"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass". - Anton Chekhov
30 Days of Writing Challenge - Day 7
Word count: 960
Warnings: Sibling conflict
As she surveys the gala, she makes a note of the attendance. She recognises several politicians standing near the punch bowl, no doubt here to garner favour and funds for their next campaigns. Amongst the many guests, she sees other businessmen and subordinates of her father’s wandering around, making small talk with one another. She spots the Tycoon himself at the centre of a crowd. He seems to be enjoying himself for once, as it would seem to the inexperienced eye, with drink in hand, chatting to several people at once. However, she spots that lethal glint in his eye that suggests that the old man is as sharp as ever, and his smile is the same one that he wears when he’s about to fire someone. She looks away before his eyes can meet hers with that chilling stare.
When her gaze passes over the open bar, she finds the presence that she’s been searching for: her younger brother. With several graceful strides, she crosses the ballroom to where he is. The clicking of her high heels on the marble floor alert him to her approach, and his head bobs up to spot her as if he were a puppet on a string. His lips part in a smile, but it’s promptly killed by the cold, professional expression on her features. “Hello, sister,” The Prince’s features are calm, but visibly wary. His pokerface is nowhere near impressive, she can’t help but muse. He’s too expressive to be able to hide his emotions, and part of her can’t decide whether that’s a good thing or not.
The Princess meets her brother’s eyes with a level stare, and there’s a silence, a moment of wordless tension and questioning before she speaks. “You arrived late,” she accuses, tone full of charge. He averts his gaze, and she can see his lips purse for a moment before he apologises.
“I was busy,” he supplements as a justification, but she is relentless.
“With what?” This time, the blonde boy almost shirks away, and she can barely believe what an open book he is. He isn’t even trying to hide his discomfort.
He briskly responds with, “School, college applications.” But anyone with half a brain could tell that he is clearly hiding something, and this only spurs his sister on in her interrogation of him.
She saunters a step closer to his retreating form, arms crossed authoritative over her chest and fixing him with a lofty gaze. He freezes like a criminal caught in a floodlight, knowing that this never bodes well. “Oh that’s right, college applications.” The Prince can’t help but cringe at the way she hisses the ‘s’s and clicks the ‘c’s on the tip of her tongue. Her gaze is akin to that of a cat toying with its prey. “How are you doing on those? Would you like me to look over your personal statement for you?” she offers, flashing him an amiable smile that- to the inexperienced eye- looks friendly and sister-like, but he only sees the poison that lies beneath her honeyed words.
“No thanks,” he mutters, straightening his back in an attempt to regain some of control of the situation (if he ever had any in the first place), but unfortunately in her 4 inch heels, she’s able to look down at him. He watches as she arches an eyebrow slowly and delicately, and feels as if he’s given the exactly wrong answer.
The blade hidden in her smiles grows sharper by the second, and she feigns surprise. “Why not? It can’t hurt to have someone check your work for you, in case you made any little mistakes. Proofreading is important you know, darling brother,” she reasons, tone sickeningly sweet. He can feel the acid in his stomach burn as he watches her facade. Once again, he’s fallen into her traps, and there’s nothing he can do but glare defiantly at her in silence.
“There’s no need to be embarrassed about anything, brother,” she chides softly with a tender expression, patting him gently on the shoulder. “I’m here to help you. After all, I’ve been through the entire process of applying to business schools and such as well. You can learn from my experiences.” Suddenly, her smile widens almost to that of a Cheshire cat, and her next words are practically a purr. “Or perhaps there’s a different reason that my dearest little brother is hiding this from me?”
He refuses to meet her smouldering gaze, eyes glued to the floor as his hands ball into fists. There’s no way he can answer. She’s cornered him absolutely, and he should have known it from the start.
The Princess lowers her voice to a whisper, as to prevent any passer-byers from accidentally eavesdropping on their conversation. “Don’t be stupid, brother.” She spits each word coated with venom softly into his ear.
Before she can say anymore, he pulls away, breaking her control on him. Spinning on his heel, he marches towards the exit in a hurried pace. “Tell father that I’m going home early because I don’t feel well,” he calls out to his sister, before absconding from the event as quickly as he can.
The Princess stares at her brother’s back with a gaze of disdain and disbelief, until he’s no longer in view. What a cowardly imbecile! For the briefest moment, her calm and collected facade drops, and gritting her teeth, she stomps a foot hard onto the floor in frustration. There’s a sickening crack, and the heel of her shoe splits in half upon contact with the marble, and she stumbles, looking down at the ruined footwear, eyes wide with shock.