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Old Habits

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This would mark your third banishment to the study. 

Every time had been completely by accident, of course, but now it was almost becoming a habit. The first time you had fallen into the flowerbed and stained your best dress. Without thought, a particularly nasty curse had left your mouth. To your luck Alma hadn’t been around. You believed luck was in your favor, until Claire unknowingly repeated it at the dinner table. 

Alma’s head had snapped up, her gaze deadly sharp, and focused entirely on you. You offered her a sheepish smile. One she did not return, even in the slightest. Claire had been thoroughly informed on how none of them were to use that word. Ever. 

You were completely and utterly mortified. It wasn’t the first time you had dropped a few curses, but it was the first time Alma had ever been so furious. She refused to look at you when you helped wash the dishes, only turning in your direction briefly to hand them off to you. 

The only words she offered were a clipped “You’re to sleep in the study.” before she turned and went up to bed. 

The next morning she’d been more amiable. She didn’t need to say anything for you to understand how she was feeling. Alma took her duty to the children with extreme seriousness. The slightest interference with that upset her greatly, as she cared about nothing more than setting a good example for them. You understood that. 

But try as you might, old habits die hard. 

Your most recent offense had been falling down the stairs. Which in retrospect, should have been more harmful to you, than worthy of punishment. But your pesky little cursing habit had gotten in the way. 

The large thud of you landing at the bottom of the stairs had gotten everyone’s attention. Alma shushed the children, standing up slowly from her seat. 

“Darling?” She called, “Darling, are you-” 

You unknowingly cut Alma off by letting out the longest, most vile string of curses your mind could create. When she inhaled suddenly, you looked up in surprise to see her standing there. She was blinking slowly, as if trying to decipher if she’d really heard you or not. A spark of fear tinged your heart. Then the corner of her mouth turned up, for just a second. It was enough to set you at ease. 

“I gather I’ll be in the study tonight?” You asked, a small grin on your face. 

Alma just nodded silently. 

“Are you quite alright, darling?” She said. 

She held out a hand and pulled you to your feet. You released a low, pained groan as your body rebelled against the movement. The couch in the study certainly wasn’t going to help matters either. 

“For now. I’m going to be in a world of pain tomorrow.” You said honestly. 

Alma hummed, eyes scanning you for any visible wounds. She knew it was unlikely, but she wanted to be sure that you hadn’t cut yourself when you fell. The last thing you needed was an open wound. She nodded in satisfaction when she didn’t find any. 

“I suppose, then, that I can make an exception.” Alma decided slowly. 

“And what would that be?” 

“You may sleep in bed tonight, to help ease your aches, but tomorrow you are in the study.” 

“How very generous of you, Miss Peregrine. Don’t let the children hear of it.” 

You gave her a teasing wink, leaning forward to kiss her cheek. If any of the children realized you were getting off easier on a punishment, there would be hell to pay. They were all too smart for their own good. If they knew there was a way to avoid their punishments, they would find it. 

“I wouldn’t dare.” Alma said seriously. 

She joined you back in the kitchen, where all of the children were speaking quietly amongst themselves. Though they all went silent when you walked in. 

“Have you apologized?” Enoch was the first to speak up, looking at you with a grin. 

“I’m sorry children, I shouldn’t-” You started, only to be cut off. 

“Not to us, to the stairs. I’d say you let out enough curses to offend even the inanimate objects in the house.” 

Emma snickered, attempting to hide her reaction behind one of her hands. You couldn’t help but stick your tongue out at the boy. He was too clever sometimes. Without turning around, you knew that Alma was smirking proudly. The only ones who didn’t seem pleased with his statement were Olive and Claire. 

Olive elbowed Enoch in the ribs, making him jump in his seat. She whispered something to him that you couldn’t make out, but his eye roll said more than enough.  

“Miss Peregrine says it’s bad to use mean words,” Claire said, folding her arms over her chest, “You shouldn’t use them, Miss Y/N.” 

You had to tone down your amusement to address the girl’s concerns. Ever since the day she’d repeated your words, the subject of foul language was of extreme importance to her. It was now something she took very seriously. 

“Of course, Claire, you’re very right. I’m very sorry for the words I used and I’ll do better to avoid them in the future,” You said seriously, crouching beside her chair, “Am I forgiven?” 

She continued to pout, intently facing away from you. But you had no problems waiting her out. Claire was a soft girl with a big heart and she couldn’t bear to stay mad at anyone. Especially not you or Alma. 

Slowly, Claire nodded, glancing at you out of the corner of her eyes. You gave her a large smile. 

“Thank you so much, Claire-bear.” You said, before pressing a series of kisses to her cheeks. 

Her giggles were music to your ears. Happy to have smoothed out any emotional wrinkles, you took your seat at the opposite end of the table. Alma also returned to her seat. 

Civilized, clean conversation resumed. Though more of the children decided to take a crack at teasing you. Alma made no move to stop them, looking smug when she made eye contact over her glass. You resisted the urge to stick your tongue out at her childishly. 

Tomorrow you would fall victim to the couch in the study, but for now you could handle the much-deserved teasing. If it made Alma happy then that’s what mattered. Happy wife, happy life, after all.