The day that she divorced her husband and left the glamorous, yet, utterly dismal existence that she knew, was indeed a life changing experience. When she arrived in Quentin, she hardly had any money and the town's people knew not who or what this strange woman was searching for. So, because they weren't very accustom to strangers showing up on a whim, they sent her to Lord Coarsen's; knowing quite well that he would reject her.
As she drove up the rough gravel driveway of the mysterious Lord Coarsen, she immediately noticed how cryptically beautiful his mansion was. Yet, there was still something very intimating, emanating from the enormity of the Lord's property. After exiting her car and making her way up his stoop, she stood on his doorstep, just looking around at her surroundings. The landscape would have been beautiful if it had been maintained, by the looks of it, there had, at one time, been thriving rose bushes, now, in there place, was dead thorny shrubs. There was hardly anything alive sprouting out, except for a weed; it was like the man of this house had forbid anything to prosper.
As she stood there, just staring at the hard wooden door, it seemed liked hours just went by of her thinking about not only her situation, but how the people of Quentin had treated her; they had all said, while snickering at her, “Go see Lord Coarsen,” this statement had seemed more like a jest than good advice.
She had felt slightly disturbed by their behavior and, if she hadn't been so desperate, she would have looked elsewhere for employment; other than seeking out the mysterious Lord Coarsen. Yet, as it turned out, she really was that desperate and, after a few more seconds of just standing there, she finally, swallowing down the lump that had lodged uncomfortably in her throat, stretched out her hand. As her knuckles slide gingerly across the hard wooden door, she was almost positive no one heard her pitiful excuse of a knock; it being so timid. After withdrawing her hand from the door, and bring it back down to her side, she contentedly listened to see if anyone was coming. She was tempted, after hearing nothing, to either knock again or turn around and leave, but before she could make up her mind on what to do, she was surprised, and, at the same time, unnerved when the door opened.
Lord Coarsen hadn't known what to expect when he headed downstairs to open his door, definitely not this. He hadn't even thought he had heard anyone; the knock had been more of tap than anything else. When he'd gotten up from his chair, he had looked out his bedroom window to see a car parked in his driveway, and, after heading downstairs, he had seen through one of the stain glass windows the faint outline of a woman standing on his stoop. He couldn't help being surprised that someone, even a mere stranger, would be disturbing him. For the people of Quentin knew he didn't like to be bothered and should have informed any passerby of this.
After he had quickly composed himself for his unwanted guest, he opened the door and let his cold stoic gaze rake over this strange woman's forlorn appearance. Even though she was slightly frazzled, she was still very attractive, and, if it wasn't for his distaste of human contact, Lord Coarsen would have, if nothing else, invited her into his bed for one night of passion. Yet, he wasn’t looking for anyone to share any semblance of his life; no matter how trivial it was. If anything, Lord Coarsen was a selfish man, whose only desire in life was to be alone.
As his dark gaze continued to travel over her, he instantly noticed how tense she was; she held her purse tightly to her person and she kept fidgeting nervously. He couldn't help smiling at how easily readable she was; it didn't take much for him to come to the conclusion that she was one of these sacred butterflies that needed a man to take care of her. With a cold, snickering smile, he asked, “What do you want?”
Nervously fidgeting with her skirt hem, she replied timidly, “I’m…I’m…I'm looking for a job, and I heard…in…town…that you needed a maid...” she could see by his expression that he was not interested in her offer, but she was beyond desperate; she had used the rest of her money on gas and had none for even a hotel. When he still continued to stare at her with that same stoic expression, she hurriedly said, “Or a housekeeper…?”
Frowning, Lord Coarsen replied coldly, “Regardless of what you might have heard in town, I don’t need a maid or a housekeeper.”
It was the tell tale signs of tears forming in her eyes, and the desperation in her voice that made him hesitate at closing the door on her. “Please...,” she pleaded, “I…I really need a job…”
“Then ask my next door neighbor who lives a mile down the road or at one of the shops in town...” he paused, frustrated by her trying to use her womanly tears to sway him. “I don’t need a housekeeper or a maid, nor do I want one.” he furiously slammed the door in her face.
As he watched her walk back to her car, from his upstairs window, her shoulders drooped, he couldn't help feeling some semblance of guilt when she turned back to stare at his mansion; he could see tears streaming down her pretty face. Yet, he quickly relinquished any sympathy he felt for her by staring straight through her, and letting his mind go blank. Once he had closed the door on her, he tried hard not to let himself feel any guilt as she walked back to her car in the cold and dreary rainstorm that met her.
After she had driven away, he turned away from the window and went back downstairs to his kitchen to make himself some dinner. If he had had a heart, he would have cared more about her circumstances, but he didn't. Yet, he couldn't help feeling surprisingly angry at the town's people of Quentin for not just pulling this horrible jest on her but giving him the task of showing how truly cold he was.
Hours later, as he sat in one of his uncomfortable cushion chairs, in his parlor, across from his fireplace. He became mesmerized by the fire as it flickered like a million fireflies, and, like many nights before, his dark moody thoughts went to the days of his youth; when he actually was happily in love. Yet, now, he sat in a cold empty house mourning the lost love of his youth; he had loved, wholeheartedly, without any care in the world and the young woman, he had felt so many foreign emotions for, had wanted him as much as he wanted her. They had made a promise to be together forever, but, as young love went, it was not meant to be.
What finally snapped him out of his unhappy reminiscing, was the unsuspecting crackle of thunder in the distance. Getting up from his chair, he went to the window to look out at the rain that was coming down harder than ever. As he continued to stare out into the night, there was suddenly a bright streak of lightening in the sky that showed a faint impression of metal; maybe a car, that had run off into a trench.
Lord Coarsen wasn't sure why, but his thoughts instantly went to the strange woman, who had been on his stoop hours ago, and, for some reason, he suddenly felt worried. It was at all possible that he actually had a heart; for he wouldn't have hurried downstairs and, after grabbing his coat, rushed outside into the pouring rain. As he stood on his porch looking out at the cold dreary darkness, he thought about going back inside, where it was warm and dry. Sighing, he pulled up his coat collar, and, walking down the porch's steps, he headed in the direction of where he had seen the indistinguishable image. While he trudged through the pounding rain, which, in a matter of seconds, had completely soaked through every inch of him, he started wondering if what he had seen was a reflection from the lightening: dimmed by the storm.
As he fought his way through the pounding rain, which seemed to get worse every step he took, and, after awhile of the wind whipping mercilessly at him, he realized that what he was looking for was either not there or hidden in the absolute darkness. Deciding to give up his fruitless chase, he turned around to head back towards his mansion; just then, there was another streak of lightening that lit up a grove of trees that he was standing within inches from. Frowning, he went closer, and as he perplexedly squinted through the darkness, he was able to distinguish this unidentifiable car that was down in a ditch. At first he just stood there, wondering how anyone could have been so careless as to not seek shelter from this storm; how could you drive in this and not expect to have an accident?
Yet, when his guilty conscious went to the strange woman that he had been so harsh to, he couldn't help feeling a small twig of remorse for not being more reasonable over her plight. Growling to himself, he shrugged off the uncomfortable feeling and started making his way down into the ditch toward the car. He struggled hard not to slip or fall, but ended up having to almost crawl through the mud to get to the vehicle’s driver's side door.
When he finally had made his way over there, his thoughts again went to his uninvited guest, which, after saying a quick prayer that this wasn't her, he looked through the vehicle’s rain smeared window. His heart almost stopped when he saw an unconscious woman slumped over the wheel; quickly grabbing hold of the door, he was relieved to see that it was unlocked, and, yanking it open, he gently pulled her away from the wheel. Once he laid her back in her seat, he started checking for a pulse; she instantly moaned when his fingers skimmed over the small bump on her forehead. Hurriedly unclasping her seat belt, he pulled her from the car, and, after checking to see if she had any broken bones, which he was relieved to find that she had none, he gently took her into his arms. He hadn't thought how he was going to get out of the ditch, but once he had, which proved easier than the climb down, it was no problem carrying her back to his mansion.
After he had gotten her inside and upstairs to his bedroom, he laid her down on his huge mahogany bed. It took only a matter of minutes to remove her wet coat and clothing, the whole time Lord Coarsen undressed her, he had tried, unsuccessfully, not to notice how beautiful she was. Yet, now, after covering her up, he couldn't help realizing how aroused he had gotten just from the mere touch of her skin. He had enjoyed skimming his fingers over her perfect curvy body, but before any of his sinful thoughts could take root, he came to this guilt-ridden conclusion that this woman indeed was his uninvited guest from earlier that day.
As his dark gaze took in the little features he had refused to recognize, when he had talked to her on his doorstep, he noticed, not just how curvy her body was, but how her curly brown hair hung like a halo around her face, making her perfect ruby red lips more desirable. His lust for her wasn't the only thing that was on edge, for his curiosity had him wondering what color her eyes were; perhaps they were a deep hazelnut brown, an azure blue, the fresh green of grass, or, like his beautiful Zaria, stormy gray.
Frustratingly raking his hand through his wet hair, he noticed, then, that he was still in his wet clothes. Once he had undressed, and discarded his damp clothing, he went over to his dresser and as he looked for some dry clothing to put on, he came across a pair of slacks. Removing the slacks from the drawer, is when he found the picture of a sixteen year old girl with unusual gray eyes. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eye upon and, to this day, he had never met any woman that could set his heart ablaze like she could. As he looked from the picture to the woman lying in his bed, he saw that there were some similarities to both women; both had curly brown hair, ruby red lips, a sweetheart shape to their face, and, even though his uninvited guest's body type was older than his young love, their was an odd similarity. Yet, the similarities ended there, for the woman in his bed had no other characteristics than looking oddly similar to the young girl he had loved.
Grabbing his slacks and the picture, he headed over to his chair, as he looked down at his young love, he found his thoughts wandering to her; he had tried hard not to think about her, but during those lonely nights he found his mind aching for the mere memory of her. His memories of her, though, were like a painful knife to his heart. He hated thinking about that day, that she left, yet, it seemed that he couldn't stop thinking about it. That day had been the worse day of his life, but ironically, it had also been the day, when they had cut this full picture of themselves in half. They had both taken a half, he, the half of her and her, the other half of a young man that was barely recognizable to the bitter man he grew into. What had made some nights bearable than others was the thought that his beloved was off somewhere, someplace with his picture. Yet, there were other more miserable nights, such as this one, when he imagined that she had scoffed at their love and thrown away his picture; forgetting about him and the wonderful days they had shared together. Could she have forgotten about their romantic rendezvous?
When he heard his uninvited guest's movement on the bed, he quickly put his slacks on and tucked the photo away in his pocket. Heading back over to the bed, to checked on her; he could see that she was still unconscious. After he had removed her wet coat and clothes, he had simply draped them over his chair. Now, picking them up, he could feel that they were still quite wet. He didn't really care if they dried or not, but, the moment this storm stopped and his guest woke-up, he wanted her to leave. Yet, since she was still unconscious and the storm was still howling outside, it did dawn on him that he couldn't very well send her away in wet clothing.
Taking them over to the fireplace, so he could lay them out to dry, he noticed how unpleasant both articles of clothing were; the shirt was an unattractive tan and the skirt was a mucky dark brown. If anything her dark forest green coat and maroon silk undergarments were the best things that she had. He had been tempted to remove her bra, just to get a better look at those ample breast of hers; he hadn't though. The way he saw it, that fabric was there to protect him from doing something that he might regret later. As aroused as he was for his uninvited guest, he didn't want her to have any false aspirations about spending the future with him; he was alone for a reason, and no woman was going to change that.
As he moved her coat over there with the rest of her clothes, his eyes were quickly drawn to this small piece of paper that had fallen out of the coat's pocket. Leaning down to retrieve it, he, uninterestedly, turned it over in his hands. It was then that he realized that this paper was none other than a picture. Maybe it was fear or stubbornness, alone, that made him not want to see what the picture was. Yet, as curiosity went, he found himself going over to the fireplace, and, with trembling hands, he stared down at the photo. The small flicker of light was barely distinguishable at showing him who it was that was in the picture, and, if he hadn't been any more nervous by this realization, he was made more so by the hazelnut eyes of a very recognizable young man, with dark brown hair, who stared happily up at him; he, of course, knew this young man – for it was him when he was eighteen!
He was still slightly dazed by this realization, even after he shakily took out the picture of his young love, Zaria, he couldn't rationalize why this woman would have a photo of him. As he stunningly stared down at both pictures, the denial, he felt, kept him from wanting to fit the two pieces together. For he knew, deep down, that they would fit perfectly. After a brief hesitation, he went back over to the bed, and, even though the light was low, he could still make out his uninvited guest's face; the selfish pessimistic part of him, that enjoyed being miserable, was still unwilling to believe that she knew him. The problem was, as he began looking from the bed to the picture of Zaria, he realized that this woman really did bare a remarkable resemblance to his Zaria; more so than just the typical characteristics.
As his legs precariously gave out from under him, he sat down hard in the chair next to the bed. It was shock that had his mind wandering and staring off into space, not really looking at anything in particular. While he sat there just thinking, his face unemotionally stoic, tapping his fingers on the chair's arm to a rhythm that was close to being in time with the thunder and lightening outside, he was still unwilling to believe that the woman lying before him was his love, Zaria. Not the young untamed sixteen year old that had stolen his heart years ago; this woman seemed too tamed and worn-out. So preoccupied was he in his thoughts, that he didn’t even notice when his uninvited guest stirred; not until she moaned.
Looking over at her, Lord Coarsen tried to keep his voice the same cold indifference that it usually was, “Oh…I see that you are awake.”
Perching herself up on her elbow, she looked over at him, all the while pondering on why he seemed so familiar. Yet, no matter how much she tried to shrug off this uneasy feeling, she couldn't get over how much he resembled someone she had known many years ago. Nevertheless, she still had no clue where their paths might have crossed. As she sat up in bed, she surprised herself, when she reached out and touched his face; she traced the smooth lines around his mouth and then let her fingers run over his soft full lips.
She had only seen those intense hazelnut eyes and that dark rich brown hair on one other person before; her young eighteen year old lover, Francisco. The one characteristic that her young flame hadn't had, though, was the hint of gray that was very apparent at Lord Coarsen's temples; hesitating slightly, she leaned out to touch his hair. While she ran her fingers through his strands, she relished the softness. It was his hypnotic gaze, that had her pulling away from his soft hair to trace his full lips. She was just mere inches away from his mouth, which had her nervously biting her lips at the utter anticipation of what his mouth would taste like. When she finally did plant her mouth upon his, she immediately felt this nervous flutter in the pit of her stomach at his reaction.
He was so surprised by her, that he didn't respond right away. Yet, it took just seconds for him to realize how she tasted and felt exactly like Zaria. Pulling her out of his bed and on to his lap, he ran his hands down her bare back. He instantly felt aroused, and unclasping her bra, he massaged her breast. When she made little whimpering sounds, he became even more turned on, and, as they kissed, he held her practically naked body close to his. Running his fingers through her long brown hair, he took her face in his hands, and as he nipped at her lips, he instantly felt the coldness, that had been around his heart for years, start to melt away.
When the kiss finally ended, Lord Coarsen stared into his beautiful guests gray eyes and saw that she reciprocate the same lust-fulness as he felt throughout his whole body. It took just a kiss for both of them to realize who they were to each other, nobody, that they had been with in the past, had ever been able to elicit such passion.
“I'm sorry, Francisco...” still slightly breathless from the kiss, she remorsefully stared up at him, and said, “I know that I said I would come back, but...” she began.
Putting his finger to her lips, he stopped her from saying anything else. “It doesn't matter, my love, I only want to make up for the lost time of us not being together.” he paused, to wipe away the tears that were rolling down her cheek. “I love you and only want to spend my life replenishing yours and mine's soul.” smoothing her hair away from her face, he wrapped his arms tightly around her. “Ah...Zaria, how I've missed you!”
Throughout the rest of the stormy night, Lord Coarsen held his Zaria. Neither one paid much attention to how the rain beat mercilessly against the mansion walls outside. They both were happy to have each other again, Zaria had the man her soul had craved for in her dreams and Lord Coarsen had the woman that had made his heart unable to love and endure life with anyone other than her. The day that they had both departed from Paris, neither one thought he or she would ever see the other again and with the death of their innocent love; so died their happy carefree youth.
Lord Coarsen's broken heart had mourned in distress and fearful abandonment, that he would never see his beautiful lover again. Now, years later, she had shown up on his doorstep and because of his misery he had almost let her go, again. If it hadn't been for fate intervening, he would have grown old and died in the misery he had imprisoned himself in. Yet, as fate had intended, they both were happily reunited. Both lovers knew not what to expect from the future, but they were sure of one thing; they would never leave each other's side again. For they were soul mates, bound together by true love.