“My dear Miss MacLean, what on earth has happened to you?”
Lady B’s shrill voice halts my progress across the ballroom floor (I’d been hoping to escape for a nap), and I turn to meet her narrowed gaze. I can’t meet it, of course, because it’s focused somewhere else–about two feet south of my own. On my very round, very prominent belly.
Before I can answer her, she continues. “You’re…”
I nod. “I know. Enormous.”
She nods once. “You’re also…waddling. No doubt that’s why you should be having a lying in and not gadding about Beaufetheringstone House.”
Lady B, ever charming. “I hadn’t noticed that. No doubt you’re right.”
She narrows her gaze again. “I do not care for facetiousness.”
“Quite.” She considers me for a long moment. “Now, when is our new addition scheduled to arrive?”
Not soon enough, I want to say, but I don’t think she’ll take that well. So I tell the truth. “Ten days.”
She nods. “That will work well.”
This gives me pause. There’s really no reason to assume that my having a baby will at all impact the life of the Baroness. “It will?”
“Yes. You see, I should like to meet the little one.”
Knowing that Lady B has a penchant for the dramatic, I laugh. “Are you going somewhere?”
She does not laugh. “I am, as a matter of fact.”
“Don’t be silly.”
The woman can be very very difficult when she wants to be. “Lady B,” I start, preparing to say something like, you are being very very difficult. But she cuts me off.
“Though we should discuss the holiday. I assume you will be joining us, with the miniature you?”
“Uhhhh…” This takes me for a surprise. “I hadn’t planned on…”
“You will be joining us. As will all the others.”
A command Christmas performance. Excellent. (Holidays were fraught with drama during the Regency, too, evidently.) “Of course.” It seemed better not to argue.
She nods. “Excellent. Then let’s collect the other authoresses and discuss the particulars. This particular holiday will have to be one for the ages.”
I sigh. It looks like I’m not getting that nap after all.
I’ve finished shopping before Christmas Eve for the first time ever in my life (I blame the baby for my rash of organization and preparation)…For those of you who plan to celebrate Christmas, have you already begun to prepare?