This is somewhat a lie. But, I thought I’d share another one! This one is from my new erotica novel entitled — okay, it doesn’t have a title. But, I think I’m finally getting into it…which is good. Hope you enjoy!
Upon entering the room, I narrowed my eyes and squinted through the darkness. I was not accustomed to such shadows, and not a single lantern was turned up to its full brightness. Though the sun shone brightly outside, not a beam of light managed to sneak through the heavy curtains and into the space of the library.
A thick cloud of smoke, suspended in a slow dance, hovered above a leather, high-backed chair. The pungent smell of a smoking pipe permeated through everything, and I could be certain that later, no matter much soap I used, I’d never be able to get the scent out of my hair.
The guards left me back by the door, which shut behind me with an unceremonious thud. With but a glance over my shoulder, I realized that there would be no turning back now. Mother was not going to come and save me, and for whatever reason, now the Duke wished to speak to me. My nerves gathered within my stomach and churned into a wretched knot that I could feel swelling up into my throat.
“Come in, Charlotte. I do not have all day.” The voice sounded unkind and monotone. The raspy cough that comes with smoking tobacco lingered deep in his tone, bubbling up into a cough between his beckoning. “I said I do not have all day.”
The flats of my thin, leather shoes scuffled on the wooden floor, stopping only when I rounded the chair and stood between the Duke and the fire-less fireplace. I dipped into a curtsey, though my tattered apron and working skirt did not flatter the motion at all. When I lifted my eyes to the Duke, I saw now, for the first time, my benefactor.
He was not unhandsome with his wide, broad jaw and darkened eyes. I could not tell in the dimness what color they were, but when he sat forward, the irises caught a glint of the lamplight, and perhaps I saw the same color blue that the sky turned just before dawn broke. Usually, as the sun rose, Mother and I would already be busy pulling eggs from the hen house; we would always pause to observe the light take to the sky and transform it into a million different colors before it settled back to blue once more.
The Duke looked upon me as if he surveyed chattel and placed his pipe aside. “How old are you, child?”
“Fifteen, Your Grace.”
“Has it been so long?” He rose to his feet and instantly towered over my form, enveloping me in another shadow. “I suppose it has been.” He lifted his hand and circled his index finger around, motioning to turn. “Let me see you.”
As he wished, I carefully pirouetted, pretending more that I was in a dance audition to be a famous Parisian ballerina. Perhaps too elaborately, I lifted my arms up over my head, and when I turned, I caught the Duke frowning, obviously not amused at the charade.
“And your mother is dead now?” Though he asked the question, the way he didn’t bother to pause for my answer made it clear that he did not expect one. “Well, it is all for the better. That is one less grounds servant to pay.”
I flinched at the harshness of his words. My mouth could not force my lips to part to retort with anything defensive about my mother. Instead, my lips won the willful battle and pulled into a thin line, as if sewn together, reminding me of propriety.
Duke Evereux’s blue-black eyes settled back on me, urging me to look up at him without having to speak a word or make a gesture. “You will no longer be living out on the grounds, Charlotte. You will live here, in the estate.”
“Your Grace?” In the estate? This notion was overwhelming, if not entirely fantastical. The manse had always been that entity up on the hill, and we lived in the tiny house, far, far from the sins of the greater. I had heard stories of what went on in the estate, none of which I found myself envying.
“Well, you are in good standing, are you not, girl? You know how to clean, serve? Behave properly?”
“Yes, Your Grace, but-”
The Duke sat back down in his chair and pulled a small, wooden matchbox from the side-table. Scratching the sulfur against the rough surface of the box, the tip set aflame, intensely lighting his face so that I could see it more clearly. It was only a glimpse, as the flame soon died down, and after his puffed at his pipe a few times, he blew the match out. “But nothing. You shall serve in the quarters of the Duchess, and should anyone else need anything and you are on hand, you shall serve them as well.”
I curtsied again. “Yes, Your Grace.”
“Just mind yourself not to get in my way too often.” He dismissively waved his hand. “Go on.”
With yet another curtsy, I turned to scurry out of the room, blind as to where I should go. Surely, the guards would sweep me up once more, so the knot in my stomach loosened just a touch.
“And Charlotte?” The Duke peered around the chair, waiting for my attention, which I gave to him readily.
“Your mother might not have left you much, but you look as she did at your age.” He sat back straight in his chair so that I could not see him anymore. “Don’t you ever take it for granted.”
“Yes, Your Grace,” I parroted for what felt like the hundredth time, then pushed open the heavy, wooden doors, submitting myself to the will of the Estate.
(I also wish I knew how to indent in wordpress.)