• Denise Liebig

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Updated: May 4



In this snapshot from Dear Maude, all of Emily's hard work boils down to one strange evening that will change the course of her life forever.

As we drew closer, I saw the large, sliding dining room doors that usually remained closed, were now open, flanked by two black-suited attendants wearing white gloves. We entered the room and were greeted by the festive sound of an ensemble playing waltzes on a stage in the corner. The table was gone, and chairs now lined the edges of the room. The transformation was remarkable; it was as if I had just stepped into a 1910 ballroom.
A crowd of what looked like several hundred had already gathered, and more were arriving through a second set of doors at the opposite end of the room. All were dressed in period costumes and flowed into the room as if they were well-versed in the manners of the time.
Confused and terrified, I squeezed Mr. Wilson’s arm as we slowly walked toward George, who was standing in the center of the room.
“You will be just fine, Miss Stanton,” Mr. Wilson whispered, leaning toward me.
“Is this my final?” I whispered back, almost afraid of the answer.
He patted my hand and smiled. “Yes. You are Lord Winston’s niece, and this is your birthday party.”
I felt the tightness of the corset dig into my ribs as I tried, unsuccessfully, to gasp in surprise. In fact, I had to fight a cramp in my side just to speak. “What’s my name?”
“It is Emily Winston.”
“And how old am I?” I asked, hearing the panic creeping into my voice.
“You just turned eighteen.” His tone was soothing and unnerving at the same time.
Yeah, I wish I was just eighteen and had decided to attend college part-time while I worked at Mom and Tom’s shop. Anything would be better than this. Then, I thought of what Maude would have said, had she been standing next to me, “It is what it is, Toots.” Maude was seldom wrong.
Unfortunately, we reached the center of the room far too quickly.
“Here she is.” Mr. Wilson released me to George’s care.
He offered me his arm in exchange. “And what a vision.”
I smiled weakly at Mr. Wilson as I let George lead me toward the crowd.

--- Excerpt from Dear Maude


This wasn't your average final exam, and little does Emily know that her upcoming job won't be the most conventional either. Read more by getting your FREE eBook copy of Dear Maude, available at the following retailers:


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