The ball had not turned out at all what I had thought it would. How much of a fool could one man…no….both men think that I was? Never mind. I should never ask such questions that I do not want the answers to.
First to be herded like a bit of livestock so that I had to dance with Comte de Anjou made me so angry that the back of my neck felt hot and I could feel my ears burn. Oh, to be certain he was ever the oily gentleman and did his level best to be charming. I was not at all pleased that he decided to show up, contrary to his initial plans of being away from Court. His dancing was well enough, but the conversation was not something that I wanted to hear.
“Imagine my surprise to see you here tonight, my dear” Anjou skilfully moved us among the other dancers. I felt my eyes dart discreetly to where Sebastien was dancing with a lovely woman in a mauve gown. Anjou noticed my gaze, “I see Monsieur de Rochefort is true to form tonight, “ Anjou tutted. “Really, Mademoiselle, you do know he keeps company with the seamier side of Paris.”
“I am here to have a good time, your Grace, “ I replied coolly, pretending not to notice how close Sebastien was dancing with the woman, “And whomever the Comte de Rochefort dances with or keeps company with is none of my affair.”
“Oh, but my dear it is. You really should be careful lest your own reputation suffer,” Anjou jerked his head haughtily at the lilac gowned woman as we passed she and Sebastien on the dance floor of the ballroom, “ that woman he is dancing with has quite the reputation. She is not just any business owner like many of the respectable establishments in the city, but she is rumoured in partnership with the Cardinal, the child of a bordello. Do really you want to be seen with a man who outside of his office as the Captain of the Cardinal’s guard is essentially a man who consorts with common whores? I thought you were of better breeding, Mademoiselle. Honestly, what would your Uncle….Angus, is it? Oui…what would Angus – or even any of your own countrymen say about your careless associations?”
I felt my cheeks go hot just as the music stopped and the dance ended. I withdrew my hand and my person from Anjou’s all too familiar embrace and stared hard at him. “ I suppose,” I said, “ that my Uncle – or my people would say that as long as I am not a hypocrite, you never know which angels ye might be entertaining unawares.”
Anjou grabbed my wrist roughly, his fingers biting through the fabric of my evening gloves, he smiled but his eyes were hard and all business. “She’s no angel, Mademoiselle. And neither is Rochefort. If you really want to get along here in Paris, then you’d do better to cast your lot with those who can truly help you and who have more influence at Court. It is far better to do that than to get the reputation of cavorting with the the less-than-worthy!”
If it were not a formal Court gathering and if the King and queen and the Cardinal had not been in attendance, I would have hauled off and slapped the Comte de Anjou. As it was, I drew myself up and turned slowly, resolutely returning to the table near the Queen that I had started off the evening. As I did so, I could see Sebastien look up at me. I felt my face flush. No matter how hard he tried to engage me in discussion, I spurned every one of his efforts.
Admittedly, for the rest of the evening, I was harsh to him, insulting not only him but the woman he was with. I was so angry all I could do was to order him to leave me be. With a smirk he complied, but I knew that I had not heard the end of it. As I stepped into the cool Paris night, and lit into my carriage, still the feeling of airlessness did not leave, and I prayed that the my home was not nearly so far away as I knew that it must be. I just wanted to get away from these people and get back to the business of interceding for my people. I h ave found that in this life, if a woman wants something done then she must do it herself. In that moment I made up my mind that my evening would have been far better spent outside of the company of either the Comte de Anjou or the Comte de Rochefort.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 803
4 responses to “17.1.B – Reputation”
1. I fall in love with your girl’s spunk each and every post.
2. Icon love. It is simple, but I adore it.
1. Thank you! That sort of high praise, especially from one of the people whose writings are the most exquisite that I have ever seen. I know we keep saying it, but I do believe that Reinette and Faelyn would be absolutely wonderful friends at Court. We need to put them together in *something*
2. Heh…I swiped that from a book cover. I saw the dress and the lettering and thought, “YAH! That’s ever-so-pefect for my girl!” 😉
“Better spent yes, but infinitely more boring in the end, oui? And as for influencing the court; as I recall, and forgive me if my memory is not what it was – did not the Comte de Anjou suffer some horrible disfiguring malady before his ill-timed demise? Tsk, tsk, pity that.”
Rochefort gives a slight smirk, and leisurely raises an arm towards her.
“Care to dance, Madame?”
At his outstretched hand and invitation, Faelyn could not keep the smile from creeping to the corner of her lips. Her hand snaked up for it even if she did not look at him. When at last she was on her feet then her eyes did meet his one eye.
“I believe he contracted something from one of the courtesans he was regularly seeing. Someone mentioned it had something to do with the promiscuity of his lifestyle,” she said, ” and they are all boring compared to you, your Grace,” she grinned. “And none of them are much of a challenge at chess, either.”