Nothing drives me nuts quite like a hoity, lofty romance novel with characters who think their armpits smell of such a wondrous aphrodisiac that all the other characters should flock to woo them. And then it actually happens, of course in a high-headed way with much dramatic airs.
A little note here: someone should take those two sentences and actually use them for a plot. That would be way fun and crazy. Oh, also, this is part of my not-so-daily freewrites.
That said, there must be a plentiful readership for these types of books, since there are so very many of them. So, who am I to judge? McDonald’s also drives me nuts, but I personally know several people who nearly worship the Golden Arches. The hubbs and I have long since given up on most prepared food, since combined we have allergies to most processed items. There must be some sort of appeal in all that superficial fakeness that appeals. And just as I have eaten in most fast food joints, just for the experience, it is well beyond my time that I write a heady plot on a character who can’t see past the glow of how self-centered and awesome they are.
And thus comes Beatrice. Don your helmets, for I’m swan diving into the lake of egotistical masochism. Or my version of it, in any case.
And beware the ides of typos and misunderstanding which will surely occur. First draft and whatnot.
Crystal gleamed beneath Beatrice’s white gloves and rag, the last of the water droplets wicking away at her touch. It was a simple death that awaited the sheriff at the feast, a slow nodding-off as the food and drink settled into his stomach. Thus was his downfall, the drink, for he took his wine cut with French brandy, and the heat of the drink would allow the poison to sink deep into his veins and cover the peppery bite of the toxin. His son would likely die as well, the swine that he was. A bitter pang to Beatrice, but she hadn’t the heart to poison the sheriff’s wife, not when the girl was younger than she while the sheriff old enough to be her sire. The girl was his third such wife, the first having died to bear the son, and the second found on the shore of the river.
It was well and beyond time that the plague of the sheriff be gone from this kingdom forever. Not that she would survive the murders, of course. The staff here was too observant. They’d kept eyes on every person handling the food no matter for how brief a time. And with hair and eyes the color of rich dirt, Beatrice stood out amongst the maidens with wheat-hued hair or those with a reddish tinge. No, there was no doubt that once the sheriff was dead, she would be found. And that knowledge therein was precisely why the woman had reserved a dose of poison for herself.
The butler at the head of the table frowned, not much caring for the gossiping and flighty maids, but caring even less for the silent and collected type which looked ready to poison a glass.
Beatrice flashed a smile at him, dropping her eyes to the work she had done. She lifted the wine glass to the sunlight, admiring the cuts the craftsmen had made to carve the pattern of diamonds into crystal, catching a rainbow when twisted correctly. Without a word, Beatrice handed him the glass, making a comment on beholding the wonder of its beauty. At this, the portly and short man frowned, having to tip his head to look up at her as he read her expression. Seconds passed, marked by the swing of the clock down the hallway. Beatrice gave away nothing, nothing but the slight curve of her lips.
A scullery girl, just a waif of a thing such as the sort the sheriff preferred, crept up behind the butler, tugged on his sleeve, and proceeded to tattle on a boy who put his fingers in a pie. The man had other concerns than a woman whose smile put a shudder down his back. She was just a temporary addition. In two hours, she would be gone. Reprimanding the girl for interrupting adults, the butler gave pause long enough to mutter to Beatrice that they had a firm count of all the stem- and serving-ware.
Beatrice smiled again at him, and he gave a noticeable shiver. Fearing the darkness in her eyes, the butler directed her to sweeping the halls. If the order perturbed her, the woman gave no indication, just inclined her head and turned to her new task.
The floor was swept, dinner laid out, and the guests came in, all at once, with great clamor and chatter. Compared to the stillness and deliberate calculation of the dining hall earlier in the day, the guests came as a great flood down the riverbed, talking and joking and finding their seats by their name card.
It was with relief written over the butler’s brow that he dismissed Beatrice from his employ. He had re-washed the stemware, and was confident in the safety of his meal. Not that she would have made an obvious attempt to get her hands on the sheriff’s glass, Beatrice did wish she could have deposited just a drop of the oil into the sheriff’s glass—however, the butler would know when it smudged instead of wicking away the way water ought. Nothing was out of place for the man. An assassination had been impossible ever since he took charge of the Lord’s household. The sheriff took his glass, poured his concoction into it, and took a swig as he sparred wits with his deputy. Sadly, the man was safe, for his glass was untainted.
Beatrice waited, lingering in the servant’s doorway, needing to watch, needing to see the man administer himself the toxin, even though there was naught she could do to force it to happen now. Only the mouse could take the cheese for himself. She watched him sip, taking in enough brandy to dull the senses and mute the tongue to taste. Never one for manners, the sheriff speared a mushroom upon his fork and toyed with it as though using it as a prop in his conversation. Somehow sensing her eyes watching, the light-haired man saw Beatrice hiding behind the door, and mirth marred his otherwise handsome profile. He had seen that her status was reduced to this, reduced to taking whatever scraps of work were given to her. But Beatrice knew that he had taken far worse from other maidens. At least her ruin was in her own fault, having fallen for a smooth word and smoother hands. Age wore well on the man, it was no wonder his adolescent wife had a belly which bulged with a growing child. The girl had not a whit of the monster she bedded, and Beatrice was glad to keep her innocent of it.
The butler shot her a glare when he opened the door, muttering noises to shoo her away. Beatrice slowly backed down, a smile sliding over her lips as the sheriff’s closed on the fork, his tongue licking away the juices, never knowing that the woman he tormented had polished his silver.