With the breakfast came the notice about the earl accepting her conditions. Katherine breathed a sigh of relieve, only to get nervous right afterwards. Her first date! What to do, what to do?!
One look at Hazel, who was like a quiet, confused mouse today, made her realize that she couldn't expect any help from her side. After thinking about it for the whole night, she felt regret for her harsh words. She already wanted to apologize, but as she observed Hazel longer, she saw that the pensiveness in her maid's eyes seemed to outweigh the hurt and desolation. Could Hazel really learn from that? Hesitatingly, she decided to wait it out.
Katherine was clear about how little Hazel could help her with the preparations anyway. The maid nearly fled as she tried to talk about the topic 'love'. She didn't want to scare her off even more. Once a day already seemed to be more than she could take.
So, everything about how to seduce the earl was stuck on her. Because of the nightmare, she really didn't feel like preparing a date today - more like snuggling into her bed and nursing her soul - but well, she'd dug herself a pit. She couldn't back out now.
After contemplating for a bit, she decided for the flower garden as their place of meeting. Through Hazel she found two other maids to help her with the preparations. These two motherly women, Nina and Anni, got pretty exited as they heard what they were about to do.
"Don't worry, milady, we have sooo many ideas for that!", they assured her. "We'll get a white pavilion, and form hearts out of red roses, and when you get to the lake there will be ..."
Hastily, Katherine stopped them. "Please don't exaggerate. Nothing too obvious, no roses or hearts or sorts. We need to simply get to know each other first. Maybe... maybe some other time."
She had the feeling that the earl would be very annoyed if she started with an all-out love-attack. Especially when they only met for the second time. Just imagining the cold demon annoyed made her shudder. Everything but that.
This restriction made Anni's and Nina's head hang low, and simultaneously cut the preparations short. Within one hour everything except herself was ready.
As Nina and Hazel were looking through her wardrobe, Anni stayed with her to braid her hair into a complex high-stress hairstyle.
Alone with one of the woman, Katherine knew it was the perfect moment to ask all the questions cursing through her head. Just... she didn't know where to start.
Her ears in the color of strawberries she finally blurted out: "Do you have a husband?"
Anni chuckled lightly. "Yes, milady. He lives in town. We grew up there and knew each other for our whole life."
Katherine bit her lips. As she was staying behind her, Anni couldn't see how red her lady's face had become. "How do you ... seduce him?"
"Tsk, tsk", Anni made teasingly. "That's not really something a lady should ask, right? Seducing my husband... no, I won't tarnish your pure soul. That's a step too fast for you, milady. But if it is helping you to make a bit of an impression on the earl, I might as well do it. You know, all of us hope that you can make that de- ah, the lord a bit more human."
Anni's first words made Katherine freeze, but the latter half loosened the tension up remarkably. She took a deep breath. "That would be awesome! Thank you!"
The older women laughed sheepishly at Katherine's excitement. "Better wait with the thanks till you see the result. It won't be simple, although your beauty is an advantage. But beauty isn't everything..."
And she started to teach her about how to impress the earl.
Ten minutes to the appointed time, Anni listed the most important rules once more. "Never forget: don't be clingy! Show him you have more than just a nice face! And lastly: make him curious! You can do something he can't decipher. It doesn't matter if it has no meaning in the end. The earl doesn't know this. I'm rooting for you!"
"Me too!", Nina smiled.
"A-and me!", Hazel stuttered with a beet-red face. All the talk about how to make the earl notice Katherine had fl.u.s.tered her greatly. Sometimes she even had to leave the room to clam her nerves.
One time she was out, Katherine had asked Anni and Nina of they knew if anyone was harassing Hazel. Sadly, they seemed to have no clue.
In the here and now, Katherine waved her hand. "Thank you all!"
Nervousness radiating from her as she left her chambers.
"Milady." Jack and Pete bowed their heads. Was it just her impression or were they bowing deeper today? Doesn't matter.
She took a deep breath to clam herself. "Let's go."
Following behind her, Jack and Pete exchanged an impressed look. They already thought the lady was pretty yesterday, but today she was a little angel.
She'd donned a sky-blue, strapless dress, and a matching textile rose was plugged into her black hair. While most of it was high-set, a few curls fell down to her fragile neck, highlighting the white skin. It was beautiful with a playful charm. They only had a short glance at her face, yet they knew they'd never forget it. If they were twenty years younger, they'd fall for her instantly. Jack grinned inwardly. How should the earl resist such temptation? Would the lady be their official boss soon?
The earl wasn't there yet as they reached the hall. Ordering Jack and Pete to stand back, Katherine waited alone at the end of the wide staircase.
Right on time, the earl appeared at the other end. He wore a simple grey suit, missing every and all extras, as if he wanted to tell her that this date wasn't anything special. It spiked her anger, but she gave her best not to show it.
Stopping at the upper end of the staircase, he sent his gaze down. Two pairs of eyes, violet and red, met. While he discovered her nervousness, she saw nothing but indifference in his eyes. In reality, however, he was just too good at masking his surprise. He didn't expect her to be this beautiful when she dressed up a bit. Her eyes were a violet sea full of sparkling stars and those red lips looked so kissable... although he know, he couldn't touch her.
Not for me, he reminded himself, I can never have anything like this. She was the jucy steak teasing the tiger to jump inside a trap.
His expression darkened. It didn't feel good to be teased and he hadn't expected to feel anything but annoyance for her.
Feeling the atmosphere getting horrible cold, Katherine shivered slightly and averted her eyes. Just what is wrong with him? His mood is even worse than two days ago! Maybe he doesn't like my dress-up. Or possibly he really likes men? That would be bad indeed...
The pressure and the disappointment made her shoulders sink. What a failure.
Jack, peeking over from the side of the hall, was biting his handkerchief. What's up with you, you damn earl? How can you not like out little angel lady?! She made such an huge afford only for you!
Just as he thought that, the earl started to descend the steps, still wearing his gloomy expression.