Edward had just finished getting dressed for the banquet he was attending when the phone rang. He was tempted to ignore it when he saw that it was Cate. Grimacing, he picked up the receiver. “Yes, Cate,” he answered wearily. “What is it this time?”
“You’ll be pleased to know that I told Mother and Dad about the broken engagement.”
“Well, it’s about time. How did they take it?”
“Mother was livid, of course. Dad was disappointed but he didn’t tear into me like she did.”
“Mother is just very upset, that’s all. She liked Boris and is very good friends with his mother. She was looking forward to the wedding.”
“I’m sorry that everyone is upset about the wedding but I just couldn’t go through with it.”
“We don’t have a problem with you not going through with the wedding because you don’t love Boris, Cate. What we have a problem with is that you didn’t tell him how you felt as soon as you knew. And on top of that you were cheating on him. Did you tell Mother and Father about that?”
“I had to tell Mother because Boris told his parents that he suspected that there was another man. Mrs. Knightley told Mother that when they spoke. Mother called me and demanded to know if it was true that there was someone else while I was engaged to Boris and I had to tell her the truth.”
“Well, good. It’s all now out in the open.”
“You’ll also be pleased to know that Boris has moved on.”
“Really? How do you know that?”
“Aunt Hyacinth called me to tell me that she and Uncle Phillip saw him with a young woman at The Ledbury last week Saturday. You know how Aunt Hyacinth is. She went over to their table and confronted Boris. She as much as accused him of cheating on me and that it was why I broke off our engagement.”
“Poor Boris. I hope you told Aunt Hyacinth the truth.”
“Of course, I did. And afterwards, I apologized to Boris in person.”
“Now why did you do have to do that?”
“What do you mean? Don’t you think I should have apologized to him?”
“Cate, did it ever occur to you that Boris doesn’t want an apology or anything from you? Why can’t you see that he doesn’t want anything more to do with you? Just leave him alone. He has moved on with his life. Don’t you think it’s time you do the same?”
There was a brief silence. “How can I move on, Edward?” she asked. “How can I go on without…?”
Edward sighed. “Derrick is with his wife. His life is with her. You need to get over him. I know that’s easier said than done, but you have to try.”
“I feel like getting drunk,” she said. “Would you like to join me?”
“Why not?” she demanded. “Do you hate me that much?”
“I don’t hate you, Cate. Now, why don’t you spend the night with a friend if you don’t want to be alone tonight?”
“Can’t I spend the night at your place?”
“No. I’m on my way out and I won’t be home for a while.”
“Where are you going?”
“To a banquet.”
“No. I’m going with Gladys Moore.”
“Are you two dating?”
“How could you, Edward?”
“How could I what, Cate?”
“Date Derrick’s sister?”
“Unlike him, she isn’t married. Now, I really have to go. Don’t do anything foolish. I’ll call you tomorrow. Goodnight, Cate.”
“Goodnight,” she muttered resentfully.
He hung up and grabbing his keys, he left the flat. He couldn’t believe that Cate was upset that he was going out with Gladys. It had nothing to do with her or Derrick. When was she going to learn that the world didn’t revolve around her?
Gladys was waiting for him. She looked amazing in the cranberry colored dress. She smiled when she saw him. After they greeted each other, he helped her on with her shawl and escorted her to his car. Soon they were on their way to the hotel where the banquet was being held. He told her about his conversation with Cate.
“I think I understand where she’s coming from,” she said. “Seeing us together may be a painful reminder that she and Derrick can’t be together anymore.”
“I’m sorry about that but you and I can’t put our lives on hold because of them.”
“You and I together like this is the only good thing which has come out of this mess,” he said, glancing at her.
She glanced at him and smiled. “I agree.”
They arrived at the mansion twenty minutes later. The massive ballroom where the guests were mingling was beautifully decorated. She was very impressed. Edward introduced her to the host and his wife and other guests.
The dinner was sumptuous and afterwards, there was dancing. Edward and Gladys danced a couple of dances and then, she excused herself and went into one of the conference rooms to make a phone call. She was checking on her mother to make sure that she was fine. She had come down with a bad cold.
“Mama, are you getting enough rest and drinking lots of fluids?”
“Yes, Honey. Stop worrying about me and enjoy yourself.”
“All right. I’ll call you again tomorrow. Goodnight, Mama.”
She ended the call just as Edward walked in. “I was wondering where you’d disappeared to,” he said walking over to her.
“I just called my mother to check on her. She’s getting over a cold.”
“I’m sure she’ll be all right.”
“Yes. She’s a strong woman and she sounded fine. She told me to stop worrying and to enjoy myself.”
He reached for her hand and pulled her towards him. “She’s right.” His eyes darkened on her upturned face. “We’re here to enjoy ourselves, aren’t we?”
“Yes,” she agreed breathlessly, her eyes lowering from his steady gaze to his lips. Her heart began to pound when she saw them getting closer until they were touching hers. She wrapped her arms around his waist and pressed against him as she kissed him back. His hands were on her shoulders which felt so soft.
He backed her up against the wall as the kisses became more passionate. He opened his tuxedo jacket so that she could feel his arousal pressing into her stomach. Desire swept through her like an inferno. If the sounds of footsteps and voices hadn’t reached their ears, making them break apart, who knows how far they would have gone.
His face was flushed as he met her gaze. “Let’s go to my place,” he panted.
She nodded vigorously. And grabbing her by the hand, they quickly left the conference room and the hotel.