The Angry Whore - Book 1
Chapter 26: Reunion

Copyright© 2006 by POL



2 September, 1686 Afternoon

Straightening her shoulders and lifting her chin, Maria de Carnay descended the staircase leading down into the opulent entry. She told herself she was not going to be intimidated by the people crowding the room below. As far as they were concerned she was an equal. No one would ever guess she was only the daughter of a poor farmer and not the blue-blooded wife of a French nobleman she pretended to be.

Why had Pierre insisted she entertain the committee until he was able to arrive? And why had they arrived so early? They weren't scheduled to arrive for another three hours. The pressure made her uncomfortable, and her stomach started rolling but she was determined not to let her feelings show. She had heard members of the banking community could sense fear like a pack of wild dogs and would leap on any sign of weakness.

Well at least she was attired for the part and thank Dios, no wait; thank Dieu that she had had the forethought to get dressed early. Her dress was a lemon, silk brocade with a form-fitting bodice. Lace flowed abundantly from the square neckline cut low around her shoulders and 3⁄4 length sleeves. The full skirt floated over a stuffed pad roll along her hips, making her waist look tiny. "Very c'est le dernier cri," she told herself.

Her long hair she wore loose flowing down her back and was a rich brown color. Fortunately her skin was smooth enough not to require a layer of cosmetics. When she had looked at herself in the mirror that morning, she had been surprised at how vivid her brown eyes had looked despite her not having slept well the night before.

As she made her way down she pondered if her spoken French would be adequate? Pierre had hired the best French language teacher available and for the past four years she had worked with that teacher not only learning the language but its nuances of slang, intricacies and accents. Yes, she told herself she would do just fine.

Just as she made the stair landing and finally bringing the expanse of the entry into her view she stopped abruptly. "Isabel..." was the only word she could utter, almost voicelessly, an expression of wonder on her beautiful young face.

She couldn't move, or breathe as if turned to stone. It was not the committee that awaited her it was her sister Isabel! Older now but definitely Isabel and... and Felipe, and Diego!

Detecting movement on the stair landing above the shipmates looked up.

Isabel saw Maria... elegantly dressed, bodily posture tall and straight. She moistened her lips but couldn't seem to make them move. Then relief released the grip on her voice and Isabel called up to her sister happily, "Maria! Oh, Maria!"

Hearing her sister's voice released Maria's momentary paralyzation and she carelessly rushed down the remaining stairs and into her younger sister's arms.

Felipe and Diego joined their sisters and with tears of joy and through hugs and kisses they each told the other how happy they were and how very much they had been missed.

Several moments later Isabel introduced Carmen, Claire and Scarlet to her older sister, after which Maria led them into the parlor where they could be seated. She then pulled a velvet cord and several seconds later the Negro maid entered, and as noted by Claire, Maria using faultless French requested the maid to have the cook prepare tea and sweet cakes for her guests.

Speaking in English Maria told her siblings once again how thrilled she was at seeing them and then asked how they had managed to locate her.

Isabel offered Maria a condensed version of what had occurred from the time she had gone away with Pierre de Carnay and why it had been so important for her to locate her.

After hearing Isabel out Maria looked at her younger sister with bewilderment on her face then said, "Isabel, I don't understand anything of what you are telling me. I know Pierre offered papá a dowry for my hand but I was certainly not sold to him. I am not a slave here; I am the wife of a nobleman and mistress of this household. I am very happy here and I also love my husband very much as he does me."

"But even mamá told us about what papá had done, and even he did not deny it after Felipe and I had confronted him," Diego explained.

"I don't know? It is all so very confusing," Maria shook her head, "When Pierre comes home I shall ask him what his arrangement with papá was. Although, I'm confident it's just as I have told you."

Although his sister seemed to be telling the truth and seemed genuinely happy Felipe was still skeptical knowing what he did after having confronted his father, and being aware of Isabel's history, "So, tell us of your life here in La Nouvelle Orleans and of your marriage. I wish to know everything," Felipe asked his sister.

Before she could reply the maid entered and placed a large silver platter containing a matching silver tea service, china cups and a delectable assortment of tea breads, scones, finger sandwiches and sweet cakes on the table before Maria and then she quickly departed.

Maria served tea while she answered her brother, "Well, as you know I was thirteen when Pierre brought me here. For the next three years he took into service several different tutors that schooled me in such things as proper posture, to project confidence, grace and elegance through movement. Vocal exercises and speech so I could inflect my voice and use proper diction to express myself fully. To be entirely versed in the details of formal dining and comportment and how to handle the intricacies of social etiquette, as well as the fundamental rules of fashion," she smiled as if remembering something very delightful before continuing, "During that time Pierre was so kind, thoughtful and attentive I fell hopelessly in love with him."

"He did marry you though, correct?" Felipe asked.

"Indeed, but not until after I had turned sixteen. Then we had the most beautiful romantic wedding imaginable. It was quite expensive and it made me feel ever so grand, the one regrettable thing was that my family could not be there."

"And you were still a virgin on your wedding night?" Isabel asked bluntly.

Maria blushed a little, "Why, of course I was," she answered matter-of-factly.

"You look so beautiful and seem so very happy. I'm pleased for you Maria, so very pleased," Isabel offered as she got up and hugged her older sister and then sat down next to her.

"Thank you Isabel," Maria returned, "I'm so very sorry for everything that has happened you. If only you're Spaniard could have been to you as my Pierre to me."

"If only," Isabel repeated then she told Maria about Teresa and how they had brought her from Portobello.

"If what you have told me is even remotely plausible you did the right thing, but you must bring her to see me. She was so very little when last I saw her, I simply must see for myself the fine, smart, young woman she has grown into," Maria said.

The non family members having remained silent eating cakes and sipping tea up to then now joined in on the conversation, asking Maria about the plantation, shipping, and the America's while offering a brief history of themselves and of the Maidens Revenge.

Maria was quite impressed to learn that Carmen was Captain of her own vessel and she was not hesitant in expressing it.

Carmen explained to Maria that she would not be Captain of anything had it not been for her sister Isabel and how on more than one occasion Isabel had proven herself to be both courageous and capable.

Maria insisted on hearing details which Claire and Scarlet were more than willing to provide much to the dismay of Isabel who sat shyly through their telling of accounts.

The talk continued and time passed quickly until Maria announced that she must excuse herself, "As much as it displeases me," she said, "there is simply something I must attend to. Pierre requested that I entertain a banking committee until he arrives later this evening. He intends on building his own sugarcane processing facility as well as commissioning the building of a small fleet of ships in order to transport our own goods. Pierre feels the business profits will more than double by processing and shipping directly from the plantation and this banking committee is essential in order to see it through."

"We fully understand and..." Felipe started to say him planning on bidding his sister farewell but he was interrupted by Maria before he could finish.

"I simply will not hear of you leaving before you've had the opportunity of meeting my Pierre. And to that end I must confess I deliberately left out one small detail concerning my married life..." she paused, grinned proudly and then while looking at her siblings told them, "You have a niece and a nephew. Twins, three years old. They're currently with their father but will return with him."

"Aaa..." all three women cooed together.

Then Isabel hugged Maria again saying, "How very happy I am for you sister. Their names?"

"Emile and Emeline, and they are the cutest little things one could ever hope to see," Maria announced proudly.

"Your husband would need to be ugly indeed if the beauty of his wife were to be un-seen in his children," Scarlet commented.

Maria flushed, "Why, thank you Mr. Scarlet."

"Jack."

"Jack."

"Now," Maria said, "Please do stay, at least until Pierre and the children get here. I'll have Nuflo show you where you can wash up and where you might rest until we are rid of the committee."

"Of course we'll stay," Carmen answered for all the crew.

Nuflo as it turned out was the Negro maid. She showed them where to wash up and then to five separate bed chambers on the third floor.

Claire lay on the bed in the room Nuflo had shown her thinking about Diego. He was more than handsome or attractive; he was striking with full lips and a strong proud nose. His skin was burnished, a creamy brown and his hair was cut low, black and thick, the shiny waves hinting at springy curls if left to grow unchecked.

The tingling of her body was almost unbearable. The time and the place for dealing with her albatross was now!

She stepped out into the hall then stood in front of Diego's bedchamber door without knocking. How could she approach him with what she wanted she wondered? Would he even want her? Of course he wants you, she told herself. He's been falling all over you from the very start. I'll just come right out and ask him, she decided.

She started to knock but he opened the door before she had the opportunity, "Oh, Claire." He said with surprise in his voice, "Ah... what is it?"

"Sleep with me, Diego, I no longer wish to be a virgin," she blurted out quickly. Her eyes were deadly serious as she spoke the words.

For a second, Diego took her seriously... and then he realized. He laughed, "Oh, do not toy with me! I know Felipe put you up to this."

She looked puzzled, "Felipe? Your brother? No, he did not."

She was deadly serious. Suddenly, Diego knew that she wasn't joking. Claire's superb and tantalizing body was so near, this perfect woman he had dreamed of that he was now afraid to succumb to her charms. Not because he would have not liked it, on the contrary, but because he was afraid he would not be able to please her.

First looking up and down the hall making sure no one else was watching he led the way inside his bedchamber. Inside it was warm or was it just Claire's presence there?

After closing the door behind them and with his mouth bone dry he asked, "I? Why me?"

"Why not? Are you not attracted to me? I am to you," as she emphasized the words, she turned away and for the first time since the conversation had begun she clenched her fists. She turned back toward Diego. "Of course you are!" she said, in answer to her own question. "You're thoughtful. You're kind. You're handsome. You're experienced. You're everything a girl could wish for her first time."

Now, it was Diego's turn to look away. And he did for a long time before making a decision then turning back to face Claire he said, "I have a secret to share. I'm not experienced. I'm a virgin, too."

Her eyes opened wide. There was a moment's pause and then the beautiful sound of her laughter rang out as she said, "You're a virgin? You?" She laughed hard for a moment before Diego too, saw the humor in the situation. And his laughter joined hers creating a force of intimacy around them that was suddenly lightning and thunder.

"So now what?" asked Diego, as their laughter faded into smiles.

She looked down at the floor then she looked back up with purpose into Diego's eyes, "You too are a virgin. Well, so what? I still want you to sleep with me Diego. Perhaps even more, now that I know."

"Yes?"

"Yes."

They both slowly undressed.

Diego was wholly taken by the vision of her body. He thought that Eve alone in the Garden of Eden might certainly be as wonderful as the woman before him. She was acting sensually yet naturally, so pure and innocent and moreover she wanted him.

He raised her face so that he could lean down and press his lips to hers. Claire knew his lips would be soft and warm. They were also plush and as he pressed closer, even unskilled, he brought a rush of heat into her body as her hands reached up to hold his face.

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