Preparing to Meet the Lady (Part 1)

Sarah had either been making too much noise as she bathed, or her head had been underwater, she wasn’t sure which. But one moment the chair was just a plain chair, and then the next there was clothing draped over it. Standing, Sarah rinsed herself with water from the cauldron and then proceeded to towel herself dry.

She had no idea where Lynn had pulled the clothing from. It didn’t look like anything she'd been considering. Maybe, Sarah thought, I didn’t delve deep enough into the trunk. Or, she amended; there was another one someplace else. Sarah sighed only to be startled by a loud knock at the back door.

“Sarah?” The door creaked open. “Is everything all right in here?” It was Martha.

“Yes, well no,” Sarah changed her mind. “I could use some help dressing.”

“Dressing?” Martha sounded puzzled as she entered the parlor.

“Yes,” Sarah poked her head out from the curtains. “I’m supposed to meet Jason’s mother this afternoon and…”

“Who?” Martha asked, stepping inside the curtained area.

“Jason, I mean Phoenix’s mother.” What had Lynn called her, Sarah wracked her brains. “Lady Abigail!”

“I see,” Martha stated. “Well you found the right dress for it I suppose.”

Martha began to help Sarah with the corset and gown. There was no way Sarah could have done it herself. Not with the lacing in the back.

“That Weather Mage friend of Griffon’s didn’t cause you any trouble, did he?” Martha asked as she pulled the gown lacing tight. “Sometimes he just barges into the house like it’s his.”

“No, not at all,” Sarah replied her brow furrowing briefly in thought.

Either Martha didn’t know Lynn was Rosaline or she was trying to hide that fact from Sarah. Whichever it was Sarah was sure Lynn was now gone. She’d thought she heard her leave and it bummed her a bit. Lynn seemed like someone Sarah could become fast friends with.  Not to mention the fun they could have looking as alike as they did.

“Sarah?” Martha was studying her.

“Sorry,” Sarah shook her thoughts out. “Just a bit nervous I guess.”

“Just do a slow spin and I’ll make sure you look all right.” Martha stepped back and Sarah obliged. Aren't all mothers the same everywhere, Sarah thought, reminded of Prom night. “Now you go sit at the table while I take care of this mess. Can’t having you spoil your looks before you meet Lady Abigail.”

Sarah obediently went to sit at the kitchen table while Martha went out to call for her boys. Ryan appeared in the hall, nearly startling Sarah right after his mother went out back.

“You look pretty.” His little eyes took in Sarah and the gown.

“Thank you,” Sarah pondered the boy.

“Much better than those pants you showed up in.” He nodded and climbed up to have a seat at the table.

Martha came back in with Ralph before Sarah could respond. Glancing at Ryan Martha gave him a passing stern look. His only response was to smile. Martha sighed as she and Ralph went up front to take care of the bath and curtains.

“Is Phoenix going to marry you?” he asked in a confidential whisper.

“I hope so.” Even with his confessions during the night, Sarah was uncertain of what was going to happen. Suddenly courtship back home seemed much less convoluted than what she was going through right now.

“Do you love him?” Ryan’s whisper broke her thoughts.

Sarah looked into the boy's eyes. It seemed such a simple question. Yet Sarah didn’t know how to answer it. She wanted to shout out yes, but on the other hand she knew four year olds weren’t the best secret keepers.

“All right,” Martha’s return relieved Sarah from answering. “Have you ever met a Lady before?”

“No,” Sarah replied, truely feeling nervous now. “I’m afraid not.”

“Well, back to the parlor, I’ll go over some of the things you ought to bear in mind.” Martha smiled and patted Sarah’s arm as she guided her up front. “Don’t worry, Lady Abigail is very forgiving. She’s a master Madame, though her husband’s not a knight; deals with all sorts. Now,” Martha motioned for Sarah to sit. “Let’s see where to begin.”

Sarah perched on the edge of her seat while Martha pondered what she needed to know. Sarah only hoped she could remember it all.

The End

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