This week, we focused primarily on character development. Because I so enjoyed the last time I imagined this world, I decided to continue on with it. I don’t find the writing itself to be as solid, but I do feel I’ve fleshed out her character quite a bit.
Surely he wouldn’t dare to make a scene here. There were too many important people. She listened intently for any clue. Was he waiting to snatch at her wrists the moment she stepped inside? A careful glance through the window showed no danger. She took a moment to clear her face of any sign of distress. it must be handled, of course, but on her terms.
The garden fountain’s murmurs calmed her. How she wished she could just wander the garden alone! Forget her place, her obligations. But she couldn’t hide on this peaceful balcony all night. One last draught of cool, clean air and then she pushed the brass handle of the french door and entered the party once more.
The sound of revelry hit her like a wall. It was shocking, solid and unmoving. After a moment’s recovery, she took a step on the parquet floor and joined the fray. Unlike so many of the ladies here, her dance card hadn’t been filled before the evening has even begun. Mothers and dowager aunts traded their progeny like shares on Bond Street. Iris, for all her refinement, had managed to avoid so much of that. With no mother to prompt such societal responsibilities, it was left to her absent-minded father to make obligatory visits and answer invitations. So confused was he by the whole thing that he declared it nonsense and insisted that Iris was old enough to answer for herself. This suited Iris quite well. And except for the occasional outing to Box Hill or the Lakes District with a group of friends, Iris had declined or ignored all the other advances on her time.
But this party was one she had actually agreed to attend. It was being held by the parents of her dearest friend. She and Susannah had played together since they would crawl. Their mothers were good friends and many an afternoon tea turned into an evening of chasing fireflies and waiting for the fairies to come out. The girls made up a nonsense language that only they could understand and would leave messages for each other in the old elm tree truck that guarded the path between their homes. They hatched plans to rescue Sam, the old workhorse from the barn and dreamt of ways to build a time machine. Iris always wanted to go back. Back to spend time with her mother, to see her mother when she was a child. Susannah, though, was obsessed with knowing her future. At times she viewed childhood as a sentence to be served, with adolescence being probation before you were finally released into adulthood. Iris saw it the other way around. She saw adulthood as the prison where even “free time” was measured and controlled.