Summary: Adam realises that he has more to deal with than just the talk surrounding his son. He soon finds out that even though society deems that he act in one way, deep down his feelings propel him to a different outcome.
Word Count: 5829
The Way Things Are Series:
The Way Things Are
History has a Habit
When you Least Expect It
There’s Always Something
The Choices we Make
Looks Can be Deceiving
One Thing or Another
Just One of Those Days
Nothing is What it Seems
You Can’t Keep an Old Lawman Down
Times Like These
The Nature of Life
Out on a Limb
A Time to Decide
The Company We Keep
When Opportunity Knocks
A Moment in Time
To Live in Society
To Live in Society
Adam Cartwright turned the corner and smiled. There was no-one here and that suited him just fine. He promptly sat down on a large crate that was in the stall and let out a huge sigh of relief. As he rubbed the bridge of his nose, he recalled the night’s events.
At first, the night had started well. Pa was having a good time as he chatted with his friends. Joe was off in pursuit of his latest object of interest – Sally Bennett, the daughter of George Bennett, who owned the barn, that Adam had sought refuge in. Hoss and his wife, Annie, were dancing the night away. Everything had seemed fine.
A slight chuckle escaped. Yes, everything had been fine until Candy arrived with both Leslie and Jane. The first thought that had popped into his mind upon their arrival was why Candy had to invite both women to the Bennett’s party. As the night wore on Adam had begun to realise that there was something afoot.
Before Adam could think more about it, the noise of someone approaching, told him that he was not alone. He looked up to find Leslie coming towards him. Reluctantly he stood up and snorted. Even now he gave into the rules of society by standing up when a woman was present. It didn’t matter whether he liked her or not, society deemed that it was the polite thing to do and the Cartwrights were always polite.
There was enough moonlight shining into the barn for Leslie to see that Adam’s stance told her that he wasn’t pleased to see her. “I’m sorry but this couldn’t wait until our next scheduled meeting.” She opened her reticule and pulled out a folded piece of paper. “When I saw you duck outside, I knew that it might be the only opportunity I had to give you this.”
Leslie held out her hand, and as Adam took the paper from her, their fingers touch briefly and they both stared at each other for a moment before Adam, once again remembered the type of woman she was. “Is that all?”
“Yes, that’s all,” Leslie replied in a quiet tone. She still had no answers as to why he hated her so much. Maybe one day when all of this was over, she would find out.
Just as she turned to leave, Adam spoke, “Hold on. There’s one thing I do want to know.”
“And what’s that?”
“I want to know how you managed to get Candy to bring you?”
“It was easy,” Leslie smiled. “And one day I might I’ll tell you how.” With that, she turned around and quickly walked out of the barn.
Adam laughed. He wondered how she would react if he had told her that he already knew how she did it. Leslie, it seemed had always the knack of engineering situations when she wanted to make things go the way she wanted them to. It’s what she had done all those years ago to make him fall in love with her. Thankfully, he had a friend who had opened his eyes to her talent and her true nature.
As he opened the note, she had given him, Adam nodded once. When this assignment was over, he would be able to deal with Leslie, once and for all. It was a thought that appealed to him greatly and he smiled.
“What on earth possessed you to do something as hare-brained as this?”
Candy shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno. Maybe I thought it might be an interesting way to spend an otherwise dull evening.”
“Heck there are more ways to brighten up an evening and bringing Leslie along with you was not one of them.”
“Look, Joe, I know what I’m getting into.” Candy smiled and placed his hand on Joe’s shoulder. “Besides with Adam occupied with avoiding Leslie, there was a chance that he would leave Jane alone.”
Joe sighed. “I suppose you have a point but believe me you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“And what makes you so sure that Adam hasn’t attempted to meet Jane alone when most everybody knows that he probably already has.”
“Why don’t you ask Jane?”
“You know I can’t do that.” Candy took his hand off Joe’s shoulder and glanced around the room. The Bennetts had a large parlour that could probably fit up to one hundred people if they wanted to. Fortunately, only about forty people were attending this party and that suited him just fine. He returned his gaze to his friend and half-smiled. “You know the rules just as well as I do. I can’t ask a woman who I have no official ties to about her personal life. Besides, I don’t think Jane would like me prying. It would be an unwise thing to do – given the circumstances.”
Just as he was about to ask Candy what those circumstances were, another conversation caught Joe’s attention. In front of him seated on two chairs were two women discussing an issue that was disturbingly close to home. They were probably unaware that their voices had gotten louder throughout the conversation.
“I can’t believe that Ben Cartwright would allow such a thing.”
“Neither can I Mildred. If my Arnold ever entertained such a notion, I would make sure that he never did again.”
“Oh, I agree. My George – may he rest in peace – would have been appalled and certainly severed all ties with the Cartwrights.”
“How could they act as if nothing was wrong? The child is a bastard and doesn’t deserve any civilised treatment, let alone being allowed to attend school.”
Having heard enough, Joe made his way around to the front of the chairs. He nodded curtly as he greeted them. “Mrs. Carmichael. Mrs. Rutherford.”
Mildred Rutherford gulped. “Mr. Cartwright. Such a pleasant party isn’t it?”
“It depends on who the company is. I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and no doubt everybody else here did as well.”
“Oh, I do apologise for myself and Fiona.” Mildred pointed to her friend seated on her right. Fiona Carmichael smiled weakly.
Joe gazed at Mrs. Carmichael for a moment. The woman looked like the ground was about to swallow her up. He then turned to Mrs. Rutherford. “In the future, would be kind enough to refrain from mentioning my family in any of your conversations.”
Mrs. Rutherford looked around nervously and then nodded her head. “I am so sorry, Mr. Cartwright. It’s just that…”
Joe’s hand flew up quickly in a stopping motion. “I think you’ve said quite enough. Good evening ladies.” He curtly nodded and rejoined his friend.
“Morning Pa. Adam.”
“Joe,” Adam replied as Joe sat down at the table. Both he and his father had been up for an hour or so before Hop Sing had served breakfast. Adam was just finishing off his coffee when his brother had decided to make an appearance. He smirked. “Are you sure these late nights aren’t getting to you? You do know you’re not as young as you used to be.”
“Well I’m still a lot younger than you, older brother,” Joe answered, emphasizing older. After filling his plate, Joe looked around the table. “Where’s Tom?”
“Still in bed,” Adam briefly looked upstairs and then placed his coffee cup down. “I think I’ll go and see if he’s awake.”
As Adam made a move to push his chair back, Ben raised his hand and stopped him. “Before you do, I think there’s something we should talk about.”
Joe and Adam quickly exchanged concerned glances and then they both looked at their father. Adam took a breath, “I assume that this in regards to the talk about my son.”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Ben then sighed. He knew that this wasn’t a pleasant subject, but something had to be done about it and soon.
Adam gritted his teeth, to keep his calm exterior. “I know full well what the so-called members of Virginia City society say about my son. Frankly, whatever they do, or think is of no consequence to me.”
“That may be so, Adam but you know as well as I do that the talk will eventually reach Tom.”
“Yes, I know.”
Ben felt a pang of sympathy for his oldest son. “Do you have any idea what you’ll do when that time does come?”
A few minutes passed before Adam slowly pushed his chair back and stood up. For a moment, Ben could see the anguish on Adam’s face before it quickly disappeared. In a slow and controlled voice, Adam spoke, “I’ll deal with it when the time comes.”
Joe watched Adam go upstairs. He had no clue how he could help Adam in this matter. The best thing was to do what he had already been doing and had done last night – to defend the Cartwright name and protect all those who had it to the best of his ability. Satisfied with that thought, Joe returned to his breakfast and was about halfway through his bacon and eggs, when he noticed Ben start to make a move to leave the table. “So, Pa, got anything interesting planned for today?”
“Indeed, I do.”
Seeing that his father wasn’t giving much away, Joe smiled. “Mind telling me what?”
“No, I don’t mind. I’m going to town to help out a friend.”
“Ah…and do I know who this friend is?”
Ben chuckled. Joe was intent on getting as much information as he could and there was no time like the present. “Yes, you do. It’s Leslie Whitaker.”
Joe’s whole body shot up straight. “Leslie Whitaker!”
“Is there anything wrong?”
“No, nothing wrong,” Joe frowned. Who his father chose to socialise with was none of his business – most of the time. “Did Leslie…”
“Joseph, before you say something you might regret you need to know that it was I who instigated this. I offered to do some work around her house for her and today’s the day. She’s a widow and her servant Giles can only do so much. He’s more use to running a house in the city than one around here. I offered her my services and very reluctantly she accepted them.”
“Alright Pa, I guess there’s no harm in helping out a helpless widow.”
“No, there isn’t.” Ben went over to the sideboard and put on his gun belt. As he grabbed his hat and coat, he smiled. “And if I have anything to say about it, she won’t be helpless for much longer.”
Before Joe could answer, Ben was out the door. Joe shook his head. It was evident that his father had no intention of giving up his pursuit of Leslie. He just hoped that Leslie could deter his father long enough until this Secret Service assignment was over. He hated to think of what it would do to his father when he found out the truth.
“My son did what?”
Randolph Powell cleared his throat and then tugged nervously at shirt collar. “Let me explain, Mr. Cartwright.”
“I think you’d better.”
Powell went over and sat down behind his desk. Considering the mood that Adam Cartwright was in right now it seemed the safest place to be. When he had taken the post of teacher at the Virginia City School, he had expected that there would be some trouble but not like this. “Your son, Thomas was involved in a fight today. I must say your boy handled himself well considering that James Harding and Robert Carpenter are much older and larger than Thomas is.”
Adam grimaced. He didn’t want to know about the fight itself, he wanted to know why it had started in the first place. Slowly he turned around and looked at his son. Tom was seated on the backbench with his hands firmly clasped in his lap. His clothes were dishevelled and although he was a bit battered and bruised, overall, he seemed quite fine.
As he turned his attention back to his son’s teacher, Adam knew that he had a lot of questions that the man couldn’t answer. “Mr. Powell, do you know what happened?”
“Only parts of it. For weeks now, your son has been teased and bullied over a certain matter concerning yourself and his mother. I did what I could to deter the children involved but young Harding and Carpenter were relentless. It’s obvious that your son feels strongly on the subject and decided to take action.”
“I see.” Adam had heard enough and grabbed his hat from the bench behind him. He offered his right hand to the teacher. “Well thank you, Mr. Powell, for your help. I agree that a few weeks’ detention is in order.”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Cartwright.” Powell stood up and as he walked around his desk to shake Adam’s hand, he glanced over at Thomas. To him, the boy looked apprehensive and possibly a bit scared. “No doubt you will be talking to your son about this. Solving a problem with a bout of fisticuffs is not the way to handle it.”
After they had shaken hands, Adam nodded cordially and walked to the back of the room. He stopped next to the seat his son was seated on. “Come on, son.”
Tom slowly inched himself out of the seat and followed his father outside to the wagon. He got in and waited. Within minutes they were on their way home.
When they had been on the road for about thirty minutes, Adam turned to his son. The boy was seated as straight as a board and was staring at the road in front of him. Some of the anger, Adam had felt was gone now. It was time. “Tom, you do know that fighting isn’t going to solve any problems that you have with other people.”
“Care to tell me why you decided to take on Harding and Carpenter.”
A glance sideways was all Adam got before Tom took a deep breath and nervously spoke, “They were saying all of these terrible things about my mother. I wanted to teach Jimmy and Bobby a lesson and I did.” A small smile crept on his face but then it quickly disappeared.
Adam hadn’t missed the smile and he frowned. His son had taken some pleasure in beating the two older boys. “I see. I take it that they won’t be bothering you again?”
“No sir, they won’t.” Another smile quickly came and went.
“Hmm, well when we get home and for the next two weeks, when you get home from school you will go straight to your room and remain there until supper time.”
A look of dismay appeared on Tom’s face. “But father, Uncle Joe promised he would teach me how to ride and then Candy was going to…”
“It doesn’t matter what plans you had. I understand why you got into that fight today but that’s not what why I am punishing you.” Adam pulled the wagon to a stop, turned, grabbed his son gently on the shoulders and propelled him around to face him. “Detention at school is enough punishment for the fight. The reason I am punishing you is that you must understand that a man doesn’t find pleasure in beating somebody up. I saw those smiles. You enjoyed it didn’t you?”
Tom nodded. “I did. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
“Well, you’ll have a couple of weeks to make sure that you won’t. Now tell me who taught you to fight?”
Adam’s question was met with a long period of silence. Seeing that his son needed time to think about it, Adam picked up the reins and started for home. As the wagon made its way steadily along the road to the Ponderosa, Adam wondered if the boy would ever tell him. So, he decided that he would have to prompt his son to get at least some sort of an answer.
In his mind, Adam methodically went through the possible candidates. He knew that none of his family would interfere with his raising of Tom unless he specifically asked them to help. Hop Sing was out. So that left only the ranch hands and he was certain that none of them would do anything to jeopardise their jobs. That left only one person. It made sense that his son would approach this man for help.
The thought that his son felt more at ease at asking the other man for help, saddened, and angered him. Adam wanted Tom to be able to come to him whenever he needed help, just like he could with his father. The relationship between him and his son had been progressing slowly, but Adam still wondered if Tom would ever come to him for help.
The silence between Adam and Tom continued until they were about half a mile from the ranch house. Adam knew that something had to be done but before he could do anything, and he needed confirmation from his son. He cocked his head to the left. “Was it, Candy who taught you to fight?”
Tom turned his head to face his father. “No sir, it wasn’t.”
A look of confusion appeared on Adam’s face. He had no doubt his son had told the truth – that was the only constant in their relationship. “Are you going to tell me who did then?”
“What will you do to them if I did?”
Them? So, there was more than one person involved. Adam could also see that Tom had some understanding of what his father was capable of. He couldn’t lie to his son and tell him that he would do nothing. It looked like this was going to be a lesson in trust and respect for both of them.
Adam nodded slowly, yes this was going to be a hard lesson. No matter who it was, he knew that whatever he told Tom was what he would have to do. “Alright, I give you my word that I will not harm whoever it was who taught you to fight. I’ll only speak to them.”
After a glance at his father’s face, Tom smiled and satisfied with the knowledge that his father had given his word, he proceeded to tell Adam exactly who it was.
Adam stood and stared at the house that was located within a few minutes from the Virginia City School. He would have to make sure that he was calm before he approached the door. In a way, it figured that she would go and do something like this but a part of him couldn’t understand why she had used a child to get what she wanted.
When Tom had told him that he had been taking boxing lessons during the school lunch hour with Giles, Adam had had to hold his anger in check. He had already given his word that no harm would come to whoever was involved but he hadn’t counted it on being Leslie. Giles, being her manservant had no choice in the matter, so Adam’s anger against him had already abated. It was Leslie that riled him the most. Other than matters that concerned the Secret Service assignment they were currently involved in, he wanted to have nothing to do with her. He also wanted her to have nothing to do with his family but that he knew was not the case. She had been slowly integrating herself with members of his family. First, there was Hoss and then his father. Now she was using his son.
He slowly walked up to the back door. It had been dark for a few hours now and Adam felt that it was safe enough. Most people would be either home asleep or down at one of the saloons. The caution was needed for several reasons and the most important one being the need to keep the true nature of his association with Leslie a secret. However, this time, around he also took his time as he needed to get in control of his emotions. Having that control was vital – he didn’t want her to know that she still affected him in ways he didn’t want her to. Despite everything that she had done in the past, there was a small part of him that still found her very attractive.
When he had approached the back door, he quickly shook his head and took a deep breath. Adam then focussed on the matter at hand and how once again she had managed to manipulate things for her benefit. He knocked twice before he stood back and waited for the door to open.
A few minutes later, the door creaked open and a light appeared. Leslie poked her head out and her face showed the evident surprise. “Adam?”
Adam walked up and pushed the door open further. “We need to talk.”
Leslie stood there for a moment, confused as Adam proceeded to enter. He turned and waited for her to close the door. As he watched her, he noted that she had on an ornate dark red dressing gown under which he could see parts of her white nightdress.
After closing the door, Leslie turned to him. “I suppose I don’t have to tell you the risk you took by coming here.”
“You don’t,” Adam replied in a tone that hinted at the anger he felt. “I’m here to say that other than the Secret Service assignment, I want you to have nothing to do with me or my family.”
“Are you asking me or ordering me?”
“You decide. We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
A few seconds passed by before Leslie spoke, “And what gives you the right to say who your father and brothers socialise with?”
Adam took a moment to slowly digest what she had said. “You’re right. I can’t speak for my father or brothers, but I prefer you not to have anything to do with them. But I do reserve the right to say it where my son is concerned.”
“Your son?” A frown appeared on Leslie’s face. So, Adam knew. “I suppose Tom told you.”
“Well, what do you want me to say? I couldn’t stand by and let the poor child get treated that way. For weeks the gossip about your son has been building and it was only a matter of time before the children got involved. It was evident that you weren’t going to anything about it.”
Leslie paused before she continued. “One day, I was walking down the street near the school when I heard a crying sound coming from behind some barrels in a nearby alley. I went down and found your son there. I eventually found out that he had been spending his lunch hour there, hiding from the bullies at school. So, I decided that I would help him out. I took him to Giles, who as you know, knows a thing or two about boxing. Tom seemed quite eager to learn and so we accommodated him.”
For a few minutes, silence reigned. Leslie nervously waited for Adam’s response and hoped it didn’t show. She knew what he was capable of when pushed too far and she hoped to God that she hadn’t done that. Whatever it was that had caused Adam to leave without a word all those years ago, still plagued her and the last thing she wanted to do was to make him even more hostile than he already was.
Another minute passed before Adam grabbed the doorknob. As he turned it, he took a deep breath and spoke in a slow, even tone, “I’m going to let this one go, by but if you ever use my son again in an attempt to get to me, you’ll regret it.”
Without bothering to take the time to wait for her to reply, Adam quickly opened the door and left.
Jane Talbot looked up from the book she had been repairing and was not surprised to see Adam standing there. She had known that he was in the library from the moment he had entered. It pleased her that he had finally decided to come in after all these weeks. “Good morning Mr. Cartwright.”
Adam smiled a little. After last night, he had felt the need to be around people, whose company he enjoyed. On an impulse, he had decided to come in here. “Good morning, Miss Talbot.”
As Adam handed the books, he had over to her, he continued. “I’m sorry I haven’t been before now.”
For a moment, Jane wanted to know why he hadn’t but decided against it. “What matters is that you’re here now.” She looked up into Adam’s face and smiled warmly.
So, she still feels the same, Adam thought as he gazed warmly back at her. On the ride here, he had thought about what had been going on in his life over the last few months and how complicated things had become. He needed to sort out his personal life so that he could concentrate on his assignment. The man he was after was very dangerous and Adam knew that he would need all his wits about him to catch him.
When Jane had finished with the books, she started to hand them back over to Adam. As she did so, their hands touched, and it was then and there that Adam decided that he had had enough. He grabbed her gently by the wrist and pulled her around the bench that separated them.
Jane’s surprise at Adam’s actions quickly vanished as he pulled her closer and began to kiss her. For a few seconds, she was worried about what people would say but soon she was lost, and any coherent thoughts were gone.
Adam smiled as they parted. There was no going back. What was done was done. “You’ll come with me to the social tomorrow night, won’t you?”
“Yes,” Jane said breathlessly. Suddenly she remembered where she was, and she started to regain her composure. She also wondered how many people had seen what had just happened. For the life of her, she couldn’t remember if there was anybody else in the library at that present time.
Seeing the slightly worried look her face, Adam gently grabbed her chin and propelled her face towards him. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of everything.” He then lowered his head and kissed her again.
Jane rapidly succumbed to his kiss and so was unaware that Adam had his eyes opened, as he watched Leslie leave the Lending Library.
Joe paced the floor as he waited. He was ready to go to the social, but his father and Adam hadn’t come down yet. Hopefully, his father would be the last one to come down and thus give him the time he needed to talk to Adam.
His wish was answered within moments as Joe watched Adam come down the stairs first. As he came down, Adam pointed with this thumb back upstairs. “Pa says he’ll be down in a few minutes.”
“That’s good because we need to talk.”
Adam stopped at the bottom of the stairs and nodded, “I thought you might. No doubt you heard.”
“Yeah, I heard. By now the whole county would’ve heard. It’s a good thing that Candy’s gone with Hoss to Genoa. What made you do something like that anyway?”
“I had my reasons.”
“You know that this would be the last thing I expected you to do. Kissing a woman in public is practically a proposal of marriage.”
Joe was at a loss for words. Adam for some reason had thrown all logic to the wind and had gone with his feelings instead. For a few moments, Joe debated with himself whether or not to let Adam know how much he knew. In the end, Joe realised that he would have to – things were getting complicated far too quickly. He looked Adam straight in the face. “We both know that your marrying Jane is out of the question.”
Adam stared at Joe. Surely his brother didn’t know the truth about his relationship with Leslie? It was best to stay on the right side of caution. “I know that my Secret Service assignment will make it hard for me to propose marriage to Jane at this point.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”
As he moved towards the blue chair to sit, Adam began to rub the bridge of his nose. He sat down and leant forward. He sighed heavily, “How long have you known?”
“For some time now.”
“I suppose Leslie told you.”
“She did but not because she wanted to do. It took some convincing on my part, but I got the story from her eventually.”
Joe shrugged his shoulders. “Look, Adam, I know you probably had your reasons for doing this but even I wouldn’t resort to solving my problems in this way.”
“You’re right – I had my reasons.”
“Well, whatever they were all you’ve accomplished is to make things more difficult for yourself and Pa.”
“Pa?” Adam looked up at Joe in mild confusion.
“Yes, Pa. You know that he’ll expect you to announce something real soon. Since marrying Jane is out of the question, it will just make things worse for him.”
“Of course, I know Pa will be disappointed when I say nothing, but he’ll get over it.”
“You have no idea, do you?” Joe lowered his head and shook it slowly. “I guess you’ve been pre-occupied with other things not to have noticed. Well, it’s up to me to inform you that Pa hasn’t given up on Leslie.”
Adam frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah I’m sure but Pa’s pursuit of Leslie is the least of your problems. You’re gonna have to deal with Jane before you can deal with Pa.”
“And you’ll have Candy on your back as well.” Joe laughed slightly. If he had ever had doubts that Adam and he weren’t truly brothers, they would be gone now. “You know I’m glad I’m not you right now.”
“What I don’t need now is somebody with a sense of humour,” Adam replied in a sarcastic tone. He sat there for a moment and a small smile crept on his face. Perhaps there was a bright side to all of this.
“Sorry.” Joe’s smile widened a little as he watched Adam, “Just trying to lighten the mood I guess.”
“No, it’s okay Joe. I made my bed and I’ve got to lay in it now.”
“Do you want any help?”
As he stood up, Adam smiled warmly and went over to Joe. He patted his brother on the back. “Thanks, but I think I’ve got to do this on my own. If I ever need someone, I know who to call.”
Joe grabbed Adam’s arm and gave it a slight squeeze, “Anytime big brother.” He paused for a moment before he continued, “One day when you’re ready to, I’d like to hear your side of the story where Leslie is concerned.”
Before Adam could answer, a noise upstairs alerted them to the fact that their father was on the way down. Adam turned to Joe and nodded once, “You can count on it.”
Adam smiled as he stared at the night sky. The talk with Jane had gone better than he expected it to. He had somehow convinced her that he would officially announce their engagement once he had built their new home. She had understood the reasons he had given her for wanting the delay and that had been a relief.
A polite cough disturbed his thoughts and he turned around to face the person who stood behind him. He nodded once in acknowledgement and waited for her to speak.
“We need to talk.”
“I thought you might.”
Leslie took a deep breath. “I know that we only have a few minutes before Jane returns and the quicker, we deal with this the better.”
“First all, in a way, I’m not surprised at what you did. I know you far too well not to have expected you to do something to let me know, without any doubt, how I stand personally with you.”
“I wish I could say the same thing about you.”
Not knowing what Adam meant by that remark, Leslie decided to let it pass for the time being. She would have to think about it later. “Well, all that I really wanted to say was that you win.”
Adam’s right eyebrow went up in response. He hadn’t expected her to give in this easily. “I see. Then I take it that from now on it will be business between us.”
“Yes, and other than my dealings with your brothers, I will have nothing else to do with your family.”
“Including my father?”
“Including your father.” Leslie glanced over her shoulder before she continued, “I’ll try to avoid him as much as I can, but you know your father, he can be very persistent when he wants something. I guess that’s a trait that runs in your family.”
“I guess it is.” A smirk appeared briefly on Adam’s face. “If that’s it, I suggest you better go now before you’re seen. After all, you’re supposed to be at home due to not feeling well and you know how ruthless society can be.”
Leslie nodded. “Yes, I know. Goodnight Adam.” With that, she turned around and walked off into the darkness.
As he watched her leave, Adam noted that she somehow seemed a little different. The air of confidence that she usually had when she walked was gone. He couldn’t understand why, being the type of woman, she was, she was suddenly acting this way. Maybe it was part of some ruse she had planned to trick him again. However, something deep down told him that maybe he was wrong about her.
Just as suddenly as that thought had come, he started to quash it. After all, he had seen legitimate proof of what she had done and what she was capable of doing. Besides, he could never doubt the word of the person who had brought it to his attention. He knew that his friend was trustworthy and didn’t have ulterior motives. Unlike Leslie, who it had turned out, he hardly knew at all.
Before he could think about it anymore, Jane returned. She smiled at him as she drew closer. “Mr. Cartwright, I do believe that you still owe me one dance.”
Adam smiled, “I do believe, Miss Talbot that you are right.” He offered his arm to her. “At your service my lady.”
Jane took his arm and they began to make their way back inside the hall.
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