Wrenching her eyes open, Audrey was confronted by a large dark face, its lips pressed intimately pressed against hers. Needless to say, she screamed.

"Whas's her problem?"

"Prob'ly woke up and took one look at his ugly face, eh?"

"Not even'ow!"

Audrey closed her eyes again and shook her head fiercely to disperse the nightmare still lingering from her heavy sleep. But somehow the gabbling of the three strangers still mauled her ears. Cautiously she opened one eye.

Six eyes stared back at her, and Audrey lost all thought of decorum and maidenly behaviour. "Who are you? What are you? How dare you come into my bedchamber, and myself in a state of undress! 'Pon rep, I'll have someone's job for this!"

"Hey, sorry miss. We didn't mean nothing by it, eh?"

"Whas's her problem?"

"Nah, look at her clothes. She's an actor, eh? She's doing that being your character stuff. Eh, miss?"

Audrey stared at them with horror, disgust, and not a little confusion.

"Like Danny DeVito, y'know?"

"I love that movie, eh?"

"And when'd you get to be so smart?"

"Since my sister started acting lessons."

"Your sister don't need acting lessons, she can already fake a–"

"Hey! There's a lady in the room, man." The one who had kissed her turned to Audrey. "Sorry 'bout these guys, eh? We'll quit hassling you, and you get back to your work now, miss." He hustled himself and his odious friends out of the room.

After a few moments listening to their tamping footsteps fade, Audrey felt safe enough to breathe again.

"Mary?" she called her maid in a voice attempting to be loud enough to attract attention but not loud enough to be heard.


She stuck one foot out from under her bedspread experimentally.

Nothing attacked it, so she gingerly lowered it to the floor. Then all in a rush sprang from her bed and pulled on her quilted dressing gown.

Moving in cautious stops and starts, Audrey descended the stairs from her bedroom down to her parlour, then out into the corridor. Halfway along it was slumped Tom, grinding sleep out of his eyes with his fist. With a shriek of joy, she threw herself at him and began to liberally sprinkle his face with kisses until she realised he was whimpering in pain. "Tom? Tom! What is the matter? It wasn't those … persons, was it?"

"No," he gasped, trying to push them both upright. "I have the dammed largest crick in my neck, and large, though adorable, girls throwing themselves at me when I've only just woken. Peculiar behaviour, if you ask me."

"Luckily I didn't. O, Tom! I was ever so scared and – don't you laugh! I'm sure I would have gone into vapours had they remained any longer."

"Poor darling, what happened?"

"One of them kissed me. With his lips on mine!" she expanded, noting with displeasure that Tom did not appear about to fly into a jealous rage over it. "And then!"

"Then …?" he prompted.

"They gibbered at me!"

Tom's lips quirked but he gave a creditable appearance of seriousness when he exclaimed, "O, sweet love, what trials you have endured!"

Audrey tried to continue pouting but her mouth wouldn't cooperate and stretched into a sheepish smile.

"Much better, love. Let's go."

They wandered through the rest of the dark house – "There are creepers over the window. How– … how?" – meeting servants and guests alike in various stages of waking.

Finding a small room where a small pool of sunlight had managed to worm its way through the foliage, they sat holding hands to take stock of the situation.

"Tom, you don't appear nearly as concerned as I am, so would you care to explain what about these circumstances you find so amusing?"

Tom smothered his quiet chuckles. "I think the Curse has been broken."

"There never was a curse; that was all funning."

"Perhaps," he agreed, smiling strangely.

"Tom, there never was! And you said I'd marry whomever broke the curse. You find it funny that I'll be thrust into some hoyden's sooty bosom?"

"What hoyden? I'm sure I never saw a sooty bosom anywhere near your chambers. I do, however, remember quite distinctly leaning down and kissing you, taking enormous liberties but I couldn't find another way to wake you, you understand?"

"When my love swears that he is made of truth, I do believe him," Audrey misquoted, with wide innocent eyes, snuggling adoringly against him. "Though I know he lies."

Tom pulled her closer and murmured, "I cannot speak enough of this content; it stops me here: it is too much of joy. And this, the greatest discords be that e'er our hearts shall make," before kissing her.


Just to make it easy for you, I will give you a questionaire to answer. With True/False questions(?statements?whoever heard of a statementaire?), and even numbered! for you utmost in reviewing ease. Of course, if you feel the need to elaborate that also is acceptable :)
1. Descriptions and details where far and few between, which was annoying and confusing.
2. Ending seemed a little hasty, like the author just wanted to get it over and done with in as few words as possible.
3. Audrey and Tom talk too much; they just ... talk ... too much.

4. Guy kisses her, then hustles, like, could he have been gotten rid of any faster?

5. Waaaaay to many -eh?s and general question marks at the end of the guy and his friends sentences.
(In actual fact, if you anwer True to this you are waaaaay wrong. I was copying a real accent and the people who talk like that do it every EVERY sentence)
6. Despite being catagorised as humourous it is only mildly amusing.

Well, that's what I see wrong with it, but if there's something I've missed please do tell.
Great, and now I sound like I'm fishing for comments saying, No, there's nothing wrong with it! Don't be such a downer! We love you Clare, you're so awesome!
Not that I'd be adverse to you writing something like that.

Please excuse me while I go extricate my foot from my mouth.