Gossamer light, the lace poured through her fingers like water.
“Silk,” her sister said, bitter envy dripping from the word. “Handmade. Hermesian silkworms…”
As pale and clear blue as ice under seawater, so fine it shivered beneath her sister’s breath, the lace was worked into an ever-changing garden of blossoms. Petals and stamens, delicately wrought thorns and vines, wove through the netting.
Her sister slipped the hem between her thumb and forefinger, gaze alighting on a minute bit of stitching that bore the maker’s mark. “Belurian weavinghouse. He does love you.”
Gentian blushed. Nevin didn’t love her; he simply understood that wooing her properly was the safest way to her dowry. She offered the bolt of lace to her sister. “There’s enough here for two overskirts, Lyria.”
Avarice flashed in Lyria’s topaz eyes, quickly replaced with derision. “It’s meant for your brideshift, you stupid cow.”
Tears burned the corners of Gentian’s eyes, but she refused to let them fall. Gathering the yards of carefully folded and wrapped silk up like a doll, she backed away from her sister’s vitriol.
A knock at the door drew Lyria’s attention; Gentian felt the weight of it fall from her shoulders. A measured voice followed the knock. “The wine, my lady.”
Lyria met the servant halfway, reaching for the tray. Whether Lyria’s hands faltered or her steward’s step was unsure, it was enough to upset the wine. Gentian saw the deep ruby claret leap as though propelled from its silver cups, saw the touch of pleasure in her sister’s eyes when the old man stumbled and the serving tray clattered to the floor.
The lace soaked up the wine like a drunk. The way it spread was almost beautiful, pressing the now palest violet lace against her bare arms, painting the winter garden with a blush of spring.
“Oh, dear,” Lyria breathed. “Whatever will Nevin say?”
This week, Write at the Merge challenged us with two words: Gossamer: noun; a fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders, which is seen esp. in autumn. And Affinity: noun; ( pl. affinities ) (often affinity between/for/with) a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something: he has an affinity for the music of Berlioz.