[Fan Fiction] Rota (exploring the Smith rule about beautiful young women)

Pygmalion 01-28-2004 12:01 PM
Note: This takes place between Dorothy, Dorothy and Electric City, when Roger's old life had not quite adjusted to the new resident at Smith Manor.

by Pygmalion

You are going to Roger Smith’s mansion. You sit in the back of the taxi and fret over everything you’d been told, everything you’d heard from your classmates. There’d be dinner, at least. Most had told of going out to a concert or a nightclub. One or two had whispered of more, to the fascination of those present. And then there had been Emily Warburton, two years ago, who had been back to the mansion twice. She was before your time, but you’d eagerly listened to the second-hand stories. Well, even Cinderella can dream, can’t she?

Why was he doing this? No one knew for sure, so rumors abounded. Some said he wasn’t really interested in women at all, but had to put on a pretense to keep the city’s matchmakers at bay. Some said he was interested in the novelty of a new date each week. A few (who’d never been invited) said he was just using those selected as a fashion accessory when he was in public. One thing was certain; he was charming and gentlemanly, and he never let you see past his public face.

Two months ago, Norman Burg had dined with your housemother, an old friend. He’d been a guest several times before, and since any male visiting was an opportunity for dress-up, it had happened that all the girls ate with their best company manners, garbed in their party dresses. Afterwards, they’d put on an evening’s entertainment, and he had spoken to perhaps a dozen girls, you among them. A week later, the envelopes had arrived. Mrs. Page rarely let her girls go out unchaperoned, but Roger Smith was considered safe. You wonder if she’d ever let any of you out, had she heard some of the spicier rumors about him.

Roger Smith requests the honor of your presence at an informal dinner…. You pull the envelope out of your tiny purse, opening it to read the handwritten note. Today, seven p.m. Informal means evening party dress, not ball gown; just as well, as your wardrobe was stretched to achieve the level of finery you wear tonight. Your roommates came through, as you knew they would, finding an old necklace, a light-blue slip, and Debbie’s purse. The dress is new.

You pull the compact out of the purse and look in its mirror. You are paler than usual, with eyes wide and nervous. Your lips tighten. “Get a grip, girl,” you mutter so the driver won’t hear. You close your eyes, take three calming breaths, and look again. Better.

Before you can do any more, the car stops, and you are at the front door of Smith Mansion. You shove the compact back in the purse, get out, pay and thank the driver, and walk up to the heavy double door. When you press the button, the door clicks, and swings open.

“Good evening, miss,” said Norman Burg. “Master Roger is not yet back, but I expect him shortly. Will you come with me?” He leads the way to the elevator, deep within the cavernous first floor. You try not to shudder as shadows flicker at the edge of vision. You’ve always hated the dark.

The elevator takes you up to the eighth floor and opens onto a cheerful, if subdued, hallway with a spiral staircase in the middle. Burg leads you up the stairs into a large open room; the penthouse, apparently, for one wall is all windows, and the late-evening light flooded the room. There is a girl already there, at the piano. She is in a black dress, with white collar and cuffs. Her neat red bob matches the alert expression on her face.

Burg introduces you. “And this is Dorothy Wayneright,” he finishes. “I have a few things to take care of in the kitchen, if you can entertain our guest, Miss Dorothy.” She nods, and he vanishes down the stairs.

Covertly, you try to figure out where she belongs. She is dressed like a counterpart to Norman Burg, perhaps, but her manner and actions don’t match. Perhaps she is a dependant of the household, someone from a poor branch of the family who has nowhere else to go -- that must be it.

You try to make small talk, but this Dorothy Wayneright is a terrible conversationalist, and you are hard-pressed to avoid asking the one question that’s been in your mind: “Who are you and why are you here?” Casting around for a topic, you walk to the piano and ask about it. For the first time, she volunteers a few sentences.

There’s the faint sound of voices downstairs, footsteps on the stair, and there is Roger Smith himself. Before you can react, he has introduced himself, spoken to that girl (and you notice there is no pretence of formality between them), and politely led the way to dinner.

You have no idea what was served; it is all ashes in your mouth, as you have to admit to yourself that your Cinderella dreams are quite impossible now. You’d have to be blind not to see that Roger Smith is fascinated by Dorothy Wayneright; she likewise pays close attention to him, barely touching her food. Somehow you get through the meal without disgracing yourself or your tutors.

After dinner, there is an uncomfortable period where you pretend to be a wanted guest, and he pretends to have wanted you to come. He’s trying his best to be the gracious host, but he’s really not very good at it. Wayneright retreated to the piano, and is quietly playing something you can’t quite recognize. When you hope enough time has passed to make some pretense of an evening out, you apologize for cutting the evening short and ask if a cab could be called.

Mr. Smith escorts you down the elevator to the front door, where the cab is waiting. At the entrance, you shake hands with him, and in a last attempt at savoir-faire, say, “Congratulations. I wish you and Miss Wayneright every happiness.” Then you turn to the cab, but not before you see the shocked expression on his face. Could he have thought you had not seen? You may be young, but you can see the obvious.

You slump, dejected, in the rear seat as you head home. Margarete had been looking forward to her visit next week. You don’t look forward to telling her that that it is probably never going to happen.
Tony Waynewrong 01-28-2004 12:04 PM
You posted it!!! I really dig this story. I can hardly wait for your next. Smile

X Prime 01-28-2004 12:13 PM
Ouch. You have to wonder what was running through Roger's mind then and there.
Tifaria 01-28-2004 12:58 PM
Ah, good old Roger. He's a louse, but we love him anyway.

I really love this. It's nice to see what Roger may have been up to before Dorothy arrived, and how her arrival affects his habits. I have to wonder how he was intending to handle things-- surely he knew Dorothy's presence would be unsettling to his guest. But then, he is very careless about those kinds of things. Lovely story, I especially love the style of narration-- you don't see a whole lot of stories written in second person!
Big Ben 01-28-2004 12:59 PM
This was a very interesting perspective. How awkward for both the protagonist and Roger. One wonders what her feelings would be if she later learned the true situation.

Good story.
Zola 01-28-2004 01:10 PM
This is really good work, Py. I'm very glad you posted it, very, very well done Smile
Wingnut 01-28-2004 01:24 PM
A very interestin perspective indeed. It certainly solidifys Roger's rule that opnly lovely young females may be let into his house unconditionally.
Question, who or what is Rota?
Pygmalion 01-28-2004 02:02 PM
Originally posted by Wingnut
A very interestin perspective indeed. It certainly solidifys Roger's rule that opnly lovely young females may be let into his house unconditionally.
Question, who or what is Rota?

Rota: 1. a roster. 2. Chiefly Brit. a round or rotation of duties; a period of work or duty taken in rotation with others. 3. (cap.) Official name, Sacred Roman Rota, an ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome, constituting the court of final appeal. (Webster's College Dictionary)

The title came from a somewhat more cynical first version that suggested what "duties" were involved, but this version works better. And I like the title quite a bit.

I particularly enjoyed looking at Dorothy from the eyes of someone who didn't twig to the fact that she's an android. No wonder Roger seems so shy of anyone assuming that they are a couple.

pen1300 01-28-2004 04:37 PM
Oh wow! Second person! Wow. I was waiting for some more interesting bits of the story, but wow. I loved this! Poor Margarete! She will surely feel downtrodded for WEEKS!

I love this perspective! Beautiful!

Lady Tesser 01-28-2004 05:20 PM
Wonderfully done - keeping in second person is the hardest writing of all. Well-paced and details enough in keeping with the mood of the participant.

Great work. ^_^
Falcon 7 01-28-2004 08:16 PM
I'm really glad you posted this. I love your work. Write more!!! Now!...please? Big Grin
Advinius 01-29-2004 05:46 AM
absolutely smashing, Pygmalion! Smile

I had contemplated the meaning behind roger's rule before, and this is more or less what i had concluded... poor Margarete indeed. even though she knew going into the evening it was likely a one shot, I do feel for her, not getting to have her cinderella evening.

I await any further works you wish to grace us with with anticipation.
hazlov2004 06-05-2004 12:00 PM
i had to read it is so good
darkangel 06-06-2004 02:38 PM
nice work!Big Grin
Tony Waynewrong 06-06-2004 03:58 PM
Well, I read it again. I must say that I love it more now than I did the first four times.

Super Kudos on a job well done! Smile
Waztopia 06-07-2004 09:23 AM
Very nice work.