|Lily - Georgia O'Keeffe|
The informal gathering at Mrs. Trenor’s that evening was a familiar social gathering for Lily. She arrived with Amelia and Lady Skiddaw and they entered together.
“Why Lily,” said Mrs. Trenor. “Where have you been keeping yourself since you returned from Monaco? We have missed you, and she kissed each of her cheeks in welcome.”
“My Aunt, Mrs. Peniston, has not been well, and I have been attending to her, that’s all. But here I am and so happy to see you.”
Soon people were conversing, mixing with each other, partaking of tidbits of food and listening to the music and Lily began to feel that maybe Amelia was right, that being here was all that was needed to dispel the ugly stories spread by Bertha Dorset.
Wearing a bias cut pale rose silk gown, with a deep scalloped neckline, Lily looked more wonderful than anyone else in the room, as usual. Her head high on her slender neck, her eyes bright with contentment at being there, she was ready to forgive all for their shunning of her.
I walk in the door and look around for the Duchess hoping to see Lily Bart with her. And then I see Lily, as she is the only one in the room. My god, she is beautiful, tall, slender, her hair piled high, lovely white face, arms, shoulders. Yes, Amelia was exactly right. I would not hesitate to ask her right this minute, book passage and take her away. Perfect.
The Duchess sees me and glances at Lily. I nod to let her know I have already seen and to indicate that she was correct. I am grateful to her for enticing me here. She comes to my side, introduces me to her hostess, then says, “There is someone I want you to meet.” We both know who that is.
She arrives at Lily’s side after greeting a number of people on the way, and she touches Lily’s arm and says, “Lily, I have been wanting you to meet a friend of mine from Paris, the Baron Du Roy of Cantel”
I bow to Lily, take her hand, and kiss her skin with open lips. The barest touch of the tip of my tongue licks her. I immediately look into her eyes and I see that her pupils have dilated. Excellent, I think, excellent.
Her face gives nothing away, her eyes cool, polite, friendly, warm, her mouth and face the same, and I say to her,
“Mademoiselle Bart, you are beautiful and incomparable, graceful and perfect. There has been no exaggeration of your loveliness.”
She replies, “Your exceeding charm has been greatly underestimated.”
She has mirrored me. And precisely. I am surprised. Her voice is beautifully modulated. She is perceptive, intelligent, well the adjectives would flow but are not necessary.
Already I am enchanted with her.