Flora looked up, startled at being addressed. He really cared what she thought? She managed a genuine smile and nodded. "I loved it. It was beautiful, actually. You should be proud."
It wouldn't hurt for her to show him what she thought of it, right? She couldn't possibly be the person the poem was aimed at, so it didn't matter if she let him know that she thought it was brilliant. He was brilliant. She almost envied the girl he had written the poem for, even if she was sure the sentiment behind it was false.
At Flora's words Declan smiled and took his seat again. "I'm glad you liked it." he told her with sincerity. It was good that her mother had liked it but all Declan really cared for was Flora's opinion.
Declan looked at the three of the seeing how much they really had. Then there was he, a poor young man in comparison. He wondered if there'd be more food or if he'd be dismissed home soon.
"Now, Declan," Warren said jovially, leaning forward so his elbows rested on the table. "I have a proposition to make to you." Flora had to restrain herself from rolling her eyes; there it was, her father turning this into a business venture. "I would like to offer you a patronage."
He paused for a long moment to let this sink in. "This means that I would pay all of your living expenses, plus a little extra if you'd like. In return, you would occasionally attend functions with my family and agree to sometimes meet with guests of mine. What do you say?"
Declan barely heard Warren speak because he was still watching Flora in fascination. 'How can someone be so... Perfect?' he thought to himself, not caring at all if he sounded dramatic. They were his thoughts after all.
When Flora's father made his proposition Declan tore his gaze from the girl to stare at him. He was happy Warren had explained what it was. Otherwise he would have had no idea what the man was talking about. Declan didn't like the thought of someone else supporting him but he was curious. "And why, may I ask, would you do a thing like that Mr. Deramore? I know I'm a decent writer but..."
Flora held back a snort. She knew exactly why her father wanted to become Declan's patron. He had money, he had possessions, he had a family to flaunt at social functions, and now he could have an up-and-coming young writer under his patronage too. It was as if Declan was just another thing on her father's checklist of possessions a wealthy man should own.
Of course Warren said none of this. "I have always had a fondness of the arts," he explained. "As well as this, I understand how hard it can be starting out. My youngest brother was an artist and he struggled for years to get his work out there. So I'd like to do all I can to support another young man with a dream, if you'll let me." Flora almost puked. It was so unbelievably cheesy.
Declan could sense some sort of disbelief coming from Flora. It was some sort of negative emotion to say the least. He had a hard time concentrating on what Mr. Deramore was saying with Flora in the room. 'Who would have thought that I'd be under the spell of this female...' he thought to himself right before Warren was done speaking.
After a few seconds of debating Declan came up with his answer. "I think we can make that arrangement." Declan made no comments on the story Warren fed him because he was too busy with his own motives in thought. Being in the same place as Flora would allow him to write much more and just he close to the girl. "When would you like me to move in?"
Warren raised an eyebrow, a warm smile on his face. "If you're that keen, you can move in right away," he chuckled, extending his hand across the table for Declan to shake. It was almost a reflex; his whole life revolved around business and he couldn't help treating Declan's agreement like closing a deal.
Flora's heart filled with disappointment. She had thought that Declan only cared about getting women into bed, but somehow this was worse. That he was willing to move in and become her father's pet project at the mention of money saddened her. She stood up, a servant tucking her chair in for her before she could do it herself. "I'm just going to the bathroom," she said, before leaving the room.
When the male extended his hand Declan did the same giving it a firm shake. He was a little disappointed that Flora had just left. He knew she said she needed to use the bathroom but his gut told him that wasn't the case. "Okay. Thank you Mr. Deramore." the young writer said politely.
Declan stood after a minute figuring that the dinner was over. "Shall I start bringing my things over tomorrow? It's quite late." he asked in the same polite tone. Declan didn't have many belongings but he didn't want to put anyone out by moving them in tonight. The sun had retreated a while ago and the moon was high in the sky.
"Don't trouble yourself. We can send someone round for them whenever it's convenient," Warren offered. He stood too and turned to a servant who was waiting patiently in the corner of the room. "Tell Gilmore to fetch the car to take the young man home," he said, with the air of someone who used to giving orders.
Flora, instead of going to the bathroom, ha headed outside to get a breath of fresh air. It was the only thing which calmed her down when she needed to, which was why she spent so much time walking the moors. She knew the reason she preferred open spaces, but she wasn't going to dwell on it. Instead, she let her thoughts drift to Declan and him moving in.
"Well when would you like me?" Declan asked. He didn't see himself in any position to call the shots so he would wait for Warren to direct him and tell him what was going to happen.
He waited for Warren to tell him him what was going to happen as he let the guy Warren had gotten lead him towards the front door. His mind wandered to Flora wondering where she was. He had a feeling she was upset with him but he had no idea why.
((Sorry for the terrible reply.. Didn't have much to go off of.))
"Tomorrow, if you would like. There's an important dinner in the evening where there are a few people I'm sure you'd like to meet," Warren informed him. "I have a few contacts in the publishing business; perhaps we could see about getting a few of those gems of yours into a book or two."
At that moment, the servant returned to tell them that the car was ready. "Did Sir have a coat?" he asked politely, addressing Declan.
Declan listened to Warren and debated if the next day would be too early or not. He didn't have a lot of things but they may take a couple days packing. "Sure. I may have to make a couple trips to pack all my things though." he informed Warren as he looked at the servant.
"Yes I believe I did." Declan said just as politely even though he was talking to the help. Once his jacket was retrieved Declan slipped it on. "Pleasure meeting you and your wife sir." he told Warren with another handshake. He then got into the car that was waiting, a little disappointed he hadn't seen Flora one last time.
Flora watched from the shadows beside a tree as Declan got into the car. So he was coming to live with them then; her father would never have allowed him to leave without agreeing. Well, she could still avoid him, couldn't she? All she had to do was spend more time on the moors and she'd be free.
She watched in silence as the car slid down the driveway and out of the gates, before turning and going back into the house. The wind had caught her hair and pulled tendrils from her bun so they flapped around her face. She caught her mother's disapproving look but ignored it as she went upstairs to bed.
((Shall we skip to the next day?))
Declan watched out the car's window as it pulled away. Even though it was dark his gaze stayed outside until he could no longer see the Deramore house in hopes of seeing Flora one last time. He felt like such a creep; he seemed so infatuated with the young woman but he couldn't help it.
Upon arriving home Declan thanked the driver and went straight inside to pack. He packed for most of the time he was away from Flora, getting few hours of sleep that night. He was finishing up his packing the next morning while he waited for someone to come inform him what time he was to be picked up or to just pick him up.
Flora had been given the task of telling Declan when the van was to be expected to pick up his stuff. She had protested, but at one stern look from her father she obeyed. She was going for a walk anyway and she didn't intend to stay for long. In fact, she didn't intend to stay at all; just to tell him from the door and be on her way.
It was with a sense of deja vu that Flora knocked on the door of Declan's house. The paint was peeling and there was no door bell. It's no wonder he wants my father's money, she found herself thinking, but then frowned. That was horrible. She couldn't judge him based solely on what he didn't have.
Declan had gotten most of his things packed up. All of the main personal belongings and pictures. Including his writings and important papers. He had kept the one notebook out that he used to write down random ideas he had on the go or inspired poems. He was sitting on his old couch writing on what he'd experienced last night when he head someone at the door.
Declan put his pencil in the book on the page he was writing before laying it aside so he could go answer his door. Expecting one of Warren's men Declan got a surprise and saw Flora. "Miss Deramore." he spluttered before regaining his cool. "What a surprise. Please come in." he found himself saying like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Flora quickly excused herself. "I'm sorry, I can't stay long. I'm in a rush to fit in my morning walk before I have to go to a lunch my mother is throwing for her book group. I really don't understand why I have to be there, but there you go. You'll have to get used to the stream of formal functions when you live with us. In fact, I'll be surprised if you find any time to write at all."
Flora wasn't sure why she had spilled out this long speech. Perhaps she felt the need to warn Declan. She was never one to speak her heart, and so her openness with this man, even with a small thing like her true feelings about a book group lunch, unsettled her. She coughed and looked at the floor. "I'm sorry. I meant to say that a van will be around in about an hour to move your stuff over."
Flora's small rant left Declan in a small daze. It was probably the most she'd talked or explained to him since they'd met. His cheeks seemed to get a little pink and he had no idea why. Still a little flustered Declan cleared his throat and looked at Flora. She was a bit shorter than him which he found to his liking.
"Well I promise you I will make time. If you're father doens't like that I'll miss some events to be by myself and work then he can kindly ask me to leave." Declan realized how blunt he'd been and it made his cheeks flush even darker. "Oh I m-mean... I'm sorry- please forgive me miss Deramore. I meant no disrespect to your father." he said in a rush, adverting his eyes to his feet.
Flora was mildly impressed by Declan's outburst. It made her hope that perhaps he wasn't in it for the money, although what other possible reason he could have she didn't know. "No, don't apologise," she said hastily. "I'll have a word with him if he starts getting on your case." She didn't want to come across as too optimistic, so she added cynically, "of course, he'll need you to keep writing so he can keep boasting about you."
Flora glanced behind her and looked longingly at the moors. Her limbs were aching for her to go and walk but she didn't want to be rude. "I really must go now, I'm sorry," she said apologetically. "But I'll look forward to seeing you later at the house."