Romance Fiction posted October 10, 2017 Chapters:  ...36 36 -37- 38... 


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Reynaldo tells Savannah about Joel

A chapter in the book Forever Thine

Savannah Learns the Truth

by MTF1955

Chapter Thirty Seven---Savannah Learns the Truth      

         

                Savannah spied Reynaldo exiting the library and hastened to catch up to him. “Reynaldo,” she called and closed the gap between them. 

He turned.

Savannah stopped in her tracks, taken aback by her brother’s haunted expression. “Reynaldo, what is wrong?” She stepped to his side.

“Many things.” He sighed and took her by the arm. 

“Where are we going?” 

“There are things you need to know.” He guided her through the back door and towards the trees. He released her and ran a shaky hand through his thick, dark locks. 

 “You’re frightening me.”

His laugh was brittle as kindling. “You should be afraid. What I’m about to say will destroy your happiness.”  

She took his hands in hers, more to keep them from trembling than anything else. “Tell me.”

“You must get your marriage annulled.”

“What?” she cried, her hand flying to her throat.

Reynaldo hung his head and stared at their linked hands. “You remember the night we learned the truth about Danielle?”

“I’ll never forget,” she whispered.

Reynaldo released her hand and stepped away. 

“Do you remember what happened after?”

“Vaguely. I was so shocked, little else registered, except the horror of what Danielle had kept from us.”

“Wouldn’t you have done the same thing? Lied even to God to keep a hold on all you held dear?”

“Yes, but…”

“There are no buts Savannah. We betrayed Danielle as surely as Judas betrayed Christ. She banked on our friendship and love. We let her down, but that is beside the point. What else to you remember?”

“Not much. I’m sorry.”

 “Joel left us to meet with a friend about a wedding gift for you. Don’t you remember?”

“Yes. I was beginning to worry. He was gone for so long.” A frown marred her brow as she gazed at her brother.

“Joel went back to Mimi’s, he forced Danielle to leave.”

“How could Joel force anyone against their will?” She scoffed at the implications.

“He threatened those closest to her.”

“How ridiculous, Joel would never…”

“I’ve spent more time and know your husband better than you. I’ve seen some of the less than savory things he’s done. I was misguided to think it was because of his inexperience and youth. I never thought he would stoop to rape.”

Savannah gasped. “What are you saying? That can’t be true. Danielle is lying. She lied to us before.” Savannah grasped his arm, her fingers biting into his flesh.

“Is Dr. Campbell lying as well?”

He faced her and saw the revulsion in her eyes. 

“Dr. Campbell?” She staggered back against the railing and leaned against it for support.

“Yes. He tended Danielle after she miscarried Joel’s child. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the man.”

Savannah’s eyes grew large. Her breath can in short gasps. She shook her head in denial.

“Savannah, look at me.” He took hold of her shoulders. “I can’t see you staying with a man whose moral fiber is less than you deserve. You merit the best.”

A shaky smile caressed her lips. “What am I to do now? Live a lie? What will our parents say and our guests?” 

“Forget everyone. Think of yourself. That’s where we failed Danielle by letting what other people think govern our lives. Would you prefer they learned of Joel’s indiscretion?”

“No.” She shook her head sadly.

“Don’t consummate the marriage. He hasn’t, has he?”

Savannah turned a bright shade of red. “No. How am I too keep him at bay? We are married now.” She wrung her hands.

“Let me speak to our parents and Father Shea, perhaps he knows of a way to discreetly take care of this matter. People will talk, but it is better than a lifetime of regrets, which is what I will live with.” He kissed her cheek. “Do you love him?”

A strangled cry escaped her lips, “Yes.”

He took her in his arms. “I’m so sorry, Savannah. I wish I had never brought Joel into out lives.” Her muffled sobs broke his heart.

She wiped the tears from her face and stared up at him. “What of Roberta? Do you think she knew?”

His laugh was bitter. “There is nothing Joel does that Roberta doesn’t know about.”

“Why did you marry her? There were others who would gladly have taken you as a husband.”

“Because…” He gazed off at the flickering fire where a group of men sat singing. “I cared more for our staid social status than I did Danielle. If I had truly loved her, nothing would have stood in my way. I married Roberta because I had lost all hope. Our parents wished so badly that I would. Now, we are both trapped.” 

Savannah leaned her head against his shoulder. She felt his voice rumble deep in his chest.

 “I never knew the depths of Joel’s hatred until tonight. I saw glimpses of his jealousy but I brushed those instances aside. Tonight in the library he disclosed how much he despises me. How could I have been so blind?” He touched Savannah’s cheek. “Can you forgive me?” 

“You are too hard on yourself, brother. We’ll find a way out of this. We always have.”

The sound of carriage wheels made them turn. Reynaldo’s heart sank as he watched Edward, Danielle and the McCutchons leave. 

He kissed her forehead. “I know our guests must be wondering where we’ve disappeared to. We’ll confront Joel and Roberta after everyone has left. We’ll pretend everything is as it was. Can you do that little sister?”

“I’ll try. When I think of how we treated Danielle and what Joel did to her I want to cry. Does she forgive us?”

“Yes. She loves you Savannah.”

“And you?”

“Like a brother.” He sighed.

He took her hand and led her into the house. The music filled the air and mixed with the laughter which drifted towards them. “Perhaps our presence wasn’t missed after all.” 

“I think Roberta missed you,” Savannah whispered as they stepped into the room.

Roberta’s eyes were narrow slits as she headed towards them. Joel was no where in sight. Savannah spied Father Shea and made her escape.

“How dare you leave me standing here while you chase after that whore,” she whispered through clenched teeth. The exaggerated smile did little to relieve the angry set of her body.

Reynaldo swept her onto the dance floor and smiled at the other couples.                   

“Danielle is less a whore than you are, my dear.”

She raised her hand to slap him but he caught and pressed her gloved fingers to his lips. He leaned in. “You play the lily white virgin quite well. I doubt that a woman with your ambitions has let a little thing like virginity get in the way of what you want.”

Her eyes became pin points of rage and she tried to pull away, but Reynaldo held her fast. “Our first and last fight.”

She stopped struggling. “You don’t mean that.” She stared aghast at him. The color drained from her flawless features as the implications of his words sank in.

“I most certainly do. What did you hope to gain? Prestige, land, money?

She looked away. 

“I see. This little charade was for you and Joel to get your hands on the millions the Chatelliers supposedly have. I hate to break the news to you, but there is not quite that much.” Reynaldo lied. He enjoyed watching her squirm. 

 “Where is my brother?” Her voice was testy as she looked towards the door.

 “Not yet, my little pigeon. Your brother is lying unconscious on the library floor.”

“What happened,” She demanded.

 “The truth.” 

Her shoulders sagged. “What happens next?”

“I will see that both marriages are dissolved. As a consolation prize and to be free of you forever, I’ll settle ten thousand dollars on each of you.”

“How generous, but isn’t there something more you want?” She drew closer, her eyes filled with longing. 

He smiled as the music stopped and escorted her to a shadowy spot on the porch. 

A smug smile caressed her full, red lips as Reynaldo drew her into his arms. His hand slipped into the plunging cleavage of her dress and caressed her breast. She sighed and leaned against him. He lowered his mouth to hers and she waited expectantly. A rush of warmth spread like hungry flames along her body as his warm lips parted hers and his tongue teased her into delirium. He pulled away. Her ragged breath echoed in the narrow space between them.

“A taste of what you’ll never have. Besides, no one will ever compare to the sweet, dear memories I have of Danielle.”

She slapped his face and fled back to the room where the party continued.


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