A sweet Christmas themed Regency story written for an Ellora's Cave submission call
Palming a juicy pear from the breakfast room, Eleanor slipped out the front door and all but ran to the stables.
She bit into the flesh, groaning as the juice ran down her lips and onto her chin. To taste fresh fruit again, to smell clean air. It was a pleasure that could not easily be put into words. London was so stifling, their food so extravagant and often French.
Not looking where she was going until it was too late, Ellie tripped over something and tumbled to the ground.
“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.”
Ellie was apologizing before she had even got back up again. The something she had fallen over was actually a person sitting on the hill looking over the pond.
The older gentleman chuckled and awkwardly got to his feet.
“I should be apologizing to you young lady, not the other way around.”
He held out both hands and she used them to lift herself up. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, almost grey actually. Why hadn’t she met this person before?
“No, truly. It was my fault.”
He let go of her hand and Ellie felt the loss of the warmth keenly, how unusual a feeling.
“I haven’t introduced myself. I am Robert Blakely.”
Ellie held out her hand, anxious to feel his fingers on her bare skin again.
She curtseyed as elegantly as possible on a hillside, the gentleman smiled but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“You are William’s daughter.”
She smiled, who else would she be?
“Of course. Are you the friend my father spoke of last night?”
Robert Blakely nodded and indicated that she should sit on the blanket he had been resting upon.
Eleanor sat and patted the area next to her. His eyes narrowed slightly but he did sit down next to her looking a little rigid.
“Oh, call me Ellie, please.”
A small smile lifted his generous mouth up.
His name was beautiful and his voice matched. Lovely tones, soothing. She smiled up at him, feeling relaxed.
“Of course, thank you Robert. Tell me why you are up so early.”