Erica Ivy Cooper POV
I saw two silver statues of wolves in an upright position with their heads held up high, facing the sky as if they were about to howl, instead, I could see blue water popping out of their mouth and flowing smoothly around the gorgeous fountain. I could see butterflies, hear birds chirping, feel serene and there was a different aura to it.
The fountain was placed in the center of what looked like a garden, umm no jungle or dense forest. Before I could appreciate the astounding beauty of this place and figure out where exactly is this; flames started dancing in the air. All that my eyes saw was flames, flames and flames; I could hear several voices of people and wolves, running vigorously here and there to escape and few trying to douse the flames. I saw wildfires spreading rapidly than one could control. Suddenly, I felt the heat, the panic and fear engulfed me, as always.
Just then my stupid alarm shrieked and I woke up with a start, blinking my eyes, panting, sweating, looking around and trying to soothe myself.
‘All is well, all is well, ...’ I chanted repeatedly to calm down myself and I banged its head to stop that buzzing sound.
I could feel two pairs of sparkling eyes standing at the door of my room and watching me in amusement. It was my baby brother Zac aka Zachary Cooper who simply enjoys troubling his sister, nevertheless, we love each other so much that we can’t stay apart. Before I could react, he picked up the jug of water on the bedside table and threw all over me and started laughing.
I was in a complete mess. I started shouting at him and running behind him. Just like that, our Tom & Jerry show began. We were throwing pillows at each other and making the neat room messy. This time I wanted to catch him, yet again, he was successful in not getting caught by me.
We both stopped for a second as we heard a knock at the door and saw our granny Cecelia glaring at both of us, for cluttering the entire room within a few minutes.
Standing alongside her, was our head cook, Rosie, sighing and smiling, she said to both of us – ‘freshen up quickly and come to the dining area, breakfast is ready.’ Rosie always took good care of all of us and loved us immensely. She has always been by granny's side ever since we moved here.
I pouted and said to Cecelia – ‘Gran, Zac alone is responsible for all of this. He has spoiled my room.’ I hugged her and she kissed my forehead lovingly. And Zac shrugged saying – ‘Gran you always side with her, no one loves me here.’ This is his standard monologue which he uses on us to get away with his pranks.
Cecelia twisted his ear and said – ‘stop this melodrama, dumbass. I love both of you equally, you are my world and you know I can’t survive without you both.’ We both hugged Cecelia and she chuckled. She asked me to get ready and come down for the breakfast.
Zac left along with Cecelia as he was all set to leave for his college. Zac is 2 years younger to me. Although we fight a lot, I love my brother a lot and can’t imagine my life without him. After all, he is my only brother and we have been together through thick and thin. He is smart, intelligent and a happy-go-lucky guy.
We three stay in our ‘Cooper’s Crash Pad (CCP)’. Yes, I decided to name our little mansion as CCP because it is just our crash pad. Earlier, we used to stay at the ancestral house, which used to be my perfect home with mom and dad. But after my mom (Emily Cooper) passed away, we moved to Chicago.
My dad Albert Cooper couldn’t cope up well with her loss, so he prefers staying alone there. It has been years since that incident, the one that has turned our lives upside down. My dad was once the biggest onco-surgeon of his times, however, after mom’s death, he felt terrible that he couldn’t save her and he quit his practice. He was the best dad. We both had a great time with dad. I was his dearest, his princess, that’s what he used to call me.
Everything changed after mom left, now he keeps to himself and doesn’t interact much with anyone. He refused to move with us to a new city and insisted on staying at our ancestral house and a few of our relatives stay with him. Of course, Gran makes sure he is alright and is still trying to convince him to come here.
I and Zac miss him terribly and we both know, more than us, Cecelia yearns for him. Every time we insist on going back, Gran dismisses saying we can go when the time comes. Huh.
I was just 8 and Zac was 6 when mom left us, so we don’t remember what exactly happened. However, it was the most difficult time for the entire family.
For several months, I used to babysit and take care of Zac as he used to cry relentlessly remembering mom. It took both of us a long time to get over and accept that mom is not with us anymore. Even now, when Zac feels too low, he comes to me; I am glad that we are close and share a great bond.
I heard Rosie calling me again and quickly I entered my bathroom, turned on the shower. After the shower, I chose blue denim and a white shirt. I dried my hair and decided to leave it open. I am not much of a make-up person, just eyeliner and lip gloss that’s it for me. After dabbing my day cream on my face, I applied the eyeliner and lip gloss, wore my favourite Fossil watch and a neckpiece along with matching earrings. I gathered all my stuff, took my car keys and rushed downstairs.
As soon as I reached the last step, all three pairs of eyes stared at me, letting me know that they were waiting for me. I shrugged and then settled on my chair, that’s towards the right to Cecelia.
Zac sits to the left of Cecelia and mockingly said to me – ‘How come you got the medical degree? I doubt how you reached to the seniormost position?’ I frowned at him. Cecelia and Rosie watched our banter which happens every morning.
‘Zac, you must ask them rather than asking me. Anyway, just a year more, then I will be asking you the same question, that is if you get your degree.’ He ignored me as usual and continued eating his sandwiches. A minute later he complained – ‘Gran, look at her, she is late even today and look who is mocking whom.’
Cecelia said – ‘She has been working so hard, Zac. You know your sister is always punctual and quite serious about her work. She is a talented medic and has solved so many complicated cases efficiently in such a short span. I am proud of her expertise and hope you too become one like her. I feel she is having some troubled sleep, isn’t it Erica?’ ‘Did you sleep well last night, my dear?’ Gran asked me suspiciously.
I just nodded at her and said – ‘I had to work till late night on a few case studies and due to all the work stress, I guess I couldn’t get up early.’ Of late, due to those weird dreams, I get up late in the mornings. I mentally took note of talking about it with Cecelia sometime later.
I drank my orange juice within 2 mins and grabbed the sandwich in my hand. Gran glared at me as I started to leave. ‘Gran, I am running late, please, I need to leave and see, I had juice and will have the sandwich on the go’ – I said to Cecelia.
‘This will be the last time you get to do this’ – Cecelia said sternly and then gave me a quick hug. I started towards my silver BMW, the first car that I bought with my hard-earned salary.
Zac came running with his bag, smirking and told me – ‘Sis, you gotta drop me today.’ Urghh...I knew he is up to something but do I have a choice, of course not.