Original literature: Touching The Flower, Part 8
Read Part 7 of Touching The Flower here.
‘I suppose you weren’t expecting me to come so early, but as soon as I heard about mother sending the letter, I thought I might as well save you the trouble of writing back to put her off the idea. I have to admit, I’m quite taken with this country. It’s cold and it’s wet, but it has a charm that our France doesn’t quite have. Anyway, nice to see you and all that, but where am I to sleep? Or, am I to find my own bed?’
The capricious nature of his brother – younger than him by four years, - had not changed in Amable’s time away from home, nor did he ever expect it to. He embraced his brother with the filial love he truly felt, for her did indeed love his family, every one of them, despite their many foibles, but in his head ran the thoughts of how he might teach Jacquotte, for while he was here at least, that to be himself was strictly not permitted. There was too much at stake, and, though the love he bore his younger brother was true, Amable was not willing to risk it.
Installing Jacquotte in the spare room of his house that was always kept ready for guests, he text Isabella, asking whether she was free in the evening – there was something he needed to talk to her about. He was, of course, frightened of taking the plunge with his young lover, but, as it was such a delicate matter, he could not very well have his little brother jeopardising anything, mostly because he would, in all likelihood, attempt to get there first, and Amable would not allow Isabella to become another fling for his brother, and he would not sweep his mess under the carpet for him this time.
He put on a brave face for Jacquotte as his phone buzzed urgently in his pocket, and gave him free reign of the house and that he could go wherever he would, so long as he was back before ten. That settled he grabbed his coat and set out for the Grace house.
Isabella was terrified. There was simply no way she could withstand Amable anymore. It wasn’t even that he had made any advances that she could see, it was simply his presence. Every time she thought of him she shivered and had to sit down, and when her phone buzzed with the energy of a beehive beside her bed, she pressed her nose into the book she was reading as if she would escape into the world of Wuthering Heights. Her passion felt equally as real, and just as fatal, as that afflicting Catherine Earnshaw, if not more so, and she was not sure how much longer she could wait to be taken. It was an urgent need that she was afraid of, so wholly did it possess her, and as she read the message on the small screen of her phone she came swiftly to the realisation that it had to be now or never. The house was empty, she was more than willing, and Amable was on his way.
When he rang the doorbell and stepped into the porch to escape the November rain, as though his rights extended towards her. She was not sure if she resented this insertion into her home or embraced it. Perhaps she would do both, in the end. Without words, for they merely cluttered the atmosphere of overwhelming passion that seemed to surround them at that moment, Isabella pulled Amable towards her in the least enigmatic embrace she could have managed. Amable drowned in her kisses as she showered them on every surface of his face, and as the straps of her dress slipped from her shoulders, he did nothing to halt their progress.
With the half-frightened look of a hunted deer in her eyes, and the shiver of a girl ready to burst into womanhood, Isabella took her lover by the hand and led him to her room. As the door closed, the look disappeared completely, and a smile of rightness came over the face of Isabella. What she had to do was instinctive and primal, and though part of her cringed at the bestial primitiveness of her actions, she realised in her heart that there were some things that simply had to be done, and that she did not really want to refuse after all.
Though Amable’s gaze never left that of his newly impassioned lover, his mind was constantly on his brother. Was there some other reason he might have come? What did his mother mean when she said ‘causes of departure’? And what if, God forbid, he was not alone in the house that Amable had left unlocked.
As Temperance paced in front of the door from whence she had seen Monsieur Ecrivain emerge, she heard it open behind her, and, as she turned, saw the image of her idolised and thwarted teenage love before her. All at once she was empowered by her grief and her determination to cause some harm to the man that had spurned her and chosen her sister. Before Jacquotte had even a moment to react to the girl in front of him, he was being pulled into the house and was quickly out of his clothes. ‘I knew there was something about this little wet country’, he said to himself with a smile.
For all previous parts of Touching The Flower, along with other short stories by James, visit http://jmetcalf92.tumblr.com