•S I X T Y - E I G H T•

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♪ Do you know what it feels to be afraid?                                            Lying there frozen with my eyes wide open ♪{Ashlee Simpson—Eyes Wide Open}

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♪ Do you know what it feels to be afraid?
                                           Lying there frozen with my eyes wide open ♪
{Ashlee Simpson—Eyes Wide Open}


A throbbing, stinging pain in Céleste's temples roused her from a fitful sleep.

As she blinked her eyes open, she sensed a presence next to her, causing her to jump into a seated position.

A woman—golden hair falling onto the pillow, and a long, navy gown sprawled out over and under the covers—lay beside her.

Marguerite.

Céleste's memory jogged as she watched the lady laying on her side, her body moving up and then back down with every heavy breath she took.

A hint of light escaped from behind the curtains and Céleste stretched, giving her heart time to relax. A few more moments from last night crept into her head, and with a tiny smile, she glanced again at the sleeping woman near her.

Maggie.

Another sharp pang thrummed in her skull, and she stared at her nightstand, wishing she had brought over a pitcher of water and a cup, to prepare for the physical pain she'd endure after all the sparkling wine from the Ball.

As if someone had read her thoughts, the bedroom door opened—Johanna slipped in, humming softly as she carried a tray with a plate of food.

But she halted, her gray eyes widening, as she saw Marguerite sleeping beside the awakened Céleste.

Céleste slid off the bed, her finger over her lips as she glared at Johanna, shushing her before she could squeal.

Johanna set the tray—eggs, ham, a slushy-looking porridge and a steaming cup of tea—onto the vanity table, and marched up to the edge of the bed. Her gaze never left Marguerite. "What... what happened here?"

Céleste hushed her again. "Do not wake her!" She waved at Johanna to accompany her away from the mattress. "She... we had a long night. Many... developments," she whispered, turning around to glimpse Marguerite. "Would you fetch her breakfast as well? She will need her strength when she awakens."

Johanna's face reddened as she nodded, hurrying into Marguerite's bedroom, and returning with a similar tray of food. "I had already dropped hers off and... I wondered where she was."

Céleste watched as the serving girl slid Marguerite's tray next to the other one. "Did she... tell you what happened to make her so... distraught?" Johanna's hands fiddled at her sides. "So much that she would not sleep in her own bed?"

Céleste shrugged. "She did, but I do not know if she wishes to speak of it yet," she said, walking up to her armoire. She extracted a pale dress and snuck behind her changing shift. "Wait a moment before rushing off, would you?" she whisper-yelled, disrobing in haste, throwing her beautiful gown over the top of the panel. "Would you... deliver this to the seamstress?"

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