“He’s incredibly handsome.” Daphne simpered and her freckles bounced beneath her dimples as she smiled.
Marjorie noticed that Ginger looked wistfully over the edge of the balustrade and her eyes seemed to be searching for someone in particular.
Marjorie felt her heart flutter as she stood on tiptoe to see over the edge. Being short was a cross she must bear alone, as her other friends were gracefully tall and willowy. Her corset pinched painfully when she craned her neck to see who on earth the girls were talking about. “Where?” she gasped, trying to be graceful in her quest to see, but feeling incredibly awkward instead.
“There, the man with the chestnut brown hair that waves off his forehead in a most attractive manner.” Daphne fluttered her hand in front of her face in lieu of a fan as a blush suffused her pale, freckled skin with red.
All Marjorie could see was the top of a few heads from her vantage point until they stepped out of sight below the portico they stood upon. She fell back on her heels and drew a breath with a hand to her side in a hope to relieve her pinched ribs. Disappointment was overwhelming. Being the homeliest of the young ladies made her the one who was always lagging behind the others. She was the group’s wallflower and often spent most of her time during parties with their chaperone, Miss Claire, since no one seemed to want to dance with her when the outgoing and vivacious Daphne, or the mysterious and beautifully languid Ginger were around.
It wasn’t by choice. She wished that others would take notice of her. Even the visiting ladies seemed to snub their noses at her, or most commonly, ignore her completely. She was too much of a lady to stick her nose where it wasn’t wanted, and she was too shy to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
Miss Claire cast a benevolent look over her charges, her eyes sweeping them and their attire for a hair or bow out of place. She nodded with satisfaction until her eyes snagged on Marjorie’s. They held each other’s gaze, and Miss Claire offered a comforting smile. Marjorie’s one comfort was her close friendship with her chaperone. Most ladies would scoff at such a relationship with a woman of greater age who had never married and seemed to have no prospects. But Marjorie cherished their friendship and the wisdom she gleaned from Miss Claire was unparalleled. The woman had a quiet way of comforting her troubled soul and encouraging her with just a look or a smile.
Another carriage pulled slowly up the rounded gravel drive and drew to a stop before the grand entrance below. Marjorie bumped her shoulder with Ginger’s elbow as they both leaned over to catch a look. Ginger gasped and fluttered a hand to her chest, and Marjorie looked up to see a blush suffuse the girls cheeks.
“Are you alright Ginger?” she asked kindly, patting her friend on the back.
Ginger turned brown eyes that were full of light on her friend and Marjorie’s heart jumped with joy at the joy on Ginger’s face. “It’s Papa, he came.” Her words were a near whisper, but she turned and disappeared inside.
Marjorie felt so happy for her friend. She had been longing to see her father who had been traveling abroad for years on matters of state. She had been longing for him to come in answer to the invitation she had sent, but had been doubtful as he was a very busy man.
“Well, no use staying up here any longer, I might as well get to meet the handsome young men as they come in instead of just watching them arrive.” Daphne tossed her head and the one red curl that fell over her shoulder bounced. She was already bored of their game of watching. She never stayed focused on anything very long. She swept from the portico while straightening her pink dress. It was a fashion faux pas for a girl with red hair to wear pink, however, Daphne never was one to follow convention. In her mind, rules were meant to be broken. Which always gave Miss Claire quite the conundrum when it came to being the girl’s chaperone.
Miss Claire rolled her eyes for Marjorie’s benefit before giving her a wink and sweeping after Daphne, leaving Marjorie alone on the portico. Being alone, she looked both ways before walking to the side of the portico that overlooked the side of the house where the garden and grounds were located. Gathering her skirts up, she sat on the brick floor and dangled her legs around a spindle, letting her feet hang and swing, much like she had done often as a little girl. Perhaps she wouldn’t attend the party at all. What was the use? The other girls twitted her, none of the men paid her any attention and all she would do was sit watching the other’s gaiety like an old maid. Not that she resented old maids. Miss Claire was a dear, but the wish of Marjorie’s heart was to be a wife and mother, but to be one of those, she would have to be noticed. She swung her legs back and forth, delighting in the freedom to break convention, if only for a moment.
“Excuse me. . . Miss?” A masculine voice from below frightened her out of her reverie. She stuck her head between two of the spindles and looked down. A man stood below her, looking up with a confused and slightly amused look on his face. He was a young man and he held his hat in his hand and the handle of his cane was looped over his wrist.
Startled and mortified beyond belief, she pulled her legs up, her face hot with the realization her ankle had been showing and a scandalous amount of stocking-ed leg. Tears of embarrassment burned in her eyes and threatened to spill down her powdered face. She had wanted to be noticed, but not like this. How embarrassing.
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
What did you think of this prompt? Let me know in the comments below! I love hearing from my readers.
I hope you are pleased to know that Lord Willing. . . Marjorie’s story will be continued in a short story. I fell in love with these characters within a few paragraphs. I hope you did too!
By God’s Grace,