Celestina Marbella Heloise Smith pushed her glasses up her nose and wiped her hands on her thoroughly-not-girly-at-all overalls, which she had totally been wearing to go camping earlier. She moved the final chess piece across the board, and in a voice tinged with the merest hint of defiance she said, “Checkmate!”
On the opposite futon, Joshua Adlington Manley-Piper stood up. He was the younger son of a viscount, so he’d definitely inherit a fortune one of these days, but also he was a self-taught astrophysicist and secret bleeding heart liberal, which meant it was okay. Celestina could tell he was impressed by her intelligence, though it would have been more than his pride was worth to admit it.
He frowned. “Hang on a minute. Celestina? Are you sure you aren’t one of Fiona’s Mary Sue self-insertion characters from when she was fourteen?”
“Mary Sue wasn’t even a term when Fiona was fourteen,” said Celestina. It definitely was, but saying this made her look clever, like she knew about literary terminology, or something. “Anyway, Josh, aren’t you forgetting something?”
Josh pushed his fringe artfully out of his eyes, and stood up, even though he’d already done that several paragraphs previously. He went over to Spotify – which, by the way, definitely wasn’t a thing when Fiona was fourteen – and hit play.
“Is that Marvin Gaye?” said Celestina, who knew all about music too. “Wow, I love him.”
The third in line to the viscountcy said, “Yeah, he’s pretty good.” He licked his lower lip, nervously. “He… he feels about women the way I feel about you, Celestina.”
“Oh, Josh! Stop talking over him!”
“But my darling, it doesn’t really matter if you can’t hear the words. They’re mostly the same, anyway. What matters is the music. And his voice. Isn’t it sublime?” He was sort of dancing a bit – but being both a gifted scientist and a minor member of the British aristocracy, he was crap at it. There’s no helping some people. Celestina pretended not to notice.
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” she said.
“Marvin Gaye is actually identical twins. One of them is Snakehips Marvin, and the other one is Lost Love Marvin.”
“Is that so?” said Josh.
“Oh yes,” he said, phlegmatically. “There he is. Actually, there’s a third Marvin as well.”
Now this was interesting. “I didn’t know that!” cried Celestina.
Carefully making exactly the right amount of eye contact, Joshua Adlington Manley-Piper switched the track.
“Josh! Turn that off, immediately! I thought you loved me for my mind!”