Chapter Three

‘Is he not just so adorable?’ Lady Cavern leaned towards Lady Williams. ‘Agree, the dinner party is dry to say the least, and his skill on the pianoforte is far better than some of the girls I’ve witnessed so far,’ she continued, ‘but, what on earth, made you want to allow him, a boy that is, what made you want him to learn the piano, quiet as he is?’

Michael’s head was dipped low, his dark black fringe covering all expression. He held no smile, just intense concentration. But dressed smart, in blue, he emanated a sense of innocence around him. Full collar, long boots.

‘I did not make him learn it,’ Lady Williams replied. Taking a sip of her wine, ‘He heard me play and watched. He just watched my fingers. Did not pay attention to the player. But I will confess, that composition, I have neither attempted, nor heard,’ she added. She looked straight ahead and blocked out all other conversations. ‘Not conversations. These whispers are gossips,’ she muttered.

Michael, with a smile, continued tapping away at the keys. Feeling the change in his mother’s mood, he suddenly turned his head to look straight at her. ‘Mother,’ He whispered. Holding his fingers, just above the keys, he cleared his throat, ‘Mother, won’t you help me a little? I’m finding the next verse very tricky,’ He asked, loudly.

Although the room had gone silent, his mother smiled. She slowly stood up and walked towards her son. ‘Marie? What are you doing? People are looking,’ Lady Cavern whispered through her teeth, whilst smiling at those around her.

Ignoring everyone, Lady Williams continued to look only at her son. Her dark curls hard loosened around her face, but her bun remained in place. Dark blue eyes gave nothing away, yet slashes of red appeared on her high cheekbones. She wanted to rush to her son, but knew that keeping up appearance was a must, especially for her son. One would have assumed that being a widow, with a growing son, she would have drained out by now. One would assume that weight was her constant friend. But no, with a thin waist, elegant arms covered with the lasted fashion, she was one to be envied. How many women could wear a dress that covered up to her neck, yet still make a man fall to his knees?

‘Ah, Mother, that dress looks wonderful on you. The blue brings out your eyes. The flowers and the flair, along the bottom, truly gives you a glow that, I believe, no one else in the audience can hold,’ Michael complimented. ‘Don’t you think, all?’ He asked, as he turned towards the audience.

‘Yes, yes. Yes, of course it does. True beauty at your age,’ Dr Jefferies called out from the audience.

‘I must agree with Simon there, Michael. How do you keep, or rather, look so young, Lady Williams?’ Lady Dale added.

‘Ah, John, we shall need an extra stool, please,’ ignoring all the fake compliments, Michael, softly, requested.

‘Here you are, Master Michael,’ John gave a short bow, ‘anything else, Master Michael,’ he added. 

‘Please, no ‘Master’ with me John, ‘Michael is enough,’ And no, nothing else, thank you,’ with a final nod, he turned back to his Mother.

As Lady Williams sat down on the stool, straight back, ‘Shall we?’ She asked, putting down her glass.

‘Yes please,’ and they both allowed their fingers to choose a harmony of its own.

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