River of Lights Jan 5, 2018 1:07:49 GMT -5
Post by Jinn on Jan 5, 2018 1:07:49 GMT -5
There was something wrong.
Gwen could feel her stomach churning with nerves, with uncertainty. The moment her widowed father had been offered a job promotion and a new house, he had jumped on it like an eager puppy. The red-head couldn't help but feel intense anxiety whenever she thought about it.
While it meant that there would be a new school, it also meant that going to Stone Hollow would cut them off from the rest of the world. According to her current research, it was stuck in the middle of the hills of Ireland, while the closest city was fifty miles away from it.
Swallowing back a wad of saliva, Gwen focused on the dwindling yarn ball in front of her. Crocheting used to be so easy. What happened to make her so—oh. Her fingers were shaking. The red-head didn't know what made her so nervous. The rising anxiety was making Manny the cat nervous, while her brother Arthur was bouncing off the walls in response to her increasing emotions.
Huffing, Gwen counted the loops backward a few notches, squinting down at the scarf she was creating through thin black rectangular rims. Exhaling slowly, she pinched the bridge of her nose and absently flicked her gaze around the room she was leaving behind. Bright Caribbean blue walls were covered in various game posters, while the wall she was facing was entirely dedicated to Harry Potter. The Hogwarts crest on a flag hung from one corner, while a Hufflepuff poster was in the other. In between the two were scarves, memorabilia, drawings she made, and various scribblings on the wall in sharpie.
Other than the walls, the room was nearly empty. The bed frame had been stashed away in the moving truck with the rest of the room's furniture and objects. Gwen inhaled deeply, stroking the back of Manny and creasing her brow in mild frustration. The soft, grey body of the two-year-old feline arched into her fingertips, a brief “mrrow” escaping him.
The following soft smile was purely on instinct. There was something about cats that she held dear to her, although it was probably because of her mother's death. Gwen's smile vanished as a searing ache shot through her chest, tightening around it like a coiled snake. A soft sound escaped her as the red-head leaned forward to press her forehead against the wooden floor.
Manny sniffed at her face, his round golden eyes rather curious in his examination of her tired face. Moving to a new area and leaving memories of her mother behind... now that would be hard. So many memories had been made in this house. Through tears and storms, through laughter and pillow battles, every memory was about to be put on the market.
Why, why, why did they have to move? Why did Noelle have to die? Gwen sniffled, ignoring the blurry dark haze that she currently saw. Her sensitive eyes prickled with the beginning of tears, inducing the automatic urge to rub them with her fingers. No! No crying! Gwen’s mind screamed at the her, trying to push through the overwhelming sorrow that enveloped the young woman.
Three months ago, Gwen’s mother had died from a dangerous bout of illness. There was no sign to where it had come from, just that she had been sick since the birth of Arthur. Kids weren’t really meant to be born in someone’s late thirties, as it ran a risk for health defects in both the mother and the child. Fortunately, little Arthur had been born healthy, if slightly small for his size. Unfortunately for Noelle, she had been very weak and sickly from the birth.
“GWEN!” the ecstatic squeal of her little brother Arthur pierced through the layers of her groggy brain. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!” Gwen could feel him practically leap on her, smothering her with flailing limbs and enthusiastic hugs. She hadn’t even finished packing!
“Ack—Arthur!” she practically choked on her words as he scrambled up her spine and draped his legs over her shoulders.
“Giddy-up, horsey!” he shrieked in her ears, the strident sound causing the nineteen year old to wince. Scowling up at the brown-haired boy, Gwen let a mischievous smile curl across her face, bad feelings and sorrow forgotten for now. Bolstering herself, the nineteen year old spun around to squint up at the door.
Could she go through it without hurting Arthur? Probably not. Instead, she reached up to grasp the small boy’s torso and carefully pulled him down into her arms. From there, Gwen proceeded to tickle Arthur’s sides with a wide smile on her face. Squawking in surprise and letting out loud laughter, the brown-haired boy struggled to flee his sister’s arms.
“No, no, no!” he laughed breathlessly between each wild giggle. “Stah- stop!”
“Say uncle!” Gwen teased, her hands moving over his sides and pushing into what she knew were the child’s most ticklish spots. The red-head had done this numerous times before, so she knew what she was doing. There was something about Arthur’s wide smile that she loved, that sent warm feelings of adoration through her chest.
“N-nooo!” Arthur laughed out, bumping his curly head beneath her chin playfully. Her mouth was beginning to hurt as she dug her fingers into his sides mercilessly, gliding them across his chest and tickling beneath his chin. His laughter was bright, infectious, something that Gwen utterly adored. “Un-Uncle!” he squealed out between breathless giggles. “Uncle!” His slender body squirmed away from her fingers as she backed away with warmth shooting through her torso at the sight.
Arthur was too precious for words. Too precious to be let go. Even with Noelle gone, they still had their work-a-holic Dad. He was all they had now. With one last beaming smile, Arthur scampered out of her room door and down the hallway to the door on the right. The door she could see. Beside her own room was both a play-room and study-room, intended for both of their use. However, it would no longer be their room.
Gwen’s answering smile wilted slightly, her pale green eyes staring down the stairs in front of her room. The carpet outside of her walls was a disgusting dark ginger, matted and curled as if someone had taken a curling iron to it. Her lips curled automatically as she remembered the day her family had moved in. The previous owners of the house had died of old age, heart attacks, or something. It really had been odd.
Now, a slight frown adorned her face. Did they have to move again? Even though she had only been two when her family had moved, her father was taking this new environment to the extreme. Did he want to forget their mother that much? Move into a new life and completely abandon the loving memories they held dear to Noelle? Gwen nibbled on her lower lip, absently starting to carefully take down the posters that lined her walls.
The serendipity of the moment between her and her younger brother was somewhat of a relief. Getting out of her brooding thoughts was generally something that was hard to do, even if her cat Manny had to whack her around the head for a few pets or to be fed a couple of cat treats. For a moment, irritation shot through her chest as she thought about the little gray cat. Did he have to be so annoying? Why was he constantly around her? Couldn’t he have gone to someone else? They could have sold the other kittens instead of giving them away for free so they could save up on the money they did have!
Almost immediately guilt washed through her at those thoughts. No, those were bad thoughts! Guilty thoughts. Manny had been her sun, stars, and moon ever since Noelle had died a few months previously. He had rested on her chest, purring up a storm and staring at her beseechingly with those huge golden eyes. Every time he wound around her ankles like the velvet from a wealthy woman’s dress, his purring and meows would intensify. It was easy to see that the little feline absolutely adored the young woman. He was only two, so he could go with Gwen when she eventually moved out of the house!
A small smile stretched over her face as she folded the posters and put them in the boxes. As she wiped her hands and faced the next wall, her mind cleared to allow her to glance around the room to see if there were any posters left. Much to her surprise and reluctant delight, the three walls apart from her Harry Potter obsession were clear. How had she managed to get them free so fast?
It was odd then, that the delirious moment of happiness had her let out a brief snort of laughter. Blinking in surprise at the sound, Gwen let out a confused noise as she folded her Hogwarts scarf into a new box, carefully pulling down the various items to reverently place them among the others. Ugh. Being in this modern time would probably seem absolutely horrendous to those who lived in the nineteenth century, as the girls wore skinny jeans and halter tops while the boys wore low-hanging jeans and baggy shirts.
Even Gwen herself rather disliked the fashion of today. She herself preferred knee-length skirts and shorts, with the occasional flared jean. Her shirts went down to mid-thigh or were tucked in. The ones tucked in had a leather jacket or jean one, while her mid-thigh shirts were loosely belted at the bottom in a kind of bell shape. Long-sleeves or short-sleeves, it didn’t matter. Even now, she wore a pair of high-waisted shorts with a dark blue concert t-shirt she had picked up when she was fifteen.
Gwen mentally snorted at the direction her thoughts had turned into. Fashion? That was one of the things she disliked most, although her father quite forced her to wear modern-day clothing. Couldn’t do to be seen in old-lady clothing. When Gwen could actually put on her favored clothes, she often sent her father a neatly smug expression and proceeded to smooth her ankle-length skirt down and gently pull her coat over a nice blouse.
Mouth twitching, she carefully set the last Harry Potter memorabilia in the box and straightened her spine. Now all she had to do was take them downstairs to the moving van-
“Wah!” she let out an oof of surprise as something collided heavily with her back, arms wrapping around her neck like a choker. Loud giggles from the object immediately told her that this was Arthur, who had decided to once more bounce into territory that he knew his sister didn’t want him in. “Arthur!” she choked out as the boy scrambled up her spine, causing little sparks of pain to shoot up into her brain. “Get off of me!”
“Nope!” he cheerfully exclaimed, nuzzling his face into her mass of crimson curls. “You’re my sister!” Gwen mentally groaned. He was a little monster. A brief frown on her face, she tilted her head back and met the seven-year old nose to nose.
“Why are you in here?” her tone held a hint of scolding in it. “You’re supposed to be packing a bag for the flight over, Arthur.” The young boy looked slightly contrite, his slightly darker skin tone becoming darker over the face as he gained a semblance of embarrassment. Then his expression changed into a wide beaming grin, bright green eyes sparkling with delight.
“I’m done! Da said we could get into the moving van,” Arthur confirmed, just as cheerful as he was the first time through.
Gwen couldn’t help but let out a soft sigh, running a pale hand through her scarlet curls. She hadn’t even taken the last of her boxes down, yet! Pursing her lips, she unclasped her brother’s hands and set the third-grader down on the ground. “Let’s go, kiddo,” she sighed, bending down to pack the two large boxes on top of each other. “Why don’t you go down to the van? I have to bring these down there.”
As she straightened, she felt another wash of irritation overwhelm her. Only this time, it was over how long her hair was. It fell down past her elbows, barely brushing her hips. The only reason why it wasn’t cut yet was because her father refused to let her cut it. Sure, she liked long hair, but not this long! Gwen tightened her arms around the boxes, carefully maneuvering herself down the stairs and outside of the front door that was right in front of the steep staircase.
Tongue sticking out slightly, Gwen squinted suspiciously at the truck in front of her, desperately trying not to peek down at the ground. If there was one thing her mother taught her, it was that young women like her should learn how to walk, act and eat properly. As well as some others. It was just manners lessons, only enhanced. Carefully stepping up to the back of the truck, she slid the last of the boxes in and hopped up on the right metal ledge to reach up for the door.
“Don’t close it, don’t close it!” Came her father’s shout from inside the doorway. Gwen very nearly fell off of her precarious perch, freezing in position as her father practically stumbled his way out of the front door. Pale green eyes settled in on her father, who was a much taller version of her, except male. His curly hair was grown out to his shoulders, pale green eyes twinkling in good humor. There was a good deal of pain, loss, and sorrow in there, too. Not only had they lost their mother, their father had lost the love of his life. Noelle was practically his soul-mate. Admittedly, Alistair Herron had hated the young woman at first sight. She, an ethereal beauty of the north, immediately hated him as well. Waifish, pale, and with the brightest blue eyes he had ever seen. He hated her beauty, but as they got used to each other, the two had fallen in love.
It was one of the saddest cases to see her father in. It was a very intense hate at first, but eventually it had evolved into one of the most beautiful forms of love that Gwen had ever seen. That included her gay best friends, who were together again after a series of strange break-ups. Pursing her lips, Gwen narrowed her eyes at the broad-shouldered form of her father. As much as she was going to hate it, Gwen was absolutely positive that she was forever destined to be the shortest in the family.
“What are you doing?” Gwen asked irritably, eyeing the boxes in her father’s arms. He merely smiled sheepishly at his eldest daughter, hunching over the the end of the truck and placing the three boxes in it gently.
“Packing up the rest of my office,” he answered glibly in reply, his pale eyes gaining a strange glint. Almost immediately, Gwen’s stomach roiled and constricted at the look on Alistair’s face. This was not going to be a fun ride to the airport, and if he would have anything to say about it, their father would pester her until morning about what they would be doing over there.
He had better not make any choices for her. If he did, well, there would be hell to pay. At the very least, she would make it difficult for him to keep her contained.