Goth High Quality XXX

I open the door, and...

Vivian's presence at the expensive school masked that, but if she let it be known how her school was paid for it would reflect on her. Not quite a scandal, but certainly a bit of salacious gossip that could do her damage when she was released into the wider circles of society, especially once she managed the social coup of marrying an Earl. Vivian understood immediately.

"May I ask a question?"

"Of course dear," said Mrs. Cunningham. About half of the young ladies wanted to ask a question at this point, some were too flummoxed by their situations to gather their wits together of course. It didn't surprise her at all that Vivian belonged to the former group.

"The Earl... what's he like?" That was the question foremost in Vivian's mind. It was easy for her to accept that her family's future and fortunes rested upon her shoulders, she'd had that inkling from the start and Mrs. Cunningham's explanations had solidified it into certainty. Less easy to swallow was the embarrassing fact that her schooling had been arranged by her future husband, as well as her consternation over being informed that she was betrothed to a man she'd never even heard of, much less met. Other than her family, she had had very little interaction with gentlemen, and even less since her arrival the school. Assuredly she'd met some of the other girl's brothers and fathers when they'd visited, but those conversations had never gone beyond mere social pleasantries. There was no picture in her mind for what the Earl might look like, be like, and that void made her feel extremely unsettled. It showed in her anxious eyes, the slight trembling of her hands; her social mask had been cracked and she was trying desperately to piece it back together by giving herself some kind of vision for where her life was now taking her.

"He'll make you a good husband," said Mrs. Cunningham, being as comforting as she could considering that she didn't truly have a maternal or even sympathetic bone in her body. Her own life's trials had made her a rather hard woman. "Rather young for his position, his father died two years ago. He's 33 years old, wealthy obviously, and ready to settle down with a wife."

"What does he look like? Is he attractive?"

"Pish, what kind of questions are those?" asked Mrs. Cunningham with a disapproving frown that made Vivian wilt a bit. Behind her Mrs. Banks shifted sympathetically. "The important thing is to know that he's taken care of both you and your family. Every woman has different qualities that she finds attractive, I have no idea whether or not you'll find him so. Be grateful for what he's given you." The sudden shift into scolding had Vivian quite off balance, as it was meant to. Mrs. Cunningham had every intention of making it quite clear how much Vivian owed the Earl, therefore instilling in her the motivation to be pleasing to him. Not that it would need much, in Miss Stafford's case, she was already one of the most eager-to-please young misses the school had ever had. Still, it was best that Vivian not dwell too much on her own wishes, but on learning to fulfill her husband's. Deciding it was time to end the interview, Mrs. Cunningham picked up an envelope on her desk with Vivian's name on it. "This is a letter from your father, to be given to you today. Mrs. Banks will accompany you if you wish to go around the grounds. Enjoy your afternoon Miss Stafford."

The dismissal was apparent. Biting back any further inquiries, Vivian took the envelope with her father's letter and made a small curtsy before leaving the room, moving as though she was in a daze. A light touch on her arm called her attention to her companion.

"Are you alright dear?" asked Mrs.

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