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Darling, I forgive you after all

Just as Simone had thought, they were soon home in the warmth again. They had not said anything else to each other than the few words they exchanged on the way back. It was a tense silence between the girls, a silence as fragile as a delicate silk thread, when Simone sat around the fire and sewed, and Annabelle was lost in her book.

They constantly exchanged glances, however; from inquiring, watchful gazes to fiery ones. Simone still did not understand why Annabelle had not want to face John, when she clearly remembered how hot Annabelle’s heart burned every time Simone mentioned his name. She also recalled how confident the young girl was, that she and John were meant for each other. Mainly she remembered the promise she had made to the girl; the promise to do whatever it took for John to be Annabelle’s.

Simone could not quite understand, but she also was not sure that she wanted to. She knew how much it took to give up love, like Annabelle had done. For Annabelle was not in love with John anymore, right? That would explain some, but not all. It just seemed quite illogical that Annabelle, who was such an honest person, would lie to her, Simone: her best friend.

The sound of a woman’s determined steps interrupted Simone, who was completely lost in her thoughts. Confused, Simone turned her head to see who had arrived. The steps had not gone in the direction that Simone had thought - that is, against her - but instead they had stopped by the large windows, which reflected the sun’s sharp rays so that the woman’s deep red dress with all the ruffles and hems created shadows. At the sight of the woman’s face, Simone rose so fast that you could have thought her chair had caught on fire.

“Mrs. Johnson,” she said to the woman, who was not only her best friend’s mother, but also her employer. Mrs. Johnson’s eyes, who were just as hazel as her daughter’s, were focused on something behind them, and it seemed as if she had not heard Simone. The woman only nodded, and her light hair glittered in the window’s reflection. After a while, however, the silence was broken by Annabelle’s sweet voice.

“Mother,” she said, after she had carefully closed the book and put it back in the bookshelf.

“Annabelle,” Charlotte Johnson replied, and spun around so that she now was standing with her back to the windows, which made the sun’s rays embrace her from behind. Annabelle smiled a childish smile, when she with small, easy steps walked across the marble floor towards Charlotte.

“I need a new dress,” she said firmly, and with a frown. “My old ones gets more worn each day.” She sighed deeply. “And I really want a new one for all the upcoming winter parties.” Her mother gave her an uncomprehending look while she, tired as she was, folded up the white laces that adorned the wide dress sleeves. Annabelle was nothing but a pale copy of her mother; Simone saw that clearly.

“Dear Annabelle,” her mother began, but put absolutely no enthusiasm behind her carefully chosen words. It seemed as if she already was tired of the conversation. Annabelle knew what her mother would say, and turned away her head quickly; as if she had just received a slap. “You know we are at war." The lady placed long, cool fingers over Annabelle’s chin in an attempt to turn the girl’s head back. But Annabelle snatched away her mother’s hand, and crossed her arms stubbornly.

“I see no war here!” She complained persistently, because she was not going to give up that easily. “Not yet. And don't tell me that I can't get a dress because we don't have any money,” she paused, “for we do have money. Even though what we own is in the confederate currency, it's still money-,” she didn't have time to finish the sentence before the sound of the mother’s heels echoed off towards the house’s main door. Annabelle was just about to say something really inappropriate, because she considered it rude to not let her finish, when she found the reason as to why her mother had stormed off.

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