Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Something you do really well, Peabody, is to capture the quirky and affectionate dynamics of relationships like the banter about princesses and knights errant.

Nadine’s response will be fascinating. Either she’ll double down or be painfully apologetic in precisely the way Kiki does not want.

She may also end up becoming the biggest fan and unofficial aunt of the sisterhood.
 
Nadine has only one good option and plenty of bad options.
Her one good option is to keep quiet and not say anything.
Her main concern is not to do anything that will make Kat go in to full Gräfin von Tigeress mode.
 
Part 98, Chapter 1551
Chapter One Thousand Five Hundred Fifty-One


31st March 1963

Tempelhof, Berlin

It should not have been a surprise, but Ben’s mother had been furious and humiliated about what had happened. She had made numerous assumptions about Kiki and to say that she had gotten things profoundly wrong was an understatement. The whole thing was compounded by Ben suggesting that perhaps she shouldn’t have been eavesdropping in the first place. Yes, it was true, Kiki had always been THAT Kristina and he had known about it for a long time. No, he had not been lying to his parents over the previous years. Ben had not told them who she was because Kiki had asked him not to for exactly the reasons that he had seen himself over the years that he had known her. It was inescapable that people generally behaved strangely towards Kiki when they found out who she was. They either wanted something from her, they hated her for the damnedest reasons or else they got all giddy and weird. She was now worried that Ben’s parents would fall into one of those categories now that they knew the secret that Kiki had been keeping from them.

Ben telling them that they knew Kiki for who she really was had mostly fallen on deaf ears.

Over the last few days, Ben had seen how his father had reacted. He had immediately gone to his desk and looked through the stack of magazines that he kept in the in and out boxes that had never been used for anything else. The only good photograph of Kiki was one that had been taken of her at some palace event a few years earlier, she was wearing a white dress and she had a blank look on her face. Ben knew that it was the expression that she had said was practiced, it was like a mask that she wore whenever she was in an uncomfortable situation that she had been given no choice in the matter. The rest of the photographs were taken at a distance or were obscured somehow. Kiki was extremely adept hiding behind other people if she knew a photographer was close.

Looking at the photograph, it was undeniably Kiki but at the same time it was difficult to tell that she was the same frumpy young woman who they had seen around the house from time to time. In it, Ben couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was when she put in the effort. He figured that she also had a team of people behind her appearance on that occasion. Professionals who took care of clothes, hair and makeup.

After a few days of negotiations, Ben finally convinced his parents and Kiki that they needed to deal with this matter because it wasn’t going away. Kiki would come for lunch on Sunday and they would see if there was some sort of accommodation that could be reached. When Kiki arrived, it was in the form of her arguing with two blue uniformed soldiers about whether or not their presence was necessary. Ben recognized them as being from the First Foot and he doubted that there could have been a more divisive means for Kiki to have reminded everyone of just who she was.

Lunch turned out to be an awkward affaire, with everyone sitting in silence and just picking at their food. Ben’s father did his best to draw Kiki into a conversation over just what her did. Her answer was that her father wished that he could be a mechanic just served to add a new layer of awkwardness. Finally, Ben’s mother had had enough.

“I want to know why you felt that it was permissible for you to come into my house and lie to me, to involve my son in your games. You certainly spent a lot of time leading Benjamin on” Nadine blurted out, “And don’t try to tell me it was because you were trying to protect us or some other contrivance. You did this for years.”

Kiki just stared at her plate, not saying a word.

“All the sneaking around, seeing Ben when you thought I wouldn’t find out” Nadine said, “I am thinking that this was all a game to you. Wasn’t it? That we are just pieces in a silly game that a girl from nearly unimaginable wealth and power plays to pass the time when she’s trying to ward off boredom.”

It was only now that Ben realized that his mother had seated him across the table from Kiki on purpose. He desperately wanted to reach out to her, to let her know that she wasn’t alone here, but the table was in the way. Kiki had once told him that if there was one thing that had defined her childhood, it was loneliness. At the time she had no idea that it was not normal for it to be that way and she had escaped into the extensive collection of books that her family had. Today, seeing her sitting at the table he thought he was seeing what that must have been like.

“It was never like that” Kiki said, her voice hardly more than a whisper.

“Nadine” Ben’s father said, “I think that is…”

Ben saw his father visibly wilt under the furious stare that his mother gave him. “Not one more word Albert” She said, biting off each word.

“I just want to feel normal” Kiki said, “Is that so hard to understand?”

“By lying to us?” Nadine asked, “Where did you honestly think it would lead?”

“I didn’t think it would lead anywhere” Kiki said, Ben saw a tear roll down her cheek, “Ben will always be special to me, but our relationship has always been impossible. Eventually some reporter would find out, or a photographer would get a picture and it would all fall apart once everybody knew about it. Then it would be over and there would be nothing I could do.”

Ben was horrified that Kiki had just told his mother exactly how to break them apart forever. What was she thinking?
 
Now, his mother had told off one of the most dangerous women in the world because of Ben. She had also carried on about how Gräfin Katherine had a collection of guttersnipes and had wondered aloud if she was some sort of Fagin. After that, Ben could hardly tell his mother the truth. Instead, he had confided that in his father who had looked like he was going to bust up laughing over the entire matter.
Mostly, Ben’s father had wanted to know if Kiki really was that Kristina and had been all smiles when Ben said that he had kissed her, once anyway.

“At least you didn’t take it any further than that” His father had said, “That just would have been a source of endless trouble.”
Ben's father knew about who Kiki is really, he just is in CYA mode now and hoping that Nadine doesn't find out that he kept the secret from her, that would I think make Nadine even madder then we thought was possible and make her do something that would make it fun for us to watch, not fun for Nadine, but fun for us, The Schadenfreude Bunch.
 
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