This is set with new characters in my Planners setting; its landing page is here.
“There is a a reason we only have one Head for each House.” Adeline stood with her hands loose at her sides. Her chin was up and her lips were a firm line.
“And there is a reason I am an Elder.” Brice folded his hands in front of him and stared at Adeline’s forehead.
“We don’t have room for the Mason family, nor for the Stouts.”
They did not know if this was The End – no, not “the end;” the planners didn’t acknowledge that word. They didn’t know if it was The Cataclysmic Event. At the moment, it was just – just! – a long-running power failure with a side of some food and gas shortages. Family policy was to treat any disaster lasting longer than three days as if it could indeed be The Disaster.
“Make room.” Brice moved forward, just one step and a bit of a lean. He was no longer a young man – of course – but this particular branch of the family was a true farming household, and you did not retire from farming; Brice Whitehall was a large man with biceps like steel.
Adeline did not budge nor flinch. “That is not family policy, nor is it your call. Tell them they’re going to have to make other arrangements.”
“Why don’t we have room?” Another step forward. Any closer, and Brice was going to be talking to her forehead. “We have those three cottages in the alder stand in the back. Plenty of room in this season.”
“I have an arrangement with three families from town. Two of them have children who are in classes with our kids.” Adeline held still, held her ground.
“You think kids…!” The step that took him to talking to her forehead. “When I made a promise man-to-man…!”
“Yes. Because if this is not The Disaster, then those kids’ friends will be resources, PR, understanding. Make another promise, Brice.”
“You’re in my office, Brice. You’re going to have to break your promise.” She turned her back on him before he could press the issue.
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