SMOOTH SOUNDS

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THE APPROACHING RIDER

Looking out to the span of rolling hills, I sat upon my horse, wondering where to ride. There were so many places to go, so many which I had not yet seen. The stallion was restless, and, this always frightened me, as, I had seen him throw the trainers more than once.

I decided to dismount the massive horse, to let him settle down. He seemed skittish and I did not want to further annoy him, or to get hurt.

I took the blanket from his broad back, and, lay it on the ground. He seemed to like this, and, snorted at me. I sat down, taking in the view of the greenest hills I had ever seen in my life. It was a perfect day and I was feeling the plush beauty deep within.

My horse, whose name was Sir, wandered over to a nearby area and began to chew on the clover and grass. He was a remarkably beautiful Arabian, and, was as strong as they come. Sir seemed content, and, so, I relaxed...

We had been there for perhaps 20 minutes, when I heard Sir neighing. I stood up to see what the trouble was, and, I saw a rider approaching. I felt vulnerable, out here all alone, but, Sir would offer some protection as he was very protective of me, his mistress.

As the rider approached, I could see that it was a man. His horse was equally beautiful to mine, and, it was also Arabian.

He pulled up to me and stopped. I was taken back by his handsome face and perfect appearance. He appeared to have come from the Heavens above, so regal was he.

"Good afternoon, me Lady.", he said. "Good afternoon to you, Sire.", I replied. He then went on to ask me if I knew where the estate of the Ascott's might be. I told him that I was Julienne Ascott, and, yes, I knew where my estate was. He laughed, and said, "Begging your pardon, Madame, but, what are you doing out here, without escort?" I told him that I took a ride every day, and, that I had wandered a bit far, as, I had wanted to see the majesty of the hills.

I decided then that we should embark upon the journey back to my home. He watched as I, with ease threw the blanket on Sir's back, and swung myself upon his broad back. He seemed to be watching me with great deliberation.

We talked as we rode. His name was Jacob Alexandris. I had heard my father speak of this man before and told him so. I watched him as we rode, he was so refined and so well-mannered.

Finally we approached the outer perimeters of the estate. He stopped and marveled at the beauty of my home. He said that he had heard fine things about it, but, nothing had prepared him for the sight of the massive house, or the road leading to it, lined with blossoming trees, which in turn were protected by massive willows and oaks. He seemed to be taking it in for the sake of memorizing its beauty.

We approached the stables and he was again, impressed. Our stables housed more than 100 of the finest Arabian horses in the world. They were for breeding and riding, they were not used for any other purpose. The stables were half surrounded by pastures, and, running/training grounds. We had 14 men who took care of the animals in one capacity or another.

We dismounted and the supervisor took our horses. Each of us gave our horse a kiss and a lingering stroke.

We walked to the house, through the garden area, which was dense with flowers, vegetation, and, fresh herbs. He told me that he loved the sight and the smell of this place. I agreed.

As we went inside, I told the butler to send for my Father, that we had company. He inquired as to whom the company was. I told him. I then excused myself to go and freshen up.

While I was freshening up, I could not stop thinking of the handsome stranger. There was something about him which gave me butterflies. I tried to calm myself, but, to no avail.

I went to the drawing room, wondering what my Father and Jacob were discussing. I was thinking that I might get a book to read, when my father and Jacob approached me.

My Father told me that Jacob would be staying overnight, and, that I should entertain him until dinner. I blushed for some reason and told my father it would be my pleasure. I was then left alone with the beautiful stranger.

I took him for a walk throughout the grounds of the estate. Then I asked him if he would like to freshen up for dinner. He was happy for that thought, and, I felt silly that I had not considered it before.

He was gone for a while. I amused myself by daydreaming and sitting in the garden. I was in a daze of sorts when he reappeared. He took my breath away. We sat in the garden and talked about each other. We learned much in that couple of hours. And, we seemed to have an easy rapport.

Soon, it was dinner time. We were having a formal dinner in honor of our guest, and, it was wonderful. 7 courses prepared by our exclusive French chefs, whom my Mother had insisted we have before she passed away. The finest china, real gold flatware, the best crystal in the world, and, my elegant Father, all made for a lovely meal.

After dinner, the men excused themselves, and, I went out to the stables to check on Sir. He was happy to see me, and, we playfully annoyed one another. I was laughing when I turned around to see my Father and Jacob watching me. I was embarrassed and turned back to Sir.

My Father told me that he wished to speak to me alone. I was concerned, but, followed him to his study. He sat me down and began on a serious note. "My dear, lovely daughter, Julienne, I have some news for you." I was getting nervous. "This fine gentleman, Mr. Alexandris, has come to ask for your hand in marriage." I nearly fainted. He went on to tell me that they had been in contact for a while, and, that my Father had asked him here on this occasion. I was floored.

Just thinking about being married to this man took my breath away. "Oh Father." I said. He looked worried, as if I might not like the news. "You have no idea how happy I am right now!", I said. He looked so relieved.

"I am glad that you are pleased, my daughter.", he said. "I have searched the world over trying to find the perfect husband for you, and, when I saw you two approaching from the stables, I could see that my choice was indeed, the right one." "I want you to be happy, and, I want someone who will appreciate the lifestyle to which you are accustomed, and, this man, Mr. Alexandris, seems to fill each role perfectly."

I gave my Father a long hug and kiss, and, with tears in my eyes, told him, "Yes, Father, he seems to fit every role perfectly, and, I am so glad you love me as you do."

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