Author: Saoirse7 PM
It started off as a friendship, and steadily grew into something more. But sometimes life isn't as perfect as we want it to be, and things happen. Do Raquel and Antoine have a love that will survive?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 11 - Words: 15,423 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 04-02-13 - Published: 09-02-12 - id: 3055173
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
She gave him a look of cool hatred. At least, that's how it looked to him. Then, without saying another word, she stood up and strode into the house.
Raul just sat there, staring openmouthed at the closed door. What had just happened? Had the most beautiful woman in all of Spain really just turned her back on him, without any good reason at all? He couldn't believe it! No one turned down Raul Santos!
But just as quickly as he had stood to make things right in his world, he reluctantly sat back down. There was no point. Nothing was going to make Raquel change her mind.
He had been warned that she would marry no one but that Frenchman, Antoine de Marseilles, who had mysteriously disappeared over four years ago. It was also rumored that he was dead, that he wouldn't return. That was supposedly why Raquel's father had finally accepted suitors looking to court his daughter. The only problem was Raquel, who still firmly believed that her true love would return and claim her. She had reportedly told someone that no matter how long it took, she would wait. No one else either could or would take Antoine's place. While there was still chance of Antoine returning, which was until there was cold, hard evidence that he was dead, Raquel Sanchez's heart was walled-up and locked. Now, watching the back door being slammed in his face, he knew that everything he had heard was true.
Heaving a great sigh, Raul stole one last glimpse at the stately villa, then turned and headed for home. "That's the last time Raquel will hear from me," he muttered, frustrated at her obvious inability to live in the present. What did he care if she lived to die an old maid? As soon as the thought flashed across his mind, however, he knew why. It would be a waste of a perfect specimen if she never married. How terribly sad.
Suitors came and went, and it became a byword among the young men of the area that if anyone wanted a wife, he should keep looking. But if anyone wanted a true challenge, Raquel Sanchez was the way to go. Many during the early months were forcibly thrown out of the house by Raquel herself, while her parents raced to the rescue of the young man. Still others were not even received by the young lady, who would simply refuse to come down from her room when a suitor was announced.
As the line of suitors increased, and the span of young men came from anywhere in the surrounding provinces, Raquel would no longer be found in the house, or even in the neighborhood, and would return on her own time.
One day, after six years of Antoine being gone, there was a surprising guest in the little Spanish town: a stranger, bedraggled and unkempt. He claimed that he had heard where he was that a certain young lady, Raquel Sanchez, was receiving suitors, and that this particular young lady was very beautiful. The townspeople affirmed this, but looked at him suspiciously. What was this beggar doing here, thinking he could win Raquel's heart? He must be out of his mind, a fool! Didn't he know her reputation?
Nevertheless, at his insistence, the villagers pointed him in the direction of the Sanchez villa, all the while shaking their heads. Just another casualty of love.
The stranger smiled to himself. He would win her heart, all right.
Fifteen minutes later, the man knocked on the door, which was promptly answered by a maid.
"May I help you?" she asked tersely, looking disdainfully at his dirty appearance and the silly expression on his face.
"Uh, yes, I would like to see Raquel."
"Señorita Sanchez?" It was obvious that she thought he was nowhere near worthy to be on a first-name basis.
But the man was already glancing past her, straining for a glimpse of the young lady. "Uh, yes, I suppose. Señorita Sanchez." The maid harrumphed and the young man suppressed a chuckle.
While the maid was off, looking for either Raquel or her father, he presumed, he saw through the back windows of the house that Raquel was in the backyard, sitting by the family's ancient fountain and lazily dipping her hand in the water. A smile spread across his face, and the craziest idea flashed across his brain. Without asking or without any kind of warning, he walked straight out the front door and strolled around to the back gate, unlatching it easily and slipping into the backyard.
At the creaking of the gate, Raquel whirled in that direction, surprise written all over her face. "Who are you?" she questioned in a low whisper.
"I'm here to marry you," the young man returned, confidence ringing in his tone.
Raquel tried to cover her shock with aloofness. "Well, sir, that doesn't answer my question. Let me be more specific. What is your name?" The stranger didn't answer, only began walking over to her. She skirted around the fountain away from him. "I don't know who you are. How did you even get in here? Does my father know you're here?"
"I got in by the gate, of course. And no, Señor Sanchez does not know that I am here."
Her eyes grew wide. Here was a young man with intentions of marrying her, not even courting her, and her father didn't know that he was here? There was a problem with this! Yet, there was something about this man, something in his voice, in his gait, that made her not cry out and have him instantly removed from the property. Something that reminded her of Antoine.