|A frou-frou bonanza.|
|The tiara in question.|
The vintage tulle was taking on a fatigued air, belted as it was with gift wrapping ribbon and worn for days - and nights. The tiara fared somewhat better, being more sturdily made and not being sat or slept upon. Ambulancia built for herself a head-cradling pillow mound, tucked against the far wall side of her bed, that allowed her to sleep with the tiara in place and kept her unreachable by any hands seeking to plunder. Her mother thought in sleep she resembled a half-mad dowager of royal ancestry determined to keep the throne, the rest of the world be damned.
As household nerves and costume materials began to fray, their mother asked the girls who exactly they planned to be for Halloween. There was some muttering that sounded like "princesses" but one couldn't be certain. "If we had two tiaras," shrilled Sireena, "we could be, like, zombie bridesmaids or, you know, just sort of Grey Gardens bridesmaids."
"Wilted, withered bouquets," Ambulancia volunteered. "Chipped manicures, torn hems, smeary lipstick." One of the things the girls loved best about costumes was makeup. Lots and lots of experimenting with makeup.
"What if I got you matching tiaras, like bridesmaids would have?" their mother asked. "Would that work?" Shrugging, turning their faces away and mumbling, the girls said, "It might." Their mother, whose temples already throbbed at the notion of these children referring to Grey Gardens as inspiration for costumes, nodded gently and said, "Good." She helped Sireena release herself from the bunchy cloud of old gowns and saw that Ambulancia removed the antique tiara and put it away.
When their mother was out of the room, the sisters scowled at each other, battling with mean-eyed, squinty stares and stuck-out tongues. Then each began to chuckle softly, little "heh heh heh" sounds. Oh help us, with Halloween still so many days away. To be continued.