Annica Sees - Chapter Three

Fiction By KatieSara // 11/22/2009

   Annica resisted the urge to scratch her neck.
Actually, she had been resisting urges to scratch everywhere from the moment she had donned her evening gown. The dress was as terrible to wear as to look at. She could hardly breathe, no thanks to the corset, and she was trying not to think about her mother's probable reaction to the neckline. Annica looked at herself in the mirror and sighed for the fifteenth time that hour. Grey was not a good color on her. Sure, it matched her eyes, which currently looked like stormy grey clouds. But it made her already pale skin look paler, her dark hair look even darker. In contrast, her few freckles (which normally were hardly noticeable) stood out abominably. In short, she looked rather sickly. The five or so petticoats she wore under the dress made it poof out so much that her head looked tiny on top of it, even tinier underneath the towering braids that had been piled upon her head by the helpful maid, who, when Annica was done sighing at the mirror, politely suggested that she had better head downstairs.
  
   After carefully making her way down the stairs, Annica crept into a small drawing room where she hoped to quietly read until her aunt called her. It was not to be so. Lady Eldira awaited her there. She was wearing an equally large gown, but actually looked somewhat dignified in it. It was blue and not as fussily over-decorated as her niece's dress. Which niece, upon seeing her aunt, immediately lost all hope of having any time to herself before the party.
"Ah. I see you've dressed."

"Yes, Aunt." Lady Eldira squinted at Annica, looking her over and checking every detail. "Turn around," she ordered. Annica obeyed. "Hmmph," was her aunt's only comment. Annica hesitated before saying, "I...I don't really think...that my..that my mother would approve of this...this dress."
Lady Eldira's face remained expressionless.
"Wouldn't approve?" she asked. Annica quailed under that unwavering gaze. She gulped.
"Yes. I mean, no, she wouldn't." She waited for an answer. A pause, and then... "Well, then, you won't have to wear it any more after tonight." Annica repressed yet another sigh. Of relief or despair, she couldn't be sure. At least is was only one night...

   About an hour later, she found herself standing near the door of the ballroom, being introduced to guests.

"Smile," whispered her aunt through the practiced smile she was wearing. Annica smiled. "Stand up straighter." She straightened. 
A young man approached, a ridiculous smile on his face. He reminded Annica of a horse with oversized front teeth.

"Annica, this is Lord Breyne." He smiled that awful smile at her and bowed, taking her hand as he did so.
"I'm honored, certainly," she said, trying to avoid looking at his eyes, which displayed a frightening lack of intelligence. He moved on (thank goodness) and she greeted the next person, and the next person, and the person after that...it seemed like it would never end. One or two people threw her a sympathetic look, and one fellow (who she noticed was rather handsome) said, as he straightened from his bow, "Fear not, milady, for all things end with time, and I believe I was close to the end of the line." Annica smiled back at him and said, "Thank you. That rhymed, by the way." Luckily for them, Aunt Eldira was takling to someone else. But before they could laugh, she turned around suddenly with a stern look. The young man coughed, sent one more discreet grin her way and moved on. After the interminable meeting of guests came the banquet. Then the dancing. Annica was forced to dance with virtually every eligible man there, including the dreadfully brainless Lord Breyne and the charming Baron Alton, for that was the name of that nice fellow at the end of the line. The brief moments spent with him were the only ones of the party that weren't awful. His polished courtesy and sense of humor kept her spirits from the depths of social despair, and he was so thoughtful as to realize that her feet might hurt from those tiny shoes, and mercifully led her to a seat instead of continuing in the dance.
   
   At last they bid the guests goodbye. Lord Breyne's painful farewell was punctuated with hiccups. Alton went with a smile, a joke, and a polite kiss of her hand. There were many other bachelors to be dealt with, but those two stood in her mind as standing at the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. At last, Annica tumbled gratefully into bed, with a mental note to write to Ariela the next day.

Comments

How funny! I have also chosen

How funny! I have also chosen several suitable young men to come and press their suit. You will choose one of them before your return home. Aunt Eldira seems to be quite a character. I'll be looking forward to chapter 4.
 

Annabel | Sat, 12/05/2009

thanks!

Yay! Comments make me happy. :) I am also looking forward to the next chapter, which reminds me that I should go and work on it.
   Aunt Eldira may remind some people of the estimable and condescending Lady Katherine De Bourgh of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I'll confess that she is rather inspired by that character, but with some certain differences; Eldira is more intelligent and shrewd, and may surprise us yet with some unexpected turn of character...

KatieSara | Sat, 12/05/2009

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

I don't know how I missed

I don't know how I missed this story! I love it! You have such a wonderful style of writing. Off to read your next chapter...

Teal

Teal | Sun, 03/14/2010

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