Penelope needs a drink

The moment Zara closed the kitchen door behind them, Penelope bent over and began manhandling Zara’s thigh furiously.

“What on earth?” Zara squawked, swatting Penelope’s hands away.

“I can’t do this,” Penelope said, her hands trembling. “I can’t fake it. I can’t pretend everything’s all right when I’m so nervous with worry and potential heartbreak.”

“And somehow tenderizing my leg makes you feel better?”

“No, I … I … I need a drink.”

Zara bit her knuckle hard to keep from laughing. It took her several false starts at attempting to speak before she could produce words instead of laughter. She then flipped up the hem of her dress, whisked her ubiquitous flask from its garter, unscrewed it and handed it to Penelope.

After one very long draught and a tarantella sort of seizure, Penelope felt fortified and ready to face the Collinses. As dinner advanced, Penelope’s dismay abated, as did her inhibitions, and Zara made a point to ply Penelope with seconds and thirds of Dash’s delicious dishes in order to combat the alcohol in Penelope’s system that threatened to derail the proceedings.

[Excerpt from WIP Reading Between the Leaves]
The One Lump or Two flask is available at CafePress btw :)