Aug 01, 2021 10:25 PM
Next Post »
« Previous Post
+ Show First Post
Total: 243
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"Thank you," Bella says, because a slightly dim person wouldn't announce it was actually completely up to me and I'm having a pretty easy time of it all things considered.

Permalink

Alice relaxes a little; apparently the danger has passed. Mrs. Hammond smiles vaguely and returns to her dinner.

Permalink
Bella privately wonders whether Mrs. Hammond is self-medicating somehow.

She returns her attention to the Charlie-should-marry-Hilary-to-regularly-eat-like-this food.
Permalink
Being on drugs and being a tremendously awkward person can look so similar!

Unless a glass of wine with dinner counts—a comfort not provided to the two teenagers at the table—there is no visible evidence of the former.
Permalink
Bella did not expect Mrs. Hammond to pull out a bottle of tranquilizers-or-whatever right there at the table. She's more absorbed in the lobster than in evidence-collection anyway.

She is going to get so full, if there is any dessert.
Permalink

There is, as it happens! Four identical slices from a tiny, alarmingly rich chocolate cake. Alice grins when he sees it.

Permalink
Mm. Cake.

"Death by chocolate?" murmurs Bella innocently.
Permalink

"If only," Alice murmurs back.

Permalink

Bella says nothing. Her mouth is now full of cake.

Permalink
The cake is even better than the lobster.

"Hilary is the best," Alice concludes when he finally puts down his fork. "I know I say that every time, but damn."

"Language," Mr. Hammond says mildly.

His smile evaporates. "Sorry, sir."
Permalink
Bella holds still. She doesn't know what things make this worse and what things do not.

But she privately agrees that Hilary is the best.
Permalink
"Personally, I think this cake deserves a damn or two," Mrs. Hammond contributes. Alice looks up at her and half-smiles.

"Be that as it may," says Mr. Hammond, with a hint of a smile of his own, "rules are rules."

"May I be excused?" Alice asks meekly.

His father shakes his head. "The meal's almost over, Junior. You can hold it two more minutes."
Permalink
Bella holds quite still. She's never had to be excused before getting up from a table in her life.

She tries to remember how wide the angle on the cake was. Was it a small cake cut into quarters, or a large cake, of which there might be leftovers?
Permalink
A small cake, cut into eighths. Any more than that would be too much.

Mr. Hammond takes his time finishing his own slice. At last he puts down his napkin and says, "I think we're done here," and his wife and son push back their chairs nearly in unison.
Permalink
Bella gets up too, and watches Alice for cues. She was invited to stay for dinner; is it now time for her to go home?

And let whatever happens when this household is unsupervised... happen?
Permalink
It's not Alice but Mrs. Hammond who says, "I think it might be best if you went home now, Bella. Before it gets any later."

Alice glances at Bella and shrugs.
Permalink
"Of course," says Bella. "It's already dark."

She turns to Alice and says, "I'll see you in gym class tomorrow."

It's a perfectly innocuous thing to say. And if he's not in condition to attend gym tomorrow, she'll notice, and Mr. Hammond knows it.

"Bye!" And she heads for the door. "Please tell Hilary for me that everything was exquisite."
Permalink

"Will do," Mrs. Hammond calls after her. Alice waves.

Here Ends This Thread
Next Post »
« Previous Post
Total: 243
Posts Per Page: