A/N: I realize that Ember Belli is my main charcter in my other novel, "These Ages Which Seperate Us." I had totally forgotten that I had already used her in this story three years ago. She's going to stay. She's bascially based on me anyway.
Ch. 1- Ember Belli meets Elmira
Ember Belli sat at her small window in her room at St. Augustine's Orphanage in upstate New York. It was nothing but a normal day, but she felt her pains extra bad today. School was nothing but a painful walk through her past, and she refused to go this morning, but her erratic, not-so-subtle un-lady of a mentor made her go. She intended on staying in bed all day, just letting the memories seep from deep within her brain cells. The blankets felt so nice, and she would have rather stayed under them, then having to get up and bundle up for the twenty minute walk to her high school in the chilly winter weather.
She planned on skipping school to hang out at the docks, but the girl behind her would surely tell Mrs. Harver anyway, even though they nevertheless didn't know one another. It would get back to her mentor, and she didn't need that right now. She had suffered the day just like any else. People pointing at her and calling her a name that made her want to die.
Also…a favorite of the student body.
It wasn't her fault that she had lost her parents over a year ago in a fatal car accident. The man shouldn't have been driving drunk anyways, but he was. Who knew that a simple side-swipe of a brand new car would be enough to jolt it off the rod, and overturn it various times?
Ember sat, just staring at her unfinished math homework, wishing that the tenth grade could disappear, along with everyone in it. She grabbed the sheet of paper, crumpled it, and tossed it over her shoulder. The thing bounced off of the wall, and hit the rim of her pink wire trash basket. Another miss, just like her whole life. Ember grabbed her sketchbook from under her chair, and flipped through the pages. Ever since the accident, she took up drawing as a hobby. She'd draw anyone or anything that looked interesting to her; she was good at it too. She took some comfort in her drawings, but not a lot in them. Her comfort resided on Thursday evenings, when she was able to go horse riding at the local stables. Only then was she even the slightest happy.
Ember stopped at the portrait she had done of her mother, shortly after the funeral. Her mother was beautiful, with long, red, curly hair. Ember took her mothers hair, but her father's features. She had a short, round nose, big green eyes, and almost flawless skin, but she didn't ever feel so flawless.
She had no friends; she sat alone at school, some people were nice to her, but she gave them hardly any recognition. Mostly just a nod of her head, or a small smile, but then she immediately snapped back into her depression.
Everyone knew she was depressed, and it seemed that no one wanted to help her. Her teachers, the nuns at the orphanage, even her sort-of-friends knew, but no one tried anything, they figured it would be useless.
That night, Ember lay in her bed, images of beautiful white horses running through her mind, when there was a knock at the door.
"Go away, Cecile," Ember called, hoping that it wasn't the little girl coming in to bother her. Cecile's parents had left her behind when they moved out west, and she immediately took to Ember, who just happened to be the oldest girl at St. Augustine's.
"Cecile! I told you to go away!" Ember hissed, stomping across her room and whipping open her door.
There stood Sister Jane, her mentor. The woman was half-illuminated by the candle she carried. After all, it was storming outside and the electric had gone out.
"Oh, Sister, my apologies," said Ember quietly. "I thought you were Cecile."
"I can assure you that I'm not. Ember, you have a visitor," she pointed out.
Ember looked at her alarm clock. It was three in the morning!
"At this time, Sister?" Ember asked, sounding surprised.
Sister Jane nodded. "She's come all the way from out West to meet you. I've decided that it would be calmer if you two met while the other children were sleeping."
Ember nodded. "Of course, Sister, send her right in."
Sister nodded, and disappeared down the hall. Ember sat on her bed, hugging her knees. What would a Western lady want anything to do with her? After all, as Sister Abigail always said, no one wants to adopt a teenager, especially a depressed one. Ember took this into her mind lightly, bending it around to fit her needs. Ember thought that Sister Abigail meant that she was happy enough to get adopted; they just couldn't find the proper family. Ember knew that that's not what she meant, but she always liked to think so.
Sister Jane appeared once more, with a woman in a dress behind her.
"Ember, this is Elmira, she would like to speak with you," she said, leaving the room.
Ember did nothing but stare at the dark figure. It was womanly indeed, obvious womanhood was shown under her dress, and she had a girlish figure. The candle that Sister Jane had left illuminated the woman's face, revealing that she was wearing a bonnet.
"Hello, Ember," said the figure plainly. She had a very western voice. It was a little high-pitched, but Ember thought it adorable for an adult. The figure moved to her side, and Ember saw her face. "How are you?" she asked.
Ember fluttered her eyelashes confusingly. "I'm fine," she replied oddly.
"Do you know why I am here?" asked Elmira.
Ember shook her head. "No, Ma'am."
Elmira approached her. "I hear from a friend that you've been having some emotional problems dealing with your family's death. I was hoping that I could help."
Is this lady a doctor or something? And why is she dressed like that? Is she Amish?
Ember narrowed her eyes. "I don't need a doctor; I'm perfectly fine," she insisted.
"Well that's good, but unfortunately, I am not a doctor," said Elmira, taking a seat at the foot of her bed. "I'm just here to help you. You see, I have been having some emotional problems too, perhaps we can help each other."
The candle wasn't enough to illuminate Elmira's whole face, but Ember could guess that she was pretty from what she could see. Could she trust this bonnet- wearing woman? "How?" Ember asked, actually willing to attempt being happy again.
"Sister Abigail has agreed to let you come and stay with me for a while, she thinks that'll straighten you up," pointed Elmira plainly. "She hopes that we will be good for each other."
Suddenly, Sister Jane appeared again, holding Ember's empty suitcase. "Pack up, Sister Abigail has ordered that you go with Elmira."
Ember hung her head, she hated being moved from place-to-place, and nothing bothered her more. She knew that if she were to leave, they'd have to leave quickly, before the other children woke up. So she threw her personal belongings into her suitcase and followed Elmira out of the orphanage.
Sister Abigail was at the door to say goodbye. "Three months, Elmira, you have her for three months."
"Sounds perfect," said Elmira. "Thank you, Sister's. See you in a few months."
They left the orphanage by walking down the street. Elmira led Ember to the park, where she could see two small horses hitched to a wagon.
"What the….," Ember whispered.
"Throw your stuff in the back," said Elmira, even more plainly. Ember did was asked. Elmira climbed up onto the wagon seat, and collected her reins. Ember had been on buggy rides before, but nothing like this. "There's a quilt back there you can sit on. The mules and I slept in so that we could take a special night trip. We have to meet a couple of men before we take off, but there's something I need to do first."
And with that, Elmira snapped her driving lines, and the wagon disappeared out into an open field, and into the darkness.