The Romantic on The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Monday, December 2, 2013

Romantic Musings: The Romantic (pt 3)

Sophia Paula was in the kitchen helping her mother prepare dinner when the guests began to arrive. After mass, Padre Carlo Coelho announced that la familia Paula would host Sunday dinner, and the invitation had been extended to all. For Dr. Fermin Luis Paula, Sophia’s father, felt it would be a good way to become better acquainted with the people of the village.
From the moment she greeted the first guests, it was obvious that Sophia Paula possessed the refined charm of elegance and status. Her voice, soft and articulate; her curtsies, smooth and graceful; she was every bit the part of nobility without the condescending cordiality common among the privileged class.
Swiftly, she had excused herself from the kitchen and stood beside her father. Dr. Fermin Luis Paula towered over most men, with broad shoulders and strong arms. His warm smile accentuated by his bright green eyes that contrasted against his dark skin. Nobles entered, and welcomed the Dominican doctor to Santa Lucia. They were grateful to have a medico again, after the previous physician had met an untimely death when Hurricane Gilbert struck the small city a month before.
The procession of guests continued. Sophia Paula stood in her mother’s stead whilst the lady of the house directed the servants over the final preparations before she joined her husband. As amiable as Padre Carlo Coelho had been at the church that morning, Dr. Fermin Luis Paula welcomed the poor into his home. He shook their hands, learned their names, and thanked them for accepting his invitation.
When Hadriel Alighieri arrived with his parents, he froze in her presence. She raised her eyes to meet his gaze and there it was, the twinkle he often sought in the midnight sky, dancing in those emerald eyes, accentuated by her caramel complexion. Her thick brown hair brushed her shoulders with natural curls unique to her Mulatten descent, but it was her smile that enchanting smile that held him in a trance.
“El gato must have stolen his tongue.” Dr. Fermin Luis Paula joked. Streaks of silver peppered his dark coarse hair.
Hadriel Alighieri's father begged the doctor’s pardon. He explained that Hadriel had always been reclusive and shy among crowds. Sophia Paula watched him as Hadriel Alighieri’s father led him away. Their eyes locked until he stepped beyond her line of sight.
The afternoon sun sauntered across the sky. Hadriel Alighieri wandered through the garden. Alone with his thoughts he reproached himself for his lack of suavity when Sophia Paula introduced herself. The girl with the almond shaped green eyes had hypnotized him.
The adults gathered on the terrace. From the garden, their conversations were imperceptible amid the laughter of children playing, and the music of the mariachis.
He sat alone on a bench when Sophia Paula approached. She sat beside him and handed him a small plate of flan.
“I didn’t know boys liked to read.” Sophia Paula eyed the open book in his lap.
“When you grow up without toys or a television, books or balls are all one has.” Hadriel had found his voice. “I find books to be infinitely more entertaining than kicking around a ball.”
“What book is that?” Sophia scooped flan off the plate.
“The Divine Comedy.” Hadriel closed the book to show her the faded brown leather bound cover with chipped gold lettering.
“Curious.” Sophia Paula ate another spoonful of flan. She stared at the book until Hadriel asked her what she meant.
“I had you pegged as a reader of Jules Verne.” Their eyes met.
“I read him, too.” Hadriel Alighieri smiled.
They conversed for the remainder of the evening. The sun neared the horizon. The sky bruised between wisps of clouds. The doctor watched his wife, ever the gracious host, as she floated among the crowds. He glimpsed his daughter seated beside the silent boy. He could not hear their conversation, but he saw his daughter smile and heard her familiar laugh.
Dr. Fermin Luis Paula knew it was a proverbial moment. Sophia reminded him of her mother just then. The way she laughed when they first fell in love. Though he knew Sophia was too young to feel the raindrops of love, he felt she was old enough to recognize the mist of trust and friendship.
Sophia Paula and Hadriel Alighieri remained on the bench in the garden. An anomalous beginning, something only written by fate. But what Hadriel Alighieri could not see whilst he talked with her about everything under the stars, and she captivated him with those piercing green eyes, was that her humble nature and contagious laugh would lead him beyond the boundaries of affection into a realm he never knew existed. 

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