Her mother sniffed. “Precisely. You look exceptional!” She wiped away a tear. “I could scatter to pieces.”
Despite all her discomfort, all her reservations, Cath couldn’t deny a hot spark behind her sternum. Her mother’s voice was a constant nag in her head, telling her to put down the fork, to stand up straight, to smile, but not that much! She knew her mother wanted the best for her, but it was oh so lovely to hear compliments for once.
With one last dreamy sigh, the Marchioness mentioned checking on Cath’s father before she fluttered out of the room, dragging Abigail along with her. As the door to her chambers closed, Cath yearned to fall onto her bed with the exhaustion that came from being in her mother’s presence, but she was sure she would rip an important seam if she did.
“Do I look as ridiculous as I feel?”
Mary Ann shook her head. “You look ravishing.”
“Is it absurd to look ravishing at this silly ball? Everyone will think I’m being presumptuous.”
Mary Ann pressed her lips in apology. “It is a bit of butter upon bacon.”
“Oh, please, I’m hungry enough as it is.” Cath twisted inside the corset, trying to pry up some of the boning that dug into her ribs, but it wouldn’t budge. “I need a chocolate.”
“I’m sorry, Cath, but I don’t think that dress could fit a single bite. Come along. I’ll help you into your shoes.”