ALT: Home With The Family

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Post by Reinbach on Wed May 28, 2008 1:03 pm

"Welcome home, master Ritchard," the butler said as Ritchard took his first steps into his parent's home since leaving for basic training. "I'm afraid your mother is unable to greet you. She's... resting."

"Another spell, huh? And my father is at the Metalworks?" Ritchard asked, but he already knew the answer.

"Yes, sir, he is," the butler replied.

"Ritchard!" A small girl's voice boomed through the elegant foyer. Ritchard looked up to see his little sister almost trip over her long skirt as she ran down the steps. The way her red ponytail bobbed back and forth as she ran made it look like a dog's tail, wagging in excitement. She lept up and give him a hug that bordered on a chokehold. Ritchard put down his bag and returned the hug. He bent down to put her back on her feet.

"Molly," Ritchard said. "You're getting too big to do that anymore, how old are you now? Eight? Nine?"

"I'm eleven," Molly said defensively.

"Eleven? Dad hasn't sent you off to finishing school yet?" The butler smirked and walked away.

"What's there to finish?" Molly asked, grinning. Ritchard picked up his bag and sat down on a couch in the parlor. Molly followed close behind and sat next to him.

"Good point," Ritchard said. "I mean, originally our plan was to raise you to be a lady then marry you off to President Sha'arhe when you were old enough, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen."

"Shut up!" Molly said and punched Ritchard on the arm.

"It's true," Ritchard said, chuckling. "We should have never bought you from the goblins. Would have saved us those six beans, but we got a mushpot out of the deal."

"Stop it!" Molly yelled in a whiny voice.

"Stop what?" Ritchard was very amused by this.

"Stop lying!" Molly punched Ritchard again as hard as she could. "You go off and join the stupid army and leave me here in this stupid house with the stupid maids and mom and her stupid spells and dad always at stupid work. Then you come back with your stupid lies."

"Sorry, Mo," Ritchard said with a twinge of actual regret in his voice. "That's a lot of stupid." Molly crossed her arms and gave Ritchard the look. "Mom's sick again, huh?"

"Yeah," Molly said, sounding sad.

"I'm going to check on her. Run along for a little bit, okay?" Reinbach looked up to the steps leading to his mother's bedroom for a second, then back to Molly. She nodded.

"Hey, when you're done you need to see me dance!" She perked up in excitement.

"Sure," Ritchard said. Anything to get her out of his hair. "You go get ready and I'll meet you here."

"Okay!" Molly sprang from the couch and ran out of the parlor.

Ritchard stood and ascended the steps to his mother's room. After a soft knock, he opened the door slightly and poked his head in.

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Post by Reinbach on Thu May 29, 2008 1:19 pm

His mother was sprawled out on her bed, blindfolded and sleeping off the effects last night's bottle of rolanberry which laid empty on the bed beside her. There was no doubt the bottle was full yesterday. Ritchard slipped in, trying not to open the door too much and let the light in. He crept up to her bed gently and kneeled down beside it.

"Mom," Ritchard half-whispered as he put a hand on her shoulder. "Mom, wake up." Hanna stirred. She rolled away from Ritchard, pulling the silk sheets up with her. "Mom, I'm home." Hanna mumbled something and swatted backwards, hitting Ritchard on his forehead with the back of her hand. Ritchard sighed. Nothing was ever easy with his family. Forgoing courtesy now, he stopped whispering. "Mom, the house is on fire."

Hanna turned on her stomach and mummbled something like "Let it."

"Molly's run away and joined Troupe Valeriano, mom." Hanna said something into her pillow.

"Are you going to wake up? It's almost noon."

"Ritchard?" Hanna turned her head toward him and lifted her blindfold.

"Yeah, mom. I've been trying to tell you. I'm home." Ritchard sounded a bit annoyed.

"When'd'ja get here?" Hanna asked, barely capable of coherent speach.

"Just now," Ritchard said as he stood up. Hanna shifted her position to look at him.

"Welcom'ome, dear," she said. "C'mere, lemme look at'cha." Ritchard sat on the bed as his mother sat up. "Look at you."

"Yeah," Ritchard chuckled. "Look at me."

"A man in a uniform," she said, clumsily attempting to straighten his collar, only to make it crooked. "Reminds m'of your father when he was young."

"Except he was in the navy," Ritchard reminded her, but couldn't imagine that she had forgotten. "I'm a musketeer."

"Same difference," Hanna said, smirking. Ritchard shrugged. "Still, you're really like he was then." Hanna placed a hand on Ritchard's shoulder. "Shame how he turned out." Ritchard sighed. She was on about this again. "He was so charming then... Now look at him. Bastok's biggest asshole." Hanna started poking him as she spoke. "Promise me you won't turn out like him, Ritchie. Promise me." Ritchard stood up to avoid being poked.

"He's given you a pretty good life," Ritchard said as he straightened his collar. "You, me, Molly. He's done pretty well by us." Hanna's face contorted with anger.

"There's a lot about your father you don't know, Ritchie," Hanna said, now crawling across the bed toward him, pointing a finger.

"Mom," Ritchard said, exasperated. "I wish you'd leave me out of this. Or better yet, do like we do for Molly when she notices you're drunk and cover up whatever problems you're having with your marriage."

"Don't talk to me that way, damnit! I'm your mother, you--"

"Then put down the rolanberry and act like it for once in your life." Ritchard's words stopped Hanna cold. There was an awkward silence. "Molly wants to dance for us. You can either sober up and come watch or lay around here all day." Ritchard turned and made for the door, mumbling.

"Like you're one to talk, you--"

"Son of a bitch?" Ritchard cut her off before she could finish and slammed the door behind him.

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Post by Reinbach on Fri May 30, 2008 12:56 pm

Molly was waiting in the parlor for him when he got there. The nanny stood in the corner of the room with a harp in her hands while Molly took front and center of the couch. Ritchard smiled as though nothing was wrong and took a seat.

"Check this move out! I can almost kinda sparkle!" She nodded to the nanny, who began to play. Molly worked her way clumsily through a samba. Ritchard didn't know much about it, but he could tell this was an attempt at Kreigstanz. When she was done, Ritchard clapped.

"Did you see? Did I start to sparkle?" She asked, enthusiatically.

"Yeah," Ritchard said, not having seen even a small amount of glitter. "You were starting to glow!" Molly was beaming.

"Don't tell mom and dad, okay?" Molly seemed suddenly worried that Ritchard would get her in trouble.

"I'll take it to my grave," Ritchard said, smiling.

"Good," Molly started. "Because if you do, I'll tell them about your gambling."

"What a brat!" Ritchard laughed. "Mom taught me those games, anyway. She knows about it!"

"Dad doesn't," she said, slyly. Ritchard's expression turned sour.

"And if he were here now, all three of us would be in trouble."

Ritchard and Molly turned toward the source of the voice. Hanna was standing in the doorway, looking tired and dissheveled, still in her sleepwear.

"Good morning," Hanna said as Molly waved. Ritchard was stunned and silent. "I missed your dance, baby, would you mind doing it again?" Molly nodded.

The nanny began playing again, and Molly started her dance. She danced for a hour, trying to get some kind of sparkle out of it. Ritchard and Hanna watched intently, but the sparkle never came. Just Molly dancing, and nothing else. No arguments, no tears, no power struggles. At least for the moment, Ritchard thought, the family was okay.

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