Charlotte de Lannoy’s interview of Aimée continued over dinner. Aimée answered politely the questions about her education and lessons from Madame. The nun was very interested in Aimée’s lacework, sewing and embroidery.
“My mother is not on the cutting edge of fashion. She likes what she likes, but I’m sure you will pick up on the trends once you’re in Paris and can keep her wardrobe relevant,” Sister Charlotte said. Aimée’s hand had been slipped in her pocket to grip the clockwork bird and she gave it a tight squeeze as she sat up with a start.
“Paris?” Aimée exclaimed.
“Yes, I have decided that you will return with me. You will serve as my mother’s companion…unless I was wrong and you would rather stay here and take your vows. The Abbess had mentioned you may be considering it.” Charlotte studied Aimée out of the corner of her eye.
“The Abbess has been very generous, but I feel my skills may better serve the Countess if she allows me,” Aimée said calmly. She was having trouble containing the excitement of finally reaching Paris.
“We will depart in the morning. I am sure you have some things to prepare for the journey and perhaps some farewells to make,” Charlotte said. Aimée nodded.
“Thank you, Cousin,” she said as she pushed out her chair, “Thank you.” She calmly left the room, but as soon as she hit the hallway she started to run. A bright smile lit up her face as she returned to her room. She rounded the corner and came face to face with the Abbess. Aimée immediate froze and composed herself.
“I take it your time with us is at an end,” the Abbess commented with raised eyebrows. Aimée curtsied.
“Yes, we will be off in the morning. I would like to thank you very much for your hospitality and kindness during my residence,” Aimée replied graciously. The Abbess nodded.
“You have definitely made life around here interesting. I trust you’ll have a word with Sister Teresa before you leave? She had so hoped you would decide to stay.”
The prospect of breaking the news to Sister Teresa dampened Aimée’s excitement. Her voice caught in her throat, but she managed to nod before the Abbess swept away down the corridor.