Before I fall into the danger zone, I have to wonder if this site – this tether, will be the thing I need to keep myself from going into the nothingness.
I refuse to spend all day gathering and not produce. Let us play even if we do it poorly, we’ll have something to chew on later.
“In a matter of days, the last transaction will be finalized and the request secured.”
“Faster than all the others, I see. ” He lifted the gold-rimmed glass up and smiled. He seemed to her to be a bit tired. There were those lines around his eyes. Her mother had called them worry marks once, and declared she refused to entertain them on her face. Her father had retorted they were life marks, and they were visitors no one could turn out. They’d argued and her mother had been silent for the entirety of the day afterwards.
Looking at them now, she simply thought they made him him. And she found that he looked…like the ocean after a month in the stuck and staid city. Still, calm, but below this, a library containing more than it was possible to know. And handsome.
“A toast to proficiency.” She raised her glass as well and turned her head away as if to look into his eyes again was to face a firing line. “And,” he continued, “to charm.” A quick clink between them before he smiled and downed his nearly-full glass of celebratory champagne.
Amelia found herself willing to smile a bit at that. He was pleased, then. It was foolish, but she wanted to be the one who served him best.
In a sudden burst of energy, Kafele called out to the post-meal slump the room had become.
“Come, come, my friends. There is much we must show you!” Willoughby had already pushed open the doors from the drawing room into the workspace. Smith strolled in, holding a champagne glass and its dregs briefly against his chest before setting it on a shelf next to a tray of empty glass specimen jars. Shelburne, in his inimitable way, excitedly skulked toward the front of the lab. Carlisle, soundless, distracted, bored, simply was in one room and then was in the next.
They were the last to leave the drawing room and as they walked, Amelia felt the Professor’s fingertips lightly against the small of her back, pushing her, guiding her forward as if she somehow did not know the way. If it had been another, she might have been furious. Or at the very least made tense by the unexpected touch. Instead, a flush ran through her as she felt Shelburne’s eyes catching sight of this briefest moment of connection. He would be the one to see. He watched the Professor’s every move to see if he would betray his grand plan in the angle he tilted his head, in the placement of books on his shelf, and certainly in any errant moment he spent with Amelia.
There was a calculation taking place, to be sure of it.