"Don't think of it as a conspiracy, Megan," my mother says nonchalantly as her tea cup clicks against the club-shaped saucer. "Think of it as a reinstatement of something long overdue."
"It's true, Meg," my father, the Lord of Clubs adds. "The Hearts have been in power too long, and it is time for the Clubs to regain what is rightfully theirs."
I set the lady finger I'd been rolling between my fingers on the edge of my saucer before answering. "Father, you say that you've found proof in the ancient texts that the Clubs once held power. But if I asked any other matriarch or patriarch of any of the other suites, they'd say the same thing about their suite. There is proof that every other suite has ruled at one time. Why should we be the ones to try and overthrow the long seated veins of the Heart reign? So that if our suite fails, all the others may laugh at our expense?"
"But we won't fail. We have something that no other suite has, my dear," my mother says softly, yet forcefully, as she reaches across the table and covers my lace-gloved hand in hers. "We have you."
Hiding my disgust at her touch, I gracefully pull my hand from under hers and set it back in my lap. "And what makes me so special?"
"Besides the fact that you're the next Lady of Clubs?" my father asks. "The fact that you are now old enough to make the journey to the Crystal Pool."
I look at my father with interest, then quickly mask it with a small yawn. "The Crystal Pool doesn't exist anymore, the Red Queen destroyed it after she took power." I set my napkin on the table and stand to go back inside. "This was a lovely scenario, but it's too filled with fallacy to actually work."
My mother grabs my wrist in a vise-like grip as she stands and walks to me. She stares at me with eyes that used to be the same charcoal-black as mine, and then draws her hand back and slaps my face.
My father stands behind her as I hold my stinging eye with my free hand.
"Look at who you really are," my mother says harshly as she jerks my head up and forces me to look into the mirror my father is holding.
I look into it and see the club-shaped birthmark framing my right eye, the mark of my lineage and the destiny that I'm destined for, to be the next ruler of Wonderland.