Saturday, November 30, 2013
CE: At Grandma's House
Fingers flying, I pound out the final, big notes of We Three Kings on Granddad's electronic keyboard and then softly fade into the haunting melody of Carol of the Bells to finish off the entire song. The last chord dies from the keyboard and I close the book.
That run-through went much better than yesterday's. I am feeling ready to pat myself on the back. I've been working on that song for a couple weeks, and it's finally ready for Christmas.
"Most glorifyin'." Someone claps behind me.
I swivel on the bench. "Thanks, Ahna."
The older woman smiles. "I ain't been 'round 'nough yet ta know what that song was, but it was right pretty at that."
"Well, I thought it was vulgar."
Ahna turns to the black-haired princess standing beside her. "Ain't it good 'nough fer ya? She's the one who created ya, ya know, so's ya better 'ave some kinda respect fer 'er."
Princess Aleevity sniffs. "Music in Findenland is much better than anything any pauper can play."
Ahna purses her lips, and then stomps down the hall to the bathroom. A moment later, I hear her spit in the sink, and I resist the urge to roll my eyes. Most of the time the housekeeper can control her mouth while around those whose status was above her own, but seeing as Aleevity was from an entirely different kingdom, I suppose Ahna could be allowed some liberties.
Aleevity looks at Ahna in disgust when the housekeeper returns. "You are the single most coarse and shameless person that I have ever met."
Ahna forces her lips into submission and grins at the princess. "Well, I'll take that as a complyment, seein' as 'ow most other folks who ain't coarse an' shameless are like ya, an' I wouldn't want ta be like ya fer a million coins."
"Ahna, please." I shake my head. Usually when my characters come to visit, they aren't this much trouble. But they all have minds of their own, and who I am, the tiny author, to stop them?
Aleevity looks at me down the end of her nose. "And you abandoned my story to work with vile creatures like this?"
"I didn't abandon The Twelfth Kingdom, Aleevity, and you know it. It's just," I pause and take a deep breath, "on the back burner, as it were. Besides, I have so much more inspiration for Secret of the Hazel Tree that I have to write it lest I burst."
Aleevity turns away. "I wish you would."
Ahna studies her with a critical eye. "Yer jest like that magpie I live with."
Aleevity whirls, utter shock plain on her face. "You dare to compare me to a mere bird? Of all the horrifying and revolting..."
"No, no!" I hasten to explain. "Ahna only meant that you remind her of Veroniscen, the duchess's daughter."
"Loves shiny things an' all." Ahna adds with a concentrated thoughtfulness. "An' that's why I call 'er a magpie."
Aleevity works her jaw. "I do not know what is worse, being compared to a bird or the low daughter of the duchess. Why did I even bother to come here?"
"You wanted to see my grandparents' house!" I cry, throwing an accusing finger at her. "Admit it! You did!"
"Aye," Ahna nods. "Ya were in'trested in this 'ouse the moment Kiri told ya 'bout them bobeches an' dinner plates."
"I did not. And I daresay you don't even know what that word bobeche means, being so low in society that you are."
Ahna huffs, as if daring her lips to purse on their own accord. "Silver skies, I do! I clean 'em ev'ry day!"
"I think it's time for some popcorn." I interrupt hastily. "Jessa just made some in the kitchen; is anyone hungry?"
Aleevity glares daggers at me. "I am not." Then, in the blink of an eye, she's gone.
Ahna watches the spot where the princess disappeared for a moment, and then turns to me with a shrug. "I'm always 'ungry. I'll join ya." She falls in step with me as I walk towards the kitchen. "What's popcorn?"