A painfully silent hour-long carriage ride passes before we finally reach the Club estate. The Hare opens the carriage door, and my parents run out of the house, each looking the perfect part of a worried parent.
"Megan! We were so worried about you! Where were you?" my mother cries as she runs to me and throws her arms around my shoulders.
"Thank you for returning our daughter to us, your highness," my father says happily as he bows to the Queen.
“You should not be so stupid as to let your children roam about the country side in such a manner, and in such clothing. It’s entirely unacceptable,” the Red Queen snaps.
My mother bows her head and curtsies toward the Queen. “Of course, majesty. We were about to question Megan of her unruly behavior after you left, as we didn’t want to spoil your visit with her punishment.”
The Queen’s small red lips curve upward into a cruel smile that seems more like a grimace and very frightening and out of place on her heart-shaped face. “No, please, go ahead. I wouldn’t want to delay you acting as parents. And I rather like morning punishments.”
My father gives me what could almost be an apologetic glance as my mother steps closer.
“Megan, where were you last night?” she asks, her eyes pleading me to lie for her.
I’m not sure why, but I do. “I was at a party last night with Hannah and Charlie Spade, and the Diamond twins.”
“Megan Club, you said that you started this ‘suite tattoo’ trend, did you not? Would that mean that your friends have them, too?”
“Of course, majesty,” my mother says quickly. “All of the other suite children have them.”
I turn around and face the Queen, watching her eyes cloud over as she thinks. “I would like to see all of the suite children and this new trend. Page, I will have a ball tomorrow night for all the suite families so that I may see this trend that matches my birthmark,” she says as she presses her hand over the lace covering on her throat, the place where her heart-shaped mark is.
“But tomorrow night isn’t enough time to plan a ball, majesty. Your balls always take at least a week to be properly planned,” the White Hare says quickly.
The Red Queen turns around slowly, her face slowly turning red with anger. “Are you insinuating that there is something wrong with the balls I plan? I want a ball tomorrow night for all of the suites! Get it done, now!” she screams and catches the Hare on the side of his face with her giant ruby ring.
She turns back to us, her face slowly returning to its normal color. “I hope to see you all tomorrow night.”
My parents bow in assent as she turns and steps back into her carriage. The Hare moves his hand from his face and looks at me with solemn pink eyes, the livid purple bruise a frightening reminder of what the Queen would do to me if I didn’t start the suite tattoo trend by tomorrow night.