A floor below, almost directly beneath the rooms that made up the housekeeper’s suite, Samantha stirred, Tiffany’s quiet movements breaking through the haze of sleep just enough to perturb and not awaken. She continued to dream of a red velvet dress that did not quite fit, running her hands over her breasts down the bodice, the ruby and diamonds in the ring on her finger sparking fire in the reflection from the fireplace, anticipating her lover. Then, Mark Wright was beside her in the dream, his hands replacing hers, moving to open the velvet bodice. She clutched his arms, her long nails cutting into the flesh as she moaned, turning her head for him to kiss her neck. When she turned around for his kiss, he was gone, her hands now larger and coarser, and she was wearing a textured woven black silk dress, a gold wedding ring on her left hand. She brought the right hand up from her side, comparing them, the heavy black onyx ring on the right contrasting with the gold band on the left. Noticing a small mirror on the wall beside the fireplace, she raised her eyes to her reflection, saw Matilda Speakman in the glass, and screamed herself awake.


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