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Velvet

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The snowflakes appeared like stars against the rich blackness of the sky, and to a romantic heart they may have seemed like glittering diamonds upon a velvet frock to be worn by only the finest of ladies. But such a fanciful notion, or indeed any notion at all, went unnoticed by the figure which discreetly crossed the frozen grounds. Indeed, Tatyana did own a gown which appeared like a blizzard in the night, and her younger self might have remarked upon this with a slight twist of a smile.

The Tatyana presently stepping over pavement, however, was soley occupied by the distress which filled every pore, toremented every organ within her. She could not quite believe what she was doing. In fact, she suspected that she had yet to realise what her actions entailed. Yet nevertheless, here she was, stepping up to the front door and about to raise a hand to softly knock.

A dog howled and she flinched, jumping to see something clatter in the moonlit street. It was just a stray, she realised, and turned back to the finely polished oak before her.

It was certainly a respectable apartment for central St. Petersburg. The journey from her own home had not been more than ten minutes.

No, she thought, best not to think about that.

Best not to think about anything at all, or else she may regain her senses and flee back to the respectable comfort of her own bed and her own husband.

But ever since her not-so-distant youth, Tatyana had never really been able to restrain the romantic adventures of her imagination. Or now, as a grown woman, of her reality.

In one swift, elegant motion, she knocked thrice upon the door.

In that impossibly long moment, Tatyana's mind conjured every sort of detestable outcome conceivable. Who would answer her call? She was obscured, thickly wrapped in winter coverings, but what if someone should recognise her here, in the middle of the night and alone? Perhaps the address was wrong?

And what would she do if she was not welcome?

The door shifted against its hinges, swung, and Tatyana's frenzied mind was suddenly blank. She stood frozen as the frigid air surrounding her, staring straight into the face of the gentleman before her.

Somewhere, she registered that he appeared grave and exhausted, and possibly as if he had been drinking. His clothes were disorderly, but her gaze did not shift from his. Indeed, she could not bring herself to move at all.

He raised an eyebrow, as though her visit were not entirely indecent and unexpected.

She searched for words and opened her mouth to speak, but a chilled breeze brushed against her and she shivered terribly, having already been out too long in the winter air. The door creaked and Onegin stepped aside to allow her passage, and Tatyana stood over the thershold.

It felt like an irrevocable promise she was not prepared to make.

The door gently shut, and then it was too late.