Jerrica: Lord Leyburn, where is Miss Barclay?
Phineas: How the devil should I know? Blasted girl keeps disappearing.
Jerrica: Well, she said she’d be here, and if I know Miss Barclay, she is a woman of her word-
Phineas: [scoffs] Clearly, you don’t know Miss Barclay at all.
Jerrica: Well, perhaps we could get started anyway. I do have a few questions I wanted to ask you.
Phineas: All right…go right ahead.
Jerrica: I heard you’ve been working on a secret project in your studio. [Phineas blushes] Would you mind telling us the subject of the secret painting.
Phineas: Ahem. Well, then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?
Jerrica: That’s true, but then again, I don’t think you and I run in the same circles, seeing as you live almost 200 years in the past.
Phineas: Nice try, Mrs. Knight-Catania, but I am no fool. I know you have very close relationships with several people of my acquaintance, including one Victoria Barclay.
Jerrica: You’re not a very trusting person, are you?
Phineas: My closest friend is constantly lying to my face and evading my company. How could I possibly have confidence in people I hardly know at all?
Jerrica: Point taken. All right then…if you won’t talk about your paintings, will you tell me about your association with Lady Beecham?
Phineas: [nearly falls out of chair laughing] I will gladly tell you that I would rather have all my teeth pulled barbarically from my mouth than spend a single moment in the company of that woman.
Jerrica: [slightly taken aback] Goodness. Is she that bad?
Phineas: [levels me with an evil eye] You should know. You wrote her, didn’t you?
Jerrica: [blushing] Oh, right. Sorry about that.
[Victoria rushes in, hair askew, color high in her cheeks]
Victoria: Have I missed anything? I’m so sorry I’m late. I was unavoidably detained.
Phineas: You ought to give warning to people when you’re not going to be on time, Vickie.
Victoria: [rolls her eyes] What would you have me do? Send a messenger all this way to tell you I would be a mere five minutes late?
Phineas: Don’t be obtuse, Victoria.
Victoria: I shall try to refrain from obtusivity in the future, my lord.
Phineas: [grumbles] Do you see what I put up with?
Jerrica: Now, now, let’s not argue. Miss Barclay is here now, isn’t she?
Victoria: Exactly. And isn’t that what matters?
Phineas: Would it really hurt you to be a bit more respectful of other people’s time?
Victoria: Have you a pressing engagement, Finny?
Phineas: Perhaps I do, but frankly, what I have to do is none of your concern.
Victoria: I never said it was, I-
Jerrica: Stop! [Phineas and Victoria turn to look at me] Perhaps it would be best if we continued this interview another day.
Phineas: [to Victoria] Now do you see what you’ve done?
Victoria: Me?!?! You’re the one who won’t stop harping on my timeliness-
Phineas: Or lack thereof, as it were-
Victoria: Yet look at all the time you’ve wasted scolding me when we could have been nearly done with this whole thing by now.
[Phineas glowers at Victoria; Victoria crosses her arms over her chest and gives him a haughty look]
Jerrica: All right…well, thank you both for being here today. It was…interesting, to say the least. But despite this interview-gone-wrong, I do hope our readers will check out The Robber Bride, available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble!