Stone is Beryl’s brother, making him Eva’s nephew.
“Have you see the tschotske of Aunt Zenobia’s? I left it by the sink.”
Grandma Ardella’s kitchen was, as it always was on Christmas morning, bursting to the seams with cousins, aunts and Aunt, daughters and granddaughters and the rare uncomfortable daughter-in-law, everyone with a purpose while all but the very brave of the men huddled in the living room, pretending to discuss sports. In the kitchen, Ardella herself presided, or tried to, although her sisters, as always, made that difficult, and her granddaughters were old enough to be both helping and far too controlling.
“That funny gold thing with the rabbit?” Fallon looked guilty. “That was a Zenobia thing? I thought it was part of the cake treats.”
“Oh, bloody hell.” Ardella frowned. “Well, pass me the mix and I’ll strain it out. It’s not the sort of thing you want getting in the batter for too long. It might leak.”
“Leak?” squeaked a daughter-in-law, what-was-her-name. Jane, maybe. “Was it a poison ring?”
“Nothing like that,” Aunt Rosaria laughed, bustling the girl out of the kitchen. “Help me find the jarred cranberries, Jenny, that’s a good girl.”
“Jaenelle,” she corrected weakly, but she’d be Jenny by the time the night was over.
“How bad of a leak?” Fallon asked cautiously, once Jane-Jenny-whatever was out of the room. “Are we talking the sort of thing like happened the year we let Aunt Asta make the cake?”
“Well, that certainly was an interesting year,” Ardella admitted. “And it could be. I hadn’t figured out what it did yet, and Evangaline is…” Is far too young, she didn’t say, although it was a close thing. “…has her hands full, with inheriting the House and everything.”
“It’s just,” Fallon continued unhappily, “I already baked the muffins, and they’re out on the tray.”
“The tray in the living room?” Ardella frowned. Once the menfolk got the cakes…
“Ow!” Her grandson’s shout echoed through the house. “Damnit,” and the boy knew better, even Hadelai didn’t raise her children that badly, “my… ooooh.”
Ardella put her face in her hands. This was going to be a long Christmas.