The evening prior had not gone quite according to plan, of that much Tom Branson was quite sure. Between his mother creating rather a racket by her mere presence, and the presence of Eleanor, Tom was once against playing the role of instigator at the dinner table, even if he did so unwittingly this time. He remembered those first dinners, how uncomfortable he felt as the family poked and prodded him, questioning everything from his politics to his dinner wardrobe. He had endured it for Sybil, with as much grace as he could muster, which had not always been all that much. Now, however, Tom knew that he was tasked with a conversation that would be immensely more difficult than any of those had ever been.
Still as much as Tom wished to avoid the conversation, he knew it was for the best. Eleanor had opened up his eyes once more, to see a world that he thought would be invisible to him for the rest of his life. Now, suddenly he was seeing the world in color again, and it all looked so radiantly beautiful. He did not know if Eleanor would acquiesce him, or if the fierce independence that had initially attracted him to her would ultimately be the very reason he could never have her, but she had changed him, even still.
"Mrs Hughes, have you seen her ladyship?" he asked the housekeeper as he strolled down the stairs of the gallery. "Oh I think I saw her going into the drawing room Mr. Branson. Shall I fetch her for you?" the woman asked, to which Tom shook his head. "No, I'll go to her. Thank you," he replied. It seemed fitting really, that the drawing room would house yet another monumental difficult discussion for Tom. It had been the site in which Tom and Sybil had announced their intentions to run off together, after all, all those years ago. All those feelings, the nerves and anxiety he had encountered that night, seemed to resurface within him.
Entering the room, he saw her standing by the table, seeming to adjust the flower arrangements which had been set up the evening prior. "Lady Grantham," Tom said, stepping forward, "Could I have a word?"