Lydia stood in front of the glass, her fingertips brushing over it as she looked at the various pieces. “Lord Bianchi asks specifically for something involving a pearl…It is for his lady, you know.” Looking up, she raised an eyebrow as the jeweler simply stared at her. Clearing her throat, she looked at him sternly “It would be ideal if you could show me some nice pearls or perhaps a ring with a pearl in it…?” Blinking, the jeweler shook his head and looked down at the jewelry case in front of him. “Ah yes…there is a lovely piece here that the Lord might like. Is there a special occassion?” Lydia smiled coyly and bent down to look at the ring. “Indeed there is…the Lord fancies himself in love and wishes to give the lady a token of his affection. Romantic, really, but I find it all a bit nauseating.” Straightening up, she pointed to the ring and nodded. “Yes, I should like to see that more closely.”
As the jeweler passed the ring to Lydia, she looked down at it with a slight nod of her head. “The flower design is both intricate and elegant. Simple, yet appealing. I believe the lady will find it darling.” Looking up, she raised her eyebrow again. “How much?” After paying for it, the maid curtsied politely and stepped out of the shop. Looking around downtown, she sighed softly. Shopping for Levi was a bit strenuous as she looked for the right gift to give Sam. To think that Levi was telling one of her fellow maids he was in love with her. The idea made her laugh. Looking to her laugh, she observed the fountain and smiled softly. Nothing wrong with resting before heading home. Walking up to the fountain, she sat down and crossed her legs. A lovely day it was turning out to be.
Josephine stepped through the halls towards the dressing rooms quietly, her ballet slippers making no sound on the floor. It was a long trip from Paris, but she finally managed to find her way back home, and was even able to continue dancing while visiting her father. Killing two birds with one stone, essentially. Her blonde tresses were pulled back into a loose bun, her blue eyes scanning cautiously as she walked. She didn’t have much to fear really, as she was chaperoned at all times and she could take care of herself even if she wasn’t. Being able to heal had its advantages, but ladies should of course be escorted. It would not do her father justice to be put in a delicate situation.
Finding the dressing rooms finally, she pushed the door open and found that she was alone. It seemed that her train had arrived early and the other dancers haven’t even showed up yet. Smiling gleefully, Josephine stepped inside and set her bag down. She was looking forward to some time to herself, as girls tended to be jealous catty things. Changing into a leotard, she began to do stretches. Though she had stretched in front of mirrors for her whole dancing career, it was still odd to look upon herself in the mirror while doing so. Once satisfied, she adjusted her ballet slippers and smoothed stray curls back to her bun.
As she made her way to the dance room with mirrors on every wall, she let out a long breath. Yes, she was home. Though there wasn’t any music playing, there was a private melody in her mind as she slowly began to spin on her slippers. As she was lost in her own little world, she began to spin faster and faster, stepping with great skill and grace and she fell into her favorite routine. Her hands lifted over her head as she moved, looking like a elegant swan floating from one foot to the other. This is what she lived for. With a laugh, she continued to dance around the whole room as she succumbed to her greatest joy. With all the excitement and thrill of dancing, she could hear nothing else but the music in her head.
From within the Editor’s office, shouts can be heard, as Mister Muggins is marching back and forth, waving his arms about as Vivian sits quietly in her chair, opposite his desk. The Chief Superintendent from the Yard had been on his case about the releasing of witness testimonials, and the hampering of investigations, due to the paper’s leading articles. As Vivian was the one that reported the findings, its now her head on the block, as Mister Muggins is tearing out his hair.
He points to the paper on his desk, which features the latest in the spate of murders, that the police have been investigating, and then roars at Vivian;
“Whatever happened to freedom of the press?! Our readers have a right to know. I will not be told by that tough old pig in blue britches how to run my newspaper!”
“Yes, Mister Muggins, I know how you feel, they are the biggest stories out on the streets, everyone is talking about it, even in the pool halls. Which is why I think its important that we keep printing it. What can they do? Get the Queen to come down from Buckingham Palace and order us to halt the presses? Its not like we are implicating anyone by name, just providing details as to who the suspects might be.”
In her hand, she had her notebook of the Cathedral murder, which also raised many questions as the prime suspect is believed to be a Vampire. She had her heart set upon having that typed up and put to print, but now with the Chief of Police cracking down on the Times, there was most likely going to be a halt on stories of that nature. Vivian watched as the Editor collapsed in his chair and sighed. Clearly he was not going to be in the mood to hear of her latest offering, and she pursed her lips and then rose to standing, saying simply;
“I don’t know what is the bigger injustice. Not being able to tell the public of the dangers that are out there, or the fact that there is evil walking among the people of London, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. IT’S A CRIME NOT TO BE ABLE TO PRINT THE TRUTH!”
Vivian turned on her heels and marched out of the editor’s office, slamming the door on her way out. Clearly she was deeply upset that her hard work was not going to pay off, and she needed to let of steam.
There was scores of people, carriages, children, vagabonds, and traders, all going about their business on the street just outside the Times paper offices, and ballet school, which was just next door. The Doctor and Detective Reginald, had taken a carriage up from the Bianchi family manor, with the Doctor keen to meet with Miss Vivian Westlake, and speak to her about what she knows about the possible suspects, and any leads she may have. The Doctor felt it was crucial, to have someone with the knowledge of the witnesses and other rumored sources, to help catch this mad man, before another life is taken so cruelly. As luck would have it, as the Doctor and Reginald alighted from their carriage, Miss Vivian came storming out of the office entrance, and adjusted her hat firmly upon her head, a dark look on her face. Either she looked like she had been fired, or stood up by her lunch date. Either way, Johnathon was quick off the mark to ask the Detective what she looked like. Reginald had met her several times before, when working on cases, but she did tend to blend into the shadows, for her basic trust in people was zilch.
“You’re in luck, Johnathon. See the woman in the blue hat?” Reginald pointed out to a woman in the crowd, with a royal navy suit on. Matching hat of course. The Doctor was at first surprised, for she was so young in his mind, and to top it off, she was very attractive. “That’s her?” He was impressed, and got out of the carriage, paying the driver, whilst waiting for Reginald to get out and join him. Across the street, Vivian had spotted Reginald, and instantly she became angered. She now blamed all the police force for stifling her investigations. She had a good mind, to go over and have him relay a message to the Chief Superintendent. It wasn’t going to be lady like, and probably a whole lots worse that anything a sailor could imagine. But to her surprise, Reginald was pointing her out to a man that he was with. One that was rough around the edges, but had attractive eyes. In her moment of day dreaming, she lost the fact that they were walking towards her, so when she snapped back to reality, they were practically in front of her.
“Miss Westlake…always a delight to see you.” The Detective said, lying through his teeth. “My friend here, Doctor Johnathon Bianchi wishes if we might sit and have a word.” Reginald motioned to his colleague, who was too busy taking in everything that Vivian was wearing, even her perfume.
“A Doctor then? And what makes you think I need a Doctor. I’m perfectly fine.”
This was when the Doctor made his move. “Forgive my colleague, for he has a lot on his plate today, and I am the mashed potatoes to his beef. ”
He held out a hand to be shook and then said;
“Doctor Johnathon Bianchi. I understand you have a love for gossip and a good story.”
Miss Vivian eyed the Doctor cautiously, and then took his hand, shaking it twice, before letting go.
“What girl doesn’t love gossip and scandal? Its one of the reasons I became a journalist. The best stories, are often right under our noses, and we are too blind to see.”
Oh how true that statement was. What would Vivian have done if she realized she had an angel standing right in front of her.
It wasn’t long before Josephine’s sanctuary was shattered. Woman and after woman began piling into her private little world, stretching and chatting amiably. Slowly, Jo came to a halt and gave a few of her close friends a small smile. It was nice while it lasted. After a few moments of waiting around, their instructor came in. She was an imposing figure of a woman, towering over all of them in her older age of 47. Her hair was pulled back in a tight dark bun and severe looking eyes as she looked them all over thoroughly. Clapping her hands, she called them all to the center of the room. Her eyes flicked from woman to woman before pausing on Josephine with an appreciative smile. Nodding her head slightly, she continued on as the girls near Jo tried not to roll their eyes. Jo’s cheeks flushed to a rosy pink as she stared at the floor. Her passion for dance seemed to make her the enemy.
Madame Beaumont strolled around the girls with her hands behind her back before she finally spoke “Auditions for the following show will be tomorrow. I care not for the short notice, or even when you arrived.” Swiveling around, she faced them head on. “We will be doing Swan Lake.” Grimacing as the girls began chattering amongst themselves, she raised a hand up and snapped “It was not my choice. It is a ridiculously over-done show, but it has been requested and I cannot disagree.” The women, including Jo, looked solemn as they faced their instructor. The girls seemed eager for the part, but Jo was unsure. Although she held great skill in dance, she never auditioned for a great role. She was content dancing in the background, not being the center of attention. However, Odette was one of her favorite women in dance and it was going to be hard to pass up.
As if reading her thoughts, Madame Beaumont stood before Josephine. “Miss Blaine will be the last to audition, as she deserved that opportunity. She is in here hours before class every day for every semester. Such behavior ought to be rewarded.” The girls shot her nasty looks behind the madame’s back, which brought back that rosy hue to Jo’s cheeks. Trying not to let out a groan, she looked ahead and ignored everyone. While she thought of being the last impression on the madame’s mind, she knew her audition would have to be good. Picturing herself in her white swan costume brought a smile to her face, regardless of how angry it made the other girls. With that, Madame Beaumont turned around and snapped “Get into formation.” With that, the girls scurried to do just that.
After hours of grueling ballet class, Josephine felt bushed. Gathering up her things from the changing room, she walked out as her blonde locks fell loose behind her back. It felt nice to let her hair down, and she didn’t want to appear disheveled for her father. A soft smile worked her lips as she thought about how she would surprise him by being in town so soon. She hadn’t bothered with a letter, hoping he would be both thrilled and surprised at her sudden appearance. Making her way out of the changing room, she stepped down the stairs of the Theatre and into the streets of London.
Stepping down into the chaos that was the business district, people rushed and pushed past her hastily. She was almost caught up in the current of it all with her petite frame, but she managed to keep her composure and looked through the crowd. A familiar voice drifted to her sensitive ears and produce a small laugh from her. Johnathon and her father were talking to a woman who seemed equally as imposing but much more charming than her dance instructor. Drifting closer, she tried to remain quiet as they spoke. She stood only a few distance away when Mr. Bianchi made his color depiction of his relationship to her father. It made her laugh more audible as she shook her head at his antics. Stepping closer, she placed a hand on her father’s shoulder and looked up at him “Surprise, Papa.” She referred to him in the french manner of affection towards her father, always modern and chique. Leaning up, she pecked him on the cheek and raised an eyebrow playfully at Johnathon. “Courting the ladies, are we?” Her gaze shifted to Vivian as she offered her hand “Pardon my interruption. I offer my sincerest apologies if my father hasn’t already in regards to the doctor. He has a very cluttered mind.” She wrinkled her nose affectionately towards Johnathon and held her bag with her slippers and clothes inside in front of her body once her hand was relinquished. Jo then went silent, not wanting to interrupt further as she was also a bit nosy and wanted to know what new shenanigans her father was being dragged into.
It was indeed a surprise and shock for Reginald, to find his daughter practically standing right behind him as he had been addressing Miss Westlake in regards to Johnathon’s wish to speak with her. The delightful melody of her voice and the angelic radiance she seemed to have inherited from her mother, almost moved him to tears on the sight of her.
“Josephine…my little one. What on earth are you doing here? What of Paris?”
Reginald had spent much of his father’s inheritance on sending his daughter to the very best schools that money could buy, while he continued to earn a pittance as a detective for the Yard. Reginald was more a man of duty and knew his forte was in crime investigation. He was a workaholic, especially after the passing of his dear wife, and he dotted upon Josephine, but sadly didn’t get as much time with her, as he would have liked. Josephine appeared so grown up now. Not the timid child who was sometimes like a little ghost that you hardly knew was there. She was radiantly beautiful, and sure to catch the eye of many a red blooded man. Her sweet way and the light peck on his cheek, gave him a warmth of feeling, better than any embrace.
Naturally, she turned her attention to Johnathon, who politely tipped his hat towards Josephine and then when asked if he was courting the ladies, it was almost a bitter pill to swallow, since his wife had only just left him that day. He found the courage to keep the sadness at bay, and wore his mask well.
“A true gentleman would court a pretty lady with dinner, flowers and sonnets. I fear that I am only just making an acquaintance of Miss Westlake. I think I will leave the courting to Levi, for he is far better at that than I.”
Ever charming, try as he might, this may have knocked any thoughts that Vivian may have had if she too fancied the Doctor. Josephine’s witty comment towards Johnathon, being that he had a cluttered mind was indeed accurate, and he could only hold up his hands in surrender.
“She’s right of course. So many things going on in my head, its a miracle that I know what day it is, and which shoe is on which foot.”
Vivian chuckled and accepted Josephine;’s hand, shaking it warmly. “I don’t think the Doctor seems bothered, at the Detective’s gaff, he is only human.” This was said innocently, but again, its quite comical, what people know, and what they think they know. Reginald coughed, and then offered his arm to young Josephine. “Let us all take in a tea house and enjoy a good cup, then you can tell us about your time in Paris, and the Doctor can interrogate Vivian.
“Oi…” Vivian blurted, but then realized that it was a joke…or was it?
(Thread change to Rosewater cafe)
Josephine smiled brightly at her father, pleased with her successful surprise. “Oh Papa, my term in Paris ended not too long ago for the holidays. I received a personal invitation from Madame Beaumont to study here in London and I of course could not pass up the chance to see my darling father.” Beaming up at him, her eyes shined with affection. Looking to Johnathon again, she kept her laughter to a minimum as he seemed more into business than play at the moment. As the doctor mentioned Levi, she nodded with a knowing look in her eyes. “Yes, he is quite the charmer…No doubt traits he has inherited from his noble father.” She smiled cheekily at the doctor before her eyes flicked to the lovely Vivian. “I’ve been keeping up with London’s latest news, and I must say, it is simply horrifying to hear that such a fiend is terrorizing the streets. First Whitechapel and now ladies of High Society. It appears no woman is safe…” Her eyes flashed a brighter blue, but it was so subtle Vivian would have had to kept her eyes locked on the half-angel to notice.
Her head tilted a bit as Vivian commented on how human Mr. Bianchi was. Her eyes flicked from her father to the doctor as she was unclear as to whether or not the journalist was aware of the supernatural inner circle to which she and the doctor belonged to. Pasting another charming smile on her lips, Josephine decided to play it safe. “Ah yes, we all have our limits, don’t we?” With that, she turned to look at her father lovingly and looped her arm through the arm he offered her. “Oh! The ladies in my ballet class spoke of a charming little cafe just around the corner. The…Rosewater Cafe, I believe?” She glanced at Vivian and Johnathon to see if she had pronounced it right before leading her father down the streets. “I could really do with a good cup of tea. Class was quite trying today and I have the most wonderful news to share.” Glancing over her shoulder, she smiled encouragingly at Vivian, a sort of pact from woman to woman that she wouldn’t allow Johnathon to treat her poorly. Nodding her head, she flicked her eyes back at her father and nuzzled into his arm. “Oh, I have missed you, Papa…”With that, she fell silent as she lead her father and the pair through Downtown London.
(Thread Change to The Rosewater Cafe)