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Azazel sat with his leg casually crossed, sipping at a steaming cup of Earl Grey at a café he had been frequenting since the dawn of time; or so it seemed. His thumb stroked the thin, porcelain curve of the handle. How easily it would shatter with the slightest twitch of his finger like human bone. The thought made him shudder. Carving hit him like a Clydesdale slamming its hoof into his chest; painful, radiating through every fiber of his being… then he took another sip of his tea. The sweet, peppered lavender taste washed away all hint of urgent need for violence, for blood, for the satisfaction of knowing he could conquer any and all… but that was not who he was anymore. He put that behind him.
Soft blue eyes glanced at those bustling around him; forever in a rush as if there was never enough time to sit and enjoy, say, a cup of tea. He gave the softest of sighs as allowed himself to bask in the sounds of their heart, filling his ears like church bells announcing the beautiful union of two long time lovers, but only for a moment. Taking another sip to risen that darker part of his mind away. Soon, he promised himself, soon.
The thunderous sound of a paper bag ripped him from his thoughts. It was as if the corpulent apples tore his brain from his skull along with them. The cup met the sauce with a sharp, irritated clank. He went to snap whomever made that atrocious sound, but his words fell from his mouth and his mind grew blank as he glanced at the creature whom the god awful sound came forth.
Abigail peeked down at the rolling green lumps in distress. She had saved every cent of her allowance to be able to get them to test her skills in baking. Oh, how she wanted to please her father with his favorite treat of a freshly baked apple pie. Those poor apples would be bruised to mush. Tears burned into her fretful green eyes as she began to pick up all the apples before they could gather anymore dirty. The older woman accompanying her offered her comforting words as she lent her a hand.
“At the very least the flour and sugar did not bust, darling,” she said as she placed the apples into her apron.
Azazel rose with the grace of a nobleman. He strolled over to the two women before kneeling down to help them gather the few apples that had gone a stray. There was no sense in them dirtying their dresses or dignity of a woman crawling on their knees for a few apples. A smirk crossed his lips as he thought one of the best reasons for a woman to be on one’s knees, but it faded as fast as it formed when the younger of the two spoke.
“Oh, Sir, you do no—“
“I insist,” He flashed a charming smile as he looked upon her face once more. Skin as smooth as fresh cream, dotted with the most delightful freckles that jumped over the bridge of her perfectly sculpted Irish nose. A small ringlet of nearly blood red peeked from her bonnet that was securely fastened at the bottom of her heart shaped face. His heart, which he thought dead, fluttered. Turning his stomach into a hard knot. “No need to dirty such a lovely dress.”
“O-oh!” Abigail said unable to fight the blush that roused her cheeks. “Thank you...” She whispered, shy. She felt a sudden nudge on her side from her sister’s elbow. “Ow, Marie!”
“It is impolite not to meet a man’s gaze, especially one so handsome.” Marie lightly scolded her sister.
A pout found its way to Abigail’s lips. She knew it was rude of her to not meet those intoxication baby blue eyes, but they made her nervous in a way she had never experienced before. The corset she wore seemed to get three times tight, gripping her lungs like a hungered python, stealing her breath. Fluttering like a caged bird, her heart quicken against her already tight rib cage. What in God’s name was this foreign feeling that had come over her? Was this attraction or temptation? She hoped for the ladder. It was close to her second season, and there were at present rumors of how she would find herself fallen into the dark abyss of spinsterhood.
Fear forced green to meet blue. In that moment the whole world came together and stood still simultaneously for the two of them. She offered her hand to this man as a gesture of acceptance; an invitation of friendship and more. Hope shimmered in his eyes seeing the gesture. His heart burst with honor as he graciously took her soft hand to plant a kiss upon it. He had to know more about her, and with this gesture, he had her permission.
“May I ask your name?”
“Abigail McCullough,” She answered with a humble smile. “And may I be so bold as to ask you yours?”
“Azazel Cambridge,” He replied doing his best not to give a boyish smile. Not wanting to seem like a lovestruck teenager. “Allow me to have my carriage take you home.”
“Oh, no, we—”
“That sounds lovely,” Marie interrupted her little sister. It was clear that these two were smitten with each other, and she wouldn’t allow it to fail. Her little sister needed a gentleman in her life before it was too late. This man was handsome, well-mannered, and the fact he appeared to be well off was a bonus.
“Wonderful!” With a whistle, the carriage eased around the corner. The elegant, dual doored carriage was pulled by two speckled Shire horses. The stage coach guided the Gentle Giants into a smooth stop in front of their Master. When the Stage Coach went to journey down from his post his Master gave him a gentle dismal. It was Azazel’s job to open the doors for the lovely doves in his company.