The next morning, while Malcolm and the kids were still asleep, there was another knock at the door.
It was freakishly early and Edelweiss was weary of this business already, but she reminded herself it was for the greater good and answered. Sort of.
“It’s not locked – go ahead and let yourself in!” shouted Ede without thinking. Plum, Ede – you’re going to wake everyone up.
The young woman stepped inside and looked around. Not seeing anyone, she called out.
Still nothing. This was getting kinda creepy.
“Oh, plum it,” Ede sighed. “Come on in – I’m in the kitchen!”
“Hey,” said the visitor. “I uh, saw your ad.”
The young woman was nervous, but there was an underlying confidence there that Ede picked up on. She could relate to that. She warmed up a bit.
“My name’s Edelweiss.”
“I’m Brianna. Brianna Clemons,” the girl said. “You’re even prettier in person. This is kind of embarrassing.”
I didn’t put my picture on the flyer, Ede thought. Ede gave her a curious look, but decided she didn’t need to know what that was about right now. “Have you come far?” Ede asked.
“Kind of!” Brianna said. “I’m from a town a lot like this one – from another legacy family, the Pruetts. I’m just a cousin though, so you probably wouldn’t know me.”
“I see,” Ede said. It’s not that she wasn’t interested in what Brianna had to say – she was weighing the relevance of each little piece, deciding whether the odd bits needed dropping or keeping – also, when she was in the kitchen her mind tended to roam to another place anyway. “You hungry?”
“Actually, yeah. I’d kill for some pancakes.”
Ede laughed. “I think I can swing that without a blood sacrifice.”
Edelweiss got started on breakfast, and used the time to get to know Brianna a little bit.
“So tell me about yourself,” Ede smiled. “I can see you’re Self-Assured, but what are you into? What are you hoping to do while you’re here?”
“Well,” Brianna said excitedly, “I’m a huge Art Lover, but what I really want is to master Music. Like, learn everything there is to know. I never had the time or resources to do this back home.”
Ede nodded while she continued to work on breakfast. “Got a favorite instrument?”
“This is gonna sound crazy,” Brianna continued, “but my grandfather was this really amazing musician — Giancarlo Sheridan, he used to play at arts festivals and stuff — and I feel like I might have inherited some of his talent. When I play the violin it makes me feel like I’m truly, deeply connected to my family history – like I have roots, y’know? Like I’m important. Even though I’m not the heir or anything.”
“Being the heir isn’t that big of a deal,” Ede said.
“Says the heir!” Brianna laughed harshly. Comments like that really ticked her off!
“People are gonna remember you at least. It’s not like that for the rest of us extras.”
Dang, this kid was pretty bold considering they’d just met.
Ede smirked involuntarily and focused on the pancakes. She gently slid the spatula under the one she was working on, and flipped it, way harder than necessary.
Brianna eyed it hungrily as it rose into the air, arced and smacked into the kitchen window.
Ede silently poured another pancake and repeated the process. This one just missed the ceiling before landing over next to the sink.
“Almost finished!” Ede said with exaggerated cheer.
Ede stacked a nice high pile of pancakes on the platter. She could almost hear Brianna’s stomach growling. Brianna hadn’t uttered another peep, though.
Ede grabbed herself a plate and took a bite.
Brianna just stared with a sad, grumbling sort of confusion.
“Oh, did you want some?” Ede asked with mock innocence.
“Now you’re just plumming with me,” Brianna scowled.
Ede grinned and dished her spirited young guest up a plate.
“You were right about the heir comment thing,” Ede conceded once Brianna started eating. “That was a plumhead thing for me to say.”
Apology accepted, Brianna thought, but wouldn’t admit. She couldn’t contain a food compliment, though.
“These pancakes rock!” Brianna said as she stuffed her face. Like Ede, she was bone thin no matter how much she ate. She probably had some kind of propensity for physical activity too.
“The violin thing is pretty neat, too,” Ede continued. “You know, the founder of this family was a musician – I didn’t get any of that talent. When we discovered our son is a Music Lover it felt pretty special that way, like something important wasn’t lost after all, and was coming back around – y’know?”
“No plum?” Brianna blurted. “I totally know what you mean, though! That’s awesome!”
Brianna hadn’t known this about the Wolffs before, but learning so now had her feeling confident that she’d made the right decision in coming here. Plus, Edelweiss was kinda cool, for an heir.
“You’re welcome to stay here at the house for a few days, until you get settled.” Ede offered. “It occurs to me that I didn’t set up any kind of temporary lodging for folks who need time to find roommates and stuff.”
“That would be great, if you’re really okay with it. I’m sure I’ll be able to find something soon.”
“I’m okay with it.” Ede grinned. “You kinda remind me of me.”
“I’m going to go hop in the shower. Please make yourself at home. There’s a guest room straight across from the top of the stairs.”
“Okay – and thank you!”
Thanks to pancake goddess Jes2g for Brianna Clemons. ❤