“Thank you for agreeing to see me, sir.” The girl standing just inside the relocked door of what could only be called his cell, despite its resemblance to a plush hotel suite, was about fourteen and three quarter years old. He knew this because she was his granddaughter. He didn’t know any of his grandchildren as well as he would have liked, but he was locked up for good reasons and the distance that incarceration created was part of his punishment. Today this girl, dressed in her school uniform with a wolf’s head on the blazer lapel, looked nervous, uncomfortable and sadder than he’d ever seen her before.
“It’s not a problem, Tobia.” He indicated one of the other chairs at the tea table and said, “Please, sit down, have something to eat and tell me what’s troubling you.”
“Thank you.” She sat down, neatly arranged her grey, pleated skirt, and carefully put a shortbread biscuit on the plate in front of her. He poured her a glass of milk. “The whole family is angry at me over what I did in the House Cup competition.”
“And what did you do?” He sipped his Darjeeling from a translucent china cup and noted that Tobia kept her hands in her lap, neither eating her biscuit nor drinking her milk.
“Mum and Dad didn’t know that I knew they’d both signed up to mentor Cherie and Jack in House Bluejohn for the Cup. They said they wanted to see how I was, but they interrogated me on Wolf Pack’s plans and status so they could help Cherie and Jack. When I realised…I terminated them in the competition.” Tobia had kept her eyes on her hands through her entire explanation as if she didn’t dare look up. “Everyone says I’ve been disloyal.”
“Do they know that you were betrayed first?” He sipped his tea as she did look up, her face hopeful.
“They don’t see it that way. They say,” she faltered and started again. “Everyone else seems to think that Cherie and Jack’s scores are more important than mine.”
“Everyone else in the family was in Bluejohn or Princeps, except me.” He smiled kindly at her. “I was in Wolf Pack too. I’ll speak to your grandmother and she should talk sense to the others.” He sipped his tea again. “So, tell me, is Wolf Annex still condemned?”
“Not as much as it used to be.” Her dimple was delightful, just like her grandmother’s. “We won the House Cup and had some repairs done as part of our prize.”
He suggested, “Perhaps they’re really angry because you had the temerity to win.”
Kith and Kin 2 is here.