Sisters of String and Glass, Part 12

Chapter Five – continued

Abigail was back at braiding her hair, so Camille resumed her restless pacing. She was a little afraid of both staying too long and leaving, afraid Muriel would find her. She’d already scrubbed the gowns Muriel had dropped at her feet and pricked her fingers numerous times repairing tears she was sure Muriel had purposefully made.

“What’s wrong with your hands?”

Abigail’s curious question startled Camille, and she looked down at her clenching fists.

“You keep clenching your hands and grimacing as though they hurt,” Abigail clarified as she tied off her braid.

“Muriel,” Camille said darkly. “I think she ripped up some of her gowns for the sole purpose to making me wash and repair them.”

“You? Sew?”

“What? Mother taught me.”

Abigail smiled. “You never had any patience for needlework.”

“Doesn’t mean I can’t do it.”

“True,” Abigail conceded. “But how long are you going to let this go on for? You’re going to destroy yourself. And you know Father will expect us to look absolutely perfect for the engagement ball.”

Camille looked down at her hands. “You’re right. Father will be angry if I don’t look like the daughter of royalty, no matter how watered down the royal blood is.”

“I’ll get you some salves and lotions when Helene sends me to the markets next.”

“But you hate going.”

Abigail shrugged. “Of the two of us, I think I’ll be the only one to leave.” She offered a small smile. “You’re drawing Muriel’s attention away from me and Helene must be working with you because she keeps sending me out to the gardens and to collect eggs. Muriel has barely looked at me, even over supper.”

Camille clenched her fists and grit her teeth against the pain. But she nodded. “Thank you, Gail.”

“It’s bad enough Muriel is out to get you. You really shouldn’t have gone toe to toe with that odious woman. You don’t need to be getting into it with Father.” Abigail raised a finger. “And you absolutely shouldn’t get into any trouble with Andalissa. I’m sure she’ll be around soon enough. Muriel wouldn’t dare disobey the Duchess’s request to spend time with her friend.”

“But I’ll definitely be feeling the repercussions afterwards,” Camille said grimly. “I’ll manage it, though. Maybe Andalissa will have some ideas of how I can quickly best Muriel without having to kill her. I’m kidding, Gail!” Camille cried out at the horrified look on her sister’s face. “Not even being of royal blood will keep me from the noose if I kill her.”

“I should say not,” Abigail grumbled.

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