When Dragonflies Bite

I’m under no pretence that any of what I’m about to tell you was rational or moral or done with any kind of righteous intention, but my story epitomises the failings of a fickle heart. On my grave I will tell everything and god help you, you’ll listen.

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5. Bruise

"you all look exhausted." my mother commented plunging her dessert fork into the light pink flesh of her grilled grapefruit which Larna, the cook, had prepared specially for her diet. She brought a small piece up to her perfectly outlined lips delicately dropping it into her mouth. She was right of course, we looked hideous, many of the staff equally so all nursing hangovers. 

She sat beside my father at their usual table in the hotels immaculate dining room. Light flooded through the high georgian style windows as I prodded the croissant on my plate, mixing the jam with the butter in a feigned attempt to look as if I was eating. I felt her eyes bouring into the perfectly linear bruise of greens and yellows on my forehead, knowing it was only a matter of time before she interrogated me.

I'd been rudely awoken by Issac slapping a cushion over my face half an hour earlier, forcing one eye open I'd seen him and Connor leaning over me.

"wakey, wakey pisshead." they'd said in practiced unison.

"urghh" was all I could muster, pulling the blankets up over my head. That's when I noticed he wasn't next to me, the nest was empty. As I processed this the covers were ripped away making me wriggle as I tried to cover myself. 

"jeez Jen, put some clothes on." Connor said looking away in disgust.  I noticed he was fully dressed in his work chinos and a pressed and ironed insignia polo which was tucked in neatly. Isaac on the other hand looked as if he'd slept in a bush, his hair had that just out of bed messy look and his shirt, the same as Connors, was ridiculously creased. 

"I would love to but some massive arse took over my bedroom last night, so I was unable to obtain any." I retorted glaring at Issac. 

"Yeah, you might want to change your sheets." he shrugged with a smirk popping a peice of dry cereal into his mouth.  Rage built as I jumped up from the nest, launched the cushion at his face and stomped off to the bathroom.

I nearly cried when I saw my reflection, my eyes were red and sat on fat dark circles, there was an angry spot developing over one of my carefully primped eyebrows and my hair was ratty and dry, sticking out at random angles. The worst part was my forehead which displayed the most revolting bruise I'd ever seen. I stroked it with my index finger, recoiling at the pain. 

"great." I said to myself as I turned on the shower, hearing the satisfying hum of the pipes as I got out of my dirty underwear and basked in the comfort of the steamy hot water. 

I was brushing my teeth rapped in my soft Egyptian cotton towel when Connor knocked on the door to alert me to the fact I had less than ten minutes before mum and dad arrived for breakfast, as they always did after the guests had been fed, so I'd had no time to conceal my bruise effectively.

"Jenna," my father looked up from his papers straight at my forehead. "what happened to your face." my mother nudged him for his lack of tact and I felt all eight of my families eyes on me. "I walked into a door." I replied feebly forcing myself to take a mouthful of croissant and instantly regretting it.

With my brothers help I managed to convince them of this tragic accident, attracting as little attention as possible to myself for the rest of breakfast. I listened to my father and Connor talk business and watched disgusted but impressed as Issac devoured his full English breakfast, mopping up the remaining yolk and bean juice with French toast. 

"No need to lick your plate clean darling." my mother commented, rolling her eyes to me. I smiled politely which she took as an invitation to gush; "You really need to take better care of yourself honey, you're an attractive girl but you really don't help yourself sometimes." She looked at me with pitying eyes. "I mean what would Joe think if he saw you like this it's fabulous you've found someone so close to home of our standard, you know how I rarely approve of your choice of partners. But Joe..." she trailed off taking another dainty bite of grapefruit. I smiled and nodded, not telling her what a jackass he really was and how I would most certainly not be dating him again.  

I excused myself politely after managing to stomach half the croissant, blaming my lack of appetite on a headache from the bruise. My father kissed me on the cheek retiring with Connor to his study at the hotels centre to discuss work further, telling me affectionately to take an asprin and to not forget to pick up my summer work schedule from Yvonne, the hotel secretary.  

Isaac followed me to the office where many of the new in-season staff were gathered to receive their orders. I talked to no one feeling worse by every minute, longing for the comfort of my own bed. I didn’t even glance at my schedule nor at Alices and I barely noticed the ice lick of the wind as I walked through the grounds, I was just glad to be out the way of other humans. Isaac caught up with me at the edge of the gardens, complaining loudly about the injustice of his schedule, which I acknowledged by tired nods and tuts.  

When we finally got back I was frozen and longing to just snuggle up under a mountain of blankets to forget the nights misgivings. As I slammed the door behind Isaac and myself I saw Alice and Kane were up watching tv and Fred was sat in the middle of them.

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