Chapter 1: Revelations
Sherman recalled his triumphant return from battle. He was jubilant enough to ask her father for Constance’ hand in marriage. Many truths were revealed that night. It was an evening he would never forget.
Colonel Douglas Brenner appeared to be all business. He ran the mansion quite efficiently, made his fortune in farming, land and crops, and spoiled his daughter with extravagant trinkets and lavish gowns all for the fun of seeing her face light up with joy.
Colonel Brenner shook Sherman’s hand and slapped him on the back, saying, “I wish you luck, old boy. You’re braver than the dandies that came to call before you.”
“Why thank you, sir,” he responded stiffly.
“Don’t be so formal, Sherman. We’re practically family now,” the colonel smiled.
They shared cigars and brandy over a game of chess until the small hours of the night. After they’d had their fill of drink, Sherman watched a darkness come over the colonel as he leaned across the large, oak desk to impart his wisdom.
“Constance is not my biological daughter,” he spoke softly; “I don’t think she remembers and I am the only father she’s known. I trust you will keep this confidence strictly between us,” the colonel said conspiratorially.
“What are you saying,” Sherman questioned.
The colonel continued, “Her mother and I made the adoption legal after we were wed, son, but we decided never to tell Constance if she didn’t question her heritage”.
Sherman watched slack-jawed while the colonel took a long pull from his drink, draining the brandy from its snifter. He whispered his confusion, “But her mother is.” Again he stopped with the unease of having been drop-kicked into a mine field blindfolded.
“Anice,” the colonel phrased the question for him.
“Yes,” Sherman acknowledged.
“Yes and no,” the colonel replied, “Before I married Anice, the future Mrs Brenner attended the Institut Villa Pierrefeu. It’s a finishing school in Switzerland. She shared a room with a young woman who’s reputation was,” he paused, searching for the right words, “less than sterling. Lydia Oliver was her name”.
Sherman lit a cigar, urging, “Go on”.
“The young lady got herself with child. Anice helped Lydia hide the fact, but Lydia abandoned the baby girl soon after giving birth. She left her child on a blanket with a note.”
The colnonel rummaged through a desk drawer and produced a scrap of paper. Sherman read it in silence.
“Dearest Anice, I know you come from money and that your heart is made of gold. You’re a better friend than I could have hoped for. Please take care of her like you did me.”
Sherman looked at Douglas Brenner with new respect and asked the obvious question, “So she kept Constance?”
“Indeed,” the colonel beamed, “She went to the Headmaster and higher-ups to explain her predicament. They tried to talk her into giving the child up for adoption but Anice was already in love with the baby girl. She was determined to keep her. It was teamwork and some luck that they managed to hide the presence of a baby at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu. Anice is quite a special woman,” He finished wistfully.
“And you married her anyways”? Sherman queried trepidaciously.
“Absolutely,” the colonel beamed, “I’ve only loved three women in my life,” he exclaimed, “My mother, Anice, and Constance. It’s no easy task to give my youngest in marriage but you’re a good man, Sherman Mandrel, I know you will never fail to do right by my little girl,” he said, patting his revolver for assurance.
“You can count on me, Colonel,” Sherman uttered, hoping his voice didn’t shake.
© February 23, 2017 – 07:36 PM – All Rights Reserved
Tagged: Lust, Love, Romance, Requests, Revelations, Proposals, WiP