The door to the mansion was opened by a liveried butler

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The door to the mansion was opened by a liveried butler

Post by heroisthai on Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:09 am

The door to the mansion was opened by a liveried butler. "Good evening, Miss Whitney." The butler knows my name. Is that a good sign? A bad sign? "May I take your coat?" She was dripping on their expensive Persian rug.

He led her through a marble hallway that seemed twice as large as the bank. Tracy thought, panicky, Oh, my God. I'm dressed all wrong! ! should have worn the Yves Saint Laurent. As she turned into the library, she felt a run start at the ankle of her pantyhose, and she was face-to-face with Charles's parents.

Charles Stanhope, Sr., was a stern-looking man in his middle sixties. He looked like a successful man; he was the projection of what his son would be like in thirty years. He had brown eyes, like Charles's, a firm chin, a fringe of white hair, and Tracy loved him instantly. He was the perfect grandfather for their child.

Charles's mother was impressive looking. She was rather short and heavy-set, but despite that, there was a regal air about her. She looks solid and dependable, Tracy thought. She'll make a wonderful grandmother.

Mrs. Stanhope held out her hand. "My dear, so good of you to join us. We've asked Charles to give us a few minutes alone with you. You don't mind?"

"Of course she doesn't mind," Charles's father declared. "Sit down... Tracy, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir."

The two of them seated themselves on a couch facing her. Why do I feel as though I'm about to undergo an inquisition? Tracy could hear her mother's voice: Baby, God will never throw anything at you that you can't handle. Just take it one step at a time.

Tracy's first step was a weak smile that came out all wrong, because at that instant she could feel the run in her hose slither up to her knee. She tried to conceal it with her hands.

"So!" Mr. Stanhope's voice was hearty. "You and Charles want to get married."

The word want disturbed Tracy. Surely Charles had told them they were going to be married.

Yes," Tracy said.

"You and Charles really haven't known each other long, have you?" Mrs. Stanhope asked.

Tracy fought back her resentment. I was right. It is going to be an inquisition.

"Long enough to know that we love each other, Mrs. Stanhope."

"Love?" Mr. Stanhope murmured.

Mrs. Stanhope said, "To be quite blunt, Miss Whitney, Charles's news came as something of a shock to his father and me." She smiled forebearingly. "Of course, Charles has told you about Charlotte?" She saw the expression on Tracy's face. "I see. Well., he and Charlotte grew up together. They were always very close, and--- well, frankly, everyone expected them to announce their engagement this year."

It was not necessary for her to describe Charlotte. Tracy could have drawn a picture of her. Lived next door. Rich, with the same social background as Charles. All the best schools. Loved horses and won cups.

"Tell us about your family," Mr. Stanhope suggested.

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