England, the 17th century. A girl from a wealthy family is coming of age, and her mother is parading suitors through the parlour- and right back out the door. Chasity Deramoore of England isn't attracted to any of them- and yet she's discovering she loves her best friend, a female. Chasity's confused and she knows her Catholic parents would never understand, or approve- especially when Chasity doesn't understand, herself...
"Chasity, please, come down."
"I'm coming, mother," I call levelly down the stairs. A lady must never raise her voice, my mother's voice intones inside my head. I roll my eyes and straighten my brocaded dress, preparing to descend the stairs.
"Chasity, we musn't keep Mr. Wells waiting. He's a very important and busy gentleman, I'm sure." Her tone is endearing but has a hard edge.
I walk down to the parlour as quickly as is possible. I try to walk neatly and lightly, as taught, but my shoe catches halfway down a step and I stumble noticeably. Through the doorway, I see my mother's smile tighten.
She motions to a chair and I sink into the velvet cloth, digging my heels into the plush carpeting, a luxury, as to not slip.
"This is Benjamin Wells. The son of your father's-" Here, she glanced toward Wells, as if imposing the importance of Father, "-The Duke, as I'm sure you know- friend, Sir Wells," she smiles.
The dark, blue eyed man to the right of my mother stands and bows.
"My pleasure, Miss Deramoore. A lady of your caliber I have not seen in quite a while," he says lightly. His voice is surprisingly cheerful for a man with such a serious expression.
I smile politely and fidget in my overdone dress.
"The pleasure is mine, Mr. Wells," I reply, glancing towards my mother for approval. She gives me a look that plainly states, This is not enough.
"And please, call me Chasity," I add quickly. Mother smiles approvingly.
"I believe I shall see if the tea is prepared," she says silkily and brushes out of the parlour.