“Do you wish we were galloping wildly across the fields, sweetling? Do you miss our rides together?”
“Oh yes! And do you?” she returned wistfully. “I wish you would find us a magic man to make us float back in time for a day or so. I am not sure that growing up is much fun.”
“You are not having fun? You seem so busy with your parties and balls—and was that you I saw at the theatre the other night being sought after by…hmmm, was it four gentlemen? That was an extremely fetching gown you had on then, Belinda.” He said her name slowly, enjoying the feel of it on his lips. “I would like to see it again. Blue becomes you.”
“You looked very handsome too, Quint. I liked you quite as well in that black coat as I do you in your favorite green hunting jacket. But you did not come by to say hello.”
Was Belinda actually pouting? Quint could not believe his eyes, and he could not help but be delighted.
This is good; this is very good.
They passed by a large willow tree with trailing boughs that reached the ground. Quinton tried to resist but could not help himself; he steered them both into the privacy of the green leaves. Belinda chuckled at his naughtiness but did not pull away, and she leaned her head against his arm. She looked up quizzically at him when he stopped inside the green canopy.
Sunlight flickering through the swaying, drooping branches created a shimmering fairyland of intimacy that dazzled their eyes. Quinton turned her to face him, looked into her eyes, tilted her chin and kissed her.
She gazed at him, a question in her eyes. He succumbed to his weakness and tasted her lips once more then pulled her close to him and held her there.
Ah, no more. I cannot bear it. I should not have gone this far. He released her shakily. “A boon for me to celebrate you becoming a lady. I wanted to be the first man to steal a kiss from you in the shrubbery.”
“Oh no, Quint. You are too late.” She laughed at the expression of consternation on his face.
“You cannot expect me to wait for you when you are off with four wives not to mention a monkey.”
“But I must needs give all the wives up,” he protested. “Did you forget the parrots?” He steered them back into the sun, passing through the willow boughs as they teased each other.