House of Harwood-Tangled Beginnings by Olivia Batker Pritzker

Harwood front pageVote at the end of this episode!

In the previous episode, Clarissa Duvall made her way to the Harwood house, against her will, to be presented to the young John Harwood. Readers voted that Clarissa is unhappy about this because she is in love with someone else.

Episode 2

The first thing Clarissa noticed upon stepping into the vast Harwood foyer was a large marble statue of an angel, which gazed imperially down on the visitors as they passed. She stared into it’s cold empty eyes for a moment and subconsciously reached up and touched her warm cheek with a gloved hand, as if reassured by the heat of her own body. When she took her hand away however she noticed a smear of pink and tan makeup on the white satin and cursed silently, quickly folding her fingers into her palm and away from her mother’s roving eyes.

“If you’ll please wait here.” The impeccably suited and puffed-up man who had led them through the house now gestured towards an empty receiving parlor. His eyebrows almost rivaled his moustache in bushiness, Clarissa thought to herself, giving him a perpetually alarmed look. With a bit of garment-shuffling and smoothing, she and her mother placed themselves delicately on two small pale pink sofas and waited.

It was an interminable interview, or so it felt to Clarissa. Victoria Harwood moved as though she had a wooden plank up the back of her dress, and Clarissa felt her own smile becoming plastered to her face as she graciously spoke of the beauty of the house, all the while thinking that she couldn’t imagine a fate more horrible than being stuck inside those oppressive stone walls for a lifetime.

John, for his part, looked rather uncomfortable with the whole situation. Clarissa wondered how he felt about this – society women sweeping in with their dolled-up daughters for him to appraise. She also wondered how much say he actually had in which daughter would be the chosen one. Just in case, however, she tried not to give him any encouraging looks. As she walked the line between politeness and disinterest, she let her mind wander to Richard.

Clarissa wasn’t naive enough to believe that it had been love at first sight, but she had definitely felt something powerful when Richard’s dark eyes had first met hers. Keeping it a secret from her mother was almost as fun as the affair itself, and the thought of what any of the stuffy, uptight people in her life would say if they found out made her giggle with delight. Richard was unlike any of the boys Clarissa knew. Well he wasn’t a boy, even, as he was much older than she. Richard’s age and his hot temper made him even more illicit to Clarissa, almost dangerous. She loved their secret rendezvous, and all she could think about as her mother simpered on was whether she would be seeing him that night.Vote below on what will happen next or if viewing from email, click Take our Poll.

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