I hurry down the stairs. The hem of my dress sweeping the steps as I descend. I will definitely be reprimanded for this later.
As usual I am late, but this time I have a good excuse. So I’m not as scared as I usually am.
I continue down the stars, hitting the final step and bump hard into Lord Julian.
We both crash onto the floor.
A thousand sorries rush from my mouth.
“Steady as you go,” he says to me as he gets up, a glint in his eye.
“I’m sorry M’Lord,” I stutter again refraining eye contact. Mother always told me that you should never look a lord in the eye. That it wasn’t proper.
He holds his hand out to me. I freeze. What was happening? Why was he holding his hand out to me? This was not right.
“Take my hand My Lady,” he speaks softly.
“I cannot M’Lord,” I sputter back. “It is not proper.”
“You have fallen. It would not be proper of me, if I allowed a lady to remain fallen on the floor.”
“I am not a lady,” I say, my eyes sinking further into the floor.
“You look like a lady from where I’m standing,” he replies.
I look up in shock. He sees me as a lady? Confusion rushes through me.
He is looking at me. His eyes don’t move.
I try to move my own, but I am stuck. Transfixed by the deep pools of blue that are staring back at me.
His brows furrow and he looks away. The spell broken. Reality setting in.
He coughs and moves his hand.
My breathe gets caught in my throat and a deep sorrow rises from the pit deep inside of me.
I slowly get up and dust myself down.
He looks back at me, as if he wishes to say something else. But his words remain unspoken.
“I must go M’Lord,” I finally say, breaking through the silence.
“As you were,” he replies. His voice hardened.
I go to leave.
I turn my head around as I reach the door and look back at him.
His eyes are burning intently at me.
He steps forward, his hands reaching towards me.
“Ah Lord Julian, there you are,” says a voice, breaking through the intensity that has begun to rise between us. “Your father has asked you to join him in his study.”
“Yes of course. Thank you Charles.”
He turns to leave. But takes one last look at me and without moving his lips he tells me that this ‘thing’ between us is far from finished.