I’d like to note that I just recently realized the world is basically under a stay at home order, and that Robert and Elaina have had a head start on that self-isolating trend considering they’re stuck in Robert’s family mansion and can’t leave. At least, Robert can’t. I find it funny how I’m writing the lives of isolated characters while being stuck inside as well. I hope it gives me plenty of fresh ideas.
(Chapter 9 continued)
Rose’s head turned sharply to her, her eyes narrowing. “Nonsense, Elaina. Companions do not cook.”
Robert had also, finally, turned to look at her. He was shaking his head ever so slightly. But Elaina had committed her mind to something. Besides, if she were to stay and eventually marry Robert, she would be a member of the household, would be given some leeway to do as she pleased. Of course, Rose would be superior to her, but, according to what Robert had told her about his father’s will, once she became Robert’s wife, Rose would be displaced as Robert took full control.
Elaina tilted her head up slightly. “For years, you have sought a companion for your son in the hopes he might find a wife. If that is so, then this whole being locked up in the Hall thing is little more than a courtship. When a couple is dating, it is customary for partners to cook for each other.”
Rose eyed her appraisingly before nodding curtly and abruptly leaving the room.
The air left Elaina’s lungs in a rush with Rose’s exit. She sagged slightly against the chair as her hands loosened their grip on her dress. Idly, she wondered if she had left permanent creases. Her palms were a bit damp.
In the same moment, Robert had glanced at the door as his mother vanished from view and rushed over to Elaina. He stopped just inches from her, drawing a startled gasp from her, and much needed air into her. His hair fell across his forehead as he leaned his head down.
“What were you thinking?” he hissed. “No one defies my mother.”
Elaina shrugged and shifted her eyes from him. “I can cook. My mom taught me.”
She closed her eyes and turned her head away slightly. “For two years I was manipulated by Mary Grace. For two years I was cowed by her. I’m stronger than that, Robert, and I need to prove myself. I need to show me, if not you and her, that I will not be bent again. If she doesn’t like that, or if you don’t like that, then I’ll walk out of here. But I will not be manipulated and constrained again.”
A sudden burst of laughter startled her and she turned wide eyes back to his face.
Robert placed a hand on top of one of hers. “Elaina, I think you will be very good for me, and maybe for my mother.”
She cocked her head to the side and eyed him pensively. “Tell me, Robert, do you know how to cook?”
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