All I've ever wanted in life was to find a good husband, of suitable status and wealth, and settle down and have kids. A house of my own to preside over, and one day a daughter to set up for a similar happily life, or a son to see positioned well.
And my plan for this life seemed to have been going well. The other women of court respected my position. I clearly had finer clothes, with finer stitching than theirs, my hair was always worn in the latest style and heaven forbid a strand was ever out of place.
I had even picked out my chosen mate. He was handsome, an officer and one I would soon believe would be decorated and came from the right people. Everything seemed to be going my way.
But then out from the countryside came two new girls. Girls who had the others gossiping that my title of prettiest in the court might soon be usurped, a fact which is surely impossible. Girls who new and had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
One of these girls, Alexandra I had been happy to bring under my wing. Sure, she might have looks but there was still much I could teach her about court life. A new and willing pupil to my circle is always appreciated. One can never have too many friends, especially when one wants a favour.
But it was the second of these girls that seemed to have struck a nerve. She was a country bumpkin that Olivia, but one who must have had a governess who was familiar with the court life. She seemed to know the right things to say, to impress the other girls. I could feel some of my girls, some of my circle falling under her spell, what with her shiny hair and clothes and poise.
But I could accept a few loses, I really could. Even if the girl got my back up I could deal with her.
Well I could have dealt with her, and maybe even come to like her if it wasn't for the fact that the girl had set her sights on the very man I had chosen for my own. James Newberry. All the girls in my circle knew he was to be mine. The only person I had to convince of the fact was him and I was sure with some practiced flirting, a wave of the fan here, a flick of the hair there, that he would soon see this to be true. But then she had come sweeping in, and sweeping him away.
I had watched last night as he danced with her, and as she asked if he was taken, almost seeming to look directly at me as she asked this as if she knew of my plans. And I had watched today when at my party, in my house, on my night she and he had moved towards the balcony. How dare she waltz into my house and move to have a private conversation with the man I had chosen.
I had rejoiced when Alexandra had stolen Olivia away, but there had been something about the way those two had talked in their corner. Something too chummy to be merely talk of a boy, as they later claimed. Perhaps they were planning more ways to ruin my life?
I had moved to confront them as they left their corner. They had claimed to be talking of a suitor for Alexandra. I had brought up Olivia's own suitor, my James, watching to see the expression that would come over her face. But then Olivia had complimented me, saying that I shone as head of the party and I had to agree with her and noticing how well my hairstyle brought out my eyes, a fact none other in my circle had even mentioned. And of course, at that moment another suitor of mine had whisked me off to dance. While I did have other suitors vying for my attention, none came from as reputable a family as the Newberry's.
As I danced with this other suitor of mine I began to think of ways to turn James' attention away from young Olivia and onto myself. There were tricks that could be used, and my family had the money to pay for them. Yes, making Olivia appear to be the country bumpkin she was would be a great source of enjoyment. That nuisance of a newcomer would soon learn not to mess with Rebecca Mays.