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Virginia: Chapter 3

     After a few moments, Virginia realized that she was staring, open 
mouthed at Monsieur Laroche. She steadied herself mentally, then 
descended the stairs. 
     “Bonjour, Monsieur” she murmured as she offered him her hand. He 
bowed over her hand, his hand supporting hers, lips hovering just over 
her knuckles. He stood erect again and caught her eyes. She felt shaky at 
his touch, mesmerized by his gaze. 
“Let us retire to the parlor,” said her mother, touching Virginia’s arm 
lightly. Virginia forced herself to look away and walk into the adjacent 
room with her mother and Monsieur Laroche following closely behind. 
Virginia settled herself onto the settee, arranging her skirts around her. 
Her mother sat beside her and Monsieur Laroche sat across from them in a 
plush burgundy arm chair.
     “So tell us Monsieur Laroche, how is business?” asked her mother.
     “Ah, business. Well, it is going well at the moment. We have a new 
exhibit, really quite lovely. But all of that seems rather boring in 
comparison to this young, beautiful woman here. Tell me, Mademoiselle, 
do you have any interest in art?” said Monsieur Laroche. Virginia found 
herself dumbstruck for a moment. None of the suitors her parents had brought 
home had ever asked her anything about herself.
     “Yes, Monsieur. I find art to be quite fascinating,” she replied. Her 
mother’s elbow jabbed into her ribs. 
     “How unusual. Most girls of your…station are only interested in simple 
things such needlepoint. I find it quite refreshing to find that you have some 
interest in my line of work,” he said, smiling at her. 
     “Thank you. I am happy to please you,” Virginia said, unsure of how to 
respond to such a compliment. Monsieur Laroche chuckled.
     “Madame,” said Monsieur Laroche, addressing Virginia’s mother, “may I 
request that you and your family attend an event that I am hosting a week from 
Friday? I would be most honored.” Virginia looked at her mother expectantly, 
praying that she would answer yes. 
     “Yes, I believe we are free that evening,” said her mother. Virginia gave 
a sigh of relief. 
     “In that case, I must be off. I have a few matters of business to attend to. 
But I look forward to more lengthy conversations with the both of you later,” 
said Monsieur Laroche. With that, he stood and bowed toward Virginia. 
     “Mademoiselle,” he murmured then turned to go. Her mother escorted him to 
the door leaving her sitting on the settee.