“So what do you intend to do?” Hugh asked Emily as he sank into the soft cushioned chair with a sigh of gratitude. They had returned to Emily’s current home and were sitting in comfort within a large parlour. “Now you've openly declared your colours.” A quiet servant brought over a tray of drinks and pastries and retreated quietly from view.
Emily waited until the parlour door shut behind the maid before she settled herself on the chair opposite Hugh and rearranged her skirts. “I fancy I shall have to watch out for John.”
“Well that is rather obvious.” Hugh replied as he picked up his quizzing glass and began to polish it with a finely embroidered handkerchief. “But I’m interested in your more immediate concerns and plans.” He breathed lightly on the lens and regarded the blonde steadily. “Your actions this night will not have found favour with Justin. I fancy he will be upset with you.”
“As I’ve already said Hugh.” She reached out and picked up a pastry from the table beside her. “I don’t care if I have made friends or not.” Biting into the flaky confection, she chewed carefully, ignoring Hugh’s exasperated tut. “Justin needed the De Vire girl,” She announced as she brushed the crumbs from her skirts. “And not just for companionship, if it were only sex I wouldn't be going to the trouble.”
“Would that be because you serve as his lover from time to time?” Hugh returned the handkerchief to his pocket and flourished his quizzing glass with the other hand.
“Don’t be a bore Hugh.” Emily replied with a petulant twist to her lips. “Yes Justin and I have been lovers over the years. We are not in love.” She stood and walked over to the fireplace. She poked the embers with the nearby poker and stared into the glowing coals, a faraway look on her face.
“Then what is it between you two?” Hugh asked as he leant forward, trying to see the expression on her face. “Don’t forget how long I've known you.” He reached out for a glass of brandy and took a small sip. “If you aren't in love with him, then why are you so bitter towards the De Vire girl?” He didn't miss the tension in her body as she listened to his words. Emily liked to think that people could not see her emotions, but he could read her like a book. The silence lengthened as she stared into the fire, trying to avoid answering his questions. With a sigh, he pulled himself from the chair and walked over to her. As he reached her side, he caught hold of her arm and slowly turned her to face him. “and why would you change her if you would prefer to keep Justin for yourself?” Hugh watched her expressive blue eyes change with interest and waited for her to speak.