Chapter Fourteen – continued
Camille watched her sister swallow hard, her eyes widening. But Abigail dipped a perfect curtsy, bowing her head in acquiescence. Seemingly satisfied, Lawrence took a moment to look at the rest of them before moving further into the manor without a word.
Camille stood there in stunned silence just like the other three women around her. In the distance, a door slammed closed, rattling Muriel from her stunned bewilderment, launching her straight into a barely contained anger.
She barely had a moment to step partially in front of her sister before Muriel was practically on them, Madeline standing stiff and still behind her. Abigail stumbled back a step behind her.
Camille lifted her chin, just as her mother had taught her when faced with a haughty courtier who thought themselves better than a blood royal. “You heard my father,” she said her voice clear.
Muriel pursed her lips, glaring behind Camille at Abigail. “No matter. Madeline will go with you. It is my will that my daughter marry the Duke, and she will.” Muriel’s eyes turned icy. “After all, my daughter assures me Abigail has no interest in the Duke.”
“That is for the Duke and my sister to decide,” Camille said, her voice sharp as a knife. “Remember, Stepmother, Father is home now. Abigail and I will reclaim our places as his blood daughters.” She let a sharp, dangerous glint into her eyes. “Otherwise I’ll have no recourse but to tell Father exactly how you debased his daughters in his home.”
Camille wanted to smile with satisfaction as Muriel’s face paled and she fell back a step. She briefly caught a glance at a murderous look in Madeline’s face, but it was just as quickly wiped away as the other woman hurried forward to take her mother’s arm.
“We’ll discuss this later,” Madeline said softly, a fascinating mix of demure and threatening, before turning her mother away and guiding her up the stairs.
Camille let out a breath and planted her hands on her hips before whirling around on her sister.
Abigail was still standing there, stiff as a statue, her hands very unladylike as her fingers curled around the folds of her skirt. Her cheeks were pale and her lips trembled as she pressed them together. Camille knew she was seconds away from shaking like a leaf.
Quickly, Camille reached out, but Abigail just as quickly brushed her away.
“I’m fine,” Abigail said, her lips trembling around the words.
“You’re not,” Camille said softly, soothingly. “Come, let’s get you upstairs so you can calm down before Clarice arrives.”
But Abigail only folded her arms across her middle and took another step back. “You don’t need to coddle me, Camille. Obviously, Adrian has forgiven my deceit.”
Camille frowned. “Then I don’t understand.”
“Everyone expects me to marry Adrian and Madeline is furious I lied to her about it,” Abigail burst out, her voice full of a force Camille had never heard before. Involuntarily, her feet took a surprised step back. Just as quickly, Abigail took a deep breath. “Apologies, Camille, but I need to be alone.”
Camille turned and gaped as Abigail hurried past her and practically flew up the stairs.
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