Scandal of Love

By: Janelle Daniels



“You might want to consider him.”

“Why?”

“Well…” Aubrey trailed off, looking slightly uncomfortable.

“Oh, I see. You think that if I married him the scandal would be lessened. That my reputation would be restored.”

Aubrey nodded. “Yes. There have been many situations where this has happened and the results were much less lasting. Remember Lady Tewelton? She was compromised by Lord Hendricks, but once their engagement was announced, the gossip stopped.”

“You’re right. I should at least consider him. Perhaps there will be a way for me to meet him.” She paused, weighing the odds. “On second thought, probably not. I can’t imagine he would be too happy to see me since we’re involved in a scandal. If I were him, I wouldn’t want to see me either.”

“You never know. He is probably looking for an heiress.”

“True. It is something to consider.” She nodded, writing his name on the list.

“Sorry to interrupt, my lady, but this just came for you,” Westly said, bringing her a sealed letter.

“Thank you.” Sera accepted the letter with a nod of gratitude.

“Who’s it from?” Aubrey asked after Westly had left the room.

Breaking the seal, Sera glanced to the signature at the bottom of the page.“Lord Devericks,” she said in surprise.

“What does he have to say?” Aubrey leaned forward.

Scanning through the letter twice, she glanced up at Aubrey, who looked like she was about to rip the note out of her hand. “He has the same idea. He has made an offer of marriage and proposes that we spread the word that I accepted his proposal last night at the ball. Would you like me to read it to you?”

“Yes!” Aubrey pounced at the opportunity.

Clearing her throat, Sera read the letter aloud:



Dear Lady Sera,



I have recently been informed about the gossip surrounding us. To start off, I am deeply sorry for the rumor and any repercussions you may be facing because of it. If it were possible, I would find a way to stop these events from happening, but unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done.

I realize that my letter to you is rather unconventional, but I find that we are facing an unconventional situation. To spare you any more unwanted grief, I chose to write you concerning my proposition instead of paying you a visit.

While the damage to your reputation has already been done, I would like to extend an offer of marriage to you. If accepted quickly, your reputation could be repaired. I suggest that we tell others that you were accepting my proposal at Lady Berkley’s last night, and what was seen as a compromising situation was in fact, an engaged couple rejoicing in their love and future together. I realize this may be difficult as we have never met, but I feel confident that we can accomplish this task.

If you decide to accept my proposal, I can speak with your father directly and ask for your hand in marriage.

In time, I hope that we can form a friendship and find contentment from these unfortunate circumstances.

I look forward to hearing your reply.



Sincerely,

Quinton Devericks



“I must say I’m impressed by his sensitivity. Most men wouldn’t have cared how you felt. What do you think?” Aubrey asked.

Sera thought about it a moment. “It’s a good plan. No one would hold the impropriety against us if they thought we were engaged at the time.”

Aubrey nodded in agreement. “There would hardly be a scandal anymore. You would be able to return to society immediately and enjoy the season.”

“Yes. I just don’t know. I hate that I have to make this decision now. There isn’t even a day to think over a choice that will affect the rest of my life.”

Reaching out, Aubrey took Sera’s hand again. “I know. It’s difficult. No one should have to make this choice. And it is only yours to make. Whatever you choose, I will stand by you.”

“I know. Your friendship has meant more to me than anything else. I just wish I knew more about him before deciding whether or not I should marry him. What if he is like his father and squanders all of my money?”

“I don’t think he is.” Aubrey shook her head. “I’ve heard he has settled with most of his father’s creditors and has dealt fairly with them.”

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