These are two of the stories of her pre-Aunt time, both originally posted in early 2014.
Securing One's Own Legacy
Her older relatives did not like Zenobia.
Her relatives did not like Zenobia, with very few exceptions. She was, to quote one particularly annoyed relative - her grandmother, Festia - a most recalcitrant and difficult child.
She was not supposed to become the Aunt. Her own Aunt Beulah had tagged her as one of five hopefuls, back when they were young (Zenobia had been twelve; the others had been between ten and fifteen), but her grandmother and the others of that generation had opinions on the matters. It would be Giselle. It would be Bernadette. It would be Mary, even, or Claudette, but it would not be Zenobia.
Bernadette had been the easiest to eliminate, because Bernadette did not want to be the Aunt. She wanted out of the little backwater town, out of the influence of the women of the family, out of the planned everything.
Zenobia sent her postcards three times a year, and got back lovely pictures of Paris.
Mary had been trickier. Mary liked the taste of power, she liked the whispers of knowledge, she liked the reputation that one got.
She was also an immensely good dancer, sinful as it was supposed to be. Zenobia talked to a boy who knew a boy who knew a man, and Mary had become The Flying Marionette, the headlining act in a famous circus, with a reputation for being a bit of a witch.
The farmer's son from down the road had gotten Giselle pregnant when she was eighteen. A shotgun marriage and a family-quick house-raising had taken her out of the running.
And now the Grannies and aunts and cousins were starting to look askance at Zenobia, and Aunt Beulah was not ready to pass over the mantle to anyone.
It was likely Claudette would take herself out of the running in the next three or four years, but in the meantime, Zenobia had to shift their attention from her. She would be Aunt, but the family didn't know yet that their attempts had been doomed from the start.
"Do you, Zenobia, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, in poverty and wealth, so long as you both shall live?"
It was odd things that tipped you off.
The way your sister Alexandra wore her hat when she went out; the way your sister Bernadette tried not to giggle when Alexandra stepped out, the way your mother was more fierce than normal with the knife, preparing dinner, and more generous than usual with your portions.
It was odd things that saved you – the necklace your grandmother had given you, that whispered warnings, the flowers an uncle had shared, that gave off a dangerous odor, the way Alexandra never could learn to step lightly, even when she was plotting murder.