"How's the riding going?"
I shrugged indifferently. "As well as to be expected I suppose," I replied, swirling the wine in my glass idly.
"Are you an Olympics hopeful?" he pressed, glancing at me over his own glass as we studied the crowd below us.
"Who isn't?" I replied, taking a sip and looking for a tactful way to loose him. This was a gathering of friends; I didn't want to ruin my happy evening.
"Any sponsors willing to take?"
"No," I snapped, a bit harsher than I meant. "Who would want to pin their hopes on a female with a busted leg?"
He blinked in surprised, but seemed to get the hint and moved to a different topic. I didn't stall him when he made to drift away rather quickly after that. My older brother frowned at me from across the room, but I gave him a cheerful smile which he returned after a moments hesitation. See? Look, everything is fine. Bright, cheerful kittens and big, fluffy bunnies, I thought, willing him to be at ease. I let the smile drop when he turned away and stared moodily into my drink.
"I see your tongue has not lost any of it's sharpness," a voice behind me spoke up.
"I thought you'd be too good for us by now," I teased, turning to face my high school math savior. "Yet here you are, our own personal celebrity."
"I thought you be dead by now," he retorted, but there was no malice in his words. "Yet here you are, playing an aristocrat's wife."
I gave a soft snort. "Hardly."
"I didn't think he'd be getting married before you," he said, nodding toward my younger brother. I watched the happy couple greet their guests.
"Join the club," I mumbled. "I still remember when he would steal my nail polish and paint the walls."