Chapter Eleven continued
“You shouldn’t do everything Rose says,” Nigel said softly. “Robert is right in that. She’ll run you down like a lawn mower.”
Elaina gave him a thin smile. “Don’t worry about me, Nigel. I’m starting to learn about his mother. Please trust I know what I’m doing.”
He assessed her for a moment before giving a short, curt nod. “You have more of a backbone than most other companions.”
“I’m trying,” Elaina said softly. “Thank you, Nigel. Please let Rose know I’ll be delighted to have freshly baked brioche ready for her at nine tomorrow morning.”
Nigel gave her a deeper, more formal bow before leaving her on silent feet.
Elaina joined Robert at the table and primly spread the white linen napkin over her lap. Rose had made it quite clear that the clothes would remain behind for future companions’ use. Of course, the woman had no idea Elaina was meant to be the last. At least, if she and Robert could manage to fall in love.
She eyed her silent dinner companion as he piled potatoes on his plate, seemingly lost in thought as she was sure he couldn’t possibly eat fifteen pieces of potato. Him wanting to tell her what to do, while perhaps very well reasoned as it was his mother in question, rankled her. She’d had enough of it to last one lifetime; Robert doing it now wasn’t going to help his cause. She was beginning to think of him as a friend, but there was still a long way to go before they reached anything resembling a romantic relationship.
“Don’t you think you have enough potatoes?” Elaina asked mildly. “I think you’ve claimed all of them, and I guarantee the chicken is just as good as the potatoes.”
Robert’s hand froze mid-air. By that point, she wasn’t sure if he was spooning more potatoes onto his plate or reaching for more, but she didn’t really care. The man was choosing to be difficult. She was in no mood for having a difficult dinner companion, especially after having dodge dinner with Rose.
“I-I lost track,” Robert said as he started spooning the potatoes back into the serving dish. “I do like potatoes. Apparently, quite a bit more than I had thought.”
He offered her a weak smile. She just stared at him, not sure whether to smile back or not. He was almost as perplexing as his mother. Not for the first time, she considered jumping up and making a run for it.
Library job, she sternly told herself. Even if she did end up marrying Robert, she was adamant she would have her library job. Her dream job. The only thing she’d ever really wanted to do.
Elaina forced a smile, flashing it for a second as she turned to claim a few potatoes before he lost himself again. “Yes, I can see that.” She peered up at him as he was going about sawing off the other leg. “Don’t forget we have trifle for dessert.”
He looked up at her, looking slightly startled. “Yes. Yes, of course we do. Say, would you like to help me repaint my study?”
“Um, what?” she asked, blinking stupidly at the sudden change in conversation. “Repaint your study?”
Catch up on the story here.