SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM
Charles!" Annabelle gasped in shock from the sight of the beautiful diamond
"Please say that you'll
marry me," Charles smiled as he took the ring out of the box.
course I'll marry you!" she exclaimed as she fought to suppress her squeals
of glee while he slipped the ring onto her finger. "Darling, you just
have no idea how happy you've made me!"
that can't be any happier than you've made me."
"Let's get married as
soon as the divorce is final," she insisted eagerly. "Let's do
it the next day, if possible."
Charles laughed heartily at
her exuberance. "Darling, why the rush? We have all the time in
I know that," she smiled coyly. "It's just that, well, I know
how things can happen...unexpected things...and I, well, don't want to take any
chances. I don't want to wait any longer than necessary." She
inhaled deeply as she held up her hand to gaze at the ring as it sparkled in the
light. "This is just like a dream! And...and I don't ever want
to wake up from it."
"Annabelle, there's no
need to wake up," he muttered softly as he placed a finger on her chin and
lifted her face so that he could look deeply into her eyes. "This is not
a dream. It's all very, very real." Overcome with the emotion
of the moment, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately to seal
their engagement. It was a kiss that was not looked upon favorably by
anyone within viewing distance. In fact, the kiss was looked upon with
scorn and resentment by everyone watching, especially by his sons
Reginald and Trevor who were standing just a few feet away.
As their lips parted, she
grabbed his hand and began to pull him towards the orchestra stand.
"Where are we
going?" he asked with a laugh.
"I'm so happy, I want the
world to know!" she exclaimed. "I want to announce to everyone,
right now, that we're going to be married."
"No," he said firmly
and froze in his tracks, bringing Annabelle to a grinding halt. "Not
"This is Burt's
night," he explained carefully, not wanting to upset her or ruin her
happiness. "Let's hold off on any grand announcements until some
She eyed him with
disappointment. She wanted to let everyone in town know that she had finally
gotten everything that she'd ever wanted. She was going to be
Annabelle Callison, a member of the most prominent family in town.
Finally, she was going to be a woman of substance and means. However, she
respected his wishes and nodded in agreement. Forcing the issue would not
be a good idea.
"I knew you'd see that it
would be...." Charles voice trailed off as he caught sight of Francis as
she slowly walked into the room flanked by Mary and
Annabelle asked as she looked at him curiously, unsure as to why he'd stopped in
Carefully following his gaze, she felt her face flush with
anger when she saw Francis. How dare she show her face! How dare she
put in appearance to deliberate try to sabotage her evening!
"I see that your
soon-to-be ex-wife has decided to barge her way in," she muttered with a scowl.
"I would think that she would know when she's not wanted."
will be enough," he chastised with a harsh look. "I don't want
you doing anything or saying anything out of the way to Francis. I'm sure
she's just here for the children."
"Whatever you say,
darling," she muttered as her eyes burned with hatred. She didn't
care why Francis had shown up; all she knew was that she didn't
"Now, you just stay right
here and keep yourself out of trouble," he continued as he gave her a
cautionary glance. "I need to go find Burt. There are a few
things I want to talk to him about."
"All right," she
cooed softly as she tried to cover the rage that was building inside of
her. "I'll stay right here and wait for you to get back."
He looked at her again, unsure
whether to believe her. However, he realized that he had no choice but to
leave her on her own and quickly walked away in search of Burt. As soon as
he disappeared into the crowd, Annabelle again turned her attention to Francis
and felt her blood began to boil. Francis had no right nor reason to be
there. She didn't belong! As Annabelle's jaw tightened, she
took a deep breath and headed straight in her direction so that she could give
her a piece of her mind.