Chapter four, where Mary falls…
Mary held a kerchief over her mouth, to protect her delicate sensibilities from the spewing smoke of Mr Peterson’s vile contraption.
Charles and Pythagorus were having a mighty fine time, and that was fine by Mary. The more time they spent oohing and ahhing over the noisy machine the less time Pythagorus Peterson spent vying for her attention.
And to think, she had been hoping for a proposal from the man. He had turned into a positively repugnant human being. And she had thought she had known the man.
He had insulted her at every turn, making insinuations and undesired advances. She pursed her mouth and set her brow, at least she had found out how distasteful of a human he was now. She would never have been able to put up with his misdeed if they had gotten married
Janey sat, not saying a word, but she patted Mary’s hand in sympathy. Of course, Mary figured her sister assumed she was upset over the loss of opportunity at a future connection with the Peterson family, instead of what was really upsetting Mary. Py insulted Mary and no one, not Charles, not Janey, had defended her honor.
She claimed to feel faint to avoid their post-luncheon stroll. However, now she felt trapped on the riding platform.
Py’s carriage crawled along at a dreadful pace. He claimed they were traveling at a brisk ten miles an hour. Mary questioned the validity of his claim, as she watched horses, and people of foot outpace them.
They crawled around the corner, and finally made it to the street with Janey’s house.
Mary’s heart lurched, or maybe that was her ride.
A dark figure lurked in the shadows on the porch. Dark full-length duster, dark hat, dark. Mary’s breath hitched, or maybe that was the ride lurching again.
With a cough and a spit they stopped.
The dark figure descended the stairs.
Charles puffed up his chest and jumped from the platform. His attempt at an aggression display brought a smile to Mary’s lips. Charles was so pitiful.
With a sigh Janey declared, “He is so manly.”
Mary stifled a choke. “He is.” She didn’t mean Charles.
Charles puffed, while the other man loomed. He was a giant of a man, not only tall but broad through the shoulder. His face was hidden by the brim of his hat, but Mary could make out the line of a strong square jaw.
Charles returned to their ride and reached up pulling the step stool down.
Janey reached forward and stepped delicately down with the assistance of her husband.
Mary felt a chill slither up her spine. She turned and faced Pythagorus. In full view of everyone on the street, and those who cared to look out their window, Pythagorus pulled Mary against his chest.
With a gasp, she shoved hard against him before e could open his mouth and insult her yet again.
The action propelled Mary out of his arms and to the edge of the platform.
Her heel slipped. She teetered for what felt an eternity. In slow motion, Mary slid backward. She hung in space, the clouds adorable little animals of puff in a perfectly blue sky.
A scream split the silence.
She fell forever, knowing that this was the death of her. She held her breath waiting for the hard impact as she crashed to the pavement.
The hard crack of her death didn’t come. She fell softly and was lifted, her vision heading back up into the sky.
Suddenly she was upright and held firmly against a wall of leather. Slowly she slid down, aware that on the other side of that leather was a man.
“You all right Ma’am?”
The rumble of voice had a soft drawl to it.
Mary looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The face of her rescuer was rugged, yet majestic, strong yet beautiful.
Breathlessly she answered, “I believe you have saved my life.”
“My pleasure Mary.”
Her name rolled from his lips like thunder and shook her to her toes. A sensation she had only ever experienced during a spring storm full of lightning. His arms still held her close to his body.
She didn’t fight to escape, she didn’t want to.
“You know me? I’m sorry I don’t know your name.”
“Hunt, Marshall Hunt. George Dryer hired me to escort you to San Francisco.”
©2018 Lulu M Sylvian
Come back next month when Mary learns who exactly Marshall Hunt is
Read the next chapter where Mary is torn between propriety and running away