Chapter 31

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Amelia was feeling confident, ready for her acting debut. Slightly antsy with anticipation, she struggled to sit still at the breakfast table. She kept eliciting scolding looks from her sister, who, by the pallid color of her skin, looked as though she was completely disgusted by the prospect of eating.

Amelia giggled to herself.

Elizabeth has always been rather dramatic, the serious kind of dramatic. People always think that I'm the dramatic one, but it's only because Elizabeth is so quiet.

"Amelia," Elizabeth hissed, leaning toward her, "could you please sit still? You are acting so obvious."

"Elizabeth, could you please relax? You are acting simply peevish," Amelia returned.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes.

Papa glanced up, looking over the morning newspaper.

"Young ladies, please," Aunt Charlotte interjected, "you're much too old to act out in this manner."

"Yes, ma'am," both girls mumbled in unison.

The four of them were seated at the table, trying to go about their usual morning routine. Mr. Stanton had not as yet joined them, but Amelia was ready to do her part. In fact, she looked at the situation as an opportunity to liven things up a bit.

As if on cue, Mr. Stanton entered the breakfast room, taking a seat across from Amelia, and just to the left of Papa.

"Good morning, Peter, ladies," Mr. Stanton nodded to each of them.

They each acknowledged him, and returned their attention to the plates before them, and Papa to his newspaper.

Silence ensued. Amelia was itching to begin conversing, but she didn't want to anger the others. She'd wait and jump in at the opportune moment.

Mr. Stanton asked, "Has anyone seen my son and Mr. Callaway? It's not like them to be late to a meal."

Papa spoke up, "Ah, yes, they left word with Thomas that they departed early this morning to travel to Mr. Callaway's home. I believe they went to gather some personal belongings, and to see about Mr. Callaway's parents, who have just recently returned home from abroad."

"Oh, I see."

More silence. Amelia felt as if she might burst.

"Miss Montgomery," Mr. Stanton addressed Elizabeth, "Are you feeling alright? You look rather peaked this morning."

Elizabeth looked up, almost guiltily, shifting her eyes around the table before answering. "Um, I'm alright, thank you, Mr. Stanton."

Mr. Stanton grinned at Elizabeth slightly, "You must be missing Mr. Callaway already, eh?" He winked.

Had it been possible, Elizabeth would have paled further; she looked as though she wanted to hide beneath the table.

Lizzie needs my help, here's my chance!

Amelia laughed musically, "Oh, Mr. Stanton, you mustn't tease her so; you know my dear sister is terribly shy!"

Mr. Stanton shifted his glance to Amelia, amusement crossing his face.

Amelia continued before he could say a word, "Of course, I do know for a fact that she is rather fond of Mr. Callaway, she's just too modest to say so. Don't you think for one minute that I haven't noticed the looks they send each other across a room," she shook her finger slightly for emphasis.

"Amelia," Elizabeth warned, under her breath, and tried to swat at her sister under the table.

Papa and Aunt Charlotte exchanged a look from across the table. Amelia pretended not to notice. Mr. Stanton's gaze slid back and forth between the two sisters.

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