As we finally got to my new room, one that didn't fail my expectations, I suddenly began to feel slightly sick. I suppose with all of the recent changes and everything, I was bound to feeling nervous and scared. I looked around the exquisite French-style room; it was incredibly airy… like a holiday resort hotel room. Two elegant French patio doors stood open inwards allowing the gentle breeze to filter through, making the white net curtains sway lightly. The doors themselves had windowed square patterns on them with a well-designed white frame closing each of them off. A large white four-poster bed stood at head of the room dressed in fine white and black linen, facing the doors so I'd have a clear view of the grounds when I woke up. There was a mirrored French vanity table complete with all sorts of fragrances and moisturisers, brushes and combs… all the essentials a girl could ever need or possibly imagine. Right along one of the walls was a white, mirrored wardrobe with sliding doors, the carpet was so clean, and white I was pretty sure the sun bounced from it and yes, as you probably guessed the walls were white too, however, the wallpaper was embroiled with Greek patterns, barely visible. My ceiling was much like the hallway, a dome with stained-glass windows and a crystal chandelier. I was in heaven… I was one hundred per cent sure I was dead. I hadn't even noticed Nathaniel was still here until he shifted to the balcony doors and turned to me.
"Are you satisfied with your room?"
How the hell could I not be satisfied, I was beginning to think Alice's giddiness was rubbing off on me.
"I think I'm more than satisfied, it's extraordinary. I can't wait to sleep in here tonight."
He gave an amused grin as he basically repeated my previous thoughts.
"I do believe Alice is a bad influence on you. You're nothing like your file described."
I couldn't hide my laugh and as I went toward the French doors, Nathaniel blocked my way by extending his arms… which was silly because I could basically see anyway.
"Well that's just pointless."
A smile played at his mouth as he gave me some pretty good advice.
"I think your first viewing of the grounds should be tonight when you're alone. There is something to be seen that can only take effect at night and as you're shiny and new, I'd be happy if that was your first viewing, because you'll definitely remember that in years to come, rather than the embarrassing dull, grey of the hills."
I cocked my head to the side… what could be more beautiful than nature itself? But I suppose I should trust him, even if he didn't have an aura or his thoughts were clear, he gave me a good vibe and that to me, was a good sign.
"I guess I'll leave the balcony for now."
Nathaniel put his arms down and sighed a little, the disappointment clear on his face as he spoke, softly.
"I suppose I'll leave you to get settled then. It was nice and interesting meeting you, Chelsea-Raye. I hope to be able to spend more time with you, maybe when I'm not an 'errand boy'"
I flushed a little, mainly because hearing those words said back to me, was kind of lame, not to mention embarrassing. A smile played about his lips, as I said.
"Ahh, oops, I'm sorry I said that. Thank you though, for everything. I'm really happy to have met you too. I'll be sure to leave a space in my little hostile life for you and Alice."
He looked regretful but on my smile, he brought his right back and just as he was about to leave, he said softly.
"I'm looking forward to it. I will come and get you in an hour to see Mr. Lancaster. But in the meantime, here."
With a click of his fingers, a baby blue Greek style vase appeared in my arms and nestled inside was a bouquet of sweet smelling flowers, amongst them were a general Iris, Ipomoea and eucalyptus. They were ever so beautiful and as he vacated the room, I sniffed them with a smile. I would like it here.
One Hour Later
I hadn't been alone too long and had since found out that, that wardrobe lining the wall with the sliding doors was only half of what it really was. I had an en suit! Of all the things I could have found beyond these doors, I found a bathroom, in all its stainless steel and white glory (cosmetics included.) The wardrobes didn't fail on expectation either, I swear had I searched any further beyond the fine clothes, shoes, jewellery, and even a small library, I would have eventually found Narnia no problem. Now though, I'd perched myself on the bed and had begun reading one of Jane Austin's novels. I figured seen as they were placed in the wardrobe library, it'd be rude not to read them. Funny how my earlier assumptions had placed this building in her stories and now I was sat here reading them, ironic right?
I had showered and now had the smell of lavender and camomile circulating my body. It was so peaceful and relaxing, I could have slept, but the thought that Nathaniel would return soon for my meeting with Mr. Lancaster had me abandon the thought. I'd dressed from my previous black skinny jeans and black and red checkered shirt, into a more nicer (but still me) outfit. Just then, there was a gentle knock on my door, this was it… I'd now be meeting with Mr. Lancaster. Getting up from the bed, I placed the book on the small French bedside table and approached the wardrobe mirror, taking in my appearance. I now wore a pair of opaque tights with my black converse of course, a short black tutu style skirt with a lace netting underneath and a white shirt, with a black tie. My fine black hair fell just below my shoulders and was layered in parts making my blue highlights all that more noticeable and my short side-fringe which swept just over my left eye, was neatly in place. I walked to the door, really happy with how I looked now and as I opened the huge door with the rather large, round polished gold knob, I was met with an even more polished Nathaniel. He'd abandoned his silly top hat and jacket, (thank god because he'd looked ridiculous) and now sported a more, casual 'something-more-a-nineteen-year-old-boy' would wear outfit, complimenting him. He was like a completely different person. Even his blonde hair was different, a little bit longer than it had appeared originally; it finished at the nape of his neck in different layers and fell into his eyes a little more. Subconsciously I said.
"Wow, much better."
Almost instantly I shot my hand to my mouth, feeling like a complete idiot but thankfully he just raised his eyebrows in amusement and responded with.
I giggled as I displayed my outfit and twirled just once as I said.
"I am so glad you approve. I found them amongst the clothes; someone must have left them behind."
Surprising me though, Nathaniel responded with a gentle shake of his head.
"No-one else has ever used this room but you. The clothes in the closet are yours; well everything in this room is yours. They, the people here, they cater for the needs of everyone who transfer. They research the things you wear and what you like, so that you'll be comfortable when you arrive. Alice's room is yellow… I mean really yellow, like sun-yellow and she has all sorts of sparkling crystals to make her prisms… what is it?"
I hadn't realised but I'd started laughing… he really did remind me of Alice.
"Oh nothing… I just couldn't help but see the resemblance between you and Alice just now."
He must have known what I meant because as he smiled, his expression showed a hint of embarrassment, scrunching up his face.
"Ah no, I didn't want you to see that trait in me yet. I do sometimes tend to ramble like Alice but I'm not nearly as energetic. But we hold the same amount of excitement, which I have to conceal a lot of the time because of what I do for Mr. Lancaster."
I was actually just really glad I wasn't the one to reveal that trait in him and had been a secret. I couldn't explain how refreshing it was to not have to delve into his mind or past just to drag it out… now I knew what it was like to be truly surprised.
"Well at least you're not all irritatingly flimsy or girly with it…"
Once again I'd said exactly what I thought without actually considering his feelings… had I just insinuated he was gay? Oh dear god…
"Just to clear up any misunderstandings I'm not a homosexual."
He just did it again, I'm certain this guy can read my mind… I've done it long enough to know the signs but I couldn't hide the small fact that I was pretty surprised and it kind of showed when I replied.
"Really, you're not?"
I'm more than definite that this poor guy would have the word awkward spinning round his head right now. I've basically more or less called him a gay errand boy in less than twenty-four hours and the chances are I would continue to put my foot in my mouth for the remainder of the day… if not week.
"No, I'm perfectly sure that I like women… more than sure. Lots of women… well no, not lots of women I mean… I haven't actually ever had a serious girlfriend."
This could not get any worse; we'd never be able to look eachother in the eye again if the situation wasn't saved right now…
"Um, shall we just go and see Mr. Lancaster now?"
I saw the relief on his face as I'd say that and shifted the conversation over to something a little less… problematic.
"Oh crap, I forgot… he'll definitely kill me if we're late. Come on let's go."
I didn't have time to recheck myself in the mirror because he took me by the hand and pulled me along the elegant corridor, filled with small tables holding fake plants and golden-framed portraits hung directly above them on beige walls, only I didn't have chance to observe them, what with being in a hurry now. There was, however, a deep red runner in the centre of the dark laminate floor. We turned a corner and immediately descended the main stairs, leading us back into the entrance hallway and right up the long corridor Alice had gone up prior to this. It actually didn't take us long until we were stood directly outside a large mahogany door... I felt sick and my stomach was in knots. What if I actually did something wrong? I already knew I was speaking my mind… poor Nathaniel had suffered that already. What if he didn't like me and sent me back? Nathaniel must have noticed how on-edge I was, because he gave my hand an encouraging squeeze as he reminded me, softly but I could definitely hear the amusement in his tone.
"Remember Chelsea-Raye, mind your manners."
Nathaniel is making a great use of my full name, which is kind of a refreshing change from all the people who have taken to calling me 'Chels' before. I quite liked hearing it fully. Perhaps I should call him something besides Nathaniel all the time; he could get bored of hearing that… What about Nath? EW, heck no! Nat… even worse, I'd be insulting him using 'Nat' when it could easily be from the name 'Natalie' so it's basically calling him a girl's name and I'd already insulted him by the 'homosexual' comment. I suppose I'd just have to call him Nathan, which is probably what everyone calls him…
My thoughts were interrupted then by a grumpy voice on the other side of the door, bellowing us to entre. Taking a huge deep breath, I opened the door and was instantly in awe. It was an airy and light study, with light oak bookshelves, scaling the walls with tomes upon tomes, angel and cherub statues, dome ceiling like all the rest, French patio doors which opened out onto a decked patio, all set up with a real China tea-set, a large oak desk placed directly in front of the doors with all sorts of stuff on it; a state-of-the-art computer, pen holders, trophies, paper weights, files. The gold and white walls hung portraits of his father or grandfather, fake potted plants, pillars like in the hallway. And stood looking out on to the grounds, was a man… dressed in a tailored brown suit, his hands placed behind him, his white receding hairline. It was Nathaniel who spoke first, introducing me in a respectful tone.
"Mr. Lancaster, I apologise for the interruption but this is Chelsea-Raye Hastings, our new resident. She's a clairvoyant… amongst other things."
My guess was that he ranged between fifty to fifty-five years old, which was confirmed as he turned round and his face was visible, telling some tales of his life. Alice was right, he didn't look happy, not one smile on his pale face as he brought his chocolate brown gaze over me. It was as though he were trying to strip away all of my secrets so that there weren't any surprises or lies. Trying to lighten the mood a little and show him that I wasn't insane, I approached him and extended my hand as I spoke politely.
"Good afternoon Mr. Lancast…"
"I do not shake hands so do not approach me as though we're old friends."
I cannot believe he had the nerve to interrupt me. I could feel it… that bubbling truth thing… oh god please remain good-mannered, please!
"What the fug! This is a big step for me; the least you could do is take pity on an orphan, geez. Have you any idea how rude that is?"
I know, it's bad, I even cringed. Sometimes I was so insanely stupid. Nathaniel tensed beside me, I could feel it, and now the air had gone cold. I bet this old man believed in such things as 'the electric chair' and real torture for punishment… I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in this amazing old church house, was a torture chamber with all the old shackles and such.
"I beg your pardon young lady? I think you had better tread carefully with me; I am the one who let you stay here. I suggest if you do not want harsh punishment, you'll think twice in future."
I knew it; this man is a psycho… I've been placed into another loony bin but much much worse! I knew Nathaniel and Alice were too good to be true! Harsh punishment, I bet it was a metal slab with belts to hold you in place and the like. Just then, Nathaniel stepped up to defend me.
"Sir please no, Chelsea isn't used to this kind of lifestyle, she's come from the Mullen Institute remember and…"
"Ah I see she's one of Lucas's patients, I remember now. My transfers from there have been nothing but trouble for me in the past but I was willing to accept you, mainly because of your situation. No-one wants you and when no-one wants you; this is where you're sent, to live the rest of your sad little life under my care. I read your file Miss Chelsea; you're quite the troubled young lady aren't you. A fire killed your parents and you were sent to live with an aunt who clearly didn't love you, you ran away from her at first, you drank heavily too didn't you? Oh and didn't you get into a number of fights at your previous school? There was a guy too wasn't there, what was his name now… oh that's right, Ethan Shaw."
I didn't even realise it at first but as I felt the moisture run down my face and the taste of salt on my lips it was pretty clear I'd started crying. All those little parts of my life that I wanted to forget… the drinking, the fights, and Ethan… I wanted to forget them all but obviously they'd been placed in my file for everyone to read. Had Nathaniel read that part about me? No matter how much I wanted to block it all out… I could still hear Mr. Lancaster revealing everything I'd been concealing.
"… Let's also not forget about you harming yourself or trying to commit suicide now shall we… twice, wasn't it? Who was it that found you now, I forget that detail?"
I swallowed back a huge lump in my throat silently begging him to stop and blankly staring forward, not really seeing anything now but blurred shapes. Subconsciously I answered him, my voice hoarse.
"Paul, Janine's little boy."
Indeed Paul had found me lying in the bathroom two nights after my parent's had died, but I'd blocked it out so much that I barely remembered the details. To my utmost pain, it seemed Mr. Lancaster had more to throw at me.
"That's the one, young Paul. How old was he, six, seven?"
I lowered my head as I spoke quietly, answering him like a robot.
"He was six."
I had always had a decent enough relationship with my cousins but Paul had always been my favourite. The football crazy, brown haired, brown eyed little boy whom always embraced me no matter what mood he, or I for that matter, was in. Still, Mr. Lancaster went on.
"Of course and he was always your favourite wasn't he? Why was he your favourite? Oh that's right… he was your brother, not Janine's son at all but your mother's. No-one but you knew though right? Your mother thought it was a well hidden secret but you knew because of your gifts…"
Just then when I thought my pain couldn't get any worse, he reveals that but cutting him off was Nathaniel… I'd actually forgotten he was here to be honest.
"That's enough, I think she understands now. Please don't torture her anymore. I'll take her back to her room."
Without even waiting for him to refuse, Nathaniel took my hand gently and led me back out of the study… except I was far too dazed to even acknowledge anything further.