•T W E N T Y - N I N E•

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♪ I tried to be someone else                                                       But nothing seemed to change ♪{30 Seconds to Mars—The Kill}

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♪ I tried to be someone else
                                                       But nothing seemed to change ♪
{30 Seconds to Mars—The Kill}


Chill-inducing dark eyes stared back at Marguerite. The same she had looked into for sixteen years, gleaming with disapproval and hatred, hidden by a thin screen of false airs of caring and a faint glimmer of a lingering trace of kindness.

The woman sat before her, snarling. "Nothing surprises me much anymore, Marguerite." Her tone was as glacial as her cruel gaze.

Her faded blue dress fanned out around her, its wide sleeves swaying as she moved her arms. Her mahogany curls were pinned up, pulled back so tight they tugged her eyes into slits.

"Sneaking around, no matter the time of day, is improper." She sipped from her gold encrusted teacup—the same she always used for her afternoon tea. And Marguerite smelled the faint liquor swirling in its liquid, mingling with hints of jasmine and vanilla.

Shuffling in her hardback chair, atop a rough cushion, Marguerite looked at each of the other plush chaises displayed around the Reading Room. All littered around the Dowager Queen's chosen sofa, the most lavish of all. And all surrounded the wood-burning fire that did little to warm the atmosphere in the room.

Said fire crackled as Clémentine snapped her fingers. "Marguerite, I need your attention when I speak." Whipping back to her, Marguerite caught her nostrils flaring. "Your behavior since your arrival has been inappropriate... though as luck has it, I am the only one who noticed it."

Marguerite's teeth gritted behind her closed mouth. "My apologies, Your Grace, but I fear I do not know what you refer to," she said, keeping her tone as melodic and polite as she could.

Clémentine's brows arched up dangerously. "Sneaking around. Did you not hear me when I first spoke?"

Marguerite glanced into her lap, her jaws in agony from holding in her thoughts.

Clémentine cleared her throat. "If you want your freedom, I expect you to be on your best behavior. You are here as a guest, do not forget that."

Marguerite lifted her chin, the corners of her mouth tugging downwards. She would never forgive Antoine for letting her get so riled up; letting her become so emotional that she took the wrong staircase when running away from him. She knew better, especially in the late afternoon—Clémentine always lingered near the Solar and Music Room at that time.

She reached for the teacup set before her, on the table separating her from Clémentine. Sipping, she pondered the depths of Clémentine's words.

Something was off.

Freedom. It was the same word Marguerite had used to explain her wishes to Antoine—and Clémentine using it now only caused more doubt to spread in her abdomen.

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