CHAPTER ONE - STATUS QUO
I sprawl out on my bed and lay my elbows down, using them to prop my head up. Leaning back a little, I regard the nearly-finished painting facing me.
It’s a picture of an orange fox, stark in contrast to the dappled green backdrop behind it. The fox is curled up in a patch of shade, which I inspect with a proud grin. It took me a long time to mix just the right colors for that patch of shade. It almost looks just like a very dark green, but if you look closely, you can notice the clash of yellows and blues and grays hiding in the fibers of the canvas. The only thing missing is the sunlight. I love painting the sunlight at the end. It’s a weird thing to do, I know. Most painters have light in their paintings from the very beginning. I just like bring the light in ray by ray, like pulling up a curtain. It makes me feel like the light is so much more fleeting, and therefore real, because just like real light, at one point it isn’t there, and now it is.
Deep thoughts, I know.
Suddenly, I hear knuckles rap on my polished pine door, and my gold-plated door knob jerks with the force of someone trying to open it.
“Keira, I told you not to lock the door. Let me in, dear,” my mother sighs.
In one fluid motion, I push down on the bed, using it as a springboard to leap off of. Swinging my legs over the end of the bed, I twist, placing one hand on my painting and pushing it into my large walk-in closet. This is easy since my easel has wheels.
If you’re wondering how I just did all this ninja stuff, all I can tell you is that I’ve had lots of practice. Hiding my paintings is a common routine for me now. I know that if my parents or brother know I paint, it’ll disappoint them. Actually, it would do more than disappoint them. It could, in their eyes, ruin everything they’ve ever worked for.
As they’ve told me a myriad of times, as one of the top ten richest families in the country of Gerhumein, our family is in the public eye. We have a status quo to uphold, and anything nontraditional that we do is put under severe scrutiny. Basically, we’re the kinds of families who you read about in the flashy gossip magazines. You know, the ones that they always have in the checkout lane at the grocery store.
After ensuring that my paints and painting are out of view, I head over to the door and let my mom in. She steps in, frowning. Her hair is in an austere bun, and her lavender dress floats off her wispy body. She is completely out of place in the lush vermillions and mahoganies of my exquisite, expensive room.
“Dear, we have to go shopping for the gala,” she huffs. My mom hates shopping, and so do I. However, we have to do it at some point, so I smile in encouragement at her, and we walk out of the room, bracing ourselves for the ordeal to come.
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