Maera was always such the impeccable hostess; able to play two parts to appease whichever guest she had in tow. Talia was being given a way to opt out of always being around her grandmother. As her cousin was quick to communicate with a secret gesture, she mimicked the same in kind and giggled softly in response. “Whatever you have in mind I’m always privy to go along with it, cousin Maera.”

Perhaps later they would be able to spend a bit of ‘girl time’ together. Although there was a bit of an age difference, Talia looked up to the woman as a kind of guiding beacon of sorts. Maybe she could gain some insight on how to garner the best ‘match’ and a happy ending just like her and Bradyn. But for now it was all about settling in and getting cleaned up.

Talia desperately felt like she needed a bath, but with tea in thirty minutes she would have to be quick to change and then soak away the dirt and grime later. Trina was busy conversing with Bradyn as she listened carefully to her cousin’s offers in the event she needed anything. When all was said and done, Talia stammered a happy, “Oh yes, that should be enough time. I’ll meet you there.”

In truth, Talia would have to pull out a few tricks to be ready by that time frame, but nothing she couldn’t handle she gathered. Granny had taught her well!

Looking over to Trina, Talia curtsied and replied, “I am going to get cleaned up and I will meet you all for tea in a bit. Until then…”

Making her exit, Talia settled into her room and watched as the maids helped her unpack. When she saw a particular dress suddenly be pulled from her bags, Talia reached over and replied, “Oh, this will do. Can you help me change?”

((all set here))