My mind is abuzz with excitement, heart racing and thunderous in my ears.
The gown looks perfect. Each dip, sway and twist of the silk fabric molds to my body’s natural curves to look both salacious and classic. The deep green material bringing out the emerald flecks in my honeyed irises and managing to make my garnet locks pop.
Tonight’s ball will be the talk of the town, and this gown will put me in the center of it. A gleeful smile spreads across my porcelain features as I practice craning my long neck to expose the low bust line without seemingly on purpose.
The clomp of hooves on gravel and loud neighing as the horses are pulled to a stop out front prevents me from admiring my reflection any longer.
“Arabella, the carriage here. Let’s go dear,” my mother calls down from down below. Her deep Irish accent still heavy, even though she has lived in England for over a decade.
I quickly snatch up the black cape off my bed and swing the heavy fabric around my shoulders, tying the straps near my neck as I hurry out of my bedroom. I take the stairs slowly, as the last thing I want is to topple down them and break my leg on one of my biggest nights.
My mother and father are waiting patiently in the foyer, each dressed impeccably. Father is his best black tailcoat and vest, pinstriped trousers and gleaming white dress shirt. A top hat in his left hand and cane in his right. Mother, equally breathtaking in her velvet ensemble that is a tad more modest than my own, with a higher bust line and covered arms, but it too hugs her generous curves.
Our butler Jeeves opens the front door as we all scurry out into the chilled night air and pile into the carriage; me first and father last. As the carriage jerks into motion, I stare out at the black night and attempt to rein in my excitement. My entire skin feels electric and even my toes tingle.
“You look lovely, Arabella.” My father’s gruff voice fills the entire cabin of the carriage with its power. As a man of wealth, he is used to being heard and relishes in it.
“Thank you, father. I rather like that red cravat. It matches mother’s dress perfectly.” I give them both a wide smile. “Which, by the way, mother, you look stunning.”
She brushes her hands along the dress’s folds and shoots me a strained smile. “Thank you, dear.”
Mother isn’t too pleased with me. After I turned down a marriage proposal from an American entrepreneur, she has been giving me the cold shoulder and silent treatment all month.
I find I rather like it.
I go back to observing the darkness as if it is the most fascinating thing in the world.
It takes the carriage almost thirty minutes over stoned roads for us to reach our destination; Lord Williamson’s estate.
Lord Williamson is quite possibly the most eligible bachelor in England and I am going to snag him for myself.
A man of immense fortune, it is not going to be an easy task as the vultures will be swooping down around him all night, and so I have to be the one that stands out. Intriguing enough to grasp his attention and then keep it.
A smile tugs on my lips as my mind plays out a scenario of how I believe the night will go.
(And then the thirty minutes ended—and it’s rusty since I haven’t written in a few weeks, ugh).