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 Beningborough House: "Tea and Music", 4/15; am - Damien R and Juliet L
Juliet Landon (Izzie)
Posted: Mar 29 2010, 06:30 PM


Lady Juliet Landon


Group: Members
Posts: 356
Member No.: 141
Joined: 7-January 09



Monday morning found Lady Juliet Landon fast asleep in her bed as the sun rose dangerously high to marking the noon hour. Anne, Juliet’s maid, stood at the end of Juliet’s bed, wondering about the best way to wake the girl. “Lady Juliet. Lady Juliet,” she whispered in Juliet’s ear, hoping she would be heard.

“Mmmmgrhg,” was Juliet reply as she sleepily opened one brown eye to see Anne standing beside her. “What is it, Anne,” Juliet grumbled into her pillow, cursing the daylight and wishing she could sleep for the rest of the day.

Anne mentioned the time to Juliet, and the young debutante was suddenly sitting straight up in bed. “Noon?!” she exclaimed wildly, glancing around her room for something to wear. Lord Torrington had mentioned that he might call on her today, and it would not do for him to come to the house to be informed that Juliet was still lolling about in bed.

Juliet dressed quickly, all the while thinking about Damien. She wondered if he enjoyed her company as much as she did his, and if he liked her – she then thought that perhaps she was getting ahead of herself. However much she enjoyed his company, she was sure that he only harboured insincere, flirtatious feelings towards her. He had mentioned something about how the Duchess thought that he was incapable of knowing when a lady was showing him affection. Or something to that effect. Juliet couldn't quite remember. Still, she was quite pleased with her appearance, and admired her dress (a simple moss green and gold striped day dress, with puffed sleeves) with her brown hair pulled up and curled.

She made her way down the slippery marble steps of Beningborough House, absentmindedly wondering when the carpet would arrive for it. She peeked into the morning room, only to discover that it was empty. Grabbing a pastry from the table, she decided to make her way to the drawing room instead, where their pianoforte was temporarily situated, until the music room could be completed.

Quickly eating her stolen flaky pastry, Juliet ran her fingers over the pianoforte. She could play the instrument well enough, and experimented with a few scales, singing along with them, before finally practicing in earnest. Lady Viola's musicale was the following day, and while Juliet knew her piece, she still wanted to make sure that it was perfect for the following evening.

****
Damien awoke early that morning, and having tended to several matters that required his attention (such as breakfast with his sister) he had left Beaumont House with a jaunty step. He had been glad to meet his cousin - Miss Beacham was a pretty little thing. He wondered if she knew Lady Juliet, and was surprised how often Juliet's name repeated itself in his thoughts. It must be the impending dinner with the Tolsons, he thought to himself. He paused in midstep, not quite sure where to go next. He supposed, the day after a ball, one was to call on the hostess. But since the Pritchards were such close friends, Damien rather felt excused from such a need. And besides, Daphne would call on Lady Emerson, fufilling the responsibility factor. Getting on his horse, he made his decision. Lady Juliet it was. Although, he still had to stop at a florist on the way. Damien had not been making morning calls to London's Ladies for quite a while and he was glad to have a semblance of familiarity at his old florist, who was glad to see him again. Quickly, he made his request, and bouquet in hand, headed straight for Beningborough house. He arrived in less than a quarter of an hour, swinging down from the horse and throwing the reins to a waiting stable boy before climbing the steps of the house. He had no calling cards on him, but the butler must have recognized him from last week and allowed him entry. His voice echoed through the familiar carpet-less foyer, "I'm here to see Lady Juliet?" He hid the bouquet behind his back. Surprises were, after all, more fun.

Rhys sighed to himself as the bell at Beningborough House clanged, announcing the arrival of yet another gentleman, most likely. While Lady Elizabeth had been receiving visitors for a full hour before her sister had woken up, Lady Juliet could now be heard singing in the drawing room, and playing the pianoforte. He opened the front door, and saw the young man who had been at Beningborough House the week before - the one who had fallen from his horse right outside their door. "Good afternoon, my lord," Rhys intoned deeply, stepping aside for Lord Torrington to enter. "I shall inform Lady Juliet of your arrival," he said. Rhys knocked on the door to the drawing room, opening it when bid to enter, making the younger Landon daughter's singing louder in the front foyer.
The music cut off abruptly as Rhys explained that she had a visitor, and Juliet grinned widely as she discovered who it was. "Yes, I will receive him at once," she said decisively, and asked that a tray of tea be brought in as well. While she had no idea if Damien even wanted tea, she was famished, and could do with some of those small sandwiches that cook always made. Rhys returned to the foyer. "Lady Juliet will receive you in the drawing room, my lord," he said, leading the way.

Damien was grinning widely. Juliet was singing. He had never heard her sing. Well, the only women he had heard sing were opera singers, Daphne (who was horrible) and Natalie (who was even worse). She was... not too bad. Really. The same grin was still plastered on his face as he walked in, rather awkwardly with the tall plant behind him, the coral tips of the leaves sticking out above his head. Darn him for picking such an inconvenient specimen. Couldn't he have picked a bunch of roses or something? That said, he abolished the thought of even bowing and instead said 'Hallo!" before swinging the plant out from behind him.
"For you." He finished rather sheepishly; the note that was clipped onto the arrangement was swinging rather haphazardly from one of the leaves having survived a dashing horse-ride over to Beningborough House.

"And I hope you enjoyed the Ball." he added, trying to say something halfway appropriate. He wanted to also tell her he was glad she danced with him and didn't dance with Lord Henry, but he gathered that that wasn't appropriate at all.

Juliet stood as Lord Torrington entered the room, and immediately broke out into a grin as wide as his. She dropped a neat curtsey before reaching out for the flowers – plant – that he had brought her. They were tall, and quite like anything she had ever seen before. "They're beautiful!" she exclaimed happily. She thanked him, and carefully placed them down on a side table, the tall leaves swaying slightly. "Please, do sit," she said, motioning for him to take the couch, while she took the settee. "I apologize for the haphazardness of our home," she said, twisting the fabric of her skirt in one hand nervously. "We're still in the process of redecorating," she explained, wondering where the maid was with the tea.

"And as for the Ball, I enjoyed myself immensely," she continued. "It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I can only hope that our little dinner on Friday can hold a candle to such an event!" she smiled, giddy about the impending descent of her family on London. "I hope that you also found the ball enjoyable?" she inquired politely, wondering if he had danced with any other ladies.

As Juliet chattered away, Damien wondered vaguely that if Juliet had children, would they have such bright smiles. Surely this must not be a characteristic of the Landon family and just her own trait, since Elizabeth (who was her sister, he thought) did not have as large a smile. Such a large smile would look quite scary on another lady, he was sure, but when it was mirroring his own grin, on Juliet, it was quite...perfect.

"I thought they matched your dress yesterday." He said quite proud of himself for remembering such a connection. Well at least he did have a reason for getting such an odd looking bouquet. At that thought, he blanched - "Not- Not that I mean you look as odd as this does, but the color, and the flowers, and the orange.." he amended hurriedly, gesturing at the bouquet as he took a seat. Lord. Why was he in such a flurry today?!

At that, the maid returned with the tea, and he was glad for the interruption. When the young girl left, he told her, quite more calmly then when he had entered. "I don't think you can compare a ball to a dinner." He said thoughtfully. When it came to balls, the Emerson’s went all out. Hardly any other family did so- they were very generous. "A ball is a ball, and a dinner is a dinner. And since your little event is a dinner, I should think it will be the best dinner this Season"

"They do indeed," Juliet said, slightly impressed that he remembered her dress, even after that giant upset with Lady Julianne and her misplaced glass of lemonade on her train. The thought of such an action still seethed in Juliet's mind. She certainly hoped that Lady Julianne was not attending Lady Elizabeth's tea this afternoon. That would be quite too much to handle. As Damien struggled to make amends, Juliet laughed lightly. "I take no offense," she said truthfully. "I am quite fond of being unique. I didn't see many other debutantes dressed in red and orange last evening," she commented with a devilish grin. "Though Miss Pritchard certainly wins the prize for most daring dress," she continued, mentally making a note to ask Charity how she had managed to get away with such a feat!

"Miss Pritchard's dress..." Damien said with a sigh. The conversation with the Duke and Duchess that mornind had almost revolved around that dress. "That dress is going to be the talk of the town for the entire season. Daphne reckons she shouldn't have done such a thing, and Philip agrees. I would have to agree too- I've seen the number of eyes on that back of hers. Doesn't really leave much to imagination." He shared with Juliet honestly. It was Charity's debut, he would suppose that anyone who had a chance to watch Charity grow up would know that she didn't mean to be trouble. She just was. And she had a good heart. But sometimes…the girl just needed to think of her reputation!

"Not that I'm concerned about talk and fluff." Damien was beginning to sound like Mrs. Quartermaine. "I wonder if Lady Emerson has had a talk with her yet. I would imagine Miss Pritchard, from what I know of her, to be still gloating over her supposed success. Well, if one looks on the bright side, she has, at least garnered the attention for Society News, unlike some other deb we both know!" At this, Damien grinned brightly at his companion.

"Knowing Charity, that was the entire point of the dress," Juliet pointed out, taking a sip of her tea. "Why else would one wear a dress with almost no back to it?" she inquired, grinning for a moment. "Though it most certainly has ruffled a few feathers amongst society, I can assure you of that. My mother had an entire monologue about it in the carriage ride home last night," she said, laughing at the memory of a shell-shocked Marchioness. One didn't see one of those everyday, that was certain! "I do agree with you about her reputation, though...it seems, however that her reputation has already been firmly established as one of the more 'wild' debs, though," she shrugged. As far as Juliet could see, Charity had pulled off her stunt perfectly - society had expected nothing less of her, though they would never admit it out loud.

She laughed at Damien's mention of society news. "Oh yes, I haven't checked the papers yet this morning," Juliet remembered. "I don't know if Lady Julianne managed to get more than two lines about her this time..." she mused, brow furrowed. She shook her head. "Perhaps it is because I have spent far too much time in the country, but I will never understand why she is so upset about a lack of her name in the news. It's just gossip, for heaven's sake! I'm quite sure that Lady Julianne will make an advantageous marriage, with or without her name in ink," she said, almost grumbling.

"Well yes. Miss Pritchard does everything to her liking. I can only hope her husband is as accepting! And good luck to him! Certainly his life would never be boring!" Lady Juliet was another one he would say would never have a boring marriage. He imagined what waking up next to her everyday would be like. A new adventure possibly. Especially if it was in a new exotic location. South East Asia maybe?

Damien snapped right out of his daydream when the News Sheet was mentioned. "Oh. Daphne was reading it at breakfast today. Charity got a full mention, she said. And Lady Julianne too, for her ostentatious diamonds. And this deal with Sarah Ainsley." He said with a frown. He didn't know any Sarah Ainsley, so the significance was lost on him. Except that Charity mentioned something about a Christmas party while they were chatting. "There was some talk about your costume, but I don't exactly remember."

"Her diamonds. Of course," Juliet said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "Well, maybe she will stop trying to sabotage my every move now," she said, finding a silver lining to all of this. "She has what she wanted, so now she can leave me in peace." Even as Juliet said this, she knew full well that Lady Julianne wouldn't stop until she was named Incomparable. And then had a better husband than Juliet. And then had a better wedding than Juliet. And then had more children than Juliet, or something equally ridiculous. While Juliet had no problem with fighting for something she believed in, she couldn't quite muster the strength to become thoroughly infuriated at Lady Julianne. Her actions just came off as petty, more than anything else.

"Well, a mention is perfectly suitable for me," she said brightly. "And as for this Sarah Ainsley...I shall have to have a chat with Charity this afternoon," she mused, wondering what Lady Julianne's problem was with Miss Ainsley. "Besides, I'm sure that Lady Julianne and I will be in competition with each other again for a spot on Society News after Friday. I just hope she doesn't try to do anything to ruin Charlotte's dinner," she suddenly thought, biting her lip for a moment. Even if she did, Juliet had the backing of her entire family. She would very much like to see Lady Julianne try to pull a stunt while under the watchful glare of Juliet's brother Richard.

"I'm sure Lady Julianne wouldn't do anything as stupid as that." Damien replied bluntly, languidly crossing his legs. This chat with Juliet seemed to settle into a comfortable space, as if they had known each other for years. "Not with your guest list. Daphne said she was coming, wasn't she? And Philip as well. If anything, Julianne's brother, Wycombe, would have many things to say to her if she causes a scene…"
Damien wondered if the other girl would. To see such acts of spitefulness against another riled up his protective instincts. He imagined if Natalie was in Juliet's shoes and gave a sudden scowl. He literally could tear another person up, limb from limb if his family was threatened. All that pent up energy, given an outlet, could be explosive. He only hoped no one pushed Tally in that direction. In explanation for his odd reaction, he calmed down. "I was just wondering what I would do if someone treated my sister like that during her debut."

"Hopefully not," Juliet murmured, more to herself than anything else. A comfortable silence passed between the two, until Juliet noticed the look on Damien's face. She froze, teacup halfway to her mouth, and regarded her caller with a somewhat stunned look of alarm. She could have flattered herself by believing that perhaps he was thinking of ripping Lady Julianne limb from limb in defense of her, but protecting his younger sister made much more sense. "I understand," she said with a nod and a small smile. "My youngest sister is only 11, and yet I wonder what her own debut will be like...and if anyone tries to smudge her reputation or personality…I would imagine my family would stand up for her,” she smiled, thinking of little Amy, all grown up. Juliet didn't know where she would be in 8 years' time, but she hoped that it would allow her time to smite anyone who got in the way of her sister's debut. "How old is your sister?" she asked.

"Tally- Natalie is seventeen." He said. "Debuting next year. Charity's rather fond of her, so a part of me is rather hoping she remains in town the next season; then at least Tally would have more friends." Damien himself would probably be around, that however depended on the circumstances surrounding his business and his life. Daphne hinted that she might not, with yet another piece of 'Good News' along the way. "I was not in town when Daph made her bow to Society, she is a mere two years younger. And I don't think I cared. But now I know how Emerson feels, with two ladies in the family out this year, he must have been in a fine snit over the dress." Lord knows he would have had a heart attack if Tally showed up in a dress like that.

"Well, I hope that she has a marvelous debut. And in any case, I should probably be in London for next Season, so I shall be sure to befriend her as soon as I can," Juliet assured Damien warmly. In truth, she had no idea if she would be in Town or not come next April...who knew what would happen between now and then? But Juliet was in no rush to marry, and if a second Season is what it took to find happiness, then so be it.

Unfortunately, her mother had other plans for her. Something that Juliet was well aware of.

"Then I can only thank you in advance." Damien said, taking a sip of his tea. "I believe I will remain until next Season. My mother, I believe, will join us then, and will not forgive me if I do not accompany her, despite my father being around." Wishing to move onto another topic, he cast around for ideas. "So...Have you received any more…mundane floral arrangements?"

"I’m not sure," Juliet admitted with a blush. "I haven't checked the deliveries from this morning - I'm afraid I slept in quite late," she said, another blush colouring her cheeks. "In any case, I'm quite certain that they will be mundane in contrast to your exotic contribution," she said with a grin and a nod towards the towering plant that was sitting on the table next to her.

"Well, every young lady should delight in receiving flowers, I hope, as much as we gentlemen like sending them." Then he wrinkled his nose. "Actually, that might be incorrect. I dislike sending flowers- it is so much more difficult to have to send many bouquets. I often wonder if girls chat about their flowers and occasionally discover the same arrangement repeated by the gentleman. Luckily, I'm only in the habit of sending one bouquet-a-ball."

Juliet laughed lightly as Damien amended his previous statement. "I would think that it would become quite tedious over time to pick out a different bouquet for each partner," Juliet agreed. "And I can't say that we chat about what our bouquets look like - mostly we just like to talk about how many we have received," she grinned. "And I am doubly honoured that not only did you hand deliver your bouquet, but that you picked me as the sole recipient for this ball," Juliet said solemnly, with a hint of a smile, and bowed her head to Damien.

"Very tedious." Damien said with a matching grin. "Will you attend Lady Viola's Musicale then?" Damien had been invited, but with not many acquaintances, he was wondering if he would make a show of it. "Daphne has been invited, and by that extension, me, but I have yet to decide if I shall go," he said to her. "It appears that my cousin, Miss Beacham, is to sing."

"Indeed, I shall be in attendance," Juliet confirmed for him. "I shall also be performing - you arrived just as I was practicing my piece," she admitted with a shy smile.
"I shall have to have your sister introduce me to your cousin," she said, taking another sip of tea with a smile. "It would be lovely to know another performer tomorrow night."

Damien was now fully intent on going to this musicale. After all, it would be crass to fully know that Lady Juliet was attending and not go, leaving her without many friends at a party. "Well, you would know Miss Pritchard and Miss Hampton, and Lady Julianne." He said with a smirk. "I heard she plays the piano as well." Damien had the fortune to have this conversation with Daphne at breakfast, and his sister had kindly obliged him with the information.

"Ahh," Juliet said, feeling foolish for a moment. "I wasn't aware that Charity and Miss Hampton were to perform," she admitted, a blush rising to her cheeks. "I myself am not...overly fond of performing. Thus I have been keeping myself away from the preparations for the musicale," she told Damien.

"If it is of any help, I shall be there to give you moral support." he said leaning backwards. "What would you be performing? Just so I know to pretend to be impressed.." He finished off with a teasing note.

Juliet smirked for a moment at Damien's comment. "Se tu m'ami," Juliet replied. "It's an Italian aria, and one that I know quite well," she said, slightly smug. "So you shall have every reason to be impressed," she teased back.

"Ah." He said, giving Juliet a clap of his hands- just one clap, and a smirk. "Neither of my sisters are musically inclined, but I have had the chance to listen to that particular aria when I was in Rome…you will forgive me if I still find the need to 'pretend' my being impressed." He said in a tone of mock snootiness, softened by that joking smile.
"Hmph," was Juliet's reply, followed by a slow smile. "While I have no doubt that whatever lady sang that aria in Rome will outperform me many, many times over, I think I shall do a fine job of it all on my own. At least I hope I will," she added, not wanting to get too pretentious, and then possibly muddle it all up.

"As for Lady Julianne. I don't find I have any preference for her, although, Daphne met her during the ball, and rather found her to be amiable, especially to Miss Beacham. I told her about the lemonade, and she is concerned for you. You are alright, aren't you?"

The subject of Lady Julianne sent Juliet reaching out for another tea sandwich. There had been no physical damage done to her - only her dress. Was she angry? Of course. The attack had been unprovoked, as far as Juliet was concerned. She saw no need to counter-attack and start a full out war, but Charity certainly seemed like a good friend and ally to have in a time such as this.

"I will be fine," she affirmed for Damien, taking a bite of her sandwich. "As long as this doesn't result in full warfare, I believe I shall survive," she said with a smile. "Your sister is kind to think of me - and to think, we met over a stubbed toe!" she laughed lightly.

"Did you? She never explained how you met." Damien said thoughtfully. "I merely assumed that you were friends of the family or somewhat…” For that moment Damien was rather confused. Daphne had been singing Juliet's praises all morning for her to have JUST met the girl. Did that mean...no. Daphne couldn't be match making already! He had just arrived in town!

"Oh, your sister and my mother are old acquaintances. I just happened to meet the Duchess before my mother had a chance to properly introduce me," Juliet laughed. "I was lost in Almack's, and came upon your sister in one of the ladies' retiring rooms. I tried to make a stealthy escape so as not to disturb her, ended up stubbing my toe on the door, and…here we are," she laughed again, oblivious to Damien’s thoughts.

"On another note, how are the preparations for the Dinner going?" Damien asked, changing the subject. He remembered that he had offered to help with the menu and decorations, having actually been to India. "Since you are looking at a seasoned traveler to India, and since I am particularly in a gracious mood, I might let you pick my brain." He grinned.

"I believe we have the menu set," Juliet said, thinking back to what her mother had said the other day. "I believe there is some kind of curried potatoes involved," she said slowly, unable to recall the exact conversation. "But your advice on decorations would be most welcome! All of the furniture at Curzon Street - that is to say, Charlotte's home - is all of their furniture and decorations from India, for they haven't replaced them yet with English furniture," Juliet began. "So we shall be taking quite a lot of their furniture into our home for the dinner....not that we have much room for it..." she said, glancing around the haphazardly decorated room in which they were sitting.

"Nevertheless, I have no idea on how to decorate the dining room. I want it to look like a tent, but I don't know how to execute it," she said. Juliet was certain that Damien had no desire to talk decorating with her over tea, but he had offered...

"I remember some years ago when I was invited to tag along an expedition to visit one of the Maharajah's delegates here in England." Damien said, his hand tapping on the arm of the chair thoughtfully. One would observe, after being in his company, that he often did this when he was thinking. "And his wife, the Madame Chandra, treated us to a traditional Indian dinner, and what was so special about this, was that she transformed her English house into a something that very closely resembled an Indian harem- we sat on the floor to dine, and she draped bolts of Indian silks in mauve and purples from the middle chandelier to the side of the room, securing them to the wall..." He gestured in a sweeping motion to indicate the silks. "It was candlelit, very intimate..." Then he grinned and looked at her. "Well, for this family affair, I suppose you should tone down the intimacy factor."

As Damien began his story, Juliet had to stop herself from leaning forward in interest. Hardly the lady-like thing to do in this situation, however much she wished to wear Lord Torrington speak about his travels...all day long.

"Yes, that is what I would like to accomplish," Juliet confirmed eagerly. "Well, with the exception of sitting on the floor. I don't believe my mother would appreciate that idea so much," she admitted with a slight blush. She couldn't quite imagine her grandmother seated on the floor, eating Indian food. Nor could she picture Daphne doing it. It seemed a little....intimate for such a dinner party, she thought, echoing Damien's sentiments.

"Indeed. Perhaps not quite as intimate," Juliet grinned.

"I believe I sent some of the textile material to Daphne from my travels. If you ask her, she should probably still have pieces here and there and you might be able to visualize it better. She has used the cloth to make more dresses, you know how much she loves clothes."

"I shall have to speak to your sister about it," she said eagerly, excited to see the different swaths of fabric. "I'm sure the fabric was exquisite, I can hardly blame her for wanting to create dresses out of them!" she laughed brightly.

"Daphne loves clothes. If she had perfected sewing when she was younger, you can very well be sure that she would be making her own dresses!" He said with a laugh. "I've heard from Tally that Daphne has her own seamstress and the woman does only the sewing! Every other decision, Daph has made for herself."

"I do not know what Beaumont is paying for, but he must love her very, very much!" It was a known fact that the Duke of Beaumont was infatuated with his wife, and who could blame him for showering her with gifts and presents. Damien rather thought that if he had married a woman he loved, he would most likely want to do the same thing. "The attics at Griffith Hall are stuffed to the brim with Daphne's cloth and clothing... If you have an interest in fashion, she would be very happy to show you her costumes from before… all the hoops and skirts."

Juliet's eyes lit up at the prospect of taking a peek at some of the Duchess' old dresses. "Your sister is very, very lucky," she told Damien, jealousy tinting her voice. "Ladies can only dream of having such an attic - I would imagine that her daughter would most certainly enjoy the dresses one day!" she laughed.

"Well, you've met Poppy. She will make a fine marriage one day..." He said with a grin, the thought of his own children, maybe a dark haired young girl with Juliet's laughing smile...what?!. He cleared his throat, abruptly pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind. "Yes. Poppy is quite the image of her mother." He said quickly covering up his reaction to his own thoughts.

Damien glanced at the clock and noted that he had been chatting to Juliet for quite some time. How time flew when one was enjoying oneself. "Well, I fear I have far overstayed my welcome." He said with a grin, standing to his feet. Though Lady Juliet had no waiting callers, it wouldn't do for it to be written that Damien was spending an obscene amount of time with her- he wouldn't mar her reputation in anyway. "Daphne bids me to remind you that she would love to have you over for tea again. She is quite fond of you, though I can't see why." He said teasingly as he prepared to take his leave.

Glancing over at the clock, she had to agree with Damien. While she had no desire for him to leave, she still had to finish practicing, and then attend tea at the Dunford's that afternoon. And then, of course, there was the dinner party that had to be finalized - there was still so much to be done!

Juliet also rose, facing him. "Tell your sister that I would be honoured," she said with a happy grin, and then rolled her eyes at Damien's comment. "I shocked and hurt by your implied accusation that I am bad company, Lord Torrington," she said in a way that should have been similar to a scolding, but came out as a laugh instead. "Indeed, why does anyone wish to spend any time with myself?" she asked, laughing again. "It must have been quite the Herculean feat for you to prepare yourself to come call today," she teased.

"Indeed. I actually had a special breakfast made this morning, simply to put me in the correct mood for coming to visit with you. And of course, my valet had to fairly drag me out of bed." Still joking, Damien knew it would not do for him to dally his leaving. People might talk if they saw him flirting. No. He wasn't flirting. That would be ridiculous. People might talk if they saw them now. Damien nodded inwardly at his amendment.

"Well, I shall have to take all these preparations as compliments. So many gentlemen can simply visit a lady; apparently for one to stomach my presence requires a special breakfast," Juliet laughed.

"Alas, I must take my leave. I do hope you enjoy your... plant." Truly, that was the only way he could describe that strange arrangement. Damien sketched a bow, adding a frivolous flourish on the end before brushing a kiss across her knuckles. "I believe I shall see you at tea with Daphne." He had no doubt Daphne would notify him of the time.

" I will treasure my plant," she replied with another laugh, casting a glimpse back to Damien's gift on the table. "I can safely say I have never received anything quite like it before," she said, smothering a giggle. "I look forward to it," she said happily, and made a note to contact the Duchess as soon as possible to arrange tea. "Do be careful on your way home, Lord Torrington, it wouldn't do for you to encounter another accident," she reminded him as he took his leave of the room. "I can only come to your rescue so many times before tongues will begin to wag," she said cheekily.

"Putting my life on the line to stay out of gossip? I would have thought you better than that, Lady Juliet." Damien said with a grin. Then he turned serious. "I will take care. And look forward to meeting again soon. Au revoir, Madame." With a quick bow, Damien showed himself out of Beningborough House.


--------------------

Bring it, Grafton
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Thank you Lin!
What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.
During the day, Juliet is dressed in a simple dusty rose dress with puffed sleeves and a ruby red sash.
In the evening, she is dressed in a pale purple evening gown with a white underskirt, paired with an amethyst and rose gold necklace

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