It's Never Enough
Lady Selina Durwood has been in love with Lord Robert Crestor since she was a young girl. Assuming they would eventually marry, she was surprised he released her from any such agreement when he left to join the fight against Napoleon
During the Christmas holiday, she and her parents accept an invitation to spend time at the Crestor family estate. Believing Robert is stationed with his cavalry in Brussels, she unexpectedly encounters him as she and her maid enter the kitchen for a late-night meal.
His strange questions and behavior make it clear to Selina that Robert is confused about her feelings for him. Will she be able to convince him he is the only one for her?
“There are quite a few branches with berries on them. The dinner table will look very festive this evening.” She sounded nervous, uncomfortable with their conversation.
“I certainly hope you will be able to do justice to the feast that Cook is preparing for us.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Robert regretted them. There was nothing like pointing out a person’s weakness to them—a sure way of gaining their scorn. He never, ever intended for Selina to despise him. The thought of losing her friendship suddenly made it difficult for him to breathe.
“You needn’t concern yourself, my lord. But I…I am hopeful that my uneasiness has passed. I did very well at breakfast this morning.”
It was just as he had feared. Her tone of voice sounded tense and angry when she answered him. He must attempt to make amends. “I’m sorry. I spoke without thinking, and I have embarrassed you. You must believe that was not my intention. I was concerned about your welfare.”
“Must I remind you that your anxiety over my well-being is misplaced, my lord? You set me free, remember? The state of my health can be no concern of yours.”
Robert was shocked by Selina’s cold, hostile manner. He opened his mouth to protest her assumptions only to be interrupted by Sir William.
“Lord Crestor, you’re wasting a golden opportunity.”
Frustrated by the disruption, Robert turned toward the gentleman, aware that his expression mirrored the ill-temper and indignation that was churning inside him. “What are you talking about?”
Sir William stepped backward and dropped his half-filled bag to the ground. “I…I, the mistletoe, it’s… hanging above your heads.”
Robert twisted around and spied the cluster of yellowish green leaves decorated with white berries hanging over them, clinging to one side of the trunk. He stepped away from the tree just as he heard the voices of the others.
“We have our bag filled,” called out one of the Bartley sisters. “Do you need our assistance?”
“What, ho! You two found some mistletoe!” Lord Bartley declared loudly.
Out of the corner of his eye, Robert had seen Selina compress her lips together and stare down at the ground. She was undoubtedly as discomfited by the situation as he was. He remembered thinking that he must act quickly to get them out of this coil. “No. You don’t understand. We never saw it.”
Justin had scowled at him from his position behind Lord Bartley. “Did I hear you correctly? No?”
“I’ll gladly do the honors.” Lord Bartley then stepped forward, put his hands on Selina’s shoulders, and bent over to kiss her cheek.