Caeladrin seemed to be untouched by time. At least, that’s how my sister described it. They wore clothes neither of us had ever seen: long skirts, slim dresses, shortened breeches, and shirts with buttons down the front. There were even open shoes that barely clung to a person’s foot and made a strange flopping noise as the person walked. My sister, though, was more intrigued by a little girl with curly ginger hair. She was quite young, perhaps six or seven, but her blue eyes looked old and she was incredibly serious. She said her name was Cass and she had a twin sister, but her sister had been lost to her for a long time.
Abigail frowned as she watched Camille and Andalissa walk out of the ballroom. She had been hoping to use Andalissa to introduce Madeline to Adrian, though she still hadn’t yet seen him. But now she would have to devise another way that kept Adrian from seeing her.
She would also have to do something about Madeline’s unladylike fidgeting. She could hear her mother in her head, gently reprimanding her for not sitting still, for not keeping her hands calmly in her lap, for picking at her gown and creating unseemly creases. Unfortunately, Madeline had been raised far from the royal family, far from the wealthy that rotated in and out of the district nearest the castle.
Abigail finished off the last bite of her chocolate cake with a sigh. She had missed the cooks of Murant Manor. Helene was wonderful and talented, but no one could make cakes like Veronique. There were rumors that the woman had studied not just in the Glass Kingdom, but in the other world as well, in places with fancy names like Paris and Copenhagen.
With her cakes gone, she sighed inwardly and reached out light fingers to still Madeline’s.
“Do sit still, Madeline,” Abigail said softly. Then, just as her mother had throughout her childhood, said, “It’s unladylike.”
Madeline pasted on a nervous smile. “I’m terrified, Abigail.”
Madeline looked around, surveying the packed ballroom, full of dancing couples and people sitting and standing around them talking and eating. “There are so many people here.”
Abigail smiled. “Princess Aloise takes any opportunity to throw a ball. I imagine Andalissa wasn’t pleased, which must be why she just left with my sister.”
Madeline’s head whipped around, craning to look around the room. Abigail briefly closed her eyes and suppressed a sigh. Whatever that etiquette tutor had been trying to teach her had obviously not stuck.
“B-but how will she introduce me to her brother if she isn’t here?” Madeline asked. “Who else can introduce me?”
Abigail pressed her lips into a thin line. Yes, who? Not her, she was certain of that. She didn’t want to be anywhere near Adrian tonight. Not that she had even see him yet. The Prince and Princess were dancing, Andalissa had left, and Adrian was missing. Not even Camille was there to introduce Madeline.
Catch up on Sisters of String and Glass
Check out Queen of the Garden of Girls