Bethanie only finally begins to breathe once she was far down the corridor. Bethanie lips are pressed together in anger, fuming she hissed, "Kindness is only a weakness to an unscrupulous parent willing to kill or sell their offspring to further themselves!"
Taking a deep breath, Bethanie takes another deep breath and begins to exhale and inhale. She was already near the boy's room and she did not want to worry them even further. They were quite stressed as it was given the fateful antics of the Malfoy wedding. And despite not having been present themselves the effects had already trickled down to reach even the children.
Bethanie knocks once, before entering and smiles widely at seeing the two boys. The eldest, Spurgeon is large, and tall with the firm body of their father, but has their mother's face. However, Spurgeon had none of the levity of their parents and was a rather solemn dark-haired boy.
While the younger, Esmond is slender and beautiful as their mother. The only tarnish across the angelic features is a spray of freckles across the bridge of his nose. And unlike their parents, Esmond had a warm, gentle soul.
Bethanie greatly feared for him especially as Esmond did not have any of Spurgeon's cunning to hide his thoughts away from their parents. She greatly feared what was to come in merely two years, when Spurgeon left for Hogwarts. And Esmond would be left alone to their parent's gentle care until the following year when he too could escape their household.
Bethanie is brought out of her grim thoughts by Spurgeon's voice, "Did mother attempt to convince you of another match, Bethanie?"
Bethanie's lips crinkle into a smile. "She attempted too to no avail."
"Who was it this time?" Spurgeon arched his brow.
"It matters not," Bethanie said as she walked over to Esmond and tugged down an escaping wisp of hair.
"It must matter if you're so very distracted," Spurgeon argued as he crossed his arms and looked down his nose at her. "I'd rather not have to resort other means to receive an answer, Bethanie."
Bethanie acts all fl.u.s.tered as she holds her hands to her chest. "Woe is me! Who will save this poor damsel in distress from this vicious ruffian?!"
Esmond, the dear heart that he is immediate springs into action. "I will, Milady!" Esmond grabs a nearby candleholder and says, "On Garde, you, nefarious brigade!"
Spurgeon snorts and holds his hands up in the air. "I give up, you, ferocious, brave knight," Spurgeon drily said with a roll of his eyes, before adding, "And we are to leave soon, and I'd rather not have our clothes filled with wrinkles. Mother and father will surely take it out on Vimla."
The wind in Esmond's sails blow out as he says, "Mother and father surely won't, will they?" Vilma was more than a mere house elf to them for she'd shown them more love and kindness than their parents ever had.
Spurgeon's eyes flicker momentarily with panic, before Bethanie jumps in to save him. "Spurgeon is just being mean," Bethanie quickly said. "The three of us are perfectly presentable and are ready to attend the Soiree." Esmond nods his head in relief and puts the candleholder back where it was.
The three of them hadn't even begun chatting for long when a loud pop was heard. There before them is an old house elf with a crooked, broken nose, and a lame leg was broken so many times that it never healed properly anymore. The wrinkled house elf named, Waller softly says, "The Master and Mistress are expecting the children."
"Thank you, Waller," Bethanie said followed by the chorus of her two brothers.
The old house elf, Waller was about to apparate away, when Esmond says, "Please wait!"
Waller winces at the words, "Please." Though it filled his heart with joy at hearing such words from the sweet lad, but if the master ever heard such words, his fury would be taken out on both of their hides. Even the elder brother and elder sister had been no exception and had quickly learned to hide their kindness from their parents.
"Aye, young master?" Waller asked as he turned to face the kind lad.
Esmond holds out a tiny bottle. "It's bruise balm for you and Vilma," Esmond proudly said. "I made it with Spurgeon and Bethanie's help."
Waller's eyes soften as he glances at the elder siblings, who nod their heads at him with equally warm expressions. Waller carefully takes the bottle and says, "Waller and Waller's child, Vilma will happily use the master's precious gift. But go on now, the Master and Mistress will become impatient!"
Bethanie rises to her feet and brushes her skirts in place, Waller takes his cue to leave. "Spurgeon, please escort me on my right, and Esmond on my left," Bethanie instructed as she held out her hands to them to take.
The two boys quickly do as their told as each much like Bethanie put on their usual masks into place. They couldn't allow for the slightest of trace of joy nor warmth to be seen on their faces. Their parents would never allow it.
The three of them quickly stride through the manor towards the floo hearth in the front hall. There standing to their mother is their father, Bogdan Fawley. Large with wide shoulders and groomed dark hair, Bogdan was a powerful-looking man. Narrowing his eyes at his three children, Bogdan quick ire has already been drawn.
In a cold, snarling voice, Bogdan says, "Where were you?! I sent that bloody creature to fetch the three of you ages ago!"
Bethanie in a smooth voice, lied, "I was merely going over the guests of the Soiree with Spurgeon and Esmond. They are at the age, where they should begin to care, who their friends are. A childhood friendship can prove to have a very large reach in the future."
Bogdan's wrath is somewhat mollified before he instantly strikes Bethanie across the face. "Do not be late again," Bogdan demanded. "You have all been taught better."
Bethanie bites her inner cheek to keep from snarling at her father, while Spurgeon carefully keeps his face devoid of emotion. It is Esmond, who has the most trouble keeping his face from showing his emotion. Seeing her younger brother's turmoil, Bethanie gently squeezes Esmond's hand causing him to relax and not react any further.
Seeing the large red handprint across her daughter's face, Lysithea sighs in irritation. "Bogdan, we are about to leave for the soiree," Lysithea chided. "Pray tell, what are we going to do about the mark on her face? There will be potential marriage suitors for her."
Bogdan is not ruffled whatsoever by the chastis.e.m.e.nt of his wife. "Fix it," Bogdan sniffed without any worry.
Lysithea removes her wand from her dress and places a careful glamour over her daughter's face to hide the mark. As she works, Lysithea idly remarks, "Villem Selwyn is out of the question."
Bogdan furrows his brows and begins to discuss bluntly in front of his children as if they weren't present. "He has offered an excellent Bride Price for her. And he'd gladly take her now, but I'll not have her die early on like his other two wives. And the girl is showing promise in her studies that will guarantee her graduation from Hogwarts enabling her to survive his fists and anything else he might throw at her."
"The Black's suit seems to be real enough," Lysithea murmured as she put her wand away satisfied at her work.
"Why?" Bogdan's eyes begin to glow dangerously. "What have you heard?!"
"Our daughter has done nothing ill-natured," Lysithea said. "But rather I have recently discovered that Bethanie has successfully cultivated a tentative rapport with the Prince children. And given the Blacks presence at the old Prince's summoning, the Blacks may very well permit the suit of the second son if any of the Prince's speak on behalf of our daughter."
"Is that true?!" Bogdan barked.
"It is true," Bethanie stiffly answered.
Bogdan furrows his brow is not convinced by his wife and daughter's words. Seeing his daughter not trembling nor his wife attempting to placate him with words of flattery, he is further convinced that there may be a slight possibility of the statement being true. "If the statement can be verified and ONLY IF, I will turn down Villem Selwyn's suit for a period of four years. But if at the start of the girl's 7th year the Black's still have not yet proposed, I will accept the suit," Bogdan matter-of-factly stated leaving no room for any margin of error.
Lysithea licks her ruby lips like a cat, who'd just eaten an entire bowl of cream. "Aye, husband, you won't be hearing any protest on my part," Lysithea purred.
Seeing that his wife was satisfied with the statement, Bogdan extends his arm and says, "Not us depart, we are running late as it is."
The three children follow obediently after their parents and line up at the hearth. Their parents floo first leaving the three Fawley children alone. Bethanie looks at Spurgeon and says, "You go first, Spurgeon, Esmond next, and I will arrive last."
Spurgeon nods his head, before grabbing a bit of floo powder and tossing it into the flames. "Crowley Hall," Spurgeon shouted into the green flames, before vanishing into the emerald blaze.
Esmond peeks up at Bethanie and quietly says, "Does it hurt, Bethanie?"
"Not the least bit, Esmond," Bethanie cheerfully lied as she tugged on his cheeks in a gentle tease.
Esmond wrinkles his nose up at her and pries himself from her grasp. Glaring at his older sister, he indignantly huffs, "Girls," before tossing the floo powder into the flames and vanishing away.
Bethanie lips twitch with mirth, before carefully composing her face into a placid, but a pleasant expression. When attending these types of events any chink in one's mask would have the wolves howling with delight and hunger as sharp fangs and claws did their best to tear apart their prey. And the purebloods always went for the soft underbelly.