“I wanted you to be better.
“I’m not!” Hayley shrieked, saltwater smothering her eyes as she whipped her hand through the air. “I’m a pickpocket! A street rat! You scooped me out of the gutter and no…no crest on my clothing, or-or alphabet reciting, or sword training will fix that!”
“Why? Why steal? You had everything you could possibly need here.”
Hayley snorted at that. Everything came with strings attached. He was the one to tell her and now he acted as if she should have just smiled with a jolly pat on her head for the kindly Duchess not letting her starve on the doorstep. Gavin raised up higher, his shoulders squaring him into place for Hayley’s indignity. He looked about to say something, probably scream her stupid, but she beat him to it.
“They have everything! Every cursed thing they could ask for. That stuff,” her voice gurgled with the mass of anger and tears in her gut, “all that I stole, they didn’t even notice. Didn’t care. It was like a-a god damn fly to them for all they care. So what if I stole it? That would…would feed someone like me for a year. And they don’t even care!”
Her rambling words echoed through the small house, pinging off of pots she washed and hung up, through the small bookcase where Hayley would run her fingers over the covers to find the words. It wasn’t her home. It was never her home. People like her didn’t have homes, they had stones. Stones for beds, stones for food, stones for graves.