Astoria paused

The floorboard creaks under her feet and Astoria ignores the noise, sneaking on her tiptoes to the door of her father's study. Voices whiz through the heavy wooden door, quick and violent enough to be heard if she is in the right spot. Astoria finally crouches down next to the doorframe, pressing her ear against the wall.

"…It's too damn scary, Ralph, I won't have it! I won't raise my daughters around this! It was different before, we didn't have these commitments~"

"You're a coward, Melanie, the Dark Lord won't hear of it!"

"To hell with what He thinks! How can you put Him before your own daughters?"

Astoria squeezes her stuffed bunny, burying her face in its soft fabric. There is too much yelling around here nowadays. Why must Mummy and Daddy yell? Why are they angry? Are they upset with her? What did she do?

Her thoughts are interrupted by an itch in her nose. She tries to hold it – she wrinkles her nose and looks up to the ceiling desperately, but the sneeze escapes. Gasping, she bits her lips and her breathing almost seems to stop, as she waits for a reaction from behind the door.

The voices pause. She waits again, but the child in her dominates, and Astoria stands up and runs away.

A/N: Please review! My stupid school got the best of me again, but now it's summer, so I will write some more. :)