It hadn’t been Cathleen’s intention to disrupt her staff and throw a monkey-wrench in her own birthday party. She liked her staff; many of them had been transferred to her house when she came of age from her Lady Mother’s home, and thus had grown up with her. Her landscaper, Cahir, had played tag with her in the labyrinths behind the Baronial manor. Her chatelaine, Elva, had been her nanny when she was little. She wanted to take care of them all; she wanted to protect them from her Lady Mother, as much as she could.
And now Elva was giving Cathleen a look much like she had when Cathleen was very young and had gotten herself muddy and bloody just before a big event. Cathleen looked up at her chatelaine, sighed, and looked back at the boy. “It’s his birthday too,” she tried, and it was; that had been what had caught her eye.
Elva just clucked. “Wash your hands, my Lady. I’ll make sure the birthday boy here gets plenty to eat – and a bath. Tomorrow you can tell me what you’re going to do with him. Today…”
Cathleen sighed. “Today,” she allowed. “I’ll deal with my Lady Mother today.”
And then tomorrow she could do as she’d always done, and get all muddy and dirty in her own private unbirthday celebration. By then, the Baroness would have moved on to other things, and Cathleen – and her new co-birthday acquisition – could celebrate in peace.
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