The story is emerging. I’m half way through my edits and still working hard. Spring cleaning has been good! I hope it has been great for you, too!
I’ve continued where I left off last week, but next Thursday’s selection I’m looking for some suggestions. Would you like to see action? the first meeting? the juicy middle? a black moment? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Chapter 1 (continued)
The carriage ride to the party was unusually quiet. The streets went by PASSED in a haze of worries and perturbed scenarios. Athena could not pinpoint the exact reason. She leaned back and closed her eyes PLANNING WHAT SHE WAS GOING TO SAY. HOW WAS SHE GOING TO APPROACH THE MAN SHE THOUGHT WAS THE SAVAGE, AND GET THE ANSWERS SHE SOUGHT?
Athena knew there THERE HAD TO BE something she’d overlooked IN Pool’s letters. or missed in them. So far, any clue at that still eluded her. She had found nothing that she had not read thousands of times in the past. There was simply no OTHER lead in which to pursue. All she knew was POLL had been close to Toulouse, France, during a bloody battle and then…he’D had simply disappeared. She looked over the thousands that were listed dead and yet his name had not been among them. She’d BEEN TOLD TO LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE had no where to go from there, she had been told countless times. First, by her father, then second by Poll’s commander. ThAT dolt had replied with a blank look WHEN CONFRONTED, AND he couldn’t remember anything other than all the confusion that happened around him. With a BACKHANDED WAVE, she’d been ordered to return home and have her father LOOK INTO take care of the matter.
Was the man from the letter truly a barbarian-a Savage-with a long beard and a limerick voice or was the nickname just meant to scare the enemy? HIS NAME INTRIGUED HER, BUT Yet that, too, turned out to be a THE mystery WAS KILLING HER. NO SUCH There was no officer in Great Britain
that carried that surname. NONE serving as a commander at the time of Poll’s disappearance or any other time during the war. She knew this because she had written to all and received the same response from them. Just dozens of notes stating, ‘Sorry for your loss, oh, and I have never heard of your commander. Best of regards’. (WILL USE IN DIALOGUE LATER) THIS PARTY WAS IN HONOR OF THE MEN WHO’D FOUGHT AND THEY WOULD BE UNDER ONE RESIDENCE FOR COMMEMORATION. AN OPPORTUNITY SHE’D NEVER GET AGAIN.
THE CARRIAGE STOPPED. TRAFFIC ALREADY BACKED UP AND ALL THEY COULD DO WAS WAIT IN LINE.
She fought off her annoyance. of not knowing where to go from here. She looked over and saw her friend staring out the window with a smile. She did not want to disappoint Kit on her first carriage ride alone and focused on being less sullen. She tried to be chipper as she broke the silence.
“I still feel like a Christmas goose every time I appear at one of these events. Lying in the center of a table on display dressed with just enough garnishes to look nice-right before it’s carved in TO little pieces.” She dropped her wrap and began to fidget with the top of her gown. It was slipping below the top of her bosom again, and she hoped it would stay in correct position throughout the Ball. The dressmaker had assured her it would.
She, however, still remained doubtful. (TRYING TO SHOW SHE NEVER TAKES ANYONE’S WORD)
“The clothes I MARY HAS have purchased for fashion’s sake in the last months are staggering. How did I get talked into this dress anyhow?” She sighed and rolled her arms to see if the dress would indeed hold during the stress. Not meaning to wear this fluff outside of the house, she’d been pleasing Aunt Mary and with her departure, ATHENA She had foolishly tried it on before becoming HAD BECOME engrossed in her letters. She had only placed her THE wrap around her NOW WAS for the chill in her Aunt’s house was too much. She was used to a fire in every room back home. Her Aunt was strict on SINCE the fire COULD only be lit after dark or on a dreary day. All the days in London were dreary, so how could onE classify when it truly was? She wondered with another pluck at her dress front. The time had vanished and before she knew it, she was being dragged down the steps in haste of not arriving late, without changing.
Kit glanced over at the dress in question. She gave a small jerk in her seat for she was shocked at the sight she was beholding. Athena was wearing the dress. “Oh, Oh, my word, look at you. You’re wearing the dress.”
“Oh, yes, the dress,” Athena muttered wiggling side to side. The impulse buy backfired. (DON’T BELIEVE THIS IS HISTORICALLY CORRECT-NEED NEW WORD)
Kit fluttered her eyelashes innocently. “If you did not want to be on display, why did you purchase it in the first place besides just to nettle your father? If it makes you feel better just think you’re not wasting your money now that you have decided to wear it. And just imagine how your father will foam at the mouth after he hears of this.”
“You portray yourself so sweetly. But you’re not.” Athena laughed and pictured her father’s red blotchy face becoming more so when he heard about her little girl displaying her goods. Then sighed as she thought of what would happen afterwards. Yelling. Lots of yelling. “It seemed like an excellent enough reason at the time.” She let her breath and looked down in frustration at the slipping dress. “Now, I don’t think even I can carry it through. It is too revealing. It makes me feel uncomfortable, and, well, cheap.” She glared at Kit’s laugh. “Well, it does. And it was absolutely not worth the price I paid, no matter what you claim about the dressmaker. I should never have been talked into going there by you and your mother. I could have purchased a new horse for the same price as this scrap of cloth that hardly covers…well you know.”
Kit hid her laugh at Athena’s discomfort. It wasn’t everyday that Athena let herself become embarrassed. And one certainly didn’t hear about it. It could be a milestone towards her character. Reassuring her friend, she added, “Yes, dear, but you have plenty of horses already. Besides, this is much more fun and exciting. It’s the new fashion, but if you insist we could go back so you could change. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” (DELETE POV SWITCH)
Athena shook her head, crossing her arms in front of her. Nothing would make her comfortable, not until she found out about her brother. “You can’t tell me about fun PLEASURE until you experience some yourself.”
“I don’t know. I’m having an excellent time.” Kit gave a gracious smile and pointed.
Athena glanced down and saw her gown folded out and displaying the top of her bosom. Arms quickly dropped and she glared out the window. Tonight was going to be a disaster.
Kit pleasantly continued, “You’re right about feeling like a goose for dinner. All the men will want to gobble you up the minute they lay eyes on you. But you resemble a swan more than a goose.”
KIT’S COMPLIMENT MADE HER more UNCOMFORTABLE. AND SHE began to fidget with the dress’s neckline now that she was self-conscious. What if she went to hug GREET someone and THE FLIMSY SCRAP fell around her waist. Oh, the women of the Ton would love that. The troublemaker making a scandal and all of them would have grounds in which to publicly shun her. Well, they did that anyway, but this would make it much more justified, rather then they just didn’t like what she had to say.
“At least you do not need to be stuffed as a goose would.” She pointed at Athena’s ample assets as the carriage stopped.
Athena gasped, “Kit! I’VE never have heard YOU TALK you say such nonsense.”
“Yes, well, I have been your friend for over fourteen years and I guess you have tarnished me in the process.”
Athena didn’t know if that was a compliment or an insult. She knew exactly what Kit’s mother thought of her and was surprised their friendship had lasted this long. She touched Kit and said, “I enjoy it when you leave your corset strings untied. However, I never understood why you only act this way in my presence when no one else is around to witness it? The minute we go out in society you close back up.”
Kit waved her words away for she knew they were true, AND continued, “Think of Alison Smith and how jealous she will be when she sees you surrounded by all eligible suitors and, of course, with Medland. He’s never far from your side. You know how she feels about him.”
John Medland was a dear friend from their childhood. He was a menace. “Oh, that’s reassuring. At least, someone will be just as miserable as I will be.” She looked down in anger. “Some would be glad to be so well endowed. Must of the time they get in the way and, yet, when I need them, they fail me of holding up my dress.”
Kit giggled, covering up her mouth.
Athena snorted and then joined her best friend IN LAUGHTER. Kit’s humor was rare and she would have been more pleased if the circumstances were different. Perhaps she would go back and change? She glanced down again and the thought of the flat-chested Miss Smith and her animosity towards Athena. The cause of her dislike was unknown, but she stayed away from her like as much as possible. She couldn’t even remember if they had ever spoken to one another? However, Athena did so enjoy not doing the proper thing and decided to wear the dress. She couldn’t help it and started to laugh as she tried to imagine Alison’s expression. Turning a bright smile to Kit, she replied, “Thank you for cheering me up, as usual.” She reached for Kit’s hand. “I know exactly why I love you. You’re an absolute darling.”
Kit nodded and glanced away.
Athena, with one more pull, finished adjusting her neckline. She was ready to face one of the things she hated most. Society gatherings. She didn’t realize she looked very much like a princess, before she ruined the likeness when she flapped her arms. Just like the goose mentioned, causing them both to break out in hysterical laughter. Gathering their composure at the sudden knock on their carriage door, the ladies were helped out of their barouche into the driveway of one of the oldest estates of London. The weathered stone manor graced the city with its beauty. For once Athena was not reminded of the dank pungent odor that usually lay suspended over the populated city.