Just as he watched the paper burn, the painful contents being swallowed and turned to ash by the roaring flames he saw her, her quickly retreating form catching his eye. He could not understand it, could not fathom how a woman such as Dorcas, so kind, so caring and so utterly beautiful did not have a significant someone. Of course he had heard the tales, the past rumours of how she and the squire, Sir Timothy Midwinter had been so truly in love despite his marriage and then of Mr Dowland, but he just could not understand how they could have let her go. This beauty of a woman lost, slipped right through their finger and forever stamped as a spinster.
He watched her still, the golden light hitting her just right, the beams caressing her face as if she were an angel as she rushed through the post office door and into her sanctuary. But despite her lack of presence his mind still thought of her, his eyes never leaving the space in which she had just stood.
Closing his eyes for a moment he smiled at the comment Sidney had said early this morning and Minnie's quick jump to loyally defend her post mistress "My ma loves you" The words had hit him like a raging storm, the shock yet underlying delight bubbling inside "Sidney!" "It's true, she looks at you as she looks at me"
He looked at the post office door again his gaze drifting to the window, straining, wishing, and hoping to see her petite form. It was true; Sidney had spoken nothing but the truth. It was her eyes that gave her away, her expressive green, blue eyes which showed every emotion whether she wished it or not. And just as her son had seen it, he had seen it too.
He had seen it as they had danced, the simple folk dance now meaning so much more to him. The way one minute her eyes had been full of just normal joy, the expression she used so often with her friends and staff and to a point, him. But as they got closer, as he had stepped underneath queenie and twisters connected hands it had changed, her expression forming one of vulnerability yet complete trust and… love.
And then for no more than a second their lips touched, soft meeting soft as something akin to a lightning strike coursed through them, the sensual and electrical tension passing between them in thick heavy waves.
As they parted he remembered looking at her in almost awe the way her eyes, oh her eyes… they were indescribable! The curiosity yet knowing love she held within them confused him yet excited him all the more.
Suddenly the post office door opened hesitantly before opening fully to reveal her beautiful small form, her lips elegantly graced with a shy smile.
His lips twitched into a smile of his own and before he knew it he waved her over.
Dorcas watched him as he waved her over, a knowing smile passing between them as he did so. Quickly she shut the door and walked over to him, trying desperately to control the feelings that were bubbling inside of her. The kiss, though brief, had been so simply beautiful and she couldn't help the blush that graced her cheeks as she neared him.
He smiled noticing her purple, blue jacket was gone leaving her in her simple cream blouse and skirt.
"Why aren't you still at the Bazaar?" he asked curiously.
Dorcas blushed, how could she tell him the truth? Tell him that she had missed his presence and had some to convince him to stay at the Bazaar a little longer? "Oh well, you know me, being postmistress has its perks but it also has one fatal flaw, the post never waits" she said smiling gently, hoping he would buy her story.
He did not.
For a few seconds they both said nothing, just staring at each other before Dorcas broke the tension filled silence "I wanted to thank you" she said hesitantly as she stood before him, an image of beauty. There was no doubt that he still missed his late wife despite everything but he could not deny the feelings that were growing inside him, for this woman right in front of him.
"Oh?" he said taking off his jacket and placing it on the bench beside him.
Dorcas watched with bated breath and nodded. Did he realise the emotions that coursed through her body due to him? Did he know that her emotions were running riot simply because he stood before her? "Yes, for what you did, what you said to Sidney earlier, with the snake, I, I appreciated it very much" she stuttered not sure where to fix her eyes and then firmly facing them towards his shoes.
He smiled and stepped forward making her look up at him, the same look of trust she had given him earlier swirling through her beautiful eyes "The pleasure Dorcas…" he paused showing her that formalities between them no longer satisfied him "Was all mine. Sidney is a fine lad, you are raising him well" he said gently.
Dorcas smiled coyly and searched his face, his eyes, anything that would give her a hint to his intentions, did he wish to pursue her? Or was it just a friendship he was in search of? A puzzle, that's what he was. At times he seemed so lost, his expression of such sorrow but then there were times when his eyes would glow, that spark of delight filling them. Oh what a mystery he was to her and one she fully intended to unfold. Slowly her eyes drifted to his mouth, almost drawn to them, her mind wondering helplessly what it would be like to feel them fully, feel the love a pleasure within them. Tear her gaze away shamefully she looked to the ground "If you will excuse me" she said politely but just as she turned…
"No!" he said stopping her in her tracks.
Frowning she turned and looked at him "No?" she asked.
Gabriel bit his lips "I mean, please, stay, and… take a walk with me?" he said hoping he hadn't offended her or frightened her off.
Dorcas's heart skipped a beat and her lips twitched into that of a small smile "I would love to Gabriel" she said with enthusiasm, hoping not too much she thought after.
He smiled and together walked off towards the fields. The golden sun caressed their skin giving them a tanned glow as the colours of summer surrounded them and though neither of their hands nor arms were linked they walked so close, their hands brushing against each other's often.
Enjoying the beauty around them Dorcas spoke "I lied earlier, I was not busy or had post to attend to, I came to convince you to come back for a while and i saw you burn the letter" she said quietly "Forgive me, I did not mean to pry"
He nodded back admiring her honesty "Its fine, do not worry yourself, I'm glad you saw, it proves that though I still miss her I am moving on and you, you are my witness to that" he said smiling at her.
"I am and you are, you've come a long way Gabriel, I have witnessed your progress and courage and faith in everything. True you have stumbled on the way but with each step you make yourself stronger and that" she paused stopping and looking into his deep brown eyes the sun kissing his dark tanned skin "…that has been a pleasure to watch" she finished blushing at her confession and looking away slightly.
He smiled and stepped a little closer, Dorcas's breathing catching slightly. "And it has been a pleasure for me, if a may say, watching you come undone"
Dorcas's head snapped up immediately "Undone?" she asked as if it were ludicrous.
"Yes" he said teasingly.
Dorcas sighed and picked up her dress continuing to walk "I haven't come 'undone' in the slightest, how do you know I haven't always been like this?" she said her defences coming up.
He smiled trailing after her "I don't know but I have this feeling"
Dorcas sighed "Well your feeling is wrong"
Gabriel jogged a few steps and caught up with her "Do you usually close up on people when they hit too close to home?" he said as they walked their way through the corn fields.
Dorcas swallowed "I don't know what on earth you are talking about" she said trying to avoid it.
"Is that why you were never married because every time a man got close you got scared and closed up?" he said as Dorcas came to a sudden stop.
"Gabriel!" she shouted out, the question hurting her so.
Gabriel bit his lip "I'm sorry, that was too far, forgive me?" he as looking at her with his pleading eyes.
Dorcas looked at him with piercing eyes, contemplating her decision "No" she said smirking before walking off.
Gabriel laughed in shock and chased after her "Fine if I'm not forgiven then I shall pry some more"
"Don't you dare!" she snapped back.
Coming out of the field they soon neared the stream just inside the forest heading towards lark rise "Why not? You know of my past, even pried into it I see no reason why I should not be allowed to do the same with yours" he said back as he watched her cross the stream.
As Dorcas stepped onto the other side she faced him with defiance "Because Gabriel, it hurts and i do not wish it to be discussed or for it to be the news and gossip of the town!"
He looked at her with sympathy and crossed the stream gently, stepping up and out, right into her personal space "It would not be the news of the town Dorcas and my past hurt too, I'm sorry maybe I pushed too far" he said before walking past her.
Dorcas closed her eyes, her heat beating a thousand miles per hour. What was it about this man? She turned slowly and looked at his retreating form "I have been in love twice" she said just loud enough for him to hear, his feet stopping but not yet looking at her "And both times I have been hurt tremendously. I do not wish to speak of it, I have moved on yes but the hurt and memory still remains" her voice thick with emotion.
Gabriel turned and looked at her and smiled sympathetically "Then we shall speak of it no more. Forgive me?" he said as he approached her.
Dorcas smiled her chest breathing in a sigh of relief; maybe she would tell him her story, but not today "You are forgiven" she replied softly.
He smiled and took her hand leading her down back past the fields, their pace slow and their company lethargic.
"Now there are far more pressing matter I wish to discuss" he started glimpsing at her amused face. Yes it was confirmed, he was falling and so very fast.
"Oh? And what are these pressing matters?" she asked, silently delighting in the feel of his strong fingers laced with hers as they walked.
"I was curious to when the next Church Bazaar would be?" he said looking ahead.
Dorcas frowned as she looked up at him "I'm afraid I do not know, not for a while I should think. Why do you ask?" she said her mind intrigued.
Looking down at the woman next to him he smiled and slowed his pace slightly "Because I enjoyed that dance entirely too much" he said making Dorcas swallow and blush profoundly.
He had been right; she was coming undone, so utterly and openly undone…
Authors note: Okay so this just came to me the other day and I had to write it down! I hope you enjoyed it and may continue with it, so please please please review and tell us what you think! :D