Sunday, December 9, 2012

M&R: Bastard

“Slyvia Agnes Sienna!” an authoritavie bubbly voice boomed across the crystal and lace and around the small room. “Dearie, we can wait to eat until your mother sits down.”

The tone, the wink she shared with the child sitting beside her, the fanning of the be-ringed fingers between the child and herself, was Roxanne’s way of letting the little girl know the two of them were something special and held to higher standards. Being the first born, the raven-haired little cutie quickly checked that her younger siblings followed suit. Then Slyvia’s little mouth fell open.

“What did you call me?” she asked in wonder.

“Slyvia Agnes Sienna. That’s your name, dearie.”


“Yes, Silly.” Came the soft encouraging reply.

“Silly” Sienna had never heard her full name before neither had most the people at the dinner table. Fortunately, what with the rowdiness of their extended family only her father Orion and “Grandma” Roxanne were paying attention to the little girl. Orion Sienna sat on the other side of the chair Silly shared with her sister. His youngest sat upon his lap. For someone famously distant and unaffectionate Orion the leader of the Sienna family’s far-flung financial empire seemed the perfect parent to his latest three children. Everyone said that marrying Harmonia Piccolomini had made him a different man.

“What’s your name Grandma?” Harmonia’s daughter asked of her adopted “grandma”.

“Roxanne Pahrump Scamander.” Roxanne recited proudly.

“Grandma, that’s the silliest thing I ever heard. What’s my mother’s name?”

“Harmonia Piccolomini Sienna.”

“Here I am.” Silly’s mom responded, a little out of breathe with the final dish for the table. “What are we talking about?”

In her wake or more accurately her shadow came Mrs. Leigh. In fact, most of the relatives were discussing the presence the sole non-family member at Harmonia’s dinner party. They all noted which dish she carried in order to void partaking from it. To their relief the harpy carried nothing. All this dropping of the topic, study of her knarled hands and sighs of relief left the table in silence.

“Silly, just discovered her full name.” Maeve replied in the nick of time then asked her husband to say grace.

Grace was said and dishes started moving around the table with compliments for Harmonia, directions for the children and calls from the far end for someone “to get the rolls headed this way”. Silly Sienna sat on the edge their chair, feet flaying, head bobbing; awaiting a moment when she could continue the conversation. She attempted several squeaking starts but was interrupted by her “grandma” or father on each occasion as they settled things on the little girls’ plate.

“Grandmother Maeve!” she finally called over the clattering of dishes and chewing of food to her adopted grandmother. “ What’s your name?”

She caught everyone’s attention in addressing her adopted grandmother. Funny how no one ever committed on her have the exact same, rare black eyes as Maeve.

“Maeve Lusigan Sienna.”

“Daddy what’s your name?” Silly asked looking up at her father with a face full of love and delight.

At the table sat Maeve’s husband, two sons, foster son and several teenage grandchildren. There with Roxanne was her husband, step-daughters and the mutual grandchildren. The children had resumed speaking but the parents were now awaiting Orion Sienna’s reply.

“Orion Chaos Sienna. I was named for my father.” He equivocated then his tongue licked his thick lips and parted his thin moustache as he shared a knowing look with Maeve and her husband.

“Your father was a bastard!” snapped Mrs. Leigh sitting next to Maeve.

Maeve’s wine glass halted half way to her lips. Color rose in her unusally fair complexion Roxanne saw in those dark eyes, the split second decision not to toss it in the shrew’s face. From the corner of her green eyes Roxanne sensed more than saw, Maeve’s husband lay a constraining hand in his wife’ lap. Roxanne saw the effect and let out a sigh of relief, but just as quickly she turned to check on Orion. Orion, his face flush and inscrutable could not look at his wife’s godmother. He gazed elswhere. Roxanne could hear her husband and sons-in-law not breathe in response to the insult.

Maeve, in a voice too cheery to be normal said, “ Mrs Leigh? Really? That unpleasantness was a sixty-five years ago. Haven’t we moved on?”

Before the misshapen sharp-tongued dwarf could respond, Harmonia quietly agreed and encouraged Mrs. Leigh to take the same approach.

“Where are those rolls, Silly?” Roxanne blurted out with a silly show of putting her hands on her hips and then upturned into the air.

Silly mimicked her movement and echoed her quiry, much to everyone’s amusement. The good humor of the Sienna clan returned. Maeve, chatting up her husband seemed smuggling proud of her self-restraint. Roxanne pointed at her momentarily and give her a nod and wink in acknowledgement. Roxanne could hear the tension leaving the table, but with her eyes still wet with burgeoning tears daren’t even glance at the heart-broken Orion. She smiled at something said down the table and in the process took a deep breath lifting her amble bossom and steeling her nerves. She looked at Orion.

Harmonia while entertaining her guest laid her right slender hand across her husband’s uniform jacket. Orion sat upright and ridged as usual. As usual his short curly hair laid perfectly neat up on his head. The touch of gray at his temples, couldn’t have made him look more distinguished , if they’d been painted on. Even with his immediate family he reeked of the charisma that made him a leader. Roxanne had to take a second glance and wonder if she had the “second sight”. Because for just one moment, the stern leader of the Sienna family smiled sweetly, like a child gazing up with a face full of love and delight. For a moment, she could see him as the young man he was. For a moment she thought the family secret was out. With a silent laugh she was comforted by John 7:6 “ Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet come.“ With the birth of his son, Orion’s inheritance was secure. She didn’t have to look up to know who Orion shared his smile with, it was the man he’d call “Dad.” publicly one day soon; Orion’s real father.

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