It was dinner.
Jealousy filled Ritsuki.
She sent Inue a cold look, but the other was too busy to notice.
So were the others.
Inue was at the other end of the long table, facing Ryonuusuke, who was at the other end.
She, as the first wife, was supposed to take that seat.
But her husband insisted Inue sit there, for welcoming purposes.
Ritsuki didn't believe him. She could detect the lie from miles away. Ryonuusuke didn't want her there. He wanted Inue to sit there, at her rightful place, she could hear him say in his mind.
She knew she was never going to get another chance to sit in the proper seat of the first wife, as long as Inue was alive.
It insulted her.
Ryonuusuke insulted her right into her face.
The others didn't care.
Her chest hurt.
Katsuki ate beside her, his handsome, smiling face and loving smile as her only comfort. She loved her son more than anything else.
There used to be her husband, but things have changed.
Sitting beside Katsuki was Midori, the eldest daughter of Ryonuusuke's second wife; Ezil.
Midori was 11, and Ritsuki liked her very much.
Ezil was another subject all together. Her husband merely married her because she was pregnant, and nothing more. Ezil was sickly.
Ezil was no threat, and Ritsuki and she shared the same feelings towards Inue. Sometimes, Ritsuki would visit Ezil in her room, and talk to her, asking for advice.
And advice she would get.
Midori ate silently, ignoring the fact that Inue had just asked her a question.
Inue repeated the question. And remained unanswered.
Ryonuusuke's eyes narrowed, as he put down his cup. "Midori, Inue just asked you a question. Answer her."
Midori looked up from her plate, and glided up, taking a few steps backward. She bowed formally. "I have lost my appetite. Please excuse me." She said, obviously not wanting to stick around and talk to Inue.
Ritsuki smiled into her cup. Most of the previous family of Ryonuusuke, Ezil's children, Katsuki and her hated Inue. It was nice to know that somebody had the same views as you, and at this rate, nobody could say she was biased.
Ryonuusuke looked up, his eyes flaring in anger. "Midori, you are being very rude-"
The young girl merely turned away, mumbling "Excuse me." all over again.
The head of the house gritted his teeth. "Stop, Midori."
Then she stopped.
"Your behavior is unacceptable. You are to be banned from returning to the town." He stated simply, and Ritsuki blanched.
Midori went to town to play with the other kids, sometimes bringing her sisters and brothers along too, and Ritsuki knew the girl felt like she belonged there. Her husband had no qualms about it before, and now, he was removing his daughter from her only sanctuary because of ...
Inue looked pleased.
Her face scrunched up into an enraged one. "Father! That is ridiculous, you can't-"
"I am doing it now. You cannot tell me what to do, Midori. You are excused." He cut off, returning to his meal, avoiding any of their eyes.
Midori burst into tears and ran out of the room, cursing Ryonuusuke.
Inue stood from her seat and went to his side. "You did the right thing. We must not spoil the children. They are to be faced with discipline."
Ritsuki frowned, her anger spiking.
The other women at Inue's end voiced their agreement.
Only if Ryonuusuke ever listened to his children...
Only if he could at least pay attention to them...
Ritsuki gripped her chopsticks too hard and broke both of them. The splinters flew from the force.
Silence came and all eyes were on her.
She gave them a polite smile. "It seems like my chopsticks were too weak, or maybe my grip was too tight, I apologize if I disturbed the moment. Megumi, replace them."
Megumi emerged from the corner and took the broken chopsticks from Ritsuki's hand, discreetly glaring at Inue.
Inue scoffed, and then stood up. "I think it is a better idea if Ryonuusuke and I eat alone in his room. We have much to discuss about the business."
Ritsuki's frown deepened. Business was supposed to be handled by her; the first wife.
Katsuki, her dear son, realized this too and opened his mouth, "but Father, I thought Mother is supposed to be the one-"
He caught Inue's displeased glare.
"-dealing with it."
Said mother smiled with a bit of pride. Her son was wonderful, not backing down even if that witch's glare was directed upon him.
Ryonuusuke didn't agree.
"Ritsuki can't do everything in the household, Katsuki. She needs her rest, too, so for the moment, it shall be Inue who will be helping me." He turned to her and gave her a smile, that she wished was genuine, but she knew it wasn't, "If that is alright with you?"
No, she wanted to say, It is not alright with me at all.
She would've said yes, if his smile was real, and loving, and directed to her, but...
She said yes, anyway.
The both of them could go do whatever they want.
Not long, now...
"Excellent!" He beamed, immediately turning to Inue and whispering something to her ear. She giggled.
Katsuki noticed her mother's expression and stood up. "We thank you for the meal. Mother and I will be leaving now, Father." He murmured, barely audible, but the addressed person only nodded, not even sparing them a look.
They got up and left.
Ritsuki took her son's hand into hers and smiled lightly. "I love you, Katsuki."
"I love you too, Mother."
She wants a good childhood for him, and if it has to reach large measures to get rid of Inue, then so be it.