Short Story: His Last Love

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Daniel had never eaten such a delicious meal, but felt so miserable in his life. Even with the duke and duchess seated nearby, many still ventured up for the chance to meet Diana…and he recognized the thoughts in their eyes.

Are you her fiancé? they asked. Why weren’t you named earl? Everyone who spoke to Diana greeted him politely and occasionally made an effort at a short conversation, but no one seemed to want to spend time with a man they weren’t certain held the title of “the countess’s boyfriend”. Part of him wanted to propose to her, then and there, but Daniel Winters was not a rash man. If he ever forgave her, if they ever became a couple; it would be a leisurely courtship that depended highly on patience. In fact, he wouldn’t be surprised if the engagement lasted a year or more.

That’s not what happened with Isabel.

That voice again!

And you didn’t even marry Selena.

Then more the fool I! he thought angrily. Perhaps if I had taken my time with them, I wouldn’t be sitting here with a woman half my age!

“Everything all right, sweetheart?”

Sweetheart! I broke her heart and she still calls me sweetheart!

“Oh, I’m fine,” he lied. “It’s just daunting being with so many peers of the realm.”

Daniel’s left hand was resting beside his plate and Diana took it, giving it a squeeze.

“Thank you for coming tonight. It means a lot to me.”

Say you’re sorry!

“Of course. Everyone should have someone they can count on…so long as you don’t expect me to dance, later.”

He met her gaze and realized that it wasn’t just his conscience that wanted him to apologize.

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