Emily was sweet and young, a perfectly effusive young lady, but Mother constantly called her uncivilized and drove her from the Hall in tears. I never really got to know her since she was only my companion for three days before Mother had had enough. I planted the __ for her out of duty.
Robert yanked hard at a weed. He wasn’t sure where they were all coming from. It felt like he spent every other day weeding the garden that grew more weeds than roses.
He sat back on his heels, glaring at the green stalk that bobbed and wove and taunted him for not being able to pull it out.
“I swear, this garden hates me sometimes,” Robert muttered.
“What makes you say that?” Nigel asked, his voice mild and pleasant, but Robert still caught an undercurrent of amusement.
“These stupid things grow like…like…weeds!” He threw his hands up. “Didn’t we just weed this entire garden the other day?”
“No, sir,” Nigel said.
Robert’s head whipped around. “What?”
Nigel tilted his head in one direction. “We weeded that corner of the garden and then you hurried off, muttering something about Miss Elaina.”
Robert frowned. He had no memory of that, but it was probably true. She was on his mind a lot lately, with her eyes full of dreams and her smile that bestowed, well, maybe not love, but definitely affection. Especially now. He wondered how tea with his mother was going.
Robert sighed and pulled off his gardening gloves. He sat back in the dirt and rested his arms on top of his knees, the gloves dangling limply from one hand. “Elaina and I are going to paint my study.”
“Very good, sir. I’ll order the paint. What color this time?”
“Maroon,” Nigel repeated flatly.
“I see. Once we’re finished here, I’ll order it right away.”
“Thank you, Nigel.”
Robert pulled his gloves back on and went back to work tugging and pleading the weed to come loose. He adored his garden; it was easily his favorite place in Roderick Hall, but he really hated the weeding. He was loathe to count the number of rose plants he’d planted since his first companion, but even he had to admit the garden seemed to be growing at an exponential rate.
He gave the weed a final hard tug and suddenly found himself sprawled on his back, blinking up at the white clouds drifting across the blue sky, a long green weed in his hand. Nigel’s face appeared in his field of vision and Robert blinked at him a few times, not moving.
Catch up on the story here.