An Unexpected Gift
I intend to become a better writer, using strong verbs, making a little game out of it. Today’s strong word are demolish, neglect, signify, apply, compare, garner, reconfigure, burden, personify, and examine.
Tammy stepped into the Library, knowing the Count’s insistence on punctuality. She was in no position to anger him . She decided she would endure much to keep her job, but would not let him to demolish her dignity. Seeing him seated at a desk, she curtsied, observing the ritual of an inferior to a superior, hoping she neglected nothing.
He looked up, and nodded, to signify his awareness of her. He waved to a simple wooden chair, placed precisely in front of the desk. “Tammy, let me assure I meant to apply no pressure, to cause you no worry. I wished to compare my impression of you with the opinions of…others. I invited you here to, shall we say, garner more information about you. You…interest me.”
Tammy felt her eyes widen, suddenly unable to control her expressions. She sought to reconfigure her look, to mask the fear welling up. She sought calmness, to project serenity. “I have no wish to burden your Grace with unnecessary concerns. I…I try to do my duties to bring honor to you, and to the Chateau.”
The Count laughed, a sharp bark. “My dear, let me you at ease your worries. Your…performance…satisfies me. You personify excellence, grace and charm. In every detail.” His eyes roamed over her. “Yes…yes. Perhaps, one day we could…examine your qualifications. We might find you a position worthy of your dreams and aspirations.”
He abruptly held the paper out to her. Leaning forward, black hair slipped down her front. Taking his offering, she avoided his fingers. She held a bank draft.
“Your…you. Oh my.” She pushed her hair back, her face heating. She saw the Count, chuckling, settle back in his chair. “Your Grace is…is—”
“Well. You are human. Everyone mentions your poise.” Then he waved with the back of his hand, sweeping her from the room. “I do not wish to be rude, but— ” He rifled more papers.
“As your Grace commands.” Tammy tried not to stumble through her curtsy, and stopped only after she closed the door. Then she slumped against the wall.
Astonishment washed terror away. She held a bank draft for a thousand Francs. Still, she wondered. Was this about her job? Or more? She decided to speak to Rebecca. She would know if there was more to the dance.