N A M E
THEODORA SHOCKLEY“Many a gentleman had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice—that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation.”
Theodora Shockley, neé Lorrazzo. Close friends, and close friends only, may call her Teddy. A G E
28O C C U P A T I O N
Well, technically, Teddy is unemployed, but anyone who has ever interacted with her knows that she's not the kind to just sit back and let her husband take care of everything. She's his partner in business, if anything (though "partner" might be too, er, friendly of a word), and is definitely not afraid to make her opinion heard on how dear Frankie ought to be spending her family's money. A P P E A R A N C E
P E R S O N A L I T Y
Teddy is certainly not considered pretty, back at home in London-first of all, her father was Italian, meaning that she has a rather....swarthy
complexion (honestly, though. Italian
, of all things? Even French would have been better!). She is also taller than what is considered proper
for a woman, at around five feet and nine inches, which is also something she suspects that she inherited from her godforsaken father-her mother is quite petite.
In fact, Teddy is fairly certain that all her physical characteristics were from her Italian father. She has an unruly mane of dark, curly hair that falls halfway down her back (which is usually arranged in whatever hairstyle is currently in fashion; typically the latest updo out of Paris. Updos, she finds, are quite convenient when one's hair has a tendency to get in one's eyes), expressive eyebrows, and a nose that is slightly too large for her face, which happens to be rather square-ish. Her features are more "strong" than "delicate", an effect that is certainly not aided by her olive-colored complexion. None of her three step-brothers have this problem, of course; all of them look like her mother, meaning that they are blonde and blue-eyed with milky complexions.
Well, whatever. Teddy doesn't dwell on what she can't change. She does
believe in following all the current fashions, of course, as any proper Englishwoman should, even if she follows the current fashions a tad too
closely (she's by no means a creative person, after all). Teddy favors darker colors and more sensible ensembles, and she has a somewhat peculiar love for parasols-they're quite useful for whacking people upside the head with, is her defense. She carries herself with an air of brisk authority, as if she were a self-righteous matron twice her actual age, and has the unfortunate habit of brandishing her parasol about as if it were a sword or some kind of weapon that actually had any effect on people other than her silly, foppish step-brothers.
Teddy is practical and pragmatic and gets things done. She values efficiency and a good work ethic, and she is not afraid to speak up in order to get her point across. Teddy is a veritable battle-axe of a woman-she will get what she wants, even if she has to constantly harangue an unfortunate soul to do so. Teddy never takes no for an answer; she is the indomitable Theodora Shockley, and she will do what she came here to do, albeit in the most polite way possible. B I O G R A P H Y
Ever the realist, Teddy has no patience for people with dreamy delusions of what life actually is. Still, though, she wouldn't say she believes that people are inherently evil, and she does, after all, have morals. She is a stickler for proper manners and etiquette, and will be very offended should somebody behave in an impolite way towards her...and really, Teddy tries her best to be as polite as possible, but sometimes it just doesn't work, you know?
Blunt and straightforward, Teddy says what she wants, when she wants to. Of course, the wording may be perfectly proper for a high society tea party, but the underlying meaning would be perfectly clear. She doesn't have time to deal with anybody's nonsense, and she has the unfortunate habit of interfering in everyone's business; she's quite the meddler. Teddy considers herself to be a rather logical and rational person; she has not one bit of creativity in her, which has never bothered her in the slightest. Instead, she tries to look at things objectively and analyze all the possible courses of action. Teddy can be surprisingly perceptive, despite her lack of subtlety, and quite observant-she'll always notice when somebody is wearing last season's fashions, for example.
Teddy is about as covert as a sledgehammer. She has no regard for one's "finer feelings" and "sensitivities"-she says what she means, head-on, without any subtlety whatsoever. She always insists on being perfectly civil, though, even if her civility is tinged with a bit of good old-fashioned sarcasm. She has a breezy, brusque way of going about her business, and she can and will order other people around with the expectation that they'll do as she says. Teddy is very grounded, and very matter-of-fact, and she hates feeling like things are out of her control.
Lastly, Teddy is very, very prosaic. Unimaginative, uninspired, whatever you want to call it-the fact of the matter is, Teddy has no creative skill whatsoever. She likes to dance, yes, but that doesn't mean she is going to be creating variations on the waltz anytime soon. She can't sing, can't paint, can't play a musical instrument...and if she's writing anything, it will be just as blunt and matter-of-fact as she is. Teddy can’t stand flowery metaphors and embellished allusions to ancient Greek classics; she would rather jump off a cliff than read some of the romance novels that are currently popular.
Theodora's father, a certain Rodrigo Lorrazzo, was, quite unfortunately, of Italian descent...an affliction that could not be cured, to be sure, though he did die. Teddy never met him; something about a carriage accident during the first months of her mother's pregnancy. Ah, well. Life goes on.
Her mother, now called Cecilia Lintwyll, was a proper young lady, in the most typical sense of the word, and she had the blonde hair and blue eyes and delicate features to pull it off. However, Teddy certainly did not take after her mother in neither appearance nor demeanor, much to Cecilia's chagrin. Teddy thinks her mother is a twit-why does that woman insist on complaining to her about her nose, and her complexion, and her general....Italian-ness? It wasn't Teddy who decided to marry an Italian and have a daughter, for goodness' sake.
It wasn’t long after Teddy was born that her mother re-married. It was not proper for a woman as young and pretty as Cecilia was to be already a widow, especially not during the London season, when she could have been mistaken for any one of the debutantes despite the fact she had already found (and lost) a husband. And so Teddy had a stepfather by the time she was three months old, and she had three stepbrothers (one was only a year and a half younger than her, and the other two were twins. Very irritating twins) by the time she was five.
Of her three stepbrothers, Teddy was the closest to Vincent (or "Vinnie"), who grew to be a bit of a dandy in his own right. Teddy finds the twins silly and foppish, even if the older of the two is more rakish than strictly proper. Teddy likes Vinnie, and she tolerates the twins. It could be worse.
As a child, Teddy was a voracious reader, and she took an interest into altogether unladylike topics such as science-imagine her mother's horror when she found her daughter reading such forbidden topics as geology! Teddy wasn't quite sure why Cecilia almost fainted at the sight of her studying a book on rocks; what were the rocks going to do, jump out of the pages and kidnap her?
Of course, when she was of the age to debut, Teddy's forceful personality immediately repelled any potential suitors...not that she particularly minded. A couple years passed, and Teddy became a spinster in her own right once she reached the wizened age of twenty-five. Contrary to her mother, Teddy found that she rather liked being unmarried. She was free to take tea wherever she pleased, with whoever she pleased, and heavens' forbid that she have children. Teddy was certainly not the mothering type, as any one of her acquaintances could tell you.
Throughout the years, Teddy's meddling nature earned her both friends and enemies. She likes to think that she's quite friendly with some of the dandies Vinnie knows, in all their high-heeled, frock-coated glory; and indeed, her brother's friends do love to give her invaluable advice on the newest fashions out of Paris. Teddy's mother thinks she's a little too friendly with them, of course, but Teddy has always waved aside her concerns aside.
"Mother," she once told Mrs. Lintwyll, gravely, "if you are worried that one of dear Vinnie's friends may try to make impolite advances on my virtue, you needn't worry. I should believe that they are too preoccupied with making impolite advances on each other to have any interest in me."
That had sent poor Cecilia Lintwyll into a fit of hysterics, giving Teddy ample time to escape her mother's dainty, well-manicured clutches.
Teddy finally got married when she was twenty-seven. Her stepfather had seemed quite proud of himself for arranging the match, and Mrs. Lintwyll was ecstatic...though perhaps a tad less so when she found out that Teddy's husband-to-be was a scrawny, balding seventy-year-old man (from America, of all places. America!).
Teddy, for her part, was nonplussed. The wedding was a fine affair, in Teddy's opinion-the food was quite divine-and Vinnie had found her the most beautiful Worth gown to wear at the altar. As for her husband? Well, Frank Shockley was a perfect twit, but Teddy didn't mind. He'd married her for her money (her Italian father had been quite wealthy, if a bit eccentric, and, well...Italian), that much was clear, but he was also a small, sniveling man who seemed to perpetually have a cold. He was so pathetic that Teddy almost felt sorry for him.
Teddy soon learned that dear Frankie's dream was to become a real estate tycoon back in America. Teddy wasn't sure why he was trying to accomplish such a goal at seventy years old, but she was perfectly fine with having the opportunity to explore America, even if it meant leaving her beloved tea houses all the way back in London. Teddy didn't know that much about America, besides the fact that they liked to fight other people-how perfectly gauche; why fight somebody when you could simply shame them into doing something?-but what put Teddy off the most about Americans was their utter lack of quality tea. Teddy didn't know how she would survive without her tea.
In any case, her dear husband has decided that Ashfork would be the location of his new luxury hotel (built using Teddy's money, naturally), and so Teddy has accompanied him to the tiny frontier town. It is not particularly to her liking; besides the fact that they have no tea, Americans are also quite impolite, and their accents are atrocious-but Teddy has agreed to stay in the States for the remainder of the year, so she doesn't really have a choice. The only thing she can do is hope and pray that her dearest husband succumbs to the cold that constantly plagues him-the sooner the better.