Ch 11.2 — Queen Persimmon opened Janine’s bedroom door. “Your maid says you are being difficult.”
Janine turned and looked at her mother, whose cold, graceful beauty held no trace of compassion. “Please don’t make me go.”
“Your father has commanded that the entire family be present. Now, Janine, be reasonable. Karen doesn’t ask much from you, so the least you could do is honor her request, especially on her eighteenth birthday. This is her betrothal party, after all.”
Karen and Prince Oswald, who was from the Lazy River Kingdom, would announce their formal engagement that evening. Karen would be stunning, of course. She and Janine’s other sister, Zelda, would be dressed in gorgeous gowns, their faces smooth and beautiful, and their voices full of laughter. The princes of the neighboring kingdoms would ask Zelda to dance. Perhaps the dancing couples would walk in the royal garden and steal kisses. Everyone would be celebrating. No one would miss Janine in the least.
She looked over at the plain dresses on the bed, and then at her mother. “This was Zelda’s idea, wasn’t it?”
The queen put her hands on her hips. “Of course not. Now, choose one of the dresses the maid brought out and let her help you with your hair. And don’t get dog hair on your clothing. Honestly, why can’t you try to be presentable?”
“What is the point, Mother? No matter how nicely I dress or how I do my hair, no one will ever see anything but my face. Everyone will stare and whisper. Some will even laugh at me. Is that really what you want? To have your own daughter mocked?”
Queen Persimmon’s mouth thinned to a hard line, and her eyes were like coal. “You will go to Karen’s party, and you will be gracious.”
“Could I at least wear a veil?”
“No.” The queen turned and strode from the room.
Janine got up and slammed the door shut.