“Joel, why don’t you introduce Dominique to some of your female friends? I really think she needs
to meet some new people. All the poor girl ever does is work all day, then go home to an empty house.”
“Mother, I don’t know how to put this, but the young women I am acquainted with would either
corrupt Dominique or bore her to death with their silly antics.”
Joel was having breakfast with his parents. It was late Saturday morning, and though Joel would
normally still be abed, his father had asked him to come down early to discuss some business.
“Mary, why don’t you take the girl to one of those tea parties you’re always going to? Joel is not a
babysitter. And for Pete’s sake, the girl is an employee of ours, not a long lost relative!”
“Really, Thomas, when did you become such a snob?”
“I am hardly a snob, darling, but I’ve never known you to try and find entertainment for our
workers. It’s not proper to be mingling with the servants. What is so special about this Dominique
person that makes you want to mix with the rabble?”
“I am certain our son can expound on that,” Mary replied, smiling at Joel. Thomas looked accusingly at
his son, for it wouldn’t be the first time he had become involved romantically with a pretty maid. Joel’s
eyes widened as he stared at his mother. He was still trying to awaken at such an ungodly hour and now
found himself in the position of having to explain his feelings for Dominique. Whatever those might be.
“She is a lovely girl, Father, I don’t know what else to say.”
“Joel took her to a ball just last week. Didn’t I mention that, dear?”
“So now you have our son devoting his spare time to some charity case?
“I think Joel and Dominique make a lovely couple.”
“Mother, please. I don’t need you matchmaking for me, I do just fine on my own.” Thomas looked
at Joel in satisfaction. He didn’t wish for his son to get overly involved with a pretty piece of fluff
beneath their own roof, only to end up getting her pregnant. A scandal simply wouldn’t do.
Joel nearly laughed aloud at the look of disgust on his mother’s face at his standing up to her. He
loved his mother dearly, but it was times like this that Joel wished his sister, Fiona, would return to
London with her husband and two children. Then his mother could spend more time sticking her nose
into their business instead.
“Very well,” she meekly replied. “So who are you taking to the Vandleys’ dinner party tonight,
Joel?” He muttered unintelligibly as he helped himself to a mouthful of eggs. “I beg your pardon?” Mary
“Dominique.” Joel looked to his father for reinforcement at the irritating sound of his mother’s
muffled laughter. “Satisfied, Mother? I am taking Dominique.”
“I guess I shall have to meet this paragon,” Thomas said. “Just don’t go stealing her virginity,” he
bluntly added. Mary gasped aloud at Thomas’ vulgarity and got onto him for such crudeness.