I’m back with another scene from Midas’ Daughter. Today we’re back to Calla, who is about to find out just what her father is up to.
“It’s about time.”
Her father didn’t even look at her as she walked into his study. Didn’t take the time to see what she’d done with her hair or that she’d put a dress on. He only knew she’d kept him, and whoever his guest was, waiting.
“Sorry, Father,” she said. “I didn’t know to expect company.”
Her father didn’t respond or even look at her. “You’re almost twenty-one,” he said. “It’s time you took on the duties of this household instead of wasting your time playing with that horse.”
Her throat burned, but she held back the tears. She wouldn’t cry, not in front of her father and certainly not in front of the man sitting across the parlor. What duties didn’t she already do? But, that wouldn’t be the right question to ask. He’d likely list them. Not that it was ever something he’d brought up before. She felt the other man’s eyes on her. She wouldn’t embarrass herself or her father in front of him.
“I understand, Father.” Even though she didn’t. Not at all.
“Good. Your birthday is in two weeks. We’ll be having a party here. The housekeeper and butler have the plans and guest list. Make sure they don’t screw anything up.”
What was she supposed to say? He expected her to oversee her own party. A party she hadn’t even asked for. Likely to prove a point. Or humiliate her when it all went wrong. Did he think she’d done that to him the other night? She’d been trying to help. Why was that so wrong?
Calla kept her hands at her sides but felt them trembling. She wanted to be back out in the stable with Ariadne. And Flip. No, she shouldn’t think about him, she knew he didn’t think about her. Instead, she had to be in feeling like she was a child having her hand slapped. She couldn’t believe he was doing this. What had she ever done to deserve him to treat her this way?
He didn’t wait for her answer anyway. “This is James Adair. He’ll be a special guest at your party. I expect you to show him around until then and treat him with the utmost respect.”
This was all hard to swallow, but she nodded. “Yes, Father.” This wouldn’t give her any time to spend at the stables with Ariadne. Which may be his point. He made it even clearer when he stopped her at the door to the study.
“After the party, you’ll be engaged or he’ll be buying your horse.”
No! She’d almost thought she’d shouted the word, but neither man reacted. They had her whole future planned out for her, and it wasn’t one she wanted. She either got married and got to keep Ariadne, or she’d lose everything. And without a penny to her name until he released her trust fund, there wasn’t anything she could really do. Anywhere she could go to get away from this.
“I understand, Father.” She only wished she didn’t.