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Old 05-02-2011, 05:34 PM   #6   [permalink]
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Join Date: 3 Jul 2009
Location: The Id
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“Hello Cris . . . Krystal.” Her mother said curtly, “I managed to sneak away from your father; while he’s here he’s still trying to conduct business with the school board members. May I come in?”

There was a bit of a pause where Krystal contemplated telling her to go to hell. When she saw that her father was not with her, she got curious, and nodded. Stitchy stepped aside, but eyed Mrs. Bell with suspicion, as if she was ready to pick the woman up and physically toss her out of the room at the slightest hint she’d hurt Krystal, which probably wasn’t far from the truth. Mrs. Bell entered the room giving a polite greeting to Zippy and then reached into her pricey hand bag and removed something, handing it to Krystal.

“These are for you.” She told her.

Krystal turned the two objects over in her hand. They were hair barrettes, expensive and high quality but really not that different from any other pair that Krystal had bought since she’d become a girl. That is, until she noticed the unmistakable lion and serpent crest of the Machevilli family.

“This is your family crest, isn’t it?” Krystal asked her mother.

Constance Bell nodded, “I have a pair just like it. So does your grandmother, and so does your sister. And now, I’d like you to have some.”

Not quite knowing how to react to that, Krystal just stared at her mother. Constance turned her head and peered out the doorway into the hall, as if looking for someone.

She’s looking for father, Krystal realized, making sure he’s not following her.

Her mother turned back to her and then let out a high pitched excited squeal that shocked everyone in the room. She grabbed Krystal and gave her a huge tight hug that knocked the wind out of her daughter.

“Oh, Krystal!” She squealed, “You’re so pretty and so cute! You’re just adorable! I always wanted another daughter!”

Krystal was struck speechless; she’d never hear her mother get so excited about anything. For fifteen minutes strait, Constance Bell gushed on and on about her daughter’s hair and face and make up and clothes, punctuated with excited compliments about how beautiful she was. All Krystal could do was endlessly mutter ‘thank you’.

Stitchy leaned over to Zippy and whispered, “She seem nice. Why she married to mean Mr. Bell?”

Calming herself a bit, Mrs. Bell put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, “I want you to know, I love you no matter what. Son or daughter, that will always be true.”

It slipped out of Krystal’s mouth, “Father doesn’t.”

Constance’s face darkened and her eyes saddened, “I know he said some horrible things to you. But deep down inside, he loves you. One day, you’ll realize that. One day, he will too.”

Krystal didn’t believe that for a second, “I think you’re giving him too much credit. I know your marriage to him was arranged by your families to strengthen political ties. Are you trying to say that you really love him?”

Bluntly, Constance answered, “I don’t know. But I don’t think he’s completely unredeemable. You’ll see, I’ll talk him out of disowning you entirely. I don’t think I can get him to put you back in the will and restore your title, but I can talk him out of kicking you out of the house and family entirely.”

“I don’t know about that.” Krystal said doubtfully.

“You’ll see.” Constance smiled, “I’ll bet I can even get him to come to the Atom Smasher’s Ball.”

“What?” Krystal exclaimed incredulous, “No way would he come to that for me.”

Zippy was confused, “Wait, I’m sorry, what is this Atom Smasher’s Ball?”

Krystal told her, “It’s this big formal ball they throw every year at Petri’s for the students and their parents. It’s a really big thing, all done up in splendor. Kind of like a prom, sort of.”

Stitchy raised her eyebrows, “Stitchy surprised you no know about it, Mom. Everyone talk about it. Even though it a long way off towards end of semester.”

Zippy rubbed her chin, “I didn’t know they had something like that here. Wow, I’m going to need to get a dress for this.”

A wide grin appeared on Mrs. Bell’s face, “Krystal, you don’t have to worry about a dress, I’ve more then taken care of that.”

She then leaned over conspiratorially to her daughter, “I had my assistant buy you a whole a lot of new outfits and had them brought up here without your father knowing about it. I’m sure you’ll find something appropriate. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my husband.”

She turned with one more loving look at Krystal; she tuned and walked towards the door. As she did she stopped to look at Stitchy, who now looked at her with less suspicion.

She looked her up and down, and then said, “Amazing. What a fantastic achievement. And what an amazing woman you are, Stitchy.”

Stitchy blushed a little, “Thank you.”

And with that, she left the room with another glance back at her stunned daughter. Krystal said nothing for a long moment. Her mind was racing; she’d always seen her mother as a dutiful slave to her father, probably because that what she’d been told all women should be. It was surprising to see her sneaking around his back, and manipulating his will. Plus her heart was pounding, maybe all was not lost. So, her father had rejected her; but her mother hadn’t. Well, it was something. All of a sudden she remembered the comment about the clothes.

Frowning, she walked over to the large wardrobe closed that flanked her bed. She flung open the doors and was astonished to find it STUFFED with expensive new clothes. So much so that it looked like the wood might crack at any moment.


Having finished up his business, Artemis Bell was irritated when it was difficult to find his wife. She was, after all, his, and should be making herself available to him whenever he needed her. When he finally found her she gave him some womanish story about walking around in the gardens. He was irritated and angry still, so he silently took her along with him as they left the school. They were walking now down the hallway that led to the main entrance

He was livid at this new administrator’s treatment of him. Really, first they take his only son from him, the only one who could become his heir and take over the family, and then they try to force him to accept that . . . girl as his son. How dare they, didn’t they realize who he was? How much he supported this school? And they’d try to make him take that girl who had replaced his son. Well, she sure wasn’t his son any more, he told himself.

And he kept telling himself that. Over and over, repeatedly. Because for all his resolve and belief in the family tradition of male only leadership, that girl’s out burst had stung him. Deeper then he would like to admit or had even expected. As much as he tried not to, his mind kept drifting back to her anguished but determined face as she stared him down. Cristobel had never stood up to him like that, and he had frankly worried that because of that, maybe he didn’t have the metal to continue the family.

But when that Krystal girl had stood up to him and delivered her brief but fiery statement, well, a nagging thought kept popping up in the back of his mind that maybe she was still capable, maybe even more so now then before, of fulfilling his legacy.

Ridiculous, he chided himself. She was a female and women were not suited to play in men’s arenas. This was not his son anymore; she was just another female in dire need of taming by a strong man.
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