Reaching a trembling hand to the cold steel knocker, I jumped when the door began to creek with wind and age as the first pound toned throughout the wind filled doorway. I had stepped back just as the door shook with the effort of someone pulling it open. My heart leapt into my tight throat as the door creaked open a sliver more. I paused for a still second and saw that no one was in the breath of drafty space that sucked at you from the gloomy interior of the back lit foyer.
“Um, hel-lo?” I stuttered the question, waiting for someone to pop up in my presence.
No reply came back. No scuttle of feet was heard to prove that someone had actually opened the ancient door. I felt a stiff breeze push me into the open alcove, almost toppling me onto the white marble floor that met the foyer before me.
“Is anyone here? Mr. White?” I stammered as I straightened up my heart thumping body.
A screaming whirl of wind outside sucked the door shut with a glass rattling shake.
“Can I help you ma’am?”
I squeaked at the baritone voice that came from the encompassing blackness in front of me as my eyes fought to adjust to the lack of light. There stood a tall willowy shape of over six feet tall. My mouth went dry. In that instant it took to gulp down my surprise, he stepped closer and in a split second, a match was struck. I jumped but realized he was only lighting the candlestick that was in his large hands. Hands that led up to the face of a man that made me gasp with a whole new feeling. He was beautiful. Men weren’t usually described in such a manner but this specimen was lean, dark haired, and carried eyes that were as mesmerizing as sherry topaz in the light of the burning flame he held. The flickering emphasized his high cut cheekbones beside an elegant nose.
In my head I heard a whisper, “Save him.” And then it disappeared. What the hell was that? Scrutinizing the empty feeling space, no other person came forward to claim those cryptic words that clung like ice to my spine.
“Where did you come from and why were you hiding behind the door?” I rambled as I began to pull myself back together.
“You knocked on the door and then walked right in, so I should be asking who you are?”
“No, I didn’t open the door. You did.”
“I assure you ma’am, that if a lovely woman where to simply appear in my foyer, I would indeed have been the person to have let her in.”
“If you were the one that was to be staying up for me, then you would already know who I am?
He sighed deeply, almost blowing out the single candle in his still grip. “Let’s say that I’m a man of caution where damsels are concerned. Your name, please?”
“I’m Renata Barkely, granddaughter of the Fenmore’s, and I was told to be here in a letter from Mr. White.”
Well, what do you think?