The Challenge: Write a romantic story or a poem. It can be fiction or non-fiction, humorous or amorous.
Author’s Note: I wrote this short story back in 2009. It never finished it. (This is not the end of the story) And for some reason, when Google came to Gather, they marked the post as Spam. None of the other parts were considered spam. So, it boggles my mind as to why they marked it as such. It is only a short story. I was never trying to sell anyone, anything. In conclusion, this is not the original version of Part Six. I re-wrote it on June 5th, 2014.
Here is the New version I wrote:
Evan, hands on hips, seemed proud of what he had done. Jonathon saw the smirk on the other man’s face, and it made him angry. Evan could not possibly care about Kat. No man who cared about a lady would make such a public nuisance of himself. He could not let the mongrel win.
So, when her father asked if there were any other bids, Jonathon grinned, “70,000”
Evan’s lips curled angrily. Kat’s father seemed mildly amused. Jonathon glanced over at Kat and he saw her hugging her arms to her chest, her face full of misery. Heavens above, he had done it again, he was being a louse. If he truly wished for her to be happy, he would leave right now and not return.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jonathon watched as the old man threw up his arms, and grumbled as he left the room. Now, only he and Evan remained as bidders.
Not one who wished to be outdone, Evan announced, “I bid 80,000 pounds.”
The room grew ghostly quiet. Her father began licking his lips. Theodore gazed directly at his face and asked, “Well, what say you young man, do you wish to bid more than 80,000?”
Again Jonathon looked toward Kat hoping for some sign of what he should do. Her expression gave no indication one way or another. All he knew for sure was that he saw the beginning of some unshed tears in her eyes. He had to think things through, very carefully.
He asked Theodore, “Sir, may I have a word with your daughter before we begin bidding again? It shall not take long, I promise.”
Evan stared at him with strict disapproval. “I say we do not allow it. The Earl is trying to gain an unfair advantage.”
Theodore brushed aside Evan’s statement, with a wave of his hand. “I do not see how the Earl speaking to my daughter can make a big difference. You must exercise patience, my dear boy…”
Turning to Jonathon, Theodore said, “I will give you my permission. But, you only have five minutes. If by the end of those five minutes, you do not make a decision your time will be up, and you will forfeit any bid you made before.” Theodore consulted his pocket watch. “Your time begins now. I will let you know when it is over.”
Kat began trembling when he came near. Jonathon took her hand. Tears that had gathered on her lashes, spilled along her cheeks. He wiped a tear drop away with his fingers. “Kat, before I bid, or not I have something I wish to say. I want to know if you will forgive me for my poor behavior last evening.”
Her breath whooshed out, and she nodded, biting her lower lip. “I have already forgiven you. This morning I realized I had been unfair in the way I spoke to you. You have never before given me reason to doubt your intentions. And you did say that you wished to explain, but you never got the chance.”
* * *
On the other side of the room, Evan tapped his foot on the floor. Some inner demon wanted him to push on through, and actually gain the hand of the lovely lady. Then, he recalled his lifelong ambition of wishing to travel the world. The funds to be gained through his father’s adventure sure could go a long way in giving him the freedom to do as he wished. He had always wanted to paint landscapes.
The other part, the rational, critical thinking part of his brain told him he could have something other than the money, fame, and acclaim that resulted in selling those paintings. Kat had kissed him, outside on the terrace as if she had truly wanted him with a passion he’d never thought existed. She was a truly, amazingly, beautiful, wonderful person.
Kisses he had received from ladies before had been mostly from harlots, who cared not for what he really liked. Kat had given him a tentative, sweet kiss that seared him to his toes. Evan glanced to the other side of the room and saw the closeness Kat shared with the Earl. Evan really did not think someone like him could gain such a lovely woman, and so, therefore; why would he even try?
The least he could do would be to play fair.
. . . .
Jonathon shook his head, giving her hand a squeeze. “I only wished to tell you what you have already said. I have not, nor will I ever abandon you, shall you ever need me. I am sorry if my absence from your life this week has hurt you. That had not been my intention. I did try earlier to do something to help you get out this farce of an auction. But, alas, I found no such way to do so. I should have told you this, instead of behaving like a child, and keeping this information from you.”
Kat frowned. “That is it? Are you sure you have nothing else you wish to say?”
Her father shouted from across the room, not giving him any time in which to answer. “You have a few seconds left, my lord!”
Jonathon gave Kat a kiss on the cheek, and he trod back across the room.
Theodore smiled. “Well, Earl, I am going to need your decision. Shall I begin where I left off?”
Jonathon nodded his head in the affirmative.
Theodore cleared his throat. “Quite. We have a bid of 80,000 pounds in favor of the Earl of Saunterberry. It is 80,000 pounds going once… Going twice…”
Like a shock to her system, Kat waited. Her heart pounded, her blood rushed through her veins furiously, as she waited to see if Jonathon would try to claim her as his wife. With all of her soul, she wanted him. Everything felt so surreal, that on the verge of losing him, she finally realized how much she loved him.
She tasted the word love on her tongue, and it felt right. This entire time she had let her father mess with her destiny, and flout her right to be in charge of her own life. He had treated her like a doll or a parcel which could easily be bought or sold. By god, she might be only a mere female, but she had a voice and she would use it.
For once she would not let these men control her fate. Before her father could say a word, or before Jonathon could make a bid, she stepped forward, and smiled. “I bid 100,000 pounds.”
All of the men turned to her, surprise written on their faces.
Her father stammered, “G-girl, w-what is this nonsense? You cannot bid on yourself.”
Proudly, she jutted out her chin. “Oh, you heard me wrong, father. I am not bidding on myself. I am taking control over my life. I am tired of being your property. I am sick of you not consulting my feelings. Most of all, I will not allow this farce to continue.”
Evan stared at her, nonplussed. “What exactly do you want to happen, my dear?”
Kat walked over to Evan and clasped his shoulder. She smiled at him, warmly. “Thank you for being my protector. But, I do not need one, anymore. You have been a very dear friend. And I am glad I met you.”
Evan embraced her. He let her go, turned around, and announced to her still very shocked father, “Sir, I humbly withdraw my last bid. That means I have lost…” Evan ventured forth, going over to Jonathon, and he held out his hand.
Jonathon gazed at him oddly, before taking the proffered handshake. “Thank you, I guess?”
Evan chuckled. “I am presuming you really do not understand, what this really means. But, I bet you will, rather soon.”
Evan left, leaving only her father, Jonathon and she left in the room.
Before anyone could get a word in edgewise, her father cleared his throat. “I see that you finally have a husband, dear girl. And he’s a finer man than I ever did see.”
Jonathon could not help the grin spreading across his lips. “This is very fitting.”
Being unadvised of the jest between the two men, her father decided to enlighten her, along with Jonathon’s nod of permission.
“When the Earl here first found out about my notion to offer you up to the gentlemen for funds, he paid me a visit. He asked for your hand in marriage, right there on the spot. I refused, and told him he would have to return to the auction to see if he could win. Well, as it turns out, either by fate or by some cosmic jest that he is indeed the highest bidder of them all.”
Theodore showed them both the papers and the tally. They were shocked to see that Jonathon had indeed offered the highest sum from the very beginning.
Theodore chuckled. “So I told a little white lie to start the bidding eh? It worked, did it not? I have been bested, I see that now. I humbly accept your bid, sir. Welcome to the family.”
Jonathon shook his hand, when Theodore offered it. “I am sorry I threatened to send you to an insane asylum. I hope we can get past that.”
Her father chuckled. “There are no hard feelings, I assure you. I can see I am intruding on what should now be a private moment between you and your fiancé. I will be leaving.” He turned, and yelled, “Bess, come over here!” Her maid hurried over to his side. “We should go. They are affianced now, and are entitled to some privacy.”
Bess nodded. And, then they were utterly alone.
* * *
Kat slumped, placing her hand over her forehead. “Jonathon, why didn’t you tell me all of this, before? You had me worried.”
Jonathon looked at Kat, thinking about how much he wanted to protect her. She seemed so fragile, like she could break at any moment. Yet, in the same instance, she had a brave, fighting spirit underneath her delicate structure. Now that they were about to enter into a matrimonial bargain, he decided she deserved to know the truth.
“I wanted tell you about the offer I made for your hand, but at the last second, I couldn’t do it. If I had told you, it would not have a difference at that point. Your father had declined my request, and I felt as if I had failed you. Besides, it would not have been a fair thing to do to you. I wanted you to be happy.”
Kat placed her hand upon his cheek. He closed his eyes, savoring the comfort and warmth of her hand. She stroked his skin and asked him to open his eyes, so he did. Kat stood close to him and she shook her head bemusedly.
Grasping his chin, she asked, “Why would you think I could possibly be happy with anyone else?”
He shrugged. “Well, to be quite frank, that evening after you slapped me, when I had hurt Evan for kissing you, I thought for sure you wished to be with him. The only reason I came here tonight had been for selfish reasons. It was because of my intolerable pride. I wanted to outbid Evan because I was jealous.”
She smirked, and leaned close to his lips. He shuddered with lust. First the first time, he truly noticed how sweet her skin smelled, and how her eyes sparkled in the candlelight. It would be rude to be imagining her naked on the sofa, especially when, she most likely wished to tell him something. Her lips were puckering, and his pulse began racing. He had to think about something, anything to keep from grabbing her to bend her over the settee.
Nuns popped into his head. No, they had to be old, naked, prune-like, and ugly. That image did the trick, he inwardly sighed in relief.
Kat smiled. “Oh, I did not realize, Jonathon. How long have you been jealous, may I ask?”
She had somehow drawn closer to him, their hips aligning together perfectly. All of the hard work he had put into forgetting about his lust came to nothing. His body clamored for her now. He wanted her on the divan, the floor, or up against the wall. It did not matter which of those he chose. It was difficult, but he had to remind himself that she was still a virgin. He had to cease imagining such lurid thoughts.
He swallowed uncomfortably. “The night I saw you on the balcony with Evan, the night of the ball, when you were kissing him, it made me angry. All I could think was that I couldn’t stand seeing his lips anywhere near yours. I wanted to wipe the smug smile off his lips, with my bare hands.”
She pressed her head against his chest. Her laugh vibrated on his shirt. “Goodness, you really do care for me, don’t you?” Lifting her head, she grinned. “How much do you really care? And, are you willing to show me?”
He needed no further prodding to let go of his inhibitions. Gliding his fingers over her cheeks, he took the sides of her head gently in his hands, and his head dipped. When he kissed her lips, they both gasped with the pleasure of the meeting of mouths. He nibbled on her upper lip, teasing, and cajoling a response from her. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him hard.
They practically melded into each other. Her lower body crushed up against his. Whatever composure he may have had drifted away like ashes. Forcing her mouth open, he wrapped his tongue around hers. It shocked her, he knew. Her body tensed minutely. Nothing would keep him from showing her how wonderful this type of loving could be. Slowly, he swirled his tongue around hers, in circles, teaching her how to return the kiss. Eventually, she sighed into his mouth, and they sank blissfully into a fiery duel, of give and retreat.
Their breathing was erratic when they came up for air. He stepped away, needing some distance.
“Kat, I have to ask you a question. Did you bid the way you did because you wished to be with me? Or did you only do so to give yourself some time to make your speech?”
She laughed, batting his arm with her open palm. “You really do not understand, do you? Evan was right.”
He growled, “What does he have to do with this conversation? And, why are you calling him by his Christian name? He is not your fiancé, I am.”
Her expression completely serious, Kat grasped him by the arm and tugged him over to the sofa, making him sit by her side. “I made the bid because I wanted to have a say in my own life. But that is not the only reason why I did it. You truly have no idea how I feel about you, do you?”
He smirked. “I know you wanted to kiss me. That is not in doubt.”
She giggled. “Yes, I do so love kissing you. I have wanted to for a very long time.” Folding her arms in her lap, she bit her lip.
His voice husky, he asked, “Have you noticed how often you bite your lips, my dear?”
* * *
Kat shivered when Jonathon started at her fingers, and slid his hand up and down her arm. He gave her goose bumps. Since she had told him about wanting to kiss him, his eyes had dilated, and he stared at her in a hungry manner. Finally, she had his undivided attention. Oh, how she wished they could explore those sensual feelings at length. But, it would have to be later. For now, she needed to talk to him.
“Jonathon, you need to hear this…”
His wandering hand ceased its movement. Completely still, he gazed into her eyes, and nodded.
“I have had strong feelings for you, for years. I had no way of knowing exactly what they meant. It had been difficult to find a way to tell you. When my father told me about his mad plan to garner me a husband, I felt that all was lost. Then, this very day, I realized I loved you. And, I could not let you go. I could not wait for you to bid. Nor could I wait for my heart to break if you did not.”
Jonathon stared at her for a long while, not saying a word. She thought perhaps he could not possibly feel the same for her, and she fought back the need to cry. Nothing could hurt worse than the fact she had taken a chance on being with him only to find out she would forever yearn for love, and he could not give it.
She shivered when Jonathon lightly touched her hair. He grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her close to his body. “I wish I had known how you felt much sooner. But, most likely, it would have not been the right time. Since, I had no idea how I felt for you, until I almost lost you to someone else. What I did know was that if I truly cared for, if I really loved you, then I would let you go so you could be happy.”
She brushed her lips against his. “Are you saying you love me too?”
Jonathon chuckled against her mouth. “I think that is exactly what I am saying.”
All the tension she had been feeling slipped away. “I am so glad. I am positively gleeful that you will soon be my husband.”
As they kissed again, a newfound relationship had been forged. They could have their, happily ever after.
Here are the links for the original version of the story here on Gather:
BarteredBride,PartOne (Marked for crude and indecent language)
I am taking down part six soon. So, I left out the link
Since the original part six was marked as spam, no one can see the body of the post. So, I will put the unedited version first right after the colon.
Evan stood hands on hips, proud of what he had done. And, to see the mongrel’s face did him a lot of good. Now, the true fun would begin.
Jonathon saw the smirk on the other man’s face. It made him angry how little he truly felt about Kat. No man that did could make such a public nuisance of himself. Of course, he could not let the other man win. So, when her father asked if there were any bids, he grinned. “70,000.”
Evan’s lips curled. Her father seemed mildly amused. He glanced over toward Kat, she had begun hugging herself. From what he saw he could tell her life had become one large misery. And, he had done it again. Being a humongous louse. If he truly wished her to be happy he would leave right now.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the old man throw up his hand, grumbling as he left the room. Now, only he and Evan remained.
Not to be outdone, Evan announced, “I bid 80,000 pounds.”
The room grew ghostly quiet, her father licking his lips. He looked directly into his face. As he asked, “Well, what say you young man? Do you wish to bid more than 80,000?”
Again he looked toward her, hoping for some sign. Something that told him what he should do. She gave no indication one way or the other. Just one glance at her torn expression, the urge of hers to give way to messy tears made him think deeply of what should be done. He had to know first. He had to speak.
“Sir… My lord. May I have a word with your daughter? It will not take long I promise. Before we bid again?”
Evan stared at him with strict disapproval. “I say we don’t allow it. He may be trying an unfair advantage.”
“I do not see how his speaking with my daughter can make a true difference here. Be patient dear boy. Yes, I give you permission sir. Five minutes. No more. If you do not make a decision before that time is up, you will forfeit. I will set my watch now.”
Her whole body trembled as he came near. He took her hand. Tears that had gathered on her lashes spilled forth. “Before I bid or not. I have something I have to say. I wish to know if you can ever truly forgive me for my poor behavior last evening.”
Body shuddering, she nodded biting her lower lip. “I have already forgiven you. This morning I knew that I had been unfair to you. You have never given me reason to ever doubt you before. You had wished to explain. You never got the chance.”
On the other side of the room, Evan tapped his foot on the carpet. Some deep inner demon wished for himself to win but, on the other hand he could use some funds when he traveled the world. He had always wanted to paint landscapes.
The other warring part of his heart wanted what the other man had. He desired something other than just money, fame, or even acclaim. She had truly kissed him as if she meant it before. A true kiss from an amazing woman.
Not like the other kisses he’d received over the years. From harlots that cared not for what he liked. But, a true tentative, sweet kiss. He observed the two at the other end of the room saw how close they seemed. How can he possibly try to separate such an obvious love match?
The least he could do would be to play fair.
. . . .
He shook his head, giving her one last squeeze. “I had only wished to explain what you have already said. I never have, nor will I ever abandon you. I am truly sorry if my absence this week has hurt you. That had not been my intention. I tried to come up with something that would help you dear. I had honestly found no way to do so. I should have told you that instead of making you wait.”
She frowned. “That is it? You have nothing else to say?”
Her father shouted across the room. “You have a few seconds sir.”
Giving her one long kiss on the cheek, he trod across the room.
“Well, right on time, I do say. Have you got another bid? Shall I start the last one?”
He shook his head in the affirmative.
“Quite all right then. 80,000 going once… Going twice…”
Like a shock to her system, she waited heart pounding, blood pumping waiting to see if he would finally claim her as his. With all her heart she wanted him. It felt all quite surreal that on the verge of losing her one true love, she knew without a doubt now.
Love. She tasted the feeling on her tongue, it felt right. This whole time she had let her father fool with her destiny, flout her rights. Treat her like some doll, some parcel that could be bought or sold. By god, she may be female but she had a mouth of her own.
For once she would not let these men control her destiny.
Before he could finally say sold, or Jonathon made a bid, she stepped forward with a huge smile upon her lips.
“I bid 100,000.”
All men turned to her, surprise written on all their faces.
Her father stammered. “G-girl. W-what is this nonsense? You cannot bid on yourself.”
Proudly she jutted out her chin. “Oh you heard me quite wrong father. I am not bidding on myself. I am taking clear control of my life. I am tired of being your property. Tired of not being consulted on my feelings. And, most of all I will not let this farce continue.”
Evan stared at her uncomprehending. “What exactly do you wish to happen dear?”
She came to him first clasping his shoulder. “Thank you again for being my protector. But, I find I do not need one as of this time. You are a very dear friend. And, I am glad I found that out.”
He gave her a quick hug, announcing to her still shell-shocked father, “Sir, I humbly withdraw my latest bid. I believe that means that I have lost. And, you sir have won.” Wondering forth, he held out his hand.
Jonathon gazed at him oddly before taking the offered handshake. “Thank you, I guess.’
The other man laughed. “I believe it is you that doesn’t really understand. But, I bet you will rather soon.”
Evan left, leaving only her father, her and Jonathon.
Before anyone could of course, get in a word edgewise, her father cleared his throat. “Well, it seems that you finally have a husband dear girl. And, a finer man I never did see.”
Jonathon couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. “How fitting.”
Being unadvised of the jest between men, her father choose to enlighten her with Jonathon’s nod of permission.
“When your dear Earl here found out about my little ruse to give you out to the highest bidder, he paid me a visit. He even offered for you on the spot. I refused, telling him to come back this very evening to see if he had been indeed the highest bidder. And, it seems that by either fate or some cosmic jest, he is indeed the highest bidder of them all.”
Theodore showed them both the papers and the tally. They both were shocked to see Jonathon had indeed offered the highest sum.
“So, what is a little white lie to start the bidding eh? It worked did it not? I am bested, I see. I humbly accept your bid sir. And, welcome you to the family.”
He held out his hand, Jonathon shook it firmly. “Sorry I threatened to send you to an insane asylum. I hope we can get past that.”
Her father chuckled. “No hard feelings here. But, I see I am intruding as of now.” He turned. “Bess!” Her maid hurried over. “Let us leave. They are affianced now. And, are entitled to privacy.”
Bess did as she had been bid. Now, they finally had some time to themselves.
She slumped, placing her hand over her forehead. “Lord, why didn’t you tell me? You had me worried there.”
“I wanted to but, at the last moment, I just couldn’t. I had to let you decide what you wanted to do. If I had told you how I offered for you, nothing would have truly changed. It would have been an unfair thing to do to you. You deserved to be happy.”
Her hand went directly to his cheek; he closed his eyes feeling her deep devotion. When he opened his eyes, she stood close as she could get, stroking his skin.
“What made you possibly think I could be happy with him?”
“I haven’t a clue. To be quite frank when you slapped me, I thought I knew for sure what you wanted. That you wanted to be with your dear Evan. I came tonight for very selfish reasons. Because of my pride. I truly wanted to outbid that other man. Mainly because I was jealous.”
She smirked leaning toward his lips. At this point in time, lust really had no place in the conversation. He really tried. He thought about anything to make his pulse race less. Imagining old ladies, nuns, old naked nuns. That did the trick, he shuddered.
“You were jealous, I did not know that. How long were you jealous may I ask?”
Now, her hips aligned with his. All of his hard work before came to nothing, his body wanted her now, here. On the divan, on the floor, up against the wall. It did not matter to him. But, he had to remind himself that she would still be a virgin. He had to slow down his lewd thoughts.
“I honestly do not know. As soon as I found out you were with him. That night of the ball. I couldn’t stand his lips anywhere near yours. I wanted to wipe that smile off his mouth with my fists.”
She pressed her head against his chest a small laugh tickling his shirt. “Goodness. You really do care don’t you?” Lifting her face, she puckered her lips. “How much do you care? And, can you show me?”
He needed no further prodding than that. His lips touched hers. They both gasped. Separating for a quick breath, he went swooped back down nibbling on her upper lip. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed him to go harder, practically becoming one being as her lower body crushed his.
Whatever composure he may have had, betrayed him. Forcing her mouth open, he slid his tongue inside, it shocked her a bit. Nothing would keep him from his task. Slowly, he showed her how to give back in return, twining his tongue, moving his lips, eventually she found his rhythm they both sank blissfully amongst themselves.
They both began breathing erratically that is when he pulled far from her, needing some distance.
“I have to ask you. Did you bid what you did because you wished to be with me? Or was it just to give you time to make your speech?”
She laughed, batting him with her open palm. “You really don’t understand do you? Evan was right.”
He growled. “What does Evan have to do with this? You should not be calling him that still. He is not your fiancé I am.”
Pulling a serious face she tugged until he sat beside her on the sofa. “Yes, I made the bid because I wanted to have a say in my life. But that is not the only reason why. You truly have no earthly idea how I feel about you, do you?”
His eyes sparkled. “I know you wish to kiss me. That is not in doubt.”
She laughed. “Yes, I do wish to kiss you. I’ve wanted something for a long time.” Folding her arms in her lap, she bit her lips.
“Have you noticed how often you bite your lips my dear?”
His hand wandered along her arm, sliding along her skin giving her goose bumps. Their conversation now bordered on seduction. Later, she would let it happen naturally. For now, she really needed for him to know everything.
“I simply must tell you this. I have had strong feelings for you, for years. I had no way of knowing exactly what they were. Or how to tell you. Then, my father surprised me with his insane plan to garner me a husband. I felt all was lost. Then, tonight, this very day I knew once and for all that I loved you. And, I couldn’t let you go. I could not wait for you to bid. I couldn’t wait for my heart to break if you did not.”
His hand stopped, resting on her shoulder blade. She watched as he stared saying nothing for so long, that she thought that he may say he didn’t care in return. Nothing would hurt worse to know that she had taken a chance on being with him, and he didn’t feel the same.
Shudders racked her frame when his hand began wandering again, leading into her hair pulling her close. “I wish I had known much sooner. Though it probably wouldn’t have been a happy ending. I had no idea how I felt about you. Not till I almost lost you to someone else. I knew that if I really cared about you, really loved you, I’d let you be happy.”
She brushed her lips against his once. “Are you saying that you love me too?’
He chuckled against her mouth. “I think that I am.”
All the tension she felt this night slipped away. “I am so happy. So glad you will be my husband.”
As they kissed again a newfound relationship had been forged.
A new happily ever after.