AW Challenge

Time to write again!

This one is a “Different POV” challenge and I drew the straw to write in…2nd person.

Hoo boy. I will warn you, since I’m so used to writing in 1st or 3rd, this may or may not come out the way I like. Just for a frame of reference, I’m setting it in turn-of-last-century England, and featuring a cameo of my most favorite literary character of all time. ;) Here goes nothing!

—–

The heavy oak door creaks open and a pale girl’s face peeks out at you.

“Hello, madam,” she says. “Please, do come in.”

Her voice is shaky, just a little.

The door slams shut behind you, and you take note of the surroundings. Deep wood colors, curving furniture legs. Foreign paintings, and a Persian rug underneath the feet, soft to where your balance is a little off. Heeled slippers don’t help matters.

Why is she so nervous?

But you have your own worries.

The maid takes the gloves that you hand her, and the white parasol trimmed with lace. You let go of those items almost reluctantly, and you know that the person inside cares much for your appearances. It’s almost a certainty that the maid will remark on the quality of the gloves and the cleanliness of the parasol to the housekeeper, and the housekeeper is sure to report to the old man.

He even set his meetings with her weeks in advance. You wonder if his new wife, young and sprightly, as naive as a newborn bird, is aware of how he treats you Of course not, you think. Of course not. He wouldn’t dare to have his image tarnished, least of all by a daughter who is not appearing as wealthy as he is. The fact that he, he himself had put you in this situation is something he had conveniently hid from everyone.Your mother’s will designated you a sum, a comfortable lodging…all of which he took away.

Even if his speech was condescending, and he would chase away any potential suitor, it was necessary to play the act of the dutiful daughter at the theater. That is when you would receive what meager income he would allow you.

The quietness of the house catches you by surprise as you realize that your footsteps echo a little too loudly. It’s unusual. There’s nearly always activity. There’s always someone in Father’s study. It’s dinnertime soon, and there’s no flurry of activity in the back of the house, with preparations for the meal.

The maid’s earlier nervousness comes back to you.

Something’s wrong.

You realize that only when your feet venture to cross the threshold into the study, and immediately, there’s a strong arm that loops around your shoulders and guides you right back out. There’s only time to catch a glimpse of other men, and a couple of constables in the study.

“Miss, you can’t come in here,” the man says as he steers you into another room and into a settee.”Who are you? Did you know who may have hurt Mr. Beckford?”

There’s a certain amount of consternation in his look, as though your appearance was a little too timely. What did he know of who you were? Why that last question? You know the first is standard. But the last…

Was Father dead? Missing? Hurt?

“Hurt?” you say, and the word comes off as foreign. “What is this, sir?”

“Leave her be, Watson,” another man’s voice interrupts, and your attention is drawn to a wiry, elegant gentleman in a top hat, his walk strong and alert, as he sweeps into the room and peers at you. For an instant, you feel searched, as though this one look penetrates every veneer that you, as a Beckford, were taught to wear. “It’s obvious he wanted to disguise that he ever had a daughter, and I doubt that you would find much about Miss Beckford to suggest she would know much in this case.”

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