The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro

The carriage arrived promptly at Lord Cornwallis' acquaintance's estate. He stepped out first to hold out a hand to help Jem to descend from the coach. They then walked inside, arm in arm. The other guests present were members of the elite class, members of Parliament, and officers of the British navy and armed forces. Many of them were accompanied by either a lady in courting, a fiancée, or a wife. The few that weren't came alone. 

A beautiful and melodious symphony played off of the orchestra's strings. Many of the furnishings in the house were expensive items made from gold, silver, crystal, marble, and silk. Jem began feeling uncomfortable at being in such an illustrious setting with such renowned individuals. Somehow, being accompanied by the Earl settled her nerves. 

A servant approached them with a silver dish topped with tall crystal glasses. 

"My Lord. Madam. Can I humbly interest you in some champagne?"

The Earl took one for himself; Jem insisted she'd rather postpone drinking until later during the festivities. A specific red coat caught her eye. When she saw his face her eyes widened. It was Major General Thomas Gage. Which undoubtedly meant... She gasped as she saw a familiar pair of blue eyes and lightest blonde curls pinned up into a bun. 

"Margaret!" she squealed in delight, slipping her arm out of the Earl's grip and rushing to her friend. Margaret was just as shocked to see Jem. 

"Jem!"

The two met and embraced each other in a warm, heart felt hug. Both of them let loose their tears from not having seen each other in so long. The Earl stood where he was, surprised at first, however, not wanting to ruin the reunion of two close friends.

"Oh Jem, how I've doted on you!"

"I've missed you so!" Jem cried, temporarily unaware of their surroundings.

When they finally broke apart, they both realized General Gage was standing directly next to them.

"Thomas," Margaret said, clearing her throat, "this is my most dearest friend, Jemima Jones."

Jem curtsied quickly.

"It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Sir."

General Gage nodded in response. Jem noticed there was a gash on the bottom of Margaret's cheek.

"Margaret..." she began.

"Margaret fell down the stairs this morning," General Gage interjected, "Isn't that right, beloved?"

Margaret and Thomas exchanged looks before Margaret cleared her throat again nervously.

"Yes, well, how positively clumsy of me."

She attempted a tone of nonchalance. But Jem could see through their performance. She resisted the urge to glare at the general and smiled back at Margaret. Suddenly, she felt someone come close behind her and she flinched.

"Lord Cornwallis," General Gage greeted him, "what a pleasure."

"Indeed," the Earl merely uttered as they bowed in unison.

"So," he continued, "you have met my Jem it seems."

Jem nearly choked. Whose Jem? 

"Ah, you are a most fortunate man. I was not informed of your marrying this young creature," the general chuckled, eyeing Jem.

"You mistaken us for married, Sir. We are still courting."

Still courting? Jem thought, We've only started!

"I see..."

"They tell me dinner will be served shortly."

The Earl held out his arm to Jem. 

"Shall we?" 

Jem risked a glance at Margaret. Her jaw was almost to the floor. Jem cleared her throat and wrapped her arm around his. 

"Yes, o-of course."

As they walked to the dinning hall, Jem pulled the Earl closer. 

"Heaven and Earth, what were you thinking?!" she whispered. 

"Did you not take notice of how he was examining every inch of you from top to bottom with those lust filled eyes? You take care around the general. The man is no man at all. He is a dog."

The Earl pulled out a seat from the table for Jem to sit in, and then proceeded to seat himself to her left. Margaret took a seat to her right. Jem would not escape from owing her an explanation. A toast was made to King and country with wine glasses, and everyone began to dig into the feast of roasted poultry, boiled garlic potatoes, garden salad with walnuts and pecans, and freshly baked bread. 

"So," Margaret started, speaking in a low voice after the meal, "how did you and the Earl-"

"My father's decision," Jem replied. 

"I see...therefore it was not of your own free will at all."

"Precisely."

"Why did you not feign sickness?" Margaret asked. 

"And I swear I thought to do exactly that!" Jem exclaimed. 

The two of them giggled. Both the Earl and the general looked to the pair of them curiously before resuming their previous conversations. 

"But it is much too late for that," added Jem in a lowered voice. 

Margaret took a sip of her wine thoughtfully. 

"What of feigning injury?" she suggested after a while, "You have plenty of opportunity to do so."

Jem smiled. 

"You're right. I'll give it a go."

Jem excused herself from the table and rounded the corner out of the room. Seeing that there were no servants around, she dropped to the floor as if she had fallen. Immediately, the Earl stood from his chair, sliding it back with an ear splitting squeak, excused himself from the table, and rushed out of the dinning hall to her side. 

"Are you alright?" the Earl asked, deep concern etched into his features. 

"My ankle!" Jem whined, trying to look as pained as possible.

"Allow me."

The Earl removed her shoe and her stocking to examine her ankle. His eyebrows furrowed. 

"Does it hurt much?" he asked her. 

"Severely, my Lord!"

The Earl looked up at her now. 

"Do you...wish to return home?"

"Please!"

"It hurts that much?"

"Yes, my Lord!"

He suddenly picked her up bridal style. His breath was hot against her ear.  

"I beg to differ," he whispered.

He walked her out the front door, everyone in the dinning hall on their feet and gaping in astonishment.

"I insist you put me down!" Jem begged.

"Oh no, a gentleman such as myself cannot abandon a young lady to walking on her own when she is in a terrible amount of pain," he said, a mischievous smile creeping onto his face. 

Jem could feel her face burning in embarrassment and from their proximity. Her efforts had completely backfired on her. He placed her into the carriage gently. 

"Jones residence," he told the coachman before taking a seat into the carriage as well.

They spent the ride in silence. When they arrived, the Earl picked her up in the same fashion as before, much to Jem's displeasure. The Earl knocked on the door. Jem's father came out and he froze. 

What has she done now? he thought.

"Forgive me, I had to return her home. She fell and injured her ankle. It's only a minor sprain."

"I am most grateful for your bringing her back safely," her father half grumbled, casting a disapproving look at Jem, "I'll see that she makes her way upstairs unscathed."

The Earl put Jem down and bid them goodnight. When he left, her father turned towards her. 

"Well? Off to bed."




© 2017 Kayla Amaro



Mary Jo. Clare
My works are based off my real thoughts and experiences. Please allow yourself to truly experience and relate to them!
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Added on October 10, 2017
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Author

Kayla Amaro
Kayla Amaro

Philadelphia, PA



About
I am an extremely avid reader. I don't know how to put a book down once I've started! Currently Reading: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I'm a band girl. If you love P!ATD, TØP, FOB.. more..

Writing
Jemima Jones Jemima Jones

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro