Hyacinth looked up from her position on the floor of the baroness’s washroom. Gareth was standing in the doorway, gazing down at her with an indulgent expression.
I will scream, she said.No one will hear you.
She stared at him in shock, and even he could not believe what he was saying.Are you threatening me? she asked.He shook his head. No. I’m saving you. And then, before he had the opportunity to reconsider his actions, he grabbed her around her middle, threw her over his shoulder, and ran from the room.
In which Our Hero leaves Our Heroine in an awkward position.You are tying me to a water closet?
Sorry, he said, tying two scarves into such expert knots that she almost worried that he had done this before. I couldn’t very well leave you in your room. That’s the first place anyone would look. He tightened the knots, then tested them for strength. It was the first place I looked.
On the third floor, he added helpfully. It will take hours before anyone finds you here.Penelope's heart thundered in her chest. "Then you admit that you're not?" she asked carefully.wOh, I think you know I'm not."
Penelope's throat began to close. Somehow—she'd never know how—she managed to keep her composure and say, "I beg your pardon?"Cressida smiled, but she managed to take that happy expression and turn it into something sly and cruel.wWhen I came up with this ruse, I thought: I can't lose . Either I convince everyone I'm Lady Whistledown or they won't believe me and I look very cunning when I say that I was just pretending to be Lady Whistledown in order to ferret out the true culprit."
Penelope held very silent, very still.wBut it didn't quite play out the way I had planned. Lady Whistledown turned out to be far more devious and mean-spirited than I would have guessed." Cressida's eyes narrowed, then narrowed some more until her face, normally so lovely, took on a sinister air. "Her last little column turned me into a laughingstock."Penelope said nothing, barely daring to breathe.wAnd then..." Cressida continued, her voice dropping into lower registers. "And then you— you! —had the effrontery to insult me in front of the entire ton."