The Dividing Tide – Episode 27

Jenna’s heart beat hard. If she rebuffed him, her aunt would be cross for she knew Morwenna held the young man in very high regard. But if she accepted she’d look foolish for not knowing the steps.

And there was the fact that her aunt had forbidden Lamorna to dance it. Did that include her, too? Oh, dear, what was she to do?

She was still dithering as her escort ushered her to the edge of the dancing.

“We’ll keep it simple,” he whispered. “Like this.”

He showed her how to move her feet to the music. Soon they were making their way around the floor and Jenna surprised herself by actually enjoying it.

When another waltz struck up, they continued dancing. Then there was another. She had never had such fun!

When the musicians paused, Pasco lifted his handkerchief and dabbed his brow.

“Will you take a turn on the terrace to cool down, Miss Goss?”

Without waiting for her agreement, he collected her shawl and led her out of the French windows on to the terrace.

The December evening was cold, but not bitterly so, and it was refreshing to Jenna’s warm cheeks. There were several groups gathered together on the terrace, talking and laughing as the men smoked.

“It is a trifle crowded here, Miss Goss,” Pasco said, leading her down the steps. “We will have more room if we go this way.”

Jenna found herself in the ornamental shrubbery. She had lost her initial warmth, and shivered as a cold breeze caught her.

“Allow me to warm you,” Pasco said.

He pulled Jenna’s arm through his and, moving closer, matched his steps to hers.

She looked around uneasily. They seemed a long way from the terrace and were quite alone.

“Excuse me, sir, but I think we should get back to the –” But before she could finish her sentence, she felt a pair of hot dry lips pressed against her own.

“Oh, please do not!” she exclaimed.

Pulling herself from his embrace, she turned and ran, her cheeks burning with shame.

Had she led him on without knowing it? There was only one man’s lips she wanted, and those were certainly not Pasco Buller’s.

“Oh, Garren,” she whispered. “How could I have been so stupid? I thought he was a gentleman.”

Emerging from the shrubbery, she ran across the grass. Her satin dancing slippers were soaked, but she didn’t care. She had to get away from him.

She reached the edge of the terrace and paused to compose herself. Something made her look up, and her breath caught on a sharp intake. Morwenna was staring down at her, her dark brows drawn together.

Jenna’s hands flew to her face. Had her aunt seen what had happened? Whatever would she think?

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.