Flora smiled a little. This was what she was used to - people being surprised when they found out who her family were. That wasn't to say she liked it very much, but she dealt a lot better with the normal than the unusual. She tucked a strand of long brown hair behind her ear and folded her hands together.
"It really is no trouble at all," she said. "We'll send someone round with the car to pick you up and they can take you home again afterwards." She looked at her watch. "I really must be going now. I'd like to have a good long walk before I'm expected home for lunch."
Declan's pale eyes watched Flora with obvious intent. It was like he was trying to figure something out and thought maybe if he stared at her long enough he would.
"Well if you're sure." Declan accepted the offer of transportation with a slightly crooked smile. "My dear why did you not have someone drive you hear?" He asked her when the beauty spoke of her walk. He lead her back to the door which wasn't very far at all from the kitchen and living room area; his house was quite small as stated.
Flora shivered and immediately withdrew into herself. It was her natural reaction whenever someone started to get familiar, be it by calling her a pet name like Declan had done, or any means necessary for her to feel vulnerable. "I enjoy the walk," she responded softly, her voice stiff.
She nodded her farewell and left quickly, her heartbeat racing. She told herself to calm down; he was only being friendly after all. She walked swiftly up the slight slope until she stood at the top, surveying the landscape surrounding her. The bitter wind soothed her and after a few minutes she felt better again.
He was a little take aback by Flora's sudden retreat. Declan hadn't expected her to get so tense and take off. Maybe it was something he said... He hoped he hadn't offended Miss Deramore. He mentally made a note to apologize to her later on at dinner.
The writer didn't take too long to ponder on that though. The woman of his inspiration had been in his house! So much closer than before and now he had so many ideas for new poetry. Declan went hurriedly to his desk and began jotting some things down, writing out the feelings that had stirred in him. He had to get them all down before he forgot. Declan would have no time later since now he had dinner arrangments.
((Skip to the dinner?))
((Go ahead and reply with it.))
Flora stood in her room, dressed in a floor-length evening dress which her mother had picked out. It was a midnight blue, almost black, and she wore a matching fabric flower clipped in her hair. On her feet were a pair of modest black heels, aimed at making sure the hem of the dress didn't trail the ground more than anything else.
She glared at her reflection in the mirror, her toes clenching. Something her father had once said came to her mind. You can dress something up on the outside, but you'll never change what lies beneath. It was oddly appropriate, she thought, for the situation. Sighing, she smoothed out her clothing and went downstairs to be ready to greet the guest.
Declan spent the remainder of his time writing about Flora. Now that he had her name there was even more inspiration. There was even more to be written about; more pages to be written on with all the emotion and feeling from deep inside Declan.
When his transportation arrived the poor writer was dressed in his nicest slacks, black and slightly wrinkled, and a black long sleeved button up shirt to match that was also not smoothed out. Declan couldn't afford very nice things and the things he could afford weren't usually new.
The ride over was spent in total chaos of the mind. 'What if she doesn't like how I look? What if her family pity me? Why do I care so much?' Many questions along those lines rattled around in Declan's head. Once they finally arrived to where he'd be dining he took a deep breath before approaching the door. After a minute of some serious consideration to run he knocked on the door.
The front door was opened by a maid with Flora and her parents and few steps behind. The maid curtsied to Declan and stood back at a respectful distance. Flora's mother stepped forward and kissed the young man on both cheeks. "It really is a pleasure to have you with us," she smiled. Her eyes took in his crumpled appearance but she didn't say anything. It wouldn't do to be rude to their guest.
Flora hung back while her parents greeted Declan. She was still a little wary of him; she had no idea what he was like or really anything about him at all, other than his talent for writing. Although she wouldn't admit it, even to herself, his poems stirred something deep inside her. They were beautiful, and so full of emotion that she couldn't help but admire them. Finally, she spoke, looking over at Declan shyly. "I do hope you've brought something to read to us," she said.
When the door was open Declan managed a confident smile. Not one that labeled him as arrogant but comfortable. His cheeks went a light pink at Flora's kisses even though there was nothing se.xual about them. Just the woman being near got him flustered. Declan had never planned on actually meeting the woman that gave him his inspiration.
"It's slendid to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Deramore. Thank you for having me." Declan said politely when he moved forward and shook Flora's parents' hands. Hearing Flora's words got Declan's stomach feeling a little fluttery. Even though he was a guy he still felt nervous emotions although he hadn't in quite sometime. "Maybe I can recite something to you after dinner." he told her in his gentle tone as they all were lead to where the dinner would be.
Once they were all seated at the table, the first course was swiftly brought in. It was a thin soup served with an array of different types of bread. Flora glanced over at Declan; she felt it safe to assume he had never had experience of a formal dinner like this one, and she hoped he wouldn't find it too uncomfortable. Even she found her parents and lifestyle a little intimidating at time; she could hardly imagine what it was like for him.
Warren sent a servant away to get a bottle of wine to drink. After this, he turned to Declan to engage him in conversation. "So, young man," he smiled. "I've heard great things about your work. I imagine it won't be long until you're a household name."
Declan watched as the first of the food was served. True he had never been in such a place or had a meal even close to one he was about to have but Declan did have manners. And those would suffice for the evening. The young write gingerly drank the soup by small spoonfulls being careful not to slurp. He ate the bread by breaking off small pieces not wanting to seem like a pig even though it was delicious.
"Oh well thank you." In Declan's mind he was thinking. 'I owe it all to your ravishing daughter.' But Declan knew better than to say that. He didn't want these people to think of him as some creep. "I've always had a love for writing and reading. It's my passion." he told Mr. Deramore though his eyes strayed to Flora. He couldn't get over her beauty.
Flora kept her eyes cast downwards and her mouth shut. She had no wish to participate in the conversation and she also knew that her father would prefer her not to talk. She could sometimes forget her manners and let her true feelings be displayed. It had happened a few times before and had always ended badly.
Flora's mother glanced over at her. "My daughter likes to read your work," she smiled. "She always has her nose in a book, but yours she particularly loves." Flora blushed and fiddled with the napkin on her lap. Eventually she pulled together the courage to look Declan in the eye. "It's... very special," she murmured. "Your girlfriend is a lucky woman."
Declan wondered why Flora was not speaking but thought that it might be better that way. He seemed to get a little flustered whenever Flora even addressed him. He couldn't keep his pale green eyes off the girl though. They kept straying to her as the dinner went on.
"She does?" Declan's face went a delicate pink. He never could have imagined that the girl who the words he wrote about would actually read his things. It never crossed his mind. When Flora talked of a girlfriend a ghost of a smile crept upon Declan's lips. "I'm glad you enjoy it. But they aren't for my girlfriend because well I don't have one."
Flora's delicate eyebrow raised and she looked at Declan in disbelief, until she caught her father's gaze and her eyes dropped back to her soup. Still... how could someone write so beautifully about someone who seemingly didn't exist? There was imagination, but the young man's work seemed to suggest he was speaking from the heart and not from what he imagined love to be like.
Soon the first course was finished and the next brought in, along with yet more wine. Flora had to restrain herself from rolling her eyes. Whenever her father wanted to impress someone, he produced bottle after bottle of wine in a display of wealth. It seemed he really wanted to get into Declan's good books, although Flora doubted he would be impressed by Warren's efforts.
Declan noticed how Flora stopped looking at him when her father saw. He was very obvservant and noticed the wine too. Declan chose not to drink any of the alco.hol that was at the table. He wasn't a big drinker so just stuck to the glass of water that had been set out with his food.
Declan ate, trying not to eat too much because he wasn't sure how many courses there would be. After he'd eaten what he wanted from the latest course Declan looked at Flora's father. "If I may Mr. Deramore would you allow me to read something I wrote just this afternoon? It's a little rough from not being edited but I hope you will enjoy it. After this lovely dinner of course."
Warren grinned amiably and nodded. "Why, you must read it now," he said. "I'm sure it will be beautiful no matter how little editing it has had. A diamond is still a diamond, even before it has been polished." He called the servants in and got them to clear away the food and plates from the table.
Flora tried to hide the eagerness with which she awaited Declan's piece. She tried to picture what it would be like hearing the words as he had imagined them himself.
"Oh Mr. Deramore I don't want to take us away from our food." Declan tried to cut in but saw the food was already being cleared. He caught his bottom lip between his teeth and gave a slight nod. "Well if you insist..." Declan stood slowly and waited for the three to listen. Without taking out any notes or papers he began.
"Such long days had passed without seeing your dear face.
All was lost and I was convinced I'd never see your elegance or your beauty.
My lovely girl I thought you were gone forever.
Then on my doorstep you arrived spelling out your name like a fragile flower.
With palms sweating and insides fluttering I allowed you to come back to me.
I try not to fear that you shall disappear again into the darkness and never return.
My thoughts get the best of me though.
Please don't leave me dear flower; no never again.
My soul cannot bear that torment."
Declan tried to keep his eyes off Flora as he spoke but somehow they always strayed back to her. It was almost like he was speaking straight to her but tried not to make it obvious. When he was done he stared at Flora. "It's not my best work I know but I pray you enjoyed it Mr. Deramore." he talked to her father but his words were to Flora.
Flora's smile became more real and a wistful look appeared in her eyes. This Declan seemed almost too good; she was sure he only wrote poetry to make women feel special so they'd sleep with him. Yes, that was it. Nobody could be that kind, that sweet and loving. She looked away and hid behind her hair.
Flora's parents were enthralled as her, but less cynical about the reasons behing the poem. "That was beautiful," Flora's mother smiled, staring at Declan admiringly. "You have such a talent - I wouldn't have known it wasn't edited."
Declan had barely heard the compliment Flora's mother had given him. He was too focused on Flora's reaction. Had she not liked it? Suddenly his stomach started to feel hollow. It shouldn't have mattered very much if she approved of his work or not but to Declan it made all the difference. What he wrote was because of her after all.
"Yes thank you Mrs. Deramore. I wrote that just this morning." He managed to tear his gaze away from Flora for a moment to look at Mrs. Deramore with a thankful smile. "What about you Flora?" he asked turning his attention back to the young woman. "Did you... Like it?" Declan tried his hardest not to get choked up but he wanted Flora to approve. No he needed her to approve.