At 03:34 on the second night at the bottom of the stairs, Marie started to cry. She cried for William, for herself, and for her life, that seemed so good from the outside, but was crumbling around her within. By the time the servants began to bustle around the house- eyes averted at all times- Marie wiped her eyes, got up, and walked up to her bedroom. Without even stopping, she marched to her wardrobe, picked out a slate grey skirt and a pale pink cashmere jumper, and walked into her bathroom.

From her viewpoint at the bottom of the stairs, Marie's life had seemed bleak, almost out of focus. She couldn't see how William could be gone forever. Now her sight was crystal-clear. She knew that William was gone, and she knew the reason. Evangeline.

Washed, dried and made-up with pale lipstick and grey pearls, Marie returned to her room. She looked herself up and down in the mirror- a habit that had been forced on her like her sickly sweet smile- and strode out of the room.

Evangeline didn't look surprised to see Marie storming into her room at 7:00 in the morning. She didn't even turn away from her mirror as she sighed.

"Yes, Marie?" she didn't even check to see if Marie was alright. Marie took a deep breath.

"Don't you care?" she kept her tone calm, accusing.

"About what?" Evangeline answered bluntly, to show Marie that she mustn't act as if anything had happened. She turned around and fixed Marie with a stony glare.

"That your only son has just died. I can tell now that you don't and Father doesn't, but I do. I want to know why William is dead."

Evangeline didn't even blink. "William died when he administered himself an overdose of Heroin in his college flat four nights ago."

Marie felt like she couldn't breathe. "W-w-why?" she managed.

"Because he was careless when he wanted his fix." Evangeline evidently thought the conversation was over, because she got up and breezed out of the room. "See you at breakfast." Marie stared after her, her heart beating faster than it ever had before.

"No." Marie surprised herself when the defiant answer came tripping out of her mouth. "You won't see me at breakfast. I can't stay here, with you anymore. I- I'm going." she looked up at her mother, who had spun around.

"You are not going anywhere, Marie." she snarled, her hands fists by her sides. "Do you not remember our agreement. If you leave here, you will not receive a penny of your inheritance." she let the threat hang in the air. Marie straightened her back and lifted her head.

"So what? I will watch you living a lonely life while I go and find out why my brother died, and I think that watching you become more miserable than you already are will bring me more joy than all of my inheritance ever would." and Marie turned on her heel and made to walk past her mother.

The slap nearly knocked Marie off her feet. In all the time her mother had ignored her, Evangeline had never lifted a finger against either of her children. Her face stung, and she turned, only half-surprised, to look right into her mother's face. Although her mother had always worn a contemptuous look when watching her daughter, the one she was wearing now was different. Evangeline's whole face was contorted with hatred.

"Bitch." she snarled.

The End

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