He came, as always, with his bag of pins, ribbons, thread, and knick-knacks; and as always, he abandoned it just inside the door of her bedroom. Though he did not dare touch her because of the difference in their social standing, the desire to clasp her languid hand had been evident in his dark eyes for several weeks. She remained uncertain whether it had been wise to invite him to converse in her chambers to begin with; was she heightening his expectations unfairly? Surely not - he knew about the necessity of her marriage to Duke Edouard Gourrande. For heaven's sake, he was preparing the wedding dress.

Perhaps - just perhaps - left to her own devices, she might find his roguish charm and debonair moustache irresistible. She might laugh at his jokes, crude though they were, and inquire more intently about his feelings towards her. She might ask him to take her hand, and meet his gaze as an equal rather than a superior, and draw him to her, and embrace him with a desperate passion.

But this was not her choice to make, and if it had been, she would likely be a very different person; perhaps not a person whom he would look upon so adoringly to begin with. It was not becoming to succumb to such fancies.


A Lace Dress