Chapter Five – continued
By the time Camille had taken to prowling around her sister’s room again that night, her hands were red and felt like they’d lost a layer or two of skin. A lot like the inside of Abigail’s wrist, though Abigail was trying to hide it by fussing with the sleeves of her nightgown even while trying to braid her hair.
Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and stopped in front of where Abigail sat on her bed, her bare toes idly brushing against the plush rug situated under the bed. She planted her hands on her hips, stifling her wince as her raw hands met the rough material of the dress she’d worn all day.
“What happened to your wrist?” Camille demanded.
Startled, Abigail’s hand flew to her wrist, her braid quickly unraveling around her shoulder. She raised wide eyes to her sister, her hand tightening slightly around her wrist.
“I meant to wash it off,” Abigail said softly, turning her eyes away, “but was so long at the markets that I didn’t dare stop.”
Camille’s blood ran cold. “Did Muriel do something to you?”
Abigail’s eyes snapped back to her, surprised. “No. Adrian.”
“Did Adrian do something to you?”
Abigail blinked at the sudden venom in Camille’s voice, forcing Camille to take a breath and a step back. If Adrian had hurt her, she would have to revise her plans of marrying off her sister to the man.
“Of course not,” Abigail said, her brows drawing together. “You know Adrian. He wouldn’t ever hurt anyone. Just talk their ears off.”
“Then what happened?” Camille demanded. “Why is your wrist red?”
“I told you I was helping Adrian find a gift for the mermaid princess.”
“Yes,” Camille said when her sister didn’t go on. “And?”
Abigail shrugged. “He decided to purchase a bottle of perfume. They used my wrist to test the scent. And I didn’t want Muriel to find out, so had to rub my wrist against my dress to try to get it off and hide it,” she finished in a rush, her cheeks growing rosy.
“Oh,” Camille said, blinking as her hands fell from her hips. “And did you?”
“In a way. The smells from the kitchens masked it. It was really a very light floral scent, so it was easily drowned out by supper.”
Camille nodded and moved away. “What do you think of Adrian? It’s been ten years since you last saw him. Is he still the same as you remember?”
“He’s older. Taller. Still a little awkward. Still extraordinarily verbose. A little too eager and maybe a touch too bright. I don’t know how Madeline will keep up with him.”
Forget Madeline, Camille thought sourly. Why her sister was so intent on matching their new stepsister with one of their oldest playmates was beyond her.
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