The day before Sarah’s appearance before the King dawned beneath a mass of grey clouds. By the end of breakfast rain pattered down upon the roof. So it did not surprise Sarah when none of the Ladies who had been helping showed up. She highly suspected that she; however, would still be sewing today.
“Come,” Lady Abigail rose from the breakfast table. “You must try on your court dress so that I may pin the hem.”
Sarah obligingly followed Lady Abigail back to the sun room. A fire crackled in the fire place banishing the chill from the rain. The room was now misnamed, Sarah thought, for it felt gloomy without the sun shining through the windows. Sarah looked out one of them, wishing it wasn’t raining, though she knew the crops probably needed it.
“Off with your clothing,” Lady Abigail commanded while she shook out the court dress and gown.
Sarah obediently removed her jacket and skirt. At least she was getting used to wearing the full corset. It did not reach the waist at all, but sat just above it, laced just tight enough under her bust to give support. A bust she’d always considered average until Margaret had stated it wasn’t. Judging by the looks she’d received from the other Ladies last time she tried on the dress, they thought it was scandalous. Sarah smiled.
“You have quite the,” Lady Abigail paused as she helped Sarah slip the dress over her head, “interesting relationship with my son.”
“I do?” Sarah asked. She never would have called it interesting; unique or dynamic maybe, but not interesting.
“Sometimes,” Lady Abigail tightened the dress lacing, “you act like a husband and wife who have been married for a long time.”
Jason’s mother helped Sarah don the gown, which was really an oversized jacket. Sarah held her arms up as Lady Abigail brought the ties around below her bust and to the back. There she tied them into a bow that was hidden by the folds of the train.
“Onto the stool,” Lady Abigail held Sarah’s hand as she stepped up.
Lady Abigail studied Sarah where she stood towering over the petite woman. “Other times you and my son act like lovers and sometimes...” she sighed. “Sometimes I do not know what you are.”
“Best Friends Forever?” Sarah questioned with a hopeful smile.
Her comment received only a Lady Abigail hand flourish. The woman sat down gracefully on the floor, her pin cushion beside her. Sarah slowly turned, prompted by Lady Abigail. Carefully the Lady made a line of pins across the bottom on the gown. She had nearly gone a full rotation when the front door banged closed.
“My Lord!” they heard Hickory exclaim. “Let me take those wet things from you.”
“Thank you Hickory.” Sarah smiled at the sound of Jason’s voice. They heard him move upstairs.
Lady Abigail rose and lifted up the gown with its train, pinning it out of the way. She sat back down and began to produce another line of pins along the bottom of the dress. Sarah was about to think at Jason when his mother began to speak.
“When I asked Mathew why he was taking his and my son’s horses from the stables,” she paused and Sarah shuffled her feet a little to turn, “he told me that my son had gone by Willow to Griffon’s to save his lady love.” She paused again and Sarah did another shuffle turn. “Of course, when I arrived there my son denied being in love.”
“What did he say?” Sarah asked curiously. She turned slightly again.
There was a sigh and a pause. Sarah turned again before Lady Abigail answered. “He told me that you are from a very different place.” Sarah shuffle turned. “Where things are not done as they are here and that I should not,” Sarah did another small turn, “take offence, to anything you might say or do because you do not mean to give offence.”
Sarah turned one last time so that she once again faced Jason’s mother.
“Of course,” Lady Abigail rose as she looked up at Sarah, “he continues to deny that you are his true love.”
“You don’t believe him?” Sarah asked as Lady Abigail helped her down from the stool.
“Child, he is my youngest son,” she chided as she untied the gown. “I am closer to him than any of my other sons. Be it not that,” Lady Abigail smiled as she set the gown on the back of a chair and unlaced the dress, “I have trained enough Sirs and Madams to know what love looks like.”