Chapter 14.2: The OPH

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"This is the first time I've been old enough to actually enjoy Mid Fair," Georgana said several hours later as they prepared for their big night

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"This is the first time I've been old enough to actually enjoy Mid Fair," Georgana said several hours later as they prepared for their big night. All across the realm people would be celebrating Mid Fair. Of all the Union's holidays—Day of Cessation, Day of Remembrance, Harvest Moon, Lord's Birth, New Years, and the others—Mid Fair was easily the most raucous and anticipated. From first light until the deepest hours the following night, the city would be alive with celebrations and festivities. During the day, activities friendly to children and families dominated the scene, but as evening approached the mood took on a more mature timbre.

Josie had loved Mid Fair as a child, but it was hard to be excited tonight. The impending tryst with Walden Mooseberry had been growing on her mind.

"When are you going to see Walden?" Georgana asked, echoing her very thoughts.

Josie hushed her nervously, throwing conspicuous glances at the open door. She leaned in closer, blushing, and whispered, "The nineteen bell."

Georgana looked scandalized. "Well, I am meeting Bodi at the OPH." Bodi was their slightly older neighbor whom Georgana found attractive and Josie repulsive. OPH was just shorthand for the Omarian Performance House, the focal point of the Mid Fair parties for people around their age.

Josie stood and examined herself quickly. "How do I look?"

"Better than me," said Georgana, looking disappointed.

"Don't be ridiculous," saidJosie. "You look amazing!" Georgana smiled lightly but clearly didn't believe her. 

"Only a fucking Pikewad would be stupid enough—" her father was yelling in the common room when they entered.

"Orl Clarke!" her mother interrupted sharply. "Watch your language! You should never talk about a lord like that." Her eyes darted between Josie and Georgana.

"Lord? He's nothing but a disgraced candidate and"

"What's going on?" Josie interjected.

"Word is spreading around the city," her dad said with a boastful smile. "Castrol Thomas has been disgraced...for courting an underage prostitute."

Her mother shook her head. "Why don't you tell the girls all of the details," she said sarcastically.

"Isn't Castrol Thomas married?" said Georgana. Though politics bored Josie and her both near to hysterics, anything scandalous involving the lives and loves of lords and royalty was directly in Georgana's wheelhouse. Still, Josie couldn't help but remember the featherfoot that had visited their schoolhouse earlier that day. Could this have been the subject of that letter?

"To Yulonda Stone, the oldest offspring of Jonn Stone, Steward of Mekis," Josie's father answered with a nod.

"That will put a strain between those two families," Georgana said, sounding excited.

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