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The Pages of Her World

By @Boonana0924

The Center Piece

I pull open pull open the double doors, a gust of cool wind carrying the scent of ink and aged pages. My favorite room in the entire house apparently needed redecorating. I never want to get rid of this room. I made sure everything was perfect. I spent a year picking the paint color, the tile for the floor. I went through every detail down to the placement of every book. I’m sad to see it go, devastated even. But Father will turn it into another billiard room if I don’t update it. 

“Miss Wenfrow, where would you like the samples?” Edward, my father’s servant asked. 

“Over there, on that table Edward. Thank you.” I pull over one of my blue velvet bergere chairs. I pull a book of fabric samples over to me and start flipping through. 

Everything looks dull and unexciting compared to my library now. I like the feel of some, but hate the pattern. I like the color of some but hate the feeling. I retire the fabrics and start looking at furniture. I don’t have many sofas here, so I could add some of those. My library is also lacking in tables. I walk over to my computer and open a search program. 

I type “Color Schemes” and drag the clicker over to the magnifying glass. A selection of color schemes pops up on the screen. Pastels, dark berry colors, blues, neutrals. I scroll through for a while and settle on a color palette of pinks and blues. I click print and listen to the printer whir for a few minutes. 

I open one of the paint samples and flip to the red section. At the end I found a gorgeous pink color, almost white. Like a sunset shining through the clouds, or glittering cotton candy. I write the page number in a notebook. 

Flipping through the metallic paints, I find silver that pairs perfectly with the pink. I start leafing through the fabrics again when the silence of my library breaks. 

“Miss Wenfrow, you have a visitor.” Edward’s scratchy voice can always be expected, but always surprises you. 

“Thank you, Edward. Is it Lenore?” I ask. I’m dying to see my best friend and get her opinion on the paints for my library. 

“I think it is Miss Mercia. I can’t be positive, though. It is better you go see.” 

“Alright, Edward. Thank you.” He pivots on his heel and leaves. Father’s voice rumbles up the stairs. 

“Of course, Lenore. It is always a pleasure to have you. Elora should be down in just a moment.” So it was Lenore. Father was lying when he said that though. He doesn’t like Lenore. I’m not quite sure why, but I have an idea. I practically ran down the rest of the flight. 

“Lenore! Come here, I was hoping it was you! Edward wasn’t exactly sure who it was though.” 

“Yes, yes. It’s me! Sorry for the surprise drop-in. I realized my appointment with my Mother wasn’t until tomorrow.” 

“No, I’m glad you are here! I was going to invite you for dinner anyway!” 

“Ok great, it’s still only 5 o’clock so do you want to go upstairs or something?” 

“Yeah, sure. I need help with something.” 

“Lenore, Elora, dinner will be served at exactly 7 o’clock. Mirelle will be up to get you.”

“Ok, Father.” I walk Lenore upstairs to my library. 

“So, guess what?” I ask Lenore. 

“What?” 

“Father is making me redo my library.” 

“What? But you spent an entire year on it!” Lenore practically shrieks. 

“I know,” I try to make my voice calm so none of the servants hear and alert Father, “but if I don’t redo it he will turn it into a billiard room.”  

“But, Elora. You know that isn’t fair.” 

“I know it isn’t, Noor, but what can I really do about it?” 

“Nothing. I’m sorry Elora.” 

“Yeah, it’s okay. Do you want to see the paint I’ve chosen?” 

“Yeah.” I take her up to the library and we sit on a sofa. I open the paint book and flip through. I reach page 444 and show Elora. 

“Oh my god, Lor, that is amazing! What’s it called?” 

“I don’t know. It doesn’t have a name.” 

“Oh, well it is amazing.”  

“I know, and for the accents I am doing a silver.” I flip a few more pages and turn it towards Lenore. “Here it is.”

“Elora, that is going to look amazing! More like you, I think.” 

“You think?” 

“Yeah, I do.” 

Mirelle knocks lightly on my door and twists the knob. You can always tell which servant is at the door by their knock. Mirelle knocks four times, lightly. Edward knocks twice, sharp and brisk. Tara is my sister’s servant, and she knocks two times light and then once loud. 

“Girls, I’ve been told dinner is served. Mr Wenfrow expects you in the hall in no less than five minutes.” I wish I was allowed to be friends with the help, but Father forbids it. I would befriend Mirelle right away. She is very timid, but doesn’t stall. She gets right to the point. She is always so sweet and she is only three years older than me at eighteen. She also has a daughter, Ria. She is two years old and some days Ria comes to work with Mirelle. 

“Thank you, Mirelle. If you’d like a break, dinner will be over at 8 o’clock, give or take a few minutes.” I always try to be nice to Mirelle because it is strange imagining being mean to her. Her heart is too pure to hurt it. 

Lenore and I walk downstairs, the scent of some strange concoction floating up the staircases. 

“Do you think Nova will be at dinner tonight?” I whisper to Lenore, “She hasn’t been in a while. She never leaves her room anymore.” 

“Well, let’s see.” she whispers back. 

The doors to the kitchen are propped open with tall vases of flowers. There are mainly Chinese Peonies in them, but a few tiny white flowers float around the massive pink blooms. 

“Ah, great. Girls, I’d like you to meet Adair Sullivan. She will be assisting you two on your trip to Paris in a month.” 

“But Father, I already have a travel assistant. Mrs Vidette Roscrow. Remember? You met her a few weeks ago at the Crofter’s Cliff Celebration.” 

“Yes, I do recall. I deemed her unfit for the job. However, Ms Sullivan is an amazing fit.” Once Father’s mind is set, it is in stone. 

˗ˏˋ ´ˎ˗

After Lenore has left, I start running a bath. I open the linen closet and stare at the soap selection. The scents are endless. I’ve never even opened half of them, some others have barely one use left. Tomorrow I have to go to Cashine’s house tomorrow, and she hates floral scents. I almost always use lavender or lily in my bath, but I need to make a good impression on Cashine. I sift through the rest of the soaps and notice a slip of parchment under a few of the bottles. My curiosity now sparked, I grab the piece and unfold it. 

I’m sorry I’ve waited so long to write you, Elora, but Rolfe hasn’t allowed me to. I still shouldn’t be writing now. However, I gave Tamora your letter to give to you. I hope you write back, but if you don’t I understand. I’ve listed my address at the top of this letter, just in case. 

Rolfe is my father’s name and Tamora used to be a servant here, but Father fired her two months ago. I have no idea who could be writing me, I don’t have any other friends besides Lenore. I fold the paper back to a square and slip it into my robe’s pocket. 

After my bath, I go to my room and Mirelle is sitting on my bed. She appears to be crying. 

“Mirelle? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” There is genuine concern in my voice. I’ve never seen any of the help cry before. 

“No, I mean yes. I’m fine. Do y- do you want me to turn down your bed?” I know something has to be wrong, but I don’t want to put pressure on an already fragile person. 

“Mirelle, are you sure? You seem really upset.” 

“Yes, yes. I’m completely sure. Do you want tea before bed?” she asks, still sniffling. I want to ask again but I’m afraid she’ll break if I do. It’s best to leave it alone. 

“Sure, bring a cup for yourself as well.” I always like to test the limits with Father, get on his nerves a bit. I know how to pace myself though, I never push too hard. Ever. I know what happens when I do. 

“Miss Wenfrow, I- I couldn’t, it wouldn’t be right to disobey your father.” She protests, but I can tell she wants to so I add a bit more pressure. 

“Yes, I know, Mirelle, but please? I’ve always wanted to have tea with you.”I bat my eyelashes and put my lip, just a little until she slowly nods her head up and down. I’m planning on asking her who that letter could have been from. 

A couple minutes later she comes back from downstairs with the tea. I take a sip from the matcha, its steam burning my lips. There is a flower made with the white foam. A daisy. We sit in silence for a moment, none of us wanting to start the conversation. 

“ Mirelle? Why did Tamora get fired?” Mirelle chokes on her tea, she looks over at me. Her eyes landing on my cheek, my nose, my forehead, my lips, my chin. Anywhere but my eyes. 

Bingo.

Mirelle hesitates, not saying anything for what seemed like an eternity. Her voice slides off her tongue, barely a whisper. “She wasn’t doing,” she pauses, choosing her next words carefully. “Doing what she was supposed to.” she sucks in a deep breath of air, like those words poisoned the air already in her lungs. I nod my head and start to talk again, but see Mirelle breathe the words “Or rather what she wasn’t supposed to do.” I did more mouth reading than listening. 

“Oh, okay. Do you know who could be writing me? Other than Lenore?”

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