A Beautiful Inheritance

    A deep-seated frown squatted upon a young woman’s brow as she stared outward from her veranda. A frown which bespoke her disapproval. Miss Aglaé was often discontented however. Thus ascertaining quite what had spoiled her mood was often a difficult conundrum. Something which the haute couturist from yesterday struggled to come to grips with during yesterday’s farce, if only he’d focused on his grip about the fabric instead. It was a matter of debate as to whether or not his cheeks were a rosier red before the palm struck or after the skirt fell to the floor.

   Pushing this malodorous thought aside, Miss Aglaé instead honed her attention on the edifice facing her. The building was perched amongst the forest below like a King and his many, adoring patrons. It sat, proud towers and spires looming high, with a majesty and reserve that little miss Aglaé could only ever attempt to mirror.

   Her bottom lip trembled forward and she sunk further into a slouch, like a child trying to escape notice at the dinner table.

  She was not to be blamed for her actions, of course. Had she not tried her utmost to fulfill the pressures of her heritage? Had she not tried countless times to domesticate pliable suitors to meet her assuredly reasonable standards? It escaped her how so many were only fit for the door. Yet further did it leave her baffled that some seemed to even seek it. So it was she left them to rut whomever wherever. Just as long as it were outside of her life. Useless oafs.

  Even her mother deserted her. Ah yes, her dearly beloved and affluent mother.

  Miss Aglaé had just begun to engage with this puzzling eventuality once more, when as if to shine a spotlight on her, a cloud shifted to allow an impudent ray of sunlight to smite her full in the face. Like a sun-starved beast, she gave an anguished wail and raised her arms in a vain attempted to shield herself. Miss Aglaé was never the most well practiced gymnast. She liked to think herself graceful, but as reality raced up to write her a stern letter addressed to her forehead she toppled sideways out of her recliner. As it happens, she did not land squarely on her head but instead in a folded mess of limbs which was the end-result of her attempt to save her dignity.

   She struggled with herself for a long moment as her composure threatened to dissolve into a sodden fit of blubbering. Regaining control, sniffling absurdly, she wrenched herself upwards and onto her feet. From there she stumbled forward, clutching the now considerably empty glass of red like a good luck charm. Oh but of course she had spilt it down herself. Why wouldn’t she? Another wave threatened to paralyze her as she stumbled forward through the kitchen on legs as unsteady as a concussed giraffe.

  She needed to change her clothes before the stain could set in, she decided. Looking down at the red ruin that was once a rather gorgeous blouse, Aglaé set one foot in front of the other at an agonizing pace. Moving at any faster of a pace would be unwise at this point. Most regrettably, Aglaé was about as wise as she was graceful.

  Desperate to salvage the blouse, she streamed through the open doorway, intent on reaching the stairs to the right. She did not reach the stairs. She could not even be certain she reached the doorway technically. Does sliding on one’s belly past the finishing line count as a victory during a race? It certainly did not taste of victory as both foot and fate collided with something unknown, sending her careening down and forwards in a mad dash to destroy both form and figure. Upon the polished wooden floor, unbidden, she bawled. She wailed and whined a cacophonous soliloquy of her plight, cursing all the powers that be who seemed to damn her every action. In the midst of a particularly blasphemous and descriptive verse, her tirade was punctured by a firm yet sympathetic voice from behind her.

  “Oh, my dear, I’m dreadfully sorry.”

  Incredulous that some rogue had ventured to traipse into her private property, she spun about on the floor to address the voice face to face, hair billowing madly, when she was struck stupid. She had fully intended to unleash her new-found fury upon the intruder but then, how does one address a talking teapot? It sat in front of her splayed legs, undeservedly confident in its ceramic confines, the spout turned to face her.

   Aglaé was just beginning to entertain the notion that she might have indeed hit her head during the first fall when it defied her feeble attempts to grope an alternative explanation and spoke up again.

  “Would a cup of tea help?”

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