Annica Sees - Chapter Two

Fiction By KatieSara // 11/12/2009

   "Now, Annica, surely you realize that I did not invite you here simply for the pleasure of your company."
 This didn't surprise Annica.
"Nor have I summoned you here as a gesture of false solicitude."
 This did. Annica had thought that her aunt had invited her purely because it was proper and was good for her public image. Apparently not. There was a slight pause, as Lady Eldira peered at her niece with the same bold scrutiny Annica remembered from childhood.
"Yes, young lady, you are here for a genuine purpose. I intend to properly introduce you to society. I have also chosen several suitable young men to come and press their suit. You will choose one of them before your return home."
"What do I want with young men?" Annica asked blankly. Was Aunt Eldira really suggesting that she...
"To marry one, of course. What did you think?"

This was not happening.
"Do my parents know about this?"
Her aunt scoffed. "Of course not! The whole plan is to surprise them when you go home and announce your engagement to a rich young man. If they knew why I asked you here, they wouldn't have let you come. Those two with their silly ideas...but we shall do things properly. I am hosting a party here tomorrow night where you will be introduced to the some of the most prominent and important people in this part of the kingdom. I have chosen a dress for you to wear. Have I made myself perfectly clear about all this?"


   Annica was shocked, and Lady Eldira's speech left very little room for argument. She cast about for something to say.
"Ah, yes...very clear. But..."
"No buts, young lady! Now go change. Dinner is four hours from now. During that time you are to read this." She handed Annica a small book. Annica glanced at the title. Propiety In A Young Lady's Behaviour During Social Activities and Courtship.
 Oh, lovely. "Yes ma'am."


   Once she had changed, Annica skimmed through the book. It was written by a stuffy old fellow who had grown up without sisters and had never had any daughters. He seemed to think that proper young ladies never spoke and decided nothing for themselves. Annica wondered if he perhaps knew her aunt. They would have gotten along beautifully together.
She tossed the offending volume aside and dug around in her trunk for the actually enjoyable novel she had been reading.
Dinner that evening was silent on Annica's part, although her aunt spoke extensively. As it turned out, she was friends with the author of that book. She had, in fact, made many suggestions, all of which had been incorporated into the book. Annica endured Aunt Eldira's endless discourse until after dessert, when she abde her aunt an unenthusiastic goodnight and went to her huge, ornately decorated bed. She fell asleep with the thought, Tomorrow shall be interesting...


   The next afternoon a sympathetic maid laid out the chosen dress on Annica's bed, giving the horrified girl an apologetic glance before leaving the room. Annica stared in absolute terror at the grey monstrosity. Did her aunt actually expect her to wear this? Did she expect her to be able to walk in it, sit down, stand up, interact with normal people? It was huge! And ugly! Overwhelmed with lace and complicated patterns, the dress tapered down to the waist and then expanded into an enormous skirt that Annica could have fit three of herself into. The neckline was too low for her comfort, and there would definitely be a corset involved. The evening was not going to be interesting so much as uncomfortable. How was she even supposed to put it on? While she was trying to decide between pulling it on over head or stepping into it, the maid returned with a tiny corset in her hands.
"Excuse me miss, I'm supposed to help you dress."
"I'm glad someone will!" Annica said. "Does everyone dress like this at these parties?"
"Everyone miss." The maid didn't seem to approve. "Ridiculous outfits, I say. But orders are orders. I'm afraid you'll have to wear it." 
Annica sighed.
"I suppose so. Well, then," she took a deep breath, "Let's get on with it."



Poor Annica! How dreadful to

Poor Annica! How dreadful to have to stay three weeks with her aunt! Please write more: I'm enjoying this!

Laura Elizabeth | Sun, 11/15/2009

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --


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