Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Secret Blogfest

This selection from Courtly Christmas is for the Secret Blogfest hosted by Tara at Midnight Ink. My protagonist's secret is not anything big. In fact, she makes it seem more illicit than it was by not sharing. I will not share a bigger secret in the "I Can't Say It" Blogfest on July 7th.

This is a section from chapter 3 of Courtly Christmas. Mary is waking up in her room after the first night of Christmas revelry. Eleven more nights to go!

“It is not like you to laze about in bed.” Girard entered Mary’s room without any concern for his welcome. It might not be appropriate for a maiden to be alone in her bedchamber with a man, but then again, no one blinked an eye when Girard was the man in question.
He threw open the window, letting the gray winter light into the sleepy room. One look at Mary had him perched on the corner of the bed. “Oh, you have something to tell me.” With a wicked glimmer in his eyes, he leaned forward conspiratorially. “Surely you will not force me to glean the facts from servant’s gossip?”
“I am too low to be worthy of gossip.”
“So there is something to tell?”
Mary propped herself up on her pillow with only a cursory glance at her nightshift to make sure she was covered. “There is not much to tell…” Wasn’t there? Mary could not think how to begin as she locked her sleepy gaze with Girard’s mischievous one. No, Girard would surely find the story too boring to be titillating, but somehow she couldn’t bring herself to put it to words. Words would only cheapen it, make it less somehow.
“Since you are making me guess,” Girard tapped his finger against his lips, “I would say that you met a handsome young man and behaved badly. How close am I to the truth?”
Mary let out a low sigh. “Very close. I did meet a man, but I did not behave badly. Not really.”
“Well, that is a shame. Why ever not?”
Mary had to wonder at that. Why hadn’t she? The opportunity was certainly there. Then again, last night’s interlude had not been exactly a seduction; it had been more innocent. Sweet.
Girard sat silent a moment longer, watching Mary muddle through her thoughts. “Mary, you are a beautiful woman. Your eyes sparkle, your smile is contagious, your dark hair is silky and thick…”
“Girard, it almost sounds like you are describing yourself.” Mary interrupted with a playful laugh. “Not counting the ‘woman’ bit.”
“True, in which case I should add stylish and charming, Oh ,yes – talented.” Mary nodded her agreement, not sure whether or not Girard had included her in that description. “But my point is that you are a very eligible young lady, fortune withstanding. Why do you never engage in potential courtships? Or even flirtations?”
“If you think I do not flirt, you must be duller than I thought – I flirt with you all the time.” Mary jested in response, but she knew what he meant. More to the point, he knew she understood his tack.
“You hide your light under a bushel, staying in your mistress’ shadow. You cannot live your life content with simply being a noblewoman’s companion. Surely you should do something for yourself. Why not behave badly with a young man?” He sat beside her on the bed, all semblance of joking put aside. “You are twenty-six? Practically an old maid. What have you got to lose?”
With an exaggerated sigh and a determination to bring the conversation back into the realm of playful jests, Mary began, “Very well. For you, I will behave badly tonight…”
“No! That is just my point. Behave badly or don’t. Either way, do it for yourself – not for someone else’s sake.” Girard took her hands in his as his eyes met Mary’s; she could see his genuine concern. Though the conversation was uncomfortable, it was nice to have someone caring for her needs. “Just remember, it is Christmastide and an excellent excuse to do whatever you wish, be it to eat an excess of marchepane, dress up as the ambassador from Sweden, or steal a kiss in the dark with a stranger. Now is the time when no one will notice because they will be doing the exact same thing.” Girard squeezed gently and then let go over Mary’s hands as the serious moment had passed and he returned to his playful self. “So, who was the gentleman from last night? And what exactly do you mean when you say did not ‘really’ behave badly. Details, if you please."
“Very well.” In the time Mary took to consider what she would and would not discuss, Girard had risen and crossed the room. “Since you do not wish to share your story with your dearest friend,” with one long fingered hand, he gestured grandly to himself, “You leave me no alternative but to be on my way to a more welcoming lady.”
With that, Girard left the room with a swooping bow.


Andrew Rosenberg said...

So Mary has a secret huh? Wait 'til the rumor mill starts running.
Nice job!

Unknown said...

Hehe funny how people always think secrets are more serious than they are if they know they exist but not what they're about... (at least I'm assuming it isn't a serious thing?).

Well done.

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