My sister became a model, but not for artists seeking to paint her. By men and women who wanted to dress her in clothes and take pictures of her, whatever those are. My sister giggled when I asked what kind of clothes, saying only Mother would be most scandalized. My imagination could fill in the holes, and I must say I was a little horrified. But my sister had a delightful time and became quite well-recognized.
Dusk had fallen and still Camille worked at the lock in Madeline’s rooms. There were broken bits of things she’d found on the woman’s shelves and drawers lying all around her. But none of them had managed to help her unlock the door. The windows, unfortunately, were out of the question as Adrian had insisted on having Kyanan fortify the manor. And Madeline’s rooms had no balcony.
Camille hissed as the letter opener sliced into her finger. She dropped the thing and stuck her forefinger in her mouth, sucking at the wound, as she hurried into the bathroom for a small towel.
Pressing the towel to the cut, Camille prowled around Madeline’s rooms. She could hear Madeline and Muriel were still in the manor, sounding for all the world that nothing was amiss. She would not give them the satisfaction of banging on the door and walls, but did wonder what they told Geoffrey and Violet and even Helene about where she was.
Flinging herself down onto Madeline’s bed, she wrapped the towel around her hand and raised the sea glass to her lips. All day, she’d tried contacting her sister, but Abigail never answered. As the hours had passed, as the minutes had ticked by, her apprehension had grown. Had something happened to her? Had Madeline and Muriel gotten to her?
But, no. Adrian was protecting her. She was surrounded by castle guards. Madeline and Muriel were as barred from the castle as Camille was. There was no way the two women would have managed to get into the castle to kidnap Abigail. Camille refused to think anything worse had happened to her sister.
“Abigail?” Camille said quietly. “Abigail?”
There was no answer, so she dropped the glass back to her chest, frustration mounting in her. She refused to give in to the fear.
Checking on her finger, she saw it had already stopped bleeding. Unheedful of the impeccable way Madeline had kept her chambers, she carelessly tossed the towel onto the bed, ignoring the rumblings in her stomach.
Huffing out a breath, she turned her attention back to Madeline’s drawers and shelves. She’d already found the books from the parlor piled on a shelf, but there had been nothing to mark what the two women had wanted with them. There were, however, some stories that had kept her entertained for a couple of hours.
She settled herself at Madeline’s desk, pulling open drawers she’d already opened and rifled through. Now, she took the mass of papers and dumped them on the floor, curious to see if there were any hidden compartments.
She ran her fingers along the sides, measured the drawers, but there was nothing. Making a frustrated sound, she fell back in the chair and kicked the desk, the thud of it making her smile. She turned and used the toe of her shoe to shove the mass of papers around. She’d already found the note that had erroneously found its way into her hands, but there was nothing else of interest.
Camille tilted her head back, letting it rest against the back of the chair with a soft thud. She’d gone through Madeline’s chambers several times and now boredom was creeping in. Well, that and hunger and exhaustion.
She toyed with the glass around her neck, wondering if she should try contacting her sister again when she heard a key turn in the lock.
Camille shot to her feet, wishing she had found a weapon.
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