I have not forgotten that I have a Victorian Writing Challenge to attend to…unfortunately, the genre is not really my forte:
Victoria opened her eyes and blinked at the square pattern on the pale ceiling. It was not the ceiling she was familiar with. She was not home; but she had not been home for a long time. She sat up and tried to remember where she was. The room was decorated in soft pastel blues and pinks; it contained the bed she lay on, a couch by the French windows, a dressing table and a writing desk. It was tasteful and simple.
It was not a room she imagined the Duke had decorated. The Duke! She blushed as the memories flooded her mind. Had he had her carried in here? She was unwilling to add this embarrassment to her already lengthening list. She felt her heartbeat racing and tried to swallow large gulps. The doctor had told her to slow her thoughts down and breathe in slowly when she had one of these episodes. After a few moments her breathing had returned to normal. She stood from the bed and walked towards the mirror to take stock of her looks. Her untameable hair was becoming free of her braid; she tried to smooth it down, in vain. Her eyes were bloodshot still but she felt a little rested.
She took another deep breath for courage and walked out of the room. She had trained herself when she was young to always take a left turn if she was unsure of which way to go and so this is what she did. She met no one before she reached the stairs and so she walked down them. The Duke’s home was beautiful – understated but darling. It seemed to mock her rejection of his hand. How foolish she appeared to herself now.
“Miss Victoria, did you sleep well?” the maid appeared as though from thin air. Victoria felt the embarrassment rush through her once again but there was no sign of judgement or of anything on the plain features of the maid. Even her question was born of duty rather than genuine interest.
“Yes I did…would you direct me to where the Duke is?”
“Sorry miss. He has left the grounds. He asked that you wait for his return.” Victoria wasn’t sure if she was glad or not that she wouldn’t have to face him but she knew she couldn’t wait; she had her family to think of and they would be worried about her.
“I must go. But I shall leave him a note.” The maid nodded curtly and directed her to the room where she had met with the Duke earlier. She found a letter writing set there and penned her deep gratitude for his kindness and hospitality. She apologized for having caused any inconvenience and requested that he not hold today’s lack of etiquette against her. There was nothing else she could think to say; she addressed it to him and gave it to the maid. Then she walked out of his grand home and began the walk to the end of his estate.