Saturday, February 12, 2011

First Kiss


The heroine of Where Is Papa’s Shining Star?, Lenore Seldon, is a gently-brought-up young woman who finds herself homeless as a result of The Great Depression. Desperate for employment, she takes a job as assistant to the older, more worldly and very wealthy Alan Ashley, CEO of Ashley Enterprises. Alan also happens to be blind, the result of an exploding shell in his trench during World War I.

A condition of her employment is that she live in his family home so that she can also drive for him and so he can instruct her in the use of the Braille writer after business hours. He explains that his housekeeper also lives in and will be a ‘proper chaperone’.

Their co-existence is precarious at best, as Alan grows more attracted to his shy assistant, and she tries to deny to herself that the attraction is mutual. Then one night, after Lenore has finished reading the newspaper aloud to him, Alan suggests dancing to the music from the radio. 


On Thursday night, she read aloud from the newspaper, and then they listened to the radio.

Alan leaned forward in his chair, his feet keeping time to the music. “Do you dance, Miss Seldon?”

“Oh, yes, all my friends danced at school parties.”

“I haven’t danced in years. I don’t suppose you’d indulge me?”

“There’s hardly room in here, Mr. Ashley.”

“We could turn up the radio and go into the foyer.”

“I’m not sure I remember how.”

“Neither am I, but I’d like to try, wouldn’t you?”

“Perhaps.”

He stood for a moment in the middle of the foyer to orient himself, then held out his arms and was rewarded with the feel of Lenore Seldon stepping into them. Careful not to
hold her too closely, he said, “All right, on the next beat.” They moved off, not quite intime to the music.

“Is it coming back to you?” he asked.

“I think so.”

“The tempo is nice, but I believe we’re a bit behind. Shall we pick it up?” He quickened his steps as he spoke. “Are you keeping watch for obstacles?”

“Yes...oh, Mr. Ashley, the stairs!” She finished her warning as his heel met the bottom step, and he toppled, pulling her down with him into his lap.

For a long shocked moment they sat still, breathing harder than the exercise warranted. She was lighter than he’d supposed, but her hair, when he reached to touch it, was as silky as he’d imagined. Sliding his hands to her cheeks, he brought her face forward
until their lips touched.

He thought she responded briefly, but, before he could speak, she jumped from his arms and ran up the stairs.


4 comments:

joder said...

I love stories with disabled characters--being disabled myself--and love the sound of this. The time period is unique and not one I've seen before. I look forward to reading more about this.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Cindy L said...

Lovely excerpt! Thanks for sharing!

cbandy10(at)hotmail(dot)com

Word Actress said...

Sometimes I spend so much time on the beauty of language, that I forget about the beautiful worlds we can create for our readers. Thanks for reminding me! Mary Kennedy Eastham (website: www.rp-author.com/MKE)

MarthaE said...

Oh - doesn't this sound nice! I haven't read too many stories set in this time period. I like the premise alot.