It’s the day after Thanksgiving! Though we’re not having our dinner until tomorrow because of wonky work schedules, so my day will be full of baking and eating and baking and last-minute grocery shopping.
There was more than enough tea and several small plates of edible tidbits laid out for Lord Cailvairt and his guests. The tray was heavy, but nothing greater than Lydia was accustomed to dealing with after years of serving the interminable flow of people who had passed through her father’s inn.
She walked up the servants’ stairs, her elbows tucked into her sides. The walls and narrow doorways threatened to knock against the edges of the tray if she failed to pay attention. The main corridor was empty, as she knew it would be, and her own steps sounded loud to her ears as she moved steadily towards the door to the drawing room.
The room itself was also empty. This surprised her, as she’d expected to be called upon to serve the assembled company. Her nerves still overwrought, she placed the tray down on the nearest table and began to fuss over the cups and saucers, the silverware that had been polished and polished again to a high gleam.
Another minute passed, and still no one arrived. Should she simply leave the tray and be on her way? She glanced about the room, its red brocaded walls attempting to lend the space a warmth that belied the chill that persisted outside. Those same walls were hung with portraits of people who meant nothing to her, the heavy frames adding an austere gloom to every pair of eyes that stared down at her. Above her head, the ceiling had been painted with various depictions of mythological scenes. Unfortunately, none of those scenes were of a sort to add any comfort or cheer to the room.
She would leave, she told herself, before anyone else could arrive. One last adjustment to the delicacies on the tray, and she began to move towards the door. Her hand was on the knob when it pushed toward her from the other side, the cold metal turning beneath her hand without any exertion from her own fingers.