Words: 2,706 for Chapter 22.
Basic details: Delia attends a birthday party for her friends' daughter and gathers some ideas to make an appropriate gift for the princess's naming ceremony.
The good: New characters appear--sort of--and the birthday party for Fiona and Drake's daughter Lilac is kind of a neat way to reestablish that Delia isn't really a part of this world that's moving on with its everyday activities. I also just really wanted a way to feature her friends and family one more time before I end the book, and throw in some atmospheric foreshadowing. Also, though I've made several references to people who aren't heteronormative among people Delia has met in the land of the dead, this chapter features the first reference to same-sex attractions between actual living people. Hooray for incidental queerness.
The bad: I just hope it doesn't read as filler. Also, an unexpected conversation between Delia and some other party guests defaulted to the usual fixation on Delia being ~different~ from other people and I'm pretty sick of that schtick, but I guess she is too. I like to remind readers that this is the kind of treatment she gets when she hangs out with other fairies, but I don't like how repetitive it gets.
Drake interrupts Delia's getting-to-know-you session with party guests Mariel and Ruby:
Drake appeared at the head of the table with a plate full of fragrant lamb meat. “Hello, ladies,” he said. “How about that, Delia, you’ve finally learned to tolerate small talk?”
I looked away from him. “Our talk isn’t small.” It kind of was, though.
“Just like a man, always assuming women’s chats are empty,” said Ruby.
“You were talking about flowers, you hens.”
“Flowers are my life’s work, you goat.”
When Fiona's daughter and her circle friends are discussing academic frustrations and Drake half-seriously suggests Delia could tutor them (like she tutored Fiona and Drake when they were in the same place):
“I don’t do tutoring now. I think it’s best if you learn from someone who does things in a more typical way. Or you could end up like me.”
Fiona made her explosive one-notch-below-panic face. “Delia! What a thing to say. You talk about ‘ending up’ like you like it’s a bad thing. You’re very successful!”
I smiled. “Lovely of you to say, Fiona. But most people probably don’t want to become lonely old ladies who live in a tower talking to birds.”
“That’s not what she does,” Fiona muttered. “And you’re not old!”
“Not to mention she assures me at every turn that she is not lonely,” my mother said, elbowing me.
For the record, Delia's only twenty-nine at this point. She's kidding about being an old lady.
Delia making plans to sneak into that famous party:
I would have to hide myself completely. And fairies—including my old enemies—would be in that room. I would have to sneak in and out undetected.
And if anyone sensed me, I would be exposed.
I might fail.
There was a very good chance I would fail, in fact.
And the consequences could be life-threatening.
For me, and for the princess.