200/366 – An Insult too Many

Day 58 of 100 Word Prompts: Pattern


“So,” Lord Carr paused as if searching for the correct phrasing, “Who are you? Why are you in our home?”

“No one of consequence,” Germain replied, leaning back into the cushion behind him.

“If you were no one of consequence, you wouldn’t make it past the front gate of this establishment,” Lord Carr replied as Lady Ainsley walked back through the kitchen door.

“Of course they are people of consequence, Darling,” Lady Ainsley said as she made her rounds through the room. “These are the performers I told you about from the festival.”

Gwen watched Lord Carr process this new piece of information. At first, she could see there was a loss somewhere in his memory, but then his face suddenly illuminated in recognition. His eyebrows went up, and he nodded as though impressed with her small family.

“I see, you are someone of consequence, Lord Germain, and Ladies Gwendolyn and Joy,” he said. “I see now. I apologize if there was any offense to my questions or manners. Sometimes the Lady takes pity on the common folk and invites them to the house. Without fail, something always goes missing, and we have to contact the guards to track them down to get back what is rightfully ours-”

“It’s not pity,” Lady Ainsley interjected, “I simply see people for who they are, not what they are worth. Furthermore, my Darling, we have been through this so many times it’s becoming ridiculous. A gift to a person, whether you agree with it or not, is just that, a gift. They are not thieves because you don’t want me to give them presents for accepting my invitation despite their often busy schedules.”

“You see how ridiculous this all is,” Lord Carr said, gently backhanding Germain’s knee. “Imagine having the common folk around your establishment all the time.”

Gwen watched Germain’s face grow hard as his eyebrows lowered over his eyes. Gwen had never before seen an expression so filled with hatred in all her life. She watched the oblivious Lord continue in a spout of insults to both the working people of the city, as well as the Lady of the house. He frequently sipped on his drink and laughed alone in the room, as though he were the most interesting person in the world. All the while, Lady Ainsley gave them apologetic looks for his behavior.

“ENOUGH!” Germain boomed, cutting Lord Carr off mid-boast about how much he was worth or something or other.

Lord Carr put his hand to his chest, gasping in shock. “I never, in a million-”

“By the Nine Hells ruled by Asmodeus, shut up, you pompous, egotistical, wretched creature. You have the nerve to sit in this house, undoubtedly bought and paid for by the very people you have the nerve to insult before me. The people who, as you also know, frequent my establishment and have more honor and virtue in their pinky finger than you apparently do in your entire body.

“You have no right to be as popular as you are, nor shall you be when I am finished with you. You were thrust to fame because of your talent but have forgotten the one thing that matters most, the people for whom you are performing. I will acknowledge that you have the expertise, and for years I have waited with anticipation for every show announcement or performance. Still, now I see how my time was wasted, lost in a pattern of aiding a self-fulfilling baboon inflate his ego ever larger to the point of disbelief.

“You are no Lord in this city as far as I’m concerned, you have no business in this town performing in a play of the lowest playwright, let alone classics from across the ages. You are a fool, a liar, and a cheat. Lord Carr,” Germain spat the name from his mouth as though he had just tasted something disgusting. “I hope my face is the last you see as your life crumbles around you. You don’t deserve the title, the money, or the prestige that comes with your position.”

When Germain finished speaking, he was on his feet, practically attacking the actor who gripped his chair as though he expected to be throttled. The physical beating never came, but the damage had been done from what Gwen could see.

“Germain,” Joy said, drawing all the attention in the room for a  moment. “I think we should take our leave.”

“I couldn’t. Agree. More,” Germain said, punctuating each word as he turned back to give Lord Carr yet another contemptuous gaze. He turned to Lady Ainsley, and his expression instantly softened. “I’m truly sorry, M’Lady,” he said, bowing deeply. “I can understand if you do not want to see us again, but-”

“No!” Lady Ainsley said, her hand reaching out before she caught herself. “I mean, I do want to see you all again. I’m terribly sorry for how this visit turned out. I swear it wasn’t my intention-”

“There is no apology necessary, Lady Ainsley,” Germain said, his voice still smooth as freshly churned butter. “If you would do us the honor of visiting our home, we would most appreciate it.”

“The people are nicer there as well,” Joy added as she opened the front door.

Gwen watched, stunned by what had occurred as Germain shot another ghastly look to the actor before turning toward the door. “Gwen, I do believe we are leaving,” Germain said, his voice stern once again.

“I’m so sorry,” Gwen blurted as she rose from her seat, placing her drink in Lady Ainsley’s hands. “It was wonderful spending a few moments with you, at least. I’m sure that future-”

“Gwen!” Joy called, giving her a sharp look.

“So sorry, I really should go with them-”

“You’re fine, dear,” Lady Ainsley said with a smile as she followed her toward the door. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you all soon enough.”

Gwen didn’t stop watching the door as they walked away. Just before Lady Ainsley disappeared from view, her expression darkened, and Gwen thought she saw fear on the Lady’s face, but only just a flash before the door latched.

“I can’t believe that arrogant, self-centered-”

“Blowhard!” Joy said, interrupted. “I’m sorry I didn’t get more involved. I tried for a moment, but you were-”

“Let me apologize to both of you for my behavior in that house,” Germain said, reaching out for both the girls. “I had hoped that you would never see me like that, but I couldn’t hold it in. He’s just so-”

“Vile,” Joy said.

“Unpleasant,” Gwen agreed.

“Exactly! I couldn’t let him continue on his tirade about the people of the city that we know and love. He wasn’t even aware that we were counted among the masses,” Germain said. “I promise to do a better job keeping my temper under control in the future.”

“I thought you were going to hurt him,” Gwen said, looking down.

“I am ashamed to admit it,” Germain said, lifting her chin as they walked through the gate, turning onto the main road, “but I did use magic on him. He should only just be able to move now.”

“You paralyzed him?” Joy asked, her face lighting up at the news.

“Yes,” Germain said, “I’m sorry, girls. I just didn’t want him to interrupt. I needed to say all that.”

“You’re fine,” Joy said, leaning into his shoulder. “If you hadn’t said something, I would have, and I can promise you that you would never have seen me the same after that.”

“You’re awfully quiet, Gwen,” Germain said, looking over. “Are you okay? Can you forgive me?”

Gwen nodded. “That was scary,” she said.

“I know,” Germain replied with a solemn nod. “I haven’t lost control like that in a long time.”

“Are you really going to try to hurt his career?” Joy asked. “That was some threat.”

“No,” Germain admitted, shaking his head. “I’m not going to do anything to him. At least not directly. I’m just going to stop seeing his shows and stop supporting him. I’ll no longer recommend his work to travelers and patrons that come to our home. I simply will stop acknowledging him as a person. He deserves worse, in my opinion, but I can’t let it consume me.”

“Did you see Lady Ainsley’s face?” Joy asked, clapping her hands like a giddy child.

“Oh, no!” Germain said, putting his hands over his face. “I’ll never see her again. I messed up this time. I’m done. It’s over.”

“Not exactly,” Gwen said, pulling his hands down. “She told me not to say anything, but she told me a secret when she had me alone.”

“A secret?” Germain repeated. “You were hardly gone more than a moment.”

“She knew who you were a long time ago,” Gwen said, resolving in her mind that she wasn’t truly giving away the secret. She was just teasing it more than anything.

“She knew who I was?” Germain said, “There’s no way. She couldn’t possibly. I would have known if she had ever been to one of my performances.”

“I can’t say anything else without giving it away,” Gwen said, motioning like she was locking her mouth closed. “You’ll just have to wait and learn for yourself.”

 

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