Sneaking in a kiss...
"I do need help with being romantic," Trevor said. Adrienne hesitated.
He took off his hat and wrapped his arms around her, making sure he didn't hold her too tightly. "If you don't want to, that is fine. I hope you didn't find me offensive."
"There's nothing offensive about you, Trevor." Though she didn't hug him back, he did note that her hands rested on his arms. "You are pleasant to be with."
He winked at her. "You do find a way into a man's heart. If you would rather wait for the kiss, I'd understand."
As he was about to pull away from her, she stopped him. "I suppose one kiss wouldn't do any harm. I mean, it would be for your play, and you do have a deadline to meet."
"Yes, that is true."
"I haven't kissed a man yet, so I don't know how good I'll be at teaching you how to kiss."
"Then we'll have to learn together." He leaned toward her and gave her a light kiss. His heart raced with excitement. "What did you think? Did I do alright?"
She nodded. "You did just fine."
He was pleased that she seemed to enjoy it as much as he did. "Perhaps, it would be more romantic if the kiss lasted longer. Maybe, it should be like this..."
He kissed her again, but this time he tightened his hold on her and deepened the kiss. He felt her arms go around his neck as she leaned into him. When the kiss ended, he could hardly concentrate on anything but how wonderful she felt.
"Yes, that's the kiss to go with," she whispered.
Oh Adrienne, just wait until we're married. I'm going to kiss you like that all the time.
"I can't let you marry him, Adrienne," Mrs. Dayton whispered as she threw some clothes into her daughter's suitcase. "It's wrong and your father won't listen to reason. A young girl shouldn't be used to give a man children. I know your father is doing what he thinks is best for you, but he doesn't know a woman's heart."
Adrienne bolted out of her bed, excited and grateful her mother was saving her from a horrible fate. She quickly got dressed in a yellow dress while her mother continued to pack.
"You know Mrs. Crane," her mother continued in her quiet voice. "She married a man who has money but he just wanted someone to show off at his dinner parties. She's nothing more than a trophy wife. She spends all her time going to beauty parlors and shopping for the latest fashion so she can look beautiful to impress his friends, but she confided to me last night that she is lonely. Her husband doesn't pay any attention to her when they are alone. To the world, he is a devoted and loving husband but when people aren't looking, it's a different story. He would rather spend time with his hobbies than with her. He only spent enough time with her to have children. She didn't enjoy those experiences and was relieved when he said that three children were enough."
Adrienne shivered in disgust. Did men enjoy using women to fulfill their selfish pleasures? Mr. Parker wanted children and Mr. Crane wanted a trophy wife. Her father wanted her to marry a rich man. She brushed her long wavy brown hair.
"Braid your hair, sweetheart," her mother instructed. "You will be taking a train all the way to New York and it's going to take you several days to get there. My sister knows a young mother who needs a nanny to care for her baby. She has made arrangements for you to get the job. I won't speak a word of this to your father. He will have to think you ran away to some unknown place."
She braided her hair while her mother gave her the details of her plan. She nodded while her mother spoke. Her heart raced with relief and expectation. She hoped that no one would find them and prevent her from leaving California.
Her mother threw her jewelry into a small handbag and gave it to her. "These jewels are worth a good amount of money. If you take them to a jewelry store, you should be able to sell them and get money for anything you need. I cannot go with you to the train station but I did buy your ticket." She placed the ticket for New York in her daughter's hand.
Adrienne suddenly realized that she wouldn't be seeing her mother for a long time. "Father will be upset."
"It's better for him to be upset than for you to be miserable for the rest of your life. You are only eighteen. Eugene Parker is forty-eight. A man his age can't make a young woman happy."
She began to cry. "I'm going to miss you and Father but I am glad you're doing this for me."
Her mother hugged her. "I'll miss you too, sweetheart." "Thank you."
Her mother pulled away from her and handed her the small handbag with the jewelry in it. She picked up her suitcase and quietly led her to the front door of the house and walked out with her to the horse-drawn buggy whose rider was
unfamiliar to Adrienne. "I didn't want to risk anyone we know finding out, so I ordered this driver to take you to the train station. I'm sorry, but I must stay here. I don't want to risk anyone seeing us together."
Adrienne nodded. The hour was early so no one else was awake to see them.
"I love you, Adrienne. Your father loves you too. May God watch over you and protect you on your journey. I will be praying for you."
The driver took her suitcase and put it in the buggy. "I love you and Father."
"I know you do, sweetheart. I wish you could enjoy a good marriage but I suspect you will be confined to being a spinster. It's not what I wished for you."
"I'll be fine as long as I'm not with Mr. Parker."
"Wait for me to write to you before you write to me. I want your father to have time to cool down before we resume communication. He will be upset but he'll adjust in time."
Her mother gave her another hug and a kiss on the cheek before watching her leave in the buggy.
Adrienne tried to be brave and not cry but she couldn't help it. She felt a mixture of many emotions, but the biggest emotion she experienced was relief that she wouldn't have to marry Mr. Parker after all.