Camille admitted to being curious about her new cousin, but James was adamant he didn’t want Elaina to know about Camille, about anything related to the linked world. Here, in this world, the lives they had lived were little more than fairy tales, and not particularly good or detailed ones. James spun her a story, something called Cinderella. It was difficult for her to convey her bewilderment at the story, so I can’t recount it here, because I’m unsure of what mice, pumpkins, and fairy godmothers have to do with my life.
Ever since the runner had returned with the documents Camille had requested, she’d spent her time locked up in her rooms. Literally. She didn’t trust anyone with what she’d asked for. As it was, she’d found a boy on the streets and had promised a warm meal for as long as he wanted as long as he retrieved some documents from the city record hall and didn’t breathe a word of it to anyone.
The storm outside was subsiding and the sun managed to peek through once or twice, but Camille kept her fae lights bright on her desk. It was littered with papers, seemingly cast around haphazardly, but she knew where each important piece of paper was as she followed the story the written records held.
She was not suited for this kind of activity. One foot rested on the floor, only the ball of it and the toes touching down. Her leg jiggled nervously, sending a vibration up and down the limb that competed with her quickening heartbeat. Her shorn hair was helpful here as she didn’t need to restlessly push it back, but the strands were getting a little long and some of them whipped against her cheek as she moved quickly, grabbing papers and tossing others.
Camille bit her lip, fighting the urge to raise the glass around her throat to her lips. She couldn’t tell her sister, not until she was sure.
A knock at her door made her jump and nearly shriek. Her chair toppled behind her as she clapped one hand to her mouth and the other to her stomach. Her heart beat madly, threatening to jump out of her best.
“Supper, my Lady,” came a voice through the door.
Camille glanced out the windows, wondering when the gray skies had darkened with the approaching night. Swallowing hard, she shook her head and went to answer the door.
A maid, a girl she’d seen around but whose name she didn’t know, stood in the hallway with a tray in her hands. Her head was bowed as a blush stained her cheeks, but her cap was neatly placed on her head, a small bulge belying hair twirled into a bun, and her apron was neat and clean.
“Thank you,” Camille murmured as she reached to take the tray.
The maid hesitated a moment, reluctant to release the tray. Camille smiled patiently; all of them had been trained to place the meal trays within the rooms themselves so the family wouldn’t have to deal with any inconvenience. At any other time, Camille would have just called for the girl to enter and place the tray on a nearby table. But, with the documents strewn across her desk, she didn’t dare allow anyone, not even Violet, into her rooms.
After a moment’s tug of war, the girl finally relented and practically scurried down the hall after a jerky curtsey. Camille shook her head as she turned back into her rooms, balancing the tray on one hand so she could relock her door.
It was indeed suppertime, but she wasn’t yet hungry. The documents were calling for her, so she discarded the tray covered in small silver domes onto a low table and settled herself back at her desk, pulling a paper closer.
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