Chapter Twenty Nine: The First Bloom.
Hera broke an unusual idea over lunch one day, as Isabel tried out a new recipe of eggs and wine. The slightly alcoholic batter went into the pan, and Isabel wasn't sure what should happen.
Francesca noticed Hera staring at her noodles. "You have the same dish I do, why are you staring at mine?"
"Because you eat like a glutton," Hera remarked. Francesca rolled her eyes. "A glutton whose brains are working overtime to burn away your excess," Hera explained. Francesca continued eating.
"How much does it cost?" Francesca asked as Isabel tried to flip the eggs over.
Isabel grumbled as she put the dropped omelette aside for compost and made scrambled eggs instead. "Waste of good rice wine, if you ask me," she muttered. Hera went back to eating her noodles.
"Where's Attie?" the blue-eyed woman asked suddenly. "She hasn't been in the house all morning."
"Went out jogging, as usual," Isabel said, scooping the eggs into a plate. "She'll have lunch with me later."
Attie looked worried over lunch, so Isabel asked her what was wrong. "I'm curious whether Fran can defend herself. She keeps saying she can, but she's really little," said Attie.
"Why don't you test her? I don't think three years would really make her little, anyway."
"What would you do if someone tried to mug you?" Attie asked Francesca after lunch.
"Kick them, of course!" Francesca replied. "Why do you ask?"
"I'll test you!" Attie growled and leaped onto her cousin.
The two of them got into a fight, hair pulling, pinching, slapping, the whole hog. Francesca won by sitting on Attie with her stout body's weight. The Lion yelled at her to get up, but Francesca ignored her for a while.
Attie rolled her black eyes and went downstairs. Francesca followed her. When the stout young woman came downstairs, Attie walked up to her and eyed her all over, from her head down to her toes.
|"Attie, are you okay?"|
Attie was startled at the question. "Huh? What? Oh! I'm fine," she replied. She sat on the sofa and Francesca followed suit. They watched some television as Francesca racked her brains for something to say.
|Attie tickled her cousin.|
Attie tickled her cousin even harder, causing Francesca to wriggle out of her grip. Francesca was still gasping with laughter after getting out of the tickling.
|"That's enough!" cried Francesca.|
"What do you think of it?" asked Attie. "I wanted to show that I care."
"I'd rather keep my distance, thank you very much," Francesca said. "That kind of closeness can be misunderstood as you having the hots for me!"
Attie stuck her hands in her pockets, then looked away. She wouldn't look Francesca in the eye. "You're weird," Francesca said. "I'm going to have a nap then."
Next chapter: Declamation.