Thank you for dropping in to read this week's TUESDAY TALES
The prompt is 'Save'
Sacha Mathieu Gasquet swore beneath his breath, hoping the carefully chosen music in the background covered his irritated expletive. Overhead lights strategically placed spotlighted many of the different groups playing a social tango as one or more joined and left groups to drift on to another. The scent of indoor trees and plants vied with expensive perfume. The rise and fall of conversation as businessmen worked the room, all reminding him of a pack of penguins huddled together in the arctic, while the women, eager to out-sparkle each other with their ropes of diamond wound round their necks and wrists, drifted at their sides. How come he’d never objected to the monotony of the routine until this evening? Not only the men, Sacha decided as he watched a couple of women, one in along midnight blue ankle length gown and the other in a rich brown that enhanced her hair and never crossed the line from professional business woman to professional companion.
If someone didn’t save him soon, he’d deck the next person who squeezed his hand when they shook it, he vowed beneath his breath, as the next man in the long queue waiting to be presented to him, approached.
Along with his brothers and members of the Jubilee Committee he’d approved the arrangements for his father’s silver jubilee, celebrating twenty-five years as King, but the last six months of receptions, tours parties and official appearances on his parents’ behalf was wearing thin. He was thankful he’d never have to step into his father’s shoes. That was his older brother’s destiny and failing Henri; Simeon, his twin, beat him into the world by six minutes.
The fumes of whiskey and Havana cigar reached Sacha before the portly, round-faced tub of a man. Bowing to the inevitable he still winced when the idiot nearly crushed his hand to a pulp.
"Archibald Clairmont." The Master of Ceromonie's voice rang out seconds before the man grabbed his hand and shook it as though he were a terrier with a bone.
“Good to see you, my boy.”
When Sacha offered a blank, and he hoped, regal stare, the man laughed, slapped him on the arm and challenged his childhood memory.
“Shouldn’t expect you to remember your godfather, should I? After all I’ve been on the other side of the world for most of your life.”
A vague memory when he was about six years old, surfaced of a bubbly man who always surrounded himself with everything associated with a professional clown. He offered a tentative smile.
“Busted.” Sacha agreed, and searched the man’s suddenly anxious face.
“Don’t leave without talking to me.” The man waited long enough to obtain a nod of acknowledgement before allowing himself to be moved on.
For a moment, Sacha watched as he was surrounded by the mêlée of guests in the ball room.
“Mrs. Rosamond Hamilton.” The Master of Ceremonies ranf out about the general mixture of muted conversation and background music coming from the orchestra at the far end of the room.
The carefully presented official smile slipped right off his face when he stared into the startled sky-blue eyes of Rosie from his sister-in-law’s riding school for disabled children. Before the official could utter another word, Sacha grinned, and instead of offering the standard air kiss, aimed straight for her luscious red lips.
“It’s good to see you,” he said, and discovered he spoke no more than the truth, while remembering the dances he’d stolen during the Valentine Day’s bash they’d held at the riding school. And more, he recalled the sizzling electricity between them when he’d pulled her close enough to feel her heart racing in time with his own.
“Mrs. Hamilton is co-owner of a charity that offers riding facilities for disabled children.” The Master of Ceremonies voice cut through his memories.
“Mrs.?” Struggling to shove the shock and fury the image of Rosie in another man’s arms, another man’s bed aroused, he dropped her hand like a hot potato.
He saw the pain in her eyes, and fought for sympathy when relief warred for supremacy. “I’m sorry,” he lied, and understood why since his departure from the Scottish farm and riding school he’d left every woman he’d partnered over the last six months standing dumbstruck with wrath when he declined their invitations to share their bed.
Though what they had to be angry about he refused to acknowledge. Simply appearing at an event on his arm in the social calendar assured the woman of weeks of headline news in every major magazine and TV news channels for several months. And always they gained a sparkly trinket from Tiffany’s. He looked down at the wary eyes of the woman who’d haunted him for so long and let the first genuine smile reach his own.
“It’s good to see you, are you in London for long?”
“I leave in the morning.”
A rustle from the lengthening queue fueled his sudden anxiety. “Where are you staying?”
Rosie named her hotel, coloured when he squeezed her hand, and allowed herself to be escorted into the crush of people in the ballroom.
He didn’t stop to wonder why he couldn’t let Rosie leave before he’d spent some time with her. One look in his security guard’s direction brought the man to his side. A few words of instruction garnered a nod of acceptance and with a satisfied grin he turned to welcome the next guest.
By moving Rosie's things to a spare suite on the same floor of his floor of the hotel, she couldn't she leave for home before he saw her again.