Chapter 31: Tear

Beatrice watched her Mom intently. So intently that it might have scared anyone that wasn’t family. So intent that, she had to admit, she wasn’t actually learning anything.

“This looks so hard,” she mumbled to herself.

But, apparently, she mumbled just loud enough, because her mother soon said, “Sewing is not like a book. You don’t master it by studying.”

“I wasn’t, uh, trying to study it,” Beatrice lied. “I was just watching my beautiful mother.”

“This is a very simple thing, sewing up a tear,” Mom said. “Nothing special.”

“You know, just because you’re doing something simple doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful!” Ugh, Beatrice hated when she deflected practically every compliment given to her. Why couldn’t she just say thank you?

“And… there it is. Your robes are good as new, as long as nobody looks too closely.” She held up the orange-and-white ceremonial garbs and showed off her sewing job.

See, Beatrice was almost always careful, but after practice today she was walking home when she saw a greyback bear scamper by and, uh, kind of tripped and fell on the sidewalk. She probably shouldn’t have been scared by a silly little animal (that was Emi’s job), and she also probably shouldn’t have been wearing her school’s official robes while walking home…

Well, the tear in her outfit had now been repaired, and she was hopefully going to get safe without anyone noticing. Otherwise, if they found out, St. Helens Academy would probably bill her family fifty gold coins just for the repairs, and that would be embarrassingly annoying.

 “It looks amazing, Mom,” Beatrice said. “And I’m not just saying that. I really mean it.”

“I’ve been a seamstress for all my life. It really isn’t anything to thank me for.”

“But it is! I have you here to patch every hole and darn every tear. Almost every dress I own was made by you, including my own school uniform! Not a lot of people have parents so gifted, and I’ll never stop being proud of it.”


“And… I feel really bad for not trying to follow in your footsteps. Grandma and Great-Grandma were both seamstresses like you, but I don’t know the first thing about any of it. Most people don’t. It’s super special to know how to sew, and…” Beatrice cut herself off because she realized she had kind of changed the topic on herself. “What I mean is, do you think you could teach me to sew sometime?”

Her Mom sighed. “I suppose. If you’re going off to become a priest, you’ll need to know how to do this all on your own. I won’t be there to help you.”

“Oh, that’s right, I didn’t even think about… that.”

She didn’t think about that because, honestly, she hadn’t thought about the whole priesthood deal in a good week. Especially not the fact that she wouldn’t see her parents anymore except on rare occasions. And Mom seemed to recognize the fact that she hadn’t thought about it, which made Beatrice feel terrible. She felt like a selfish brat (and once again, that was Emi’s job).

“Please teach me how to sew, Mom!” she pleaded with renewed fervor. 

“Alright, I will.” Mom began playing through Beatrice’s hair and messing through her curls. “Only if you promise me never to cut your hair short again.”


“It’s so lovely when it gets long, and then you always cut it short right after,” she said. “I love it like this.”

“I didn’t realize my hair was getting so long, wow.” Beatrice began tossling through her own hair and it hit her that, yes, her hair was quite a bit longer than it was when she started wearing it like this. “I won’t promise you anything, but I’ll make sure only to get haircuts you like.”

“That would make me happy.”


“Yes, Beatrice?”

“When do we start?”

Mom looked extremely confused. “…Did you want to start right now?”

“Um, kind of,” Beatrice answered. “Since everything’s already out, maybe we could–”

“Honey, I’m home!”

Dad came crashing through the door with an absolutely unexpected level of energy. He carried a sack of groceries around his arm and more in the bag on his back, and yet ran into the apartment as if he were a child hyped up on sugary salmon binds.

“What’s got him so riled up?” Mom asked.

“I have no clue.”

Both women started to get up from their chairs, but Dad beckoned them down. He began giving Beatrice a shoulder massage and said, “Did you know who I ran into today? Tia Knoll. Heir to the entire Knoll Family estate. Just walking into the library like it was nothing.”


“Well, it looks like he’s a friend of that Emi L’Hime girl, which means he could become a regular. And if he’s a regular… The library could receive millions of coins in donations!”

Emi… Oh, Emi was at the library all by herself, and presumably had fun conversations with Dad and with the single richest person in Balarand. That must have been a fun adventure, Beatrice thought. She was jealous she had to miss out…

“How was Emi?” Beatrice asked.

“Oh, her normal self. Ranting about a book she didn’t like.”

“That’s my Emi.”


“I mean, that’s my friend Emi, all right,” Beatrice said. “Anyway, you really think the Knoll Family would fund the library if the heir started to visit more often?”

“Well… I can dream, at least,” he said. His energy died down as the realism set in. He let go of Beatrice’s shoulders and moved to Mom’s. “What I don’t have to dream about is…. supper!”

“What’s for supper?” asked Mom.

“I’m ready for anything that isn’t vegetable soup again,” said Beatrice.

“It’s a surprise,” Dad told them. 

It was vegetable soup.

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