This article is taken from Stand 234, 20(2) July - September 2022.

Coggin Galbreath Midnight
Three o’clock, the smell of lavender thick and heavy in the air. Too bored and too hot to do anything, Aveline slouched at her instrument like the softening candles in the chandelier and watched a pigeon sunning itself in the open window, the green and purple that played across its neck like bruises, its beak, sharp enough to draw blood. She slurped her tea. She spooned the sugar straight into her mouth. She was young, lovely, and sick to death of being rich.

Her grievance was not with money per se, but with people like her aunt who spent their money on hideous trinkets and, when they went to the palace, wore everything they owned at once and scuttled around sideways like jewel encrusted crabs so that everyone always had an eyeful. It was not until the first night of the festival, when she saw Colette across the ballroom, that Aveline learned the difference between looking rich and looking expensive. Colette’s gown did not need bows and embroidery because the material itself was so fine; Colette did not need jewels because her neck was its own ornament. By midnight, Aveline had made up her mind to be impulsive and expensive and waste money with this girl until they had spent every penny and could try their hands at being poor for a change.

Three o’clock—still three o’clock? It had been three o’clock for hours. If it was three o’clock for another minute she would scream until Louise came running. ...
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