14. Manners At The Dinner Table [IV]

“What is this all about, father?” Andrew asked. Dr. Costello opened and closed his mouth rather stupidly.

“I have no idea. That boy has been slightly off his rocker since the war ended. It must have been that event with the officer who died for him.”

“I refuse to believe that my son is mad,” Mrs. Costello placed down her fork, “I feel sick. Excuse me.”

Pale-faced, she too walked out, but out a different door to her sons: she headed through the hallway and up to her room upstairs, whilst the boys had headed into the heart of the house.

“Should I go with her?” Aimee muttered.

“Perhaps it would be for the best, my rose,” Benjamin kissed her cheek and dismissed her.

As soon as the door closed, Benjamin stood and surveyed the other four men who were left in the dining room with him.

“I want answers. Stuart, I’m sure that you’re not involved, and that you agree with me.”

“Indeed. Thank you for your trust,” Stuart also stood, and slowly made his way around the table to his brother.

“I suppose I’ve given them enough time to run…”
“We’re going nowhere, because we have no secrets,” Ryan snarled. He even continued to help himself to a couple of small prawns, ripping their heads off as though they were his enemies of war.

“Boys, we have no need to discuss this, especially not on such a happy occasion as this,” Dr. Costello announced. He made no move to leave either.

“It was happy until Phillip exploded. And he was such a gentle person before you sent him to war,” Andrew said, “It was you who sent him off, wasn’t it? I can’t believe that you would threaten your own son, just to keep up family traditions, just to keep up appearances.”

“Don’t believe everything you make up, brother,” Ryan finished devouring the prawns and glared up at his older brothers, and Andrew. The former he had uncontrollable respect for, but they still got right on his nerves.

“Look, you two,” Stuart said, “I don’t think that Phillip is mad; I think it was unfair to say so. He never was keen about going to war, but it wouldn’t have driven him crazy. Being apart from his woman will, on the other hand, hurt a man. Phillip mentioned Aidelle, and I remember that they were going to be married, but the war got in the way of the wedding date. Now, what I don’t understand is why Phillip went to war in the first place, when he would, obviously, rather have stayed. What were those threats he was on about?”
“We want answers. Now.”

The End

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