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Jul 06 2017

Heir of Rosings Park Chapter 13

Heir of Rosing Park iconMary examines her options…and herself.

 

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 Chapter 13

Her cheek burned where he had touched her. She pressed her palm to her face, but even the cool touch did nothing to alleviate the sensation.

Insolent, arrogant, disagreeable man. ! How dare he touch her like that, uninvited?

Family he might be, but truly this was too much. It would be entirely proper, even justified for her to demand her things be packed and she leave. Perhaps that might even teach him something about propriety and restraint. She was not the kind of woman he was accustomed to, if he thought that was appropriate treatment.

Was this the beginning of what Charlotte feared might happen? No, that was too much to believe, even of him. He had not been suggestive or demanding in any way. Only tender and considerate.

But Charlotte would argue that is what he would want her to believe, in order to lure her into … something.

Granted, he did not fear Darcy, but neither was he so callous that he would intentionally do something to hurt his closest friend and cousin. No, this was not about seductions, just the lack of appropriate boundaries.

But those were important. Perhaps she should indeed go.

But where would she go? After Fitzwilliam’s show of dominance, she could not return to the parsonage, at least not so soon. And even if she did, Collins’s temper would be worse, if anything, not better.

She squeezed her eyes shut as the echoes of Collins’ voice and the sharp smack of the back of his hand across her cheek seared through her. She blinked back the burning in her eyes. No, this was not the time to rehearse those memories. Foolish girl.

Why should she be so fragile now? He was not the first man to treat her thus … and he might not be the last, but his hand had been unexpected. She had been guarded at home, but fool that she was, she had dropped her defenses here. Without time to prepare herself, steel herself against the outburst, it affected her as Father never had.

Must put that out of her mind now. She needed a few moments to gather herself for the next trial.

Lady Catherine proved tired and a bit whiny, like a child in need of a nap. It required only a little encouragement to take to her rooms for a rest. It seemed almost too easy.

Mary returned to her chambers, asking not to be disturbed until dinner. Would anyone honor the request though? It seemed likely; who was left that had not already visited her?

She paced the perimeter of her room and the adjacent dressing room. The rooms were pretty, in a garish sort of way, larger and better appointed than any she had ever enjoyed before. Would it really be such a trial to stay here now?

No. But that was not the point. Not at all.  She pumped her fists at her side. How dare Fitzwilliam take away all her choices? What right had he to make decisions for her? Imperious, pretentious, domineering popinjay. He did not deserve to win this hand.

She fell into a small chair near the dressing room window—a rather lumpy affair with a particularly hard bump right in the center of her back. If only she could escape Rosings as Lizzy had.

But how could she?

Lizzy had not managed her escape alone. Far from it. Long Tom and Ames, Parkes, the Gardiners, Darcy; they all took up for her and came—quite literally—to her rescue. True enough, she had earned their regard with everything that she had done for them; that was her doing. But without their help, she would have been victim to Lady Catherine’s machinations.

Lizzy was fortunate.

A chill spread from the top of Mary’s head all the way to her toes.

There was no one to rescue her.

No one. If she were to run from Rosings this moment, no one would notice until they needed something from her.

No, that was not fair. Michaels would notice. No doubt, he would.

But what would he do?

When Lizzy went missing, Darcy turned into a desperate madman, nothing would get in the way of his search for her. He had to be all but tied down not to go out sick, in the rain to continue his search. He was a force of nature who would stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to find and protect the woman he adored.

Such intensity was not Michaels’ way. A precise, well-ordered man, he would do things with planning and control. To be sure, he would search for her in his own way. He was far too loyal to allow her to disappear easily.

She wrapped her arms around her waist. But how long would he continue to look? How persistent would he be if she proved difficult to trace?

Enough! Enough! He did not deserve such doubt!

She pushed herself to her feet, nearly knocking over the chair. Blast and botheration! It struggled within her grasp  her as she fought to steady it.

What point was there in driving herself to misery with such thoughts? Comparing Michaels to Darcy was as ridiculous as comparing herself to Lizzy. It was foolish.

But how could she not compare herself to the one person who had what she most wanted …

She clutched her temples and groaned. Of course, she would have to admit that now, too. One more ugly truth. Yes, Lizzy had what she wanted, but what was that precisely?

 To be loved passionately? To be recognized as strong and competent? To be respected? To have the power of choice? What was it really that she was looking for?

And did she have any right to hope for it when she was so plain and ordinary and had little hope of being otherwise? No one had ever told her differently. Heroines were all beautiful, gay and sparkling. Like Lizzy and Lydia.

And now she had a headache. A thundering, skull-shattering, knee-weakening headache, a battle of Napoleonic proportions playing out in the confines of her skull.

She staggered to her bed and threw herself headlong upon it. What perfect justice to be meted out for her uncharitable thoughts.

 

So, what do YOU think Mary really wants? Tell me in the comments.


Don’t miss the first two books in the series:

 

 

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24 comments

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  1. AnitaP

    Mary wants love, the strong passionate all consuming love. Not the practical love she has with Michaels.

    1. Maria Grace

      You may just be right, Anita. The question is what is she going to do about it?

  2. Glynis

    Oh dear. Poor Mary. She obviously wants to be adored like Liszt and respected for herself. Now the question is, will Michael’s do that? He obviously cares for her in his own way but is that enough? (And where is he while all this is going on?)
    On the other hand, if he got his act together I could see Fitzwilliam fitting the bill but then what happens to Michael’s? Especially as the banns have been read 😐
    Well hopefully you have the answers Maria, so hopefully you can sort it out without any broken hearts. (Although I wouldn’t object to a broken body as long as it Mr Collins 😉)

    1. Maria Grace

      What a tangled web it has become, hasn’t it? Thanks, Glynis!

  3. Glynis

    Liszt???? Damned predictive text!!! Obviously should be Lizzy 😱😁

    1. Maria Grace

      I hate autocorrect too!

  4. Vesper Meikle

    I think Mary wants some romance, something she does not receive from Michals. I think the Colonel and Mary are destined to be together

    1. Maria Grace

      Come on, tell me what you really think… LOL

  5. Cindy H

    The Colonel… assuming he can get his head out of his arse… she wants/needs the Colonel.

    1. Maria Grace

      He really does need to get his head out, doesn’t he?

  6. tgruy

    She needs to be loved and respected and appreciated for herself. She’s doing her best and deserves to get the best.

    1. Maria Grace

      The question is, of course, who that might be… Thanks!

  7. Linda Kjonnerod

    Child in need of a nap not nape.

    1. Maria Grace

      Thanks!

  8. Suzanne

    Mary needs to stop being so indignant over everything Fitzwilliam says and does. He clearly is trying and her ‘holier than thou’ attitude is annoying.

    1. Maria Grace

      She is a little prickly, isn’t she?

  9. Patty Edmisson

    She wants the love of a good man and to be in love passionately with same man. She wants what Lizzy has with Darcy. Poor Michaels is not adding up when compared to Colonel Fitzwilliam.

    1. Maria Grace

      After seeing what Darcy and Lizzy have, it must be difficult not to be rather envious.

  10. Katherine Schmitt

    Mary needs to know that it’s okay to be passionate! If Michaels makes her feel ‘tremble with desire’ then he’s the right choice. I think it’s clear that the Colonel is helping her see that there’s something missing in her relationship with Michaels, but she has yet to see her way to expressing her needs to Michaels …. she probably won’t see her way because passion just doesn’t seem to be in Michaels’ vocabulary! However, the Colonel may be passionate, but his enduring love is unproven as yet. Life was so uncomplicated before the Colonel brought his fire to the party!

    1. Maria Grace

      Absolutely, Fitzwilliam had definitely complicated things, though I’m pretty sure he never intended to do so.

  11. Carole in Canada

    Mary is so confused right now. She is trying to be everything to everybody…like Elizabeth and feels she is failing. I don’t think she realized the true price Elizabeth paid but knows that Elizabeth found someone who loved her unconditionally and for herself. That is what Mary wants but the Colonel is blindsiding her. She may need to remove herself from the triangle but she is not one to admit defeat either.

    Oh Maria, you certainly have your work cut out for you and have thrown poor Mary into a tailspin!

    1. Maria Grace

      I’m pretty sure you’re right, she didn’t have full insight into what Elizabeth suffered. But she has managed to find herself in a quandary nearly as difficult!

  12. Agnes

    Oh no. This situation becomes worse and worse, and from the beginning it promised disaster. My analysis is that the problem, at this point, is with Mary. I suppose she eagerly accepted the escape Michaels presented from her life of emotional and physical abuse, and also, because of her low self esteem, she was grateful someone noticed her and chose her. She did not expect/hope/dared want anything beyond respect and esteem, which she seems to have with Michaels, and which are perfectly valid reasons to marry in the Regency. Now, however, she realizes the power of sexual attraction/chemistry which apparently she doesn’t feel for Michaels nor does she sense it coming from him. I didn’t sense anything wrong from Michaels’ side, from the few occasions we saw him and Mary. The Colonel is somewhat more culpable, because he realizes the attraction he feels for Mary who should be untouchable for him, and doesn’t avoid temptation.
    I’m not sure I understand Mary’s conflict with the Colonel, unless it is a subconscious disguise of the fact that she is uncomfortable with him. Once he realized Mary was abused by Collins, he tried his best to help her – highhanded, to be sure, but he’s right Mary would not have sought help on her own. He doesn’t deserve to be blamed for the staff burdening Mary with the household problems.

    Now, really, Mary needs to question what she wants. Unfortunately, her situation as a dependent woman and an engaged one doesn’t allow her to explore much of it. If it is really her deepest wish to be loved passionately it’s better she doesn’t marry Michaels, but to get out of a respectable engagement means losing her security and to some extent, even her reputation, and the Colonel, for all his passion, isn’t a viable choice/substitute as of yet.

    1. Maria Grace

      I think you’ve got a pretty solid picture of the situation. Thanks Agnes!

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