I've enjoyed reading McKenna's work, and I am sure you will, too. I'm very excited to have her joining us here!
March 4th, 1861
"When will you be back?" I questioned, clutching the front of his shirt collar in my fist. "Ambrose, answer me. When will you be back?”
My fiancé looked down at me with a small smile on his pretty mouth. While his smile conveyed (at least, I thought so) affection, his clear blue eyes were cold and distant. The smile dropped off his face, replaced with a look of contempt.
“You are wrinkling my collar, Ell. Do you expect me to travel with a soiled collar?”
My heart wilted a little in my chest. It had suddenly become hot, the many layers of my gray dress stifling me. My fingers released the hold on his collar, smoothing out the minuscule wrinkle my delicate fingers had made. My fiancé, Ambrose Cassidy, is generally a nice man. That is what I like to think. He tends to overreact about silly things, such as his shirt collar, dogs barking a bit too much, or any men talking to me, despite the topic. He was a fairly cold man, never indulging too much in emotional activities.
“I am not sure when I will be back. The camp I am leaving for today has had many gold discoveries, so perhaps I will not be gone long. The forty-niners under my employment seem like idiots, however, so we shall see,” Ambrose confided to me.
He ran a wiry hand through his soft blonde hair. I stood back and admired his form, knowing that I would truly miss it during his absence. His tall frame dominated my relatively petite one. Ambrose Cassidy was the son of a wealthy business man and his New York socialite wife. We had grown up together, our fathers being business partners since before both Ambrose and I could walk or talk.
My father, back before my mother died, had purchased our large house from Mr. Cassidy and converted it into a boarding house, taking care to outfit it with only the nicest and most current amenities. Our home features multiple bathtubs, easy access to hot water, and two outhouses, one for each gender. The Daley Boarding house is a popular, respectable one. This purchase helped establish a fine friendship between the Cassidys and the Daleys, one that would be translated into a marriage, once I turned eighteen, which would be (hopefully) around the time that Ambrose returns.
I worry about Ambrose often. I worry about how our marriage will be, how life will be for me as I move up the social ladder with my marriage to the most eligible bachelor in all of Carmel, and most of all, I worry about how happy I will be with Ambrose. He is a temperamental man, not very warm or caring, even when it comes to me.
“I will miss you very much, Ambrose. You do know that, don’t you? I will be counting the days till I receive your letters, till you come home.” I reached for his hand at that, doing all I could to ignore the small handgun resting in a fine leather holster at his hip.
His cold fingers intertwined with mine, and lifted one hand to his lips, resting a slight kiss from cool lips to the soft skin of my hand. I shivered, whether from the temperature of him or the feelings he could bring out of me with one gaze.
“I will miss you as well, my love. I promise to be back as soon as is possible, and I will make you my wife. My beautiful, delicate wife.” He looked past me, out the front window of the boarding house, and apparently seeing something, he looked back at me. “I must go now. Do not forget about me, Ella. Never.”
“Never,” I echoed.