Saturday Snippet: The Carters

1:00 AM

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When Emmeline was younger, the Carters had lived in the same neighborhood with the Wellingtons and Knights. However, after Mr. Carter had died, the two Carter ladies had moved into a smaller home in town. This last year, they had started taking in boarders, further degrading themselves and separating them from their former station in life.
Emmeline glanced at her father who drove their shiny car down the snowy lane. She didn’t understand why he was not in the least bit embarrassed about entering a boarding house. What if any of their friends saw and thought they were asking about a room? She shivered, and not just from the cold of the January day. She liked her position in society and hoped that the Carters would not put that position in jeopardy.
Her father stopped in front of the house with the white picket fence in need of a coat of paint. “I hope they’re having roast beef,” he said, opening his door.
Emmeline smiled to herself and pushed open her door. Father always wanted to have roast beef. It had been his favorite as long as she could remember. If she would let him, he would have it every meal. She stepped out of the car into the street, which was relatively free of snow, but more was falling. She did hope that they could get the car started when they left.
Her father held the gate open and allowed her to pass through ahead of him. Emmeline walked straight up to the door and knocked.
Mrs. Carter, in an apron that was splattered with some of what was to be their meal, answered. “Mr. Wellington, Emmeline, come in!”
Mr. Wellington took a step in and sniffed the air. “Is that…?”
“Roasted chicken thighs.”
“Smells wonderful,” Mr. Wellington said, shedding his coat and following Mrs. Carter into the dining room.
Emmeline lagged behind, her fake smile threatening to disintegrate completely. Chicken thighs? How could someone invite the Wellingtons over and then serve chicken thighs?
“Is that you, Miss Wellington?” Geraldine came in, walking as erect as if her spine was welded together like the frame of a car. The girl had been raised in a positively Victorian manner. Her posture was always perfect, her clothes of an era before, her hair always in a tight bun and her language, as always, formal.
“Miss Carter,” Emmeline greeted, giving her a slight nod of her head. “It’s good to see you. I saw the new hat you were wearing on Sunday.”
Geraldine’s lips curled upward slightly. “Did you like it? It was one I remade myself. Cousin Evelyn made the cherries out of clay and painted them herself. An artist in Europe taught her.”
“My, isn’t she talented,” Emmeline said. The hat might have been fashionable a generation before, but she refrained from saying so.

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