In the Powder Room

“What’s wrong, Sam? You look white as milk.” Izzie sat down on the chair de Grave had just pulled up next to mine and gazed at me with concern.

“Oh, just the insufferable Lord Windham, getting on my nerves. That man doesn’t rest until he gets his way.”

De Grave laughed at this. “Yes, I remember him from our school days. He was exactly the same. He could always charm the maids, or the teachers, for that matter, into his getting his way. He never had to resort to the more underhanded measures the rest of us were forced to use.”

I filed that last comment away for future reference. What underhanded measures could de Grave be referring to? Was he implying something there?

I finished my glass of punch and placed it on a nearby table. “Well, I’m going to the powder room. I feel as though my hair is coming undone. I fear the maid didn’t use enough pins.”

Izzie immediately stood up. “I’ll come, too, Sam.”

De Grave offered to bring us all back some punch and we thanked him and left to find the powder room.

In the powder room, I surveyed my hair in a mirror, surprised when it looked relatively the same as when I’d left the house. The patch on my cheek was threatening to come loose, however, no doubt as a result of Lord Windham’s unexpected …

I couldn’t bring myself even to think the word, for fear that another tidal wave of emotions might wash over me. The important thing now was to affect an undisturbed demeanor. I would be seeing him again at nine o’clock and ten o’clock, and it wouldn’t do to seem affected in any way.

After Isabella had pinched her cheeks to achieve the desired flush, she tottered over to where I stood and sank down into a nearby chair.

“Are you having a good time?” I asked her as I labored to reattach the stubborn patch on my cheek. It was in the shape of a new moon, one of the shapes currently in vogue.

“Yes, though it is rather vexing to hear the gossipmongers carry on about Vincent.”

This was the first time she’d ever addressed the issue of de Grave’s reputation in my presence.

I gave up on the patch, peeling it off with a sigh and sitting down on the divan opposite Isabella. We had the powder room to ourselves, for now. I might as well make the most of this opportunity.

The End

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