Chapter 5

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The day after the garden party Kat was allowed to sleep in and she took the opportunity to sleep in until she heard the servants preparing for luncheon. She washed her face in the bowl of water set up on her boudoir next to the dressing table and found that it was cold. It was most likely that the maid has heated it and filled it at the normal time, earlier in the morning. Once she was dressed and refreshed, she headed down to the dining room to see the family eating an assortment of cold meats and salads.

"Ah there is my little sister! Finally awoken from your slumber I assume?"
The baron exclaimed dramtically as Kat entered the room.

"Yes brother. I must blame the smell of food and my empty stomach otherwise I would have remained asleep for 100 years."
She joked.

The barons wife laughed at their little interaction and exclaimed with a lively expression that it was joyous to see Katherine well enough to jest with her brother after her little accident. Everyone agreed heartily but Kat just smiled. She had to remember that they were not her real family, no matter how close she was getting to them and it made her feel melancholy, but what made her more upset was the fact that she all of a sudden missed her real mother in the future.

Lady Abigail interrupted Kats musings with a shrill tone that reminded Kat that she needed to sit down and eat.
"Well this is splendid news!"

She held a letter in her hands and had her spectacles on to read it.
"What are the contents of the letter that have excited you mother?"
Adelaide replied.
Kat observed that Adelaide always seemed to become excitable when a letter arrived. She always seemed happy to engage in social interaction and seemed very close in personality to her mother, if Kat dared to say so.

"Well this letter should be definitely exciting to you my dear Adelaide. "

Adelaide's face brightened.

"Lord Richmond has invited us to dine with him tomorrow evening!"
As soon as lord Richmond's name was mentioned,  Kat saw Adelaide's smile drop. She clenched her teeth and nodded her head and replied.
"How exciting." In a dull voice before excusing herself from the table to practice her pianoforte.
~~~
The next evening saw Kat being pampered busy her maids as the dressed her in the softest dress she had ever felt. It was just a plain white and yet it still managed to look more costly than the most sumptuously decorated silk. The dress was a white satin with a gauzy muslin layer overtop. Kat found herself admiring her reflection whenever she could as she walked through the hallways of Lord Richmond's townhouse lead by a footmen. She mentally noted that as soon as she could get back to the future she would buy a dozen shortened empire line dresses as the style had become a favourite of hers but she could not commit to the undergarments and long skirts everyday.

"Baron and Baroness Ainsworth, Lady Ainsworth, Lady Katherine Ainsworth and Lady Adelaide Ainsworth."
The footman announced as the doors to the large dining hall swung open. Everyone curtseyed to one another and then sat at their allocated seating places at the table.

"Lady Adelaide, I have saved a seat especially for you next to me. "
Said Lord Richmond proudly pulling out a chair. Kat noticed Adelaide grimace at the older man (who was not ugly by any means and was actually quite handsome but she could see why Adelaide would be uncomfortable but his presence) but when she noticed Mr Johnston jr. Sitting on the other side of her she blushed and offered a shy smile, he had the same reaction to her.

"It seems your sister has affections for Mr Johnston."
Kat turned to see Lord Eric at her side with a smile on his face and speaking in hushed tones.

"Well I think they would make a handsome couple."
Kat said in a haughty tone.
"A great deal better than with Lord Richmond."

Eric laughed.
"That would cause a great scandal among the genteel and your mother would definitely not approve. Besides I think it would be fun to have a sister you can also call second cousin when we are married."
The last part he said in a hushed tone but it did not phase Kat.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"You are related to Lord Richmond?"

Eric nodded.
"He is my mother's younger cousin on his father's side, their fathers were brothers."

"How interesting."
Replied Kat as she looked to see a choreographed line of servants bringing dishes down to put in the middle of the table creating a sumptuous feat of all kinds of roast meats and vegetables. The conversation at the table became lively and she found herself whispering with Eric as they listened in on others conversations and shared inside jokes. One particular conversation seemed to interested them the most, Lady Abigail and Mr Johnston. Lady Abigail seemed intent on finding a fault in him and so interviewed him thoroughly.

"I mean this in the politest way possible, but how is it that you come to dine with us this evening Mr Johnston?"

Eric scoffed and chuckled.
"She doesn't care to be polite to him."
Kat agreed and sniggered, but quickly turned back to the conversation as to not miss anything.

"We are actually related."
Replied Mr Johnston demurely.

To this statement, Lady Abigail raised one brow in question.
"Really, how so?"

"Well Lord Richmonds late Aunt on his mother's side was my Great Aunt and she raised me for the early years of my life as my father died when I was just a boy and my mother was pregnant with my sister. She couldn't deal with a five year old who liked to run everywhere."
He chuckeckled but demeanor seemed shy and scared of Lady Abigail.

She however was not scared of him or any others thoughts on her character and so without any shame at all, she asked:
"Did you inherit anything when she died?"

Mr Johnston went red at her question.
"Just a small sum of £500. The bulk of her estate went to her estranged son who lives in India."

And Lady Abigail, again with not ashamedness, continued on.
"And what is it your family does?

"We own some small farming properties in Essex."
As soon as he answered the question he turned to a lady on his left and talked to her to avoid any more embarrassing conversation from Lady Abigail.

Lord Eric leaned towards Kat and whispered in her ear.
"Look how angry your sister looks at your mothers pushiness."
Kat turned back to where her sister sat, red faced and fists clenched, giving her mother a death glare.

It was Kats turn to whisper in Eric's ear with an over dramatic expression.
"My money's on Adelaide falling in love with Mr Johnston and having a grand romantic love affair that will scandalise everyone in the country."

They both threw their heads back and laughed but this caught the attention of the people sitting around them.

"It's nice to see you two getting along so well"
Remarked Eric's mother who sat across the table. Eric's father was nodding in agreement with an 'I told you so' face.

"Yeah Eric."
Piped in a young man who sat on the other side of him, with a cunning expression his face and a sly smirk.
"Nice to see you getting along... "

"Shut up Clifton."
Mumbled Eric, taking a large swig of his wine.

Thankfully right at that moment a servant came and announced for the men and women to split up, men to the billiards to smoke and drink whisky. Women to the withdrawing room to gossip and sew.
~~~
The night ended as the clock struck 12 and the men and women came back together to say goodbye. Kat was feeling rather good about herself, she enjoyed her conversation with Eric and she thought she was starting to enjoy being around him. She was excited to see him again even if it was only to say goodbye for a minute and she felt her pulse race as she came to the front door of the house.

There she saw Lord Eric placing his hat on his head and his coat on his shoulders and when her turned to her she smiled with a large toothy grin, but instead of waiting up for her to say goodbye, he looked her up and down and then turned to walk straight out the door.

Kat felt her heart sink and her smile fade. Maybe he was an asshole after all and she was right to deny her feelings and protect herself at the garden party.

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