“Oh. Thank you.” I took the card and went inside the car. Turning on the headlight, I unsealed it and written inside is a message for me.
I would say your beauty attracted the animals. Until then.
-- Your ‘observer’
I laughed softly and tucked the card in my clutch, my eyes closing as I drifted off. When I woke up, I found myself in the garage, car parked and waiting for me to get out. Stretching, I went out and head straight for my room, letting my hair down and cleaning my face from makeup before getting into comfortable sleepwear and going back to sleep.
I woke up the next morning to a series of knocks.
“Come in.” I yawned and stretched.
The door opens.” Miss, there is someone to see you.”
“Who is it?”
I raised an eyebrow, “Tell them I’ll be ready in 10 minutes.” The door closed.
I made my way to the bathroom, taking a quick shower then changed into a simple summer dress made out of Italian lace, donning on a cute pair of white sandals before heading out. I bit back a gasp when I spotted pale gold hair, not believing what I saw.
I straightened, “Mr. Haverford, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company on this beautiful morning?”
“I believe we were talking about how animals are attracted to you.” He replied and turned around so now we faced each other. I gasped in astonishment.
It was my ‘observer’ who came by!
“We meet again.” He smiled and bowed. Still tongue tied, I curtsied back, still in astonishment.
“This is certainly a surprise.” I finally replied after a few beats of shocked silence, taking a seat across of him.
“I was in the area and thought I should be more sociable to my acquaintances.”
“It seems like I have moved grades.” I teased.
He laughed, “That, you certainly have.”
Annie, one of the housemaids, made her appearance. “Breakfast is served, miss.”
I smiled, “Thank you, Annie. Would you care for some breakfast, Mr. Haverford?”
“Call me Daniel, please. And yes, I would love some breakfast.” He smiled and stood up. “Lead the way, Ms. Charleston.”
“If you insisted on being called Daniel, then call me Vanna.” I said as I began walking to the dining room with Daniel trailing behind me.
“Vanna it is then.”
Sunlight and the smell of freshly baked bread greeted us as we entered the dining room.
“There you are, darling.” My mother said when she saw me, standing up immediately and curtsied when she saw Daniel.
“Mr. Haverford, I didn’t remember hearing you enter this house.” My father remarked as he stood up and shook hands.
“My apologies, sir. I insisted on my sudden appearance to be much of a mere social call.” Daniel replied and bowed to mother.
“Very well. Would you like to join us for breakfast? We have enough to feed an army.” Father asked as I told a maid nearby to prepare another seat.
“I already accepted the offer. Your daughter asked me earlier.”
I saw my parents raise their eyebrow and sighed, knowing that they would be pestering me after Daniel left. I walked to my usual seat, noting with pleasure that the seat next to me has been prepared; Daniel would be sitting next to me.
“How is Stanford treating you, Daniel?” Mother asked as we began plating up various dishes onto our plates.
“It has been brutal, I have to say, but I have gotten used to it.”
“What major are you taking?” I asked, wiping jam from my mouth and plated some omelets for Daniel and me.
“Medical, pediatrics to be specific.”
“Why pediatrics?” I asked a bit softly.
Silence follows. Then, “Vanna, apologize now.” Father.
“I’m sorry about my daughter’s question, which was uncalled for.” Followed by mother.
“My apologies.” I murmured softly and continue eating, refraining from making anymore small talk. I can feel Daniel’s stare now and then but paid no attention, my main goal is to finish breakfast and getting out of the room.
I pushed my chair back after a few moments, wiping my mouth and curtsying before heading out. I hear some murmurs as I reached the hallway, then a pair of footsteps echoing behind me.
I stopped, letting Daniel catch up even though I kept my back to him.
“I’m sorry for my question earlier, it was rude.” I said, my voice soft.
“I lost my sister to lung cancer when she was 7. Then I nearly died of yellow fever at 9 years old.” He said gruffly, the way someone on the verge of crying would be.
“Is that why you chose pediatrics? So many children won’t have to suffer?” I asked softly, turning around to face hi,.
“In a part, yes. They should have a long life, filled with joy. Not one full of hospital visits.” His fists clenched tightly.
I don’t know what came to me but the next time I know, I’m hugging him tightly while burying my face in his chest. I should have asked for permission but then, I’m doing this on impulse. I can feel his surprise because he tensed but after a few moments I feel him hugging back just as tight, burying his face in my hair. We stayed in that position for a few minutes when I started laughing softly.
“What is it?” He murmured.
“I just went on and hugged you without asking for your permission.” I said sheepishly.
He chuckled, “Feel free to do it anytime, I wouldn’t mind.”
I pulled away slightly to look up at him. “So you would accept random hugs given by random people then?” I feel my brows furrow.
“Only from you.” He ruffled my hair.
“Hey!” I protested while smoothing my hair, him laughing as I do it.
“Come on, I want to show you something.” I smiled at him and took his hand, leading him out to the gardens.
“Are you taking me hostage?” He gasped mockingly.
I rolled my eyes, “Dungeons would suit you better.”
We walked under an arch and to a secret passageway, leading us to a hidden meadow with a small gazebo and flowers surrounding the meadow. Sunlight and bright blue sky bathed us as we made our way towards the gazebo.
“How on Earth did you find this place?” He asked as we sat down.
“One of my escapades when I was younger.” I replied, my legs crossing as I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sunlight. I hear a small bark and opened my eyes, a flurry of golden brown leaping at me. I laughed happily, my nose scrunching as the small dog licked my face.
“Lucky!” I rubbed its fur and belly, my problems forgotten at the moment.
“I was right animals does attract to you.” He mused.
I looked up and smiled, “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
He held out his hands, “May I?” I nodded.
As soon as I loosened my hold on Lucky, he bounded over to Daniel and licked his face too.
“I’m sorry, he’s full of energy.” I apologized, handing some tissues to wipe our faces.
He laughed, “No worries, I have had my fair share of dogs licking my face.” He smiled while wiping his face.
“Was the dog I met at the pond yours too?”
“Rocky, he’s the youngest.” He stroked Lucky.
“How my dogs do you have?” I asked curiously.
“Only two, Marie and Rocky.”