Class Meets Youth
“So, how do I do this whole fancy lady thing?” Merry glanced up from her work as Isabelle entered her room and shut the door, putting the fabric down to look at Isabelle. “I’m sorry, what?” Isabelle shrugged, sitting opposite her at the table. “I got, you know. A date. For the Masquerade thing. Stupid Maxwell asked me, so I’m gonna go with him. Not a big deal, but I wanna make sure that I don’t screw anything up. For my sake, you know?” Merry smiled, trying not to laugh. “I suppose that’s a good reason. But why are you asking me?” Isabelle kind of glanced around the room, then leaned in. “You’re the classiest lady I know. And you don’t act like you’re so much better than anyone else. So I thought that if anyone could try and help me out, it would be you.” Merry paused – it had been a long time since anyone had called her classy. That was different. “Well, um….sure, Isabelle. I’d love to help you.” Isabelle managed a little grin. “Awesome. What first, Miss Mondragon?”
“Maisie. Please, just Maisie. I don’t really like the whole title idea.” She stood up, gesturing for Isabelle to do so as well. “Let me see how you bow. That’s going to be important at the Ball.” Isabelle nodded, using a hand to brush her hair and locks back. She lowered her head slightly, leaning forward but not actually going in to a bow. She kept her eyes up at Merry, almost seeming to challenge her. Merry raised a finger. “No. You…no. You need to bow lower, head down. The nobles want to feel respected, and they always seem to think that eye contact is a threat. Treat them like animals. Just give them the respect that they need, like so.” Merrigold stepped back, bowing deeply, her head lowered down. She rose up again and smiled at Isabelle. Isabelle shrugged. “What if I don’t respect them? Most of them are jerks anyhow.” Merry cocked her head, laughing as she replied. “You want this to go well, right? So that Maxwell thinks you’re a classy woman?” Isabelle spoke a little too rapidly. “Yeah. Absolutely.” She stammered slightly, regaining composure. “I mean, you know, for the Ravens. I don’t wanna look dumb out there. It’s not about Maxwell or anything, it’s for the whole group. You know?” She crossed her arms, then looked around the room again.
“Except that, you know, it kind of is.” She sighed and slumped down in her chair. “Merry, how do I get someone to notice me if they’re so stupid and distracted to know that I exist? He tried to ask Rexus to go with them instead of me – your husband had to yell at him. I want him to pay attention to me, dammit! But, you know, not like….for any real reason or nothing.” Merry laughed this time before she replied. “Of course not. Isabelle…you don’t have to pretend to be something that you aren’t, okay? Trust me. I’ve spent a lot of my life pretending to be things that I’m not.” Isabelle nodded sullenly. “So we can try and make sure that you do well, but don’t worry about trying to be one of them. Now, the bow, that part is important. It keeps the nobility happy and avoids any extra attention. So, if you can get that down – and not light anything on fire – then you’ll be on a good path. Oh, and when the wine comes around, you have to sip at it. Sip. Not down it all in one gulp.” Isabelle nodded, then did a shaky bow to Merry. Merry nodded, smirking.
“A little more demure. You don’t need to make a grand statement out of it.” Isabelle nodded again. Merry sat back down, watching her. “So, you have a crush on Maxwell?” Isabelle shook her head. “No! I mean, not like a crush crush kind of crush….” She let her voice trail off. “I just, you know. I feel bad for him. With the eye patch and all that.” Merry nodded along, smirking. “Of course that’s all, Isabelle. I think we should talk.” Isabelle nodded. “I need advice that doesn’t involve eating someones eyes.” Merry paused for a long moment, hesitant to ask. “Um….is that the kind of advice that you’ve been getting? I think we have a lot to talk about then….” She reached out, nudging Isabelle’s boots off of the seat next to her. “One, that should stop.” This was going to be a long night.