GENRE: YA Historical Romance
Masks cover only so much. I twirl the silk-wrapped stick and watch the attached mask circle above my hand like a bird. Flawless dove feathers rise from the right corner. I brush my fingertips along the edge. It tickles, and I smile. I used to adore dressing up, pretending I could be whatever my imagination desired. I raise the mask over my face. It has been years since I believed I could have anything if only I imagined it.
Still, I cannot stop the music that rises in my head or the image that forms in harmony with it. Me sitting at a beautiful piano as I press down my left hand to sound the chords that open the second movement of Schubert’s Fantasie, the Adagio. Somber clouds of sound expand and pull me from the tedious present until my fingers clench. The stick propping up the mask cracks in two.
“Angelique,” Maman says, my name sliding like silk in her perfect French marred only by a hint of disappointment. She accepts the broken pieces. Her lips pinch then ease as she turns back to the seamstress and waves her hand up and down the dress. “It looks exquisite.”
Maman requires no mask. She has perfected the art of pretending we are better off than we really are.
Thick raindrops plunk on the banquette. I hear more than see them beyond the front window of our cottage on Dumaine.