"I say he's lyin'," Nan muttered to Nat as they stood by and watched the scene. Both missed the exchange because of running to get the adults.
"Yeah, you can see it in his face." Nat whispered back. "See how his brows are all knitted together and he's sweating? He's trying to hide something." He looked back at Nan, who had sneezed, and then back at everyone before them.
"He's not tellin' the truth, Mrs. Jo." Emil, Tommy and Meyer stepped forward.
"What is this? I know you all don't like me, but that's no reason for you all to lie about this!" He barked.
Bess, hearing the whole conversation, stepped in closer.
"I don't think he's telling the truth. What Dan said could very well be true. Daemon, you've always been more worried about your clothes and you know it." Bess accused him, scowling. Everyone turned to look at her – surprise clear on all faces.
"I didn't do this! And how could you know that Dan's telling the truth? You were in the water!" He argued firmly.
"I'm tired of listening to you speak, Daemon Vaughn! For once, would you be quiet and speak of something besides yourself?" She shouted.
Eyes flew open. Did Bess Laurence actually just say that?
"And I've a confession to make, Mother." She said, turning to face her extremely shocked, on the verge of having a heart attack, mother. "I don't want to go to Mistleswaith, even if it means not studying art and music. I'm fed up with Daemon and his bragging about how good his school is, for that can only mean Mistleswaith is filled with snobs just like him!
And I haven't been having a good time. I much prefer being out and around with everybody here than being inside, sipping tea and talking with him! I might have preferred that before, but I don't now. Another thing, I can't wait until leaves and once he leaves, I never want to have to have tea or talk to him again!" She stomped her foot, glaring at Daemon as her anger and frustration from the last few days poured out. Oh my goodness, what have I done? How could I have let all that come out?
A wave of panic ran through her body as a bright flush covered her neck and face. All eyes were "o's", not quite able to believe what they had just heard. Nick especially was surprised. That's a girl, he grinned, crossing his arms. Bess looked over at him, and he smiled, then offered her wink.
Dan blinked, then did his huff/smile before crossing his arms tightly. Nat and Nan both noticed the look of admiration on his face.
"I-I'm so sorry, Victoria. I-she's still getting over the shock of the fall, I'm sure." Amy reasoned, trying to come up with something to fill the silence and excuse her daughter's behavior.
But Victoria wasn't up for reasoning or excuses. Her gaze was set firmly on Daemon, who was red in the face and looked as though he was about to punch Dan. "I am very displeased with you, Daemon. How you could do such a thing and be so rude?!" She took a firm hold on his arm and after excusing them, drug him back to the wagon so Nick could take them home where their carriage would be waiting.
Shocked faces followed all three figures until they disappeared into the foliage and then turned to Bess who flushed even deeper, hugging the shawl tighter around her.
Amy's face paled and looked as she was about to swoon. Laurie swallowed, not quite knowing how to deal with the situation at hand. A part of him was proud of Bess, glad she was learning to 'speak up' but the other part was almost…Ashamed that she would do such a thing.
"Amy, we've all had a long day. Perhaps we should pack up and go our separate ways and speak of this tomorrow." Jo clasped her hands, hoping her sister would just except the idea.
Amy didn't agree, but didn't refuse – just let Laurie walked her back to the blanket.
"Come children, we'd best be getting home. Chores still need to be done
and we don't want Bess getting sick." Jo walked over to Bess and placed
a comforting arm around her shaking shoulders. "I'm proud of you."
She whispered to her niece. Bess smiled, feeling a little more at ease.
Jo touched her forehead to Bess's and they walked back together.
"I'm so glad you come, Victoria. I such a wonderful time." Amy smiled, waving to Victoria as she climbed up into the carriage.
"Thank you, Amy, for such a lovely time." Victoria turned back, and after a minute's silence, finished. "And I'm so very sorry and ashamed of Daemon's behavior." She squeezed Amy's hand and took a seat inside, offering her a smile.
Bess stepped forward, with Jo's pushing and spoke.
"I'm very sorry for my outburst, Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn. It was completely unacceptable and I am deeply ashamed." She didn't drop her gave, just focused steadily on Daemon who was gazing intently out the window.
"You're forgiven, Elizabeth. What's done is done and there is no need worry about it anymore." Victoria answered for all of them.
"Thank you, Mrs. Vaughn." Bess stepped back, grateful for the occasion to be over.
The driver flicked the glistening rumps with the leather reins and soon they disappeared down the road.
"So, I guess you didn't really like 'im after all?" Dan asked, trying to keep the relief from his voice.
"Like him? You thought I liked him?" She asked incredulously, turning to face him. "I couldn't stand him the sound nor site of him!" Bess choked from the memory of the things she did with him. Walking up to join them, Nan and Nat laughed loudly.
"I'm just so glad t back at Plumfield. I almost went to Mistleswaith with him! Erh!"
"Prince Charming." Nan repeated. "You mean Dan didn't tell you about that?" She placed her hands firmly on her hips.
Bess shook her head, thoroughly confused.
"Never mind, it's a long story anyway." Nat smiled at Bess's distraught look. They all grinned, enjoying being one up on her.
"Well, Dan. There is one thing I did like about him."
Dan stopped, anger and shock washing over his face. "And what was that?"
"I never would have found out I was better at catching attention than you if he hadn't have come."
"What do ya mean?" He asked, playing dumb.
She stopped and pulled him around to face her. "You do have admit it, Dan. I'm much better at catching attention than you are and I'm sure everyone else here would agree with me." She said with a playful smirk.
"There's not doubt about that." Nan snickered quietly, quickly looking away. Nat snorted as he and Nan's 'hayloft conversation' played back through his head. Three sets of eyes turned to Nat, who only shrugged.
"If ya ask me, you're all pretty lousy at it." Nan offered non-chalantly taking off running as the three people started after her.
And she was just saying how much she going to miss this…Ah-hmm…What
was happening to her?