Red and white rose

The soft silk rippled as the young lady took a turn in the scented garden of roses. The only sound that could be heard was the gentle rustle of her shimmering gown and the hoot of owls in the nearby trees. The moonlight caressed her long dark hair, making it shine in the darkness. She turned away from the imposing, stately mansion to stare at the ghostly and delicate heads of the white roses.

Behind her, unseen by the lady, stood two whispering maids underneath the Gothic arch leading to the courtyard...

'Oh! What a successful ball the young mistress held this evening! She is by far the most well bred lady in the country!'

'That hair! And that gown! I can't stop looking at it. It's enough to make any woman green with envy!

The two maids spotted the master striding smoothly down the courtyard towards them. His evening dress was perfectly tailored to suit his frame and it complimented his dark eyes exactly. The maid ducked behind the pillar of the archway, for fear of being seen...for though the young master was exceedingly handsome and charming...he never allowed servants to be slacking off their work, especially when there was a ball to clean up after.

The young master glided past them. He went to the young woman and stood beside her, staring at her. The maids poked their heads out from behind the pillars to get a better look. 'What a perfect match they are! I swear I have never seen such a beautiful couple!'

'They are so intimate with each other! Oh how I wish he looked at me in that way!'

'Trust me my dear you wouldn't want to be in her place; I've been the young mistress's servant ever since she came out in society. You see how pale she is? Well she wasn't always so pale, her completion was much rosier, of course she is much more beautiful being so pale... but the rumour has it that it is caused by her fortnightly 'wife's duty.' Apparently he exhausts her so much she has to spend the next day resting!'

The younger maid opened her mouth to answer, but suddenly their attention was caught by some movement by the master. Using his long fingers, he plucked a blooming white rose from the bush, placed it in his petite hand and closed it around the rose with both of his hands, totally covering hers. The maids stood rooted to the spot, transfixed by the intimacy of it. After a long moment he opened up her hand and lifted her hand to his lips. He placed his mouth in the inside of her hand, which was still holding the rose. The maids held their breath. The young lady, began to tremble, the maids didn't blame her. He held her hand there for a long time and when he finally let it go, it flopped to her side, almost lifeless. The young master suddenly turned and faced the maids bang on.

'I think it's time you ladies got back to work' he called in a mocking tone...the maid fled startled by his sudden command. He turned back to his wife, who was still trembling, bent down and whispered softly into her ear. Then he turned and strode back to the building, his feet barely making a sound on the gravel.

The lady stood for a long time, still trembling, after a while her hand unclamped itself from around the stem of the rose and she walked swiftly away towards the dark building. The rose, quietly fell to the ground with its thin,silky petals were splattered with dark droplets.