Strange Bedfellows


The prospect of falling onto the plush bed in her suite hastened Dara’s footsteps.  She negotiated with growing confidence the intricate twists and turns of Wyndemere’s hallways.

“You appear to be a woman with a purpose.”

Dara skidded to a stop just before she collided with her host.  “How did you do that?”  She glanced back over her shoulder.  “I left you back there with your nephew.”

Stefan smothered a smile.  “You took what I believe might be termed ‘the long way’.”  He began walking toward their suites in the east wing.

“Well, you might want to think about putting a few signs here and there.  The kind like they have in shopping malls.”

This time it was Dara’s turn not to smile at Stefan’s blank expression.  “Let me guess.  You have never set foot inside a shopping mall?”

“No,” he readily responded.  “I have no need of such an experience.  I have always found it preferable to delegate such tasks to my staff.”  Stefan continued walking straight down the hallway instead of turning right to the family’s private quarters.  Dara was forced to take a few quick steps to catch up with him.  “I have done so on your behalf.”

“You have done what on my behalf?”

“I have hired a personal shopper to handle whatever purchases you may require.” 

Dara balked.  You did what?”

With a hand resting lightly on the small of her back, Stefan attempted to guide Dara into one of Wyndemere's ballrooms.  “Miss Jensen, this endeavor will demand a level of preparedness that I do not yet believe you comprehend.  And while your wardrobe was …satisfactory for your position as a public servant, it will not suffice for this.”

Reluctantly Dara allowed herself to be guided into the large room.  “That is why,” Stefan explained, “I have also engaged several noted clothiers to present their wares to you in a private showing here at Wyndemere.”