If Sami’s mood could have influenced the weather, there would have been a hurricane, tsunami, and an earthquake the next morning. But only a Sister could do that. Thankfully. And I was not in the mood to converse with the weather gods. Sunshine was fine with me. Sami’s sulking, however, was not. A bird had brought word this morning that the weather around the Sisterhood’s compound was not nearly so balmy and that one was riding out towards my homestead this morning.
Thankfully the bird had only seen the colors of the forest trees and stream on the bridle of the horse and coat of the rider.
Mother was not coming, not yet.
Even still a visit, an unplanned visit, usually did not go in my favor. But I would not let Sami see that as she stabbed her broom at the dust rather than sweeping and continued to mutter under her breath.
“You will have to do much better in your studies than that to curse me,” I said without looking up from kneading the dough on the counter.
She started. It was unmistakable even in peripheral vision. She, like others, assumed failing hearing was simply an inevitability with age.
“The dust has had enough. Move on to your lessons.”
“But I haven’t even had breakfast!”
“And whose fault is that?” I stopped kneading to look at her. I wished my face would stay impassive, but I knew it didn’t by Sami’s deepening scowl.
“Yours! You locked me out. I couldn’t get in all night. I still have grass in my hair!”
“And what in the name of the Sisterhood does that have to do with not eating breakfast?”
“I…assumed that would be part of my…punishment?”
I took a deep breath before replying. Dear Sisters, give me strength. “You assumed. Do not assume. It could get you killed or, in this case, almost miss breakfast. There is still some on the stove.”
Sami dropped the broom at once and practically dove for the pot still simmering on the stovetop. I resisted both the urge to scold her and to grab the broom with my flour-drenched hands. She was quiet and I could focus on finishing the bread in peace. The morning was looking up, then Silas jumped up into the open kitchen window.
“Are you expecting visitors today?” he asked as he smoothed a patch of fur on his head.
“Then perhaps you should. There’s a rider coming up the lane. She looks like she’s eaten a chokeberry.”
And, of course, it began to rain.