Astrid sat deeply in her armchair, though it seemed to swallow her frame. Even at nine months pregnant, it was evident that she was a lithe woman with hollowed out cheeks and prominent collar bones.
Jodie Watts, one of Astrid's stewards, had been tasked to bring Valentina to the drawing room where Astrid resided. She was instructed not to comment on the snakes that littered the house, nor reveal any secrets the Ivers may hold along the way.
As Valentina entered, Astrid flicked her hand to signal Jodie to leave before scraping her eyes over the new young thing.
"Ah! Vera, finally. I believe you've already been made aware that you will be starting with us early. I'd get up to congratulate you on your new position but," she gestured to her pregnant belly. "Best for me not to do strenuous actions over the unimportant things."
She motioned for the woman to take a seat opposite her.