Opening her final natal gift, Wren smiled with relief when she saw the simple quill pen. She had been afraid Kit, her nearest female neighbor and nemesis, would give her something horrid like a pillow embroidered with overblown roses or a stuffed pheasant killed by her hunting-mad father.
“It was my grandmother’s,” Kit murmured with a sharp grin. “She told me many stories about her charmed pen before she died, and I thought a writer like you would enjoy it. It supposedly makes your words more potent.”
Suspecting Kit’s grin implied Wren’s words were weak enough to require magical aid, Wren gritted her teeth but managed a polite smile. “I am certain I shall find your gift quite useful, Kit.”
“But not as useful as mine!” Hawke, Wren’s best friend, flashed an impish grin from the sofa across the room.
Wren touched the fingerless gloves Hawke had given her today. If he had not privately given her his real gift yesterday, she would have been irked with him for his meagre offering.
“Mother helped me select them. She said they were an—” Hawke’s pale blue eyes gleamed with suppressed laughter. “Appropriate gift for a young gentleman to give a young lady.”
Which his real gift had definitely not been. Slanting Hawke an amused glance, Wren touched the gloves again. She doubted either of their parents would consider a volume of racy poetry by their favorite bard, Lantos, an appropriate gift for a girl turning fifteen.
Clearly vexed by Wren’s and Hawke’s secret amusement, Kit moued and rose. “Thank you again for inviting me to your little party, Wren, but I must return to prepare for tonight’s ball. Shall I see you there, Wren?”
Rising as well, Wren shook her head. “No, my parents said I must wait until after my come out next year to attend anything other than family parties.”
Giving Wren a condescending smirk, Kit lowered her voice so Hawke could not hear, “Poor little Wren. My father allows me to attend whatever parties I wish.”
“How fortunate for you,” Wren murmured dryly as the other girl sashayed from the room.
Hawke strolled over to Wren. “I should be off as well, so you can start playing with your gifts.”
Wren chuckled and nudged his shoulder. “I shall let you know tomorrow how useful I found your gifts.”
“I shall live in keen anticipation until then.” Winking at her, Hawke strode from the room.
Gathering her gifts, Wren carried them upstairs to her bedroom. After eyeing Kit’s gift for a moment, Wren picked up the quill pen and began to write the next scene in her latest children’s play about a lonely troll living beneath a blue bridge.