Rosaria found herself watching, much as she did with children, much as she had done as a child. She’d angered Evangaline, and she didn’t blame the girl at all for that. They did tend to meddle, the older women in the family. They spent so long being young, chafing under the meddling of those older than them, and then they were old, and found themselves meddling.
The truth was, they had, Rosaria and her peers, grown old with Asta as Aunt. They knew Evangaline was stronger, they knew she was different, and none of them knew what to do about that.
Watching Willard and Evangaline, Rosa was coming to another understanding.
“I’m proud of you.” Willard thumped a hand on Evangaline’s shoulder. “For what that’s worth.”
She grinned at him, a wide and open expression. “I’m pretty proud of me, too.”
“You’re not one that didn’t dodge the bullet, are you?” He smirked about it, the way nobody who lived in the family did – at least not where women Rosaria’s age could see. She remembered – she wondered if her peers remembered – being that age, and sniggering about things when their grannies were away.
“Oh, no.” Eva’s chin lifted. “I’ve known for a long time.”
“I wonder what Asta thought about that, mmm?” Willard’s eyes were twinkling. It had been years since Rosaria had seen him – but it had been decades since she’d seen him smile like that.
“Well, from what she told me…” Evangaline shifted, putting her weight evenly on both feet. “I think she was relieved. She always knew she was a place-holder, you know. She always knew she wasn’t the actual power of the family in her generation.”
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