Julia is speaking to Tristan, an Agent of the Crown who is holding her in custody
while he awaits confirmation of her story
She poured milk into a mug and handed it to Alice. "What is your superior’s name?"
"King George the Third.”
Julia clamped her mouth tightly, determined not to respond to his insolent answer. Instead, she began breaking the eggs into a bowl for their breakfast. A small sound warned her before his breath tickled her ear, raising gooseflesh and making her jump.
He leaned close and whispered, "Ravencliffe. The Foreign Office.” She stepped away quickly, then turned to see him grin when he teased, "Your ears turn red when you are angry, did you know?"
Julia stared at him, not sure if she should slap him for the familiarity or cover her ears in mortification.
"I do not believe anyone has made me angry enough to do so in the past, Mr. Sheffield. You have proven yourself to be unique in my experience.”
"Why, thank you, Miss Dorsey,” he said with a sweeping bow and a wink at Alice, who watched with wide-eyed interest. "Everyone should be unique in some way... and being the first in your experience would be a true honor.”
Julia felt the heat spread from her ears to the rest of her body, and her eyes suddenly stung with shocked dismay. She had come to think of him as a gentleman she could trust. His innuendo was lost on the child, but not on her. Unable to face him, she turned back to the eggs.
Silence stretched as she worked.
"I apologize, Miss Dorsey,” he said at last. "I should not have teased you in that way. My comment was beneath both of us. I pray your forgiveness.”
Manners demanded she respond in kind, and Alice wouldn’t understand the boundaries his remark had crossed. "Of course, Mr. Sheffield. I am sure you did not intend disrespect.”