Aftermath: Margot's Morning After

Margot had left her meeting with Lady Genevieve, happy to gain an audience with her mother, disappointed that it wasn't until later in the evening. Slowly, she had been learning the navigation of the castle, and found her way to her wing with little difficulty. She knew Desrianne would be waiting, and she almost dreaded meeting with the woman. She looked to her for guidance, for comfort. In many ways she filled the role of mother when Morgana was unable. She was certain having to send clothing did not set well with her, and that she would hear of it…

She enters the room quietly, moving directly to her writing desk to pen a thank you to Kendall. Her mind wanders, eyes taking in the blossom. A few words jotted, and she rises from the desk to send it via Page. Breathing deeply, she watches the lad leave, preparing to meet someone she didn't want to disappoint.

There is a knock at the chamber door. "Margot?" a voice through the door. "Princess?"

"Margot, Desrianne. Please come in." She finds the Princess almost wandering, wanting to land but not knowing where to do so. She drifts by the chaise at the fire, and then walks away, she moves to the setting by the balcony, and that too does not meet her fancy. Finally, she lands at the edge of her bed, fingers working the pins out of her hair.

Once seated, she looks to the woman, a mixture of emotions in her eyes. "Thank you, Desrianne. I appreciated the items you sent."

The older woman opens the door, stepping through and closing it quietly behind her again. Once in the room, she watches as Margot flutters about the room, Desrianne's eyes taking in all the little nuances of her charge's face and carriage. Her eyes darken and she frowns a little bit at Margot's thanks, but she nods. "Anything you need, of course," she says. She pauses, then adds, "I hope your gown was not damaged during dinner."

"It was not. Your selection, the red gown… Lord Kendall found it most appealing… It made quite a favorable impression on him."

She hesitates, wanting to talk about how wonderful her night was, and her morning, and yet, something in the darkness in Desrianne's eyes warns her against it. "He was a gentleman, charming. Enchanting," the words float from her on clouds before she catches them. "It was a magical evening. One I shan't forget."

Desrianne finally moves away from the door, walking over to stand by Margot, and the Princess can see the signs of lack of sleep on her face. The faintest hint of cinnamon hung like an aura around the Princess. "You were lovely in that gown, my dear, and it's hardly surprising the Chaos Lord found it pleasing while you wore it. What I would like to know is whether he found you pleasing after he removed it?"

"He did." she admits, watching the woman carefully. "As I found him."

"Oh, Princ— Margot, how could you do this?" Desrianne exclaims, bringing a hand to her forehead and shaking her head. "So quickly! So carelessly! Did your mother and I teach you nothing at all about prudence or virtue? What were you thinking?" she demands, dropping her hand and looking at the young woman with a mix of anger, bewilderment, and disappointment.

Margot braces for the chiding. "I was thinking how wonderful it was to be desired, to be seen as beautiful. He treated me … like Papa treats Momma. He was gentle and kind and caring and tender. And he made me feel these… wonderful… things with little more than a word or the tiniest of caresses. And I moved him too, Desrianne. It was not a seduction… I was not victimized."

"He made me feel something so…intimate. I've never felt more vulnerable and more empowered at the same moment."

"It matters little how he makes you feel, girl!" Desrianne says, her voice sharp. "What matters are the results. He could have continued to make you feel wonderful with your clothes and your virtue intact. He didn't do so, no matter what you may say to the contrary about his character."

"And what good is virtue and ignorance in a land where games are played and sex is one of the tools to be used at anyone's disposal?" Margot counters. "Where does my virtue protect me? Or, when I am forced to take a lover I care nothing for because it is for the good of the realm? And I am forced to bear children with a complete stranger to grow his legacy all for the good of some deal made behind closed doors and I was little more than something to sweeten the pot? At least last night, I chose. It was my decision to lie with a man I found pleasing and it was on my terms, not his." Her voice shakes with emotion. "I could have stopped us at any time without pressure or shame… he even asked me as we lie naked on his bed before he joined us if this was my wish. I. Chose. Yes."

"Don't take that tone with me, Poppy," Desrianne returns. "You should be thinking instead about what you'll be telling your parents. It's not me who you'll be answering to for this. Either of you. Your mother will need to know of this, and I imagine your father will have words he'll be sharing with your gentle, kind, and caring Chaos Lord! Either that or the end of his sword, mayhap."

"Caressé," Margot's tone simmers. "I have made an appointment to speak with Momma. I will see her this evening after dinner in her chambers." she sighs, "I will tell her the truth, all of it."

"He has asked formally to Court me. He is seeking the chance to take things beyond that…" she cannot quite utter the words, not yet. "I … have strong affections for him, and I acted on those feelings. This was not something either of us planned, but, I will not have Lord Kendall bear the brunt of the blame for something that I not only willing participated in… but actively pursued. I wanted him to be my first lover. I wanted the right of choice. I chose him. Would you be so aggrieved if he were from Amber?" She asks softly.

Desrianne opens her mouth to answer, then stops. She purses her lips and takes a breath, shoulders relaxing. Sitting on the bed next to Margot, she puts an arm around her, hugging her as she once had years ago. "What I'm aggrieved about is that you chose so rashly! And you're right that I fear for you in the company of someone who calls Chaos home. You have been in Amber such a short while, and there is so much you don't yet know. I have heard of this Lord Kendall. He arrived in Amber before I left to care for you. He is charming, yes, and handsome, but he is here to seek advantage for his own people. Dearling, I know you would like to believe you mean more to him than just a way to power and influence, but I need you to listen to caution for once."

Margot's head tips to rest on the matron's shoulder. "I know, Caressé," she sighs. "Please believe me when I say it all just happened. I know I will have to answer for this… that there will be repercussions. I know that I chose rashly; but I cannot apologize for something that I don't regret. The timing," another sigh follows, "Was not the most convenient, I know. And I do have these emotions for him… and he does for me, I see it in his eyes, Caressé," she entreats. "They may not be as powerful, but they are there… this I know with all that I am." She sighs again, "Am I to believe that others who come calling will not see the crown upon my brow? What makes his ambition more distasteful than any other House that longs to be at the right hand of the King? At least when we are together, he does not see the Crown… maybe he fantasizes of it when we are apart… but together, he sees me as I am."

"I hope you are right," Desrianne says on the end of a sigh. "It's not that his ambition is more distasteful than others," she adds, though her tone indicates some skepticism on that point. "I just want you to consider the fact that it is there, and not pin your heart to hopes of high emotions and flights of fancy. Affection can be easy to feign."

"That sounds like advice from someone who has experienced it first hand," Margot comments softly.

Desrianne smiles, a bit sadly. "I haven't always been the dried up old woman you know now," she replies, squeezing Margot's shoulders. "We all have our own stories of heartbreak, yet we always hope that the young people we love will avoid a similar fate. I would warn you against falling in love with this Lord Kendall, but I wonder if such a warning may already be too late."

Margot breathes silently next to the woman for several moments. "It may be, Desrianne, it may be. I cannot even begin to explain how I feel when I'm with him… words just pale in comparison."

The older woman sighs, standing and helping Margot to her feet as well. "You'll be wanting to get ready for your lessoning with the sword, so let's get you changed, and you can tell me about your evening," she suggests, leading her charge over to the dressing table and beginning to help her out of her gown.

Margot allows herself to be lead away from the comforts of the bed. "He was charming and warm, Caressé," she begins. "I had taught him our cheek-kiss greeting, and he surprised me with a soft kiss to the lips." She could hear the warmth in her voice as she recalled with fondness. "He guided me to a balcony with a lovely setting for two. The sun had just began to dip, and the ocean crashed below. I was chilled, and he brought out a cape for my shoulders. Caressé, it was of the softest, most luxurious fabric I had ever had the pleasure of having against my skin."

"We shared wine, talked. Our dinner was traditional faire from his home… I had never experienced such delights!" she exclaimed, "It was as if a symphony of senses were engaged with each morsel. He would explain what it was we were eating, and then show me how to eat it. We fed each other as we talked about our homes."

"At the end of each course, we moved away from the setting so that a new could be placed. I taught him a dance… we used the music from the book I gave him," there was a hint of shyness at the admission of gifting him something.

Desrianne unbuttons the gown as Margot speaks, helping to draw it from the girl's shoulders and arms. Her eyes widen at sight of bruises on shoulders and neck and she purses her lips again, but she holds her tongue as the description continues, glancing instead at Margot's face briefly as she talks. The gown is removed and set aside carefully to be dealt with later. "He sounds like a fine gentleman," she says diplomatically as Margot pauses. "But I see you have been keeping things from me. I did not know you have already gifted him with something besides, er…" she trails off.

"It was a book on the culture of my home, Desrianne. I gave one to the Lady Rosabelle as well. Both had been enchanted with music and dancers to show how we moved. Without a pianist or a string quartet, it was the best alternative available."

Margot notes how Desrianne's eyes trail on her skin, and her lips pull to one side. Again, her eyes do not speak of regret or remorse, but her expression is thoughtful, modest bordering on embarrassed.

"He sang for me, and taught me a childhood song in his native tongue," Margot continues, her smile and warmth returning, "I did the same, teaching him a round. We talked, and I taught him some French," at this a blush comes to the young woman's cheeks.

Undergarments are next, each of which are set carefully aside until Margot is bare to her shift and panties. "When did you decide to send such a gift to the gentleman?" Desrianne asks, helping her into a robe to ward off any hint of a chill while she fetches garments suitable for a round of heavy physical exercise.

"After Lady Rosabelle and I met him for tea at Maeve's Vigil. We actually met in the Hall of Mirrors… that was a unique experience, and when things did not go as planned, he invited us back to his home for tea. He has the most adorable creatures, they are called Qur. One was so precocious. He granted me the gift of naming it… I chose Caerus after the God of Fortune. Our tea was cut short, so, I decided to send each a gift about my home as I didn't get to share as much as the others did."

Desrianne shakes her head as she returns to Margot's side, bearing trousers, heavy blouse, belt, boots, and other accoutrements. "Margot, I wish you had talked with me about such an idea." She smiles kindly down at the young woman, though her eyes still hold concern. "I understand you had very good intentions, but gifting a man you had just met… It was very bold of you, dear."

Margot sighs, adding one more foible to her actions in the last few days. "He appreciated the gift, thanking me for it when we walked the gardens. It was an educational tool."

"I have no doubt," she replies, helping Margot don each new piece of clothing. The neck of the shirt is high enough to hide all the bruises on Margot's fair skin. "When you return from your lessoning, I will see what can be done to reduce the signs of your indiscretion during your bath," she adds. "And you should bear in mind that you want to be presentable for your upcoming ball. You should let your young man know that if you see him again."

"Of course, Caressé," Margot agrees softly, "We talked and danced and sang late into the night, and there just came a moment when I looked into his eyes and I wanted to know him and have him know me, completely. I cannot explain it beyond that… it was physical AND emotional AND spiritual. Until then I felt only half a person, he made me feel whole. So, when he asked me if I wanted to stay with him…" her shoulders rise and fall, "And I did… more than anything… more than even drawing breath. So, I agreed." She turns to face the woman, shaking her head slightly. "I cannot explain it; only that if this is love, I enjoy it very much."

Desrianne smiles almost in spite of herself, regarding Margot's glowing eyes and face, laying a hand against the girl's cheek. "Love often is very wonderful, Poupee'… at first," she agrees. Her hand moves to rest on Margot's shoulder as she continues earnestly. "I am happy for you, truly I am, and I hope he is deserving of your love. But it does not change that there was no rush to take that next step. If indeed he is pursuing a more permanent relationship with you, which you should verify with your mother, it is possible you could have had this wondrous experience in your wedding bed. Then there would have been no need for remonstrations. Promise me, dearling, that you will consider that when he next decides to take you to his bed. You cannot undo what has been done, but you can prevent further indiscretion."

"I will do my best to remember that I am a Princess and should behave accordingly, Caressé," Margot's eyes betray the love and longing nonetheless, "And I will… endeavor to show restraint when my desires overwhelm me. I cannot promise that I will always be strong; but I will try to hold prudence and virtue dear."

"Thank you," she answers, hugging Margot on impulse. "I hope you will continue to confide in me. I know your heart is good, Margot, but these sorts of feelings can be very overwhelming, especially the first time."

Margot returns the affection fiercely. "I don't know what I would do if I didn't have you Caressé," she confides. "I know I don't always make you proud, but … I love you." she whispers into the woman's shoulder, words laden with emotion. She holds her for several moments, drinking in the affection. "Now, please, rest. I will be gone at least 3 hours, maybe longer."

Desrianne nods, releasing Margot and stepping back. She smiles affectionately. "I love you, too, Poppy. We will talk more, later, when you return."

Margot smiles once more at the matron before striding to the armoire where she keeps the two swords; one gifted by her granddad, the other her mentor. Strapping the blade to her hip, she leaves without further delay.

It has nearly been four full hours before Margot returns, worn and beaten by the sword. Her mentor seemed in a particularly foul mood, working her to the brink of death. Not that Margot complained, she welcomed the distraction from the overwhelming waves of emotions she was experiencing. She entered the wing; removing belt and returning sword to her home.

Glancing in the mirror, Margot reflected upon how she looked more like someone who had survived a raging storm rather than a person who had simply worked out. Her blouse was soaked clear through, her trousers had hardly a dry spot upon them. Her hair was a mass of black slickness pressed against face and neck alike; the braid doing little to keep it from loosening during the session.

Margot tried to move silently, allowing Desrianne more rest. She moved to her private bath and began pouring water, selecting orange blossom oil to join the honey suckle.

Stealth seems to be for naught, in the world of governesses and servants. A knock at the door to Margot's private chamber announces that someone had noticed her return. "Princess Margot?" Desrianne's voice comes through the door again, slightly muffled.

"Margot. And you should still be resting, Desrianne," Margot chides lovingly. "Come in." She was bound and determined to break Desrianne of this new habit to refer to her as Princess.

Desrianne is looking a tad more rested when she approaches. "Margot, I will have someone else do that while you prepare for your bath," she chides gently. "I know things were different back at the academy, but it really is quite unseemly for a Princess to be filling her own bath."

"I thought in my rooms I get to be whomever I wish… and if that is someone who knows how to pour her own bath so her beloved Caressé can get the rest she deserves," Her smile warms her face.

The smile Desrianne returns is fond but also stern. "I'm fine, and will rest when you do. There are many here who are instructed to assist you. You would not want for them to be found lacking in the fulfillment of their duties, would you?" She takes Margot's arm and leads her back into the other room to a chair, then goes to the door and summons two girls to prepare the bath. Desrianne then returns to help Margot out of her wet things and loosen her hair.

Margot's hands rise in surrender. "As you wish, Caressé." She follows Desrianne to the chair, grimacing as soaked articles stick to her form rather than slide off. Her mood is relaxed, though; grateful for their talk earlier and the beating she just took.

Desrianne says nothing more until the girls have finished preparing the bath, simply stripping Margot down and wrapping her in a robe for the short trip to the tub. The girls bob brief curtsies when they are done and dismissed, and Desrianne orders a light meal to be brought up for Margot after her bath. She then helps the girl into the water once they are alone once more.

Margot eases into the water, enjoying the warmth and steam. Her mind drifts to the bath shared with Kendall, and she flushes once more.

Desrianne gives Margot the appropriate bath implements, and assists with washing her hair, but for the most part seems simply to want to keep her company. "Poppy," she says after a while. "I have… some concern…" She trails off, seemingly not sure how to continue.

"What's that, Desrianne?" she asks, taking a loofa to her skin.

The older woman's eyes go to the bruises on Margot's skin, some of which are fairly low on her breasts. "He wasn't… he didn't hurt you did he?" she asks carefully. "You say he was gentle, but…" Desrianne herself seems terribly uncomfortable with the topic, but at the same time, compelled to ask. "Sometimes it can be rather painful the first time," she elaborates a little bit.

"Oh NO!" Margot exclaims with delight, "He was most gentle. It was very awkward at first… at first press, he stopped because I didn't know what to expect and I gasped," she turns to look up at the woman, her eyes dreamy, "I think that I may have been his first inexperienced lover… he was frightfully concerned that he was hurting me when we joined, and I actually had to soothe his nerves rather than the reverse."

"The bruises?" She asks, watching Desrianne's eyes flicker to her skin, "They were made from kisses and gentle sucking. I didn't know that such passionate affection would color the skin so… I'm afraid I left my fair share of marks upon him as well."

"I'm glad, dearling," Desrianne answers with a weak smile, somewhat relieved by Margot's enthusiasm and assurances. "I know it is sometimes difficult for a young woman to… arrive her first time. To climax, as it were. I hope he was… sensitive to that?" She is most definitely not sure how frank to be with Margot, but still concerned and even, perhaps curious.

"He was… He most definitely was!" she gushed, "Each time we loved throughout the night, he attended to me like I was… a Goddess. I felt wave after wave of blissful release. Like every minute aspect of my being was kissed by the Gods in one single breath. Late in the evening, we bathed one another… it was incredibly intimate and sensual… I don't know if it is something he is capable of controlling, but never once in all our explorations and loving did he let loose his seed before I had experienced elation first."

Desrianne's eyes widen a little at Margot's fervor, and her description of her experiences. "Then I'm to understand you and he… joined more than once?"

"Yes. Three times properly, and then he showed me the arts of self-love… and we kissed each other… intimately," she admits sheepishly. "It was all so beautiful and sensual… but we didn't just love, Desrianne. A lot of the time was spent talking and sharing… and just holding one another. I slept in his arms, listening to the gentle beats of his heart. Did you know that Chaosians tell time by the beats of a heart?" She sighs, contented. "He gave me a wonderful gift, Desrianne. I was afraid to experience such things, and with him it was so… natural."

Her eyes remain wide, and she swallows a little as Margot continues to blissfully describe her night. "And he did not display any… irregularities?" she finally manages to ask, still curious, yet not sure how much more she wants to hear.

"How so?" Margot asks, curious.

As Margot appears to be done in the bath, Desrianne rises to fetch towels. "I really couldn't say," she says as she chooses two from a stack on a shelf near the door, one to dry the young woman's body, with the second to wrap her hair. "But, as he's from Chaos, I'm not sure how he would…" Desrianne is the one to have color in her cheeks as she turns back to Margot with the towels.

"He was every bit a man as you see in the Greek sculptures, Desrianne," Margot reassures. "Ten fingers and ten toes. Two strong arms and two lean legs. A much defined torso. His mouth feels like I would imagine any would feel, soft and warm. He does not possess a forked-tongue," a smile comes to her lips, "At least not as I experienced."

"His heart raced at my touch, just as mine did his; his body became slick with exertion, just as mine did; he eyes burned with passion just as mine did; he vocalized his peaks of pleasure just as I did."

"Extraordinary he is, Desrianne, and unique in many ways… but I did not find him to be irregular in any fashion… only beyond imagination."

"Ah," she replies, still pink, perhaps not sure what more should be said to that, perhaps a little disappointed. She helps Margot down from the bath, toweling her down and getting her back into her robe. "It sounds like you had a very memorable experience, Poppy" she says finally, leading Margot out to the other room to a chair at the table where a tray of food waits along with a container of ice. "Now let me try to lessen the signs he left on your skin."

Margot eyes the bucket of ice with trepidation. "Really? There isn't an easier way?" she asks meekly; at that moment silently vowing to insist that Kendall does not leave his mark in such obvious places.

"It is a bruise, Margot," Desrianne says patiently. "There is usually no easy way to remove such things. But there are ways to reduce them." Pulling out a bristled brush from a drawer, she comes back to the table and begins brushing the bruises gently though firmly. "Eat now. You need to keep up your health in more ways than by physical exertion."

She nods, wincing at the press of the brush, but saying nothing. She samples the fruit, eating slowly and not with any fervor. "What was your first experience like, Desrianne?"

Desrianne's brushing falters a moment, and she looks down at Margot's face. The pinkness returns to her cheeks. "It was quite a bit different from yours," she says. The brush resumes its strokes, leaving skin of shoulders and neck tender and red. "My first love was close to my age, which was close to yours to tell truth, and, well, inexperienced like me. Our first time was not the most fulfilling for either of us, but… practice did improve things. Exploring and discovering something new together has its own merits." Putting the brush down, she folds some ice into a couple towels, arranging the cool packs on Margot's reddened skin.

"Did you love him?"

"Yes, I did," she says, the answer a sigh. "Passionately. Vehemently." She smiles at the memory, but it fades. "There was nothing extraordinary about him. He was very sweet and kind, and I believe he loved me as well. He was killed, though. It was an accident at a tavern. A fight broke out, and he was caught in the middle," she finishes, eyes darkening.

"Were you married?" she asks softly.

Desrianne comes back from the past for a moment. "I'll answer your questions, if you agree to eat up," she says.

Margot took a bite of cheese, and then another. Pinching a piece of fruit from its vine, she samples it as well, showing good faith eating.

Desrianne unwraps Margot's hair while the cooling towels do their work and she eats, rubbing the water out and beginning to brush it dry and smooth.

"No," she answers finally, working the comb through the tangled locks carefully, occasional tugs bringing points of pain to Margot's scalp. "We were betrothed, but chose not to wait for our wedding night. I have never been certain whether that was a good thing or not. We were able to share a very special experience, even though not tied by the bonds of marriage, and for that I'm thankful. If we had waited, we would not have had an opportunity, as he died before our wedding could take place. I did wonder how things might have been different had we waited to consummate our union until our wedding bed. While our first time together was not… fulfilling as yours appears to have been, still he and I shared much together in that time that could not be measured. I hope you did not miss out in your first experience."

"How did you know he was the one you wanted to share that experience with? How long did you wait to be united?"

Desrianne waits to answer until the younger woman picks up another piece of cheese, clearly still eating, if rather slowly. "Peitre and I had known each other all our lives," she answers, voice warm with memory. "We grew up together, and I'm not sure how it is we came to realize we would be married. Our parents, of course, knew long before we did. We were betrothed when he was 19 and I was 16, with our wedding planned for a year and a half hence. We… joined together the first time some months after we were betrothed."

She sighs, and continues. "It was a beautiful evening, bright with moon and full of stars. I had dinner with his family and he walked me home. The air was warm and soft, filled with night birds and insects. What I remember, though, is that there was a rock under my back through part of it."

"It sounds beautiful, and awful… the rock part I mean," Margot winces, "I mean, the stars and the moon and the songs of nature around you. I bet you were beautiful under the night sky." She is quiet for a moment, picking up another piece of fruit, "Did you feel… whole afterward, like you had been missing something your whole life?"

"I can't say that I did," Desrianne replies. She thinks for a moment, then shakes her head. "No, not the first time. I think we grew on each other."

Margot smiles fondly, appreciating the image of growing together. "Will you explain to me what you think I have missed out on by loving Kendall?"

The Princess' hair now smooth and mostly dry, Desrianne removes the towels from Margot's shoulder and neck, revealing that though the skin was still red from the chill, the bruises were far less visible. She lays the towels aside. "I don't know for sure, Poppy," she says as she works. "Lovemaking can be a wonderful experience of sharing and intimacy between people who care deeply for each other. I know you care for him, but I can't say whether the feeling is reciprocated, or if it's even possible for him to have similar sentiments for you. But, as you say, there is no guarantee that a husband chosen for the good of the Crown would be much better," she concedes.

"He admitted to having feelings, affections, Desrianne. He called me a pet name used only for intimacy. Shay'na." Margot is quiet for a long moment. "He is bound by duty… the House comes first. I was asked to consider him a viable suitor. I know that part of what he does is for his House; but I also know that when he looks at me, there is more there. It may not be the love I feel, not yet, but truly, Desrianne, with all things being equal and everyone vying for my hand because of the chance to sit at the King's right, then should I not at least find happiness in that union?" Her emotions are overwhelming, love for him and confusion for her role.

"I only hope…" she lets the thought trail off, her worried frown changing to a smile of affection for Margot, pushing her hair behind her ear. "Either way," she says, changing the subject. "I hope you will keep me in your thoughts when you do marry and have children, with whoever it is. I would like to care for them as I have you." Her eyes suddenly brim with excitement, images of babies to watch and care for, the next generation budding from Margot's fair bloom, dancing in her imagination.

"I cannot imagine a life without you, Desrianne. Of course, you will come with me and care for my children… when I ever settle down and have a family. I only hope it is with someone loving - and doesn't see me as a broodmare." The last comes with a chagrinned expression.

Desrianne squeezes Margot's shoulder comfortingly. "I'm sure your parents will make an effort to find someone for you who you can at least like and respect," she reassures.

Margot sets the plate aside, "I ate a large breakfast with Lord Kendall. We had fruit and cheese, juice and soft-boiled eggs." The last made her giggle, "Did you know that Chaosians eat the whole egg, shell and all? I tried it, and admitted I did not find it pleasing. He at least admitted that the shells of the native birds… wrinth I think… were more flavorful. His eating patterns match mine… we picked and grazed until we were full." She smiles, "I told him about honeycakes, and he asked that I bring them the next time I spend the night." The last fell from her lips before she can stop. "But, perhaps, I could just invite him for breakfast some morning…?"

The matron's eyes widen again at Margot's slip. "I certainly hope you won't consider spending the night with him again for a very long time, Margot," her tone turning again disapproving. "You should put that idea straight from your mind this instant. But…" she pauses, then relents. "Having him to a nice, proper brunch is not out of the question. I am curious to meet this young man that has so caught your fancy."

"I would like that… I'll send a formal invitation for him to come to brunch… a proper Victorian brunch. will that do?" She smiles fondly at the woman standing above her.

"That will do," Desrianne replies. Going to stand behind Margot again, she quickly pulls her hair into a loose braid. "If you're finished, it's time for you to rest for a time. It sounds as though you got very little sleep last night, and you want to be bright and fresh when you meet with your mother."

"Perhaps, but I'm restless… I think I want to talk with Granddad before I speak with Momma."

"As you wish," she says. Finishing with a tie for the braid, Desrianne goes to the closet for something comfortable for Margot to wear.

Margot rises from her seat, moving once more to her writing table. Without hesitation she begins penning another letter to Kendall, asking for a meeting place and time and telling him of her delayed meeting with her mother. Desrianne pulled a gown similar to the one she had sent to Maeve's Vigil, only midnight blue. Margot saw the gown and begins to chuckle. "The green dress… did you know that green is the color for House Chanicut?"

"No! Oh, my! I hope he did not take any meaning from the dress I sent," Desrianne says, stopping where she is, aghast, expression horrified.

Margot laughs, mirthful and delighted. "I hadn't noticed either; well, perhaps I did but didn't connect it. I was so concerned with getting dressed when it was time. It wasn't until he opened his wardrobe to show me a mirror. I asked him how I looked as I preened and that's he brought my attention to the entire rack of green robes all varying levels of formality. He teased me, saying that I 'looked like a proper Lady of Chanicut'." Margot continued to laugh, "I think I turned three different shades of crimson. We laughed together… it was good natured and a needed tension breaker." She glances to her matron, "Neither one of us really wanted our time together to end."

Desrianne listens with a wondering expression as Margot talks happily of her morning. "It sounds like you had a lovely time," she says. "But certainly it would be unseemly for you to ever be seen as catering to the Chaosian's taste. I will be wary next time we select a gown for you to wear to meet with him."

"What if it is a color that he finds flattering… like red?" she asks watching Desrianne's expression.

She seems to see where this is leading. "I'm sorry, dear. Of course you want to look pleasing. I think it would be wise if you did not focus on the tastes of one man."

"I just want to make sure while you're disposing of my green gowns, that I will not also lose all my red gowns as well," she smiles at Desrianne, teasing her lovingly.

"Hmmm…" Desrianne considers. "I will have to think about it," she replies, smiling back at the young woman.

"I am stunning in Red, Desrianne," she replies, "Others may find me so as well… how can that be considered catering to one man's fancy?"

"Alright, alright," she surrenders, continuing over with the gown to help Margot dress. "We will not be disposing of any gowns, of course. They are all here for you to enjoy. I'm sure you will do what is fit and proper."

Margot beams at the victory, no matter how small it was. "Thank you for your confidence." She shifts and pulls at the layers, trying to get situated in the gown. "Will you rest after I'm dressed, please?" she begs.

"Yes, dear," Desrianne agrees. "As long as you rest after speaking to your granddad." She buttons up the gown and helps get everything settled just right.

"You have my oath. I will come back and rest between meeting with Granddad," she sighs, "and Momma."

"Alright, then." Finally finishing with the gown, she comes back around and hugs Margot again. "And remember that I'm always available to talk as well."

"Even if it is a topic you do not wish to discuss?" she asks earnestly.

Desrianne hesitates, releasing Margot to look at her at arm's length. "Poppy, you're of an age now, and unfortunately experience as well, that few topics need be closed between us."

Margot nods. "Thank you. You mean the world to me," She leans in and presses a chaste kiss to the woman who knows her better than most anyone, save her own mother. Squaring her shoulders, she smiles, crossing the room to find the charm bracelet that Bleys gifted her. "I think I will need this. Will you help me?"

She shakes her head. "No, dear. I think this is something you will need to do on your own. And I have rest to take, per the orders of the Princess," she says, smiling a little at that.

"I meant putting it on my wrist, Desrianne," she teases, holding the bracelet out along with her wrist. "I think I know how to get a hold of him…" her eyes flicker to the bracelet, "Something Papa had mentioned, I'm going to try a theory."

"Oh!" Desrianne laughs. "I misunderstood." She helps Margot with the clasp of the bracelet. "I hope you are able to speak to him. I'm sure he'll be able to help you far more than I."

Margot laughs, watching the woman wrap the bracelet around her wrist. Her expression sobers a touch; however, "I'm hoping he can enlighten me on some other things that have been occupying my thoughts."

She pats Margot's cheek. "I know he will want to help you, Margot. Just ask." She moves toward the door, assuming that Margot would like some privacy for a while. "Let me know when you are finished, and I will have your room tidied."

Margot follows her, "Actually, I think I want to meet him in the gardens. It's peaceful there…"

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