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Archive for March, 2017

Fiction Friday: Midas’ Daughter – Ariadne

I’m back with another scene from Midas’ Daughter, the short story I’m fleshing out into a novella. Last week, we saw some of the fallout from Dario Midas’ temper. Now, a hint of what his scheming is going to bring about.

Calla stepped out of the house and glanced across the courtyard right outside their door. She hadn’t seen her father since the scene in his office earlier that week. Apparently he was still sulking. What reason did he have to sulk? He wasn’t the one cleaning up after her temper tantrums.
Maybe Nita had been right, and he was actually scheming something. That would make more sense. And it wasn’t like he ever discussed his business decisions with her anyway. So, she wouldn’t have any idea if that’s what was happening. She had a feeling this wasn’t about business this time, though.
And that worried her.
Calla stepped down from the porch and headed across the courtyard to the stables. Her father didn’t keep a lot of his horses here, not this time of year anyway. He just had them, and this big of a stable, for the prestige. But, there was one horse always here. Ariadne. The mare had been hers from the time the animal was born. Calla trained her, fed her, groomed her every day.
When she stepped into the stable, someone already stood in front of her mare’s stall. “Flip, I didn’t expect to see you here this morning.”
He’d been here about as long as Ariadne, had come with his father, Philip. He’d worked under his father as a stable boy until a few months ago, when the older man retired. Now, Flip was the one in charge of the stables. There wasn’t as much for him to do with the other horses out on the racing circuits, but she figured he’d be checking on them by now. Not still here.
They’d shared one kiss the first summer he’d been here. It almost seemed like he’d avoided her since then. He wasn’t rude about it, but they were hardly ever alone. Maybe she read more into it than what was there. He didn’t say anything to her now but stepped back so she could approach the stall. That hurt, but she’d never admit it.
When he’d first arrived, she thought they could be friends. She’d never had one before. Not at the private school her father sent her to, not among anyone her father hired for this place. It looked promising with Flip. Until that kiss apparently ruined it all.
“Did you feed her this morning?” she asked instead of asking the real question she wanted the answer to. What had she done so wrong to ruin them?
“Earlier. She’s good if you’re planning to take her out.”
“Okay. Thanks.”
Then, he headed back down the aisle, away from her. Calla let herself into the stall, forcing her thoughts away from Flip. She brushed the horse before finding her tack and saddling her up. She led the mare outside and climbed into the saddle. She could take her out for an easy ride on the trails, but apparently easy wasn’t what she was after. Instead, she headed to the arena set up with jumps. Right in view of her father’s office. There were times she’d seen him watching from the window when she took Ariadne out to practice. She didn’t let herself look today.
Both she and the mare knew this course perfectly. It felt like they flew over each of the jumps. She went over it three times until Ariadne felt like she was working. She trotted around the perimeter then slid down from the saddle, grabbing the reins and leading her out of the arena.
She stopped when she saw her father standing in front of the house. He wasn’t alone, and he wasn’t looking her way. Her stomach cramped as she continued walking toward the stable. He hadn’t been watching her anyway. He hadn’t seen how perfectly she’d taken Ariadne over the jumps. They hadn’t brought home any ribbons or trophies in over a year—they’d both burnt out on the jumping circuit—so hadn’t entered any shows, so none of it mattered to her father.
“You two looked perfect out there.”
She jumped a little at Flip’s voice as she walked Ariadne around the yard to cool her off. “I didn’t realize you were watching.” At least someone had seen them and appreciated it.
She thought she caught him murmuring something as he turned away again, but she’d probably imagined it. Then, he looked over his shoulder. “Your father called down. He wants you up at the house. You’ve got someone calling on you.”
Calling on her? What did that even mean? She’d seen the sports car sitting in front of the house, and the man who it probably belonged to. She’d assumed it was another of her father’s business associates. What did he have to do with her? She hadn’t even noticed them go into the house.
It didn’t matter. She still needed to take care of Ariadne before she went in. When she led Ariadne into the stable, Flip waited at her stall. Their hands brushed as he took the reins from her. Her gaze shot to his, and she was sure his cheeks flushed before he turned away. “I’ll take care of her. You don’t want to keep Prince Charming waiting.”
Prince Charming? Where did he get this stuff? “I don’t even know who he is.”
But, she released Ariadne to Flip’s hands. He’d take as much care with the mare as she would. Calla went up to the house the back way. Father would not appreciate her greeting his guest all sweaty and smelling like the stable. She’d heard that lecture more than enough times to know how he felt about it. In his view, it was almost as bad as being late. So, she’d get a shower before she went to find them.

Writing Wednesday: Getting Close

This has been a pretty decent week, other than my right knee giving me problems. I actually woke this morning with no pain in it…for about 10 minutes. This has been going on for at least 2.5 weeks(I’m used to it acting up here and there, so can’t pinpoint exactly when this started). My hands have been hurting, particularly when I write or crochet. Usually it’s my wrists, now my whole hand starts aching.

Okay, whining time’s over. Back to the good stuff. I’m almost finished writing the first draft of Stay a Little Longer. April is Camp NaNo. I’ll be working on Playing with Fire, which makes me really happy. Can’t wait to spend time with Jeremiah, Corrin, & Silas. And I have a small cabin set up. There’s currently only 3 other people in it(okay, only 1 other person as the other 2 haven’t accepted the invitation yet). If anyone wants to join in, let me know. I nearly have Stained Blood rewrites done. Then, I’ll do another pass through before sending it to my beta and possibly back to my CP since I made quite a few changes. If anyone else wants to read it, let me know(it’s the third book in the series, so you might be missing some things if you didn’t read the first two). I also have my f/f Snow White retelling just about ready to go. Need to polish it up, then I have one reader set to send it to. If anyone else is interested, I’d love feedback before I submit it. There’s more on it down in my writing section in this post.

Now, on to why most of you are probably here(especially as we’re still mid-break for RoW80). WiPpet Wednesday!! This will probably be the last snippet I share from Stay a Little Longer. At least for now. There might be more when I start editing, but that’s…sometime in the future. Anyway, for today I have 32 sentences(3+29). Terrall has told Jess about his past, and she’s a lot more understanding than he thought she’d be.

 “You can’t ever change what happened. Just like I can’t go back and decide not to sleep with Frank, or get drunk with Mike. Or let Colby into our lives. That last did a number on Paul, and he’s just finally coming out of it.”
“But you’ve brought life into this world. I’ve taken a beautiful one out of it.” He was surprised to feel wetness on his cheeks, and it took him a moment to realize it was coming from his own eyes.
“Nothing I say will change that. But, what you’re doing now, Terrall, it makes a difference. Mike’s father-”
“He told me,” Terrall said. “I figured when he seemed so welcoming, he didn’t know. But, he did.”
“He’s a forgiving person. His dad still lives outside town. He comes in the bar, gets drunk, and gets behind his wheel. I’ve tried to stop him, but it doesn’t do any good. He hasn’t tried to change or make anything better. He hasn’t even forgiven his son for not being the one to come and get him that night.”
That had him opening his eyes. “How could he blame Mike for that?”
“Because that’s what people who won’t take responsibility for their own actions do. You’re different. You admit you were wrong, you’re making an effort to change. Have you done it again?”
“Mike asked me that same thing. And no. I only have an occasional beer, and I don’t drive until it’s had time to get out of my system.”
“That’s why you stayed at the bar so long last night.”
Despite everything else, including the heaviness still sitting in his chest, he felt his lips tug up. “One reason. I also liked watching you.”

Seems like a good reason to stick around. 😉 Anyway, this is why I’ve struggled with writing Terrall. Redeeming his character without condoning what he did. And drunk driving is a sensitive issue for me. So, I’m trying to be careful with it, and hope it comes out the way I mean for it to.

And now on to my progress for this week. I’ll have my final update for the month on Sunday and may also update my yearly goals then and see how they’re going so far. And the new RoW80 round starts on Monday, so I’ll probably post my goals for the second quarter of the year and April then.

Plotting:

  • Primary: Heart of Christmas(BC Security 3.5) – write back stories, plot summary, and complete Story Toolkit – 11/21 sections(I cut out subplot section for this one) of Story Toolkit(some of these sections I’ll have to do at least 2 sheets for because of multiple characters, but I’ll put them all in one section). 5112 words so far this month. 87 words this week.
  • Secondary: Still Burning(Hunter Family #4) – Brainstorm

Writing:

  • Primary: Stay a Little Longer – add 45000 words/finish 38 scenes – 38560 words/45000, 39/38 scenes for the month. 3123 words/3 scenes written this week.
  • Secondary: Side Projects 5000 words, edit Chapter 1 of Patrick & Sarah & Chapter 1 of Tavin & Haiwee, read through 9 chapters of Snow White Twist(there’s actually 10, but I read through chapter 1 in February) – 5222/5000 words so far this month. 503 words this week. have read through 9/9 in Snow White Twist. and I already have one reader lined up for this. If any else would be interested in reading a f/f retelling of Snow White(about 21000 words), let me know. I should have it revised and ready by the end of the month. I’ve started working on these side projects in random order instead of the same order every week. I’ll add them in to this list as I finish the week’s words on each.
    • Snow White Twist – I compiled notes on 10/10 chapters. I have made 98/98 changes. I cut out 4 words total. Going to do my search & destroy mission next weekend, then it will be ready to send out to anyone who’d like to give some feedback.
    • Mason & Lila – 100 words – Music career? She didn’t have a career. She could sing, she would never deny that. But, that didn’t mean she was good enough to even get a recording contract. And anyway, she was only fifteen. Way too young to make anything of it. 
    • Patrick & Sarah – 167 words – She worried, though, what Patrick would think of her for how she handled her sons. She was doing the best she could, but was it really enough?
    • Preggers – 106 words – The other woman reached out and touched her arm gently. “You’re not hurt, are you? I wasn’t watching where I was going. I seem to have that problem these days.”
    • Roman – 130 words – He let out a breath then said, “Morning, Tereza. How are you?” His heart was still scrambling, but he thought he sounded calm and in control at least. He wasn’t sure he’d ever known a teenager, or anyone really, who moved so quietly. 

Editing:

  • Primary: Stained Blood – 10 new scenes & apply CP edits to 40 scenes – 8/10 new scenes finished this month. 31/40 scenes edited. 6183 words added this month. 1299 words this week. And I posted another teaser for it on Tuesday.
  • Secondary: Flames of Renewal(if I get back from CP) – complete CP edits
    • In the Moonlight – start revisions

Blogging:

  • A-Z posts – draft 24 posts – 9/24 for the month. J & K are finished. 2078 words so far.
  • A-Z posts – edit & format 27 posts – Edited 8/27(almost forgot about the theme reveal post) posts.

Reading:

  • Listen: 8 books – 4/8 for the month, 0 this week
    • Fire(Kristin Cashore) – On Chapter 5(audible has these chapters split up weird. There are more than one in what it says is a chapter. So I’m just doing what’s on top of the screen on my phone). It’s interesting, but I’m almost 3 hours in and it doesn’t feel like a lot’s really happened. I’ll give it at least a little longer. I’m almost 6 hours in now and still doesn’t feel like a lot is happening. Taking a break from it to listen to something else.
    • Crocodile on the Sandbank(Elizabeth Peters) – I’m on Chapter 3(at least according to audible. This is another one they have split up weird).
  • Read: 31 books – 27/31 for the month, 2 this week.
    • Hammer of the Gods(Christina Ochs) – this is book 3 in her Desolate Empire series. I got the boxed set, but I’ve already read the first 2 separately, so I jumped right to this one on my phone. I’ll read it in the between moments. I’m on Chapter 38/166(If I counted right. The chapters are labeled with POV characters’ names instead of numbers).
    • Hallowed Ground(Rebecca Yarros) – started this Sunday morning. At 60%.
    • And I Darken(Kiersten White) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday night. Really enjoyed it, though it was a bit…twisted. Very toxic relationships. Looking forward to the next book.
    • This is True Love(Jamie Wesley) – Started this Tuesday morning. Finished it Tuesday evening. It was a fairly quick read. Really enjoyed it.
    • Secrets of a Summer Night(Lisa Kleypas) – Starting this one today.

Crafting:

  • Knit: Georgian Lace Cap
  • Crochet: Cross-over Long DC Hat – Finished this Sunday after publishing my post.
  • Loom: Ambrosia Love Scarf & Last Minute Slouchy Hat – realized the slouchy hat uses a loom I don’t have, so I’m cutting it off the list.

Teaser Tuesday: “Protect Her”

I’m back with another Teaser Tuesday post for Stained Blood. I should be finishing up the rewrites for it this week. Then, I have to comb through for all the crutch words I tend to use, and other weaknesses. And then I can send it on to beta readers. I have one lined up(as she’s read the first two books in the series), and I may send it back to my CP as well since I’ve made quite a few changes. So, I’m hoping for a summer release.

He didn’t even know where to find the man. But if he was staying in town, he knew one person who would know. The livery stable was the only place to board his horse. So, unless he kept him hitched to a rail along the street, he’d be there. And Jacob would likely know where to find him.
He hadn’t spoken to Jacob since the day he’d found him in the stable with Matthew. Barrett was still sure he hadn’t seen what his mind told him he had. There had to be another explanation. But, he couldn’t get it from Jacob if the other man never spoke to him again.
When he stepped into the stable, he only saw Al standing there. “Is Jacob around?” he asked the older man.
The hostler shook his head. “He ain’t been home for a couple days. You know how he is. He’ll show up sooner or later.”
Except Jacob had said he was going to stick around town now. So he’d have a better image for the election. That didn’t seem to have lasted long, though. Was it because Barrett had seen him here with Matthew? Was there more going on there? He shook off that thought and turned away.
“Was there something I could help you with, Barrett?” Al asked.
He hesitated. Al might have the information he was looking for. “You seen that new man in town?” he asked. “Hector Monihan. He’s posing as a deputy sheriff.”
“Seen him,” Al said, spitting on the ground between them.
“You know where he’s staying?”
Al shook his head. “And I’d suggest you stay far away from him. He’s made his feelings on you and you protecting that woman well known. Be careful.”
“That woman’s my wife now, Al. And I’ll do what I need to protect her. If you hear anything, let me know.”
But, he was pretty sure it would be best if he got Deryn out of town for a couple days at least.

Sunday Summary:

 

Let’s see, what to talk about up here. Not a lot has happened since Wednesday, when I had a mini-rant about health savings accounts and my husband’s work’s lack of communication. Friday the weather was really nice when the kids got home from school, so they played outside until husband got home with dinner. And went back outside with him after dinner for a couple more hours. And the boy decided to paint his window with mud. Himself, too, by all appearances when he came back inside.

It was pretty nice Saturday morning too, though not quite as warm, so they went out there again for a while. I got pretty much everything on Saturday’s list done early, so I ended up starting on Sunday’s. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty good week for me.

So, even though RoW80 is technically on a break until the beginning of April, I’m still here to share my progress. Next Sunday, I’ll have my wrap-up of the month, as well as next round’s and month’s goals.

Plotting:

  • Primary: Heart of Christmas(BC Security 3.5) write back stories, plot summary, and complete Story Toolkit – 9/21 sections(I cut out subplot section for this one) of Story Toolkit(some of these sections I’ll have to do at least 2 sheets for because of multiple characters, but I’ll put them all in one section). 5025 words so far this month. 2148 words this week. And I wrote a little piece that likely will be included for this for Stream of Consciousness Saturday
  • Secondary: Still Burning(Hunter Family #4) – Brainstorm

Writing:

  • Primary: Stay a Little Longer – add 45000 words/finish 38 scenes – 35437 words/45000, 36/38 scenes for the month(there’s definitely going to be more than this, probably 43 at least). 5781 words/7 scenes this week.
    • Terrall certainly hoped he was right. And that they weren’t putting Paul into more danger. If his choices brought harm to someone again, he wasn’t sure how he’d ever forgive himself
  • Secondary: Side Projects – 5000 words, edit Chapter 1 of Patrick & Sarah & Chapter 1 of Tavin & Haiwee, read through 9 chapters of Snow White Twist(there’s actually 10, but I read through chapter 1 in February) – 4723/5000 words so far this month. 1280 words this week. have read through 9/9 in Snow White Twist. and I already have one reader lined up for this. If any else would be interested in reading a f/f retelling of Snow White(about 21000 words), let me know. I should have it revised and ready by the end of the month. I’ll be adding 2 more stories to my list, one of which just popped into my head one day and then I saw this article this morning, which is kind of similar to the idea(only my characters will meet when they’re already pregnant).
    • Midas’ Daughter – 101 words – Flip had hoped Mr. Midas might one day forget his threats. But, the glares he periodically sent him and the little hints he’d drop, told him that was still not the case. It probably never would be.
    • Patrick & Sarah – 174 words – Just a terror, Sarah had said. Nothing more than a bad nightmare. He glanced back toward the bedroom the two boys shared. He couldn’t say why, but he was sure there was a lot more to it than that.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 85 words – Haiwee shot more words at her cousin, and this time Tavin did catch his own name in there. Then, something else as she gestured back to him.  *I probably would have written more, but I got sidetracked researching. I did find a search engine for the Shoshoni language, though.
    • Roman – 154 words – “Don’t be silly,” she said, and her voice was still soft, still gentle. “We are a family. No matter how we add to it, you and I will always be a family, Roman.
    • Dougal & Shae – 127 words – “I’ll get him,” Shae told her. When she stepped into the living room, she saw her nephew in his swing, banging his fists on the tray. She smiled and headed right for him. “Giving your mama a hard time, are you?” she asked as she lifted him. He instantly grabbed a lock of her hair and pulled. 
    • Mason & Lila – 120 words – Lila sighed and glanced down at the text they were supposed to be learning about. Really how was anyone supposed to even care about any of this? It was so boring. There so many better ways she could be spending her time.
    • Jacob & Matthew – 217 words – He was rewarded with Jacob’s smile. That filled him with more warmth than even having his name on the front of a newspaper had ever been able to do. 
    • Hang On – 187 words – “You never know with those nymphs,” he said. “One little mistake, and poof, you’re on the nymph’s most wanted list.” *these 2 are cracking me up. I don’t know if this story will go anywhere, but it’s certainly fun so far.
    • Mike & Fadil – 95 words – Sharing that little girl with Jess had certainly taken away a good bit of the control he had over his life. But, he wouldn’t change anything for that. *don’t have much of this to share just yet.
    • Preggers(don’t know this title will stick, but I needed something to call it for now) – 121 words – Here she was just another widow of war. The youngest, and the only one who still carried something of their spouse with her, but it was the one thing that tied them together that mattered.
    • Snow White Twist – I compiled notes on 10/10 chapters. I have made 74/98 changes. I’ve added 36 words.

Editing:

  • Primary: Stained Blood – 10 new scenes & apply CP edits to 40 scenes – 6/10 new scenes finished this month. 24/40 scenes edited. 4884 words added this month. 1424 words added this week.
    • “I plan to, sheriff. Thank you for your help.” Even though it felt like precious little and had his stomach twisted into knots. Now, he needed to figure out how he would go about keeping her safe.
  • Secondary: Flames of Renewal(if I get back from CP) – complete CP edits
    • In the Moonlight – start revisions

Blogging:

  • A-Z posts – draft 24 posts – 7/24 for the month. H is finished. Got into the antagonist’s head, which was rather shudder-inducing(if you’ve read Into the Sun or even Come Back Down you’d understand why). I is finished. 1119 words(H) + 379(I).
  • A-Z posts – edit & format 27 posts – Edited 8/27(almost forgot about the theme reveal post) posts. And my theme reveal went live on Monday. A, B, C, D, E, F, & G are scheduled. So, I’ve got through Week 2 ready. I’ll just have to add links back to the previous post before they go live(hopefully I’ll remember).

Reading:

  • Listen: 8 books – 4/8 for the month, 1 this week
    • King’s Cage(Victoria Aveyard) – Finished this Sunday after posting my check-in. Enjoyed it, but the ending broke my romantic heart. I did see there’s going to be at least 1 more book(I’d thought it was a trilogy, but I guess not).
    • Fire(Kristin Cashore) – On Chapter 5(audible has these chapters split up weird. There are more than one in what it says is a chapter. So I’m just doing what’s on top of the screen on my phone). It’s interesting, but I’m almost 3 hours in and it doesn’t feel like a lot’s really happened. I’ll give it at least a little longer.
  • Read: 31 books – 25/31 for the month, 8 this week.
    • Crimson Stain(Jim Fisher) – this is a true crime story about an Amish man who killed his wife not very far from where we live(It happened when I was about 8 years old). Finished this on Sunday.
    • Hammer of the Gods(Christina Ochs) – this is book 3 in her Desolate Empire series. I got the boxed set, but I’ve already read the first 2 separately, so I jumped right to this one on my phone. I’ll read it in the between moments. I’m on Chapter 38/166(If I counted right. The chapters are labeled with POV characters’ names instead of numbers).
    • The Beltane Kiss(Denise D Young) – Started this Saturday night. Finished it Sunday morning.
    • A Geek Girls Guide to Arsenic(Julie Anne Lindsey) – Started this Monday morning. Finished it Tuesday morning. Loved it. Not sure I’ve ever felt such kinship to a character as I do Mia(particularly the social awkwardness).
    • Under Pressure(Lori Foster) – Started this Tuesday afternoon. Finished it Friday evening. Really enjoyed it.
    • The Defiant Hero(Suzanne Brockmann) – Finished reading this Wednesday night. Enjoyed it for the most part.
    • The Brightest Day(Various) – There’s four novellas in this collection. I finished them all yesterday. Really enjoyed the first and last one.
    • Power Play(Katherine Stark) – Finished this Friday afternoon. Enjoyed it, though there were a few moments I had issue with.
    • Love After All(Jaci Burton) – started this Friday night. Finished it Saturday night. Liked it.
    • Hallowed Ground(Rebecca Yarros) – started this morning. At 5%.

Crafting:

  • Knit: Georgian Lace Cap – Finished this Tuesday morning. Have 4/4 rounds knitted for the brim. 40/40 rounds knitted for cap lace section. 11/11 for crown decreases.
  • Crochet: Cross-over Long DC Hat – Have 28/28 rounds crocheted for hat. 5/6 rounds crocheted for brim.
  • Loom: Ambrosia Love Scarf & Last Minute Slouchy Hat – realized the slouchy hat uses a loom I don’t have, so I’m cutting it off the list.

WeWriWa: “Destroy Him”

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. I’m still sharing from Dance with the Devil, and probably will at least the next couple weeks, maybe even through April. Though I might share a couple from Staring at the Sun, which is what I’m working on for this year’s A-Z challenge(and is Icarus & Cassie’s story). For this week, I’ve skipped a few paragraphs down from what I shared last week. Devil wants to go back for Hawk. Bull’s trying to stop him. Needless to say, it doesn’t go over well.

“Get out of my way,” I told him.

“No, Devil, you have to listen to the rest. We have to do things the right way.”

“And that’s just leaving him there?” I shouted at him, even though he was right in front of me. “You know what they’ll do to him. He’s not going to walk back out of there; they’ll destroy him.” My voice cut on the last words. I didn’t even want to think about what they’d do, what they might have already done. “We have to go back for him.”

Are they going to leave Hawk? What are they doing to him? Will they get him back?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “March”

“Danica, you march right in there and apologize to your mama.”

Alaina glanced up at her brother’s voice, but it was the little girl who caught her attention. Her bottom lip was trembling, and tears were welling in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Declan.”

“I’m not the one you yelled at,” he said, but his voice was softening. “She didn’t deserve that, Dani. Go on and tell her you’re sorry. Everything will be fine.”

Alaina waited until the little girl dragged her feet back into the kitchen to approach her brother. He was still crouched down from facing his stepdaughter, and she put a hand on his shoulder. “You make a pretty great dad, Dec.”

He shook his head. “I don’t have a clue to what I’m doing. What if I mess it all up?”

“You did fine with me.”

He looked back at her then. “You were nearly sixteen at the time. There wasn’t much raising left to do. This is different. And I’m not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not her father. Not really. She never really knew him and thank goodness for that.”

Alaina didn’t know a whole lot about the situation, except he’d been responsible for Declan being hurt over the summer. So, yeah, she could agree with him there. “You’re doing just fine,” she told him. But, she had to hold back a smile. She was pretty sure her brother was going to be surprised when he opened his gift from Eva and Dani on Christmas morning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today’s prompt for the Stream of Consciousness post was “march” and that first sentence is what popped into  my head. I’m still plotting out Heart of Christmas, but I definitely think this will be included in it.

Fiction Friday: Midas’ Daughter – “After Dinner”

Last week, we got to see more of Calla’s interaction with her father. Today we get just a hint of what might be to come after that.

Calla headed into the dining room after washing the alcohol from her hands. She’d nicked herself at least once with the broken glass, but thankfully it hadn’t bled too much. Although maybe seeing her hands bandaged would get her father to realize what he was doing.
And that he wasn’t only hurting himself.
But, when she stepped into the dining room, it was empty. Where was her father? She thought he would have come right here from his office. Apparently that wasn’t the case, though. And it didn’t sound like he was berating any of the kitchen staff. She’d definitely be able to hear if he was.
She sighed and crossed the room, pushing into the kitchen. Nita turned from the stove. “Calla, dear, what are you doing? Your father-”
“Is probably shut in his room. I just finished cleaning his office.”
“Calla, that isn’t for you to do.” It was the same thing her father had said, but this time there was softness in the words.
“I know. But, none of you should have to deal with the aftereffects of his rages, either.”
“We are paid for it. You aren’t. Instead you feel you need to pay for what he does.”
She shook her head. That wasn’t it. But, she had never been able to put into words just what it was. Before she could try once more, there was a knock on the jamb of the kitchen door. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Murray, the butler, smiling past her to Nita. If her father knew they’d had something going on as long as she could remember, he’d lose it. He didn’t like anyone having loyalties to anyone but him.
One, if not both of them, would be fired. And her life would probably be even more miserable.
“What is it, Murray?” she asked the butler, smiling sweetly. “Does my father need me?”
The smile dimmed slightly, and she imagined it was the mention of her father. She thought that if it wasn’t for Nita, Murray would have given up his position long ago. Frankly, she wasn’t quite sure why any of the employees stayed on and tolerated her father’s behavior. She didn’t have much choice if she didn’t want to live on the streets. Maybe they feared the same thing.
And she thought her father liked it that way.
“No, Miss Calla,” Murray said, nodding at her. “He just informed me he’ll be taking his meal in his room tonight. I shall take it up once it’s ready.”
“Told you,” Calla said, turning back to Nita. “Sulking.” There were shadows in her eyes, though, and she wondered what the older woman knew.
“I’ll let you know when it’s ready,” she told Murray softly.
He nodded and stepped back out of the kitchen. Even though Calla was pretty sure he wanted to come forward and at least kiss the woman. He wouldn’t do that while they were on duty, though. Wouldn’t take the risk. He probably knew how much Father depended on him, but he’d say he could always get a new cook. Murray wouldn’t put Nita at risk like that.
“He is just sulking, right?” Calla asked.
Nita’s mouth thinned, and she turned back to the stove. “Scheming more like it,” she muttered.
A chill went over her. Though it wasn’t like he didn’t scheme every day. Why should this one be any different?

What could her father be scheming about? How will it affect Calla? Hold on and you might just find out.

 

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