Timeless by Alexandra Monir Read Free Book Online

Book: Timeless by Alexandra Monir Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alexandra Monir
Tags: Juvenile Fiction, Love & Romance, Concepts, Date & Time
Michele clarified.
    Annaleigh nodded.
    “So then … where’s my mom?” Michele was suddenly breathless.
    Annaleigh silently gestured to a corner on the opposite wall, and Michele ran to it. There was her mom, alive in this paintingin a way that Michele had never seen her in a photograph. Her eyes were full of sparkle and mirth, and her mouth was stretched into a huge grin, as if she and the painter were sharing a great joke. Her normally straight hair was curled, and she wore a bright cocktail dress. Around her neck was a delicate jade and gold butterfly necklace. It was gorgeous, yet understated. Just like Mom , Michele thought.
    “It’s so hard to imagine Mom sitting for a portrait,” Michele said, a lump in her throat. She was struck by the thought that Marion looked like the happiest of all the Windsor girls—but had been dealt such a tragic fate.
    Tears welled up in Michele’s eyes as she gazed at the portrait. She must have been staring at it for a long time, because when she finally tore herself away, she saw that Annaleigh had left her alone.

    Just before seven-thirty, Annaleigh arrived at Michele’s bedroom door to show her to the dining room. Michele’s stomach felt queasy as she wondered what the conversation with her grandparents would be like.
    She was nearly struck dumb by the sight of the Venetian-style dining room. Ten towering columns of rose alabaster flanked the room, and two Baccarat chandeliers sparkled above the carved oak dining table. The dining chairs were made of heavy bronze upholstered in red velvet, matching the crimson window draperies and the marble rose walls.
    “Michele, welcome.” Dorothy smiled. She and Walter were already seated, and Michele dropped into the chair facing them.Almost immediately, a kitchen maid circled the table to serve the first course, a salad. Michele watched guiltily. She and Marion had always cooked and served their own meals at home.
    “Can I help with anything?” Michele asked. The maid gave Michele a startled look, nearly spilling the salad she was heaping onto her plate, as Dorothy made a sound somewhere between a cough and a gasp. As soon as the maid had left for the kitchen, her cheeks blazing, Walter gently chided, “Michele dear, you shouldn’t say things like that to the staff. It’s not proper.”
    Michele stared at him, bewildered. “But … this is the twenty-first century!” she blurted out.
    “Of course,” Dorothy quickly interjected. “But since their job is to serve you, when you offer to help, it makes them feel embarrassed, as though they’re not doing their job correctly.”
    Michele gave her grandparents a wary look. Something seemed very wrong with a world where offering to help “the staff” garnered a scolding.
    “Now then,” Walter said in a lighter tone, clearly eager to defuse any tension. “What do you think of your new home?”
    “I—well, it’s amazing, of course, like something out of a fairy tale. But I can’t think of it as home when it’s so different from everything I’m used to,” Michele said honestly. “I mean, it’s almost impossible to imagine Mom growing up here. She wasn’t a fancy heiress, she was just … Mom. I would think that she didn’t fit in here, but then, she looks so happy in that portrait in my room.”
    “She was very happy here,” Dorothy said intently. “If ithadn’t been for—” She broke off at a look from Walter, and then she seemed to recover herself. “Anyway, dear, you’re looking much too thin. Do try to eat something.”
    Michele frowned, taken aback by Dorothy’s sudden change in tone. After a few moments of silence, while her grandparents ate and Michele looked at the floor, Walter cleared his throat. “Dorothy, are we meeting the Goulds before or after Carnegie Hall tomorrow?”
    As the conversation steered away from Marion and turned to some concerto performance her grandparents were attending the following night, Michele felt herself begin to

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