She stood, solemnly and silently. Shadows of sun clouds shrouded her views from the wall-length windows as her concerns shrouded her mind. Wilhelmina Winters, of City Hospital, sighed deeply.
She lifted the small note in her hand and glanced at its surface without seeing the writing upon it. She sighed again, the movement causing a rustling of ruffles in the satin of her dress. She adjusted her black lace scarf and subconsciously admired the affect in her muted reflection.
“Whatever shall I do?” She whispered in her slight drawl. She touched fingers with the dark glass girl.
Although distracted most terribly, Ms. Winters was pleased with the way her reflection was part her and partly the elements beyond her: gray clouds, interrupted light, and troubled winds.
A slight sound behind caused her to turn toward it. A loose curl graced her high-boned cheek at the turn, though the remaining strands stayed restrained and refined atop her head. A man in black too large for his frame had shifted upon the chaise, and his whispering cloak had alerted her.
Neither he nor his silent companion opened his darkling eyes, so Ms. Winters turned back to herself. This was not the change she anxiously anticipated. She felt the disappointment acutely as the girl opposite gave her an empathetic look of impatient sadness.
Without seeming to change composure nor expression, the older of her companions addressed her, “Come away from the window and sit down, Mina. It won’t make waiting any faster.”
Ms. Winters touched her friend a final goodbye, then slowly stepped in slithering satin to her father. Heaving an adolescent expression of restlessness, she acquiesced to his request and sat.
She tried, most dutifully, to divert herself with the room, the note, and her relative’s resting faces. Having an instinctively restless nature, however, she failed. This was her usual want, despite many tutors’ efforts to patiently instruct her away from it.
She looked round the room, furnishings, and windows for some sign of release and found none. She looked to her hand and what it held.
Drawing on some remaining curiosity, Ms. Winters again applied herself to the paper. She forced her natural mind away from waiting, and worked her hands to apply print to parchment. She would soon know precisely what her secret paramour meant to express.
She wrote dutifully as she toyed with her hair curl, as unruly as her natural spirit. She finished copying all of the letters, and prepared to separate them into meaning.
Her quick ears pricked in recognition of footfalls the instant before the door near them was opened. She and the men accompanying her sat up quickly to look toward the sound.
A nurse stood there, smiling at their expressions and the good news she would deliver.
Continued from Nineteen.