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Dreams have only one owner at a time.
That's why dreamers are lonely.
~ Erma Bombeck
Tuesday, November 28th ~ Evening

The evening had been quite satisfactory so far. The new set of china was exactly what Narcissa had wanted to offset the darkness of the new drapes in the main dining room. She had eaten her dinner even slower than usual in order to study how each piece looked in relation to the other dishes on the table.

I think... new crystal. With the edges trimmed to match the light green on the china.

Her eyes were more concerned with the gleam of the lights on the dessert dishes than she was with what was contained in them and found herself with a larger serving of the confection than she normally allowed herself.

No dessert tomorrow, she decided as her fork split it open and the aroma of melted chocolate reached her nose.
Lucius had been rather silent during the meal, his thoughts settling on the woman across the table from him. He watched as she took a small bite of the dessert, savoring the rich chocolate in a way he knew that she was taking pleasure from it.

Picking up his wine, he swirled the liquid a moment. Things were certainly not turning out like he planned. Draco was beginning to seem like a hopeless case although he still held out hope with the Parkinson girl.

"Excellent meal," he drawled, taking a sip of wine.
"The roulade was dry and the service of the cheese course was abominable."

Bellatrix' mood was as ebullient as ever.

"Hardly worthy of your new china, Narcissa."
Narcissa's head turned in her sister's direction while her eyebrows rose.

"Really? Mine was quite adequate," Narcissa remarked as she put her fork down and patted her mouth. Fully half of the dessert still filled her dish, but it would remain uneaten.

Narcissa was almost moved to ask if either of them would like to participate in a game of Wist, but held her tongue. There were some nights it was possible, but in her estimation - this wasn't one of them.

"Shall we adjourn to the library for after dinner drinks?"
"Of course, the meal wasn't up to your standards, Bella," Lucius purred. "Next time perhaps a bit of gruel and stale toast will suffice."

He laid aside his napkin and stood, moving around to pull out Narcissa's chair. It was the same every evening. Dinner, drinks, and then retiring. Circe, when had he become jaded with the simpleness of life.
Bellatrix rose regally from the table in order to make her way to the library.

"If expecting the fare to live up to the standards of the home my sister has wrought is an act deserving of punishment, Lucius, then I declare myself guilty."
As she rose from her chair, Narcissa tried to hide the smile that slid over her lips and then decided not to.

It's quite - nice to hear them bickering again, she decided as she took Lucius' arm and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek.

Time to stir up a little more dissension?


Giving them each a small smile as they made their way to the library, Narcissa paused before delivering her reminder and asking for their opinions.

"Since the board will be dining with us tomorrow evening, I thought I might have the conservatory prepared for after dinner entertaining."
The "discussion" in which Bellatrix had been apprised of the upcoming breaking of bread with the members of the Board of Governors had been brief and pointed: appearances must be maintained. She must swallow her spleen, and all the board members must leave Malfoy Mansion alive and unharmed.

"How delightful," Bellatrix sneered. "A conservatory filled with lack-wits and blood traitors for our amusement."

The thought of after-dinner port became more appealing — fortification for the next day's degradation.

"I know the menu is set, sister, but surely the opportunity to add Suggestibility Solution to certain guests' soup course should not be wasted."

And if the more wary of the guests took any action to check their repast for potions or anything untoward: why, that would be a dreadful insult to their hosts for which they would pay dearly. Bellatrix saw no danger in the idea whatsoever. She settled regally into her favored seat in the library, quite prepared to defend the plan further.
For once, Lucius agreed with Bella and he loathed having the fops in the manor especially when they considered him a 'spouse' to be tolerated instead of an equal to be contended with.

Equal? He snorted at his own thought. Never was he their equal but their superior.

Waiting until the women had taken a seat before sitting, Lucius smirked slightly. "It is preferable to open threats and hexes," he drawled as a House Elf brought them their drinks.
Narcissa considered their suggestion. She liked the idea, but didn't like the idea that the 'solution' might accidentally be added to the wrong bowls.

"I agree - as long as the - could it be 'painted' on the bowls intended for our guests so that it mixes with the soup as it is added to the bowls? After all - a soup taken from a common tureen wouldn't be questioned would it?"
Bellatrix leaned forward slighly in her eagerness.

"If they question, they will pay for the insult. If they alter your seating arrangment — that is an insult as well. They would not dare."

Only two or three had the spine to do anything, and even they would be bound by the constraints of propriety. Such as they were in this household.

Sensing victory — and a more amusing evening to come than she had hoped — at hand, Bellatrix allowed her lips to curl into what might have been a smile.

"All that would remain to be settled seems to be what the conversation should hold ... Everett Kellogg's ill health and need for rest, perhaps."
Lucius rolled his eyes, already bored by the future conversation that would transpire at the dinner party.

"Or wishes that his ill health would hasten his desmise," he muttered darkly, before a slow smile curved his lips. "Rest, yes, I believe complete rest and nothing taxing for the old chap would be a decent topic to persue."
Narcissa refrained from rolling her eyes and considered the liquid at the bottom of her glass.

"I would think an opportunity like this would be the perfect time to suggest appointing a new Headmaster at Hogwarts, myself," Narcissa said with a smile before draining the glass and holding it out to an elf who refilled it.

"It would have to be subtle of course. Perhaps that 'unfortunate' incident with the - was it two or three students that died last spring - could be brought up? Not to mention the fact that the current Head did absolutely nothing to dislodge the Fae before they did their worst."
"Quite so."

The rich liquid swirled around Bellatrix's tongue before being swallowed.

"Retirement is an honorable option once a certain age has been reached. Kellogg will see ... And it will be the only option for the detestable woman and some of her pet teachers soon enough, with all the mismanagment that school has seen — and then the care of young minds can be put back upon the proper path."

Together with the more elderly students being molded at the Phoenix ... yes. The future had possibility after all; not all had been lost in the flames on that darkest of days six years ago.
Admiring the two Black sisters at their Slytherin best as they plotted, Lucius sipped his brandy, his own thoughts a bit more optomistic than they'd currently been.