Middle Child Press: Lady of the Bow, Ch1 ~ Angélica


Lady of the Bow, Ch1 ~ Angélica

A/N ~ Our protagonist's an Afro-Latina named Angélica Moreno. Her first name is pronounced "Anhelica".

Previously ~ Violins, a Prologue

Houston, Texas, Union of First Nations
April 24, 2518

I hate the friggin' violin.

Angélica Moreno's first instinct was to drop-kick the loathsome creation and hop onto her computer, but she knew better.  Although she was eighteen and legally an adult, she still lived with her parents and relied on them for everything.  Her lessons alone were costing her father thousands of dollars a year, and he expected an evening performance at least once a week - no exceptions.

This week he'd chosen Tchaikovsky's damned "Mélodie No.3", which Angélica felt was irritatingly shrill and far too sugary for her personal taste.  But then again, her father had a thing for the romantic, and in classical European music, none were more romantic than the Russians.

Why couldn't I have been a guitarist instead?  Angélica ignored the impatient glance from her tutor, Mademoiselle Michele d'Auvigne, and started the piece again from the beginning.  I would have happily learned Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez".  Now there's a romantic!

Angélica stopped again as soon as she'd begun.  It was about the fourth time she'd stopped during today's lesson, despite explicit instructions not to stop during rehearsal.  After eight years of lessons, there was no way she was going to get through this.  Michele cleared her throat, as though to remind her of their little contract, but Angélica ignored her yet again.

Miserable shrew, the young woman scowled.  You just want summer to hurry up so my parents will ship us off to Puerto Libre.

They'd done it every year without fail for the past decade, and the only person who enjoyed being shipped out was Michele.  The Morenos owned a house on the beach, and they entrusted Michele to watch their kids over the summer.  Angélica loathed Puerto Libre; five hundred years ago, it boasted a population of roughly 12,000.  Five centuries later, it had grown to a whopping 15,000.  There was still no decent shopping center, young people were in a very short supply, and its biggest claim to fame was the Santa Dominga Digital Library.  In short, once summer began, Angélica had three to fourth months of reading and watching Michele sunbathe to look forward to.

After all, Michele was a miserable excuse for a chaperone.  The only things she knew how to do were play the violin and piano, and look good in a bikini and Senegalese twists.  Despite her official title and name, Michele spoke Spanish better than she spoke French, and she'd never been to Europe.  The Morenos hired her about five years ago when Angélica's last tutor died of a heart attack.  Señor Castillo was a kindly old man with a sweet tooth that eventually killed him, and Angélica missed him at times...particularly when she was with Michele.  The only reason the Morenos chose Michele was the she was distantly related to Angélica's mother Clothilde, whose maiden name was also d'Auvigne.

"Depeche-toi, Angelique," her tutor finally snapped.  "I'm supposed to start your sister's piano lessons in twenty minutes."

Unlike Angélica, her sister Casilda not only enjoyed her musical lessons, she was quite attached to Michele.  Then again, Casilda was an insecure fourteen-year-old who'd never really known the love or attention of either of their parents (except during her weekly recital), and thus Michele was all she had.

"Can't we just call it a day?" Angélica scowled.  "I don't have to perform for four days."

"As you wish," Michele shrugged.  "But when your father asks me why you perform so poorly, I will let him know why."

Angélica nodded, gratefully putting her violin away.  Fair enough.

Summer was coming soon; her father's mind was already turning to business, and all the important guests he'd be entertaining at the house this summer...hence the need to ship the kids out.

"Did you submit your applications?" Michele asked suddenly.  "The Dean of Jaramillo-Valdez called; she says she hasn't heard from you."

Angélica twitched.  She had no intention whatsoever to study at the music conservatory in downtown  Houston.  For one, she was sick of studying music.  Two, the school was in Houston, and the whole point of going to college was to go to another country.

When Angélica's silence dragged on too long, her tutor nodded in understanding.

"Both of your parents are expecting you to attend, Angelique," she reminded the girl.  "They will not pay for you to study fashion in Kyoto or cinema in Lagos.  Tu comprends?"

"What if I wanted to study business?" Angélica asked suddenly.  "After all, someone has to run my father's company after my parents die.  Shouldn't I be learning about finance and...and leadership?"

"A respectable enough option," Michele nodded again, "however, your father's company is promised to your cousin Reyes upon his death.  It was agreed before you parents married that the control of the company would stay on his side of the family."  She gave Angélica a bemused expression.  "They've never exactly...trusted d'Auvignes."

Angélica was appalled.  "So my future is to study an instrument I loathe until I get married to someone whose family doesn't trust me?"

She appreciated the dark good looks and soft, curly hair from her mother's family, but Angélica had never appreciated the surname which came with them.  In the business and political world, the d'Auvignes were ruly infamous, and anyone seeking advancement avoided them like the plague...at least in public.

And even though her last name was Moreno, Angélica had always known she could never escape her mother's lineage.

"You're overreacting," Michele wearily assured her.  "Your mother is not without, you know.  You could still study business.  You could create your own company."

Angélica realized the suggestion was valid, but she didn't see why she had to reinvent the wheel.  Her father, Vicente Moreno, had run Moreno Interstellar for the last twenty-five years without any help from his family.  His brother Raymundo had squandered his trust fund and died from a drinking problem.  His sister Josephina was a painter and harpist, and though she wasn't good at either of those, she was even less business-savvy.

And her son Reyes had been expelled from no less than nine schools, courtesy of his being a moron of the highest order.  Reyes couldn't spell "terra-forming" or "interstellar", much less run a company which specialized in such things.

But instead of voicing these concerns, Angélica nodded and smiled slightly.  "Sure.  Of course.  I'll run it by my mother."

Next ~ Blood in the Way