I awoke that next morning with the bright sunlight glistening in from beyond the hill tops. The heat of the sun washed over my body and I felt as if I had been somehow cleansed by its radiant warmth. I turned over and felt hard pressing against the edge of my forehead which caused me to open my eyes slowly. It was the leather-bound notebook Gabriella had given me, still open where I had been writing Marchioness over and over again. It all began to flood back to me. Could my recollection of last night be true?
I lightly touched my ring finger to my lips which had been kissed so passionately last night by Valentine. Valentine. I whispered the name into the early morning light. I was surprised I had let myself go that easily. I was surprised I found it so easy – so hopelessly easy – to fall in love with a man. Was this love? This must be love, for I couldn’t imagine anything greater, not ever in my life. I thought back over the night’s events: the dinner, the Summer House, the Kiss, the altercation with Dorian on the front porch and then Valentine’s arrival at my window. I couldn’t believe it. Then it came to me that Valentine had promised he would call upon me.
Quickly, I put on my floral light pink dressing gown over my white night dress and fastened it in a bow. I flung the door of my bedroom open and hurried down stairs.
“Mother!” I shouted, “Mother, I have something very important to tell you, Valentine –“ I opened the door to the dining room which was now in its usual state “Valentine is going to call upon me today.” I finished as i caught sight of my mother sitting in her usual chair, a cup of tea in her hand.
“Why, darling, that’s wonderful, I knew you’d come to your senses and court Marquess Ravenswood, he’s a fine man who will make you a happy wife. What times does he come? My mother exclaimed, delighted.
“I don’t know, he didn’t tell me. He just he would call on me tomorrow.”
“Well, we need to have the maids prepare the drawing room.” She stood up and started hurrying around busily. “Oh, Cheyenne!” she shouted at the top of her lungs “Cheyenne!” the sound of footsteps came hurrying down the main steps “Can you get Theodosia ready to be called upon?” she said was an ecstatic smile.
“Thank you, mother.” I smiled at her. I began back up the steps towards my chamber where I would choose a dress to wear for the occasion. Then it hit me. How on earth was I to explain this to Gabriella? As far as she thought, Valentine was hers. I took in a deep breath and knocked on her door. “Gabriella?” I said softly.
“Yes?” she replied.
“Can I come in?” I asked gently. She opened the door “There’s something I have to tell you.”
“Good morning to you too.” Gabriella said with a smile. She was sitting on top of her bed, still in her night gown like me. “Were you talking to yourself last night?” she smiled.
“I heard you talking at about ten o’clock last night, were you talking to yourself?” she smiled. My heart sank in my chest slightly, she must have heard me talking to Valentine.
“I was just reading out loud.” I lied.
“It was kind of nice,” she paused “it was nice hearing your voice last night through the walls, it helped me get to sleep. What was it you had to tell me?”
“Oh, um, its just, well, its just that the Marquess will be calling round shortly. Just to chat, you know.” I said, looking away from her slightly.
“Really?” she paused and then smiled. “I suppose he did seem to rather like me last night, I guess he must have done the way he spoke to my brother. Do you think he’s coming to court me, Theodosia?” She giggled.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” I said dryly, knowing full well that was not his intention.
“I guess I’ll see when he gets here.” She gave a light, joyful smile. I nodded quickly and left her room, shutting the door behind me. Cheyenne was standing just on the other side of it which made me jump slightly.
“Miss Theodosia, we have to get you ready.” Cheyenne said, half worried.
“We do.” I smiled. “I want to wear light blue today. I think he’ll like that.” I followed her back into my bedroom, shutting the door to the landing.
“Miss, I saw a young man at your window last night.”
“He was leaning in for quite a while and left with a lantern.” I stayed silent. “Was that the Marquess?” I paused a moment.
“Yes, it was, but you must promise not to tell a soul. He came to give me my book back.”
“I won’t tell anyone, as long as that the only reason he came.” She giggled.
“It was nothing like that.” I sniggered.
“Good, because that would ruin your reputation. Even if it would be fun.” Her voice trailed off as she started to dress me in my petticoats and corset.
“Imagine what it’d be like with someone like Valentine.” Sighed
“I best not or I might become uncontrollable when he arrives.” She laughed “Grab onto the bedpost, I’m going to lace you up.” I did so and took a deep breath in.
“What is it like, Cheyenne?” I questioned her quietly.
“On if he truly loves you or not. Oh, and whether or not his thingy will behave.” She laughed gaily.
“What? How could it not behave?”
“Sometimes it just flops, anyway, cross that bridge when you come to it.” She laughed again. I laughed too. “They don’t include that bit in books,” she started to pull my corset in tighter “Shakespeare never writes in a line where Romeo says that, as much as he loves Juliet, he has to have a moment to get everything standing to attention, that doesn’t look very romantic on stage.” We laughed almost hysterically. She began to put my dress over my head.
“What are you supposed to do if that happens?”
“Leave him to it. Oh, above all, don’t laugh at him, they hate that, even if it does look quite funny.” She laughed again. The door was suddenly thrust open.
“Girls, I’m glad you’re having fun, but the Marquess’s carriage is just come into view on the path, he’ll be here in a few minutes.” My mother said in alarm.
“That’s okay, I’m ready. Cheyenne, when he gets here let him in.” I smiled, absolutely ecstatic to see him again.