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Example text

Everyone had come, and everyone looked with avid curiosity at the two of them as they passed. His arm was almost brushing her shoulder, though they had scarcely glanced at each other since his arrival with his parents. When she did steal a glance, it was to see that he was smiling with all his considerable charm at all and sundry. But then she was smiling too. They were behaving, as expected, like a happily betrothed couple. Mrs. Mason was beside her on the other side, her husband beyond her. They were both shaking hands with everyone when a curtsy and a bow would have sufficed, and they both seemed to feel it necessary to chat with everyone and so hold up the progress of the line.

He grinned once more, turned away, and strode off back in the direction of the stepping stones without another word or a backward glance. Annabelle fought tears. There was no point in even trying to fight the empty, bereft feeling within. That had not really been a kiss, just a demonstration. It had meant nothing whatsoever to him. And everything in the world to her. She pushed away from the old oak and strode off back in among the trees. It would not do for him to see her standing there looking dazed and forlorn when he got to the other side.

Was it not enough that every other eye in the room was on her? Must his be too—as if he would see right through to the back of her mind? She felt a childish urge to poke her tongue out at him, and she was alarmed lest she actually do it. "You ought not to have done it," he said, and for a moment she thought that perhaps she really had... But he explained what he meant. "Worn white, that is," he said. She hated wearing white, but it was what most unmarried young ladies wore, and for a while longer she was an unmarried young lady.

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