Chapter 8.

Abigale stared aimlessly out of the schoolroom window why the children practised their spellings. She had hoped her life would come too much more then this. She had once dreamed of traveling to America to visit with her father's relatives. Then she'd come home, hopefully fall in love and grace her husband with a house filled with children, now the only children she'd have were the ones she'd govern.

A knock came on the door and a slightly older man poked his head around the door. "Excuse me Miss Franklin?"

"Yes?" She replied shyly. The man was rather handsome.

"I'm Mr Vicker, the tutor for Albert." He smiled at her and stood firmly in the doorway.

"Of course. I'm sorry I was asked to look after him til you arrived. I did not know it would be so soon." She blushed. She also had no idea he would be so handsome. He was almost a match for Henry... Almost.

"I did not know myself til this morning. I woke to find my old pupil waiting to set me free. He reached the age of eighteen and requested I take my leave." He laughed slightly but it was clear to Abigale he had felt no affection for the boy.

"Well Albert is a most excellent young boy and you shall find him a pleasure to teach." She smiled fondly towards the young boy. If he felt no affection for this young boy then his heart was simply made of stone for this boy could warm the coldest person.

He glanced at him but quickly back to Abigale. "I'm sure he is just delightful."

The man with his many years on her was unashamed to stare at her beauty so openly she blushed a deeper red which just increased the older man's attraction. She was uncomfortable at his attention.

"Excuse me who are you?" Henry appeared behind Mr Vicker. The sight of him made Abigale smiled broadly then she realised and looked down.

"Mr Vicker sir, Albert's tutor." He bowed in grudging respect at his employer's son.

"Then you'd best take Albert and be moving along would you not?" Henry asked with very little patience.

Mr Vicker faked a smile and let out a small laugh. "I suppose that would be wise."

Abigale glanced over at Albert. He was pretending not to notice. "Albert, come here."

The little boy looked up and took in the three adults in front of him. If he feared any of them he didn't show it as he walked. "Yes Miss Franklin?"

"Come here and meet your tutor Mr Vicker." She said hurriedly said. She did not want to prolong Henry and Mr Vicker's encounter.

Albert looked up at the tall older man and if he were afraid he hid it well. "Hello sir,"

Mr Vicker looked at Albert as if he were a pest he'd like to dispose of. "Hello,"

"You may use the room across the way." Abigale said sharply and turned her attention away from the detestable Mr Vicker.

He looked at her wondering how her dislike for him had escalated so quickly. Then he looked back up and the younger Mr Collier, it clicked. She had developed feelings for him.

"Mr Vicker, If you could please go to the school room assigned for you so I could speak with Miss Franklin." Henry said curtly.

Mr Vicker gave him a glare. "Albert come," He snapped and stormed across the hall.

"He is horribly foul tempered." Henry muttered when they'd gone.

"You did not help matters." She sighed and busied herself with tidying the papers on her small desk.

"Ms Franklin, surely you noticed the way he harshly summoned my young brother." He said trying to defend himself.

"I noticed but he was perfectly nice before you showed up and started throwing your weight around." She said sharply.

"Ms Franklin, I only came to inform you that it is a beautiful day and to inquire if you and the girls would be interested in joining me in a walk in the park?" He asked innocently.

"Please Ms Franklin, may we go?" The girls begged.

"How can I refuse when you have asked me infront of the children." She sighed.

"I will confess I knew that would be your weakness." He smiled sly.

"Well girls you heard your brother go fetch your coats and wait in the foyer." She motioned for them all to leave.

OoOo

"So Ms Franklin, are you enjoying the walk?" Henry asked her as they strolled through the park near the pond as the little girls ran on a head.

"Yes very much." She replied shortly.

He studied her for a few moments. She looked very pretty in her black black dress and loved watching as her skirts swished but she looked constricted. Her black hair pinned up under a hat.

"Why do you watch me so?" She asked him curiously when she'd noticed him eyes fixed on her.

"I cannot help myself Miss. You are just so beautiful." He replied honestly and shamelessly.

Abigale flushed deep red. "Sir I've warned you about making such remarks."

"I am sorry if I offended you Miss I am was merely answering your question." He replied dryly and turned his attention away.

"Mr Collier if I might make an observation, I feel as if I do not know the true you." Abigale said but kept her eyes focused straight ahead.

"Oh? And why is that?" He questioned but seemed indifferent about the answer.

"Well one moment you're the most romantic man on earth towards me and then next I am merely a servant in your home and others I am a dear friend. I am confused as to what we are." She felt herself flush as she said it, although she knew it need to be said.

"Well I could easily blame you for that." He replied simply. "You tease me and then you want to be treated as a common servant then sometimes as a friend. So forgive me if you cannot always understand me but it is I who cannot understand you."

"You are blaming me?" Abigale asked trying not to sound offended.

"Well Miss Franklin I am simply confused by your attitude towards me." He shrugged and continued walking, following after the two girls.

"Perhaps I am uncertain as to how I feel." She murmured almost inaudibly.

"Well my feelings are something I am completely certain of." He sighed and walked slightly ahead.

"Mr Collier I do not believe for one second that you wish to marry me." She shook her head at the ridiculous thought.

"Miss Franklin, how am I to convince you?" He asked desperately. He really wanted to know the answer. His time was running out on his bet.

"I do not know. I'll leave that for you to decide." She smirked slightly before taking a lead.

Henry stared after her a took a moment before he followed her. He was amazed by her. She was very interesting.

"Henry," Cole came up behind him.

"Good afternoon," He muttered some what begrudgingly He really wished he had not seen Cole. He knew he would act strange when he realized that he was out with Abigale.

"You seem troubled my friend." Cole added as he fell into step with Henry.

"I am in the middle of something." He replied sharply. He wished Cole would just stop pestering him.

Cole looked up and saw Abigale walking with the two girls. "Have you gotten any closer to your conquest?"

"I am working on it. I could still be working on it if you had not of shown up." He muttered bitterly.

"With your young sister's around? Have you no tact?" He shook his head in disbelief.

"We were walking a few yards behind them. I was charming Miss Franklin before you showed up," Henry's voice held no note of friendship but was fully acidic.

Cole grinned at him in amusement. "Well by all means Mr Collier don't let me keep you."

"Henry! Come look!" Flora called out to him as she held tightly to Abigale's hand.

Henry glanced back but Cole had seemed to disappear so he moved quickly towards his two sisters to see what they were causing a commotion about.

"See over there Henry?" Lily asked and pointed across the lake.

"What am I suppose to be seeing?" He asked confused.

"There are a family of ducks over there." Abigale pointed them out to him.

It warmed her heart to see the young group of ducks huddled together. A ducks life was so easy sometimes. Henry thought they were cute but was not as fascinated as the girls were. What he liked most was that it felt like a family moment as he stood there with Flora and Lily and Abigale by his side.

"Doesn't Miss Franklin make a good addition to our family?" Flora giggled as if she had read his mind.

Henry looked at Abigale, smiled and unknown to the girls, he slipped his hand in hers. "A most wonderful addition."

Abigale flushed as she looked at their two intertwined hands. "I am happy to be apart of this wonderful family."

"We should be leaving." Henry murmured and dropped her hand.

The girls argued but fell into step behind him. Abigale felt over come with different emotions. All caused only by a simple touch of their hands. Her feels were really running havoc in with her when it came to Henry.


Sorry it took so long to put up I've been procrastinating... Anyway hope you enjoy it :) Please leave a review thanks :) xxx