I slowly gathered my dressing robes and threw them on the bedside. I began tracing patterns in the fluid silk. I liked the way it brushed against my fingers, screaming elegance. The importance of wearing them thrilled me. It wouldn't be heady or arrogant to say they empowered me. A childish grin formed on my lips. I delighted in this all too much. But why shouldn't I?
It was in my mind that if I was to be subjected to men, all vying for my sister's attention, that I should take from it as much as I could. It did not matter what they thought for I knew that I would never marry them. A few dances, subtle flirting... it never amounted to anything. It had become my game and I never lost. Tonight would be no different. I took joy in spiting my mother.
None of it mattered anyway. For I had, hopefully, acquired what I most wanted in this life, most desired. My sneaking around had gone entirely unnoticed. Perhaps I simply was stealth enough but the real reason always managed to edge into my mind.
A few, swift knocks hammered against my door, rudely interrupting my thoughts.
“Are you decent, Daphne?”
“No,” I replied automatically, knowing full well that my appearance was just fine.
I was met with an exasperated sigh. “I suppose it doesn't matter. Do whatever you like. I don't want you spoiling tonight for your sister.”
“Of course not,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. Because, as I was saying, no one would notice. Not one soul would approach any member of my family and ask where I was. It was only through destroying the hopes of young men that were not good enough for my sister that I could gain any happiness in this house.
I glanced up in annoyance as I heard a lighter knock. I approached the door in an amble and opened it, but there was no familiar face there to greet me.
However, the tapping had not stopped. Perturbed, I shut my door and looked around. The window!
I raced to it, flinging it open with all my might. A beautiful tawny owl hooted and flew in, escaping the rain and blusterous wind. It dropped a letter sealed with a light blue crest on my floor and immediately exited the way it had entered.
Hands shaking, I picked it up.
We are pleased to announce your induction into the Healing program here at St. Mungo's. Please arrive promptly on the 31st at no later than 1 P.M.
I smiled triumphantly and left the room in a hurry.
After all, the game was about to begin and it would be quite unfortunate if I were late.