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In that moment she wished for nothing more than the ground to swallow her up and take her away from such an embarrassing moment. She waited for what seemed to be a lifetime for him to have some kind of reaction to her. All the while, thoughts of how angry he must be and how important he might have been raced through her mind. It would be her luck to ruin the expensive suit of the Prime Minister’s son or something of that scale. Elizabeth had always considered herself to be well-mannered and she hoped that her instant reaction of apology was enough to remedy any damage she might have caused. As he spoke towards her, his tone was not unkind but did echo the inconvenience she had caused by bumping into him. Elizabeth exhaled a sigh of relief after realising that he was at least not one of the arrogant rich who only cared about the cost of dry cleaning his suit, even if it was only water that she had spilt in the first place.
He handed her a napkin in hopes that it might soak up some of the damage she had caused to her own dress. It was then that she met his eyes and started to drink in his appearance. He was not exactly the kind of person she expected to see at an engagement party like this. Usually she might have found an extroverted personality, dressed in the most expensive suit money could buy, simply to show off his wealth. She might have even expected to find a man with perfectly positioned hair and a completely clean-shaven face considering that an engagement party was usually a place where one had to look their best. Yet this man did not seem to possess any of those qualities. His jaw line was laced with a stubble that only seemed to make it even more prominent. That fact alone told her that his care for social expectations might not have been as deeply set as others. His hair was slightly longer than most, but slicked back in a way that seemed perfect for his frame and only highlighted his handsome features all the more. Her instant attraction to him was undeniable but it was simply a passing attraction. One that she was sure would falter when she finally excused herself from his company.
Elizabeth did not care to concern herself with such matters. She had her training to think about and she was not about to change her opinions of love and relationships simply because she had laid eyes upon a man who did not repulse her as many others did. All she knew was that Helen was back to her usual scheming; trying her hardest to ensure that Elizabeth found love in the same way that she did. While the gesture was sweet and clearly committed out of love, what she failed to realise was that such things could not be forced, especially when it was not something that had even crossed her mind.
“Thank you, for the napkin, I truly am sorry. It was not my intention to spill anything, especially not onto another person.” This distress and apprehension was still evident in her eyes, hoping that it would prove her sincerity. Elizabeth lent him a smile before using the napkin to lightly dab at the fluid that had stained the material a darker shade. As she looked down she realised that whatever she was doing was not going to work and she shook her head gently, laughing to herself before placing the napkin down at the bar after using it to soak the excess water that had landed upon her arm and hand. The rest would dry on its own eventually since it was only water and the napkin was not going to convince the material to dry any quicker.
When he offered to buy her another drink she offered him a warm smile for his kindness and his ignorance towards the fact that she had made a fool of herself only moments before. “That will not be necessary. It was only water.” Even as she spoke, he still seemed it necessary to replace her drink so she decided that she would keep her protests to herself. The only problem with that was that she now felt obliged to keep him company for the time being, at least until they had both finished their drink. As he returned to his seat, she took a moment to look around the room, finding Helen’s eyes fixated upon them. They echoed the smugness she felt and only confirmed that what she had done was purposeful. She had clearly intended for Elizabeth to meet Kyler and decided to ensure that in a rather unconventional way. She narrowed her eyes towards her and seemed to send a telepathic message that told her she would deal with her later before turning back towards Kyler with a sigh.
“It seems that my collision was not accidental after all.” She said as she took the empty chair next to him, assuming that he would not mind her company a little longer. “Whoever that woman is standing with the bride-to-be happens to be in on this too. I do not suppose you might know her? I’m afraid we may have been the target of an attempted fix up.” Her tone laced with humour as she looked over her shoulder towards the two women who appeared to be looking pleased with themselves.
Kyler threw some alcohol down his throat, enjoying the burning feeling as it crept down into his stomach. There was nothing else quite like it. There were more and more guests piling into the engagement party building, and it appalled Kyler. He didn't even know how one person could know this many other people that actually cared enough to go to an engagement party of their, apparently very well-liked, friend. Well, Kyler was enjoying himself with his drink and keeping an eye out for any daring bachelor that ventured towards Elaine that he could potentially scare away. There were certainly lovely women out on the dance floor and sitting around with their dates, but Kyler wasn't there to pick someone up. He was there for Elaine, and he'd set himself on that belief. Kyler was already preparing himself for one of Elaine's elaborate hook-up plans that never worked. He expected Elaine to find one of her pretty friends to conveniently remember him from town and, maybe, keep him happy for one night with their mostly empty brains. They were pretty at least, right? Elaine seemed to think that mattered most for him, but it wasn't the truth. Kyler just didn't really care for a relationship. He was a member of the U.S. Navy. He had more of his life to devote to a bigger cause. Besides, no one woman had made him change his mind, and Kyler believed no woman ever would. After all, he already had enough of a woman to handle with Elaine.
Finishing his drink, Kyler readied himself to stand and converse with at least someone he knew. Elaine was, most likely, not going to want to leave the party until the last person left with her, and he was her ride home. At the same time, Elaine was scheming her master plan to hook her brother up with an intelligent, beautiful, and strong woman. She just knew that she'd hit the mark this time. Elaine no longer grabbed any one of her insanely gorgeous, single friends to push towards Kyler and hope he fell in love. It didn't work that way. Love was spontaneous, and people found it when they weren't even looking which Elaine knew that Kyler certainly wasn't. From Helen's words before the engagement party, her friend, Elizabeth, seemed to be on the hunt for other things than men. It all clicked into place. Elaine just considered herself to be the... maker of that key. When Helen lead her away from Elizabeth's earshot, Elaine got a good look at her enthusiastic dancing with the young twins. It only got better. Elaine smiled to Helen, letting out a giggle that she had been suppressing since she approached Helen and Elizabeth. "Do you see her? She's incredible..." Elaine began before she turned, noticing Kyler straightening his jacket and beginning to leave the bar. "Oh no... brother moving. Plan B... push her into him. A ruined dress and suit jacket is a little price to pay for love!"
Elaine watched as Helen hurried over to Elizabeth, helping the two twins to their parents to rest so that they wouldn't get lost. Elaine was, of course, fully invested in watching the meeting of her brother and this woman named Elizabeth that was spoken so highly of by Helen. Kyler didn't even see it coming when he felt a body abruptly collide with his, causing a glass of liquid to soak her dress along with part of his suit jacket. Kyler turned, clenching his fist, ready to punch out the drunk man he supposed was attempting to fight him, but he relaxed his hand when he caught sight of the water-spilling culprit. She caught him off-guard. Kyler had caught himself by reaching out to grab the bar table before falling backwards over his stool. The water was concentrated on her more than it was on him. Kyler was usually more hostile in this situation. While he wasn't friendly, he also wasn't completely rude. "Careful on your drinking miss. Wouldn't want you bumping into the wrong stranger." He said plainly, handing her a small napkin to dry herself off. She was absolutely gorgeous. There was a pure, natural beauty to her features. She wore little make-up, just enough to accentuate her eyes and skin. Her hair was just the right amount of dark to her complexion, and her jawline supported the inference that she was an intelligent woman. Kyler noticed all these things about her as he was handing her a napkin as a simple gesture of kindness. He'd had to work on that... at least that's what Elaine said.
Kyler saw the distressed look in the smaller woman's eyes, well, she was smaller compared to his larger frame. She looked genuinely concerned, and Kyler couldn't stand it. "Here, I'll pay for the next one of what you were drinking. Whatever it is will dry up." Kyler said, relating the orders to the bartender. Looking back to the brunette, he sat on his stool once more, leaving one open next to him that had been conveniently cleared by Helen earlier. Maybe she'd stop looking up at him with that sorry look in her eyes...
The amount of time they had spent together that evening seemed to go unnoticed by the two and after a while Elizabeth noticed that people were starting to look at them and whisper about how the bride-to-be hadn’t been socialising much with her guests. However, it was her prerogative and hers alone. Elizabeth allowed her hand to rest on Helen’s arm and she smiled towards her.
“I do believe you should be talking with some of your other guests.” There was no judgement in her voice but as she spoke Helen looked around the room and saw that some of her guests were looking in her direction and whispering to each other. Neither of them had noticed that they have become the attraction of several guests that night. Elizabeth took a sip of her drink and realised that the glass had become empty long before now and that her conversations with Helen had clearly occupied them for a lot longer than she had thought. It didn’t matter all too much as champagne wasn’t really to her taste and she remember taking the drink as a way of demonstrating her manners to the hosts. She was surprised she had even been able to finish the drink that she found such distain for but then, the drink had probably been in her hand for well over an hour. She placed the glass down just in time to see that some of her guests were beginning to make their way over to Helen. Just as her lips parted to announce her departure amongst the rest of the guests, Elizabeth felt someone tugging at her dress and as she looked down she saw that Helen’s twin sisters were standing there looking up to her with a smile. She lowered herself to their height and greeted the girls with a smile and a kiss upon the cheek.
“Elizabeth, come and dance with us. No one will dance with us.” They said, pouting as to show their disappointment and Elizabeth looking towards Helen for permission to leave her.
“I have other guests I need to attend to! Go and enjoy yourself.” She said with excitement before walking away leaving Elizabeth with the twins. If it wasn’t for the fact that Elaine was the person she was about to greet, she might have insisted that she stayed within their company but it was always easier to scheme without Elizabeth there. The two had been planning to introduce Elizabeth to Kyler after realising that the two were made for each other when they spoke of them. She greeted Elaine with an embrace and a scheming smile danced upon her lips with the realisation that the first stage of their plan had worked out fine. Knowing Kyler, it might have been much more difficult to even get him to attend such an event but Elaine clearly had a hold over him in some way and he had agreed to accompany her thinking that he was doing her a favour. Little did he know that he was one half of a plan to encourage their dearest to embark upon an attempt to find love.
“If he doesn’t fall in love with Elizabeth then I would put money on something being wrong with him.” Helen said with a laugh as she took Elaine by the arm and led her away from the crowds so that she might discuss the plan. “She is currently dancing with the twins. They won’t be able to last too long but once they finish dancing I will find a way of getting them together.”
Meanwhile Elizabeth laughed with the twins and rose from her kneeling position so she stood tall and took their hands so that they could make their way to the clearing that had been designated for people to dance. When they found their way to the clearing that danced together and there were several occasions where she threw her head back in laughter as they enjoyed themselves.
The young girls stole her attention for quite some time, all the while dancing along to the changing music and acting in ways that young women shouldn’t usually act but she was entertaining the children and it was highly unlikely that anyone would judge her for that. It was her intention to enjoy the engagement party as much as she could and being here with the twins allowed her some enjoyment until she was able to spend some more time with her friend. And so, they danced for what felt like hours until the twins eventually grew tired and went to find their parents to that they could calm down for a little while.
Elizabeth found herself alone now but she remained with a smile upon her face while she went to find a glass of water to hydrate after expending so much energy. Helen and her fiancé were welcoming and thanking their guests for their attendance so she perhaps wouldn’t see them for some time. Later they would most likely share a dance but for now, her best friend had a responsibility to the rest of the guests and Elizabeth could take some time to enjoy her own company. It didn’t last for long though as she felt a hand rest on her shoulder. She turned with a smile on her face, hoping that she would be greeted by Helen once more but her hopes were not fulfilled yet. The man before her was someone who had endeavoured to get her attention for some time but she had always been lucky enough to have the presence of another so that she was not left alone with him. However, Elizabeth hadn’t forgot her manners and she greeted him kindly with a smile and subconsciously scanned the room in hope that someone might jump in and save her from having to converse with the man. He was not unpleasant but he was certainly persistent and it was something that had become tiresome.
She entertained him with her charms for around ten minutes, all the while ensuring that she did not make it seem as though she was interested in him for anything more than a conversation and she was thankful to see that Helen was making her way towards her. Her eyes must have been looking for help because as she walked towards them she laughed and shook her head, knowing that the man in question had been trying to get her attention for quite some time.
“Andrew! Thank you so much for your attendance today. I’ve been meaning to introduce you to someone. Elizabeth would you mind if I stole him for a little while?” She asked, knowing what her answer would be already. Her eyes thanked her without words and nodded instantly.
“Of course, you are the bride-to-be so your authority is the only authority today. It was nice conversing with you Andrew, I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.” With that Helen started to lead him away and she let out a sigh of relief and finally got herself the water that she craved. Elizabeth closed her eyes as the liquid hydrated her and allowed herself a moment to enjoy the sensation of it running down her throat. She hadn’t realised just how much energy the twins had taken out of her until now but she wouldn’t have changed the experience for the world.
When Helen returned she did all she could to thank her from saving her but it appeared she had other plans. He had caught sight of Kyler, quite literally right behind her at the bar. She glanced quickly and threw her arms around Elizabeth, in turn knocking her back into Kyler and spilling the water all over herself and partly over her shoulder. Elizabeth’s lips parted in shock and her eyes closed from the embarrassment. She worked up the courage to turn around to check the damage and instantly apologised when she saw that Kyler had been unfortunate to be close enough for some of the water to find him. Elizabeth quickly turned to glare at Helen but when he had, she had left. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously scanning the room for the woman but could not find her. Instead, she decided to put her attention back onto the man before her.
“Please accept my apology, I was caught off guard by a friend and could not stop the glass from emptying its contents.” She let out a sigh, looking at his clothes. Luckily, most of the water and found her dress and he had only a light shower of it. Elizabeth shook her head, trying not to laugh, realising that Helen had clearly done this on purpose.
He was sitting on his couch when there was a knock on his door. Sighing, Matthew stood and made his way to the front door. He'd really rather be alone... He was enjoying the silence. Matthew ran a hand through his hair and pulled the door open, raising his voice. "What the he..." He trailed off when he saw his younger sister in the doorway. Bowing his head, Matthew stepped back, allowing her to enter. He couldn't go off on her... She was the only family he had left. Matthew closed the door as soon as his sister walked in, noticing her long, red cocktail dress and fancy hair. "What are you so dressed up for?" He asked simply, watching his brunette sister turn and look up at him. "Did you forget? You promised to be my date to this engagement party... You look like you just woke up, and we have to leave." Matthew cursed, remembering how he'd claimed he'd be there. He never really expected to go through with it... Hell, he didn't think this one through. Matthew wanted to say he wasn't going, but she was all ready to go... and he did promise... "Fine. I'll be fast Elaine." He grumbled, and Elaine smiled brightly up at her tall brother. "I knew you would! And make yourself at least presentable, pretty please? Maybe you'll meet someone!" Elaine called in a bubbly voice. Matthew just called back without looking, "Yeah right Elaine. I'm only going for you."
Truthfully, Matthew had gotten a suit pressed and cleaned just for the date as soon as Elaine had made him promise. He never wanted to see his sister cry. She was a soft spot for him, but he wouldn't ever admit it to just anyone. Matthew didn't take much time to slip on his suit jacket, pants, and a red tie. It fit him well, and that was a testament due to his tall, muscular figure from working. Matthew was in shape, and it showed. He would have liked to go casual, but he knew Elaine would gripe at him. Matthew made sure his blonde hair was fixed by tucking strands back with his hands until he was satisfied. All in all, he hadn't taken very long at all. Slowly walking back out to Elaine, Matthew braced himself for another comment. Sure enough, Elaine hopped up from her seat, smiling. "My brother cleans up well when he tries." She smiled, playfully pushing him. "The chances of you getting a real date are getting higher every time I drag you out to one of these parties with me. You'll thank me later." She teased, pulling him out of his house with her. "And you have to promise me that you won't be all threatening if some guy wants to dance." She looked up at him, and Matthew just shook his head with a small smile. "Oh I'm definitely making sure that doesn't happen. You're too young Elaine." Elaine just laughed and shook her head, "You can't stop me Matthew, even if you don't believe in true love!"
Matthew simply followed his sister, seeing many formally-dressed people walking into a large meeting hall. Stepping out with Elaine, he looked down at her much smaller frame. "Who's party is this? Woodrow Wilson's daughter?" Elaine laughed and smoothed down her dress. "No you just don't get out enough to know what a party looks like Matthew." Matthew looked down at her and then offered his elbow. "I'm here, aren't I?" Elaine smiled and hooked her arm in his, and Matthew led the way. At least people didn't know they were really brother and sister, decreasing the chances of some man sweeping his sister off her feet and breaking her heart down the road. It was just a little something he could hold onto. There was music playing that could be heard before Matthew stepped through the door with Elaine. Just before they got inside, Matthew felt his arm being tugged in by Elaine. She looked so excited... It made it worth it for him to get out and go with her, just to see that smile after all they'd gone through in their childhood. It put a smile on Matthew's face as well. Matthew stepped inside, immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people in the room. "Definitely Woodrow Wilson's daughter." He muttered to Elaine, causing them both to laugh. Lights were strung around the room along with elegant flowers and congregations of well-dressed people. Elaine let her arm unwrap from her brother's, and Matthew looked down to her. Elaine met his gaze, talking softly. "So I'm going to go talk with some friends, and we can meet up later?" Matthew saw some women beckoning to her, and he nodded back at her. "Sure, but I'm watching you in case any guy gets too close." He said. Elaine only smiled and waved. "Until then..." Matthew watched her go, suddenly alone. Not that he wasn't pleased to be that way.
Making his way to the makeshift bar, Matthew ordered a drink. What else was he supposed to do? Matthew brought the alcohol to his lips, sipping it down. Well, the alcohol was good too. Matthew turned to see his sister laughing with a group of women that he recognized. Matthew let her be, sipping the alcohol again and scanning the party. There were people everywhere with all kinds of stories. Matthew couldn't even pick out the bride and groom to be from the amount of people there. It wasn't like he was into that sappy stuff though. That was Elaine's expertise. He had some acquaintances in the party... it would be shocking if he didn't know someone in this crowd, but he didn't feel like initiating conversation. Matthew was happy the way he was. However, Elaine had other plans. Stepping over to the bride to be, Helen, Elaine greeted her and threw her arms around the woman. "So good to see you! So I got Matthew out of the house... ready for your part of the plan?" She asked, as Helen and her had already planned on setting Matthew up with a dream woman. Elaine continued, "I made sure he's presentable... Let's just hope this works out." She said, continuously watching to see if Matthew would figure it out, but he was too busy drinking. It was Helen's turn to take the baton, and Elaine was so ready for her brother to be happy. He deserved it, no matter how tough he acted on the outside, he was a good man with a pure heart. He'd spent his whole life protecting her and making her happy. It was Elaine's turn to do the same.
Elizabeth couldn’t remember laughing so much in her life. Even at home with her family where they held many joyful evenings. Perhaps it was merely down to the fact that this was the first time that she had been to such a gathering or whether it was in fact an amazing night, she would remember it forever.
For Elizabeth, the simpler things in life were what pleased her the most and being amongst friends was the best way to spend her time and tonight was a celebration for her best friend Helen who had just got engaged to the man who had been courting her for the last twelve months. Her parents were so delighted with the news that they had insisted on throwing her an engagement party to share the news with the whole town. Their family were well liked and that much was clear from the turnout but Helen was only really concerned with one person being in attendance and that was Elizabeth. She shared every little detail of her life with her best friend and she wouldn’t want her to miss this moment either. They had spent years building memories together and tonight they were found in beautiful cocktail dresses, champagne in hand reminiscing about their childhood as the other guests mingled with one another.
Helen’s fiancé came up behind her and placed her arms around her stomach as well as rested his chin upon her shoulder. “You look like you are having a good time.” He said, placing a kiss upon her cheek and looked up towards Elizabeth. She liked him a lot and he was perfect for Helen. He cared about her more than anything else and his love was more than apparent and that’s all that she could ask for when concerning her friend. Elizabeth nodded in reply to his statement and Helen looked up towards him and placed a kiss upon his lips. “We were talking about our childhood. It turns out we were quite renowned for finding mischief.” She said with a laugh. “We will tell you about it one day.”
There was silence a moment before her fiancé broke the silence again. “Have you asked her yet?” He said, quite obviously referring to Elizabeth and for a moment she became worried.
“Have you asked me what?” She asked, looking concerned but when Helen laughed at her expression she knew that she clearly had nothing to worry about. “Come on, you simply cannot say something like that and expect me to not be curious.”
“I wanted to ask you if you would do us the honour of being our bridesmaid.” She said quite simply, as though what she were asking was not of importance but it was clear that she didn’t know how much such a responsibility would mean to her and Elizabeth fought to hold back the happy tears as her hand went to where her heart was to signify that she was touched by the notion.
“I would love to!” She said, throwing her arms around Helen and her fiancé in the process. “Thank you so much for the honour!” For a moment, the three of them stood in the embrace before someone shouted the male of the group and he excused himself, leaving the two alone together. “I can’t wait to be a part of your wedding.” Elizabeth exclaimed with the apart excited that she felt that came with the duty. Their wedding wouldn’t take long to plan and people in this town didn’t usually wait too long until they made marriage official and the thought of walking down the aisle with her best friend filled her with happiness.
“You do realise that in little over a month I am going to be someone’s wife?!” Helen seemed to take it in for the first time and Elizabeth nodded. “You are going to need to bring company you know?” She said almost as a way to distract from the nerves that had set in with her. Elizabeth shook her head, trying her hardest to make it seem like she didn’t care about that but truth be told, it would be a lonely day for her in reality if she did not have someone in attendance with her.
“I don’t need a man by my side Helen. Besides, I haven’t yet met a man who has shown any interest in courting with me. I have other things to focus on anyway. I have nearly finished my medical training. I only have a week until my final exam and I don’t need anything to distract me from that.”
Helen obviously didn’t like the response she was given and made it obvious that she was going to do everything within her power to act as cupid from that moment onward.
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