All moved in, now to purchase books and work on the new chapter! Hopefully I'll get a lot more written now. Time for a sneak peek.
* * *
“And this… Sheldon boy,” Yvette said, cutting her pancakes delicately, making every statement a velvet cloth draped over a razor as she interrogated her youngest daughter, “He comes from a good family?”
Idalese attempted a smile. “Well, his parents own a cabin up in Three Lakes,” she said.
“A landed family.” If she didn’t know any better, she might have thought she detected a trace of pride in her mother’s statement. That was the danger.
“The cabin was passed down from Sheldon’s Great Grandfather.”
“At this rate, we shall have to stall your wedding: it won’t do for the youngest daughter to be married off before the oldest.” Yvette dabbed her mouth with her napkin.
Idalese wilted in relief even as Nymea shot her a supremely dirty look across the table. She’d claim to be sick to get out of these morning interrogations, especially when her mother was analyzing prom for any possible trace of wedding bells, except for the fact that it would bring her parent’s attention to her even more. And Nymea would, no doubt, do something nasty to get it back.
“The only thing those girls are good for is marrying off,” Antoin said, putting down his fork, “Not a brain in their skulls or the sense the green ones gave a rabbit. We should have been getting offers for Nymea for years now.” He wiped his mouth, and Idalese automatically served him another pancake. “And the boy’s lazy,” he added as an afterthought, having run out of complaints early.
“Rean!” he bellowed at the door, “You’d better be out here when I’ve got the paper, boy!”
As if she had never been interrupted – though she wouldn’t dare speak while her husband was speaking – Yvette fixed her attention on Nymea.
“Did you meet any young gentlemen at the dance?” she asked, as if daring her oldest daughter to disappoint her.
Nymea scowled and stabbed at her plate – discreetly, as infringements of table etiquette were hardly the way to get Yvette off her daughters’ backs – and Idalese could hear her voice dripping with dark resentment and hatred when she replied.
“No,” Nymea admitted, “but Rean did.”
Idalese kicked her under the table, but Nymea only smiled a vicious smile. She supposed that she should be happy that she had stopped being the target of her sister’s wrath, but… life was just so difficult with Nymea in the house, and she had no illusions that it would improve once both her older siblings left for college. Once she was the only person under her mother’s watchful eye, she’d fall even further short of expectations than she did now.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Nymea,” Yvette said with a stern sniff, “Unnatural, immoral behavior like that is not a joking matter, especially when you are making such crude comments about your own brother. If this is how you speak with your peers, it’s no wonder that you never have any young gentlemen interested in you, just opportunistic young cads.” She took a delicate sip of orange juice. “Your brother attended the ball with that Elvensong girl, and that, to my mind is the right way to go about this. He is courting a lovely girl – an elven girl, whose family is very respectable, and whose father holds a prominent position in the community. If you hadn’t burned bridges with her, you might be keeping equally respectable company, Nymea.”
Nymea scoffed, “Ara? Her parents are peasants.”
Yvette’s gracious smile shrank a few milimeteres and grew brittle for a moment. “We must make every effort to be gracious to the noveaux riche.”
In the kitchen, the sink dripped.