Romance Fiction posted October 9, 2017 Chapters:  ...34 35 -36- 36... 


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Reynaldo ask for a dance with Danielle

A chapter in the book Forever Thine

Another Waltz

by MTF1955

     

Chapter Thirty Six—Another Waltz

 Edward moved Danielle across the packed double parlor and closer to the open French doors where the cool air wafted through the warm room. The elegantly-clad guests milled around in small groups while glasses of champagne were passed around. Danielle took a sip, recalling her own wedding night. She felt Edward’s eyes on her and smiled up at him.

 “What are you thinking, my Love?” he asked, slipping his arm around her waist.

Danielle blushed and cocked an eyebrow.

His laughter floated between them. “I thought so. Perhaps tonight will call for more champagne.” 

“Promise,” she whispered.

“Have I ever let you down?”

“Never.” Her eyes twinkled.

The wedding party came into the room and cheers broke out.

Mr. Chatellier tapped on his glass and drew everyone’s attention. “A toast to our wonderful children and their spouses. May they find as much happiness as Charlotte and I have found together.”

“Hear, hear.” The resounding cry came from several male attendees.

              Everyone drained their glasses as the music started up. The newlyweds started the festivities to the applause of their audience. The other couples joined in after the first dance. The swirling gowns of the ladies made a kaleidoscope of color to rival any spring garden. Danielle watched as Roberta slipped from one partner to the next, many gazing with longing at her exposed cleavage.

               “Shall we take a turn?” Edward broke into her revelry.

              “Do you think it proper?” Danielle glanced around nervously.

               Edward leaned in, “I care nothing for what other people think. If you want to dance, then let them talk. You are all that matters.” He caressed her face with his hand.

              “I’d love to. This will be the first time since New York that we’ve had the opportunity,” Danielle replied. 

              Edward maneuvered her onto the floor in one fluid motion. The orchestra played the Linden Waltz. Danielle remembered that long ago night beneath the trees when Reynaldo had taught her to dance. She caught a glimpse of his face as they whirled pass. His eyes held hers for a second then was lost, but not before she read the anguish on his face. 

            “I think Reynaldo is not happy with his decision?” Edward remarked.

           “Why?” Danielle had come to the same conclusion but wondered why Edward thought so also.

    “Because his eyes have not once left you.”

             “Oh.” 

              The music ended and Edward guided her towards the veranda. They waved at Adele and Sam as they passed. 

             “How lovely it is out here.” Danielle relished the feel of the cool breeze on her warm skin. She leaned against the balustrade. 

              Edward stood behind her, his hands on either side of her. “You are the loveliest thing here,” he whispered, kissing her neck. 

              Danielle wished they were alone so she could show Edward how much she loved him. She leaned against him and his arms went around her. 

              “I believe you said I could have a dance with your lovely wife.” Reynaldo’s voice was like ice shattering on a warm day, brittle and cold.

              Edward dropped his arms and turned to face his rival. “Only if Danielle accepts.” He apprised Reynaldo who stood stiffly in front of him. “You must promise to take as good of care of her as I would.”

              Reynaldo stepped closer. “I’ve always protected Danielle.” There was an edge to his voice.

              “I meant from you.”

    Danielle watched horrified as all Reynaldo’s defenses failed. He turned away. “No, wait.” Danielle placed her hand on his arm. “Can’t we all be friends?” She gazed from one to the other.

             Edward stepped to her side. “If that is your wish, my Love.” He touched her cheek with his fingers.

              “Yes, Edward.” She grabbed his hand and kissed it. “I love you.” 

              The look on Reynaldo’s face made her pause. She couldn’t imagine what was going through his mind. The reality of his pain was etched along his clenched jaw. There was so much misery in his eyes Danielle wanted to comfort him, something he had failed to do for her. 

              “Shall we.” She smiled up at him.

              He extended his hand and she placed hers on top of his. The silence was unnerving between them as he gently guided her onto the polished cypress floors. There was a gasp from somewhere, but Danielle was afraid if she looked she would lose her resolve.

               “You remember when I taught you to waltz?”

               “How could I ever forget?” Her laugh was a nervous twitter.                  

                Reynaldo nodded in Edward’s direction. “I see it didn’t take you long to replace me,” Reynaldo said with controlled rage. The anger rippled along his body like a coiled snake ready to strike.

    Danielle stiffened in his arms as he twirled her to the easy rhythm of the music. “If I recall, you left little doubt that I would never be welcome in your life after the episode at Mimi’s.”

            Reynaldo sighed. The fury drained from him a little as he stared into her eyes. “I’m sorry Dani. It seems I can’t talk with you anymore without hurting you.”

            Danielle relaxed, touched by his use of her pet name.

            “I don’t want to fight with you. I asked you to dance so I could apologize… To tell you… I love you.” The distress in his voice caused her to trip and he tightened his hold on her.

             “It’s a little late for that. You married the one person...” She fought back the tears. “How could you Reynaldo?” She stared into his hazel eyes and waited. 

              “Because I didn’t care, that’s why.” His intense gaze sizzled between them. “There would never be another you.”

               “But that was your fault. If you had been a man and truly loved me, you would have told your parents, Joel, Roberta, and the world how you felt.”

                “Edward Campbell is a better man than me?”

                 Sparks flew from her eyes. “Yes,” she said with restraint.

                 “Please enlighten me to his attributes.” His arrogance enraged her.

                  Danielle’s face paled. She couldn’t believe the way he was treating her. “He saved me after I miscarried Joel’s child. I would have bled to death if not for Edward.” She watched the color drain from his face. “That’s right. You don’t know what your friend did to me.” Her voice rose. “He held me prisoner. Locked in an apartment day and night until I thought I would go crazy.” Her eyes glazed over as she recalled the memory and shivered at its recollection. Reynaldo tightened his grip on her waist. “Edward took me home and cared for me. He loves me even knowing the truth. The truth you could not accept. How could you ever say you loved me? Let me go.” Danielle pulled away.

    “Danielle, please.” Reynaldo grabbed her arm. “I had no idea.” His face was ashen.

             “Let go of my wife.” Edward’s voice was as cold as a winter’s day as he moved to intervene.

             “Please stop.” The tears ran down Danielle’s face as she pushed her way through the gathering crowd. 

              “Dani.” The pleading in Reynaldo’s voice stopped her.

               She turned, “I’m sorry Rey, but I love Edward.” 

               The look in his eyes were those of a dead person. The life drained from them even as she watched. Edward was beside her. “Take me away,” she managed to say before the room spun and drifted out of focus. 

               Edward grabbed her as she collapsed. He looked around for someplace to lay her.

               “Follow me,” Reynaldo said as he cleared a path. 

                Roberta’s hate-filled eyes watched  them go. Joel caught her attention and nodded from across the room. He left Savannah and followed the small procession as they disappeared into the study and quietly listened at the door.

    Edward laid Danielle on the leather sofa and brushed her hair away from her pale features. He checked her pulse, but it was steady and strong. “Could you get me a glass of water?” 

            Reynaldo poured a small, crystal glass full and handed it to him.

            “Danielle,” Edward whispered and brought the glass to her lips.

             Reynaldo ran his hand through his hair as he paced back and forth. “Is there anything I can do?”

              “Not really. The situation was just too much for her. I should have insisted she not come, but she wanted to be here for Savannah.”

              “That’s sounds like Dani. She always did keep her word. Too bad I couldn’t keep mine.” His laugh was mirthless.

               Edward stood and faced him. “I’m glad you didn’t.” He smiled in spite of the situation.

               At that moment the door opened and Joel breezed in. “What’s all the commotion about?”

              Reynaldo grabbed him by the throat and pushed him up against the door. “How could you?” His voice was strained as he stared into the face of the man he had always considered his best friend. 

              “Do what?” he managed to say as Reynaldo’s grip tightened.

              Joel’s eyes flickered over to the sofa where Danielle’s unconscious form lay. Edward’s concerned face stared at her limp body as he pressed a glass of water to her lips. Understanding dawned, and he paled. “She’s just a whore,” he said, with less bravado than he intended.

    “Not to the ones who love her,” Reynaldo replied through gritted teeth.

            “I’ll ask you again, why?”

            “Because of you.”

             The revelation staggered Reynaldo and he loosened his hold. Joel gulped in air as he rubbed his throat. Reynaldo blocked Joel’s escape and waited. 

             Joel’s loathing swept over Reynaldo. “You’ve always had everything. Money, the prettiest women, and the very best of what money could buy, while I was left begging at your coattails. Have you any idea how I hated being your lackey? Not that I had trouble getting women, but never the likes of your precious Danielle.” Joel glanced toward the sofa. 

              Edward flinched and stared in disgust at the man that had nearly killed the woman he loved.

              Reynaldo stepped in closer and forced Joel back against the door once more.

              “I wanted a taste of what you’ve always taken for granted. Danielle would never have consented unless I otherwise forced her too. I did what I saw as a means to an end. She is quite delectable,” he remarked. A malicious smile snaked its way across his thin lips.

              Reynaldo’s fist smashed into Joel’s smiling face. He watched as he slid to the floor. “To think my sister has to spend the rest of her life with you. If there’s a way to terminate the marriage I’ll do everything in my power to see it through to that conclusion.” He turned away and went to Danielle.

              “Is she any better.”

    “She’s coming around now. Thank you.”

            “How bad was it when you found her?”

             Pain flashed across Edward’s features as he touched Danielle’s flawless cheek.

             In that instant, Reynaldo saw how much Edward loved her. It was like a knife to his heart, but he only had himself to blame.

            “She nearly bled to death before my eyes. I lost my first wife in childbirth and my daughter soon after. Reliving that was not an option. I couldn’t see another woman go through that.” He paused and wiped his hand across his brow. “She was no more than a shadow of the woman you see before you. She had lost so much weight. Marie, my housekeeper soon remedied that, as for the rest you can guess for yourself. She is the world to me.” He turned his eyes up to Reynaldo.

             “Take good care of her, for the both of us.” He extended his hand and Edward shook it.

              “I will.”

              “Tell her … You know what to tell her.”

              “I think I do. Take care, Reynaldo. She would be grieved if anything would befall you, and that in turn would grieve me.”


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