It’s time for Fiction Friday! How does Fiction Friday work? Well, kind of like those old Choose Your Own Adventure stories, but with a lot more room. Read the installment of the story below. At the end, you’ll find a question. You the reader will get to determine what happens next. Leave a comment. If one suggestion gets overwhelming support, the story will go that direction. If they’re all equally supported, I’ll pick one at random. You get to determine where the plot goes. So read, enjoy, and tell me what you want to happen next.
FICTION FRIDAY – Segment 4
Olivia picked imaginary specks of dirt from her skirts as she sat in the drawing room later that evening. Her parents chatted quietly in the corner, displaying none of the anxiety that swallowed Olivia as she awaited the arrival of their dinner guests.
At the moment, the house was peaceful and calm. A servant quietly slipped past the drawing room door on her way to who knew what chore. A mere hour ago, the house had been in total uproar. Olivia grimaced as she remembered her mother had not let her get past the name of their expected guests before she began scurrying around, adjusting the menu, demanding the drawing rooms and dining rooms be cleaned once more.
Olivia decided that she really should let them know why the viscount and his sister were coming to dinner.
Olivia shifted in her seat and cleared her throat. “Mama? Papa?”
Her parents turned toward her. Lady Bedford raised both her eyebrows in inquiry at her daughter. “Yes, dear?”
“Lord Clampton is coming for dinner tonight.”
Her parents exchanged confused glances. Her father cleared his throat. “We are aware of that. I do believe it’s why your mother has been scrambling about all afternoon.”
“Yes, well, you see, he’s coming for a reason. He wants to discuss details and things with you-“
“Thank heavens!” her mother cried, clasping her hands to her chest. “I thought you would go all season without even a serious suitor the way you despise all the social events we have attended. And now you’re going to get married!”
“What?” Olivia paled. “No, Mama, I’m not-“
“My dear, did you hear? Olivia’s engaged!”
Lord Bedford scratched his head as he looked back and forth between his wife and daughter. “I think she’s trying to tell you –“
“Do you think it’s too late to add chicken to the menu tonight? We really should make it a celebratory –“
Lady Bedford blinked. “What, dear?”
“Lord Clampton, Miss Clampton, and Mrs. Ruggiford.”
Everyone froze as the butler announced the arrival of their dinner guests. Olivia winced as her mother gasped next to her. Mrs. Ruggiford must be the aunt. Olivia hadn’t known the aunt was coming and therefore her mother didn’t know the aunt was coming which meant the housekeeper didn’t know either and by extension the staff who prepped the dining room would be clueless as well. This was not good.
Lord Clampton entered, a young woman with wide green eyes and an even wider smile on his arm. Behind him, seeming a big preoccupied with the fit of her glove, was an older woman Olivia guessed to be the aunt.
“Good evening,” Lord Clampton said.
The words broke the odd spell holding Olivia’s little family captive in the middle of the drawing room rug. Lady Bedford sprang forward, a huge smile on her face.
“Welcome, Lord Clampton, we are so excited to see you. May I be the first to offer you felicitations?”
“Well, yes. For your upcoming marriage?”
Lord Clampton’s eyebrows rose. “Whom am I marrying?”
Lady Bedford seemed instantly flustered. “Well, Olivia said – I thought –“
“Oh, they’re not getting married.”
The Bedfords all turned to the girl on Lord Clampton’s arm. She giggled.
“Unless, of course, they fall in love on the trip. Wouldn’t that be fun? I’m so excited about the trip. We were going to be traveling anyway, and I love my aunt – really, I do – but it would be so tiresome with only her and my big brother for company. Now that Lady Olivia is coming with us, it’s sure to be all sorts of fun, don’t you agree? You do bring up a very intriguing idea, though, Lady Bedford. If Lady Olivia’s company is half as good as John says it will be, I shall make it my life’s work to see that they fall madly in love so that I can keep her with the family forever. “
Olivia’s mother blinked very slowly. Her father’s mouth fell slightly open.
Olivia felt her eyes get wider and wider as the speech progressed. Did this young lady possess any social skills whatsoever?
Finally, Lord Bedford turned to his daughter. “You’re going on a trip?”
Olivia opened her mouth to speak, but Lord Clampton’s sister’s voice filled the room first.
“Oh, yes! We’re taking Aunt Lillian up to visit her particular friend, Lady Mulligan. We call her Aunt Bertha, even though she’s of no real relation to us. We plan on taking our time and seeing some of the country as we go. I’ve never been outside of Cornwall until coming to London this year. John says it would benefit me to travel a bit and meet people in the country before my coming out next year.”
“I, uh, think that might be wise,” Olivia murmured. What had she gotten herself into?
Lord Clampton, whose given name evidently was John, visibly squeezed his sister’s hand, a pained look on his face. Oblivious, the young girl simply smiled up at him and patted his hand reassuringly.
Lord Clampton sighed. “Sister dear, this is Lady Olivia and her parents, Lord and Lady Bedford. Lady Olivia, may I present my sister, Lady Miniford and my aunt –“
“Please, call me Minnie. That’s what my family calls me and we shall be such good friends on this trip that I know we’ll be just like family.”
Olivia couldn’t help but smile. Once one got past the shock of the verbal onslaught, the girl was really quite sweet. With a little guidance on thinking before she spoke, Lord Clampton’s sister would be able to take London by storm during her debut Season. Olivia decided she was just the person to make that happen.
“Minnie, I insist you call me Olivia.” When Minnie took a deep breath, preparing to launch into yet another surely inappropriate monologue, Olivia broke her mother’s rules of decorum and held a hand up in front of the girl’s face. “Now, now, let’s not try to get to know everything about each other right now. We’ve many miles of road ahead of us to share all those wonderful little tidbits. For now, we should let my parents discuss the details of the trip with your brother. The sooner everything is settled, the sooner we can be off.”
Minnie nodded enthusiastically, light brown curls dancing around her head.
Lord Clampton sighed in relief. His eyes met Olivia’s and she thought there might be a hint of gratitude in their depths.
Mrs. Ruggiford picked that moment to enter the conversation. “Thin enough as it is. No need to waste away while you people yap. When do we eat?”
Silence once more reigned in the drawing room.
Finally Lord Clampton laughed and offered Mrs. Ruggiford his arm. “May I escort you to dinner?”
The older woman nodded. “More like it.”
Olivia trailed the group down the hall, a small smile on her lips. Her trip would surely be anything but boring. It turned out dinner was going to be fairly exciting as well.
Now that you’ve met the aunt and the sister, you know there’s going to be some hilarious social faux pas in their future, starting with dinner. What crazy thing do you think is going to happen? It can be the aunt or Minnie. Or maybe you’d rather see Olivia step up and do something crazy so that Minnie won’t be embarrassed?
Jacob and Elizabeth, I really love your suggestions even though they didn’t get selected this week. I think both of those ideas would make great books. Keep an eye out… one day your suggestions might just be on the bookshelf!
Comments are now closed. Check for the next installment.
Comments are now closed. Check for the next installment.