Don't Speak (A Modern Fairytale, #5)

By: Katy Regnery

PART I





Chapter 1


“Stay still or I’ll stick you again!”

With three pins held between her lips, Laire garbled the words, but her older sister Kyrstin understood her meaning and stopped wiggling.

“You’re so nasty when you’re workin’.”

Laire shrugged, pulling a pin from her mouth and securing the hemline she’d just painstakingly folded. The white satin was slippery under her nimble fingers, but the pins held it in place.

“Laire, when you goin’ to make me somethin’ pretty?” asked Isolde, Laire’s other sister, who, at forty-something weeks pregnant, sat like a beached whale on their father’s couch, flipping through a bridal magazine.

Laire turned to Isolde, giving her belly a dry look before raising her eyes to her sister’s face, a fair facsimile of her own. “When Junior’s finally here.”

“I’m sick of bein’ pregnant,” said Isolde, flipping a page. “I want to be hot again.”

Kyrstin looked down at Laire, and both girls snickered softly, prompting a dirty look from Isolde.

“Just you wait, Kyrstin,” she said, slapping her magazine down on the coffee table, which had been improvised from an old wooden crab trap with a piece of oval glass set on top. “I bet Remy knocks you up within a month.”

“No way,” said Kyrstin, puffing up the sleeves that Laire had copied from one of the dozens of magazines they’d bought at the Walmart in Jacksonville two months ago. “No offense, but I’m smarter than that, Issy. I got a prescription for the pill. And I’m usin’ it. I’m not ready to be a mom yet. No way.”

“Humph,” grunted Isolde, sitting up and placing her hands on her knees. “Then you’ll be an old mom with saggy boobs. See how you like that.”

“Speaking of boobs,” said Laire, standing up to check the bustline of the white dress. “Did yours grow a size since last month?”

Kyrstin narrowed her eyes. “Plannin’ a weddin’ is stressful. Remy’s mama is an out-and-out witch, and y’all know it.”

“That’s what you get for marryin’ a dingbatter,” said Isolde, hefting herself off the couch with a sigh. “Daddy got any tea, Laire?”

“In the fridge,” said Laire, plucking a pin from a plush tomato that she’d found in her mother’s abandoned sewing basket. She liked remembering her mother—who’d passed away ten years ago, when Laire was only eight—holding the tomato in her hands as she pinned Laire’s Halloween costume. You’re going to be the prettiest mermaid Corey Island ever saw, little Laire. She blinked back sudden tears and shouted over her shoulder to her oldest sister: “Don’t drink it all. Daddy’ll be home soon, and tired.”

Kyrstin pulled at the bodice of the dress as Isolde waddled to the kitchen. “Ain’t fair callin’ Remy a dingbatter. He and his been here for ten years or more.”

Laire laughed softly, shaking her head. Anyone who hadn’t lived on Corey for more than three or four generations was likely to be called a dingbatter or a woodser, and her sister knew it.

“Don’t listen to Issy,” said Laire, who loved her sisters despite their constant bickering. “She’s just big and ornery right now.”

“Please, Lord, let the baby come soon.”

“She’s due tomorrow,” said Laire. She tried to slip two fingers into the bodice, but it was too tight against her sister’s skin. “You want me to let this out or you want to lose a few pounds before July?”

“Only three weeks till the weddin’,” griped Kyrstin. “Best let it out.”

Laire nodded. “Take it off, then. Can’t pin it so close without makin’ you bleed, and there’s no time for more fabric if you stain it.”

Kyrstin huffed softly, stepping down from the milk crate she’d been standing on in the center of their father’s living room, and heading for the back hallway. Just before she disappeared, she turned to look at her little sister. “It’s a beautiful dress, Laire. Like a princess dress. You did a good job. Mama . . .” Her voice slid away, but she cleared her throat to find it again. “She woulda been real proud.”

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