Lost and Found– Part 11 (prose)

…following the aftermath of their kiss…

“So…” Hannah started as they were chopping up herbs. They were in the kitchen preparing a gratin to be served as the main dish. “So…”

Lydia put down her knife, slightly annoyed at her cousin’s teasing.

“What is it, Hannah?” she demanded irritably.

“So… Jasmine, I see,” she grinned devilishly. “Care to keep me up-to-date on what’s going on between the two of you?”

“It’s none of your business,” Lydia muttered, resuming her chopping, doing so at a more-rapid pace to drown out Hannah’s teasing words.

“But it is,” Hannah responded in a sing-song style. Lydia gave an exasperated sigh.

“All right, well, she kissed me.”

Her cousin gasped loudly, and she gave her a threatening glare to keep it down. After all, Jasmine was in the other room, and it was possible she could hear them conversing.

“And, did you…?”

“Yes, I kissed her back.”

Hannah clasped her hands to her heart and swooned. Lydia tried hard not to roll her eyes.

“I told you, Lydia. I told you…”

“About what?”

“That you liked her. And now it’s obvious she likes you, too.”

“I guess so…”
“No guesses! It’s certain. What kind of friend would want to be kissed, anyway?”

“Fair point,” she mumbled as she transferred the chopped herbs to a small bowl. She started lining the pan with potato slices, which she’d scalloped beforehand.

Hannah noticed her hesitation.

“What’s wrong?” her voice changed, sounding concerned.

“What do you mean?” Lydia feigned nonchalance, but of course, nothing could slide past her cousin.

“Oh, come on. Something’s up. Spill.”

She paused for a moment before responding.

“Uh, well…I guess that I do like her…”

“…and that’s news?” Hannah teased sarcastically. Lydia shot her a disapproving look. “Sorry. Continue…”

“I suppose she likes me like that. But, I don’t know…she’s still with Ben, although she says he’s like a brother to her. And we’re so different. She’s rich, we’re poor—what would the Singhs’ and our town think if they found out about us?”

There was a moment of silence.

“Who cares?”

Lydia looked up.

“Excuse me?”

“You’re worrying too much. About what others think of you. Our status shouldn’t matter, and people’s opinions shouldn’t, either.”

“That’s the point, Hannah. It shouldn’t, but it does…”

“Yes, but let me finish. So the town shuns you—that’s no fun, but who are they to judge based on social conventions? You don’t need them: you have us. You have me, my mom, even the Singhs’. More importantly, you have Jasmine.”

“True…but what about Jasmine? It’s not fair if she gets shunned. People in town love her, and if they were to find out that she liked a low-class nobody, surely it would break her?”

“Look, Lyddie. Jasmine’s a lot stronger than you think. If she really likes you, she wouldn’t let others get to her. And if others do give her a hard time, you can beat them up,” Hannah grinned jokingly.

“You’ve forgotten that I’m a pacifist, right?”

“Point taken!” her cousin laughed loudly as she poured the herb-infused cream over the scalloped potatoes.

“Is everything all right in here?” Lydia turned around and saw Jasmine standing in the kitchen doorway. Perhaps it was the servant girl’s naturally-slight frame, but she couldn’t help but notice that she looked somewhat tentative.

“Yes, perfectly. Just need to put the gratin into the oven and let her get warm and toasty for an hour,” Hannah responded as Lydia placed the heavy casserole pan into the oven.

Jasmine smiled, looking at Lydia. She felt the butterflies return to her stomach.

“Hey,” Hannah started. “Why don’t I grab some biscuits and aperitives and meet you in the living room? The gratin’s going to take a while, anyway.”

“That sounds good,” the servant girl responded. Hannah practically pushed her and Lydia out of the kitchen before getting the pre-dinner snack ready.

…to be continued…

— The Finicky Cynic

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