Episode 26: Cloistered Hope

Steel Bolt refrained from calling home until 10:00 o’clock that morning, though it wasn't easy.  So strong was his desire to speak to her, it required all of his willpower to wait until then.

As the phone rang, he felt himself getting nervous—he, a man who had given speeches to Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings, Queens, even a Pope, without the slightest hesitation.


“Uh, yes Manuel, it’s Steel.  I’m, uh, just calling to see how everything is at home.”

“Everything's fine, sir,” said Manuel, trying to sound as if there were nothing out of the ordinary about Mr. Bolt calling mid-morning to see how things were.

“Good, good.  I guess I’m a little concerned after the break-in last night,” Steel lied.

“That’s understandable,” Manuel lied right back.  Is he worried that stately Bolt Manor is going to be inundated with fallen nuns?

“Speaking of our little guest, is she up yet?”

“I haven’t seen her, sir.”

“Perhaps she’s scared to come out of her room.  Why don’t you take the phone up there and I’ll talk to her,” Steel suggested.

“As you wish, sir.”

Steel listened to Manuel’s footsteps as he went up the wide staircase, down the hall to the west wing, and then stopped at the entrance to what was known around stately Bolt Manor as the Blue Room.  Steel’s heart really began to pound when he heard Manuel knock on the door.

“Phone call for you, Miss.”

“For me?  Oh my,” the darling girl exclaimed.  “Hello?”

“Hello Miss Hope.  This is Steel Bolt calling.  I just wanted to see how you’re getting along.”

“Fine, I guess.”

“Manuel tells me you haven’t come out of your room yet.”

“I wasn’t sure I was allowed to,” she confessed.

Steel chuckled.  “I suspected it was something like that.  Listen, you go down to the breakfast room now and have Chef make you whatever you want to eat.  After that, Manuel will take you on a tour of the grounds—or you’re free to explore on your own, if you prefer.  You can use anything you want: the pool, the hot tub, the tennis courts—we have an automatic ball machine so you can practice by yourself—the squash courts, the racquet ball courts, the games room, the observatory, any of the horses in the stables, the shooting range, skeet and/or target; the entire place is at your disposal.”

“Thank you.  You’re being so kind.”

“You haven’t heard the best part yet,” said Steel.  “I’ve decided to leave work early and take you out for the most extravagant dinner you’ve ever had.  Don’t worry about clothes: One of the world’s finest designers is en route from Milan with a selection of dresses.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“Trust me, we’re going to have a fantastic time!  I’ll be home around 6:00 and we’ll go from there.  And remember what I told you; you are free to use anything you want around stately Bolt Manor.  Okay?”

“Okay,” Charity Hope answered uncertainly.

“Great,” Steel said before hanging up.  

Yes, help yourself to anything at stately Bolt Manor, half of it will be yours soon enough, he thought to himself.  (Evidently Charity had been classified in the category Women I’ve Met Who I Will Marry.)

Steel smiled for a full five minutes before getting back to work.

Continue reading: Episode 27: The Blush and Flush of Love and Lust