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♪ I settled down, a twisted up frown disguised as a smile, well                                                                        you would have never known ♪{Paramore—Careful}

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♪ I settled down, a twisted up frown disguised as a smile, well
                                                                        you would have never known

Her heeled shoes swept down the wide, carpeted steps. Her right palm grazed the wooden banister, bright eyes gazing around, chin tilted as high as she could muster.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, Marguerite's left hand rose, her gloved finger pointing to the doorway before her. "I wish for the parlor to be closed. With a pale blue curtain, perhaps, to match the wallpaper in this hallway."

She let her hands fall to her sides and pressed down on her burnt orange dress, hating the way it enhanced her hips. She longed for simpler, smaller dresses with less frill, and hoped the approaching nineteenth century would put a stop to the excessive fashion statements of her fellow nobles.

The man beside her nodded, jotting a few words in a notebook, his quill shaking with each movement.

Marguerite turned to her right and stared at the ground. The dull, worn-out red carpet stared back, its design old-fashioned, its edges frayed, almost burnt. "Have we not received word from the castle suppliers about replacing this?" She motioned at the rug as if it were a corpse, decaying on the floor of her Academy.

Her companion lifted his gaze from his notebook and his eyebrows soared up. "Ah, I thought we had. My apologies, Miss. Would you like it removed before the Ceremony tomorrow?"

Marguerite glared at the tapestry so much it burned her eyes. "Yes. We have no time to have it cleaned and dried. Do we have others that are decent enough to display for our guests?"

The man nodded, scribbling more notes in a hurry.

They continued their walk past the carpet and towards the Ballroom; a few paces down and to the left, across from the kitchen door under the stairs.

A butler pulled the doors open, allowing her to pass. "We must polish the doorknobs. The wife of the Viscount of Malaros has an eye for dust and dirt in the most peculiar places. With his daughter graduating tomorrow... we mustn't have any faux pas."

The decoration committee was already underway, and Marguerite halted in the door-frame, watching them work. A grand chandelier in the center illuminated the room. Flames from the fireplaces on either end flickered in the gentle wind. The large floor-to-ceiling windows lining the wall opposing her were open.

Crisp, cool air wavered in, slinking under Marguerite's skin.

With a quiet sigh, she imagined the wooden floors; cold, refreshing to the touch. How she longed to run barefoot on them, to prance around without a care. To dance with a handsome stranger. How she wished she could still daydream.

But her times for imagination and play had been over for almost three years. She wasn't allowed to let her wishes get the best of her.

"The windows must be closed two hours before the guest's arrival," she told the man, who had also stepped into the area.

The Golden Girl (#2 in the GOLDEN series) ✔Where stories live. Discover now