Eden 42:3

“You and Claire are always out so late working, why not bring her home for dinner tomorrow?” Eden told Sophia at a hurried breakfast one morning.

“Dinner? Here?” Sophia drained a cup of tea and poured another.

“Certainly—no need to dress or make a fuss—just bring her home. She hasn’t got a cook, has she? She could probably use a decent meal.”

“I’ll ask her.”

But one thing and another crowded the idea out of Sophia’s mind and she never did ask Claire to dinner.

Instead, she missed dinner herself more and more often until one night, long after the servants had gone to bed, she let herself in with a latchkey and crept quietly back to the kitchen in the hopes of finding something left over in the larder.

Passing the parlor as she did, she saw a light burning, and looked in to find Eden seated by the fire, a glass of brandy in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

“You’re home.” Eden put down the glass to consult her watch. “It’s after midnight.”

“Have you been waiting for me?” Sophia was worried now.

“We had dinner with Miss Francine and Mrs. Devries, remember?”

Sophia had forgotten the engagement entirely. “Oh…” She sank into a chair near Eden. “I’m so sorry. We are so close to finished, it is difficult to stop and we forget everything else, and…”

“Miss Francine said to tell you how sorry she was to miss your playing. I got an earful of Mrs. Devries’ instead.” Eden tried a small smile, but her mouth was hard and her eyes were dark.

Sophia was quiet.

Well…you must be tired. Go to bed, darling.” Eden rose and kissed Sophia’s forehead, then stepped out of the room herself.

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