AMARUS

Chapter 10: The Measuring Of An Acquaintance

The Duchene Estate, Leighton, England (1762)

The onset of a storm saw to the plans Alain had for venturing to the hidden grove come to a disappointed end as he knew neither he nor Noreen would venture out in such atrocious weather. Despite being home for breakfast this time around, he refused to venture downstairs and mostly worked on putting a few touches on the painting of Noreen he kept hidden from everyone. His relatively obsessive manner alarmed mostly his mother as Casimir set about goading him into having sex with Noreen in a bid to get his childish longing for her out of his system. Annoyed by his brothers callous remarks toward the woman he fancied, Alain avoided him as well by staying in his bedchambers for much of the day.

The creaking of the floorboards could be heard as Alains constant pacing threatened to wear a hole in them. He was completely out of his element concerning his feelings or lack thereof, for beautiful and mysterious lass known as Noreen McCray, and he had been yet to even attempt to understand them. They hardly knew one another despite every night he turned in to bed only to be plagued by her visits via his dreams that left him with a series of haunting promises each and every morning since the day they met.

The weeks worth of rain not letting up only seemed to intensify his need to see her. Geoffrey was sent to get him to get out of his room at least and walk about the house before his pacing in one space got the better of him. His mother had feared hed wear down the floorboards. Casimir had enjoyed teasing his brother about his budding notion of a love life as it were, but even he too became quite concerned that Alain was perhaps much too infatuated with this strange young woman no one had even met before other than him.

As the long hours passed even Geoffrey was shocked to see a disheveled Alain open the door to his bed chambers with his eyes weary and his attire not in the least presentable. His lengthy locks were a mess as much as his bed had been due to his lack of an ability to get any adequate rest. Day and Night she seemed to plague him with her promises and he had not been of the mind to ignore them.

The rain beat against the roof of the manor and could be seen via the uncovered windows cascading down the glass like miniature rivers. The chill that filled the manor was a bit biting, but nothing he had not been use to. Servants worked around the clock to ensure the warmth of the place was sustained. With little to nothing to keep his mind occupied for the remainder of the afternoon, Alain dared to venture downstairs despite his mood.

His father had been the first person he came across, rightly concerned as per the unusual and slightly amused. He knew first hand what it was like to be in love as hed fallen for their mother many years prior and dealt with a bit of angst and nervousness at the time. Sir Alfred smiled finding it quite amusing that his son had finally found himself as smitten as any other young man his age and wondered just whom this young lass had been that seemed to command his attention when no other young woman could up until that point entirely.

Alfred motioned for his son to join him in his study, Alain joined him without hesitation if only to avoid anyone else in the house after the endless teasing from his mother and brother. The last thing he needed was to have to endure it all over again.

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The Downstairs Study, The Duchene Estate, Leighton, England, (1762)….

Alain stepped inside the room which was vastly inferior to his fathers main study and lined with bookcases filled with books of every sort. The scent of dust and leather filled his nostrils as he made his way toward one of the leather bound armchairs his mother had custom made for this room and took a seat at his fathers behest. Alfred seemed to be deep in thought for a few moments as he ventured toward a rather large window and took note of the pouring rain. His son seemed to be quite restless due to being forced inside on account of the bad weather and the disappointment of having to wait yet another day to see his lass at their usual meeting place.

”Is it always this nerve wracking? ” asked Alain breaking the silence between them as he too found himself taking notice of the pouring rain. ”My mind seems unable to concentrate on anything else at the moment. ”

Alfred smiled before taking a seat behind the mahogany wood desk that seemed to be piled high with unopened books and clean parchment.

”Love is a very fickle and wondrous thing my son. ” he replied. ”It can get the better of any man no matter how strong or of sound mind. ”

”I don suppose its any easier on the women? ” asked Alain with an arched brow.

This earned him a chuckle from his father whom had known all too well that it was sometimes doubly difficult for the women.

”No…I don suppose its easier on them either. ” replied the older man whom had folded his arms across his chest as he sat back against his chair.

Alain seemed to understand, but dreaded the outcome of this infatuation of sorts. He had only known Naureen for a short amount of time and already he wanted nothing more than to devote his every waking hour to being in her presence.

”I suppose I should actually be getting to the reason I called you here in the first place. ” said Alfred with a smile. ”The first reason is that I am considering undertaking an expedition to the new world and I would like for you to come along…its roughly a three month trip on board one of my main vessels through some rugged sea terrain, but I could use your assistance in choosing a spot to construct a hall of sorts in the a chosen area. ”

Alain found himself caught off guard by this.

”Y-You wish for me to join you? ”he asked still processing what hed just been asked.

”Why not? ” asked Alfred still very much amused. ”Its not like you haven been training for sea travel since the day you first questioned me about my maps. ”

This was a tremendous honor for the young lad as hed been looking forward to the day hed get to join his father on his travels since hed been a mere boy.

”Of course. ” he replied still reeling from the news. ”Itll be an honor, Father. ”

Alfred seemed pleased to hear this, hed been looking forward to the day hed take his son out on the open sea for many years now as a lad Alain would often request toy boats whenever his father was set to sail and hed play sea commander in his bath water which drove his attending into fits with his constant splashing and insisting that they were sea wenches.

Alana had not been too fond of the idea due to the loss of her first husband, the late Sebastian Duchene but she knew all too well that Alfred had only their sons best interest at heart. Casimir was groomed for governorship and Alain had been enchanted by the sea for as long as anyone could remember.

”Now the second bit of news. ” said Alfred seemingly searching for a means of softening the inevitable blow that would come from it.

Alain gave his father his undivided attention in a bid to learn this new turn of events.

”Your rather unscrupulous cousin Cornelius Eyston is coming and bringing along his younger brother Reginald, and best friend Jasper to stay for a few days at his mothers request. ” said Alfred knowing all too well that Alain had a vastly in depth hatred of Cornelius.

The boys were rivals since they were mere children and the hedonistic lifestyle Cornelius lived in his youth had not been something the rather prudish Alain could stomach. He tolerated Casimir due to them being brothers, but Cornelius was something else all together. Rumors of his sadistic candor and orgy related sex parties passed through all the time. Reginald on the other hand was merely a child, but a sweet and considerate one often ground beneath the heel of his sinister elder brother. While Jasper was a resident kiss-arse and often defended Cornileus vile behavior.

”Oh this is just wonderful. ” said Alain in his usual sarcastic manner. ”As if this weekend could not have gotten any worse. ”

”Well at least your Aunt decided not to show. ” added Alfred still amused.

”That would have been a lingering headache for mother. ” remarked Alain not wishing to venture down that road of annoyance.

”Indeed it would have been. ” agreed Alfred. ”Alright lad run along Ive some business to attend to and I shall let you know when we are ready to set sail. ”

Alain nodded and obediently took his leave of his father. While he couldn wait to get the news about setting sail, he found his mind once more drifted to the beautiful lass with whom he had shared many a splendid afternoon at the grove. He couldn wait for the rain to stop, Cornelius to go home, and for he and his father to make their journey across uncertain waters, the pitfalls of youthful impatience at its finest.

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