Joel took Dominique out nearly every night that following week. Dominique found herself
reluctantly looking around in fear that Derek might be at the same restaurant or theatre, but so far she
was lucky. She adored Joel, she did, but it was Derek that continually stole into her dreams at night.
Mocking her for thinking she could dare share such a passionate rendezvous with Derek and not be
haunted by him for the rest of her life.
She couldn’t keep track of how many times Joel had been talking to her or asking her a question
only to have to repeat himself because her mind had wandered off to another place and time. Lying in
bed alone at night she sometimes cried with intense longing for Derek, hating her weakness for him. Her
traitorous heart had in one brief afternoon fallen for the scoundrel, and she’d gone into it knowingly.
She had tried faulting Derek for her vulnerability that day. He was a seasoned master of seduction, had
no doubt shared countless liaisons with young women eager for his attentions. But in the end it had
been her own decision. She had wanted him. For God’s sake, she had asked the man to make love to
her! Had he laughed inside, she wondered, or was he used to women begging for his sexual favors?
There were times she could even swear she heard his voice. She would turn about, certain he was
somehow inside her house, that he had been unable to stay away from her, was unable to forget the
precious memories, but every time it was turned out to be just her imagination. Oh yes, she had it bad
for Derek Montford.
The day after their interlude, Dominique had become panicked at the possibility that she could very
well be pregnant. Had she truly been that naive? But of course, she was ignorant of sexual proprieties,
had not been sexually active before Derek, and it had never occurred to her of the danger she’d been
toying with. And what of Derek, why hadn’t he said anything? He most likely trusted her to be smart
enough on her own.
And as the days passed, Dominique almost found herself wishing the ridiculous notion true that she
might indeed be expecting. How wretched was she, how impossibly childish and living in a fantasy
world, to have even the slightest desire to become pregnant by Derek! But a week after their afternoon
together, Dominique’s menses started. She wasn’t certain which emotion won out, elation or despair.
It was nearly a week later that Dominique and Joel were attending a huge gala. It was one of
society’s biggest events of the year and everyone that was anyone would be there. Joel’s sister had
taken Dominique shopping and talked her into buying a beautiful gown, the latest fashion, even though
Dominique was reluctant to purchase such a low-cut gown. It was pale yellow, the waist tight and the
neckline extremely daring. It was the style, Fiona had declared. Dominique was simply a reluctant
Joel and Dominique had already danced together twice, and were currently enjoying a few
moments alone on a terrace, having a drink and admiring the night sky. “You have been smiling all
evening, Joel,” Dominique observed, her lips curving upward.