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Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

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Written by Srebrna

2019/05/23 at 23:43

Posted in Uncategorized

Cover for Tattered

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Cover for my “Tattered” story.

Tattered

Written by Srebrna

2019/04/16 at 09:39

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Urban Legends – Under the Bridge

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“Third point on the agenda”, Pebble rasped. “Stoney.”

“What about Stoney?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Srebrna

2019/02/18 at 00:11

Posted in Uncategorized

Stuff Elizabeth makes

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Because my Lizzy is a crafter, she obviously makes also Christmas decorations.

Below, an example of glass ornaments she had decorated with beads.

bombka elsa

bombka matowa z czerwonymi

 

Written by Srebrna

2018/12/29 at 01:03

No Tumblr for today

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Because Tumblr decided to ban NSFW content (result of Apple removing their app from the store due to child porn being found one some blogs), today users are supposed to log off/not connect. Why?

Not because we support child porn. Nobody does.

Because Tumblr is going about it in the stupidest possible manner – automatically AI-flagging a bunch of content that looks maybe somehow a bit like something possibly naked.

A photo of sand dunes.

A photo of a basket of mushrooms (probably these indecent exposed white segments).

Anything that contains too much beige (I think at least one photo of a woman painting a wall…)

And other stuff, up to and including a photo of the statue of David by Michelangelo.

Not that there is anything being done about the massive amount of porn bot blogs that are following, spam-commenting and reblogging random stuff to gain visitors. At least nothing that can be seen…

Written by Srebrna

2018/12/17 at 08:19

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Wordclouds ;)

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I saw that someone posted a wordcloud of their story and provided a link to one of the services that create these. Unfortunately that service required Java, and I’m not willing to install that right now.

So I found https://www.wordclouds.com/ which works just fine without Java and generated some clouds for my stories.

“A Little Lost” produced this:

wordcloud-little lost

And Double Pride Double Trouble produced… this. After HEAVY tweaking.

wordcloud-dpdt2

Written by Srebrna

2018/07/25 at 18:31

Posted in Uncategorized

Now in writing (too much)

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Splinters (OUAT): Published on FFNet and AO3; WIP; temporary on hold as it somewhat lost the momentum and I can’t seem to wake the muse up.

Double Pride Double Trouble (P&P/Lise and Lotte): Used to be planned for 14 chapters, now I’m on ch 18 who knows what else will happen. 200k+ words. HEA actually reached. You can read without risking much angst. Was supposed to be ~50k words.
Posting on AHA, FFNet and AO3

An Average Man (Sherlock): Random thought that bloomed into a story. By the seat of my pants and all that rot.  Half of what happens in it was not planned, the characters just made it so.
Posting on FFNet and AO3

The Burning (Sherlock): John commits suicide and Sherlock tries to work his way through the pain by taking on an exhausting assignment from Mycroft as political analyst. 16k words now. Not being posted, I’m still carefully reviewing the plot. Shouldn’t go over 20k, but with my stories, who knows…

Regaining Herself (X-men): Just the final chapter/epilogue is needed. Can’t put it together.

Night Terrors (B&B): Needs the final chapter and a picture, still working on it.

Series of Shortest Crossovers: Now closed, but who knows.

Pain and Compassion: Another B&B, where Adam is a patient in a mental hospital and Belle is a nurse.

“The Potatoes” – working title of my original SF novel

Series of urban fantasy stories (in PL) – original stories of mythical creatures living in the cities/modern world

Age of Technology (Les Mis) – started, on hold, but whenever I’m done with the others… Probably.

Memory (P&P) – on hold, I have to rethink the whole premise.

Firsts, Lasts and Onlys (P&P) – the same.

Good Evening (P&P) – for the time being, just 4 short stories and a few random scenes, but I have hopes for it. Modern-day, Lizzy, Jane and Charlotte work as high-class translators for business meetings and evening entertainment and have to work against discrimination, being taken for escorts and general misogyny.

Lil’lee (P&P) – just 2-3 scenes and a general idea of a direction – Mrs Darcy adopts a little girl from the local orphanage…

Sand Between my Toes (Grey’s Anatomy) – Meredith goes to Addison for a consult.

Sailor Moon Opposities (SM) – drafts and pieces, maybe someday.

Written by Srebrna

2018/07/04 at 07:32

Posted in Uncategorized

Wstęp

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Rozbiliśmy się.

Nawet najbardziej tolerancyjny system szkolący nie nazwałby tego lądowaniem. Między innymi dlatego, że najbardziej tolerancyjny system szkolący znajdował się w pamięci naszego statku i rozbił się razem z nim.

Najbardziej tolerancyjny system szkolący nazywał się Krzyś (Starsi nazwali go tak po tym, jak zaczął do wszystkich uczniów zwracać się “Kubusiu”. Nie bardzo wiem, czemu było to aż takie zabawne, ale Starsi pokładali się ze śmiechu.)
Będzie nam go brakowało. Był wspaniałym nauczycielem i doradcą.
Wracając. Ach, zapomniałabym.
Ada Gracja. Jako najwyżej kwalifikowany pilot i najstarsza osoba na pokładzie (o trzy dni przed Odcięciem) jestem odpowiedzialna za dostarczenie wszystkich członków załogi do bezpiecznego miejsca.
I właśnie zawiodłam.

Zaledwie dwa s-dni temu wszystko było w najzupełniejszym porządku, statek grzał z pełną mocą silników i szykował się do przejścia przez kolejną Fałdę (miała skrócić naszą podróż o dobrych kilkaset lat prostego lotu). Niestety, komputer pokładowy i obserwacje wzrokowe (o tyle o ile się jakieś dało poczynić) nie dały nam nic ponad informację o odległych gwiazdach, które byłyby może interesujące po przejściu przez Fałdę, ale na pewno nie w tej chwili.
Wszystko byłoby fajne, gdyby nie to, że “odległe gwiazdy” okazały się być elementem kamuflażu naprawdę dużej stacji kosmicznej. O którą się rozbiliśmy.

Written by Srebrna

2018/06/14 at 15:44

Posted in Uncategorized

Double Pride Double Trouble – CH 05

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Chapter 5: And then we run so fast

“Holding out until Halloween means that we’ll be spending our birthday in the wrong houses” Mina pointed out.
“What? What do you mean?”
“I mean that October twelfth is earlier than November first.”
“October eleventh” Rose corrected her mechanically.
“Twelfth.”
“Eleventh.”
Mina frowned.
“We were not born on the same day?”
They sat for a moment in stunned silence.
“That means she had to wait, like, hours until you were born.”
“And now I’m feeling guilty, you know. Considering all they told us during the Sex Ed last year… I wonder how long it took to… Eurgh” Mina raked her hair with both hands.
“Not your fault. But it still must have sucked for her.”
“Maybe that’s why mother always complains about me being up before her in the morning. She once said I was rather late on one occasion, so apparently I’m making up for it by being early ever since. Which made no sense then, but if you say we’ve been born one day apart…”
They both cringed a bit. Rose cast around for another topic, rather frantically.
“So, what does Mom do for your birthday?”
Mina shrugged.
“We can’t really invite anyone over, because the flat is way too small. Twice I had a birthday party at grandma’s, but that just felt like any normal family dinner without anyone from outside, so only family. So we kind of gave up. So we normally bake a huge box of cookies for me to take to school and maybe go to the cinema in the evening. And usually we go somewhere during the next weekend, like a museum or a climbing wall or a whole day at a pool. Last year we went to a trampoline park. It was glorious. And aunt Jane took me out shopping, because Mom got called in to some total failure of a server farm due to a DDoS and she was stuck at the keyboard for whole weekend, bringing them safely online.”
“That sounds… complicated” Rose frowned. “What does it mean?”
“Basically, someone managed to overload a bunch of servers somewhere and it made some bigger news services stop working. Mom spent three days checking them for traces of hacking.”
“At least Dad doesn’t have emergencies like this” Rose shuddered. “How do you do this? I mean, do you stay alone a lot?”
Mina blinked.
“No, never. Mom is always home. She sits in her bedroom, fires up three monitors and then works through the night. She only goes to the companies she’s working with like once a week, maybe twice. And not for the whole day. And f… Dad? What does he do?”
“A lot of different stuff” Rose worried the end of her braid. “He manages Pemberley, but also has an assistant who deals with most of small, everyday stuff. Dad interviews the people he hires to work on the grounds and in the house – students who need money, mostly. He always says he likes to give them a chance to earn an honest amount of cash during summer, so they don’t have to pick up that many jobs when they have classes. He usually hires from Lambton and neighbouring villages, because he says the more people with a degree in an area, the better. He deals with real estate around our place – sells and buys little plots of land, changing the property borders a bit every year. He owns a company that builds houses for people – in places where it’s hard to plan a new building. They check the area, put together some ideas on how the house should be positioned to make the best of the ground – like if there is a slope, to use the lower levels for garage and so on. And then they contract the required working teams and arrange all the permits, road planning and whatever. There are rich people out there who want ‘a little house, like a castle, over this stream’ and so Dad helps them set it up.”
“Cool” Mina nodded. “But is he an architect, or, I don’t know, construction engineer…?”
“No, not like this. He says he doesn’t have to, he knows well enough how they do their work, but he is the business manager. Like, makes calculations and says if something will pay off to install. Oh, and he runs a charity, too. I sometimes go to the events he throws for it. Aunt Catherine hates them, so I decided I’m going to try what they are like, and it’s sometimes really nice – like auctions of actual handmade stuff that some important people made. One of the MPs from the area crocheted a bunch of pillows once and Dad bought two, because he saw I loved them. And everyone tries to bid as high as possible, even on stupid stuff like postcards, because they know Dad uses the auctions to check what people really are. He told me so, it’s not like I guessed myself. He said the way they bid and they items they buy and the… the atmosphere they create, it tells him if they are bidding because they like the thing, because they want to support the charity, or because they want to draw his interest. He tries to avoid the last bunch, unless they prove they are really honest in their business.”
Mina sighed.
“Mom makes a lot of really pretty things” she said softly. “I guess she isn’t important enough for them to be added to an auction like this, though. But she can make most anything. Like, sewing, knitting, crochet… she just hates embroidery, unless it’s cross-stitch. Three years ago she even took a class in cake decorating, just to check what it is about.”
“Wow” Rose’s voice was full of envy. “The most Dad can make is the stuff we had to build for a workshop class. He helped me to make a bird feeder and a bee house. If it’s wooden and can be cut, he’s happy to help with it. He even installed a jigsaw in the shed, because once he had an idea to make a dollhouse for me, but it took him so long to learn to use it that I grew out of dolls. But he taught me and that bird feeder we made was really fancy.”
“I wish I had a workshop. Or, well, that Mom had a workshop. She has to keep everything on the living room table and in boxes everywhere. She can’t really work on anything bigger, unless it’s crochet, because we don’t have space for it. She takes some things to special shops to be finished – like quilts, to that place that has quilting machines.”
“I…” Rose shrugged and played with the end of her braid again, winding it between her fingers. “I think I should learn to sew. I mean, it sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Like something that is useful for everyone.”
“It is! I mean, I can only sew in a straight line, but that’s enough to fix up a pair of trousers, or sew a pillowcase. That’s how I got my bedsheets – Mom let me experiment on some Disney fabric she found on a sale online. So don’t be too surprised, but I have Merida-patterned duvet cover.”
“You made your own duvet cover? How?!”
Mina shrugged.
“Mom helped me with the cutting, and then it’s mostly sewing straight. Not a lot to do. The biggest hassle were the buttons.”
“I really have to learn to do that. There was a time that I would have gladly sold a hand for a Disney-patterned whatever. Not so much these days” she immediately corrected. “But, you know. A year ago or so.”
“A year ago I wanted a pink Ariel dress. Mom laughed for, like, twenty minutes when I told her. Then we went through comprehensive review of all Disney princesses and I ended up choosing to dress as the only one who matches our colouring – much better than Ariel.”
Rose frowned.
“You discussed the merits of various Disney princesses with mother?”
“Of course. She says they are a valid and vital element of modern girl’s upbringing, and so should be considered carefully and analysed in order to derive valuable lessons from both the successful and less lucky ones.”
Mina delivered the whole sentence with perfectly straight face, trying to contain her giggling at Rose’s outraged expression.
“A what element?! Derive lessons?!” Mina’s snort made Rose splutter even more. “Are you five?!”
“No, actually, I’m almost fourteen, thank you very much” Mina smothered her laughter. “But Mom says that because all kids watch Disney, the least she can do is to review the tropes in the movies with me and make me see the failures of models they present. Like Ariel, who sacrificed her voice to catch a man.”
“OoOkkk…” Rose inhaled heavily. “What am I getting myself into?”
“Into meeting your mother, dear sis. She is a second of five girls, has an engineering degree, works as a programmer and system administrator and I assure you, you’ve never met a more forward-thinking and decided feminist in your life.”
“But she watches Disney movies. And analyses princesses.”
“Oh, yes. You should hear her arguing with aunt Kitty about pros and cons of Rapunzel and Merida as the strongest female lead in recent years. I mean, until Moana appeared and completely changed the whole hierarchy.”
Rose flopped on her back on the picnic blanket they had covered the grass with and groaned.
“So, well. You’d better be prepared to defend your – my – favourite, you know. Accidentally, the only one I could reliably dress as at the time” Mina poked her ribs.
“Which is…?” Rose’s voice was weak at that point.
“Obviously, Rapunzel. After-haircut Rapunzel.”
“So you like bad boys, sister? Is there an Eugene waiting somewhere, ready to surprise me when I arrive to London?”
Mina giggled.
“No, no. No Eugene – and no Flynn, or Philip, or Eric, or whatever else they were called. No. I can promise you more little cousins than Merida has brothers, but no Prince Charming. And” she smiled widely. “Now that we found each other, you can be Elsa to my Anna!”
“Wait, what? Anna has way more fun!”
“Phh. Elsa is older. You are older. By default, I am Anna.”
“No way you are Anna! I’m not getting stuck with some oldest-child duties!”
Mina grimaced.
“Actually, you are. And I mean, you are the oldest, of all of us. Because on the Bennet side, I’m the oldest… well. You know. And if you are the older twin… You are the prized first grandchild. Destined for great things – depending on who says it, either to be the first British woman to walk on the Moon – the next Helen Sharman, at least – or the embodiment of domestic perfection that our mother fails to be. Me too, so grandma will focus on you, once she knows there is two of me. Of us.”
Rose shivered all over.
“Our grandparents are crazy.”
“Oh, yes. You have no idea.”
“Grandpa really wants you to…?”
“He says the pinnacle of an engineering career is discovering new places in which to apply knowledge already acquired. No idea what he means, really, but he said again and again that the least I could do is to try to learn enough to be accepted to the space program, because he is slightly disappointed with Mom not having advanced in the academia. Or in space exploration” she rolled her eyes at her sister.
“So he wants you to fill in for her? Why didn’t he do anything in that area?” Rose rolled to her stomach and looked up at Mina, who stretched and winced.
“No idea, really. He always said Mom was destined for greatness and he hopes I will, you know. Step into her shoes. Bah. I don’t wanna go into space. I’m happy with this island here. I’m not very fond of planes, even. Trains are very fine, thank you. And Mom hates flying.”
“I am getting a bit anxious about that switch” Rose bit her lip. “I mean… It is a bit, well. Weird. Are you sure we will manage to fool all of them effectively?”
Mina sniffed.
“I will do my best to keep them from catching me on anything. I really hope we manage to keep it up until Halloween. We could make a big reveal out of it, you know. Like, dress up in our normal clothes…”
“And when they ask you, who are you actually dressed as, you say ‘Rose’!”
“As long as they don’t cart me off to Bedlam, it should work quite fine.”
“Grandma will probably think I’m mad – you’re mad – when I do the same.”
They sat up, looking at each other with wide eyes and even wider smiles.
“I wish we had an instant camera, to catch their faces when we tell them.”

#

He looked at the list of limitations he had to adhere to when renovating anything in the house and groaned. He really didn’t want to break any more rules, and with the house registered as a proper national monument the amount of changes he was actually allowed to make was minuscule. He would have probably been better off starting a new construction somewhere on the grounds and keeping the main house as it was, using a few rooms for official occasions and record-keeping. 
He opened his contact list and searched for an appropriate person to address the problem. If he planned this correctly, first workers could be on site in January or February, making it quite possible to have the whole thing finished by the next school year. And it would give them the chance to decorate and air the house in warmer months, instead of being stuck inside, inhaling paint fumes.
He checked Rose’s room again. No, no way she was going to spend any more time than necessary in this gloom and darkness. This year he would deal with it by exchanging the furniture and window curtains, to make it all a bit lighter. He would store all the current furnishings anyway – could be used to embellish some of the public rooms downstairs, unless Rose wanted to keep anything specific.
He would make an appointment with a landscape architect and a designer and start picking the place for the new house. Maybe he’d even manage to put some work in this year budget, if he economised. If they could break the ground in the fall, the whole plan could be done so much faster.

#

Rose sat nervously fiddling with the hem of her t-shirt as Mina wielded the big scissors they’d lifted from the craft room.
“Last moment to say ‘no'” she warned. “Once I cut, they stay cut.”
“Cut” Rose nodded. “First the braid, whole, then cut it up to look like yours. I hope we’ll manage to get it to look similar enough.”
With a swift crunch, the braid fell down and Rose caught it quickly, wrapping it up in a handkerchief. She sat motionless as Mina made quick work of cutting the rest of her hair even shorter, to match her own close cropped head.
“Aunt Catherine will scream when she sees me.”
“Well, it will be me, actually. Unless she keeps screaming until November, but then it won’t be our problem anymore, because someone will get her committed.”
“Let’s hope she does. I’d say a few weeks of being consistently screamed at are not a big price to pay for getting rid of her for the rest of our lives.”
“If we can get her out of the way, and, well, aunt Anne too, then at least you’ll have a chance to do things they always forbid you to. I mean, come on. Would Dad take away aunt Jane’s pliers, if aunt Anne hadn’t intervened?”
“No, don’t think so. We even used them in the shed at some point, to pull nails when I hammered them wrong.”
Mina’s hand dropped to her side and she looked at her sister accusingly.
“So you know how to use a hammer, and still you looked at me like I was weird for hitting these nails correctly!”
“I… Well, I did it in a workshop. Not fixing up a whole house. Or a cabin. Or whatever. It was a bird feeder!”
“The same principle, sis. It’s still a hammer, some nails and a bit of wood. Really. I felt like I was some McGyver from the looks you were giving me.”
“Because you are so… so self-reliant. I mean, if I got a splinter, Mrs Reynolds would take it out for me. Or Dad. And you, you have these… tweezers. Specially for that. And other things like this. I feel like I’m the younger one, sometimes, you know” she sniffed. “I’m sure Mom will find me out in minutes.”
Mina sat on the table and looked down on Rose, biting her lip.
“It’s because it’s only Mom and me” she said finally. “I had to learn that stuff. Like, taking public transport on my own. Adele still rides everywhere with grandma, when aunt Lydia can’t take her, because they live in the same house. And I can cook, because Mom started showing me how to do stuff after that one time that she had flu and couldn’t cook, so we lived on pizza and Chinese takeout for three days.”
Rose nodded slowly.
“I help Dad with cooking when we’re hiking” she said, hesitantly. “But it’s usually me chopping stuff up, or bringing in more wood for the fire, or stirring whatever it is in the pot.”
“So you’re fine cooking stuff over open fire on a hike, but not with cooking on gas?”
“Wood doesn’t blow up” Rose pointed out. “It’s not the fire I don’t like, it’s the idea of the old installations, like the one at school.”
Mina sighed.
“We have a lot of stuff to cover. And only two more weeks left. I really hope we can keep this up.”
“I hope I don’t get lost on the Tube.”
“I hope wolves don’t eat me in the woods.”
“I hope our little cousins won’t find me out.”
“I hope aunt Catherine won’t find me out.”
They breathed deeply in synchronisation.
“Enough” Rose said finally. “Let’s make sure we don’t trip on the basic stuff, and we can deal with everything else. We are twins, after all. Unless I suddenly start speaking with the Derbyshire accent, we should be able to survive until November.”
“Try not to. Mom always corrects me if I use any of the London slang, so…”
“Let’s not give them too much material.”

#

The kayak in the middle of the pond was isolated enough. They conferred quietly, making sure there were no interested gossipy faces looking at them.
“So… do you think we could get them, like, back together?”
Mina sighed.
“Mom is always saying that she doesn’t need a man in her life to feel complete. And sometimes she adds that she has had enough of male interference with her work and career, thank you. Grandma is then always spluttering that there is nothing like a proper man to fill in the hole in her life, and then aunt Lydia is making noises about her also needing a proper man and Mom…” she grimaced. “Mom usually goes a bit white then. I hadn’t noticed first, but then aunt Jane asked her once if she was feeling well, and uncle Ted said that she was so pale he could probably count all freckles on her face. And then I saw it again, and again. Every time someone raises the topic, she looks ready to be sick. Worse than last time on the plane, and actually was sick then.”
“God. That sounds… bad. I just hope it…”
“I really hope it’s not Dad she’s thinking about.”
“That would have been… no. No way.”
“If it was, she would have told aunt Jane.”
“And then uncle Charles would have stopped coming to see us.”
“Or they would have done something to get you out.”
“Instead, they just manipulated us into coming here.”
“That’s… a relief.”
They sat in slightly sickened silence for a moment, prodding the water with one oar or the other to keep the kayak in place.
Rose rubbed her nose and sighed.
“Dad doesn’t really, like, need someone more – he always says he has aunt Georgiana, because she will never move away, she loved Pemberley too much. And every time aunt Catherine tries to press him to declare he’d marry aunt Anne and says that the house ‘needs a woman’s hand’ he says that the house needs a bloody museum curator, not a woman’s hand. That was a direct quote, mind you.”
“Pemberley is that old?”
“Pretty old. Some Middle Ages D’Arcy apparently staked the claim to the land and built a hold there. Dad says the hold is a myth, because it is a lousy place for a stronghold, but every year we have a bunch of history students running across the estate, looking for ruins and sometimes finding a coin or two. Two years ago Dad actually paid them for some work they did in the meanwhile, because it turned out their research grant was cancelled and they were left without money. So he said if they are history students, they can order the house accounts from like, hundred years ago. We have like rooms and rooms of household records, staff lists and so on. They took over the music room and sorted it all by years, divided by categories, added little notes as to what links to what. And when they were done, they put the records all in order in the old housekeeper room and old Master’s study and the account books in the old servants quarters, because they made so many notes that they couldn’t make it fit in the old place. But Dad was happy, because they helped him to track down some ancestors’ names that hadn’t been recorded in the family Bible.”
“I wonder they still allow you to live in there” Mina picked up a bit of grass from the surface of the water. “They probably should have covered it all with glass and not allow you to play, run around or even breathe in there.”
Rose shrugged.
“Dad has it documented somewhere, what we are allowed to do and what not. But I like it there. The only lousy part is it being so far away from everything. Even cinema is like half of an hour drive, because it’s on the other side of Lambton. And it’s always like three weeks late with everything.”
“Sucks. At least there are no big movies coming in the next two months.”
“And… I know! I will ask Dad to take me to London to see the Star Wars! This way I’ll be there for Christmas!”
Mina smiled widely.
“That is something we could definitely do together. Maybe we could make it to the premiere even!”

#
“I’m sorry we couldn’t drop by, but Jane wanted to be in London earlier. The kids were a bit cranky, too, so, basically, the only person social enough would have been me.”
“That’s fine, I understand it perfectly” he stretched on the windowsill, trying to find a warmer patch. “Anything in particular happening? It’s the middle of summer, so Jane doesn’t have any lessons to prepare for, I thought.”
The silence on the other end of the line was a hint by itself.
“What happened?” he said softly, head drooping slightly.
“Jane promised she will be at the court today, there is a case… well, it’s not very easy. Some higher-up idiot thought paying a female programmer the same money as men…”
He rubbed his temple.
“Is it…? I mean, do you… do you need anything? Can I help?”
“No, it’s rather clear-cut. A very nice lawyer decided to pick it up, and she’s as ferocious as they come. Jane only promised to be there to hold her hand. You know. They do it all the time, both of them. Last time Jane got stuck at the uni because of the fire drill and I was in Vienna, all the kids were picked up on time and in the car by the time the drill was over. And you know what she thinks of driving in London.”
He sighed.
“Charles, I… thank you.”
“No problem.”
“And how is…?”
“Perfectly well, the last I saw her.”
“Thank you.”
“Anytime, Will. Now, tell me about that project of yours, it sounds challenging. Will you need anything special?”
“I planned using only locally-sourced materials, but obviously, can’t have everything from Derbyshire. If you could give me some contacts to that lovely lady from Scotland who made the rugs Jane loved so much, I’d be grateful.”
“William, I meant something more substantial. At least tell me you’d be using good quality roof cover, and not… wooden shingles, or something equally rustic.”
“I was considering thatched roof, actually” he tried to sound thoughtful “but now that you mention shingles, I could try for something more modern. I mean, I wouldn’t go so far as to pick slate shingles, but wooden…” Charles snorted. “To be honest, I’d be happy to have your input on a full-roof solar panel installation, considering the weather in the area. Does it make sense, from the economic point of view?”
He heard Charles putting down the tea mug.
“Well, that depends on the placement, solar exposure and what kind of construction you will have to support them…”
“If I put you in touch with the main architect, could you put together a proposal, if we assume that the main goal is to have the house both insulated and as self-powering as possible? Maybe aiming at covering the whole roof with panels, as the basic target?”
Charles coughed.
“You definitely found yourself a challenge for the quiet summer weeks.”
“And a nuisance for the fall, winter and spring, if all goes well.”
“OK, let me dig up these specifications I’ve received last month and we’ll see what can be done to make your little house of dreams the shining example of power efficiency.”

#

“Any ideas how to make them at least consider the possibility?”
“We won’t have a chance until we know what really happened. Maybe they had a huge row about something totally insignificant and now they are too ashamed to just start talking?”
“Or maybe they argued about something major and there is no way for them to reconcile?”
“Like what? If uncle Charles is still talking to both of them, then at least none of them had killed someone. Or hurt the other one.”
Mina nodded slowly.
“We can probably assume that, yes. But if they quarrelled about something personal, something that he doesn’t know about?”
Rose added another piece of paper straw to her basket.
“I suppose we have to understand what it was. Because we can’t properly plan without that.”
“So… which one do we ask for what?”
“I’d say both. Because until we know what Mom thinks, we can’t convince her to talk to him, and the other way round is valid, too. He can send aunt Georgina to hand you over and pick me, if he decides he doesn’t want to talk to Mom. Or they even could ask aunt Jane and uncle Charles to switch us, and avoid contact completely!”
“OK, so we interrogate them – carefully – and text the outcome to each other.”
“We have to put our own numbers in the other’s phone. And label them so that nobody can guess.”
“Easy. We’ve met so many kids on this camp, at least half will be exchanging numbers. You can put mine in your phone as… Sharon. And I put yours…”
“I know a Sharon, so better not. But something starting with an S, just to make sure we have it in more or less the same place?”
“Susan?”
“Susan is fine. No Susans at my school, at least.”
“And now when we text, adults will think we’re just gossipping with a girl from the camp.”
“Which will be perfectly true.”
#

The courthouse was cool and the corridor provided a place for them to sit and lean on a stone wall. They waited in silence as Andrea prepared her documents.
“It will be all fine, Lizzy” she said finally, smiling slightly. “This should be quick and neat and we’ll get your money – and appropriate compensation – in no time.”
Jane smiled at the lawyer, looking over her sister’s bowed head.
“Now, we’ll be called in like, maybe, half an hour” Andrea checked her watch. “I’ll go and fetch a coffee, OK? Anything for you two?”
“A black tea? Lizzy?”
“No, thanks” came a quiet reply. “Thank you for coming with us, Andy.”
“It’s my job, Liz. And I love pulling their whiskers. All these old men with their suits and important faces and then you and me and our perfectly collected evidence. Now, latte for me, tea for Jane?”
“Yes, thank you. And… pick a bottle of water when you are in the cafe, could you? The fountains here look nasty.”
“Sure will” the young lawyer placed her binder on her seat and marched down the corridor jauntily.
“Good thing Mina is at the camp and she doesn’t have to witness all this… crap” Elizabeth ventured quietly. “Thank you, Janey.”
“It will do her good, I’m sure. She is very self-sufficient, you know it. She needs a chance to spread her wings without our whole family making remarks and holding her down.”
Elizabeth sighed and leaned back.
“I don’t want to hold her down – or back, or whatever. She has to have space to grow.”
“Lizzy, you are not the one holding her down. You are the one lifting her up and giving her the needed push.”
The younger woman traced a line down the length of her skirt.
“And what about…”
“She is fine. She is OK. Growing up like she’s supposed to.”
“Maybe I should…”
Jane’s cool palm caressed her cheek.
“Think about it, Lizzy. It may be good for all of you.”
“It’s just that…” she trailed off. “I maybe hoped he would answer, one day.”
“What do you…”
“Tea!” Andrea handed her the paper cup. “And your water, icy cold. Straight from the freezer, so it still has actual ice inside. And Lizzy, I know you didn’t want anything, but I can’t have you fainting on me when it’s our turn, can I?” she pressed a small cup of very milky tea into Elizabeth’s hands. “And it’s our turn in a moment, because apparently someone didn’t show up, so they are moving the schedule by fifteens minutes.”
Elizabeth took a long sip and nodded.
“Thank you, Andy. It wouldn’t look very well if I collapsed in front of the judge when I’m trying to prove that I’m as capable as any guy in the industry, now can I?”
“Would totally spoil your image as a self-sufficient and independent modern woman. Drink your tea, ladies, and let’s go and fight for equal compensation.”

#

“Mom always helps me to unpack, so let’s make sure we didn’t mix up any of the clothes.”
“I’m not sure I can remember what is mine at this point” Rose picked up a pair of panties. “OK, I will make a heap of what I’m sure is mine, you make yours and we’ll discuss the leftovers.”
“Each of us packs herself, picks the outfit for tomorrow and…”
“And then we swap. It’s just a bit weird.”
“Just make sure we also have all the right cables and connectors. Or it will be a very awkward time before we find replacements.”
“And shoes, don’t forget about shoes.”
“Guitar” Mina said with trepidation. “Oh, Lord. I forgot.”
They stared at the instrument they had managed to ignore for the past six weeks.
“How could we have forgotten a whole guitar?” Rose asked, sitting down heavily.
“Well, I happily did” Mina shrugged. “Good thing I was supposed to learn playing it this summer. So you’ll just have to explain that… you didn’t have time. That’s all.”
“She will be disappointed, won’t she?”
Mina sighed, puffing out her cheeks.
“A bit. But tell her about something else you’ve picked up at the camp. Like, I don’t know…”
“Plushie sewing” Rose provided with distaste. “I can ask her to help me make some for the little ones. Not that I’m a fan of sewing, but if I have to…”
Mina patted her hand.
“Mom will love the idea. Don’t worry.”
“Now, let’s make sure we don’t mix up the t-shirts. Too many white ones here…”

Written by Srebrna

2018/02/28 at 22:29

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Written by Srebrna

2017/11/24 at 20:14

Posted in Uncategorized