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22nd February, 1891 — Evander’s house, Swallowbury
@Louisa Clearwater
Charity and her governess were still upstairs when he arrived home from work, perhaps a little earlier than usual. A good thing, perhaps: he had been meaning to speak to Miss Clearwater, and did not feel entirely comfortable knocking on her door once she had finished with her duties and retired to her room for the evening, because it seemed rude to impose upon her own time, even if this was not quite a work-matter.

So he had resolved to wait, and settled down at the piano in the sitting room, where he found some sheet music that was not his own upon it. Probably Miss Clearwater’s; Evander had sat down to play much less frequently now that other people lived in his house, and now tended only to when he had frustrations to resolve - the diligence it required was good distraction, usually took the edge off - but this evening he picked his way along the sheet music in a happy enough humour, not sounding the notes as strongly as he should have, as half his attention was on listening for footsteps on the stairs.

When they came, he sprang up and poked his head out into the hallway. “Oh, Miss Clearwater -” Evander began with a half-smile, feigning the slight surprise of crossing paths at the bottom of the stairs by chance as if he not been expressly waiting for the sound of her passing by. “Could I borrow you for a moment?” He inquired, inclining his head hopefully back into the sitting room. “I had a question.”


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Charity's lesson had gone well, and as much as Louisa enjoyed her vocation, she found this particular day she was quite looking forward to the evening time. Oftentimes, the most enjoyable evenings were the ones that followed particularly good lessons. Knowing that Charity was understanding what Louisa had to teach ensured her curriculum was going as planned.

After dismissing Charity for the night, Louisa gathered her items and went downstairs to put them away. Her time thus far at the Darrow Residence had fallen into a good rhythm, as it normally did when Louisa was installed in her employer's homes. Thankfully, though there were occasional bumps with the small staff, it had gone off without a hitch, and she felt content to sew a few more buttons onto her coat before supper.

She'd just slipped a hand in her pocket to search for the stray button when she heard her name being called and turned to see her employer standing in the nearby doorway. "Certainly," she replied, making sure she had all her items before entering the sitting room. As she entered, she recognized the stray sheets of music as her own. After setting her effects down on the side table, Louisa turned back to Mr. Darrow and remained standing. "Is there something the matter?" Best skip right to it if there was something she needed to fix before sitting down to relax.


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“Oh no, not at all,” he protested swiftly, at the slightest breath of wariness in her tone. Nothing was the matter, and it was nothing to do with her work, either; privately, Evander would have much preferred this to be a work conversation, because even having to admonish her or give her some kind of warning would have been rather easier to articulate than - this.

He gestured that she could sit, if she liked, if only so she wasn’t looking at him so expectantly. Evander averted his gaze, and sank back mindlessly onto the piano stool. “I was just -” he began, already fumbling for what it was he had been meaning to inquire about. This was overstepping, probably; Miss Clearwater was always polite and perfectly friendly and had been here for quite some time now, but maybe this was a step too close to candidness. “Just after advice, actually. Rather, I was wondering...” He halted again, restarted. “Forgive me for asking, but - you have been engaged before?”

She had been, he knew that. He had only just considered that, since she was not married in spite of it, perhaps she would not be particularly keen to talk about engagements at all.




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