Lila didn't know how or what to feel. She felt like she was floating on a cloud but yet she was so terribly afraid. So afraid she would wake up and find this was a dream but yet she was so deliriously happy. The memory of their conversation last night was still fresh in her mind. At first he had been aloof, watching her guardedly as she bandaged his wound. But the longer she had stayed with him, the less suspiscious he had become. He had started talking to her, but the guarded look never left his eyes. At last, after talking till dawn, she had finally left. But not before he said these words to her.
"Tomorrow night at the stable."
There had been a boyish sparkle in his eyes as he spoke. She knew that if she didn't watch herself, she could get into terrible trouble around him but yet the very same danger was what had attracted him to her in the first place. Even now, those words kept echoing in her mind.
The image of him, so tall, handsome, strong and proud kept flashing in front of her eyes too, distracting her from her work. Already, she had absent mindedly poured tea on the table and dropped five dishes cutting herself in the progress.
"Lila!" a loud voice boomed.
She jumped and whirled round. A lad with tousled sandy-brown hair and coffee brown eyes grinned back at her. He was tall and lanky and his eyes danced merrily. Looking around carefully, he stepped into the pool of sunlight that surrounded Lila and thrust a fistful of freshly-picked flowers in her face. She inhaled deeply...
"The young man blushed and took the flowers out of her face. Smiling almost a little shyly this time, he put the flowers into her hands.
"I..ahh...happened to come upon some wildflowers on the way here. I thought you might like them." His handsome features clearly illuminated in the glare of the sunlight. He reminded Lila of a puppy dog looking at her with eager eyes, longing for love and attention.
His face lit up with a smile that Lila found adorable. Running his fingers through his hair awkwardly, he looked down into her eyes.
"I just came by to remind you that we're going out tonight. Your father said that it would be okay."
Horror descended upon her as she remembered that she had agreed to go
out with him that night. She stood there motionless, a stunned expression
on her face. What was she supposed to do? After all, she had
promised to go out with him weeks ago! But what about her other appointment?
She didn't want to miss this opportunity to get to know the stranger better,
but if she didn't keep her promise, her father would come to hear of it
and he would be angry. Very angry.
"Is something the matter?" His eyes were filled with concern and something else. Love. He loved her deeply. Somehow, that scared Lila.
He took hold of her shoulders and tilted her chin up, staring deeply into the two blue pools which were her eyes.
"You can tell me. If you've got other plans...we-we'll cancel it. I won't tell your father. It's no big deal. Really." He tried to sound like it didn't really didn't matter much, but Lila could see the disappointment which was thinly veiled by a weak smile. It meant a lot to him, being able to spend time with her.
"You won't tell my father?"
He slowly nodded. Lila felt waves of relief wash down upon her and she smiled at him gratefully. He returned her smile and his grip on her shoulders relaxed.
"I'll make it up to you some other time. I promise."
He nodded again and that familiar grin re-appeared upon his face. He let go of her.
"Tomorrow night then. It's a date." With that, he released
her and stepped back, all the while gazing at her. Then as suddenly
as he had appeared, he left the same way. Lila watched him leave.
She felt that she had let him down badly but yet, she didn't feel for Robert
Drake the same way as she felt for the mysterious stranger. Even
as she thought of him now, her heart throbbed faster.
*Get a grip on yourself, Lila. After all, Drake's your...*
"Who was that?" Her father poked his head around the door.