Miss Moseley the MatchmakerBy: Caylen McQueen
“I can't ask her to marry me. I simply cannot!”
As she watched him bellow his sorrows to the ceiling, Molly Moseley pushed her spectacles to the bridge of her nose and folded her hands in her lap. “But you love her, do you not?”
Charles Grisham paused by the window. He lifted the gauzy curtain and leaned toward the pane, hoping the sunlight would invigorate him. “Of course I love her.” His whispered words fogged the glass.
“Then you mustn't make her wait. Waiting will give one of her other suitors a chance to act, and we can't have that!” Molly smoothed her hands over her faded muslin gown. It was her favorite dress, even though it was a bit worn. She could not afford to buy new, expensive things, but it did not matter, for she had no one to impress.
“That's the problem... don't you see?!” Charles collapsed into the settee beside Molly and raked a hand across his pinched brow. “Her other suitors! Why would she choose me when she could have a much better man!?”
The answer was obvious. With a sigh, Molly reminded him, “Because she loves you, Mr. Grisham.”
“But how can you be so sure?”
“You should trust my instincts. My eyes never lie.”
Charles opened his mouth to protest, but he could not bring himself to utter a word. Miss Moseley had a point. Many couples had found love as a result of her romantic instincts. In a world where marriage had become something of a business arrangement, her successes were impressive—perhaps even a bit legendary. If not for Molly giving him a nudge, Charles would have never had the courage to speak to Miss Abrahms, let alone ask her to marry him.
Could he really do it?
“I... I am too timid,” Charles argued. “Jane Abrahms deserves a better man, one who is not afraid to express his feelings.”
“Your shyness is part of your appeal, Mr. Grisham,” Molly tried to reassure him. “Your shyness, your kindness, your warm heart.” When she glanced in his direction, she caught him blushing like a schoolboy. “Miss Abrahms is not interested in the aggressive type. She has told me so on many occasions!”
“I am only a second son,” Charles continued, if only because he needed more encouragement from Miss Moseley. “I have nothing to offer her. I have no title, no fortune...”
“Oh, Charles...” Molly sighed. “The Honorable Mr. Grisham. Your father is the earl of Trowbridge. That, in itself, is impressive enough. It isn't as if you're destitute and homeless. She will want for nothing!”
“She... she's...” Charles probed his mind for more protests. He needed an excuse to still his tongue, to spare himself the embarrassment of Miss Abrahms' possible rejection. “She's too beautiful, and I am plain.”
Molly stared at Charles for several seconds, trying to determine the accuracy of his self-assessment. He wasn't exactly handsome, but he had a gentle face, and bright golden eyes. Jane Abrahms certainly did not find him unattractive. According to Charles' lady love, he was actually “quite cute.” Those were the exact words Jane used to describe him.
“She loves you, Charles!” Molly reminded him with a sigh. “And if she truly loves you, which I believe she does, she could never think an unflattering thought about you! As a matter of fact, she thinks very highly of you!”
“But... how can you be so sure?”
“Need I remind you that I have a bit of experience when it comes to matters of love?” Alas, she was not referring to her own life, in which there was an obvious absence of romance. Rather, she was referring to the fact that she had fostered the happy union s of many grateful couples. “Please, Charles. Put your faith in me. Take a chance!”
His protests came to an end, because Jane had entered the drawing room, and the breath was sucked from his lungs. When her flaxen hair caught the light, it resembled a golden crown. Her ivory skin was faultless, her bright blue eyes were shining, and her lips—oh, her lips! Charles was nearly undone by his desire to kiss them.
“Good afternoon, Charles,” Jane said, smiling as his name rolled from her tongue. “And Molly! It is wonderful to see you as well!”
“Likewise,” Molly echoed, then she turned her gaze to the window. She wanted to give them some privacy, but too much privacy could not be allowed. If she left them alone, Molly would never hear the end of it from Jane's unforgiving father—who happened to be Molly's unforgiving uncle. Propriety prompted her to stay.
“You look beautiful, Jane,” Charles said.
“And you look very handsome!”
Jane's returned compliment made him chuckle, because he was determined to believe the worst about himself. “I... I should have brought you a gift. Flowers. Or sweets.”