Whispers

 
 

third impression: coy
~

Both Shaws became perennial favorites at the Taft household. Mrs. Taft, reconciled perhaps by their wealth and reputation, endeavored to be cordial and granted they could be the life of the party.

Elizabeth would dance with Jim and laugh at his stories, then talk with John about his journeys until the evening turned to music or the young ladies of their circle pulled her aside to discuss the merits of this or that other fellow. She preferred to discuss the brothers.

"Surely you prefer one of them?" Mary would prod her daughter after.

But Elizabeth smiled and did not answer.

 
 

second impression: surprise
~

She studied Provence with all the care of an actual traveler when he went. Poring over books and maps soon became poring over his letters, trying to extract every ounce of meaning.

Her mother didn't particularly approve of her fascination.

Elizabeth dared to disagree. "I should think, Mother, the Shaws have enough money to please the Tafts."

His last letter simply announced the date of his return, so she was surprised when he actually showed up on the doorstep and more surprised when he gave her the small bottle of lavender.

"From Provence." He smiled, almost apologetically.

"I love it."

 
 

first impression: fascination
~

She met him at her debutante ball.

James Shaw was about her age, as cordial a gentleman as he ought to be, but with a boyish sense of fun that made her laugh. But it was his older brother, John Shaw, a solemn man in his thirties, that caught her fascination. He told stories to his own peers of his travels to Europe and Africa and even India. He politely included her when she cared to listen.

"Will you return?" she asked at the close of a long evening, trying not to sound as if it mattered.

He hesitated. "Yes."
 
 
Story Summary: She fell in love ten times.

Canonical Notes: Set before Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. Accepts both movies as canon, but not necessarily everyone's expressed "presumptions" therein.

Author's Note: One of the two things I hated about Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure was the idea that Elizabeth never loved Jim. Especially when it was so obvious to me what could have happened.