This week’s word prompt for Tuesday Tales is bloom. I am about 25,000 words in on the regency story I’m working on and sharing a bit more of it this week. The heroine is Amelia and she has an odious cousin who makes her life miserable. Miss Vonda Van Eisenga makes the hero’s life hard and this scene is where the three ladies are all in one place for the first time. I hope you enjoy. Remember, it’s not edited. Here’s the link to the other tales for the week using the same prompt.
The next few days went by fast. Amelia had fallen into a routine of visiting the duke’s home in the mornings and leaving the girls with certain tasks to perform in the afternoon. Susan, of course, accompanied her each time but they only saw the duke on occasion and from a distance. It was as if he were deliberately avoiding them. Amelia didn’t blame him at all. If she could live her life away from Susan, she would do so in an instant.
Amelia did sometimes notice the duke around and usually it was when his sisters were practicing with their trains. She would see him peeking in at them as if intrigued by the process. They walked around the ballroom frontwards and backwards for what seemed like hours. Susan even deigned to join in herself on occasion.
They practiced the curtsy over and over as well with the Lady Saffron and Lady Jonquil practicing the queen’s kiss on their brow and Susan practicing kissing the queen’s hand. Amelia played the part of the queen and made sure they knew their parts as they differed slightly as the sisters were daughters of a duke.
On the Monday of the second week they’d worked together, the week that the girls’ court presentation gowns would be ready on Friday and the day Amelia planned to add the feathers to their practice sessions, there was a visitor when Amelia and Susan arrived at the front door.
The woman was tall, dark-haired and reminded her of some of the statues she’d seen at the British Museum. Very stately, but cold. And as some people might say, the first bloom of youth was off her cheeks.
Amelia pushed that uncharitable thought away. She herself, although only nineteen years old now, was most likely to end up a spinster with no dowry and no title. She might be young at the moment but one day she would be pitied by someone and it wouldn’t be pleasant.
“Come in, Miss Amelia. This is Miss Vonda Van Eizenga. She’s here to see Basil.” Saffron stood in the hallway behind the butler as he let Amelia and Susan inside.
The older woman inclined her head and with something that Amelia presumed was supposed to be a smile but was more like a grimace, said, “How do you do?”
Susan stepped in front of Amelia and introduced herself. “You’re here to see the duke?”
“I am indeed. We’re old friends and neighbors. My family’s estate abuts the duke’s country seat.” The lady’s face continued to hold an expression of distaste. “And what brings you here?”
“My cousin is assisting the duke’s sisters in their coming out.”
“And that necessitates your presence how?” Miss Van Eizenga asked Susan.
“I hardly think my relationship with the duke is any of your concern,” Susan said.
“You have no relationship with my brother, Miss Mandeville. Why pretend to something that isn’t?” Saffron asked as she showed the ladies into the parlor. “We’ll leave the two of you here to wait for Basil while we go up and practice with the feathers that I see Miss Amelia has in her hands.”