It didn’t take long for Sean to arrive at the door to the Torrence home, where he began knocking loudly upon it late that morning. After several moments he saw Ana appear at the window, looking out at him worriedly before moving to open the door to him.
“Is something wrong, Sean?” she asked with concern, still standing inside the doorway where she spoke to him, casting a nervous glance up at the bright sun above them.
“Actually, this morning started out great, but I’m rethinking the rest of the day.” he told her, the upset obvious in his voice.
“What is it?” she asked worriedly.
“Can I at least come inside?”
“You know that you’re not supposed to.” she reminded him gently.
“The deal was ‘til we get to know you better.’ It’s been three years, Ana. And frankly, I’m thinking all three of you know me better than I even know me.” he told her, his tone a bit on the cool side.
Ana swallowed hard as she looked back at Haven’s closed bedroom door, mentally reminding herself of the fact that Haven had indeed programmed the boy to never hurt any of them, daylight or not, and the programming had lasted ever since the night that it had occurred. Another breath as she finally moved to grudgingly let him inside the home once again.
“What do you mean, we know you better than you know you?” she asked softly as she closed and locked the front door behind them once he had stepped inside.
“You knew who my father was. You knew who my sister was. You knew who I was. So why not try explaining who the three of you are, finally.” he told her in the same rough tone.
“What do you mean, Sean?” she replied worriedly.
“Should I ask your daughter instead, Ana?” he stated pointedly.
Ana sighed loudly as she shook her head, moving to take a seat on the couch as she looked down toward the polished oak floor.
“I was wondering when you and Claire would get around to comparing notes on us.” she said seeming more sad, than surprised, or even angry.
“Explain, Ana, how you can have a daughter who looks like she’s less than ten years younger than you. Why Claire has known her for three years and has never once met you or Mr. Torrence. Why she thought that this Mr. Torrence was the one my father, your lover, apparently, worked for. Why you and Mr. Torrence rarely, if ever step foot out of the house. Why not a single person is ever allowed inside during the day. Why my father killed himself and left me all alone…Should I go on?” he asked plainly.
“I warned him about letting you stay with us. We both warned Chantarell about being friends with Claire.” she said softly with another sad shake of her head.
“This isn’t about Claire wanting a friend, this is about a house that has more secrets than can be counted…with no logical explanation for any of them. And it’s way past the time when you should have at least attempted to offer those explanations. So, start talking. I know nothing about my life, except that my father killed himself, and he did it because he got you pregnant, somehow, twenty years ago. So if anyone deserves any of those explanations, I think it would be his own child, don’t you?”
Two more weeks had passed since the day Sean had shown Claire what was supposed to have been their future home together, then seemed to disappear after his quick departure on that passionate, then strange, morning.
It was true that Claire now knew where she could find him, assuming he wasn’t at the Torrence house, but somehow, she didn’t want to be the one that searched him out, especially after their encounter had gotten more intense that day, than it had on any other of the previous three months. The one thing she couldn’t help wondering was if, somehow, the man who wanted to marry her one day, and seemed so eager for her touch the next, had suddenly had second thoughts for some reason. Though being trained to believe that everything about her was wrong, she could imagine a million reasons for such a response, and found herself doing so even more as the days passed.
She sat quietly in her bedroom that summer day, attempting to create a dress that was even close to being as beautiful as the ones Chantarell, the girl who should have been her future sister-in-law, apparently, had made. She sighed, forcing herself to remain with her back to that bedroom window that Sean just had to mention on that day, while trying to force her concentration back to the garment, rather than letting it linger to Sean, as it had for two straight weeks now.
It was then that a tapping at the window behind her, startled her more than a bit, as she froze a moment, swallowing a bit, before finally letting herself turn to see the cause of the noise. Though when she turned to glance up at the window, it was Chantarell who greeted her, and not Sean. Though she had originally wanted to speak with Chantarell about the new developments with Sean, her confidence about those developments was now nearly nonexistent, and she knew that Chantarell would be able to tell that there was a good deal of sadness and worry surrounding her now. She always could.
“What are you doing?” Claire greeted her as she took a breath before moving to the partially open window on that summer afternoon.
“Kidnapping you.” Chantarell teased, though the words didn’t produce a smile as she had hoped, but rather a look of discontent.
“Very funny. Did Sean tell you to say that?” Claire returned sadly.
“What?” Chantarell laughed, honestly not seeming to know what Claire meant, but paying no heed to the fact as she pointedly reached her arm through the window in a gesture for Claire to follow her through the large window that faced the woods behind the home.
“I don’t know if I’m really in the mood for any adventures today, Chan.” Claire told her softly as she moved closer to the window, though still didn’t reach for the girl’s hand.
“Well, too bad, engaged girl. There’s something I need to show you.” Chantarell prodded.
“What did you call me?” Claire asked, her eyes looking up at Chantarell quickly.
“Yes, Sean let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.” she chuckled.
“What? When was that?” Claire asked anxiously, wondering if there was some hope that she and Sean were still as together as she thought they were, though that still left plenty of confusion about his recent absence, nevertheless.
“Last night.” Chan offered the short answer.
“Last night?” Claire repeated.
“Don’t look so worried dear, he is my brother.” Chantarell scolded playfully, reaching for Claire’s hand again, though this time Claire did take hers, though tentatively.
Once Claire had made her way out the window, only to be just as quickly led off toward the woods again, she finally spoke up again, “It’s just, Sean took off really quick, days ago, and has kind of disappeared since. Wasn’t sure he did still wanna see me, after all.” she stated, the words barely escaping, due to the sadness they caused her.
“Oh relax. The man is completely in love with you.” Chantarell told her with a smile.
“Right…” Claire said as she shook her head, trying not to imagine what Chantarell’s conversation with him might have been like, considering the ones she had had about Sean, with the same girl. She then added, “So, why’d he disappear?”
“Cause he’s a guy. And as perfect as Sean is, he’s still bound to act stupid once in a while.” was Chantarell’s only explanation.
“So, he was then, having second thoughts?” Claire asked, swallowing a lump in her throat.
“Darling, any second thoughts he had, were about whether he was good enough for you, not vice versa. So knock off that train of thought, right now.” she ordered her with a smile.
“So, I guess you’ve been talking to Sean a lot, about me?” Claire asked worriedly.
“Think about it, who else are either of you gonna talk to?” Chantarell smirked, “At least you know you’ll both get quite interesting opinions from me.” she chuckled as she led her off toward the path to Sean’s house.
“Um, we’re going to Sean’s?” Claire swallowed as she noted the path the girl was leading her down.
“What, you don’t miss him madly after two weeks?” she teased once more.
“Well, yes, but how do we know he wants to see me?” Claire asked worriedly.
“What part of completely in love with you, didn’t you hear?” she chided.
“Well, yeah, I heard you, but….”
“Come on, have I ever led you astray?” Chan replied wryly.
“Do you really want me to answer that?” Claire returned with a raised eyebrow.
“Astray, in a bad way.” Chan corrected with another grin, then moved on as the two continued their walk, “Besides, I have presents for you, both of you, actually.” she added thoughtfully.
“We’re not married yet.” she reminded Chantarell, who still didn’t look a day over sixteen, somehow.
“But, it is Sean’s birthday.” Chantarell reminded with a wink.
“He did say he’d be twenty-two soon, but he didn’t say the exact day.” Claire admitted, then froze, “Oh god, I didn’t bring him anything.” she confessed worriedly.
“Yeah right.” Chantarell smirked again after looking the other girl over from head to toe.
“No, I honestly didn’t.” Claire argued, “I didn’t know the exact day, plus he disappeared, and….god, I’m a horrible fiancée.” she returned, ashamed.
“All right you, listen closely,” Chantarell said as she turned back to Claire, placing her hands over her shoulders, “I wanted it to be a surprise, but since you’re having a fit about it, let me give you a hint: After I give you what I have to give you, you’ll have all you need to give him. Got it?” Chantarell smiled, speaking with complete assurance.
“Ok, that was a bit cryptic, Chan.” Claire returned skeptically.
“Me? Cryptic?” she replied with another grin, as she continued leading her toward the road in front of Sean’s home once more.
Once they arrived at the house, Sean actually was not there, which only caused further worry in Claire, “Are you sure he wanted to see me?” she asked Chan with a nervous biting of her lip while Chantarell went about searching a bag she had left inside Sean’s front door at some point earlier.
“Oh would you stop.” Chantarell scolded her, “He’s just finishing up at our place.” she informed as she searched the bag.
Claire looked around nervously, noting that in two weeks, Sean had added a bit more comforts to his home, like a couch, a table and chairs, and a large metal bathtub tucked into the far corner of the room, next to a small table that had a few towels piled atop it.
“Here we go.” Chantarell interrupted Claire’s eyes lingering on that tub, as well as the closed bedroom door as she turned back to her, handing her an even smaller bag, which seemed to be filled with some sort of powder mixture.
“What is that?” Claire asked as she peered into the bag that Chantarell held out to her.
“Your present.” Chan stated simply, handing Claire the bag which she continued to inspect with an odd expression, “Oh, and here.” she added as she pulled a small piece of paper from her belt, “That’s what you need to make more when you run out. But that there should last for a month or two, depending.” she added the last word mischievously.
“And what the hell is it?” Claire asked as she continued to look down at the brownish powder.
“Something to make sure you and Sean can enjoy each other for a long time, as long as you’d like, without ever having to worry about anyone else, because of it.” Chantarell stated simply.
“Getting more cryptic, Chan.” Claire told her with a bit of impatience in her voice.
Chantarell laughed again, “Well, since you were so eager to know all the things to do to please a man, and now that you and Sean have a place, and a bed, to go to. I figured you might have some use for that.”
“That, being?” she asked again.
Chantarell smiled again, “Ok, what you do is you mix about a teaspoon full of that in with your breakfast every morning and well, it stops, things, from happening.”
“Things?” she looked up at her worriedly, “This isn’t some magic stuff is it? I don’t want to have to use magic to keep Sean.” she told her sadly, assuming that Chan must have given her that because she had some reason to believe that Claire may have been losing Sean, after all.
“No, it’s not magic, silly, it’s more like, medicine.”
“Medicine? Medicine, that keeps, what from happening?” Claire asked with further skepticism.
Chantarell cast a look out the window to see if Sean was returning yet, then moved in to speak furtively, “Honestly, what it’s supposed to do, is keep your body from making what it would need, to make babies.” another smile as Claire’s jaw dropped again, “Like I said, I give you that, and you can give Sean plenty…over and over and over again.”