Six (1)

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Izzy hopped on the pavement and took in a deep breath as the footman helped Vita get out of the car behind her. The trees of Grosvenor Square wore their green foliage and the grand brick houses were being readied by their servants for the Season. They removed sheets from the furniture and opened windows wide, chasing away the stagnancy of winter.

Izzy looked up at the white and red façade of her father's Georgian house, then turned around to face the central garden. Most of the rich families must have already arrived from their country estates and settled in the capital for their three-months stay, but she was glad this was her permanent home.

Vita's maid helped the footman with the luggage, and Izzy looped her arm with her friend's before dragging her inside the house.

"You'll be pleased to know Father has had a bathroom installed on each floor, as well as radiators in each room and hallway," she said. "We don't need to worry about being woken up by a maid lighting the fire in the bedroom chimney at an ungodly hour now."

Vita nodded vaguely, gazing around her in silence. Although Weatherly was way passed its grandeur, she was still hard to impress. They made their way up the skylit staircase to the first floor.

"We also have electric lighting," Izzy went on, "new mirrors in the ballroom and new fitted carpet in the drawing room, imported from Brussels."

"You sound like an estate agent," Vita said. "I'm not looking to buy the place, you know."

Unsure whether she was joking or not, Izzy let out a slight laugh. Since Vita's return, she liked to pretend everything was back to normal, and acted as if it was indeed. They walked up to the second floor, and Izzy led Vita to her own suite of rooms. She opened the door with a flourish, and stepped inside.

"You remember my bedroom," she said, checking that the rosewood sofa was free of clutter and plumping a pillow on her four-poster bed.

She pointed at the room next door, "Your bedroom is still next door, with the dressing room next to it – your maid will sleep there – then the bathroom. This is going to be so much fun!"

She clapped her hands in excitement, while Vita surveyed the stuccoed walls, the marble chimney and the ornamented ceiling, expressionless. Eager to get at least a smile out of her, Izzy opened a window and beckoned her closer.

They both leaned onto the windowsill and peered out. Izzy pointed at the south-east corner of the square, where half a dozen sports cars were parked outside a house.

"Do you see those cars?"

"Yes," Vita replied, an eyebrow raised quizzically.

"That's where the Bentley Boys live," Izzy said, her eyes sparkling. "The racing drivers, you know? They rent the flats in that corner and they have those crazy day-long parties that everyone tries to get an invite to."

A mischievous smile tucked at the corner of Vita's mouth. "Then we positutely have to get ourselves invited!"

Izzy laughed. "We do!"

"Shall I start unpacking, my lady?"

Vita's maid stood on the bedroom's threshold, with the suitcases at her feet.

"Yes, Louise," Vita said, abandoning the windowsill.

She grabbed a suitcase and led her maid with the rest of the luggage into the dressing room.

"But," Izzy followed, flustered, "I'm sure your maid can manage alone. Tea will be served in the drawing room anytime now."

Vita waved her concerns away. "No one will mind, will they? Your mother isn't even here."

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