as he turns a corner, he encounters a raised platform with a statue-still occupant, but this one is different than the snow-covered woman he had seen before.
this woman’s skin is shimmering and pale, her long black hair is tied with dozens of silver ribbons that fall over her shoulders. her gown is white, covered in what to Bailey looks like looping black embroidery, but as he walks closer he sees that the black marks are actually words written across the fabric. when he is near enough to read parts of the gown, he realizes that they are love letters, inscribed in handwritten text. words of desire and longing wrapping around her waist, flowing down the train of her gown as it spills over the platform.
the statue herself is still, but her hand is held out, and only then does Bailey notice the young woman with a red scarf standing in front of her, offering the love letter–clad statue a single crimson rose.
the movement is so subtle that it is almost undetectable, but slowly, very, very slowly, the statue reaches to accept the rose. her fingers open, and the young woman with the rose waits patiently as the statue gradually closes her hand around the stem, releasing it only when it is secure.
and then the young woman bows to the statue, and walks off into the crowd.
the statue continues to hold the rose. the color seems more vibrant against the white and black of her gown.
Bailey is still watching the statue when Poppet taps him on the shoulder.
“she’s my favorite,” Poppet says, looking up at the statue with him.
“who is she?” Bailey asks.
“She has a lot of names,” Poppet says, “but mostly they call her the Paramour.”