As soon as Sarah appeared in the kitchen, work stopped. Margaret and Annabelle turned towards her concern in their eyes.
“I just need help getting ready for the Memorial,” Sarah informed them.
“I’ll help,” Margaret stated as she quickly donned a jacket and followed Sarah up the back stairs.
The first thing Margaret suggested was Sarah’s court dress.
“No, definitely not that,” Sarah vetoed the idea.
“You never know if the King will be there,” Margaret explained.
“The King’s seen me in pants and I don’t think I’ll win kudos with Lord Robert if I wear that,” Sarah responded.
“Kudos?” Margaret stumbled over the word.
Sarah sighed as she sat on the bed, letting Margaret continue rummaging in the trunk. “Favor, I guess... He asked me why I thought I was worthy to marry a Lord’s son when I’m only an orphan.”
She looked to the elderly woman. Returning her gaze Margaret nodded. Pulling out a much simpler skirt and jacket, she laid them next to Sarah.
“These’ll do you then. Now up and let’s get you changed quick time and fix that cap.”
It really didn’t take that long since Sarah didn’t change her chemise or half corset. Once Margaret was finished with her cap Sarah was ready to go.
“Don’t forget your hat,” the woman handed her the atrocity Sarah had been trying to ignore. “Just while you’re outside,” Margaret laughed. “You can take it off once you are in the Reception hall. Now down the front stairs with you.”
Sarah walked down the stairs back to the first floor. Gregory was already waiting in the parlor when she arrived. His eyes followed her as she found a chair to perch on. He moved closer.
“So you truly are engaged to my little brother,” Gregory spoke.
“Yes.” Sarah did not want to talk to him.
“His previous engagement ended in disaster, you know,” Gregory continued. “The Lake of Life emptied before they could scoop up the Godwood blossom.”
Sarah looked at Gregory and forced a smile. “If I knew what that meant I might be more concerned.” Her smile became genuine when she saw his puzzled look. “Besides I am not that easily scared.”
“I should think not,” Sir Arthur chuckled.
Sarah looked from Gregory to see Sir Arthur and his wife in the doorway. Smiling she stood and greeted them properly.
“I must say,” Sir Arthur whispered as they exchanged kisses to the cheeks, “your transformation is somewhat amazing.”
“Transformation?” Madame Guinevere asked.
“Phoenix Troop thought so too.” Sarah smiled as Sir Arthur whispered something to his wife.
“Secrets?” Gregory appeared at Sarah’s side. “Come now, you know I love a good intrigue.”
Sarah turned her head and whispered, “I was a Hopeful.”
The look on Gregory’s face was priceless, but Sarah didn’t have time to enjoy it as Mathew grabbed her shoulder.
“What?” she asked.
“Pardon me my Lords and Lady.” He nodded to the others in the room as he pulled Sarah aside.
“What do you want?”
“Do you know where Lordling Jason is?” His grip tightened. “Because he ain’t here. He ain’t at the barracks, and he definitely ain’t in the Temple where I left him!”
“He said he was at my parents’ house,” she shrugged.
“When in the Gods’ name...”
“Ahem,” Sir Arthur spoke from behind Mathew interrupting the distraught man. “May I ask why you are bothering my brother’s fiancée, Goodman Mathew?”
Mathew might have answered but heavy footsteps sounded on the stairs. As the group moved into the hall, Sarah saw Philip come rushing up from the kitchen.
“Good we are ready,” Lord Robert stated as he stopped by the front door, Lady Abigail on his arm.
Mathew quickly opened the door and let them all file through. As Sarah passed she heard him whisper, “Just try something on her, I dare you,” to Gregory
She turned narrowed eyes upon Mathew, but he ignored her. Hickory and Margaret had both said Gregory needed to be put in his place. Sarah hoped others would be nearby if he did; she didn’t want to find out if she could keep him pinned in a skirt. Sighing, Sarah quickened her pace.
“You are troubled?” Master Phillip's voice came from beside her.
“Well...” Sarah looked to where Lord Robert strode before them.
“He is not all thunder and bluster,” Master Philip told her.
“Perhaps,” Sarah sighed. “But I’m not exactly looking forward to telling my tale to him.”
“Why not?” Gregory jumped into the conversation.
Sarah looked him in the eyes. “Why do you think?”
“How were you discovered?” Gregory whispered.
Sarah face turned sad. “Hopeful Marcus discovered the truth when we tussled before the trials.”
“May the Gods rest his soul,” Master Phillip muttered.
“Yes, I hope they do.” Sarah’s gaze lingered upon the Willows as they passed them by, and she really did mean it.