The Chosen Bride

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A Lady is Always Presentable

Katherine could hardly sleep that night. She tossed and she turned. She was hot and then cold. She couldn’t get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Morning finally came and Katherine was not feeling right. She felt like the world was spinning around her. Her stomach lurched as she stood and walked to her door.

She shuffled out of her room and moved towards Eleanor’s room when she heard someone speak behind her.

She turned around, coming face to face with Drake.

“What on earth are you doing here?” She asked, hiding her smile behind her lips.

He frowned back at her, eyeing her choice of clothing, “I just so happened to have business here.”

Katherine put her hands over her dress and frowned, “I never expected to see you in this house.”

He shrugged and walked past her, “I really should be going. I will see you around later, though.”

Katherine watched as he walked away, admiring his backside. A small smile appeared on her lips as she turned around.

“Have you no shame, Katherine?” Eleanor gasped teasingly as she gripped her friend’s arm.

“Why should I have shame if we are courting? I am more than sure his purpose was to gain my admiration of him.” Katherine replied, leaning against her bedroom door.

“Your outfit is scandalous— what do you want him to do?” Eleanor asked, gesturing to her nightgown.

“Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting guest at this time. Next time, I’ll make sure to throw on a complete ensemble before coming to see you.” Katherine retorted before walking back inside her room.

Eleanor followed her, her arms tightly crossed across her chest, “What’s with you? It seems lately that you have been getting more sensitive on topics that I bring up? Do not forget who pulled you out of the trenches.”

Katherine turned on her heel and did her best not to shout. She wasn’t really in the mood for arguing. “I am not saying that I’m not grateful, but do not forget whose decision it was to pull me out of these so-called trenches. I never asked to be picked up. I am glad you did, but Eleanor, I cannot refrain from being who I was meant to be and abiding by my standards.” Katherine stated as she started to look for a dress with her chest of clothing.

“A lady, after all, is always presentable no matter what.” Eleanor reminded her, in the all to familiar sing-song voice.

Katherine suddenly stopped and knitted her eyes brows together, “Eleanor, why did you pick me off the streets? What benefit did you have for taking in a street rat?”

Eleanor pressed her lips together but didn’t answer. She slowly made her way to Katherine’s bed and sat down, bringing a pillow to her chest.

“It was the spur of the moment decision.” She answered, finally.

“So, in the spur of the moment, you just decided that the ratty girl in the streets should be taken into your home and forced to become a lady.” Katherine questioned.

“I did not know my actions needed to be clarified for my reasons.” Eleanor retorted, raising up her chin as she did her best to defend herself against Katherine’s verbal attacks.

“Eleanor, I just wanted to know what the benefit was to you.” Katherine sighed.

“The day I picked you up was the day I got back from my world tour.” Eleanor began.

Katherine grinned, “I did not know that Lady Eleanor traveled the world.”

Eleanor frowned, “It was a marriage tour. I had just gotten married four months prior and was taken around the continent to see the world. I had asked him to take me around the world so that I wouldn’t have to face him.”

Katherine tilted her head slightly, “You mean your first love? The duke’s son?”

“The duke’s son.” Eleanor mused, “We had briefly begun seeing each other again before I realized that his heart was cold and that he was simply pushing me around. I got upset and married the first Lord I saw at the ball that night. Luckily for me, he rarely returns home from his travels to Spain and Italy— wine travels. Lord Jacque— that’s his name.”

Eleanor took a deep breath and continued, “So I married him. The duke’s son had shown up to my wedding and I was mortified. I so rudely asked if Jacque would take me to see the world as he had always described, and he agreed. Four months later, Jacque had informed me that he would not be returning for another year. To say I was upset is an understatement. I had grown to love him, you know. So, to distract myself, I decided to train a peasant to become a lady’s cousin.”

“That peasant being me?” Katherine confirmed.

Eleanor nodded, smiling softly, “And what a lady you have become.”

“Lord Jacque comes home then?” Katherine asked.

Eleanor nodded, “In two weeks time, he shall return home and expect me to attend to him. So, my darling, while he is home I will have to pay more attention to him. You should find yourself something to do whilst he is here.”

Katherine smiled, “I am sure I can find something.”

Dressed in a red silk gown, Katherine nearly flew down the stairs to where Drake had said he’d be.

He turned to see her, with a small smile appearing on his lips, and held out his hand to her, “You look lovely.”

Katherine smiled, “Thank you. I’m glad someone around here can appreciate my looks besides myself. Eleanor puts herself in a position where she always has to find something wrong with my choice of clothing.”

“It’s a nice change from this morning.” Drake replied.

Katherine frowned, “Was there something not satisfactory about my choice of clothing this morning, sir?”

She should not have been offended but for some reason, she was slightly hurt that he wasn’t fond of her wardrobe.

“It wasn’t ladylike, that is all.” He replied with a simple smile.

“Haven’t we learned that I am not ladylike, Thomas?” She teased.

He opened his mouth but shut it again quickly. He scooped down into a low bow, “You have won, princess. What shall I bestow on you as your winning gift?”

Katherine suddenly got an idea and grinned widely, “I have an idea.”

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