Thursday, February 9, 2012
Evan walked them to the door and kissed them both good-bye. Shona felt oddly detached at his brief peck on the cheek and wondered why she was feeling that way around him lately. She didn’t feel that way around her Mother. In fact, she was feeling increasingly more comfortable around her, whereas her father ... it was as if he was becoming more distant, or distanced, from her. The relationship had not changed. What could be making her feel this way?
Maggie interrupted Shona’s thoughts as they pulled out of the driveway. “Julia will be by this evening. She said she has something to tell us.”
“Did she say what it was?” Shona asked as they drove down from the west hills of the city into downtown.
“No, but I have a strong feeling it has something to do with that European university she’s been in contact with lately.”
“The one in France?”
Maggie threw a smile at her. “That’s the one. Excited?”
Shona stared out her window and watched the expensive old homes pass by. “I do not really know,” she replied quietly.
“Well, no use jumping to any conclusions until we hear what Julia has found out about them. Let’s not worry about it now.” Maggie looked at Shona. “Are you sure you feel all right?”
“I am sure.” Shona’s voice was weak as she fought for some semblance of control, the waves of emptiness hitting her harder by the minute. They had come so fast she could think of nothing to defend herself with. She didn’t want to break down in front of her mother, and certainly didn’t want her mother finding out what was wrong. If that happened, any hope of getting out of her parent’s house and claiming her own freedom would be gone. She concentrated on Julia and the news she held. If Shona could get accepted to this new university, her dream of going abroad, not to mention just getting out of the house, could at last be realized.
Shona Elsey Whittard loved her parents, loved her home, her few friends and her music. She had a lot; everything she could possibly ask for, some would say. Except for the freedom to run her own life and make her own decisions. She had so many people telling her how envious they were of her singing talent. But if all her competitors and fellow musicians only knew that Julia and her mother ran the show, made the recital and concert schedules, handled everything from the time she got up until the time she went to bed, they might not be so envious. Or would they? She supposed she didn't know or care anymore.
What Shona did know was that she was tired of her life. Other girls her age, including Kitty, were all in their second year of college while she was still under her mother's and Julia's educational thumbs. Other girls went to parties. Shona was stuck at home watching Masterpiece Theater or studying some sort of cultural etiquette that Julia insisted she learn. Other girls dated. Shona, not really interested in the opposite sex at the moment anyway, was still jealous of the freedom of choice normal girls had. More than once Kitty had made the comment, "Geez Shona, are your parents planning on sending you to a convent or what?"
Or what indeed, she mused feeling as if she was to be sent somewhere. She could speak four languages for crying out loud and was working on a fifth. She spoke proper English. Something others teased her about. And she was well tutored by Julia as to what was acceptable for a young lady to do or say in not only the twentieth century, but the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries as well. On the other hand, she could also fence and land a man smack on his back in the wink of an eye. "Martial arts and fencing are excellent workouts." Julia would exclaim along with, "A girl can't be too careful now a days! It's best to know how to defend one's self."
Careful? If she counted, Shona could come up with at least a dozen ways she'd been taught how to kill a man and hardly leave a mark! A lot of good all that training had done her though …
Shona shuddered and pushed the incident she was about to think of aside as her mother pulled up in front of their first stop. She looked longingly at all the normal people inside her mother's favorite little cafe eating and chatting away. She continued to watch them as she got out of the car, choked back the cold emptiness she'd learn to battle over the last few months, and told herself she'd just have to accept the facts. It was, after all, the logical thing to do.
There were no if ands or buts. She wasn't some astounding musical sensation to be envied. She was a freak.