Butterflies and Tingling Skin
I intend to become a better writer, using strong verbs, making a little game out of it. Today’s strong word are assume, consider, deepen, demand, diminish, develop, control, comprise, complicate, and demolish.
Tammy paused, and assumed her conscientious and polite employee demeanor. She took deep breaths to calm her thoughts. But they were still roiled by yesterday’s events. Rebecca had been no help. She tried to consider only today’s duties. Herds of butterflies swirled in her tummy, deepening her anxiety.
Stepping inside his Chateau, she wondered if she would see the Count. In days past, she had seldom seen him. But, with his clear interest in her, she had become hyper aware of his presence. Now, she expected to see him at every turn. Where, once, she had given him little thought, now it seemed as if he demanded her attention.
Quelling her turmoil, she began her duties. As tourists assembled, her uneasiness diminished. Soon, her well-practiced habits, developed over countless tours, took hold. She led straggling tourists down familiar halls, pointing out tapestries and explaining painting. At first, she fielded many questions. But, as always, they became more quiet.
Yet, something was different. On other tours, she had mingled with them, gaining their trust and affection. Now, men eyed her. And their wives and girlfriends watched her with hate in their eyes, or tried to show her up. Using all her tricks, she struggled to entertain and control her charges.
Still, she saw no sign of the Count. She wondered if she would finish her tour without his spying. She tried to decide if she felt disappointment or relief.
She led her flock into Chapel, with its many recesses and alcoves. She rattled off details which always seemed to impress them. How long it had taken to build. So many blocks of Carrara marble comprised each wall. Each block weighed many thousands of kilograms. Once, she thought she had seen him. But, when she looked again, no one was there.
Ushering her charges down into Family burial vaults, she waited until everyone assembled. She felt mortality and vulnerability seep into her bones. So, too, did they. Everyone spoke in hushed tones, almost jumping at any noise. Would he appear from behind a column? She was no long interrupted by questions. No one tried to take her monologue out of context, and complicate her explanations.
Leading them back up, each step demolished airs of morbidity which had settled over them. She luxuriated in gentle, fragrant breezes caressing her cheek, and sunlight warming her soul as much as her body. To ascend from the crypts was to return to life, to promise. To hope.
Then…she saw the Count…watching from his balcony.