Dear Impostor

Dear Impostor by Nicole Byrd

Book: Dear Impostor by Nicole Byrd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nicole Byrd
Telly?”
              “Here, Miss, did you need me?” The
governess, Miss Tellman, sat up with a jerk. She seemed to have been napping in
her chair in the corner of the room.
              “No, that’s all right,” Psyche
said, her tension fading a little. But her eyes were still narrow as she turned
back to the actor. “And what is your purpose here?”
              “I thought I should pay a courtesy
visit to my future sister-in-law,” Gabriel said, exhibiting his usual lazy
smile.
              “That’s ridiculous,” Psyche
snapped, then pressed her lips together before she could give too much away. Circe
knew all about her scheme, but Telly did not, and the elderly governess was not
above a little judicious gossip with the other servant.. “I mean, I appreciate
your sense of the proprieties, but–”
              ”I thought it was very nice of
him,” Circe said, with her usual direct gaze turned toward her sister. “He
didn’t forget me or ignore me, like some people, just because I’m not out yet,
nor wearing long skirts.”
              “Oh, Circe,” Psyche’s anger faded
into contrition. “You know I always think of you, dearest.”
              “Oh, not you,” Circe explained. “I
meant Percy, who never seems to think that my life will be altered beyond
bearing, too, if he should marry you. In fact, it would be hideous, living with
Percy and Uncle Wilfred.”
              Psyche nodded. She would never
leave her sister behind if or when she should marry; Circe needed her too much.
And when her sister leaned forward and whispered, “It’s a game, Psyche, we’re
pretending, just like a play,” Psyche surrendered to the inevitable.
              “Have a cup of tea, Psyche,” her
sister added, playing the role of hostess with aplomb. “It’s cooled a bit, but
it’s still very nice.”
              “Yes, thank you,” Psyche agreed,
drawing up another chair. Her sister, at twelve, could be alarmingly mature one
moment, and very much a child the next. Psyche could hardly blame Circe for
being curious about this impostor, but she did not like his association with
her sister. After all, she knew next to nothing about him, or his past.
              It seemed that Circe did. “Lord
Tarrington–” her sister said carefully as she passed the cup of tea, “has
traveled extensively, Psyche. He was telling me about some French paintings he
has seen.”
              Psyche tried not to show her
surprise. If Circe had talked to the actor about her painting, she must have
decided he was worthy of trust. Circe hated above all things being patronized,
and her painting was not a hobby, although since their parents had died, only
Psyche and perhaps Telly really understood the passion and the talent that this
young girl revealed. And child though she was, Circe had a keen instinct for
judging people’s characters. She had always detested Percy.
              Psyche stared at the actor who sat
so at ease at this nursery table, sipping his tea; the man continued to
surprise her.
              “I told him of my interest in
oils, Psyche,” Circe told her sister. “He feels that I should be able to study
the use of oil, and also landscaping, just like any young painter.”
              Another surprise, that Circe
should be so open so quickly. “And so you should,” Psyche agreed.       
              “When I was in Spain, I viewed some remarkable scenes by El Greco,” Gabriel said thoughtfully, reaching for another
macaroon. “His study of Toledo–quite striking. Two hundred years old, of
course, but a definite mood to his paintings. I agree with Circe that
landscapes should be more than mere studies of topography.”
              Circe beamed, and Psyche’s mood
softened even more. Circe had so few people to discuss art with, seriously
discuss. She hated adults who

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