spirit_of_vitriol: (resolute (glitterberries))
Flavia de Luce ([personal profile] spirit_of_vitriol) wrote2014-10-18 11:57 am
Entry tags:

they won't need no lie detector, all they'll have to do is make me look into my mother's eyes

The first weeks of class had been a whirlwind--new classes, old friends, the struggle of putting aside the summer's idleness--but Flavia had been grateful. It provided a welcome distraction, after all, from the dilemma she'd been feeling since she'd arrived at Feely's door to see the piano from Buckshaw in her living room.

Feely believed, and continued to believe, it was the only object from home in the entire city. Flavia knew that wasn't true. It hadn't even been true the very day Feely arrived.

It was why she'd returned to the art museum, to the bench still situated just in front of Vanetta Harewood's mysterious portrait, looking at each of the painted figures in turn. The tow-headed girl toting a book of fairy tales, so obviously Daphne; the swaddled infant, Flavia herself in a christening gown now surely boxed up in a closet somewhere in Buckshaw; standing to the right, a younger Ophelia, just as primly self-possessed as now, though still enough of a child to have been captured in oils, toying with a cat's cradle. Harriet, at the very center, looking over them all with bemusement and something Flavia dared to believe was love.

She should tell Feely. She should never tell Feely.

Flavia tapped out a message on her phone, jabbing her thumb down on the SEND button before she lost her nerve.

feely please come to the art museum
i'll be outside on the steps
it's important
likeblueblazes: (Keen observer)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-11-08 10:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Back in Buckshaw, Ophelia would hardly ever answer to such a summons from her youngest sister; even now, glancing down at her phone after getting out of class for the day, she's tempted to shut her phone and pretend she never read the message. But she finds herself rereading Flavia's text, riveted to the screen as though physically unable to look away. A strange feeling begins unfurling in her stomach. As Flavia's sister, it's not an unfamiliar sensation, but it still rattles.

She arrives to the art museum after fixing herself up in the nearest mirror, an expansion of her vanity and also as a means to attempt to calm her nerves.

"Well, here I am. What is so important?" Ophelia asks once she spots her youngest sister, hands on her hips and a haughtiness to her tone that she doesn't quite feel.
likeblueblazes: (Thoughtful)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-11-10 09:08 pm (UTC)(link)
"Well that is thoughtful of you," Ophelia says, taking the tag as Flavia hands it to her. The unease in her stomach manifests so that she finds herself becoming distracted enough not to question the idea of Flavia purchasing her ticket for her. Back in Buckshaw, this sort of gesture inevitably led to Ophelia waking up with a pox or rash the next morning from merely holding such a ticket.

"So what's all the fuss about anyway?" Ophelia tries to keep her voice uptight and impatient; as detached as one of those debutantes in one of Daphne's novels. "I do have other things to be doing, you know." But even to her own ears, her voice falls flatter than it normally might.

She follows Flavia because her nerves refuse to settle. Each step forward seems to rattle them more; she barely acknowledges the crowds of people that pass them by as they head further into the museum.

"What exactly did you get from home?" She turns to ask Flavia as she points towards the exhibit. Ophelia's chest tightens and her feet turn into lead. She wants to move forward, but she finds that she really can't.
likeblueblazes: (Distraught)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-11-14 11:38 pm (UTC)(link)
"Fine, if it's that important," Ophelia says with a roll of her eyes. Ever since the loss of their mother, distance has widened between them like a river flooded with rain; hearing her father, their neighbors, the vicar - everyone in the village, really - comment constantly upon how much Flavia all but appears to be Harriet incarnate drove her to hold her nose up and ignore her younger sister. She hid her own pain in the scorn she lavished upon Flavia, through locking her in closets and telling her cruel lies about her birth.

Darrow trapping them both together has significantly altered Ophelia's regards towards her sister; living in separate buildings brings out the worry in Ophelia. Finding her sister in several frightening circumstances has cooled the resentment within her.

And now there's something in the way she says she can't explain a painting that makes Ophelia gulp and her heart clench inside her chest.

So she moves forward, and stops before an image that could only have come from home.

"Oh," she says.

She doesn't even realize she's crying.
likeblueblazes: (Distraught)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-11-17 09:35 pm (UTC)(link)
If there were a piano close at hand, Ophelia would certainly be pounding out one of Schubert's melodies; as none such pianos do exist nearby, she settles for clenching her hands inside the pockets of her jacket, instead.

As much as she taunts Flavia by holding memories of Harriet over her head, truthfully, Ophelia has trouble distinguishing her memories from her dreams. Unable to move her gaze from the portrait, she tries desperately to remember the afternoon in which they all sat down to have the painting done.

She takes a deep, shuddering breath when she realizes that she can't remember that day beyond playing with Daphne.

"I didn't realize it existed," she whispers. "I thought I was imagining the memory of sitting for it for all those years ago."
likeblueblazes: (Thoughtful)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-11-21 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
That Ophelia doesn't reply immediately with some boastful taunt speaks to the sheer power of the portrait on the wall before the two of them. She can't keep her gaze from it, their mother in the center, holding Flavia while Daphne and herself stand by her side. Even without their father present in the picture, they appear so much the normal family; the kind of family like Ophelia's friends all seem to possess.

So when Flavia asks her what she remembers, she finds herself so unguarded as to answering before she can help herself.

"It was warm out, I remember that," she says in a voice barely above a whisper. "You wouldn't stop babbling, 'like a little brook,' Mummy used to say. I don't think any of us wanted to sit still. It was too nice of a day out not to run around and play."
likeblueblazes: (Actual display of sisterly affection)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-12-05 03:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Ophelia is so entirely unprepared for the joke, still caught up in her moment of vulnerability, that she laughs before she can help it. It's an odd feeling, the one that settles in her chest. Not quite happiness, and yet, not quite regret, either. "Even as an infant, you never could shut up," she quietly agrees. "I imagine you were babbling about some great poison in babyspeak, even then."
likeblueblazes: (Actual display of sisterly affection)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-12-08 05:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Ophelia will certainly deny later that her hand doesn't move to rest on Flavia's shoulder when she leans against her; they're hidden away from the outside world for the time being, so who would notice? But for the moment, she feels her own tension ease from her, staring up at the portrait of her family with her youngest sister by her side. "Perhaps you'll crack the code on baby speak when you're a brilliant chemist." The words slip out of her; she doesn't mean to voice them aloud, but nor does she have the energy to recall them. For now, she's content to settle for the peace burgeoning between herself and Flavia.
likeblueblazes: (Confident)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-12-10 05:55 pm (UTC)(link)
"God help all of the governesses when that happens," Ophelia muses, though considering the age in which they live currently, she doubts that sort of profession remains. "Or nannies or whatever they're called these days."

She ought to be bitter that Flavia kept this from her; kept this secret the way she's held onto Harriet's appearance her whole life. But Ophelia finds herself too drained by the day, especially happening upon this painting. She might save her ire for another occasion, but for the moment, she settles for honesty, instead.

"I don't really have any ground to stand on, do I? With all of the stuff I've kept from you over the years," she says, her tone neutral. Part of her wishes she could be angry in this moment; the rest of her is basking in the brief peace they've found between them.
likeblueblazes: (Pretty and vain)

[personal profile] likeblueblazes 2014-12-17 08:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Ophelia ought to bristle at her sister's response, even though she had been the one to admit it first and her sister was only confirming the truth to her admission. Yet here in the museum, before the portrait of their once whole family, she finds she doesn't have it in her to argue, or even turn up her nose in an exaggerated gesture of irritation. It's the sort of peace that never lasts; she knows that, just as suddenly as it's settled over her, it will vanish once again.

"Daffy," she says, letting out a low breath as she shakes her head, glancing up at the middle child of their family, she with the truly golden hair. She does feel an ache, not having Daphne among their numbers in Darrow. But then, with her absence, her relationship with Flavia has vastly improved. She wonders how long their fragile truce could last, if the last of the sisters were to show up. "You know, if she were here, neither of us would ever see her. She has so many books to catch up on."

"I remember her being tall," Ophelia admits. "But maybe I was just small. And I can't remember her laughter, either."