Here is another short story for pre-intermediate and intermediate students. It is quite short but extremely clever. I hope you will like it.
There was still enough light outside, but inside the room was full of shadows.
Brantain sat in one of these shadows, but he did not mind. He could look at the girl who sat near the fire as much as he liked.
She was very pretty. She was playing with a cat and sometimes she looked into the shadow where Brantain was sitting. They were talking quietly about things which were not the things that they wanted to talk about. She knew that he loved her. For two weeks he had tried to spend as much time as he could with her. She was waiting for him to propose and she knew she would accept. Brantain was not handsome or important, but he was very rich; and she liked the things which all the money could give her.
During one of the pauses between their talk about the last party and the next one the door opened and a young man came in. Brantain knew him quite well. The girl turned her face to him. He didn’t notice Brantain, walked to her and bent over her chair. He kissed her passionately before she could stop him.
Brantain slowly stood up. The girl stood up too, but quickly. The newcomer was standing now between her and Brantain. He was confused.
“I see,” said shocked Brantain, “that I have stayed too long. I had no idea. I have to go now. Goodbye. ” He took his hat with both hands, and probably did not see that she was offering her hand. She was not completely lost, but she didn’t dare to speak. She was afraid she might say something wrong.
“I am sorry, Nattie. I didn’t see him! But I hope you’ll forgive me. What’s the matter?”
“Don’t touch me, don’t come near me,” she answered angrily. “How could you come inside without ringing?”
“I came in with your brother, as I often do,” he answered coldly. “He went upstairs and I came in here hoping to find you. I didn’t know that there was someone else here too. But, please, say that you forgive me, Nathalie,” he asked.
“Forgive you! You don’t know what you are talking about! Go away! We will see if I ever forgive you.”
At the next party Natty went towards Brantain. She looked sweet, honest and serious.
“Could I speak to you a moment or two, Mr. Brantain?” she asked with a serious smile. He seemed really unhappy; but when she took his arm and walked away with him there was a little hope in his face. She took him to a corner where they could be alone.
“Maybe you do not care, Mr. Brantain; but—but, oh, I have been very sad since that little meeting a few days ago. I do not want you to believe something that is not true.” Brantain’s hopes were getting stronger. “Of course, I know you do not care, but I really want you to understand that Mr. Harvy is an old friend of mine. We have always been like cousins or like brother and sister, I may say. He is my brother’s best friend and he often thinks that we are a family. Oh, I know it is strange,” she was almost crying, “but it is really important for me what you think of—of me.” She was sad and nervous, but Brantain was happy.
“Do you really care what I think, Miss Nathalie? May I call you Miss Nathalie?” They walked along a long, dark corridor. They walked slowly to the very end of it. When they turned to return Brantain’s face was happy and hers was triumphant.
Harvy was among the guests at the wedding, and he went towards her when she stood alone.
“Your husband,” he said, smiling, “has sent me to kiss you.”
She turned red. “He told me he didn’t want his marriage to stop that close relationship which has existed between you and me. I don’t know what you’ve been telling him, but he has sent me here to kiss you.”
She felt like a chess player who was winning the game she was playing. Her eyes were bright and happy. She looked at him. And her lips looked hungry for the kiss.
“But, you know,” he spoke quietly, “I didn’t tell him this. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I can tell you. I’ve stopped kissing women; it’s dangerous.”
Well, she had Brantain and his money. A person can’t have everything in this world; and it was a little stupid of her to expect it.