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."

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