Disclaimer: I do not own Passions
Fancy quickly crossed the room, practically running in her effort to reach the Lopez-Fitzgerald's front door before anyone else.
"Ah! Fancy, there you are," With her mouth open, staring wide-eyed at her younger sister, Fancy didn't know what to do. "…Aren't you going to invite me in?"
As soon as the words were out of Pretty's mouth, horror and fear stormed through her, inviting her in was the last thing she wanted to do.
"Of course," Luis's deep, musical voice interjected from beside her, and Fancy found herself spinning around to look up at the handsome man she was so hopelessly in love with.
Luis' dark brown eyes stared back at her with confusion, not understanding why she hadn't greeted her sister yet.
"Thank-you!" Pretty emphasised the word, shooting her a dirty look as she brushed past her and into the modest home. "At least someone in this town has manners."
"Pretty!" Ethan's uncomfortable call of surprise turned everybody's heads, and Fancy shot her half-brother a subtle glare, silently asking him if their sister's presence here was his fault. "We weren't expecting you…" And with those words, Fancy didn't know what to think.
Wringing her hands nervously in front of her, her sky blue eyes darting around the crowded living room, a horrible churning feeling in her stomach began.
"Hey," Luis whispered, leaning close to her. "Are you alright?" He asked with concern.
Her heart melted.
Looking up into his frowning face, Fancy forced a small smile to pull up the edges of her mouth, determined not to worry until there was actually a problem.
Though, knowing Pretty, that wouldn't be long in coming.
"Oh my Gosh!" Theresa exclaimed, rushing around the couch in order to shake her sister's hand in greeting. "I've heard so much about you over the years, I can't believe that this is the first time I'm meeting you!" The enthusiastic words had Pretty's eyebrows lifting, and she regarded Theresa cooly.
"Mmmm, yes, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald…well, it is a pleasure." Fancy winced at how obviously fake the sentiment was, hating the way her sister was acting to the lovely people she hoped to one day call family.
Theresa's smile faded.
Fancy quickly stepped up, hoping to head off any further damage Pretty might cause.
"Pretty," She laughed weakly. "What are you doing here?"
"She said that she was looking for you," Paloma piped up from the back of the room, drawing all eyes to her.
Fancy's heart sank, panic beginning to set in. "Really?" Turning back to her sister, her eyes took on a sharp edge, silently warning Pretty not to start anything. "And you came all the way out here?"
And that's when Luis decided to intervene, taking control of the tense situation with the effortless grace of someone used to far more stressful occurrences.
"Pretty," He stepped forward with his signature half-grin, predictably softening the stern lines around her sister's mouth. "I don't think we've been introduced; I'm Luis, this is my Mama, Pilar, Miguel, Kay, their daughter, Maria, and you've already met Paloma and Noah."
Unable to do anything else but politely nod at such a suave introduction, Fancy smothered the smirk that was desperately wishing to make an appearance on her face. Enjoying the sight of her snobbish sister forced, through the very same rules of etiquette that allowed her to snub Theresa, to accept Luis' words with grace.
"Of course," She murmured politely, smiling a close-lipped smile at everyone in the room.
Pretty's dark blue eyes suddenly froze, taking on a gleam of intense interest.
"Wait," Her sister grinned, turning to face Luis and Fancy more fully. "Not, Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald? The same Luis that is one half of, Sheridan and Luis?" She asked.
Fancy's smile immediately dropped, hating the way the living room was suddenly plunged into silence as everyone shifted where they stood. The mention of Sheridan only highlighting her aunt's unusual absence from the family event.
Luis's smile became strained. "…Yes," He finally nodded, slipping an arm around Fancy's slender waist and squeezing her hip comfortingly.
Fancy forced herself to push her anger aside, much more focused on getting Pretty out of here and back to the mansion before her sister said something that could do some real damage.
And Pretty certainly had enough stories…and ammunition.
But at that moment, the doorbell rang once again.
"Noah, would you get that?" Pilar asked with a strained smile, her former job in the Crane Household leaving her in no ignorance of the potentially explosive situation that her Christmas Dinner had just become.
The Crane sisters competitive relationship wasn't exactly a secret. Both Fancy and Pretty had never been subtle enough for it to be. But the family had worked tirelessly to minimise the social fallout their fights and squabbles had caused over the years. Even so, the Crane employees knew very well the animosity between the sisters, the bitter rivalry that had made even Julian wince with sympathy.
And she had no intention of Luis becoming aware of that sordid detail from her past.
She'd changed since she came back to Harmony. Even her mother had said so. She was less spoiled, she actually cared about other people's feelings, and, for the first time in her life, she was working for a living, and she was loving it.
The Fancy Crane that Pretty knew no longer existed.
And she liked it that way.
The last thing she wanted was for the moral, faithful Luis to become privy to the failings of her youth.
She could only imagine what he'd think of her actions.
"So, Pretty," Kay began, breaking the tense silence with her usual spunky confidence. "What brought you back to Harmony?"
"Well, I haven't seen the family in so long; what with everyone seemingly moving back here permanently and everything, so I decided that a visit was long overdue," Pretty shrugged.
Fancy glared at the carpeted floor, biting her tongue to stop the caustic remark on the tip of her tongue from escaping.
Pretty hated her family. Every last one of them. There was no way she was here because she missed them.
"Are you staying at the Mansion?" Luis asked, and Fancy couldn't tell whether the interest in his voice was feigned or not.
"I am," Pretty smiled brightly, her eyes trailing subtly over his impressive body.
"Hey," Noah called, interrupting the conversation. "Look what I've got." Holding up multiple christmas wreaths and small, white envelops, her ex-boyfriend chuckled as little Maria instantly ran for the brightly wrapped package; instinctively knowing it was hers.
"Oh, those are beautiful!" Pilar exclaimed, quickly moving over to the wreathes and envelopes in order to read the names and distribute the gifts to the right people.
"Miguel, Ethan," Pilar smiled, handing the two men a wreath, "And, Noah, of course." The eldest Bennet held up the wreath he was already holding, allowing Fancy to see the charming gifts for the fist time.
Crafted from real mistletoe, holly and twining wood; bright red berries hung down in different sections of the incredibly thoughtful decoration, making her smile.
"And here Kay, this is for you," Pilar passed the brunette a common white envelope, passing Paloma and Theresa there's at the same time.
"What?" Luis laughed, pulling her closer to his side, making her smile. "Nothing for Fancy or myself?"
His Mother sent him a mock disapproving look, knowing that his words were said in jest, only for Kay's shocked gasp of surprise, a second later, to distract everyone's attention.
"Oh, it's beautiful!" Kay exclaimed, holding up the delicate gold chain and cross to show the room.
Seeing the simple, yet, expensive jewellery for what it was, a slow scowl began pulling down Fancy's eyebrows as a bitter suspicion bloomed inside her mind.
Those necklaces were expensive, more so than their recipients knew; and wreaths had come to every man in the room with the exception of Luis.
Unfortunately for her, Pretty was never one to keep her opinions to herself.
"Wow," Pretty leaned closer to Theresa to inspect the necklace she was holding with an experienced eye. "I'm surprised anyone in this town could afford jewellery of this quality."
"Pretty!" Fancy snapped, appalled by her sister's manners.
"What?" Familiar dark blue eyes locked on hers, daring her to say she was wrong.
"I'm sorry, Pilar," Ethan, ever the gentlemen, stepped in and smoothed over his half-sister's thoughtless comment. "She didn't mean anything by it."
Yes, she did; came the immediate, betraying thought.
"Are they really that expensive?" Paloma asked curiously, brushing off the insult easily.
The arm around her waist suddenly transformed into a bar of steel, and Fancy knew Luis had come to the same conclusion she had.
Biting her lip, she looked up at his turned face, wanting to see the look in his eyes. But he wasn't looking at her. He was looking at the wreath Miguel was examining with fathomless eyes, his thoughts indecipherable.
"Well, they're lovely," Pretty smiled, sighing with contentment as she looked around the crowded living room.
Fancy shot her sister a look.
"Um, I guess someone should call Ivy and Julian, to, you know," Miguel raised his eyebrows. "Let them know you're here, Pretty."
In fact, the whole room froze.
"Paloma," Noah chuckled without humour, sending his girlfriend a significant look.
In response, Paloma's eyes narrowed on her boyfriend until he eventually caved, moving to stand behind her in a show of solidarity.
"Excuse me?" Fancy asked quietly, highly aware that she couldn't simply snap at Luis' youngest sibling. He was incredibly protective of his family, more so of Paloma than anyone else.
"Sheridan is Pretty's Aunt, Fancy," Paloma, uncowed by the room's attention, addressed her words directly to Luis. "I'd say she has the right to know, … don't you?" Her voice was challenging, a stubborn fire lighting her dark eyes from within as she stared across at her brother.
So…what did you think? ;D I'd REALLY love to hear ;D