In Vino Veritas
by Carrie Ann Riddell
Drinking from similar fine-cut glass, Antoine's face resembled my own. His hollow-cheeked, dry-lined lip, somewhere lost expression proved uncanny, yet not unexpected. Alcohol, I realised, took its toll, while battle scars we shared caused identical pain. I eyed my foe across the grandiose top table and knew he was thinking of Yves.
I declined, waving the waiter away. This was no time for celebration. We were at war and in mourning. A wedding didn't change that. Despite Antoine's smiles as my daughter married his son, I knew how he felt. Their union was one he despised and the thought of future children sickened him more. Had Yves survived, this wouldn't have happened. Ever.
I filled my goblet with claret, watching Antoine do the same. Sipping once to achieve a slow burn, twice to rekindle the flame, I saw the Riviera of the past; the sea in which we bathed, the rocks we made love on by night. Myself and Yves, in secret; Antoine and Yves, discovered in time...
The blood from our three-way fight.
Of course, we weren't suspected. Collaborating with the enemy proved easy when one's life was at stake. Self-preservation, a furnace to the fires of love and hate, smothered emotion at will and continued to do so till only ashes remained--ashes and lives built on lies.
"Mesdames et Messieurs, a toast to the bride and groom."
Through the glass, a swirl of red appeared to stain my daughter's veil as I swallowed once again.