Isabelle had been caught up in a conversation with a junior party member and was making no effort to appear interested. The young woman had already failed in getting Isabelle to reveal her views on politics and in a desperate attempt to stop her from leaving had began to ramble. Rose arrived just in time to hear “ - but we do seem to be having problems with food production don’t we? I mean it is almost like our fellow citizens do not want to work for the good of our country! It was your husband’s idea to pool the resources wasn’t it? Well, he knew what he was doing didn’t he? It’s just so frustrating that they cannot see that this is the only way forward, the only way to ensure that our dear leader’s plans can be realised!” After every question she would pause and peer at Isabelle attentively but having made this great declaration she paused for so long that it became obvious that she desired praise for it. Isabelle let her squirm for a few seconds before drearily stating “Yes, I suppose so, although I honestly can’t remember all of Tobias’s plans so I really have no idea.” The woman practically squealed with delight at the casual usage of Randall’s first name. Isabelle rested her forearm on Rose’s shoulder, her taloned hands digging into the back of her daughter’s neck.
“When did you first meet Randall, Mrs. Morton? If you don’t mind my asking.”
“When I joined the party.” Isabelle absentmindedly began to twirl strands of her spectacular mane around her fingertips.
“Oh! I would have thought it was when you met your husband.”
“I met my husband through the party.”
“Forgive me I must have my facts wrong.”
“Apparently so.” Isabelle was now looking at the woman through her long eyelashes, flicking the nails of her hand against each other forming a glimmering halo around her fingers. Rose was bored. Her mother’s nails were beginning to hurt as the the pressure increased upon her skin yet it was not so bad as to justify the power struggle that would inevitably ensue if she tried to move. She began stubbing her toe against the carpet and looking around for Claudia, who was nowhere to be seen.
“Mrs. Morton did you know Mrs. Randall?” Isabelle’s fingers froze,
“Yes, of course I did. Why do you ask?” Rose’s was paying attention to the woman now. She had known that Randall had been married but she knew absolutely nothing about the woman. It actually surprised her that Isabelle knew her but then she chastised herself; of course Isabelle knew her. The junior party member seemed to have realised that she had excited an unnatural level of interest and had become guarded. The nails dug deeper.
“I was simply curious Mrs. Morton, forgive me.”
“You are lying.” Rose was forced to move as Isabelle’s nails broke through her skin but Isabelle was too occupied with the woman to notice. Rose glanced apprehensively at Isabelle who now appeared positively feline. Her eyes had narrowed and she had placed the tips of her talons along her cheekbone, the paint casting a golden light onto her eyes. The young woman had began to rub her hands together, glanced briefly at Rose without seeing her before speaking in a fast almost clipped tone; “I am not lying to you.” Isabelle leaned forward and immediately her entire demeanor changed. Her long hair had fallen about her face hiding it from the light so that it was dominated by long shadows, her eyes had become wide and her lips had curved up at one corner. Her talons had now fastened onto the arm of the young woman who had become pale.
“You. Are. Lying. Why did you ask?” Rose glanced at the woman suddenly fearful for her welfare - although she was still unsure as to what she had actually done.