Madeleine is furious.

She comes from a rich family with a long history of real estate development “and snobbery.” She’s never liked her family and has never felt like she belonged among them. For most of her life she’s secretly wished her mother would one day tell her she was adopted, just so she can feel relieved that she isn’t related to those “infuriatingly boring and shallow people.”

The only person in her family that she’s ever really liked was her grandmother, who unfortunately passed away when Madeleine was sixteen, but she still thinks about her every day. She was “the only human in this family of emotionless husks.” On the opposite end of the spectrum are her two sisters, whom she passionately despises. “A couple of soulless witches who only ever find satisfaction in taunting [her].”

Madeleine is furious tonight. Her mother’s making her sit through a boring dinner with some of their family from upstate who only ever like to talk about the extravagant trips they take, their insipid views on art and society, and their severely ignorant political opinions. She even has to take out her “hideous piercings.” Her mother’s always incisively commenting on them. “Honestly, Madeleine, you have such a beautiful face, yet you willfully choose to look disgusting. I don’t know how you’ll ever find someone to marry you if you keep this up. Looks don’t last, you know, and you’re throwing away your best years looking like a crackhead.”

Little does her mother know, Madeleine has already found “the man of [her] dreams.” No one in her family knows about Robert because their heads would probably explode when they found out he’s not lighting up his cigars with rolls of hundred-dollar bills.

As time painfully goes by during dinner, Madeleine’s phone vibrates. She discreetly looks at the screen and excuses herself from the table. Once she’s outside the dining room, she runs upstairs to her bedroom. She quickly sends a text, then changes her clothes and puts her piercings back on.

Finally, she grabs a suitcase that was carefully hidden under her bed and cracks her bedroom door to listen for any sounds.

This is one of many short stories I’ve been writing for Teodora’s drawings ever since she said she was bad at writing descriptions for them. I thought I’d enjoy helping her and trying to write something different than I was used to. I’d never collaborated creatively with anyone on anything before Teodora and I love the purpose she’s added to my writing and how she challenges me with each drawing.

For more wonderful drawings, follow Teodora on Instagram @teoctobart. You can also buy her a coffee on her Ko-fi page.

For more stories, she’s got her own tag here.

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