I’m working on a newish story ( that is, a much more fun angle to a story idea I’ve had in my head for two years now). I also wanted to write a blog post, but didn’t really have a particular topic in mind.
Thus, you’re getting a snippet!
At the stroke of the hour, Beatrice left the schoolroom and passed through the door to the next room. One of the footmen was placing the tea tray down on a table. Papa was already in the library, reading the Times.
“Oh, good afternoon, Beatrice,” Papa said. “How are your lesssons today?”
“Very good,” she replied, taking a tea cup from the tray. Mama walked in, followed by Conrad. Beatrice sat and sipped her hot tea. Her parents accepted cups, Conrad ate a cucumber sandwich, and yet Victoria remained absent.
“Did Vic go out?” She asked.
Conrad shrugged. “Not sure. I haven’t seen her since we saw the Houghtons off.”
“Well, then, perhaps we should take the opportunity of her absence to discuss a few things,” Mama said. “I’d really hoped she would find someone to her liking in London this year. But that’s not what’s happened.”
“No,” Conrad said.
“I hope you haven’t raised hopes there,” Papa said, rustling his paper. “I know we’ve said so for ages, but…”
“If you find yourself drawn to Miss Houghton and she feels likewise, then I think it a good match,” Mama said. “Not brilliant, but certainly more than adequate.”
Papa cleared his throat, put down the paper, and said directly to Conrad, “Victoria is my own brother’s daughter and I am obliged to do my best for her. I’m sure there is a real tendre between you?”
Beatrice slid her eyes to her brother. In her chair here in the corner, she was a part of the family circle and yet not. Like the footman, she was a witness—she had no place in this conversation. But she knew what they were talking about. They might not think she did, but Beatrice did. Conrad sat in the leather chair in a light gray summer suit, his shirt collar sharp and starched and his stock tied neatly. He looked as he always did—like his valet had done his job well.
But at Papa’s question, Conrad’s eyes shifted down to his tea cup. All of a sudden, her brother was reduced to a young boy again.
Beatrice’s hand reached back for a tangle of her hair, twirling the lock tightly around her fingers.
“There is,” Conrad finally replied. “I care for and love Victoria very much. But I was always very clear that if there was someone she met that she wished to marry more, then I’d graciously let her go. Our arrangement is not known outside of the family.”
Beatrice’s fingers locked on her hair. Her cheeks went cold.
They were throwing Victoria over.