|"It is just not fair! How can our parents be so cruel as to bring you into our lives, sweet Georgiana, only to be wrested away in so short a time! It is unconscionable!"
"You must stay in France! How can we live without you?" ZoŽ interjected, every bit as dramatic as her sister.
"I am sure you will manage to survive quite well," Georgiana answered with a laugh and playful shove.
"Will you not miss us horribly?" Yvette asked with a sob.
"Most horribly, I assure you."
"If only you could have fallen madly in love. Then you would be forced to stay, as your heart would be ripped asunder otherwise!" Yvette declared with a passionate clutch to her left chest, sighing hugely and falling backward onto the pillows that were stacked before the fire.
ZoŽ snorted. "We tried, dear sister, introduced her to hundreds of gorgeous Frenchmen, even l'enfant" -- she gestured to a smugly smiling Frédéric who was momentarily strangely quiet -- "but she only had eyes for her divinely perfect Englishman."
"I did not! And he is not mine."
"Well, I cannot blame her," Yvette admitted dreamily, ignoring Georgiana's protest. "He is yummy enough to eat."
"Yvette!" Georgiana was dumbfounded, her face scarlet.
ZoŽ leered, voice falling into a seductive purr. "Eat, kiss, touch, squeeze. Hmmm. Just think of all the wonders to be enjoyed with such a man." She was gazing at the red, astonished face of her new friend with a teasing glint in her eyes. "Just imagine how stupendous he must be naked."
Georgiana was aghast, and not only because of ZoŽ's indecent words, but also because of the sudden vision of Mr. Butler unclothed that assaulted her mind and made her heart race painfully. Abruptly, the memory of his touch seared her mind, sensations confusing her while warmth spread across her skin and flutters invaded her belly. Her breath caught, but at which indelicacy she was not sure, and words utterly escaped her.
Frédéric and Yvette burst into gales of laughter. ZoŽ joined in, closing the space to envelop Georgiana in a snug embrace. "Oh! You should see your face! Sweet, innocent Georgiana!" The ribald hilarity continued unabated for some time, all three de Valdays spouting further sexual comments and witty double entendres between their breathless laughter. Georgiana could not decide whether to laugh or weep, the conjured images flashing through her mind both disturbing and pleasant.
"Do you love your Englishman, my friend?" Yvette abruptly asked in a serious tone.
"No! No. That is, he is a friend and no more."
ZoŽ harrumphed, reaching for a pumpkin tart. "Who needs to be friends with a man? Men are for love and protection, that is all."
"Is this so, oh wise one of the world?" Frédéric chuckled. "Is that why the Almighty created us males?"
"You, little boy, are the exception," Yvette assured him, planting a noisy kiss on his rosy cheek.
"Merci. Now, who wants to hear a secret?"
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