PreparationMature

Lydia spent the rest of the day trying to look as much like a piece of furniture as possible; to remain unseen and largely ignored. After she'd bought the Shloer and stuck it in the fridge, she retired to her room to draw.

She retreated from her room only once the whole afternoon, to get herself some lunch. As she made herself a sandwich, she noticed that the Shloer had been moved from the fridge to the cupboard. Grumbling, she put the bottle back in the fridge, and returned to her room.

Fourpm precisely. The bell downstairs rang. Lydia covered her ears.

'Lyddy!'

Lydia slouched downstairs. Her mother stood at the bottom, her hair now in tightly curled ringlets. Her father stood beside her, dressed in a navy blue suit and a sky blue tie. He looked very uncomfortable.

'Lyddy, dear, are you ready to go?'

'Yeah.'

'But darling,' her mother smiled, concealing her annoyance. 'You're wearing the same clothes as before.'

Lydia didn't bother saying anything. She knew what the Smiths were like - her mother talked about them often enough. They were very particular people, and their invitation said - dress smart. But, in Lydia's opinion, any friend who didn't appreciate seeing you in your normal clothes was no friend at all.

'I'll get changed in a minute,' she said quietly. 'Er, do you want me to get the drinks?'

'Yes darling. They're in the cupboard. Oh, and Lyddy...'

They walked into the kitchen, and Lydia stretched to reach the bottles of Shloer.. She heard the click-click-click-click of hr mother's high heels.

'I was just going to say, Lyddy dear, that... well, I noticed that you put the Shloer in the fridge. Twice. And it doesn'tbelong in the fridge, dear, it belongs in the cupboard.'

Her tone of voice was patronising. Every sylabble felt like a bash on the head, but Lydia managed to keep her temper.

'I thought I'd keep it in the fridge to keep it cool,' she explained. Gripping the bottles in both hands, she turned to face her parents.

There was a pause, then Lydia's mother reached out with long fingers to take he bottles.'Well, Shloer tastes better at room temperature. It's not your fault, darling,' she said. 'You didn't know. Now put some other clothes on, please. We have to leave in one hour precisely.'

Lydia resisted the urge to shoot her mother a dirty look, and thumped her way up the stairs, wondering what she could possibly wear that would satisfy her mother. Nothing, probably.

The End

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