Certainly, there’s no need for a beverage.”
“Mother, stop hovering and sit down so I can open my gift.”
Her mother sat across from them in one of the two matching chairs. “We should perhaps have an introduction before you open … the gift.”
“Of course, how silly of me.” Dru pursed her lips again and tapped Thomas on the shoulder with her splayed fingers. Fluttering her eyelashes she continued, “You must think me dreadfully rude.”
Dreadful had come to mind.