Six Months Ago
I walked downstairs finally dressed in my pyjama’s.
I walked downstairs to the private parlour where my parents probably were talking. Even if my mother disapproved of a girl wearing night wear it was warm and cozy to resist.
I opened the door cautiously and entered both pairs of eyes landing on me. My father smiled beckoning me over to the couch while my mother stared at me, probably hating my outfit as she stood near the fireplace. But this was no new story.
“Come in Ivory, sit here,”
Too say I was my daddy’s little girl was an understatement. I was always with him, in my view he was my real parent, he made up for my mother and my father. My mother had never acted like a parents and I doubt she had the capacity too.
She was never to emotions or physical contact, something every child got as a kid but I don’t even remember the last time my mother even made an attempt to hug me.
Sitting on the couch next to my dad he wrapped an arm around me and I placed my legs on the seat enjoying the warmth from the fire.
“Is everything o-”
“Your father and I have something to discuss,” said my mother cutting of whatever my dad was going to say next. I sighed and looked up at her raising my eyebrows to question her.
“Years ago, a man had saved his business rival from a horrible death. He was made a promise” she started. It was easy to zone out when my mother spoke and watch the flickering fire or even the way the ducted heating blew a piece of fluff from a jumper across the room.
“The promise was that the first granddaughter he had would be married into his best man’s family. Back then they didn’t give a care about money or such. They care about loyalty. The two business had enough power to over run each other and send one sinking to the ground. To make sure that didn’t happen they made a promise”
“They weren’t just family rivals but also business rivals. Ever since that day they both had worked together to help each other in each other’s business” she said. Rather than focusing on her story I was focusing on how she said each other too much in the sentence.
My mother nearly looked a bit wary as she told me all this. I couldn’t help but yawn, this was boring and all i wanted to do was lock myself away and cry. But for some reason, tears just wouldn’t come.
“So they had given their word. In present time their word may seem strange to everyone else and not hold any value but to save the reputation of the business family and also not to start another rivalry the sacred promise must be kept.
She grabbed a box off the fireplace and walked over handing it to me. I opened it up too see a beautiful engraved ring. There was a light coloured stone in the middle and it looked like the gold had wrapped itself around the ring, small delicate gold before forming into a ring.
“Okay? Why do I need to know this?” I said.
“After generations there had finally been the birth of a female girl in that household. And now as she is of age and because of other factors she needs to marry him to honour our side of the deal,”
I shrugged, “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because Ivory, that man was in fact your father’s great grandfather,” she said.
“And according to the promise, you are the first girl born in this house in over 5 generations,”
“Why didn’t we do this before?” asked Rose as we walked into Betty a small cafe we found in our time during school.
“I didn’t know I was allowed. I thought “Me” time was just a day where I had to sit at home not going anywhere,” I said.
“And it’s not?” asked Rosie. Even though she acted like she enjoyed spending time with me knitting I saw a glint in her eyes I hadn’t in a long time. It made me feel nearly normal back here.
“Well officially I am now. He told me to do whatever I wanted,” I said. Like me Rose was in her disguise as well but I would have suggested darker colours rather than bright yellow and orange making her stick out making me stick out.
But this was Rose, I only expect that of her. I don’t even think she owned a piece of black clothing, maybe apart from a little black dress just to be ironic.
“How did you get here?” asked Rose sipping her flat white. I wrinkled my nose, for as long as I could remember I hated coffee. There was something about it that put me right to sleep and made me drowsy, the opposite react from every other normal person in here probably.
I sipped my chocolate chiller and wrapped my arms around my mid section trying to keep warm. It was raining softly outside and the sun had disappeared under the thick blanket of clouds, so much for a warm day I thought.
Rose stared at me with a sarcastic expression on her face and I giggled.
“I jumped the fence into my neighbours and then out,” I said shrugging. Rose groaned shaking her head with her mouth slightly open.
“I knew there was a reason you played hockey all through high school, for the wrong team too” she said.
I smiled. In hockey we always jumped fences to get into the pitch. No one could be bothered to walk and open the fence that was on the other side and even Coach gave up bringing the keys after a month.
Playing in a guys team also made me more flexible and athletic, the atmosphere was just difference. I frowned, it held both my good and sad memories.
“Okay you got here, fine. How are you going to get back?” she asked. I shrugged taking another large sip of cold chocolate that was starting to jam my straw which was really annoying.
“The same way?”
“Really Rose, what if you neighbours see you?” she asked. I shrugged, they were on a holiday or something. Maybe I could take the back entrance. I don’t think there was a house at the back. I checked the time, I had been here for more than an hour enjoying the warmth.
The rain had seemed to stop and I stood up finishing my drink as Rose.
“We should get back,” I sighed. I didn’t want to leave this place. Making sure both my hat and glasses were secure I walked towards the door Rose following beside me tucking my arm through hers. I sighed, it had been a long time since I felt enjoyment like this.
Maybe next week we were allowed to go somewhere else. Maybe I could check up with Margret, I think I pulled a muscle when jumping over the fences, there was a reason they were there in the first place.
“Are you coming over?” I asked Rose as we walked down the familiar road making sure to keep away from view which was hard when Rose stuck out like a sore thumb.
“Maybe not for a while, you both should get to know each other,” she said. I scoffed, oh yes know each other. How were we meant to do that when he wanted me away from him unless social events.
I looked ahead watching as a car came closer and cursed.
“What’s wrong?” asked Rose looking up at me her bright blue eyes in caution.
“That’s his car,” I said watching the car turn around the corner.
“You said you were allowed to come out,”
“I was,” I said nodding, ’But not I’m not sure if he was joking or not. And if he saw me he might take it back,” giving Rose a quick hug I ran to the back street in my house. My heart was pounding in my chest and my breathe was ragged, oh boy I was so out of shape.
I saw the white and red roof of our house and slowed down from the back.
Time to climb this.
This was in fact easier then the neighbours, there was nothing behind her house and even if the fence had no hoisting leverage from the wood I managed to get myself to the top.
I looked down into the muddy area and sighed, here goes nothing.
I tried carefully lowering myself down but slipped landing on my bum in the mud making an awful squelching noise.
I sat up brushing away as much mud as I could when I heard the back door open.
“There you are, I was wondering where you were dearie,” said Margret walking out. I stood up plucking sticks from my hair.
“Oh yes, just enjoying the nice weather?”
Margret ushered me inside and I sighed, back to what was my equivalent of a prison.
“Go freshen up dear and get warm in bed, I’ll bring your lunch up today,” she said. I sighed nodding as I walked up the stairs. I had taken my shoes off outside so I wouldn’t leave mud and make it a big mess but the floor was freezing. I should get her to switch on the ducted heating.
Darius came down the corridor as I walked up the last step and towards my bedroom. I felt his eyes take in my appearance and winced, great impression Ivy, just look like a mud man. I walked right past him not even making eye contact. He wanted to play hostile, I could do that just as well.
I groaned as I sneezed again a loud high pitched sneeze that shook my whole body. Margret shook her head at me from the other side.
“This is what you get for being out in the rain dearie,”
I didn’t say anything but cover myself in another warm blanket shivering. It was freezing.
“Eat something, I’ll be back. The cook made fresh hot cross buns” she said excited. I nodded smiling at her. Hot cross buns were soft buns with chocolate or fruit in them, they were usually popular at Easter.
Cuddling into my bed I closed my eyes immediately enjoying the warmth around me. I was just falling asleep when the door opened and I heard someone enter the room. There was a rich cologne smell in the air but I was too tired to open my eyes.
It was probably Margret. I wanted to tell her I would eat later but my body had already taken me into a sleep.