I fanned myself as the humidity clung to everyone and everything. Sadly, the fanning didn’t help; it just made me feel worse. I suppose I should get used to the ever changing weather in Missouri, considering it was the hottest day in summer. My dear cousin Seriphina sat next to me, looking just as miserable as I was. I glanced in front of me, where my eldest brother Nathaniel sat. I watched as he nervously messed with his sleeve cuff, a habit he’s had since we were little. Currently, we were on our way to our new home. I looked out the window as the land moved from the familiar busy streets of the city to the quiet farm land I was nowhere accustomed to.
“Cousin dear,” Seriphina’s soft and well-mannered voice brought me out of my thoughts, “Can you accompany Florence and I to the dining car?”
“Of course I will.” Nate said whilst standing. Secretly, I think he was looking for something to get out of our awkward silence. Sephie and I stood a moment after, waiting for him to open the door so we could leave. We walked together in silence, no-one daring to say a word. Soon after, we entered the car, where my parents, Uncle George, and Aunt Victoria sat together at a table.
Aunt Victoria turned to the three of us, “I thought you three were never going to leave that room. I was starting to think you had gotten lost.” She laughed, taking a sip of her whiskey.
“We couldn’t handle the heat,” She paused, “Mother.” Sephie put emphasis on Mother as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t or shouldn’t say it.
“Well.” Aunt Victoria slammed her cup on the table, the liquid swished inside, some of which landed on the table it was set on.
No-one notice, they were too busy watching the moment between my aunt and her daughter. I looked over at Sephie, her face beat red and contorted with the most anger I’ve ever seen written on her face. Normally she was calm, and she only got angry when it was something really important. This must be something big. What was happening?
“I suggest you get used to it. The view will keep you occupied, amongst other things.” What was my aunt implying? Did something happen? Why is Sephie so angry?
Seriphina turned, stomping out of the room, her fury following her as she left. I watched as no-one made a move to go after her, which made me reflect the anger my cousin was feeling. Or maybe it wasn’t anger at all. Maybe it was betrayal. Turning, I run after her, determined to right the wrong that has been committed to her.
I found her in our cabin, sitting on the bed, her head in her hands. Her normally neat strawberry-blonde locks were now a disheveled mess. I took a step towards my cousin, “Are you okay?”
She looked up, her usually bright blue eyes were a washed out grey color and rimmed in red. She sighed, wiping her tear streaked cheeks. “Florence,” She hesitated, “There are things you do not know about our family. When we get to Texas, be careful who you give your heart to.” She paused for a brief second before continuing, “Make the right choice, if not, it will have dire consequences.”
“What do you mean?” I inquired, sitting next to her, my emerald gown brushing against hers as I eased down.
“It doesn’t seem like nothing.” I press, “I’m your cousin, why won’t you tell me the truth?”
“I want to, but I can’t,” She said, “They made me swear not to tell.”
She stood, not answering my question, “We should get back.”
What is my family hiding from me?
The week past in a blur of towns, food, and gossip; most of it was started by my aunt. This was truly unbecoming of her and clearly annoying, but never-the-less I didn’t focus too much of my attention on my aunt, I spent most of it focused on her daughter. I thought of what she said, and wondered what it was she meant. What were the things I didn’t know about my family? Maybe I would find the answers I seek in this new town. I glanced out the window as the train stopped next to a station of a small wood building, a green sign held the name Newport in patchy white letters. I watched as passer by-ers walked in and out of the train station ready to make their next journey on their own adventures.
Everyone inside our car rose from their seats and began to file out of the nicely furnished train. My family and I were among the people who were eager to escape the confinements of the beautiful train car. Once we were out of the crowd, two carriages the color of midnight on the outside pulled up on the dirt road alongside the station. On each carriage, our family’s crest which was a rose circled by thorns, was etched on the side in red and gold. My father went ahead of us, ready to help his wife and daughter into the carriage.
Once we were safely tucked away, my father joined us inside. It was a thirty minute ride to the city from the station, and another ten minute ride to our new home. Our new home was a gorgeous two story mansion, built in the early eighteen-fifties so my father said as he animatedly explained the extravagantness of the home on our way from the city. It sported a large white wrap-around porch and carved columns that held the balcony that jutted off the second floor. Gigantic trees lined the girt paths that lead to the house’s veranda while another path leads to the stables. Inside, the home was inviting: marble fireplaces sat in each room with warm fires already ablaze, lace curtains adorned every window, gorgeously hand-carved furniture sprawled along the dark wood flooring. Everything about the home was completely neat and clean, nothing was out of place and it was absolutely breathtaking. I made my way quickly upstairs, eager to see what else is here.
Four fairly large bedrooms sat in the second floor; I searched each room, trying to find the one I would want. Then I stopped at a medium-large room. The walls were a light violet, a large bed sat in the middle of the room along the wall farthest from where I stood. To my left sat a large glass door, and when I opened it, I was instantly hit with the smell of salt in the air and the rush of the waves on the horizon. I smiled as I watch the water rise and fall.
“Mother!” I exclaimed, “Have you seen this view?”
“Florence,” She scolded from behind me, “No yelling.” I look over my shoulder where I saw my mother in a cream-colored day dress; her eyes twinkled with laughter telling me she didn’t mind so much my yelling.
“Sorry,” I whispered and turned back to the sea, “It’s just so beautiful.”
“That it is.” There was a moment of silence as we both looked out to sea, and for just a moment, I stopped thinking about what Seriphina said. But almost instantly it came back to me.
“Why was Seriphina so sad?” I asked, “What happened to her?”
I felt her hesitate, searching for an answer to tell me, until she finally said, “Nothing happened to her Flora,” She used my nickname to cover up the fact that she hesitated, “I believe she’s sad we left St. Louis that’s all.” I nodded but only one thing came to mind: my mother just lied to me. More silence came between us and all that we heard was the soft crashing of waves and seagulls. She looked back at my room a hint of a smile on her face, “I see you have picked your room.”
“Yes I have, if you don’t mind me having it?”
“Of course you can have it. You’ve always loved violet. Well, I am going to check on our luggage and your brother. Will you be okay up here?”
I gave a slight nod before hearing her close the door behind her. My attention quickly shifts, hearing a fairly large splash. I try to find where it might have come from as I walk further onto the balcony. As I look out to sea, I notice a strange figure in the water. It’s just a fisherman, I assure myself. I would soon realize I was terribly wrong in this assumption. I gazed at this figure for a moment longer before taking my leave back to my stateroom away from the curiousness of the outside world.