IV. The Female Ace
Even Lady Darla Lockwood has a flaw.
To most ladies, being the best and aced every subject in the academy was a waste of time for they truly don't wish to drive the young lords that studied there and potential suitors away.
But not Darla for she had no intention of getting married and whatnot.
But as per regulation in the academy, her flaw was informed to her parents and they were meeting with the headmaster right now as Darla was sitting between her parents as the headmaster was clearing his throat to address the issue.
"So, as I said on the 'gram, Lady Darla was the best out of our young students but she lacked...something that can do more harm if we did not address her correctly," the headmaster stated before Darla was trying so hard not to roll her eyes at him.
"And what would that be, my lord?" her mother, ever the concerned one, was asking what was wrong with her. Darla wanted to insist that they have nothing to fear since her reputation was not ruined.
Well, the tutors would believe otherwise.
The headmaster sighed before he was rubbing his temple with his hand before he was looking at Baron and Baroness of Cascadian. Then, he cleared his throat and said what the tutors had been reporting about her after every lesson.
"Do not speak when you are not addressed to, Lady Darla,"
"Do not roll your eyes, Lady Darla,"
"Are you sure the gentleman will appreciate you if you give the right answer instead of them?"
There were so many rules that she had to follow if she wanted to debut into polite society. Not that Darla would ever be attending any ball or anything but, of course, her mother would not stop at anything if she was not getting married until she was an old spinster.
"She likes to speak her mind out of turn. And we are concerned that this habit of hers will be dragged when she was to be introduced into society and the ton will be venturing around her. Who knows what happened when the scandalmongers would do?" the headmaster said before her mother gasped.
Such dramatic, Darla mused before she was staring at her hands on her laps for a change.
"Oh dear, that would be terrible indeed,"
"Now you know that it is my utter concern that she will have to brush on her etiquette and manner lessons before her education was over," the headmaster said before the baron was leaning closer.
"What would you suggest?" her papa asked the headmaster before he was focusing on Darla, knowing that he thought Darla needed some education in her manners.
Or perhaps the headmaster should be more open-minded about a Lady trying to make a good conversation partner and everything.
"We will address her to Madam Flemington's Lady's Etiquette Class during the weekends. It would not be interfering with her education by then. As much as I wanted Lady Darla to brush up on her manners, I also don't want to lose the ace of the academy. Lady Darla has been contributing so much to the academy," the headmaster said before he was smiling at her parents.
Darla rolled her eyes as she was concealing it behind her lashes.
"And what are those achievements? If you don't mind telling us, my lord," her mother sounded eager before the headmaster was smiling at them.
"Well, Lady Darla has developed some kind of traveling pack that can store food and it lasts longer. I never saw anything like it and I must say that she will have the patent for it and the commission from the patent will be divided into 50-50 between the academy and her. After all, she did have some research in the academy and colleagues that helped her out," the headmaster was saying it with pride before Darla wanted to grit her teeth before anything.
She had to control her manners after all. And speaking out of turn will make it worse. Perhaps she will be attending the etiquette classes sooner than she thought.
Control yourself, woman! She reminded herself before her mother sighed.
"Oh, that would be wonderful. Is that right, love?"
"Yes, indeed. Perhaps we should put the commission into her dowry as a matter of fact. That would be wise for her future," her papa said before the headmaster told her that her classes on the weekend with Madam Flemington were in the afternoon.
"Thank you so much for noticing us about her manner. We don't want her to be an outsider when it was her time for debut's ball." Lady Lockwood said before they exited the room as Darla was walking with her parents on either side.
"Darling, you promised that you will be on your best behavior. And not to mention, there would be potential lords to entice with your beauty," her mother said as they went to their carriage before she was scowling at her.
"And lose the scowl. It is unbecoming of you," the baroness said before her papa sighed.
"But to be inventive of something for the community? That was brilliant! Absolute genius, my dear," her papa praised her as Darla was swelling with pride.
"Thank you, papa,"
"Now, now, we shall get going to have some fun in town before your etiquette class tomorrow. And believe it or not, your mother has been dying to see you for four years. And I think she secretly proud of you as well, my dear," her papa said with a wink. Her mother gasped.
"What? It's the truth, isn't it?" her papa said before he helped them to get inside the carriage as the footman closed it and they moved to the heart of the town to get something for their late luncheon, and perhaps her mama would love to have some shopping done before they return to Scatterford.
And most likely to spend some money on Darla as well.
Even when Darla detested that her mama would buy more gowns and dresses that she would not be wearing in the academy or in the nearest future, her heart swelled when she knew that her parents loved her and will support her no matter what was the consequences of her actions can be.
And if that was not loving, then she did not know what it was. Not truly for Lady Darla Lockwood still cannot differentiate the familial love with a love that was burning red inside her that she knew only one person can ignite.
Perhaps she was glad not to meet James Flemington these past couple of years. But it was about to change for she did not expect to see WHO will be teaching her the etiquette class tomorrow.
Darla was looking outside the window as she was putting on her bonnet before she exited the room as she was making her way to the townhouse where she will be having her etiquette lesson today.
Darla was no looking forward to it.
She pulled out her parasol before she was making her way to the town as it was only within walking distance from the academy. She was looking at the town that was going on with its routine as the crowd was shouting and they were moving around to get to places.
Darla smiled before she was looking at the townhouse that has a sign that was showing a lady with a fan and underneath it was saying in bold letters: Madam Flemington's Lady's Etiquette Lesson.
Darla took a deep breath before she was knocking on the door. A few moments later, the butler was opening the door and he directed Darla to the drawing-room as she took off her bonnet and her parasol as well as her outer coat.
"Lady Flemington is waiting for you, my lady," the butler said before she was guided to the drawing-room. Darla was taking a moment to look around the townhouse that was showing the most expensive and exquisite drawings as well as items that she'd never seen before.
It was an utter sight for her adventurous eyes.
"Do not gawk when you were supposed to be walking ahead, girl," the voice startled her as she turned to look at the lady that was sitting on a divan as she was sipping on her hot tea. Darla was taking in the sight of the infamous Madam Flemington, Lady Ashley Flemington as her hawkish eyes were observant of Darla as she was making her way into the room.
"I'm sorry, my lady—"
"Speaking out of turn was unbecoming of you, Lady Darla. Have your mother told you nothing to never speak against your elders?" she asked before Darla felt anger rose up inside her at the mention of her mother.
"Do not presume—"
"What? That the headmaster was right about you? Trying to speak your mind when you were a lady?" Madam Flemington smiled at her before she put her teacup back on the saucer before she put it on the table.
"I know that you want to make sure that everyone hears you, girl. But you must learn the right way to make sure that the lads would be thinking that you are vulnerable, fragile even when you know that you're speaking the truth," Lady Ashley said before she flashed her a smile. Darla arched her eyebrow at her.
"Don't you want to squash my rebellion?"
Lady Ashley laughed before she was getting up from the divan as her skirts rustled before she stood in front of Darla. Darla can see the light and laughter in the older woman before she smiled as she gripped Darla's hand.
"No, but I will make sure that you are a force to be reckoned with later on. So, what do you say, Darla? Want me to teach you how to survive the polite society without losing yourself?" Lady Ashley asked before Darla took a deep breath.
"Teach me everything that you know, my lady,"
Lady Ashley smiled before she patted Darla's hand, "That's my girl,"