I held on to one of the posts as Clara tied the corset around my waist, I could feel the corset tightening and squeezing around my waist and ribs. Suddenly I felt the wind knocked out of my lungs, my knees gave way as I collapsed to the floor, my breathing was heavy and I felt the world underneath me spin.

“Be careful you stupid girl!” I screamed as Clara stood there like the idiot that she was, her hand by her sides and her eyes wide with surprise. I stood up after a couple of seconds, my hands and knees shook as I lifted myself up to the bed. 

“Sorry.” Clara simply whispered, I could hear the venom seep out of her voice, her apology was false, fake; I knew there was something wrong with her. Yet, she was probably tired, worn, she probably needed sleep and I felt instantly guilty for called Clara stupid. 

“Do not allow that to happen again or I will fire you.” I warned sternly, I had invited William to a lunch and I wanted to look nice for him for once. The reason was still trying to form in my mind. 

“Yes miss.” She spoke quietly, threading the ribbon through the holes of the corset and adding the final touches to the dress. Her face set like a stone and her eyes hid the venom and hatred that I heard in her voice. 

Was she angry with me?

I jumped as I heard a knock on the door, Clara excused herself and went downstairs, I could hear her loud footsteps fade downstairs and soon the hum of voices floated towards my room. I smiled to myself in the mirror, today I was going to tell him that I had enough of our games, that I no longer wanted to be with him and that I wanted to be with Alexander. 

Today I am going to break away from the devils charm.

Almost skipping down the stairs I saw William standing at the door, his grin spread across his face as his eyes gazed along my body, staying longer at my chest. Smiling politely I gestured for him towards the drawing room and asked somewhat politely for Clara to make tea for the both of us. 

“Could you not resist me Charlotte?” asked William as I closed the doors of the drawing room and as he sat down on the chair opposite of mine. I felt nervous, my hands shook and I could feel the sweat beading on my chest, scenarios of William taking my decision played in my mind, each one ending badly and morbid. 

“I am in love with Alexander.” I said softly, not daring to look straight in Williams eyes, my heart was beating erratically, I was sure Clara could hear it in the kitchens. 

The room was silent as William absorbed my latest confession, I could see his hands tighten into fists and then loosen slightly; I could hear his breathing becoming heavy and then slow down a bit after a while. 

“I knew that our little affair would not last long.” William chuckled, his smile was small, I could see the hurt in his eyes, yet no anger and rage hid behind them. 

“You are not angry?” I had to ask, none of the scenarios that I created were like this. 

“Of course, but… I knew that one day this would happen and I also know that if Alexander is a terrible lover you could come back to me.” He laughed and held my hand as I laughed with him, relief washed over me as I held Williams hand; it was not a sign of lust or seduction, but of sign of friendship. Clara entered then, the tea cups rattled on the silver platter and I let go of Williams hand as she walked towards us. 

“I just hope that Alexander is worthy of you.” Chuckled William, his voice was light and friendly, something that I had never heard from him before. I felt it before I saw anything, the scalding burn of tea on my chest and stomach. I could feel the tears in my eyes as the burn from the hot tea sunk in my chest. 

Clara did it on purpose. 

“Get out you peasant slut, get out!” I screamed at Clara, slapping her across her ugly face, I could feel the tears stream down my cheeks and my face grow hot, but I did not care, she did it on purpose, the corset she did it on purpose. 

She was trying to hurt me. She was a lunatic. 

The End

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